Thinking about a 204 Ruger

sourdough44

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Wisconsin
I have mainly 223’s then a few 22-250’s. I’m actually considering selling my one 204, A-Bolt ‘varmint’. I can get by with the two others, idea would be to consolidate some.

Nothing wrong with the 204 though. Sorting brass isn’t as bad as 9mm & Makarov, but still takes attention. I guess I have to shoot up components 1st, at least my reloads.
 

BrentM

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Jan 10, 2013
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Meridian, Idaho
I have a couple. My 26" barrel runs a 40 grain at 3980. My 20" runs 3780. Absolutely love the 204 for an easy to shoot rifle and the BC of the little 20 cal for weight is not that bad at all. Is it better than a 223 out to 350? Better is subjective. I'd likely not make that statement unless you are simply just looking at flat trajectory. The 20 practical is a nice option for running 223 brass. I'd consider that too. I have no desire to get rid of my 204 though. I have one in a TC pistol with a 15" barrel and it runs 3480. So far it shoots .5 moa out to 500. Haven't shot it past 500 for groups. I have a 6 creed barrel for that.

EDIT: I do shoot my rifles to 800 on steel. Doesn't make much of a sound thats for sure. Ha ha All of the 204's I have shoot very very very well. Never over a .25 at zero but all hold .5 consistently in good wind conditions. I have a lot of confidence to 500 with any of those rifles and my wife is deadly with them. She likes to shoot small balloons set out from 500-700 in random places and we make a game out of it.
 
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LRNut

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All in all, I think it is tough to beat a .223 for PDs. I have a .204 No 1; has beautiful wood and is pretty accurate to boot (after I used the washer trick on the fore-end), but my .223 bolt gun shoots great groups with either BL-C(2), H335, or CFE 223 under a 55 gr bullet. I have a heavy bbl AR in 6mm Hagar that would be fun to use on the longer range PDs.
 

cetacea

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Ellijay, GA
I just got back from my semi annual prairie dog hunt and once again the gears are turning. I use a heavy barreled AR in 223. I have no complaints but I may be getting to the point where I might be thinking about a new barrel. I really don’t take shots past 350 yards and with the scarcity of 223 right now I’m thinking about the 204. I can remember back when Newtown occurred you could still find 204. While you can’t find almost anything right now but 204 just has never been in demand the way 223 is. Is it worth the consideration? This is for a dedicated prairie dog gun.
Go to www.woodchuckden.com. There's a wealth of information on the 17"s & 20's. Todd Kindler has developed several 17 & 20 caliber rounds. I've hand loaded since the mid 60's and won't take a rifle to a p d town if it doesn't shoot in the .2's. The 204R & 220 Swift are my favorites. If necessary, both rounds are available in factory loads. Of course, my shooting is pretty much limited to 500 yds or so. Can't see that far anymore, anyway.
 

jeb405

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Winston Salem, NC
I read most of the posts and it was not clear to me if the OP was limited to factory ammo as a lot of handloading suggestions. My 204 is bolt gun but it sounds like OP is looking at an AR upper. I don't hunt with mine but have read of great results on PD's. For sure less gun movement on firing than 223 all else similar. I think with good bullets and a good gun accuracy can go longer with 223 due to heavier bullets. But you can't compare 204 with a Berger bullet to a 223 in WWB. Most 20 cal bullets are higher end and 223 is more all over the map.

JB
 

7Footer

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I went to a 204 Ruger not long after it came out, as my first small caliber centerfire gun, mostly thanks to a persuasive salesman at the time. I went in looking for a 22-250, came out with the .204 and have had no regrets. That first .204 was a Remington XR-100 single shot action. I thought I would be at a disadvantage shooting PDs with my friends - one with a .223 AR, the other had a 22-250 bolt gun. I was able to keep up due to the flat trajectory, but mostly because I could see all of my hits because the gun just didn't move much. I had my guy thread the barrel and I installed a muzzle brake and now the gun just doesn't move at all.
My kids now shoot PDs with me and I've since picked up a Savage 12FV while they still made those in .204 and with the 39gr Hornady's we can reach out farther than the .223s with no ricochets, we can see all the impacts, unlike the guy with the 22-250.
Both guns will shoot the 35gr Bergers, 40gr Bergers, 40gr Sierras, but both prefer the much cheaper, and in my experience, more effective Hornady 39s. I never bothered with anything lighter than 35gr due to the distances we shoot. Both guns are still on their original barrels with at least 5k through the Rem and probably 2500 through the Savage, they are both still going strong.
So -GVJM if you are considering a .204 as a dedicated PD rifle, I will just say I love mine, and despite my interest in fun wildcats - for volume PD shooting, 204 is hard to beat.
 

airborne trooper

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mud, the blood, & beer, NV
I’m in the process of building a 20 practical AR/upper. After looking into I went the 20 practical route due to the ease and availability of brass. CLE Douglas 20in barrel is the heart of the build.
 

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RYEWSKY25284

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Albuquerque,NM
I just got back from my semi annual prairie dog hunt and once again the gears are turning. I use a heavy barreled AR in 223. I have no complaints but I may be getting to the point where I might be thinking about a new barrel. I really don’t take shots past 350 yards and with the scarcity of 223 right now I’m thinking about the 204. I can remember back when Newtown occurred you could still find 204. While you can’t find almost anything right now but 204 just has never been in demand the way 223 is. Is it worth the consideration? This is for a dedicated prairie dog gun.
IMHO, you can't beat a 204.I find it has better accuracy than the 223 and easily reaches 4000 fps with 32gr Hornady Vmax's 3/8" or better
I can't get any better than a 1/2" with 39gr.
I also shoot a 223 AI, but prefer the 204
 

matt_3479

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Southern Ontario
Why not! Once I started shooting the 20’s I fell in love. The 223 is easy, they almost always shoot, easy to find factory ammo, generally easy to develop a great load ans have just work. The 20’s are fast, there flashy, super easy to load for, and are a riot on critters! I’ve owned and shoot 4 different 20’s (2-204’s and 2- 20 tacticals).
 

65WSM

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Nov 24, 2007
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Near Mt Rainier
I have four .204 Ruger tubes on hand. Three on bolt rifles but I have a .204 Ruger Shilen 24 " barrel and bolt for an AR-15 purchased from Brownells. About $400 including the bolt matched to the barrel. The upper wears an 8-32X56 30mm elderly Burris. I just scored 5 pounds of LT-30 direct from the Hodgdon website. I intend to test that powder alongside 10X and H-322 with the 24gr NTX and 26gr Nosler unleaded bullets. I have lots of 32gr Z-max bullets that are my current favorites with 25.5gr of Alliant AR-Comp at just over 3800fps at under 50K pressure. All of my .204 Ruger barrels, factory and custom, have been nitrocarburized to extend their life. I still have one that is due for replacement. All of my bullets are coated with HBN. No naked bullets.
 

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lewwetzel

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Central OH
I went to a 204 Ruger not long after it came out, as my first small caliber centerfire gun, mostly thanks to a persuasive salesman at the time. I went in looking for a 22-250, came out with the .204 and have had no regrets. That first .204 was a Remington XR-100 single shot action. I thought I would be at a disadvantage shooting PDs with my friends - one with a .223 AR, the other had a 22-250 bolt gun. I was able to keep up due to the flat trajectory, but mostly because I could see all of my hits because the gun just didn't move much. I had my guy thread the barrel and I installed a muzzle brake and now the gun just doesn't move at all.
My kids now shoot PDs with me and I've since picked up a Savage 12FV while they still made those in .204 and with the 39gr Hornady's we can reach out farther than the .223s with no ricochets, we can see all the impacts, unlike the guy with the 22-250.
Both guns will shoot the 35gr Bergers, 40gr Bergers, 40gr Sierras, but both prefer the much cheaper, and in my experience, more effective Hornady 39s. I never bothered with anything lighter than 35gr due to the distances we shoot. Both guns are still on their original barrels with at least 5k through the Rem and probably 2500 through the Savage, they are both still going strong.
So -GVJM if you are considering a .204 as a dedicated PD rifle, I will just say I love mine, and despite my interest in fun wildcats - for volume PD shooting, 204 is hard to beat.
Just so some poor soul doesn’t go searching for “39 Hornady” bullets: Did you mean to say Sierra, as in Blitzking? (Although I’ve never found them to be cheaper than Hornadys, which are 40 and 32 grain.)
I’ve long-regretted passing on one of those Remington XR-100s in .204, but already having a .204 Cooper, CZ Kevlar, and Rem. LVSF eases the “pain”.
 
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L.Sherm

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I think he did have the 39 and 40's backwards with Sierra and Hornandy.
As much as I would like to shoot the 39BK's at 25.00+ a 100 it can get really spendy in a good rat patch
 
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