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204 ruger vs 22-250 vs 223

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Bryant5582, Feb 1, 2010.

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  1. Bryant5582

    Bryant5582 Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    For a varmit/target rifle.

    I am sure that this horse has been beat to death long ago but I thought I would ask yall

    What are the pros and cons of these calibers.

    Barrel Life?

    Ballistics? speed, drop, wind drift

    cost to shoot with reloads?
  2. 627PCFan

    627PCFan Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Sterling, VA
    Depends on your distance. If your going over 400 yards, the 22-250 IM is better, but more costly, your burning more powder and in theory using more barrel life per shot. You dont get much more of a common caliber than 223, and you can run bullets from 35 grain hornet bullets up to 90 grain VLD's and your not running a substanical amount of powder. I consider a 204 a modern, but reduced 220 swift. Cant speak to barrel life but commerical ammo could be hard to find in a pinch.
  3. Jon_Snow

    Jon_Snow Member

    Aug 5, 2008
    Bay Area, Ca
    I own a .204 and I love it, but if you don't reload I'd go with the .223, just for the availability and cost of ammo. I can't say much about the 22-250 since I've never shot one, but my .204 barrel heats up pretty quickly, so if you do choose it, go with a heavy bull barrel. As spicer mentioned, range is very important, inside of 200 yards the .204 is very flat, but wind and gravity take their toll after that.
  4. longdayjake

    longdayjake Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Genesee, ID
    I have seen the best groups I ever saw from a .204 ruger at 200 yards. Less than 1/2" which would put it at 1/4" at 100 yards. That said, I wouldn't trust them to be reliable killers on coyotes or bigger. We used it for rockchucks and ground squirrels.
  5. sprocket3

    sprocket3 Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    The .223 is a great round and will work for all but really long shots when compared to 22-250 and is pretty hard to beat. Does great on coyotes and other small game. You can purchase once fired brass for around $50/1000 which gets your price per round down real low when you reload.

    .204 and 22-250 have advantages too but it's hard to pass up the price and ease of shooting the .223.

    I got some nice 3/8" groups at 100 yards with once fired brass and 55 grain Noslers. If you go with an AR15 platform you will not be able to find all your brass which would add to the cost of shooting the .204 even while reloading.

    Some of the ammo makers have great web sites that will let you compare all there rounds you are looking fat very easy to answer your ballistic questions.

    I like the .204 idea and the extra power of the 250 would be nice at times, but I can't get past the value and flexiblity of the .223.
  6. cal74

    cal74 Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Eastern, SD
    That pretty much sums it up best

    .204 is just as easy to find around here as anything else. You won't find any cheap 5-7.00 box stuff though it that's what your looking for.

    You'll need a fast twist barrel to take advantage of any heavy bullets in any of them though, so if that's what your after look into that.

    I have a Ruger Hawkeye in .204 that I LOVE, bought it really cheap NIB. Kind of a mid-weight rifle. Light enough to carry, but not to heavy and not very light either.

    A featherweight .223 Winchester that I've had for years and even with the pencil thin barrel it's a shooter.

    Heavy Barrel 22-250 that's a joy to shoot, just bought a Remington XP-100r in 22-250 also, but haven't shot it yet.

    For me if I had to choose just one it would be the .204, but everyone should own a .223 and when it comes down to it you should have a 22-250 also ;)
  7. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

    Nov 14, 2007
    In a vacuum, without considering the effects of inertia (which includes cost), on paper, the .204 Ruger is the best goldilocks balancing of the tradeoffs of external ballistics, recoil/blast, barrel burn, etc., for varmints. Ballistics of the .22-250 with the recoil of the .223. No question about it.

    In reality, it's expensive. Fat wallet OR if you reload - AND are starting from scratch (no need for caliber simplification) - get .204 Ruger. Otherwise, one of the other two (.223 is my preference). Though the 'screaming .22s' (.22-250, .220 swift, .22 WSSM) do have their followings and are not bad choices really.

    The .223 rem is where it's at for choices for variety of factory loadings, and low cost.
  8. MNgunhead

    MNgunhead Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    I used to shoot with a rem 700 22-250 years ago. It was an awesome rig. Many prairie dogs met their maker. I just got back in to PD hunting (shooting) last year and picked up a pair of Savage VLP's in 204 ruger. I am truly impressed by this little cartridge. It is super fast (nearly 4000 fps) and splatters the prairie puppies with authority. The recoil is so soft that you can watch the "POP" in the scope. That is something I didn't get with the much stouter 22-250. Don't get me wrong, the 22-250 is more powerful, but the 204 is more fun. Just my opinion.
  9. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

    Apr 24, 2008
    As others have stated, the .204 and .22-250 may be terminally better options for a varmint rifle. The problem for me becomes how much better?

    I can't justify the .204 or the .22-250 over the .223. I don't shoot far enough that the flatter trajectory of either matters. I also like to shoot a bit, so cost per round and barrel life are important. I also tend to stick with factory barrels. Not that many slow twist .22-250 barrels out there on a factory rifle, or at least a fairly budget factory rifle. Its a little easier to find a somewhat faster twist .223 barrel, allowing for the heavier bullets. While I do reload it is real nice to stop in and pick up a box of black hills ammo and have options of quality ammo from the light weight varmint rounds to heavy match rounds. When everything is put together the .223 has many benefits and the few areas it is lacking I won't be able to exploit due to my range limitations.
  10. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    Not trying for perfection, just sorta casual shooting, I've found that the .223 is just fine for prairie dogs to 300 yards and for coyotes to around 200.

    The .204 and the .22-250 are pretty much able to add another 100 yards, if that's realistic for what shooting you plan on doing.

    All three cartridges can be had in tack-driving rifles.

    The .223 will not burn the leade as soon as will the others. But, unless you're working heavily on prairie dog towns, odds are that barrel life isn't all that big a problem. They'll all last forever when the deal is mostly for such as coyotes.
  11. Fat_46

    Fat_46 Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    Coon Rapids, MN
    I shoot alot of prairie dogs, and the occasional coyote. Don't underestimate the 223. We had a new shooter walk the rounds up on a loooong distance dog last summer. Ended up being a 557 yard confirmed shot. Personally, I shoot a 22-250AI at that range. That's a real barrel eater - I'll feel fortunate if I get more than 750 rounds through the barrel with my current load(52gr Nosler Custom Competition at 4017 FPS) While my current project is a fast twist 6mmbr, the next one WILL be in 204. It just offers too much for me to overlook!
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