204 or 223


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viking499
October 7, 2012, 06:39 PM
My son, soon to be 16, has asked for a varmint rifle. I am a fan of 204 and 223 for varminting, which I have both. Either caliber would suit for what it is used for, mostly groundhog hunting in Ohio and Kentucky. Also can be used for other "small" applications. If anything bigger is required, we can step up to the 243 or 6.5x55.

I am also set up to reload for both, so, just looking for some outside insight to push one over the edge.

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meanmrmustard
October 7, 2012, 06:47 PM
.223. Only because I use it extensively. I've no use for the .204, it's an answer without a question.

JRWhit
October 7, 2012, 06:51 PM
204 is better for reaching out there, so depends on how far he will be taking shots. If it was me I'd rather have the 204. Just in case.
If he is only going to be shooting to 300 yds. go 223. any further and the 204 has way less drop.

meanmrmustard
October 7, 2012, 06:54 PM
204 is better for reaching out there, so depends on how far he will be taking shots. If it was me I'd rather have the 204. Just in case.
If he is only going to be shooting to 300 yds. go 223. any further and the 204 has way less drop.
Then we are in .22-250 territory, which still does it better than both. Heavier rounds in the .223, or pony up for the -250, and call it a day.

viking499
October 7, 2012, 06:57 PM
Then we are in .22-250 territory, which still does it better than both. Heavier rounds in the .223, or pony up for the -250, and call it a day.

Or, as said, just pull out the 243 and some 55-65 grainers.

204 or 223 are the choices. Opinions and comments on one or the other is fine, but those are the only 2 choices to choose from.

meanmrmustard
October 7, 2012, 07:03 PM
Or, as said, just pull out the 243 and some 55-65 grainers.

204 or 223 are the choices. Opinions and comments on one or the other is fine, but those are the only 2 choices to choose from.
Sorry.

In that case, .223.

BoilerUP
October 7, 2012, 07:11 PM
223ai...

Fat_46
October 7, 2012, 07:12 PM
I'm a huge fan of the 204. Shortly after I used it on my first prairie dog trip I sold my 223. For me, the round did everything I asked of it at the distances I used it for - out to 450 yards. In fact, when my ten year old daughter expressed an interest in going to SoDak with me next year I got a Savage HB 204 for her.

Don't get me wrong - the 223 did a fine job at killing the dogs. But the flippers and spinners I get with the 204 are so much more fun! Ballistically, I can't really explain why it works so well. Its a tiny bullet going really fast. It almost seems like I'm shooting a micro rocket, though.

Easy to load for as well, if you reload. I really like the 39 grain Sierra BlitzKings over a hefty amount of H4895, but YMMV.

In case I wasn't verbose enough...I'm firmly in the 204 camp for small(coyote or smaller) size critters.

Vern Humphrey
October 7, 2012, 07:21 PM
The .223 is the answer if you reload -- plenty of once-fired brass is available, cheap.

viking499
October 7, 2012, 07:25 PM
Sorry.

In that case, .223.

Sorry, not trying to be mean, just not wanting it to turn into "this round or that round" is better than the other because........

meanmrmustard
October 7, 2012, 07:30 PM
Sorry, not trying to be mean, just not wanting it to turn into "this round or that round" is better than the other because........
Absolutely understandable. I love the .223, it's wide array of bullet weights, and if your son practices, he can efficiently kill coy dogs at any range the .204 does.

Naybor
October 7, 2012, 07:33 PM
Because .223 is a government round. Therefore, is probably cheaper and a more common round to find. I've went thru a few thousand rounds on groundhog and have always been amazed at the results of a .223 varmint (plastic tipped) round.

HOOfan_1
October 7, 2012, 07:42 PM
You won't go wrong either way, but the .204 was an answer to (can I get a lower recoiling gun that shoots a light bullet really fast so I can see what I hit through the scope?)

loose noose
October 7, 2012, 07:46 PM
Absolutely the .223!:D

firesky101
October 7, 2012, 07:48 PM
Do you reload? then either really. I would give the nod to .204 for coyote/P-dogs. If you don't reload, well then the .223 is far more economical. Varmint bullets will be about the same price for either in the store, but practice rounds with .223 will be far cheaper.

redneck2
October 7, 2012, 08:07 PM
I have an incredibly accurate AR and also a CZ in .204. Obviously either would be a good choice.

As noted, the .204 has virtually zero recoil so you can see your hits. I'd look into the CZ with the single set trigger. When set, mine is probably in the 8 oz range and exceptionally crisp.

IMO, just as important is the scope. There were some guys over on The Varmint's Den that had really nice scopes for cheap.

meanmrmustard
October 7, 2012, 09:10 PM
You won't go wrong either way, but the .204 was an answer to (can I get a lower recoiling gun that shoots a light bullet really fast so I can see what I hit through the scope?)
Who was asking that? Where I hit a coyote doesn't matter when it's dead. .223 rem does that in spades. And cheaper.

HOOfan_1
October 7, 2012, 09:21 PM
Who was asking that? Where I hit a coyote doesn't matter when it's dead. .223 rem does that in spades. And cheaper.

Prairie dog hunters...

dprice3844444
October 7, 2012, 09:24 PM
220 swift

Uncle Grinch
October 7, 2012, 09:34 PM
I've been in almost the same quandry (?spelling?), except it was with the .223 vs. the .17 Rem. I got the .17 Rem and, while not regretting it, it just didn't do what I wanted. It was a pain to reload (even had to buy a special powder funnel) and required a special cleaning rod, jag and smaller patches.

Still have it, but I picked up a .223 Rem and had it opened up to a .223AI. I seldom shoot the .17 anymore. Remember... it's your decision and the choice is yours!

Just saw this related thread...
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=680284

Art Eatman
October 7, 2012, 10:44 PM
If shots are very rarely beyond 300 yards, I figure the .223 would work just fine. One guy here in south Georgia loves his .204 and has killed a fair number of coyotes with it, but from talking to him, most shots are rarely beyond 200 yards.

meanmrmustard
October 7, 2012, 10:56 PM
Prairie dog hunters...
Most I know who make the sojourn to Wyoming for tha purpose use .223, .220 swift, and 22-250. Heck, a few use .22 CHeetah.

mshootnit
October 7, 2012, 11:07 PM
I think I would go 204 if you reload.

helotaxi
October 7, 2012, 11:12 PM
Can you get the .204 in a fast twist barrel like a 1:9 or 1:8? If so, that brings the 50 and 55gn Berger VLDs into the picture as well as the rest. These do considerably better than the .223 55gn pills in the wind and drop less as well. The 55gn has a BC better than the 77gn SMK and can be shot faster. The limitations are that it needs a faster than normal barrel twist and it doesn't load to AR mag length. In something like a custom barreled Savage with its generous magazine both can be accounted for and the result is a better long range varmint gun that the .223.

rayatphonix
October 8, 2012, 08:18 AM
I have both and greatly prefer the 204 Ruger. As others have mentioned there's almost no recoil so you can often see your hits. I also find the 204 very easy to reload and have yet to find a load that wasn't accurate. Once you acquire the brass it's no more expensive to shoot than .223.

viking499
October 8, 2012, 06:03 PM
I like the 204. It has always had a sweet spot with me. As long as I reload, I think either will work for him.

As far as down the road, he will be ok if he reloads. But if he doesn't, I wonder if a 223 might be a better choice for him?

ECVMatt
October 8, 2012, 08:35 PM
I have both and love them both. If you are going to shoot in volume, then I would go with the .223. If you are going to shoot in smaller batches, then I would suggest the .204. I just played with my .204 today and really like shooting it. I like the .204 because can basically hold dead on for a hit out to 300 yards. I live near the desert here and this is an important attribute as shots are generally long.

mljdeckard
October 8, 2012, 08:42 PM
I had heard once, tell me if I'm wrong, that you can't handload the .204 to the same performance as the factory loads.

Vern Humphrey
October 8, 2012, 08:45 PM
If I were doing a lot of varmit shooting -- and I mean a lot -- I'd get a Savage in .17 Rem, shoot the barrel out, rebore and rerifle to .204, shoot that out, then rebore and rerifle to .223.

I'll put that on my bucket list.

ApplePie
October 8, 2012, 10:45 PM
I just don't see the point to the .204 Ruger, other than to sell new rifles and generate free advertising via write-ups in the press. It's too similar to the cheaper-to-shoot and more versatile .223 and does nothing better in the real world. More bullet choices for the .223, and much more available and cheaper brass. For varmints, how many more choices do we need than the 17's, .223's, 22-250's and .243's?

Load a .223 to 3600 fps with a 40 grain bullet and call it good.

Actually, I don't consider the .243 a varmint gun. For me, the .243 has far too much recoil for varmint shooting. I like to see the bullet hit. If you want to reach out maximum distance to varmints, the 22-250 is all you need.

helotaxi
October 9, 2012, 09:52 PM
If you're getting a lot of recoil in a .243, you're shooting the wrong bullets. With a 55gn pill recoil is ever so slightly more than a .22-250, and that's because the bullet is going a bit faster.

What's wrong with choices? The .204 is a lot more flexible than the .17s are and handle wind and longer ranges better. With the right bullets it does the same compared to the .223 when shooting actual varmint bullets.

jehu
October 10, 2012, 08:00 AM
22-250 will outshine both in all conditions. I have shot hundreds of GH's with 223 and 22-250 and if the shot is over 200yrds I reach for the 22-250 which is flat at 300yrds and not bothered as much by the wind.

mdauben
October 10, 2012, 09:55 AM
My son, soon to be 16, has asked for a varmint rifle. I am a fan of 204 and 223 for varminting, which I have both. Either caliber would suit for what it is used for, mostly groundhog hunting in Ohio and Kentucky. Also can be used for other "small" applications. If anything bigger is required, we can step up to the 243 or 6.5x55.

I am also set up to reload for both, so, just looking for some outside insight to push one over the edge.
As its going to be his rifle and both choices will serve and you reload both, why not ask him which he wants? ;)

SSN Vet
October 10, 2012, 08:36 PM
Perhaps your son will find it easier to get hits and enjoy the experience more with the flat shooting .204

meanmrmustard
October 10, 2012, 10:01 PM
Perhaps your son will find it easier to get hits and enjoy the experience more with the flat shooting .204
.224 is going to be more readily available,

helotaxi
October 11, 2012, 06:55 PM
.224 is going to be more readily available,
He reloads. There is no difference in availability.

meanmrmustard
October 11, 2012, 06:58 PM
He reloads. There is no difference in availability.
Locally, that may not be true. If ordering from the Internet, then yes, it is a nonissue. If you're like me and prefer to shop locally, then there's no shortage of options for .223 rem.

The_Armed_Therapist
October 12, 2012, 10:40 AM
For the kid, I'd go with .223. I prefer the .204, but when he gets older, he may not be able to reload and/or have you reload for him. In that case, he'll still be able to afford .223 on a tight budget, and it's available everywhere... And this is coming from me, who thinks the .223 popularity is unfortunate, and that the .204 and .22-250 are superior (and I also like niche items).

cfullgraf
October 12, 2012, 11:10 AM
Locally, that may not be true. If ordering from the Internet, then yes, it is a nonissue. If you're like me and prefer to shop locally, then there's no shortage of options for .223 rem.

In my area, except for 223 Remington blasting ammunition, the availability between 204 Ruger and 223 Remington is no difference. To get the wider variety of bullets and powders available for .224 caliber I still have to mail order.

I guess it depends on where you live.

Even so, I can do so much better on price by mail ordering. The local stores are real proud of their stuff.

Sniper66
October 12, 2012, 12:50 PM
My first varmint rifle was a Ruger #1 .204. I still love it, but the .223 has become my favorite. Why? The .223 is so easy to reload and if you get tired of reloading, .223 ammo is available everywhere. My plan is to buy another .204 and another .223. Your son will ultimately decide what he likes, but I would start with the .223. A mighty thoughtful gift!!

Anothermiller
October 12, 2012, 01:47 PM
223 in a vmax or ballistic tip bullet should do the job.Ruger makes a nice one as does many others.I had a no.1 in that.Single shot but really popped those woodchucks out there aways!

JRWhit
October 13, 2012, 06:37 AM
He is sixteen, and being younger, I believe that the 204 will carry a higher meaning to him. A 223, well they are all over the place. A 204 ruger, while still widely used, holds a little higher luster that will give him a little bit more pride in what his Dad got him for his B-day.
This is a materialistic for sure. But he is a teenager and though I'm sure he's a good kid with his his head on straight, I believe this will still hold true to some degree.


I would suggest a Ruger American, but ,oddly enough, they are not chambered in 204 Ruger. Figure that one out.

stubbicatt
October 13, 2012, 06:50 AM
I've been a long time fan of the 223. That said, I had a coyote hunting partner for a short time who used the 204 on everything from prairie dogs to coyotes, and it was quite impressive. I remember once standing maybe 30 yards or so behind him when he shot a prairie dog at 100+ yards. I saw the dog "pop" before I heard the shotblast. THAT impressed me.

I remember when the round was released it was supposed to be able to shoot flatter than a 22 250 using less powder and with less throat erosion. I haven't compared the trajectories or anysuch thing.

Sniper66
October 14, 2012, 01:47 PM
I responded earlier to this thread and initially suggested the .223. But, after reading JRWhit's thoughtful comment, I changed my mind. The .204 is an amazing round and your son will certainly remember where it came from. There are several manufacturers that make good models; what do you like? What do you think your son would like and remember?

wlewisiii
October 15, 2012, 01:34 AM
After reading through the thread, I'd simply like to say that the only "varmint" rifle I'll probably ever have, for those times when I do need one, is when I build a .257 Roberts on a mauser action. I prefer something that has more than only one possible use and so I'll live with the slightly larger rifle needed to properly handle the Bob. The ability to do good work at both ends of the spectrum far outweighs the niche abilities of the .204 or the .223.

aussiehunter steve
October 15, 2012, 08:03 AM
I have both in Sako rifles and I like both rounds. Both are very accurate but the .204 is easier to hit with at long range, less affected by wind, and a more spectacular killer of varmint's.

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