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222 Remington vs 223 Remington

Ballistics Performance Comparison of 222 Rem. vs 223 Rem. Cartridges

As their names suggest, the .222 Remington and the .223 Remington have quite a bit in common. Both made for varmint hunting by the same parent manufacturer, these calibers both shoot well with highly comparable ballistics. However, the .223 Remington maintains stopping power just a bit farther, and is far more popular (and thus more widely available) than the .222. In areas where military-adopted cartridges such as the .223 Remington can’t be used by civilians, the .222 Remington can make for a nice substitute. We’ll go through several key metrics to compare these calibers and help you decide which is right for your hunting needs.

222 Remington vs 223 Remington

The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 222 Remington vs 223 Remington based on bullet weight and performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.

222 Remington 50 gr vs 223 Remington 55 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.

222 Remington 223 Remington
Bullet Velocity (Muzzle) 3,345 ft/s 3,250 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds 2,930 ft/s 2,849 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds 2,551 ft/s 2,482 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds 2,203 ft/s 2,144 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds 1,883 ft/s 1,834 ft/s
Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds 1,595 ft/s 1,557 ft/s
Bullet Energy (Muzzle) 1,242 ft⋅lb 1,290 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 100 yds 953 ft⋅lb 991 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 200 yds 722 ft⋅lb 753 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 300 yds 539 ft⋅lb 561 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 400 yds 393 ft⋅lb 411 ft⋅lb
Bullet Energy @ 500 yds 283 ft⋅lb 296 ft⋅lb
Hunting Usage @ 0 yds Medium Game Medium Game
Hunting Usage @ 100 yds Small Game Small Game
Hunting Usage @ 200 yds Small Game Small Game
Hunting Usage @ 300 yds Small Game Small Game
Hunting Usage @ 400 yds Small Game Small Game
Hunting Usage @ 500 yds Not recommended Small Game
Recoil Energy 3 3.2
Recoil Velocity 5.1 5.1
Recoil Score* 1.45 1.46
*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.

Many of the performance metrics between the .222 and .223 are extremely close together. This is a result of the .222 Remington being the parent case of the .223 Remington. The major difference between the two is the slightly longer overall case-length of .223 Remington at 2.260 inches to the .222 Remington’s 2.130 inches.

Velocity

While we might see only one number difference in the names of these calibers, these numbers get bigger when we start to compare velocity. Right out of the muzzle, the .222 Remington is flying 95 ft/s faster than the .223 Remington. However, the .223 Remington does catch up – even if it pulls into the lead toward the end of its effective range based on bullet size. At 300 yards, the .223 Remington actually has an advantage of 59 ft/s over the .222; at 500 yards, it maintains this advantage at 38 ft/s. Although this mostly comes down to the bullet weight and construction.

Energy

The .223 Remington also takes the lead on energy when we are comparing similar-sized bullets. Remember, the .223 Remington is still capable of much greater energies than the .222 simply because it can be used with heavier bullets that create bigger stopping power. Out of the muzzle, a 55 grain .223 Remington will move with an extra 48 ft-lbs of energy over the .222 Remington. At 300 yards, this advantage shrinks to 22 ft-lbs; at 500 yards, it’s down to 13 ft-lbs.

Trajectory

Trajectory impacts your ability to hit your target successfully, and is thus an important metric when comparing calibers. The .223 Remington will see a 7.0” drop at 300 yards. The .222 Remington will see a nearly 10” drop at 300 yards. Despite the heavier bullets, the increased energy of the .223 Remington helps it shoot flatter over a longer distance, thus increasing its effective range.

Recoil

Recoil can impact not just your comfort when shooting, but also your accuracy. If you’re going to be firing a large number of shots over a day due to a long day of pest control or even just target practice, it’s important to find a recoil you can manage. Both the .222 Remington and the .223 Remington have light recoils that should be manageable for the majority of shooters. The .223 Remington has just a bit more of a kick than the .222 Remington, but at this small level of difference, felt recoil might depend more on the make and weight of the specific rifle you choose.

Versatility

The primary difference between the .222 Remington and the .223 Remington is their stopping power at longer ranges. Inside of 300 yards, both of these calibers can take varmints such as prairie dogs, and potentially predators such as coyotes with a well-placed shot. However, the .222 Remington should not be used outside of 300-400 yards because of its lighter bullets, while the .223 Remington does retain power at this distance.

Price & Availability

The .223 Remington is an extremely popular varmint hunting cartridge. This means that ammunition is widely available and inexpensive. While you can find the .222 Remington available from several major manufacturers, you won’t have the same number of choices, and it might be a good idea to call ahead if you’re planning on an out of town hunting expedition.

Size Comparison

As you might be able to guess, the .223 Remington is just a bit larger than the .222 Remington. Both of them have a 23-degree shoulder, but the .223 has an overall length of 2.260”, which is a bit longer than the .222’s overall maximum of 2.130”. The .222 Remington can handle bullets weighing up to 55 grains, but the .223 Remington can use bullets up to 80 grains, which can make a significant difference in stopping power.

Rife Type

Both the .222 Remington and the .223 Remington can be chambered in smaller varmint hunting rifles, which are typically bolt action. In addition, the .223 Remington can be chambered in a variety of semi-automatic rifles, including the AR-15 platform. Many shooters feel this makes it a more viable option for home defense purposes, as some prefer semi-automatic for a potential emergency scenario.

Which Caliber is Best?

The .223 Remington has a clear advantage over the .222 Remington: it’s a faster caliber that packs more of a punch with a longer effective range, and you don’t even have to pay the price with much extra recoil. The difference in ammunition availability is significant. However, the .222 Remington is certainly a comparable cartridge, whether you’re a collector planning to shoot within 300 yards, or a hunter living in an area where the .223 Remington is not accessible to you.

Disclaimer: Sportsman's Warehouse assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information on this page. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.