.204 Ruger or .223 Remington ???

Discussion in 'Varmint Hunting' started by robbobsam, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. robbobsam

    robbobsam Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Hiya guys,

    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.
  2. B23

    B23 Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2008
    Day in and day out the .223, IMO, is hard to beat for small game. You can buy ammo anywhere, it's probably the cheapest centerfire round you can buy. The 204 certainly has its following and though I've never owned one I'm sure they are a fantastic chambering but if I didn't already have a .223 and I was looking at getting either a .223 or .204 there is no way I would pick the .204 over the .223. Unless I already owned a .223
  3. conn338rum

    conn338rum Active Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    223 I picked up a Savage left handed bolt with scope 3x9 on gun broker for a good price and ammo is very inexpensive for 55 gn
  4. Forester

    Forester Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    You already have a .243 for longer range, or those particularly windy days. The 204 is flatter shooting, lower recoil (neither will beat you up), and barrel life difference will be minimal.

    MTBULLET Well-Known Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    there must be a reason i see more and more used .204's at the gun shows and on the used rack at shops. they look great on paper, but how many times have you seen a perfectly calm day at the range or more importantly in a good p-dog town? they just can't cut it in any kind of wind with those little bullets. if I were to build a "little" cal. it would be in the .19 calhoun or similar., but i just keep building .223 and 22-250.
  6. bill2506

    bill2506 Member

    Dec 9, 2010
    I know I'll start a big discussion on this, but i am not a big fan of the 223, if i wanted a 22 cal i would go with a 22-250. I just bought Rem. R15 in 204 and it is one of the most accurate rifles i have ever had the pleasure to shoot. Just my opinion but each to his own. gun)gun)gun)gun)gun)gun)gun)gun)gun)gun)
  7. ram3835

    ram3835 Member

    Mar 22, 2010
    i have both.but like the 204 more.
  8. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    Hi Rob,
    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.

  9. robbobsam

    robbobsam Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Thanks guys for all your responses. I have taken a lot of time to look at the rifles and due to cost I am coming down on the side of the .223.
  10. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2011
    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.

    Rifle Accuracy Systems Inc Custom Accurate Rifles Barrel Conversions Ruger Mini Remington 700 7400 750 AR10 AR15
  11. SLOAN

    SLOAN Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    If you run a 204 1-9 twist barrel, shoot 50 gr berger hptbt, out of 24 in barrel,from D-tech you will sell your 223 fast . my two cents...
  12. modoc squeek shooter

    modoc squeek shooter New Member

    May 17, 2011
    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.
  13. Outlaw6.0

    Outlaw6.0 Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    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.
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  14. ilscungilli

    ilscungilli Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2005
    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.

    Bullet Weight/Type BC Cartridge Name Velocity 400 yd 10 MPH wind Drift

    39gr Sierra Blitzking 0.287 .204 Ruger 3750 11.5"
    40gr Hornady Vmax 0.275 .204 Ruger 3900 11.5"
    40gr Nosler BT 0.239 .204 Ruger 3750 14.3"

    40gr Sierra Blitzking 0.196 .223 Rem 3700 18.6"
    40gr Hornady Vmax 0.200 .223 Rem 3700 18.2"
    40gr Nosler BT 0.221 .223 Rem 3700 16.0"

    40gr Sierra Blitzking 0.196 .220 Swift 4250 15.6"
    40gr Hornady Vmax 0.200 .220 Swift 4250 15.2"
    40gr Nosler BT 0.221 .220 Swift 4250 13.5"

    40gr Sierra Blitzking 0.196 .22-250 Rem 4150 16.1"
    40gr Nosler BT 0.221 .22-250 Rem 4150 13.9"
    40gr Hornady Vmax 0.200 .22-250 Rem 4150 15.7"
    55gr Sierra Blitzking 0.237 .22-250 Rem 3680 14.8"
    55gr Nosler BT 0.267 .22-250 Rem 3680 12.8"

    As you can see, the .204 really shines (the 3900 fps 40 gr vmax is from the Hornady factor ammo).

    As for barrel life, you can expect 4000-5000 rounds for most typical barrels. At least that is what the people I shoot with have been getting.