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204 vs. 223 vs. 222

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by 7remmag, Jul 15, 2012.

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  1. 7remmag

    7remmag Member

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    I know this is going to be a pretty opinionated thread, but I'm looking for a good varmint round and it's been narrowed down to these 3. Data tells me that the 204 with a 40gr bullet out performs both of the other rounds in velocity and energy out to 500 yards which is the most I'll shooting at. I'm worried about the barrel burning out on a 204 and the energy of the smaller bullet not being enough to knock down a coyote or a bobcat. So let's hear some opinions on those topics and also some stories about hunting with these rounds or why you picked the varmint round you did. The rifle I'll be purchasing will be a savage 25 or a 700 vls.

    Kyle
     
  2. William Perry

    William Perry Member

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    There are some good shooters I used to shoot with that at one time won a lot of bench rest shoots with the .222. Then the 6ppc took over. There might be something else better for that now. I used to go out west prairie dog shooting every year. I used the .223. It didn't burn out barrels like some of the hotter loads and ammo and brass were easy to find. I know a guy out near Hagerstown, MD who shoots ground hogs several days a week for many years. He has shot over 10 thousand (over many many years) with a .22 and a .223.
    His name is Floyd. Used to work at Bob and Mickeys gun shop.

    I still did burn out a stainless barrel with the .223, but it took a lot of shooting. I love the .22 Hornet but I limit myself to 100 yards with it. Past that I reach for my CZ .222. My next purchase in this department will probably be a wood stock Cooper in .22 Hornet. Just because I want it.

    Bill
     
  3. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    Remington 700 in 223 is your best bet. Plenty of ammo amd brass around to reload. HMB
     
  4. poacherjoe

    poacherjoe Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you already have a good amount of info.I have shot all three and another factor on the 204 and 40 gr bullet is crosswind or any wind.Cost of components will vary.The 222 was my gun of choice but the 223 with a 50 gr V-max is my go to now.My buddy took a dog at 300 with his 204 with a well placed shot to the head.Everyone 's opinion will vary.If your going to be shooting 500 yds I would go to the 22-250 or 220 swift but barrel life can be an issue. That will depend on how much you shoot.They are all very accurate when you work up your own handloads!Reloading is the key element, You will need to test load with various bullets,powders and primers to see what works best in your gun.Go to Sierra bullet's and talk with Paul Box,He will steer you in the right direction.They have an 800 number so you can talk with there bulletsmiths.He is the best one to talk to in my opinion.I have killed most of my coyote's with my 22-250 with a 60 gr HP Good Luck PJ
     
  5. XP100

    XP100 Well-Known Member

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    You can't go wrong with a 222 or 223. Work up a load for which ever one you go with. V-Max seem to work well on Varmints, 45 to 55gr.
     
  6. Rufus80

    Rufus80 TS Member

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    To me the 222 is ruled out right away due to it being so close in performance to the 223 and the lack of ammunition. The next question is do you reload. If not go for the 223, because there is such a diverse selection of ammo at a good price. The 204 is a good cartridge but i don't think it can do anything better than a 223 can. There was an article recently in a gun magazine that compared the 204 and the 223, but I can't remember the magazine it was in. My vote 223.
     
  7. jim brown

    jim brown Well-Known Member

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    I shoot quite a few prairie rats at long ranges. I have two 204's and one 223 that I use regularly. Can't speak to barrel life but my 204's have about 2,000 rounds each with no signs of erosion or loss of accuracy. I shoot only 40 grain bullets at about 3,650 fps. The 204 is clearly my choice of caliber. It gives me at least 50 yards more range than the 223. Wind drift is about the same when using 60 grain bullets in the 223. Both of my 204's have measured kills on PD's at over 500 yards. Never even came close to that with a 223. The 204 is very comfortable shooting between 300 and 400 yards. The 223 tops out at about 350. If you want long range accuracy the 204 is my choice. It has the range of a 22-250 with muzzle blast and recoil equal to a 223. I just finished loading 1,000 rounds of 204 and 500 rounds of 223 getting ready for a PD safari. The 223 may have the advantage on larger body animals like coyotes. I don't do much of that anymore.


    jim brown
     
  8. jbbor

    jbbor Active Member

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    A .222 has a much lower report level. Jimmy Borum
     
  9. Aulovel5

    Aulovel5 TS Member

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    I have two savage 22-250s their absolutely the way to go if your shooting long range. I also have a cooper in a 204 it's a great gun but I haven't worked up the right load for it yet like I have for the 22-250s.
     
  10. zimmie

    zimmie Active Member

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    204 hands down best varmint round out there 32grain hornady ammo stops coyotes int there tracks. Zimmie
     
  11. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    A good suggestion if you get one of the hot calibers is getting it in a Savage...with a barrel nut wrench and an extra barrel or two you'll have a varmint rifle for life...you can even change calibers within the same cartridge head size ..best of all worlds...and nobody can argue that Savages don't shoot!!
     
  12. Rick in Ohio

    Rick in Ohio Member

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    Kyle

    I am a big fan of the 204's. I own two now!

    The 204 round will shoot as fast as a 22-250 and as flat as a 22-250. You are right the 40gr bullet shoots the best in the 204's. The down fall to a 204 is you have to clean the barrel about every 20 to 30rds to keep it shooting right.

    A good load for the 204 is 27.7grs of Hodgdon - " H 4895" with a 40gr V-max and Fed gold bench rest primers. Touch the triger and that bullet is on the target.

    If your looking to buy a 204 buy a Savage.

    A 500yd shot with a 204 no problem.

    The rifle in the pictures is a Savage LRPV 204 with a 12x42x56mm NightForce scope. 500yd kills. If you like to see more PM me and I cna show you some pictures from out west PD hunting.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  13. William Perry

    William Perry Member

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    While we have everybody's attention, what about the Cooper rifle. I know you can get a good rifle for a lot less. I would like one in .22 Hornet. Anybody out there with experience with one, good or bad.

    Bill
     
  14. Rick in Ohio

    Rick in Ohio Member

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    I had a 204 Cooper but I just couldn't get the bullets up to speed with it so I sold it. A Savage is very hard to bet for a rifle right out of the boxs.

    The 22 Hornet not a bad round if that's what you like.
     
  15. William Perry

    William Perry Member

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    The reason I have been shooting the .22 Hornet is I live in southern Delaware and it's flat farmland, more densely populated than some other places I go ground hog hunting, like hilly central PA. It doesn't carry as far.

    Bill
     
  16. Rick in Ohio

    Rick in Ohio Member

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    Flat country is why I shoot the V-max bullets ...... they break up a soon as they hit some thing and a lot of the time they don't exit a varmint like a groundhog.
     
  17. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    I vote for a 22-caliber if for no other reason that almost everybody already has cleaning and reloading bench tools for that bore size. Next comes the availability of loaded ammunition and empty brass for handloading. Finally, a .222 or .223 will dispatch a critter more humanely, especially as the distance gets longer.

    Now I have to ask why the .22-250 isn't on your list. Yes, it burns more powder and has a louder report but it delivers more energy with any bullet weight and does so with extremely good accuracy. But some folks just prefer the smaller cartridges and that's okay.

    I own two Remington Model 700 varmint rifles in .22-250, an older wood-stocked Varmint Special with a 24" barrel and a 1990s-vintage VSSF with a 26" stainless fluted barrel. Both put five shots into one ragged hole at 100 yards but with different loads. I also have two .223s - a Model 700VTR with a 22" triangular barrel and an XP-100R with a 15" barrel. They shoot very well, too.

    For me, it boils down to how I will be hunting. If I will be walking, the VTR gets the nod. But if I will be stationary, the heavier .22-250s are my preference unless I go with fun of the XP-100R. If the wind's blowing, I grab my varmint rigs in either .243 Ackley Improved or 6mm Remington.

    Regardless of the cartridge you choose, do not skimp on the optics. A lot of people do and don't get the kind of performance their guns are capable of. It's better to buy the gun one month and save up for the best optics if you have to (I've done it many times).

    Ed
     
  18. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The 32 grain bullets in the 204, while impressive for muzzle velocity, are not impressive for wind drift and retained velocity at long range.

    The 40 grain bullets are better, and custom fast twists for 50 grainers are better yet. Velocity is down with the 50 grainers, but they shed less velocity over distance. If I wanted to shoot the 204 at range I'd get a fast twist barrel.

    For close range, the 223 is cheaper to buy new, remanufacturered, or to reload, especially with surplus military brass.

    If all I shot were sage rats, a 204 would be more attractive to me. But I just do not like the longer range ballistics with standard weight 204 bullets on coyotes. Again, I'd be turning to the 40 or 50 grain bullets, and these are very attractive when compared to 40 or 50 grain 223 bullets.

    For ranges where the 223 starts having issues, I turn to the 22-250 or even a 25-06. One of these days I plan to pick up a 243.

    I would say my favorite modern centerfire is the 223. I have seven rifles in 223 plus a handgun. After much experimentation and field testing, I stick to the 55 grain bullets, and have a universal load for everything.

    I also stick to the 55 grainers in the 22-250.

    I just don't see the 204 offering me anything I don't really have. Now for someone starting from scratch, perhaps the 204 might make better sense as an all around cartridge. But again, I think that the best bullets for it are in the 40 to 50 grain range and that requires a fast twist barrel.

    As for the 222, it's all but a dead cartridge, overshadowed by the 223 for availability of guns and ammo, and by velocity and energy. In the old days the 222 had an edge for accuracy, and is an outstanding benchrest cartridge. The 223 has matured for accuracy, though some claim the 222 is still more accurate, though not with factory ammo. This is really a reloader's cartridge.

    Keep in mind that the 22-250 is the coyote cartridge by which all others are judged. It used to be the varmint cartridge by which all others are judged, but in the last couple of decades an argument could be made that the 223 has taken that title.
     
  19. oleolliedawg

    oleolliedawg Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    I'm kinda liking my 6mm Remington Varmint Special more than my .17 REM. or .223. haven't tried the others!!
     
  20. Rick in Ohio

    Rick in Ohio Member

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    Like Ed said don't go cheap on the optics.

    I always tell guys that ask me about optics is if you buy a $900 dollar rifle you should put a $900 dollar scope on it and if you don't have the money for the scope wait till you do and your going to be much happier in the long run.
     
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