The 223 WSSM is a new centerfire rifle cartridge developed in partnership with Browning Arms Company and Winchester ammunition, making its debut and introduced to the shooting public in 2003. The 223 WSSM is a centerfire rifle cartridge based on the 404 jeffery cartridge case, shortening and necking down to .22" caliber and sharpening the shoulder angle to 28 degrees the new 223 WSSM cartridge gets a definite boost in case capacity.
The 223 WSSM cartridge achieves true wildcat performance at the factory level, providing varmint hunters and shooters with a very high level of .22" caliber super performance. This is the first cartridge where handloaders will have the option in a cartridge to load their own to super performance beyond that of the 220 Swift or load at more modest barrel saving levels of 22-250 Remington velocities.
The 223 WSSM factory loadings show a velocity of 3,850 feet per second for a 55 grain bullet while this is only slightly more than the Remington 22-250 which shows a velocity of 3,680 feet per second, barrel life for the two rounds will not be the same, as the 223 WSSM chamberings in browning and winchester rifles have chrome bores to slow throat erosion therefore the 223 WSSM will have an extended barrel life beyond that of the 22-250.
The 223 WSSM is certainly a handloading varminters and wildcatters dream cartridge, this was borne out by Hornady's sixth edition of; Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, where in the opening description of the 223 Winchester Super Short Magnum they stated "We examined the throat of the rifle with a bore scope after approximately 350 rounds and the erosion was significant. This cartridge is hard on barrels."
Why is the 223 WSSM cartridge hard on barrels?
The 223 WSSM is such a revolutionary new cartridge that Hornady when making the above statement also made a statement, same handbook, same page; Note: In the following data we were able to reach 4,600 fps with our 40 grain V-MAX. Our trajectory tables only cover that bullet to 4,400 fps.
Clearly in the Hornady statements, they as bullet manufacturers had never seen a commercial rifle cartridge produce such high velocities at saami safe chamber pressures, this exceeds anything prior by 200 feet per second. Clearly making the new 223 Winchester Super Short Magnum, the fastest commercial 22 caliber centerfire cartridge on planet earth.
The 223 WSSM cartridge is only hard on barrels when handloaded to extreme velocities, all factory ammunition for this cartridge does not reach that point.
Because the velocity is high on the 223 WSSM cartridge, anyone new to varminting is going to find out quickly their rifle barrels will carbon foul. This cartridge should not be fired in any rifle barrel more than 3 shots between total barrel cleanings and the barrel should be allowed to cool between each shot to maintain top notch accuracy.
For a beginner just getting into the world of long range varminting, the 223 WSSM cartridge is highly recommended as it offers excellent down range trajectories with plenty of bullet energy for very effective distant kills.
223 WSSM Barrel Specifications.
Common Barrel Twist Rate - 1 in 10".
Bore Groove Diameter - .224"
223 WSSM Reloading Specifications.
Bullet Diameter - .224"
Maximum Case Length - 1.670"
Trimmed Case Length - 1.660"
Primer Size - Large Rifle
223 WSSM Loading Data Hints.
The 223 WSSM cartridge seems to prefer Varget powder delivering high velocities with excellent accuracy within the 55 grain bullet weight range.
223 WSSM Reloading Data.
Hodgdon Reloading Data Center.
223 WSSM Trajectory and Hunting Applications.