.204 vs. .223

Discussion in 'Varmint Hunting' started by head2h2o, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. head2h2o

    head2h2o Well-Known Member

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    I have been trying to decide between a .204 Ruger and .223 Remington. I think the longest distance that I want to try to get to with either of these rounds is 600 yds. I want to know what your experience with both of these rounds is. Which one is better suited to take small game, say nothing larger than a bobcat / fox? I have read much of the info on the internet, but I want to know what everyone's real experience with the .204 is compared to the .223. Is it worth moving away from the common .223?
     
  2. linksmechanic

    linksmechanic Well-Known Member

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    Well, for starters it shoots a 40 grain bullet a 3800 fps, that was enough for me. It's devastating on coyotes. It uses less powder. bullet are about the same price. Brass is cheap. Loaded ammo is more expensive. Honestly I have seen more brass lately for the 204 than the 223. It's just a way flatter cartridge. It's also kind of unique. I say go for the .204
     

  3. bowhunthard

    bowhunthard Well-Known Member

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    It depends on what you seriously want to do. Is it 600 yds. and under, or 600+ yds. A .223 with a fast twist, geared towards high BC bullets such as 69+ gr. will outshoot a .204 at extended ranges due to less wind drift. The heaviest bullet for the .204 in a factory loading is the 45 gr. SP. The .223 will have much more drop than the .204, but much less drift at extended ranges due to a high BC. Drop is relatively easy to predict, but wind drift is less static due to the unpredictability of the wind over the course of the bullet. At least under hunting conditions (no wind flags). The .204 has a flatter trajectory and more "splat" efect though.

    Good luck with your choice... On second thought, why not buy both lol :D.
     
  4. long range dogr

    long range dogr Well-Known Member

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    I have both.And honestly i'd lean towards the 204.It'll buck the wind suprisingly good with the little 32gr or 39gr pills.But i would also not count out a fast twist 223.

    Or you could get a 1/9 or a 1/7 twist 223 and have it rechambered to an Ackley improved.
     
  5. linksmechanic

    linksmechanic Well-Known Member

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    Huh? 600 and less? I've shot the .204 up to 750 with good results. I can hit a 630 piece of steel with it while yawning. This with a decent wind. If I had more money I would build a fast twist .204 and shoot the berger 50's. Now that would be a piece of work.
     
  6. bowhunthard

    bowhunthard Well-Known Member

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    Not to start an argument lol :). But... did you read the article about shooting a fast twist .223 a mile on this site? He was keeping it at about 12" or less.
     
  7. MachV

    MachV Well-Known Member

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    After a couple of years of shooting a pair of 204's and many years with the 223 @ prairie dogs I'd give the edge to the 204 inside of 400 yards and the 223 useing the 70+ grainers beyond 400 yards. In general the 204's seam to need cleaning more often and have been harder to tune a load for than the 223's.
    Based on my eperience if linksmechanic could yawn shooting the 204 past 600 yards in the wind he could yawn and fart with the 223 dialed to shoot the 75Amax.
     
  8. linksmechanic

    linksmechanic Well-Known Member

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    It's not very hard hitting a 12 inch piece of steel from a bench with a 204 I do it every time I go to the local fernan and rod club. It's not magic just hold over with reticle and pull the trigger. Hits every time. Maybe I'm just magic. Or maybe I just shoot to much(3 times a week).
     
  9. linksmechanic

    linksmechanic Well-Known Member

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    If I was to buy another varmint gun it would be a 22-250 with a fast twist. Then you could shoot the high b.c. bullets super flat.
     
  10. head2h2o

    head2h2o Well-Known Member

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    linksmechanic,
    You say you would build the 204 with a fast twist barrel. Exactly how fast are you thinking for the 50 gr Bergers?
     
  11. linksmechanic

    linksmechanic Well-Known Member

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    For the 55 grain bt berger recommends a 1 in 8 which is what I would use. For the 50 grain they recommend a 1 in 9. Have fun.
     
  12. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    I've put a lot more .223 rounds downrange over the years, but I'm enjoying the .204 a lot! I've got the little CZ varminter, topped by a simple 12x Leupold. Do my loading with Wilson dies, and it's just a hoot on our local rockchucks!

    [​IMG]

    My youngest son giving the .204 a try at some rockchucks up on the cliff above the orchard. It worked just fine...
    [​IMG]

    No recoil. 3800 fps with 40 grain Hornady V-Max bullets and excellent accuracy. It's fun to see the impact of the bullet on the animal. The crosshairs never even come off target. I like the .204, but if a guy chooses a .223, he's just got the more popular cartridge, and that has some advantages. My oldest son uses a .223 Bushmaster AR-15 varminter with a 6.5-20x scope. It's a varmint zapping machine!
    [​IMG]

    I don't think there's a huge amount of practical difference between the two in the field. They're both fun and effective.

    Regards, Guy
     
  13. Ron Ankeny

    Ron Ankeny Active Member

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    As one who shoots a lot of p-dogs (like three days a week June-August) I have come to the conclusion that neither a .204 Ruger nor a .223 are reliable 600 yard calibers. But, if I had to pick, I would go with the .204 Ruger. As for "splat factor" at extended yardages, there isn't any splat...just little holes.
     
  14. Chopaka81

    Chopaka81 Well-Known Member

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    BINGO! Neither are 600 yd cartridges.
    I am not an expert PD shooter, but this has June I went on a 3 day PD shoot, my son and shot Rem M700 Varmint rifles in 223. We went thru about 1600 rds between the two of us. With wind I found myself walking my shots onto target at 500 yds. The Pace was so fast we did not have time to range - wind - run exbal - recheck range - recheck wind - run exbal put together the ballistic solution and then shoot. By then either my kid shot the PD while I was screwing around or the PD went back in the hole.

    We had a heck of a good time with our 223's - they were much cheaper to shoot than the 204. When are dealing with large Qty's of ammo - it adds up. I was able to get 2000 Rem Bulk 50gr HP's, 2000 surplus Mil Brass and 2000 Rem BR primers. Going with "cheap" brass and bullets raised natural concerns. But we were seing 0.3" 5 shot groups at 100 yd - going 10 shots opened the groups to 0.5". Good enough for easy shooting out to 400yds.

    Just my two bits.