223 ballistics – Comparing Nosler, Sierra & Hornady 55gr Bullets

The 223 Remington is popular with varmint and target shooters worldwide, and to get the most from this cartridge, you need to know 223 ballistics.

In order to consistently hit varmint-sized targets at 200 yards and beyond, use Shoot! to calculate 223 ballistics and the best sight-in information that precisely matches your ammo to your particular 223 firearm.

That way you’ll understand how your 223 ammo performs out to various ranges and under differing atmospheric conditions such as windy days.


Compare 223 ballistics of Nosler, Sierra and Hornady 55gr bullets

Trajectory graph below shows the 55gr bullet from each manufacturer at 3200fps out to 250 yards

(Shoot! calculated a point blank range average of 220 yards for all 3 bullets using a 3 inch vital zone typical of prairie dogs and other varmints):


Ballistics of these 55gr bullets in the 223 Remington are a close match.

There is not much difference across all 3 bullets. This is to be expected of bullets that weigh the same and have a similar bullet shape, design – even from different bullet manufacturers like Sierra, Hornady and Nosler.

At 250 yards:

…the 55gr Nosler bullet is 6.52 inches low

…the 55gr Sierra bullet is 6.87 inches low

…the 55gr Hornady bullet is 6.65 inches low

Small difference between all 3 bullets. Only varies by 0.35 inches between highest and lowest bullet path values.

Now, the Nosler 55gr bullet has a BC (ballistic coefficient) of 0.267, while the Sierra has a BC of 0.237 and the Hornady a BC of 0.255.

When you consider the 223 Remington produces ballistics that makes it suitable as a medium range varmint cartridge (out to 250 yards), you would do well by choosing to shoot any of these bullets (you’d need to find out which bullet shoots accurately in your gun first) – you would not notice the difference in the field target shooting or sniping at small targets unless you wanted to shoot farther than 250 yards.


223 Ballistics And Extending Your Normal Shooting Distance (beyond 250 yards)

The above 55gr 0.224 inch bullets fired from a 223 Remington at 3200fps allow you to hold dead-on a target with a vital zone of 3 inches (e.g. prairie dog) all the way out to 220 yards (no adjustment for holdover).

To shoot beyond that distance, let’s see what elevation adjustment is required.

Below is a Ballistics Report generated by Shoot! ballistics app/software for the Nosler 55gr bullet with a muzzle velocity of 3200fps and zero of 190 yards:


The scope mounted on this 223 Remington has 1/4 MOA clicks (4 clicks equals 1″ of bullet adjustment at 100 yards).

RED LINE – To score a hit at 250 yards you’d need to adjust your elevation to come up 5 clicks.

BLUE LINE – At 300 yards you’ll need to go up 10 clicks.

BLACK LINE – A full 15 clicks is required to be spot on at 350 yards.

Even at 350 yards there is ample energy and remaining velocity to humanely dispatch varmints the size of a prairie dog. Without any wind, hitting small targets should be easier at those ranges.

The report shows a 5mph crosswind coming from 3 o’clock (Easterly direction). At 350 yards the bullet drift is 7.44 inches – the wind plays a big factor in consistently hitting your target at these distances. Atmospheric conditions are rarely, if ever, ideal. You’ll always have to take wind into the long range equation when executing such shots.


223 Ballistics And Shoot! Ballistics Software

As you can see, calculating 223 ballistics is made real easy with Shoot! ballistics app/software.

Select from 100’s of 223 Remington factory ammunition rounds and bullets from just about all manufacturers (or enter your own favorite 223 load) to simulate accurate 223 ballistics in Shoot!


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