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I've tried the 204 twice. Killed some stuff with them and it worked well. Never could like it much although I understand why some like it. Recoil is a non issue if you drop grain weight you gain velocity kinda equals out. Shot 1 barrel out at about 2000 rds. Became a 223
Did not like reloading small bullets with big hands. Needing special cleaning rods , jags, brushes, powder funnel. Always amazed me how many people (not me) need fast twist heavy bullet for everything but are happy with 32--40 grain in the 204.

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Thanks for the read - good stuff here.

A Montana in 204Ruger topped with a light scope might be a pretty good upper midwest calling rifle. Ranges are usually 200 or less and given I've never seen a PD in the UP - barrel life probably as long as necessary.


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Bet I know one that aint been done yet, but love to try it--8T 204R 26"-barrelled AR, 55 Berger and old VLD magazine (2.46" OAL)...for sniping coyotes, that is DAAMMNN.

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Broke in my WOA 24” upper in .204 last night. I think I’m going to like it!

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Works very well for me, mainly on groundhogs but also on coyotes. My current .204 is in a Kimber 84 but I’ve had an AR version as well. Probably my favorite cartridge for varmints/predators, next choice would be the .222 Remington.

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Not a fan of ballistic tip ballets on coyotes too many marginal shots. Coyotes never give me good angles
I stick with soft point or hollow points but my preference is 55 gr sp. there is a 20 cal sp but have not bothered trying it yet but would if I was going to use 204 just find a 223 works in almost any calling situation I do. Usually less tha 100 yds

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Originally Posted by rainierrifleco
Not a fan of ballistic tip ballets on coyotes too many marginal shots. Coyotes never give me good angles
I stick with soft point or hollow points but my preference is 55 gr sp. there is a 20 cal sp but have not bothered trying it yet but would if I was going to use 204 just find a 223 works in almost any calling situation I do. Usually less tha 100 yds


Not a fan of the plastic tipped bullets either, but I know they have a place in the shooting world. Using a 204 on Predators led me to the 35gr. Berger, 37gr. Blackhole bullets, and the 40gr. Berger. Those hp bullets work great on Predators.

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I've had good luck with 32g V-Maxes on prairie dogs. (Ricochet concerns me a little where I shoot)
I use Nosler 40g BT's on coyotes, though. Did away with surface splashes, and nearly always exits +/- dime size.
(No ricochet concerns where I hunt coyotes)


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Originally Posted by 260Remguy
I've owned rifles chambered in .204 Ruger from Remington, Ruger, and Savage. All were accurate and easy to load for, except that the small bullets and my thick fingers don't get along so well. I still have an RAR-P that is sub-MOA accurate with 32 and 40 grain bullets. I haven't had any reason to load the 24 grain NTX, so I don't know how well they work.


So I take it you wouldn’t be interested in my 17 Fireball if I wanted to sell it? :-) I don’t have thick fingers but the 17 is tough and my least favorite to reload. I have a 204 in TC Encore that shot everything well but liked Sierras the best.

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Rereading this thread reminded me of a few things:

If I had to settle on one all-around prairie-dog round, that also would work on coyotes at typical ranges, it would be the .204. But I don't shoot that many coyotes anymore, and still shoot a lot of PDs. This is because the .204 shoots so flat at "hittable" PD ranges--and I am among those who finds I can see the hit more often through the scope than with a .223. This may defy "recoil" physics, but there it is.

But after using the .204 as my main PD rifles for around a decade, now primarily use it for ranges of 250-500 yards. Out to 125-150 or so, start on PD towns with the .17 HMR, because the low report doesn't spook them nearly as much as a .204 (or .222, .223 or whatever--have used both a LOT).

Once all the 17 HMR-range dogs are dead or down in their holes, I switch to a .17 Hornet, which in my experience works great to around 250-300, depending on the wind--and also is enough quieter than a .204/.222/.223 that it doesn't spook them nearly as much.

For 300-500 yard shots I break out the .204, with 40-grain Hornady V-Maxes, which has the highest BC of any 40-grain plastic-tip in that weight-range. (And yes, I prefer plastic-tips, both due to higher BC and better expansion at longer ranges. Have tested this a LOT since the late 1980s, when Nosler Ballistic Tips first appeared.)

Don't use the .223 as much unless I come into some really "affordable" ammo with typical "varmint-weight" bullets in the 50 grain range. But do sometimes use the .223 as my 500+ yard PD round, these days with heavier, high-BC plastic-tips in my 1-8 twist Ruger American, which also has a 2.5" magazine length, due to the extension that Whittaker Guns sold for a while--and from what I understand, might again. But have also used several other cartridges for 500+ ranges, these days often my 13-pound Sisk Rifles 6XC with plastic-tips in the 90+ weight range.

But the landowners in the places I normally hunt want as many PDs shot as possible; otherwise they consider poisoning them. So I primarily concentrate on the higher-percentage shots under 500 yards.


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Really glad to hear everyone’s thoughts on the .204- I’ve been thinking about one for a while and a sporter weight Savage showed up in my LGS for a great price- I think I might have to pick it up and play with it for a bit.

There might be a thread on suggested loads coming soon!


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Texken: Pardon my slow reply to your question on barrel life in my 204's!
I just now reread this thread and saw your inquiry to me.
My answer is "I don't know" - I spread my 204 shooting out among so many different 204 Rifles of mine I have NOT noticed any loss of accuracy at all to date.
I did see where our fellow CampFirer "Boatammo" shot out one of his 204's in 3,500 rounds and another poster here shot out a 204 barrel in 2,000 rounds!
I will review those posts and make sure my answer is based on what they actually wrote.
If "I" only got 2,000 rounds of accuracy out of any of my 204's before barrel replacement was needed I would be GREATLY surprised and GREATLY disappointed.
My first 204 Rifle has maybe 700 rounds through it and again shoots as well today as originally.
Again pardon my slow reply to your pertinent question.
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I’ve two 204s. One is a Cooper MTV and the other is one I built out of a 17 Fireball Rem 700 that was chambered so poorly it would never shoot. It wears a 10 twist Shilen sporter barrel now. Both shoot extremely well; in the 0.2s! The Cooper has some 700 rounds down the pipe as it often gets the nod when it’s time for ground squirrels. It’s my favorite for that purpose. I haven’t used the Remington much, only on a couple jackrabbit hunts. It’s killed exactly one coyote - DRT. I really like the round but was a bit of a late adopter since I have several 223s. 22-250s 220 Swift, etc. I like it because it shoots like my 223s with the performance of the larger 22 cal guns.

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I can see my impacts with a LVSF Rem in the 17 Rem would I be able to see them in a sporter weight 204 Ruger?

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Dimecovers5: I currently own 10 (ten) Rifles in caliber 204 Ruger and all of them (except one!) are the heavy barrel wide forearm heavier stocked styles. Again with the exception of one and that Rifle has a 26" "sporter weight" barrel 26" long.
That Rifle is a Ruger #1-B with such exceptionally beautiful wood I have decided NOT to shoot it - so I can NOT answer your question definitively. I wish someone else would so I am bringing it back to the top of this thread for you.
BUT.... I can make an educated guess for you and that guess would be from a solid rest with maybe some hand pressure downward on the scope, at the shot, you would be able to see the bullet impact.
Again that is a guess but not a wild assed guess.
I say buy the heavy barrel 204's for a couple of reasons.
Best of luck to you with whichever you decide on.
Long live the amazing 204 Ruger cartridge.
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Mine’s a Kimber Montana, I don’t think I can, never really paid attention.

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Kimber 84M Varmint here, 32 & 39 vmax, 35 HP Berger and 40 grain Ballistic tips. Shoots them all good. Someday I’ll use it on a deer.


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Anybody with a sporter 204 that can see their hits through the scope? I love to be able to see mine but wouldn't mind owning a 204 for some situations.

Also are any factory rifles now available with a 1 in 11 twist? I've read 1 in 12 does not always work for some 40 grain bullets.

Last edited by dimecovers5; 03/19/22.
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I’m just thinking, as any reloader with a 223 or 22-250, no reason to go 204.

I have one, may get out of it. It’s kinda like the guy with a bunch of 308’s, does he really need a 7mm-08?

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I own all three cartridges in the same rifles and wouldn’t be without any of them.

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