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.223 vs. .204 Ruger

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by archerben, Jan 17, 2007.

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  1. archerben

    archerben Member

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    I have been thinking about picking up a .223 recently, however, I just discovered the .204 Ruger and it's got me second guessing myself. I plan to use the rifle for varmints, rabbits, and the occasional fox or coyote. At a quick glance ammo seems to be pretty comparible in price (both factory and reloading components). What are the advantages/disadvantages of the two calibers and why would you pick one over the other?
     
  2. ForeverArmed

    ForeverArmed member

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    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but...

    -- You might have more problems with wind drift with the .204 if you use the lighter bullets in that caliber.

    -- The .204 might wear the barrel faster. It's a hot round at >4000 fps.
     
  3. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I don't have a .204 but from what I've seen and what people who have them tell me, .204 bullets are fairly high sectional density and are less wind-sensitive than the traditional 55-grain .223 bullet. They also say that because of the small powder charges, bore erosion is minimal.
     
  4. archerben

    archerben Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a "hot" round have more to do with how much powder is loaded in the cartridge rather than the velocity of the bullet?
     
  5. ForeverArmed

    ForeverArmed member

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    Maybe it was a poor choice of words on my part. I guess most people say a load is "hot" when it has more powder than a typical load in that caliber.

    BTW, I found another thread on this subject that might be helpful:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=151642
     
  6. gbran

    gbran Member

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    I am impressed with the .204, but I chrono 45 gr JHP's out of my .223 T/C rifle at about 3,500 fps. These rounds are much heavier than the .204 and pretty darned fast. They are red mist producers on most small varmints and have enough poop to take larger varmints with confidence. Pretty flat trajectory also, but not as flat as the .204.
     
  7. Stinger

    Stinger Member

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    They are both great rounds. You really can't go wrong with either. I've got both, and they are both wonderful performers, accurate, flat shooting, easy on the shoulder, etc.

    Realistically, it is 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. Pick the one that you want the most. Next week, pick up the other. :)

    Stinger
     
  8. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    it does everything better than the 223. using less powder, get more speed, has a higher b.c. and s.d. than a 223. that means it both keeps up it's speed nicely, and slices through the wind better.
     
  9. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    I recently moved away from .223 and .22-250 and converted to .204 Ruger for my varmint hunting. I have used the .204 in the field and on paper out to 500 yards. It flat out performs.

    Here is a good read on the .20s.

    http://www.6mmbr.com/20Caliber.html


    Excerpt:

    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.


    Another good .204 read authored by a friend and hunting partner....Dr. Ken Lunde.

    http://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek047.html
     
  10. quatin

    quatin Member

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    Doesn't having almost 10,000 psi more chamber pressure cause the .204 to still have a higher barrel erosion factor?
     
  11. archerben

    archerben Member

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    Thanks for all the information thus far. I'm a bit new to rifles and, while I've learned a fair amount in my recent research, I'm sure I've still got a large learning curve ahead of me. I am still learning what factors contribute to barrel burn/erosion. Ultimately I would like to get a gun that is going to have a long barrel life.
     
  12. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    Read this part again....


    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.

    Heat kills the barrel. Powder generates the heat. A .204 load uses a significant amount of powder less than a 22-250 load.

    You do the math. :D

    Stop by here Varminter.com and here 204 Ruger.com and start asking questions.
     
  13. CDignition

    CDignition Member

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    Just keep in mind, it is all in the BC.. Ballistic coefficient of the bullet to resist wind.

    Also, keep in mind that a new barrel is nothing compared to ammo costs... Depending on the barrel and smith work to install it you'll be looking at $500 or more, but thats not that expensive really, considering the amount of ammo costs...

    Just shoot it till it gives you less and less performance... the Uk govt uses AI .338 Lapua rifles, and they expect 1 MOA from them..well, they start out about 1/2 MOA and as they wear out get worse...most of the time they can get 10,000 rounds out of them before they trash them...the govt isn't picky like we are..:)
     
  14. cmidkiff

    cmidkiff Member

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    I've got a Savage 12BVSS in .223, it's been a good shooter. Solid all around bench/varmint rifle.

    I just picked up a Savage 12FV in .204 Ruger. I can't stand the 'f' type Savage stock, so I put it in a laminate varmint stock. Put a weaver KT15 on it last weekend. Haven't got to shoot it yet (darned ice storm!), but I'll let you know... I have high hopes for it. :)

    From other people's experience and as much reading on the subject as I've been able to find, the .204 will shoot faster, further, flatter, and with less wind drift than the .223, and it shouldn't burn up barrels like some of the other barn-burner cartridges can.

    Like I said, we'll see :)
     
  15. aspade

    aspade Member

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    I don't see the comparison between .223 and .204.

    They both kill small game dead, there is no question the .204 shoots meaningfully flatter. But the appeal of the .223 has never been that it's the flattest shooting varmint burner around, it's that it's fast enough and there's a great selection of factory ammunition and components from Walmart white box specials to gold medal stuff for 600 yard matches.

    Natchez stocks five .204 loads from three manufacturers and the cheapest one is 14 bucks a box. They stock something like 70 .223 loads from 11 manufacturers and at least 20 of them are under 10 bucks a box.

    Midway stocks 19 different .20 caliber bullets. And 227 .22 bullets.

    If you are willing to give all that up to shoot flatter, the .204 will do that for you - but so will the 22-250 and the .243 which are what you should be comparing with. IMO the .204 loses those comparisons badly. Most of the cons with none of the versatility.
     
  16. BrainOnSigs

    BrainOnSigs Member

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    FYI: A great source for accurate .204 Ruger made with new brass is The Hunting Shack.

    It's $25 for a box of 50 rounds for 32 or 39 gr Sierra BlitzKing and $21 for a box for 50 rounds for 32 or 40 gr V-Max.

    After years of shooting .223 (which I still like) and 22-250 (which is a great yote caliber, but not a great p-dog caliber if the shooting is fast and furious) I have fallen in love with .204 Ruger. I have now put several thousand rounds of .204 downrange at varmints and paper at distances out to 500 yards and the performance is stunning. I can actually hear the difference when a prairie dog is struck with a .204 versus .223. The .204 makes a distinct WHAP! I have seen the light. It's BC makes it fantastic for slicing the wind.

    I changed my mind and opted not to reload once I saw that the Hunting Shack ammo will do this at 100 yards.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Outlaws

    Outlaws Member

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  18. koja48

    koja48 member

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    Own both & like both . . . Ruger has the edge trajectory-wise at longer distances, but both have been most effective on coyotes. Retired my barrel-worn .17 Remington when the .204 became available.
     
  19. RandyB

    RandyB Member

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    own both and love both. The .204 is very similar to the .22-250 for me. If I had to pick only one I would opt for the .223 its a bit more useful for me personally and the ammo is cheaper to plink with.
     
  20. Essex County

    Essex County Member

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    I'm shure the.204 is a great round, it certainly looks that way on paper. However I'm a pragmatist and I'd go for the .223. I once had a pasionate affair with the .17 Remington but I came back to the .22 centifires...Essex
     
  21. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    remmy is about to start doing factory 17m4, by the way. I think they are either going to call it the mach 4 or the wildcat, or the 17 fireball. It is a mild mannered 17, if you can call it that, based on the old 221 fireball case. perfect powder to bullet load, usual speeds are 3800 to 4000 fps.
     
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