A couple 204 Rugers....New favorite varmint caliber?


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Damon555
February 3, 2012, 10:17 PM
Here are the latest additions to my rifle collection. The top one is a Remington SPS 204 that I acquired last June. It's topped with a newly acquired Nikon buckmaster 6.5-18 Mil dot scope. I finally got a chance to start wringing it out this winter. It has shown real promise with 32 grain Vmax factory ammo. I didn't care much for the 40 grain Vmaxes but after I shoot all the factory ammo that was thrown in with the gun it'll be a hand loading proposition.

The bottom one hasn't even been shot yet....well this barrel anyway. It's my TC Encore pro hunter with a brand spakin' new TC pro hunter 28" 204 barrel. I've got a Leupold VXIII 6.5-20 fine cross hair with the dot mounted on it. I was a little skeptical about how it would look with brushed stainless rings but it ended up looking pretty darn good IMHO. There is a sling on my Pro hunter frame because it is my chosen weapon for wandering around the dog towns. This rifle truly is a joy to carry.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y234/edlafond/Weapons/204s.jpg

From what I read about this round I just had to try it for myself. Recoil is so minimal you can almost see the bullets punching through the paper......lol I've gotten some advice in the reloading section so we'll see what I can conjure up accuracy wise.....

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GrandmasterB
February 4, 2012, 01:08 AM
Gorgeous rifles! I have been eyeing the .204 myself. Congrats!

quartermaster
February 4, 2012, 08:09 AM
How does the Pro Hunter shoot? I have had one for a few years and find myself just using it for a muzzleloader. I have the rifle forend for it, but I have read many mixed reviews on the rifle barrel accuracy.

Using it as a muzzleloader, it will shoot MOA with a clean barrel all day long, which is very impressive to me for a 1/2" short hunk of copper going 2000FPS.

Do you have a TC barrel or an aftermarket one and have you had any work done to the rifle or is it original factory?

.204 is a fun caliber. Good luck with them and post your accuracy results.

Try Varget powder. It has worked great for me.

Damon555
February 4, 2012, 10:41 AM
How does the Pro Hunter shoot? I have had one for a few years and find myself just using it for a muzzleloader. I have the rifle forend for it, but I have read many mixed reviews on the rifle barrel accuracy.

Using it as a muzzleloader, it will shoot MOA with a clean barrel all day long, which is very impressive to me for a 1/2" short hunk of copper going 2000FPS.

Do you have a TC barrel or an aftermarket one and have you had any work done to the rifle or is it original factory?

.204 is a fun caliber. Good luck with them and post your accuracy results.

Try Varget powder. It has worked great for me.

Thanks guys.....

Quartermaster, I haven't shot the 204 barrel yet but my 223 barrel is supremely accurate. Probably around 3/4" with good hand loads and occasionally will shoot 1/2". Now, I know we read about factory rifles that will shoot 1/2" all day long but I'm pretty skeptical about that...consistent 3/4" groups from a factory rifle is great from my experience. I really can't give you an accurate representation of how other TC barrels shoot because I've only shot 2....A 22-250 which I sold and the 223 that I still have. But I can tell you both barrels we just fine in the accuracy department....I only sold the 22-250 barrel because I wanted to be able to see my hits while prairie dog shooting and the recoil was such that it wasn't possible.

My 204 and 223 barrel are of the factory TC Pro Hunter variety. They are beautifully crafted and @ 28" long give excellent velocity. Granted they are a little more expensive than the regular Encore or Contender barrels but like I said, 28" really bumps the velocity up for a given load.

As for loads....I've got several bullet weights and powders ready for testing. I've got an 8lb jug of Varget that will get plenty of use for the heavier bullets. I've also got some WC844 (H335) and RL15 on hand. I'm going to pick up some of that new CFE223 powder just for the fun of it. We'll see how that turns out.

I'll be sure to post my results....I need to get the load figured out for my 1st prairie dog shoot in May.

Robtattoo
February 4, 2012, 10:45 AM
We have P-dogs in Tennessee?

helotaxi
February 4, 2012, 10:47 AM
I've had good->excellent results with 8208XBR in the .204 as well. Temp insensitive and very consistent like Varget, but smaller kernels so it actually goes through a powder measure well and doesn't have bridging problems trying to get it into the .204 case.

Damon555
February 4, 2012, 10:55 AM
We have P-dogs in Tennessee?
Man I wish! I drive quite a while to get to them....

Thanks for the heads up Helo, I've read that 8208XBR is a good choice. I might give that a shot too.....literally.

Art Eatman
February 4, 2012, 11:16 AM
A Thomasville, GA, guy has been using a .204 on coyotes for several years. He's quite pleased with it. He's talked of kills in the 200-yard to 250-yard distance.

I don't think I'd replace a Swift or a .22-250 with one, but they seem like a good way to go if a fella decides he wants a varmint gun.

Damon555
February 4, 2012, 11:23 AM
Here is an example of the accuracy that I get from my Pro Hunter 223 barrel. I love the fact that it gets more accurate as it heats up.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y234/edlafond/ProHunter.jpg

BrainOnSigs
February 4, 2012, 03:32 PM
Damon555......Sweet rigs!

I am a huge fan of .204 Ruger. I moved away from .223 four years ago.

All the Twenties burn way less powder than a 22-250 (a full third in most loads), 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 (not that I reload to save money), 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. Less heat....longer barrel life.

An excellent article by my friend Ken Lunde: http://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek047.html

He convinced me to make the switch to .204 Ruger and a thousand+ prairie dogs later....I'm not going back.

Another excellent read on .20 cal: http://www.6mmbr.com/20Caliber.html


My current load (just under 4200 fps):

26.5 grs (Reloader 10X)
32 gr Sierra BlitzKing bullet
Norma brass (recently switched from Winchester)
Remington 7-1/2 small rifle primers

Shot this 5 shot 100 yard group on 9/3.

The cold bore 1st shot's POI was exactly where it should have been (the lowest hole...200 yard zero)...the 2nd shot went into the same hole. The 3rd shot was upper right. The 4th shot went somewhere between the 3rd shot's hole and the single hole shots #1 and #2 made. I actually was upset with the 5th shot (upper left).


http://brainonsigs.smugmug.com/Other/Things-that-go-BANG/i-mctqBLK/0/S/Copper-MTV-Group-S.jpg

The biggest bonus...is being able to see this thru the scope.

http://brainonsigs.smugmug.com/Photography/Cattle-Branding-1/pdog2B/424334814_TNK9h-M.jpg

http://brainonsigs.smugmug.com/Photography/Cattle-Branding-1/pdog4C/424334850_UUuHK-M.jpg

http://brainonsigs.smugmug.com/Photography/Cattle-Branding-1/pdog4b/424334846_v4tqu-M.jpg

redneck2
February 4, 2012, 05:06 PM
At first I had a hard time getting my CZ to group. Switched to 39 BK's and it dropped to well under an inch. Funny thing is, I went back to 32's I'd loaded just to use them up get the brass. They shot well also. Dunno.

I haven't tried Varget. Might be a little slow. IIRC my best loads were with RL10 and Benchmark, but I'd have to double check.

You might go to Varmint's Den and do a search. There are a lot of guys there that have posted a lot of loads. One thing I do know is that the 39 BK shoots in just about every .204. V-Maxes seem to be hit or miss (literally)

Sniper66
February 4, 2012, 05:28 PM
I have a Ruger #1 in .204 and shoot 32 gr Sierra Blitzking with 27 gr of Benchmark. I have killed 100s of PDs with it, but even more with my .223. However, nothing beats the whack of the .204. KAPOW!!! Would love to hear from you again after you have shot your new guns for awhile. I'm in the market for another .204 and will be shopping. Tom

DCoke
February 4, 2012, 05:42 PM
.204 has been my go-to varmint caliber for a few years now....love my Savage Model 12 LRPV......it has a twin in .308 which has some some varminting of its own.....even my Savage Mk II BTVS has done its part.

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