Easy to shoot varmint cartridge

jrock

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Mar 12, 2014
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I have a .243 that I've had a blast shooting varmints with at 500+ yards. The sporter barrel limits the number of round I can shoot and I wince a little at the cost. I'm thinking of getting a dedicated varmint rig and something cheaper to shoot. I have a .17 HMR but 300 yards is pushing it.

I'm looking for a high performance/good cost benefit ratio cartridge. 204 Ruger seems to have cheaper Winchester brass (Midway) so that seems to have the best cost benefit ratio I'm not too familiar with this caliber so looking for accuracy input. Thinking savage model 12.
I've noticed that all the Nosler BT .20 through .22 bullets have a lower BC than the .243 55 gr. I'm using now but at 3900 fps, I don't seem to have too much trouble with wind.

Also considering
.220 swift
.22-250
.223 (maybe AR build)
 

Engineering101

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Maple Valley, Washington
jrock

Get the Savage model 12 LPV in 223 Rem (9 twist). Also get some Hornady 53 grain VMAXs - highest BC in the weight class. With 24.7 grains of benchmark I'm getting clover leafs at 200 yards. And you can actually buy 223 Rem brass!
 

Browninglover1

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Northern Utah
The 204 is a great little cartridge but finding brass for it has been very difficult for the last little while. I'd recommend a 223 and a 22-250 as more versatile. The 223 will work beautifully out to 500 yards and then you can switch to your 243. The 22-250 is one of my favorites. I'll probably be selling my 204 and putting a fast twist 22-250 barrel on one of my actions and using it to run 55-80 grain bullets.
 

jrock

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I broke down the cost per 1000 (based on buying 100 cases and reloading 10 times)

-picking and sorting range .223 brass => saves $50 over .204, $181 over .243
-new .223 brass => saves $27 over .204

Do you think the 3400 fps vs. 3900 fps trade off between the .223 and .204 would be worth it the cost savings?? Looks like ballistics for .223 and .204 are within 6" drift (10mph) and drop of each other at 500 yards so pretty close.
 

jrock

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jrock

Get the Savage model 12 LPV in 223 Rem (9 twist). Also get some Hornady 53 grain VMAXs - highest BC in the weight class. With 24.7 grains of benchmark I'm getting clover leafs at 200 yards. And you can actually buy 223 Rem brass!
How fast are those going?

Can anyone comment on recoil difference between a 50 gr in .223 and 32 or 40 grain in .204?
 

lewwetzel

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How fast are those going?

Can anyone comment on recoil difference between a 50 gr in .223 and 32 or 40 grain in .204?
I can. Although the 50 gr. .223 certainly is no shoulder-breaker, you are able to see your hits (or misses) through the scope with the .204.
I have three .204Rs and a .243. Hardly ever dust off my .22 centerfires anymore. 58 gr. V-Maxes out of a .243 will fill any gap where the .22s might fall, with only a bit more recoil.
 

MachV

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Casper Wy
My go-to varminter is the little CZ American in 223=Sure it heats up fast and cools down fast BUT
The 55s out of the 243 are fun to watch=red mist
The 55s out of the AR can take out a lot of critters in a short amount of time=Just a pain chasing brass. Great for fast follow up shots!
The 204 gets it done but not much better than the 223=the 32 grainers on pups is fun!
The 20ppc with 39 grainers just about takes the fun out of it=Just about ;-)
The 8 twist 22-250 with 75 grainer just flat out goes after a varmint and can reach out there with the best of them.
The 75 grainers out of the 25-06 are kinda spendy but devastating
Lots of choices but really hard to go wrong with any of them
 

benchracer

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Dec 18, 2009
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As an overall package, the .223 is tough to beat. Dollar for dollar, few centerfire cartrigdes can compete with it.

Versatility is another attribute that the .223 has over many other cartridges. My Mossberg MVP in .223 has a stock design and barrel profile that lend themselves to precision shooting. Yet, it is compact and light enough to be comfortable to carry and is reasonably quick handling, so it makes a good walk-around rifle, predator rifle, and varmint/target rifle.

Its 9 twist barrel works very well with a broad range of bullets. It shoots everything from 40 grain cast lead bullets to 75 grain match bullets very well. In fact, brought on in part by the continuing shortage and cost of rimfire ammo, my MVP has replaced my rimfire .22's. Using cast lead bullets and Trailboss, or shotgun powders like Blue Dot and 800-X, I can load rimfire equivalent rounds for far less than current rimfire prices. My .223 has kept the inexpensive and high volume fundamentals practice, once afforded by my .22LR, alive and well. I love my rimfires, but I am not sure I will ever go back.

When I am finished practicing with rimfire level loads, a quick cleaning and a change of ammo is all it takes to step up to varmint/predator loads clocking well in excess of 3200 fps or heavy bullet match loads.

My .223 is a joy to shoot with anything I feed it. It heats up slowly and is tolerant of long strings of shooting. It is mild, accurate, pleasant to shoot, and inexpensive to load for. There are plenty of cartridges that can beat the .223 on the ballistic tables, but few that can match its combination of virtues.

I also have a 22-250. It shares some of the virtues of the .223, to one degree or another, but it is a far more specialized rig. It is heavier and less handy than my .223, heats up faster, and burns 30-40% more powder than my .223. With its 12 twist, it is less versatile (I wish the manufacturers would wake up and update the standard 22-250 twist to at least a 9 twist, which is what my next barrel will be). However it launches the same bullets up to 500+ feet per second faster, with tack-driving accuracy. It shoots flatter, drifts less, is still mild to shoot, and, IMO, is just plain FUN.

Between the two, the 22-250 is the more specialized rig and occupies a different niche than the .223. In truth, I probably enjoy shooting my 22-250 a bit more because of the sheer speed it can generate, but my .223 will end up getting more trigger time because I can use it in so many different ways.

The two cartridges complement one another very well. I am glad that I own both!
 

Greyfox

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My sweetheart varmint rifle is a Savage Predator in 22-250. Nothing fancy but even with the heavier 1:9 twist barrel, it balances like a dream and shoots most anything in 55gr factory ammo I feed it at sub.5MOA, cheap Kmart promo Remington 55gr into .25MOA. Also like my R15 varmint in 223.
 

jrock

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Mar 12, 2014
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1,069
My go-to varminter is the little CZ American in 223=Sure it heats up fast and cools down fast BUT
The 55s out of the 243 are fun to watch=red mist
The 55s out of the AR can take out a lot of critters in a short amount of time=Just a pain chasing brass. Great for fast follow up shots!
The 204 gets it done but not much better than the 223=the 32 grainers on pups is fun!
The 20ppc with 39 grainers just about takes the fun out of it=Just about ;-)
The 8 twist 22-250 with 75 grainer just flat out goes after a varmint and can reach out there with the best of them.
The 75 grainers out of the 25-06 are kinda spendy but devastating
Lots of choices but really hard to go wrong with any of them
I'd like the idea of a 20 practical but I'm going to have to go off the shelf for this one so a bit limited there.
 

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