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What is the barrel life on a .204 ruger? Is the 204 Ruger accurate enough and energetic enough to reliably kill a PD at 500yards?
 

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What is the barrel life on a .204 ruger? Is the 204 Ruger accurate enough and energetic enough to reliably kill a PD at 500yards?
Barrel life is a relative thing, and others are better qualified to speak specifically to the 204 than I on that. But, as far as accuracy goes, the caliber is very much up to minute of PD at 500 and well beyond that, depending on the shooter and conditions at the time. It is the balistic twin of my pet 220 Swift load, and I've used the Swift reliably to just under 700 yards on PDs with 55 V-max pills. Energy wise, the 204 Ruger w/ 40 grain pills trails the Swift and 55 gn V-Max by approximately 100 yards; that is to say the Swift will have approximately the same energy as the 204 at 100 yards farther out than the 204 for any given distance. And, I can tell ya the 220 Swift is very rude way past 500 yards, and from what I've seen, the 204 ain't no slouch!!

Back to barrel life...The rule of thumb is the faster the bullets go, so goes the throat. Now that isn't much of an answer, I know. Making answering even more difficult is the fact that like beauty, accuracy is in the eye of the beholder...What is not accurate to you (and many on this board) may be peachy-keen to 90% of the shooting world!;)

Here's what I know about myself and Swifts which may (or may not?) trasfer to the 204 - having approx the same velocity: At 700 rounds my Swift's groups tend to go from between 1/2-3/4 MOA to between 3/4 to 1 inch. Touching up the crown brought it back to close to the original group performace. However, by 1700 rounds, the crown cleanup isn't going to get ya back to the beginning. Setting the barrel back a couple turns and rechambering is called for. So, if you are buying a custom bbl in 204 (or any caliber, for that matter) have the barrel be un-tapered for at least enough to set the barrel back a couple times; 4" of straight shank beyond the shoulder, or there 'bouts.;) But, like I said, others that have shot out a 204 have a better answer, I'm sure.:rolleyes:

P.
 

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Good info

I was agonizing over the line-up for my next PD hunt. Obvious choice is to have a battery of 223's for when them varmints charge the benchs but I'm thinking a pair of 204's would also fit in the line-up.
 

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consistent @ 500 yards on prairie dogs???

Having done a lot on P.D and coyote hunting with all kinds of calibers I can tell you that in all my time I have never consistently hit them at 500 yards and 700 yards almost never. I have hit a few coyotes at 500 plus but that too is extremely rare.
What's you hold over at 500-700 yards? You'd be surprised if you looked it up. I would like to witness someone consistently hitting prairie dogs at 500-700 yards. What kind of optics are you using? Let's get realistic maybe a few times the moon and the stars lined up and you hit a couple.
I like the sounds of the 204's but a 32-40 grain bullets hitting p.d's at 500 and beyond is doubtful. A 10 mile wind would significantly push a bullet of that size.
What's next ground squirrels at 1000?
 

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Yep! That was and is still my thinkin too

I was agonizing over the line-up for my next PD hunt. Obvious choice is to have a battery of 223's for when them varmints charge the benchs but I'm thinking a pair of 204's would also fit in the line-up.
It appears the 204 (and 20 TAC??) will shoot with the 220 Swift or 22-250AIs, trajectory wise. Course there will be more "splat factor" with the heavier bullets, I suppose. But, for fast and furious shooting, the .223 has a LOT going for it in terms of being kind to the wallet AND barrels. (I'm hoping Danzac will extend that barrel life thingy even further;) ) However, for windy days, and beyond 500 yards, I chose the 220 Swift and it has performed very well and has been my "goto" gun for out to 650 or a little more; I see no reason the 204 Ruger wouldn't fill that same spot, except in the terminal performance department.

P.
 

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What is the barrel life on a .204 ruger? Is the 204 Ruger accurate enough and energetic enough to reliably kill a PD at 500yards?
I have heard that the barrel life is around 1,200 to 1,500 rounds, and that makes sense considering the velocity.

It can kill a PD as far as you can hit them - PD's don't take a lot of killin'
 

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Precision matters...

Having done a lot on P.D and coyote hunting with all kinds of calibers I can tell you that in all my time I have never consistently hit them at 500 yards and 700 yards almost never. I have hit a few coyotes at 500 plus but that too is extremely rare.
What's you hold over at 500-700 yards? You'd be surprised if you looked it up. I would like to witness someone consistently hitting prairie dogs at 500-700 yards. What kind of optics are you using? Let's get realistic maybe a few times the moon and the stars lined up and you hit a couple.
I like the sounds of the 204's but a 32-40 grain bullets hitting p.d's at 500 and beyond is doubtful. A 10 mile wind would significantly push a bullet of that size.
What's next ground squirrels at 1000?
Long range separates the plinkers from the riflemen, to be sure. Hitting consistantly at 500 yards does require some good equipment and favorable conditions. One-shot kill ratio goes down dramatically with range, as distance magnifies errors beyond minute of PD. However, I can report that it can be done fairly consistantly to the ranges discussed when it all comes together.

Range and wind doping are critical to one-shot kills, combinded with data tables (I prefer graphs) to put the bullet where ya want it. I like 20+ power, fine crosshair scopes for PDs to 700, definately an optical range finder, and a pretty good doping of the wind. (The graph below shows MOA correction for distance, plus/minus elevation from horizontal, and MOA wind deflection at 10 mph for various angles and ranges - critical information for improving hits at and beyond 500 yards - even w/ the Swift.)



But, the key ingredient is an accurate rifle. Custom barrels and fine tuned loads to give 3/8 MOA group most of the time are essential to long PDs. Without that and a steady rest, and things get frustrating pretty fast.

But, even w/o all the support equipment like range finders and graphs, in steady conditions one can get the buggers dialed in by shooting a spotter round and moving the crosshairs to the impact. Then drop and wind (if consistant) are "zeroed out" and the PDs will fall consistantly at that range.

I had the pleasure of shooting one of Don Ms 40x in .224 "Tomcat", essentially a 222 mag with a 40 degree shoulder, at some PDs last May. After 3 shots to get the range, I was able to pick off 8 PDs at 545 yards in 12 shots. That is pretty consistant, in my book. I think the Swift would have done a little better, but the point is that 500 and 600 is well within the Swift's domain, and 700 on occation w/ the conditions and equipment.

BTW, my MOA correction for a PD at 560 yards is 6-1/2 MOA up and for 10 mph of wind at 45 degrees to the line of flight the MOA correction is 3-1/4 MOA. My point is, w/o knowing the range and the balistics, hitting a PD at 560 (or whatever) yards would be a tall order. This kind of PD shooting is a sort of a specialty of mine. Reading the range, estimating the wind, clicking in the corrections and then making a one-shot kill is very gratifying. Ask KY Fisherman about a 585 yarder he watch me splat with one shot on the first evening of the 06 PD Safari! ONe shot one kill is a heck of a lot of fun!

P.
 

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Trajectory

Having done a lot on P.D and coyote hunting with all kinds of calibers I can tell you that in all my time I have never consistently hit them at 500 yards and 700 yards almost never. I have hit a few coyotes at 500 plus but that too is extremely rare.
What's you hold over at 500-700 yards? You'd be surprised if you looked it up. I would like to witness someone consistently hitting prairie dogs at 500-700 yards. What kind of optics are you using? Let's get realistic maybe a few times the moon and the stars lined up and you hit a couple.
I like the sounds of the 204's but a 32-40 grain bullets hitting p.d's at 500 and beyond is doubtful. A 10 mile wind would significantly push a bullet of that size.
What's next ground squirrels at 1000?
I agree. The trajectory of a bullet is like the stream of water out of a garden hose. After 500 or 600 yds, the bullet is falling on the target as much as hitting it in the way we picture a bullet hitting a target. If you raise the nozzle of a garden hose an inch, up close the stream rises an inch, but out where the stream is striking the ground the stream moves out away from you more than an inch.
 

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I've not owned my 204 long enough to know about barrel life. If the factory Rem. barrel lasts to 1500 or 2000 rds and it performed well, I would be satisfied with that and would have a new barrel installed.

I've maybe put 500 rds down the tube so far and have been happy with its accuracy. My longest shot on PDs last year was just over 500 in heavy wind (probably got lucky) although it took me 3 shots to hit him. I didn't make the trek to see the impact area but I seen the hit through the scope and it looked pretty good.
 

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It CAN be done.....but with the right prep....

My personal passion is ground squirrels, PD's, and rock chucks at 'extended range'. I have 'come-up' charts taped to the inside of my flip-up ocular covers of every rat rifle of mine, developed after chronographing every pet load for the given rifle, then use a Leica LRF-1200 rangefinder to range as close as possible to the intended target.

My primary calibers for this fun is usually a 223AI, 223's, 243AI, Swift, and last year I injected a Sako 204 M75 Varmint into the mix. With the 223AI, Swift, 2343AI and now the 204 Sako, all those calibers have connected on our ground squirrels here in Oregon at or past the 500 yard mark. Not all first shots are hits of course, but like the previous poster noted, once a "fire for effect" shot is taken, it is usually so close, that Skippy usually jumps at the following shot. Mind you, I use chrono data, rangefinder, dope the wind with flags and a Kestral, and dial up for the range. All scopes are Leu's with target elevation adjustments, my latest for the Sako 204 is a 6.5-20X with their excellent M1 elevation (military-style) adjustment installed at the factory (.25 MOA adjustments).

This is done off a portable bench rest, near the tailgate of my truck, so all the equipment is close at hand. As for barrel life of the 204 goes, mine has just over 700 handloads through it using both 32 and 30 BK's, and Skippy is still jumping out there. It started out as an honest .5 MOA rifle using my handloads, but in all honesty, have not put it back on paper after last season and all the shooting, so can't say how it would look on paper right now, but squirrels were still jumping at the end of the season "way out there" if that means anything. So I'd say that "yes", the 204 Ruger IS a 500 yard rifle, at least this one is...... Hopes this helps a tad.

Rick
 

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The 204 is a devastating round. I have been shooting mine for 3 years or so and love it. The barrel is a Shilen on Rem 700 action. I dropped a coyote last month in it's tracks at a distance somewhere around 450 yds using Berger 40 gn bullets. I held 6" into a light breeze and about 16" hold over for that shot. Granted a PD is a lot smaller and you may have time to play with a range finder and knobs. I didn't for that particular shot.

As to the number of rounds, that depends on how hot you are loading the beast. I have mine loaded down a little bit in an attempt to preserve the barrel some.

As for wind, a 5 mph breeze at the altitudes I hunt will push a bullet about 12 inches at 500 yds for most of the bullets I use. The 204 is very close trajectory and wind wise to my 22-250 loaded with 50 gn V-Max bullets. A 7mm STW with a 140 gn bullet will drift about half of that. As you can see, that is easily the difference between a hit and miss on a prairie dog. But I won't be spending a lot time shooting a 7mm STW at prairie dogs.

I guess I look at it as using prairie targets as an opportunity to sharpen skills. Wind doping is all part of it.

Take it for what it's worth.
 

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The original factory CM barrel on my Savage Mod 12 FV-S .204 Ruger had 1,700 rds through it when I swapped it out for a stainless/fluted Savage barrel purchased from Northlander. It has 2,200 rds through it. Both these barrels were still shooting great when I replaced them (still ready for more use). First try at "long range" was a PD @ 524 yards. Held a bit too much wind on the first shot, but the second shot cut the dog in half:D Have shot a bunch way past that since then and believe the cartridge to be capable of doin' the deed at 1,000. Rifle now wears a Pac-Nor 11-twist NBRSA weight 3-groove that seems to be "willing" to try.
Bob
 

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My Savage 12VLP in .204 Ruger has 1,780 shots down the barrel and it is still mighty accurate. I shoot a lot of prairie dogs, but very seldom try shots much further than 250 to 300, but I have no doubt it will connect on prairie dogs out to 400 and 500 yards.
 

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I know that passion!! (pic)

My personal passion is ground squirrels, PD's, and rock chucks at 'extended range'. Rick
Yep!! I used to live on a ranch in CO where I went out a couple days a week for at least a couple hours or more each time. I built a blind with almost 300 degrees of shooting as far as I could hit anything with a 220 Swift, and got into the habbit of shooting from that blind, almost exclusively.

Needless to say, after a few weeks of that, and the PDs under 300 yards went down for the duration as soon as I showed up, and after a couple rounds - I was often looking out to 500 yards for targets. Adding insult to injury, late summer and fall PDs are pretty skittish, and one shot is about all one is going to get, especially if the PD gets stung by some sand kicked up by the bullet, as you know.

Well, this didn't happen over night. It took a few weeks, but the ranges gradually got longer and longer and the tollerance for near misses got less and less. It became very challenging, and like you, Rick, it became a passion! When I first started shooting PDs, a .223 was my only rifle. But, after ranges got out to 500 yards, and especially with some wind, and I found myself in need of a 220 Swift to "fit the bill".

You ever use one of these????



They are a must have if the terrain becomes quite flat OR if you're shooting PDs on snow! (One shown is a Wild)

P.
 
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