MEN 223 Rem soft point
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
There’s little doubt the 223 Remington (5.56x45mm) calibre has come of age since it’s humble beginnings back in the 1960s. Once only considered as a varmint round, much development has gone on as the calibre now offers bullet weights from 40 to a staggering 90-grains in a range of types from ballistic tip to Match-styles.
In the UK it has always been popular as a fox buster and has become top choice for Practical Rifle competition in AR15s and similar rifles pre and post the SLR ban. More recently in England and Wales a change in the law now allows it for small deer species – muntjac and CWD. So the arrival of some German MEN for test pleasantly surprised me as the load is a soft tip, which would seem ideal for hunting.
Let’s Twist Again!
From experience MEN has always made military, FMJ ammo so to see a soft point was intriguing. The bullet weight of 63-grains means straight away that you need to be thinking about tighter rifling twists than 1-12” to stabilise it. I have two 223s; a Mauser M03 (1-10” twist) and an SGC Speedmaster (AR15) which is 1- 8”. Experience with the Mauser shows it likes a 60-grain pill (Hornady SP), which it can shoot around ½ - ¾”. The AR runs well on 69-grain Sierra Match Kings to the tune of ½”.
Taking down a few rounds showed a boxer-primed case, so good for reloading, that uses a Magtech small rifle primer. I say this as the primer cup has a C on it which is their mark. The bullet shows a massive soft tip with a long canelure and a flat base. It’s military roots show through as it’s sealed in the neck with a bitumen-type compound to keep out moisture. Likewise the primer is lacquered around the pocket.
Bullet weight was good at an average of 63.1-grains. Propellant was an average of 23-grains of a fine, flatted ball not unlike Hodgdon BLC2.
As I suspected the bullet weight proved critical and through the 1-10” twist Mauser tube groups were 1 ½ - 2”, acceptable but not as tight as I am used to. In the Speedmaster’s 1-8” barrel it was less consistent, which was odd as it shoots both 62 and 69-grain load very well. Over the chrono the MEN was averaging 2835 fps/1124 ft/lbs, with an ES of 39 fps. More than enough energy for small deer and certainly fox. On that point I found the bullet a little frangible with larger wound tracks than a corresponding 60-grain Hornady soft tip.
In terms of bullet weight/construction this would be a good round and well up for deer or foxing. The downside is finding out whether your rifle will shoot it well enough… Typical of its military-style the ammo comes in cardboard boxes of 30-rounds.
For: Good hunting potential
Against: Fussy on rifling twist
Verdict: A good choice if you have the right gun
PRICE: £39 per 100