.204 Ruger, or 22-250? Tikka or Savage?


Ed from Maine
January 17, 2011, 06:06 PM
I have decided not to replace my 30-06, although I am still looking for some variety over my current stable (and have some $ from selling two revolvers :) ). i don't hunt, am not that fond of heavy recoil, like to shoot a lot, and mostly punch holes in paper at 100 meters. I have stumbled into a dilemma, two rifles are calling to me, and they are both brands with a good reputation for out-of-the-box accuracy. These are comparably priced, and are both lightly used, in excellent condition. Which to choose?
1- Tikka T3 Varmint, in 22-250, blued, about 9 lbs, 23" barrel, with rings,
2- Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Varminteer, stainless, RH bolt and LH port, single shot, in .204 Ruger, with that target AccuTrigger, HS precision stock, 26" barrel, 11 lbs., no rings or base.
Whichever I choose, I think I will try re-loading for.
thanks, Ed

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January 17, 2011, 06:58 PM
I like my 22-250. Flattest shooting gun I own and pretty accurate. Don't know about the cost of ammo up in Maine? You'll be buying some boxes of factory loads to work in the gun and just to get brass. AND, I'm a pretty big TIKKA fan as I like their detachable magazine (although spares are a bit pricey :(), and I absolutely love the feel of their action. I'd be getting the 22-250 :)

But, they are a bit of a barrel burner :cool: Don't know how 204's are on their barrels?

January 17, 2011, 07:09 PM
I think you have expensive taste for punching holes in paper. Both of these are overkill for your purpose, but if that's what you want to do, that's great.

Be prepaired to spend some money on what shells you buy. I'm not sure what it would cost to reload these. I only reload 12 ga.

As far as recoil, the .204 would be less but neither are bad. I have a 22-250 Ruger and love it. It is a flat shooter and will have more range that the .204 but the .204 is fine for 100 meters.

January 17, 2011, 07:21 PM
I can't say much about the 22-250 because I've never had one, but I love my .204s. It's very flat out to 175-200 yards, so for 100 meter paper it's more than enough. Reloading isn't too bad, I'm getting around $0.40/round. The bullet selection isn't as good as it would be for the 22, but Hornady, SIerra and Berger all make good match quality bullets and dogtown makes cheaper plinking pills. The 204 is supposed to have good barrel life, but it gets hot so a bull barrel is a big help.

January 17, 2011, 07:21 PM
I have the .22-250 Winchester 70. I don't shoot it much because the rifle has a heavy barrel, and it's just a pia, plus expensive.

If I were to do it over.... CZ in .223.


January 17, 2011, 08:23 PM
I have both, a Savage 12FV in 204 and a Ruger No.1-V in 22-250.

A 39gr bullet from a 204 has less drift and drop at 300yd than a 55gr bullet from a 22-250, though the 22-250 will have about 25% more energy at that distance. At 500yd, the 204 still has less drift/drop but roughly 19% less energy than the 22-250.

The 204 has almost no recoil, especially from a varmint-barreled rifle; you can easily see hits on target through your scope and that's typically not possible with a 22-250.

You'd probably have better luck finding 22-250 components & loaded ammo, but the 204 is gaining in popularity and you can probably find it at any gun shop or big-box sporting good store.

Personally, I'd go for the Savage in whichever caliber you prefer most...the flexibility of swapping barrels yourself is a HUGE benefit, especially when you're looking for "variety" in your collection.

January 17, 2011, 09:09 PM
I want a Savage in .223, Got brass, and ammo already at home, is why.

January 17, 2011, 09:18 PM
I got the savage 12FV in .308 and a Ruger #1v Varminter in .22-250, just depends what I grab out of my safe. both deal hogs and coyotes misery. really have no desire for a .204, I guess it is the gap between my .17hmr and the .223s or .22-250s I got, just cant justify getting one.

January 17, 2011, 09:35 PM
I had a 204 in CZ and really liked it. Plan on getting another one someday. Only sold to fund another project. Had a 250 in a Rem 700 before that. Never grew to liking it. Like the 204 a lot more.

For paper punching and since you are going to reload, I would probably get a 223 instead of either of the two. 223 will work just as good at 100 yards and will be cheaper than the other two to reload for.

Ed from Maine
January 17, 2011, 10:02 PM
I have a Tikka T3 Lite stainless in .223, like it a lot, just looking for some variety without going whole hog into bench rest rifles. Given the availability of ammo, I would agree that a .223 would be a good first choice (if I didn't already have one). This is my first stab at trying a center-fire bull barrel with a good trigger and rep for accuracy. Rimfires are fun, but...life is short.
And I agree about CZ's as well, have a CZ 550FS in 6.5x55SE, and it is sweet, plus a clutch of 452s.
I just like (seemingly casual, 'ain't no big thing') tight groups.
Thanks for the comments to date.

January 17, 2011, 10:05 PM
I just like (seemingly casual, 'ain't no big thing') tight groups.

Then I would go with a 204 for variety.

January 17, 2011, 10:09 PM
The Savage makes my mouth water.

January 17, 2011, 10:34 PM
I've owned 22-250's great caliber but more suited to long range varmint hunting, I now use a 223 Savage model 12 BTVS for target shooting very accurate, however I just purchased a Thompson Center Icon(.204 ruger) precision hunter have not made it to the range yet but the fit/finish is better then the Savage, if it shoots as good as it looks I've got a winner.

January 18, 2011, 09:47 AM
I have the Savage LRPV in .22-250 and the 52 grain SMK accuracy load from Lyman prints sub half inch groups at 100 meters. I do however seat well into the lands.

I had a Tikka T3 in .222 Rem and the Savage will run rings around it.

Plus you can swap barrels and switch calibers on the drop of a hat with the Savage.

January 18, 2011, 11:59 AM
Ok, bear with me here. I don't like Tikka's. I really like Savage's. I also really like the 22-250. See where I'm going with this? Get a Savage, in whatever sort of varmint configuration that suits you, chambered in 22-250.

I would probably never buy a .204. I certainly would never buy one if I had choice of a 22-250. First, you don't really gain that much FPS (i.e., they are over-hyped IMO). Second, I think you'd be sacraficing a lot of bullet to go slightly faster. Both of these calibers are very small. However, when dealing with tiny bullets, such as these, the difference between a .22 and .20 if pretty big.

So therefore, a Savage chambered for a 22-250.;)

January 18, 2011, 12:18 PM
Also, the second most accurate gun I have ever owned was a Remington model 700 VS in 22-250. It was topped with a Leupold Vari-x III 4.5-14. It also had a trigger job. It was ulgy as sin, but was a tack-driver.

I also want to reiterate that I really don't like Tikka's. I think they are horrible looking and don't think they are built that well to be honest. Certainly not as well as a Savage...not that Savage's are works of art either. However, they are definitely better.

Ed from Maine
January 18, 2011, 02:13 PM
I went with the Savage .204, as much from caliber choice as anything, after reading in the Hornady manual that the heavier bullets in 22-250 would not stabilize with a 1:14 twist, which is what the Tikka has. But the trigger on the Tikka was really sweet, and the stock felt better too. Although to some extent it is apples and oranges, the Tikka is 8 lbs with a 23+" barrel, the Savage is 11 lbs. with a 26" barrel.
In any event, an almost new (with all papers and box) Savage 12LRPV for $699, I couldn't pass on that.
But the Tikka is really nice, with scope rings on it, for $750, and Bean's is running a 10% off sale with free shipping for orders over $75, to email customers, thru the 21st...send me your email if you want the sale flyer, or just go on line and sign up at https://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ShowEmailNewsletter?pcd=WINTER&qei=345325736&qs=3039003

thanks for all the advice. Now I have to pick out a scope, rings and base. and maybe a Harris bipod...

January 19, 2011, 04:46 AM
I have moved to .204 Ruger and haven't looked back. For shooting varmints at 400 yards and in....it really performs. Take into account that it uses much less powder that the 22-250. I own 2 Cooper Arms rifles chambered in .204 Ruger....which I reload for. I whack hundreds of prairie dogs every year with them. The accuracy and performance (on paper and in the field) have sold me on the twenty cals. I attended a last year's Cooper Arms One Shot and won my oil painting and several money shoots with my Cooper Montana Varminter rifle. Out of the 40 shooters everyone but 5 shooters were shooting .204 Ruger.

An excellent read below:


Treatise for Twenties by Kory Hamzeh, 6mmBR.com 20 Caliber Editor

"Why are folks turning to the "Terrific Twenties"? Among the most important reasons are: low recoil, high velocity, low noise, reduced cost, longer barrel life, and better ballistics for a given bullet weight. In short, compared to a .223 Rem, a Twenty shoots flatter, costs less to shoot, and is easier on the shooter's shoulder and his barrel.

The first time you shoot a 20-Caliber rifle, you'll note that there is minimal recoil, meaning the muzzle stays on target. No loud, dust-kicking muzzle brakes required here. You can shoot and actually "see the show". The rifle doesn't move enough during recoil for you to loose your target in the scope. This enables you to quickly asses the results and make a follow-up shot, if need be. A related advantage is low blast and noise. Even with relatively short barrels, 20-caliber rounds burn less powder than larger varmint cartridges such as the 22-250, and the Twenties make less noise. This definitely works to the hunter's advantage in a large field of ground squirrels or prairie dogs.

I'm often asked how a 20-Caliber gun compares with the ever-popular .223 Rem. Well, I tell people the Twenty is flatter-shooting, easier on barrels, and it is a better choice for small varmints, whether you want to "mist 'em" or save the pelt.

The Velocity Edge--A .204 Ruger drives a 40-grainer 600 fps faster than a .223 Rem can push the typical 22-Caliber 50gr bullet. This higher velocity produces a flatter trajectory. Additionally, grain for grain, 20-Caliber bullets have higher ballistic coefficients than .224 bullets. Combine this with the extra velocity of the 20-Caliber, and you get superior performance in the wind. Run the numbers and you'll see--a 40-grainer shot from a .204 Ruger has less drop AND less wind drift than a 40gr or 50gr bullet fired from a .223 Rem. You'll find the data in the chart below.

Component Economy and Barrel Life--All the Twenties burn way less powder than a 22-250, and the smaller Twenties use less powder than a .223 Rem. This attribute actually has two advantages. First, it makes shooting 20-Caliber cartridges more economical, but mostly it means less barrel heat. A typical varmint hunter may shoot several hundred rounds in one day, so barrel heat is an important issue.

Terminal Ballistics--For hunters seeking maximum explosive effect on a small varmint, Twenties deliver the goods. Because it passes through the rifling much more quickly, a 20-Caliber bullet will be turning much higher RPMs than a 22-caliber bullet launched from a barrel of similar twist rate. Experienced varminters will tell you that high spin rates create the most explosive impacts. On the other hand, if you shoot a non-fragmenting bullet, the Twenty can minimize hide/fur damage. If you plan to keep the fur, you want the smallest possible hole or damage to it."

Vern Humphrey
January 19, 2011, 08:05 AM
Get the Savage and use the money saved to get a quality scope.

A plus for the Savage is that you can swap out barrels, magazines and bolt heads -- so if later on you decide you would like to have a .22-250, you can convert the Savage for less than the cost of another rifle. And if you want a third caliber, you can do it evem more economically, since you'll already have the tools by then.

451 Detonics
January 19, 2011, 11:54 AM
My brother gets honest 5 shot 1/2 inch 100 yard groups out of his Savage in 22-250. I did bed it in a Choate stock for him but these results are using Remington bulk pack ammo from Wal-Mart. With my reloads it does even better. At a shoot last fall I watched him go 5 for 5 on .308 brass used as targets at 100 yards...centered all 5.

Currently I am seriously considering re-barreling my 22 Cheetah to 22-250. The barrel is wearing and groups on it have opened up past what I am happy with due to the 4400 fps loads I use with it. But as I doubt I will doing any more coyote hunting out west in the open where 400 yard shots are common I am think going with the 22-250 for better barrel life. Not to mention forming 22 CHeetah brass is a pain in the butt.

Vern Humphrey
January 19, 2011, 07:26 PM
Savage has an enviable reputation for accuracy -- no one can call it a mistake if you want a top-performing varmit rifle.

January 19, 2011, 08:33 PM
I love my 22-250. And if I was going push feed and not Rem 700, I would go Savage. They have a huge following and that isn't for no reason and you most likely won't have to screw with the trigger.

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