My brother would say 22-250 has no peer. I say the 204 at least has little competition....
Most posters above seem to be not into or have not used (much) the 39 SBK or the 40 Berger. I started out with the 32 grain because its speed impressed. But then I started looking at the balistics of the 40 grainers and tried the 40 Hornady, which wasn't nearly as accurate.
Not giving up, I loaded both the 40 Berger and 39 SBK. To my amazement, these are extremely accurate and very devastating to much longer ranges than the 32 grainers. Berger for hide saving, SBK for squirrels, Pd's. I would even put them up against a 22-250. I'm getting about 3900fps with them w/H322.
Compare the stats. You should be surprised.
+1.........I checked the ballistics program....and I was suprised!
The higher BC 40 grainers put the 204 in the same category for sure. Especially if you can get that kind of velocity (3900 fps?). We'd have to step up to 55 grain .224 bullets to get the BC of the 40 grn .204 bullet. In order to match that velocity we gotta go with the 22-250AI or 220 Swift type of cartridge.
Only downside is maybe energy on target.? I know a 55 grn 224 will take down a coyote at 500 yds, but I don't know if a 40 grn 204 would??
I have killed coyotes at 400 yards with my .204 but I really don't consider the .204 even a 400 yard coyote cartridge. That was the one caveat in my ealier post. I use my .204's for calling purposes so most of the shots are under 200 yards. No problems there. My son usually brings his .243AI for the occasional drive-by coyote. It'll Get "er Done...
Don't get me wrong I have a soft spot for the 22-250 and 243 but not in a hot p-dog town, if your not careful you'll smoke the tubes fast!
A good friend of mine has a 204 upper on an AR and really likes it but if I'm not watching him he will shoot all my 17 Remington rounds PDQ now THAT little rifle is pure fun and evil as can be on p-dogs.
I know this is not one of your considerations but the plain jane boring ol' 223 is really hard to beat for p-dogs! when they get a little shy and it slows down I just get out the 75gr A-Max loads (single shot from the AR) it'll whack em' pretty solid out there in the 600 yard range those bullets just seem to float, not super high velocity but the BC of them you don't have to spit them out all that fast to start with. When they get out there past 600 yards that's when the 243 comes out and it'll put a whacking on a p-dog out there further than you really need to be shooting them.
There are a mess of good calibers for p-dogs but the thing you need to look at is what is 75% of your shooting going to be? get a caliber for the 75% not the 25% you MIGHT do. My suggestion is a plain ol boring 223 then a fast twist 22-250 for the dogs that want to just sit there and bark at ya out there in the 800+ range. Later,
The .204 and the .223 both allow you to view the shot all the way. To me the fun of seeing the kill shot thru your scope is priceless.
The 22-250 is going to kick so much it does not allow you to follow the shot thru the scope. It also gets too hot too quick when in a good dog town.
The AR-15 platform with a fluted barrel is the only way to go. .204 or .223
The fluting is for rapid barrel cooling not weight reduction.
Shooting with friends and calling your shots is what it's all about when you p-dog hunt. But if you can't see the shot and kill you miss out.
A heavy barrel 22-250 or 220 swift shooting 50 or 55 grn bullets does allow you to spot your shots......always has for me. But, I am talking about a 12-15 lb rifle. Also, I had to keep the scope power 14X or lower............just saying, it can be done...........yes, they do get hot quick.