I'm going to throw my opinion it for what its worth. Ballistics is ballistics. When you compare the two bullets of identical weight, The 204 will shoot faster, flatter, and with less wind deflection than a 223. If you are going to hand load, the 204 will out run the 223 to a certain point. It all has to do with diameter of the bullet proportion to length. We see the same debate between the 338, 30, and 284 calibers. The 204 in a 39 grain bullet will actually be effected less than a 40 grain .224 caliber bullet due to the higher BC. To match the ballistics of 39grn Sierra Blitzking (.287 BC) in .204, the .223, will have to go to a 60grn V-max (.255 BC), 68grn BTHP (.355 BC), or the 55grn Sierra Blitzking (.271 BC). Hornady does now make a 53grn V-max with a .290 BC. So that particular bullet would trump the .204. However the only factory offering of that particular bullet in 223 that I know of is their proprietary line of Superformanc ammo. You would have to hand load to use this particular bullet otherwise. I've crunched the numbers and when it comes to a small bore, I'll more than likely go with a .204 Ruger or some variant there of.
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I am trying to decide which calibre to go for, .223Rem or .204 Ruger.
I already have a .243 Tikka that is awesome for longer ranges and will easily hit 1.5" groups at 300yds. The problem is that most of my hunting recently is at night with a lamp after rabbits and foxes and the .243 is a little too much gun for that purpose.
I shoot at night up to 250yds and would like a flat shooting rifle that will be cheap to feed.
The .243 is hungry on powder and has a bit of a kick which is affecting accuracy when I need to take a quick shot at a twitchy rabbit at 250yds away.
I understand the .223 has less kick than the .243 and will give a flat shooting bullet if you use the 40-50 grainers, but the .204 Ruger will give better ballistics and less kick.
Unfortunately the .204 ruger is rumoured to have a short barrel life expectancy.
Can you guys please give me the benefit of your experience on calibre choice ???
Thanks guys, looking forward to your thoughts.
204 Ruger hands down for your application.
One nice thing about that tiny little bullet traveling @4000fps + is that it literally explodes if you hit anything. That means if you miss your intended target the odds of damaging property, game, or farm/ranch animals is extremely minimal.
When compared to the .223 I find it to be an absolutely superior varmint round for any application.
BBL life is no problem at all if you aren't pushing max loads. I have about 4,500 rounds through my CZ 527 (stock bbl) and it still drives tacks. Avoid max loads, and do proper/regular maintenance and it should serve you well for a long time.
For my next .204 or .220 swift I'll probably have Accuracy Systems Inc in Colorado build me one in an AR-15 platform, if not one of their custom Ruger Mini's.
Carl is amongst the best rifle builders I have ever been associated with and I've been a very satisfied customer for a long time.
I have a 223 rem, great rifle, 22-250 rem better rifle and I bought a 204 ruger for myself for xmas this last year. Hey I like me lol. I love that little gun, find myself killing more squeeks with it than the other 2 combined.
Out of all the rifles I have (~12), when I head out to either spotlight or prarie dog hunt the very first rifle I grab is my .204. Granted I take at least 2 with me, but the .204 gets WAY more rounds put through it than any 3 or 4 rifles I own put together.
I was fairly concerned about it's terminal performance on coyotes for such a little bullet but to this date I've killed every coyote I've shot at from 20 -250yds
Hell, part of the bullet actually exited on the 20yd broadside!
I have a growing soft spot for the little .204, stellar cartridge.
I went through the same debate a few years ago and picked up a .204. The rifle is very accurate, cheap to reload for, and have almost no recoil. I can spot all my shots all day long. Here are some comparisons I ran through JBM awhile ago. There is an incorrect notion that the .204 has problems in the wind, probably due to the light bullet weight, but the 39 gr blitzking, with its .287 BC, is just great. I shoot them around 3750 FPS.