Federal, Fiocchi, Hornady, Nosler, Remington, Sellier & Bellot, and Winchester all produce .204 Ruger ammo. They’re all high velocity, flat shooting cartridges, but the .204 Ruger has the least arching trajectory of the bunch.
I had a 24" varmint barrel .204. My real world chronograph speeds show me factory 223 55 vmax in a 24" tube to be 3100, Factory 22 nosler ammo to be 3475 in my woa 22" 12 twist , and my 204 handloads are right at 3650 in a 22" bolt gun with a low bc. That's pretty bullshit advice since new calibers are coming out all the time, so unless you have insider information that includes specs and a release timeframe (which you should PM me as proof), I'm going to keep looking into what's out there right now. It can easily replicate the ballistics of any of the loads listed above at essentially identical levels of muzzle blast and recoil. Especially considering that each cartridge tends to appeal to particular segments of the hunting and shooting communities that value different characteristics in a cartridge, the 22-250 vs 223 vs 204 Ruger vs 220 Swift debate can get pretty intense and tough to navigate at times. Of course, I critically weighed every charge, and was very careful in prepping the cases. As expected, each of the large bores turned the water jugs inside out in spectacular fashion – albeit with significant recoil (the .458 was the mildest, owing to the heavy weight of the stock and action). We went out with 4 different rifles to a shooting area in a quarry/excavation pit, bringing gallon jugs of water. Not surprisingly, the resulting cartridge was capable of even higher velocities than its parent and Wotkyns submitted his brainchild to Winchester for commercial development. Head to Head: .22 Nosler vs. .224 Valkyrie. On the downside, the .204 Ruger is indeed more vulnerable to wind drift than the .22-250 and .220 Swift (but not the .223) and does not retain energy nearly as well as the others. It also equates to a healthy bump in velocity, somewhere in the 350-400 fps range, depending on barrel length. The .223 Remington wins hands down here since it’s arguably the easiest to find and least expensive centerfire cartridge in the United States. Hence the dialog. To get that tack driving accuracy I believe you must work up a handload for the Swift. As you can see in the photo below, there are some pretty major differences between the .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, and .220 Swift cartridges. Some folks have cited the Nosler’s rebated rim as being an issue, though I don’t agree with that. Bullet drop at extended ranges is least for the 40 grain .204 Ruger load. of energy, the .243 load 1167 ft. lbs. However, due to the faster rifling twist normally found on rifles chambered in .223 Remington, it can accurately shoot longer and heavier bullets than the other cartridges. I express the threshold MVs of these loads in 50 or 100 fps increments, for convenience. The cci 200's are flat so I know these aren't cold loads. The .204 Ruger and .220 Swift data was obtained using 26″ barrels while the .223 Remington and .22-250 Remington used a 24″ barrel length.
I realize it's not strictly a long range question in the sense of things outside of 500y, but I figure you all have done a lot more in the realm of cartidge comparison and ballistics than some of the other groups. Wonder if it would have any real advantages over a 22-250 in a bolt rifle?? Compared: Selected Varmint Cartridges and Loads (.204 Ruger, .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win. The vast majority of predator and varmint hunters probably agree the .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, and .220 Swift are all excellent cartridges for pest control. When compared to the varmint classics of the last millennium, bullets are getting longer and heavier, twist rates are getting faster, and long range performance is improving.
Availability and choice of .22-250 brass is not as lavish as is that for the .223 Rem., but is more than adequate. This is particularly true when shooting a heavy barrel varmint rifle. The table below compares the recoil produced by those cartridges when fired from 8.5 pound varmint rifles: a Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint for the .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, and .22-250 Remington and a Model 700 Varmint SF for the .220 Swift.
I use a .223 on woodchucks, but I rarely take a shot over 200 yards. I had to finish off animals shot with the other calibres ( chest shots) as they did not go down immediately. The Basic Economies of Reloading for more information on cost savings from reloading.).
If you do then it's a tough call IMO. Make sure you follow The Big Game Hunting Blog on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, andYouTube. Are you searching for a cartridge with the flattest possible trajectory (the least bullet drop) and/or highest velocity? I doubt that you could even get it to fire, but if you could, you’d probably have the case rupture in the chamber, damage your rifle, and maybe even hurt yourself in the process. Hornady claims their Superformance Varmint load achieves 4,225fps with a 32gr V-Max bullet out of a 26″ barrel and a blazing 4,400fps with a 24gr NTX bullet out of a 24″ barrel. The same can be said about varmint hunting with the .204 Ruger or the .22-250 Rem.
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