I am itching to get a rifle set up Varmint / Long Range / Practical. I have a tight ammo budget and do not have any desire to handload my ammunition. I do not have such a tight Rifle Budget. Looking at trajectory data I conclude the .204 wins at <600 yards. I want more energy though. Looking at heavier rounds I am pretty much impressed with the .260/6.5mm offerings. However, they run $1.30+ per round. A bit out of my price range. 5.45x39 is available for $0.16 a round but it has steel components and corrosive powder. Both rule out features. .223 Remington seems to be available at $0.26+ a round and is common in target/varmint rifles. It seems to be a great cartridge. Match ammo is $0.80 or so. 5.56 NATO seems to be available at $0.39+ a round. 5.45mm has noticeably better external ballistic performance than .223 Remington. Bit it is NOT common in target/varmint rifles. It seems to be a great cartridge. I think I really want a Bolt action Target/Varmint rifle chambered in 5.45mm NATO. I think such a rifle could be as accurate as a .223 and push bullets 500 fps faster. I also think I can use cheap .223 ammo in this gun for plinking. I worry the increased barrel leade will cause accuracy degradation as compared to the .223. Savage Arms has indicated they can build me a Model 12BTCSS chambered in 5.56mm for about $60 more than the standard priced rifle. Opinions?