News Flash!
Huge Field Test for the 223 Short, late 2014.
Being tested in Australia on a 3,000 Kangaroo Cull.
(Kangaroos overpopulate just like Deer do if not managed correctly.)
Welcome to the 223 Short Dual Purpose Cartridge
(223 Remington Parent - Case Length = 1.135”; Shoulder Angle = 23 deg; Neck Length = 0.203”; Body Taper = 0.016”)

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Why Develop the 223 Short?

I designed the 223 Short cartridge in mid 2009, the entire project development is captured at GBO Wildcat Cartridge online forum. The cartridge was developed in cooperation with other forum members Jed Moskwa of Ohio (die & case forming development), Larry Trotter of Washington State (chamber reamer development & barrel reaming), and Shane Hayes of North Carolina (range testing). Unlike the rest of my project team, who were veterans of all things shooting, reloading and wildcatting, I was new to centerfire shooting, and had begun shooting and reloading the venerable 22 Hornet. I chose the Hornet after researching it and considered it the perfect fit for my very tight shooting budget - H&R Rifle, minimal powder use, and available Lee reloading dies and press. After a few months of shooting and reloading, I began to explore other small 22 caliber centerfire cartridges that were more powerful than the Hornet, which is considered a solid 150 yard round for coyotes. The likes of 218 Bee and 22 Rem Jet, considered solid 225 yard rounds for coyotes, were old “rimmed” case designs like the Hornet. I wondered why there were not a number of modern rimless cartridge designs in that performance space. I found a couple of rimless case designs, the considerably more powerful 221 Remington Fireball, a 300 yard coyote round, as well as the dual purpose round by FN, the 5.7x28, that was no more powerful than the Hornet. After discovering the prohibitive price of 221 FB cases compared to 223 Rem cases, I set out to design a cartridge for the budget shooter that followed these design goals:

Cheap Parent Brass
- The 223 Remington is the most popular brass in the world, so I figured if the cartridge can be made from 223 Rem parent brass, there could be no cheaper brass source - cases can be made from range pickup brass (free), once fired military (really cheap) and any other source of 223 Rem cases.

Easy to Form
- The design must be such that it can be formed with a single stroke of a reloading press, requiring the usual force required to full length resize a case. The shoulder angle and starting distance from the base can be modified, and the body taper should not need radical reforming. The use of modified dies of an existing design would make home die modification simple if the reloader wanted to go that route. If custom dies are manufactured, they would not be radically different to existing case designs, so that would keep the costs down.

No Excessive Case Preparation
- The goal was that after forming and trimming the case neck, the reloader is NOT required to turn the necks, inside or out, just chamfer and deburr as normal.

Small Powder Capacity
- The idea was to keep powder use low, so I would produce around the same 500 rounds/lb of powder the Hornet gets. I naively determined the required case OAL to achieve 1.14cc case capacity would roughly be halfway between a Hornet (0.79cc) and 221 FB (1.43cc). As I did not determine a true case capacity by dissecting all three cases and making internal measurements to get the exact capacity/length I wanted, it led to a miscalculation of case capacity and I ended up with 14g L’il capacity, the same as a Hornet.

- The expectation was +/- 1.5” above and below the line of sight to 225 yds (0.6 MOA), the accepted standard of 223 Remington cal centerfire cartridges.

- Using bullet weights from 35g to 75g+ to make a clean 225 yard coyote kill at the cartridge’s expected MPBR.

Did we meet our performance goals?
We far exceeded our performance expectations and have developed a 300 yard coyote killer, that uses less powder than a 22 Hornet. Our design has hit a ballistic sweet spot. The case body length and shoulder start distance from base mimics that of 22 PPC and 22 BR benchrest cartridges (case length x .7072).

Did we meet our accuracy goals?
With 100 yrs zero, bullet flight paths to 225 yards are -3” below the line of sight, which is 1.5x the accepted standard for centerfire cartridges larger than 22 caliber. In the F-Class Target Rifle, the 223 Short consistently turns in 1/2 MOA accuracy out to 300 yards. Final testing will be completed with 30g to 46g bullets, late 2014 to early 2015, and they are also expected to meet the 1/2 MOA standard from an off-the-rack, standard barrel contour Savage. Shane reports the 223 Short recoil creates only a small vibration in his heavy rifle and allows him to see your hits through the scope. I think in my low-end rig it will also be a very light recoil cartridge allowing shooters to observe impacts.

Future Improvements?
While modifications to improve accuracy and range probably aren’t really warranted, the only improvements to the design is to increase the shoulder angle to 30 deg, by pushing the shoulder forward and retaining the current neck length, this would allow simple rechambering of v1 to v2, if the modification improves performance and/or accuracy.

Dual Purpose -
While we started the project with only a rifle cartridge in mind, a number of interested observers have opened us to the idea of chambering a pistol in this round, whether it be a semi-auto, single-shot or revolver. The cartridge’s physical dimensions are 0.003” shorter than the 5.7x28, with a significantly larger body diameter of 0.376”, compared to 0.311”. The 5.7x28 is listed as having a case capacity of 14g H20, the same as the Hornet and the same as the 223 Short. The same capacity as the Hornet can be explained by the Hornet’s extra length and smaller case diameter. However, we believe the 223 Short reduced case capacity seems to be explained by the fact that the forming of the case from 223 Rem brass produces a very thick case body due to the lower, thicker part of the parent case forming the new case shoulder, so the internal capacity is much reduced compared to a case that would be commercially manufactured.

TC Contender Testing - (Updated Sept. 13, 2014) We have a new member of the test team, and are purchasing a 10” 22LR barrel for him and he will have it rechambered to 223 Short. We expect about 2700 fps at the muzzle of the 1:16 twist barrel.

Custom Chamber Reamer - (Feb 22, 2013) Pacific Tool & Gauge delivered a custom reamer that was passed along to Larry so he could ream a standard contour barrel for a Savage/Stevens. The reamer cost $140, not out of line with reamers in general. Larry chambered my Savage barrel and it arrived shortly thereafter.

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Larry took a Remington 22 cal take-off barrel and rechambered it in 223 Short with the new reamer. The barrel is designed to work with Savage/Stevens receivers and will be fitted up to a left-hand Savage Axis. This is the cheapest Savage model (all up including $50 Savage rebate 10/2014) and is perfectly aligned with the concept of a cheap wildcat. As we know Savage rifles are sub-MOA out of the factory, pretty much any issues we have with accuracy when testing from the bench will be the fault of the round or how we prepped the rifle for it, not the fundamental rifle itself. The 223 Axis will be accuracy tested before we do the barrel swap.

Huge Field Test Late 2014 - We have a new member of the test team located in Australia, and he is going to get a reamer and dies, and field test the cartridge on a cull of 3,000 kangaroos. Incase you were wondering, kangaroos overpopulate just like deer do, if they are not managed properly. That will provide a huge set of real world data for our test results page.

The Light Bullet Test Rig - Left Hand Savage Axis and a CenterPoint 4-16x40 Scope.