Beretta 500 .222 Rem

Discussion in 'Other firearms built on Sako actions' started by Coleman Cowboy, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    I’ve been spending some time over the past couple of weeks working with a friend’s Beretta Model 500 in .222 Remington, an ‘80s vintage sporter from one of that company’s various forays into proprietary “boutique” bolt guns. The heart of this trim little darling is the tiny Sako AI action (albiet with a round top instead of the Sako-standard integral scope dovetails). I’ve been a sucker for the AI actions for years as they combine the true small (.223 sized) action and wonderful, fully adjustable triggers.

    After a good bore cleaning, checking the bedding and setting the trigger up where I wanted it, I set about finding what the little rifle wanted to eat. Since it wears a 1-in-14 twist barrel, I figured I couldn’t go too heavy on bullet weight…but we’d see.

    Last Saturday I had this sexy little Italian job down at the range again to further evaluate a couple of loads that had shown promise. I squeezed off the first five shots into a 3/8” group and was more than satisfied…but after a bit I started wondering if maybe the first group was a fluke. So I shot another five shot group and shaved off 1/16” of an inch…down to 5/16”!

    Gina Lollobrigida, eat your heart out!

    Mark


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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
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  2. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    The Beretta 500 series are great rifles! They actually came in at least two different configurations. My Beretta 500 .222 has a European ("hogback") Monte Carlo, gloss stock finish, and no factory sights. Coleman's rifle has a straight stock, oil finish, and open sights. However, I can report that mine turns in accuracy similar to his.

    DSC01993 (1280x350).jpg

    I also own a Model 501 (Sako A-II action in .308) and a Model 502 (Sako A-V action in .30-06). The .30-06 is NIB and unfired. Most people don't realize that Beretta contracted with Sako -- long before buying Sako -- to make actions for Beretta to produce these rifles on. The actions are round-topped and are marked "Beretta" with no indication anywhere on them that they are from Sako. The barrels and actions exhibit numerous proof marks as is common with Italian-made guns.

    Here's yet another version of the 502 in our friend SakoSource's inventory, a special edition 1 of 125 made for Whitetails Unlimited. If I didn't already have a 502 in .30-06 I would have already grabbed this one. https://www.sakosource.com/-1592rs-wtu30-06.html
     
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  3. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I hear this concern more and more often as people start trying to shoot 90+ grain .224" bullets in 1-6.5" twists.

    In reality, a 1-14 twist handles everything in a conventional bullet up to 60 grains and over just fine. I've gotten good accuracy from 60 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips (a rather long bullet for its weight), 63 grain Sierra Semi-spitzers, and 64 grain Winchester SP's from 1-14 barrels. A very early L46 .222 of mine has a 1-16" barrel (probably the same as they were using on the Hornets), and it turns in outstanding accuracy with 50 and 55 grain spitzers, which is as heavy as I want to shoot in this particular rifle. I should probably try some longer bullets in it just to see where its tolerance point shows up.

    For years the pinnacle of bench rifles was a .222 with 1-14 twist, usually shooting a 52 grain boat tail or a 53 grain square base -- both with hollow points which make a bullet longer and more difficult to stabilize. A 55 or perhaps even a 60 grain lead-tipped bullet may be no longer or more difficult to stabilize than these bench bullets.

    So, I don't shy away from anything other than the very heavy "specialty" bullets in my 1-14" .22 Centerfires. But I will add that the tiny 40 grain plastic-tipped bullets like the Nosler Ballistic Tip and Varmageddon, and the Hornady V-Max or Sierra Blitzking can provide outstanding accuracy and varmint-devastating velocity. They do really well whatever the twist.
     
  4. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    That's a handsome "European" Model 500...and don't think I haven't considered picking up that '06 from Rodger!

    My experience mirrors yours for the most part regarding bullet weight in a 1-14 twist barrel. As you observe, that twist was all we had before the current rage for fast twists and heavy slugs began. My opinion, trying to make a 5.56 into much more than what it is becomes an exercise in throwing effort after foolishness...but that's a discussion for another day!

    Still, individual barrels seem to show decided preferences. Two other Sakos with 1-14 barrels (a .223 Heavy Barrel and my wife's L461 .222) are cases in point: while the .223 loves 50 grain slugs, my bride's .222 doesn't care for much of anything over 45 grains.

    Mark
     
  5. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    I've gotten the best accuracy from Sako 14" twist barrels with Sierra Match Kings - both the 52g boattail and the 53g flatbase. Never tried anything heavier except one attempt with a 55 grain Hornady soft point that produced shotgun patterns out of a rifle that shoots 3/8" groups consistently with the Match Kings.
     
  6. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    What do they say? "The heart wants what it wants"? Rifle barrels don't seem much different!

    Mark
     
  7. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    That's pretty much the case. It took many, many tries to find a load that would shoot the way I wanted it to in my L461 .222 Magnum heavy barrel. Some of my other Sakos will shoot decent groups with almost anything.
     
  8. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Very much agree. However, it is probably not so much a matter of the twist as one or another of the many arcane factors which influence how barrels shoot.
     
  9. Coleman Cowboy

    Coleman Cowboy Member

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    Lots of truth to that statement!
     

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