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Elliott

Rebarrel from 223 to 204

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Jeesh! Another thread which deals in little practicality and much theoretical debate!

 

I've been out and tested some .223 rounds for comparison, and there's seemingly sweet b*gger all difference between a 40gr .204 launched at 3600fps and a 39/40gr .224 launched at 3500 fps! 204 Bc's are exaggerated, that's well known. What it boils down to isn't which one is "better", but given that the external and terminal ballistics of both at 200 yds are pretty similar, it's down to which people prefer to shoot, which is more accurate with factory loads (if you don't home load) and what ammo availability there is. It's also down the the fit and ergonomics of the rifle you choose to shoot with too.

 

That seems to be all that matters. Each will have a flat enough trajectory for point and shoot to 250 yds or more with an MPBR zero at 200, so both ideally suited for NV fox control. Vive la difference.

 

The 40gr V-max from a 26 inch barrel easily achieves 3500 fps plus. Hornady claim 3800fps for their factory loads, but I haven't seen that from home loads, so suspect that their MV claims may be a tad optimistic, along with the BC claims, hence advice should be just buy and shoot what you prefer. If you only shoot fox and rabbit for vermin control, perhaps a nice little .204 would make a change from the 223, but there doesn't seem to be an advantage with cost or terminal ballistics.

 

What I would be interested in hearing from those who have bought and use .204's is whether you previously loaded "hot" 40gr V-max or similar in .223 and if so, why would you select the .204 over this option?

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I used a .204 ruger for a good while when they first appeared. That rifle killed several hundred foxes on the lamp. I rarely got runners, and it was laser flat. I found it easier to shoot at night than a .223.

 

I,m sure Laurie will know, but I believe CFE .223 powder was/is the factory load, which has only recently become available to the home loader.

 

remember, BC's will rise along with MV's.

 

Were I ever to go back into serious fox control, without a doubt, I would have another .20 cal.

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Varm,what you say is pretty much what my analyses show. DIfferent ways to skin the same Kat.I'd been through the same 'debate' comparing the 17rem with 222rem-not much in it ,even with cherry picking.Done 'real time' shooting too with both for around 40 years,and some with the three 223s.

I don't see the published factory data as quite 'theoretical'-much is real derived,but I did say that sometimes factory data comes from the use of materials not available to home loaders...and the BC issue is rather old hat,though many don't seem quite to have grasped it fully.

Litz data is empirically tested,and researched via high quality computor simulations-given the quality of such lab research and high spec programs,I'd not be inclined to relegate the results as less reliable/valid than a man with his rifle and a three shot target,with not very well controlled conditions etc (I don't mean that describes your data)-and I specifically said that good field data should be included,where quality is reasonable,and generally we expect it to be consistent with the lab/simulated data...and vice versa.

( as has been noted,F1 use such extensively,and it seems rather successful...I accept of course that Mondeo man cannot contribute at all.)

'Theoretical' really is not the word,if the connotation is that somehow it is divorced from the real world...it may well be that in the real world (of the field shooter with home loads) parameters are sometimes different,and often less well controlled and understandably with very small samples -it's not unusual for such shooters not to agree with each other (why...?).

I even mentioned that the hit% data-based on something like 1000 simulated shots,may not always map onto the very much smaller number of shots actually fired on ranges....but over the full 1000,there will be convergence. (I'm 100% hit on clays at 1000y,but don't expect to hit the next one I shoot at...unless the wind blows it in....:-).

Still,just as with cartridges etc,there is choice (not to say there are real differnces as are sometimes assumed...with things that 'are wellknown' and suchlike-cherry picked at best.) No doubt I am a victim of my 'real time' shooting experience,and I hope my awareness of research and suchlike remains quite closely consistent (subject to some divergences when the real parameters are divergent) which is why I'm not splitting kernels....when the wind dispersal factor is several hundred times greater,and likely to remain so. (Is 'gravity'etc theoretical-I doubt that most have empirically measured it ...well,I did once and it was damn close to the theory...).

Perhaps some of this is about 'personal experience' -well,I must be lucky,mine seems to fit the 'theoretical'(as it seeems others does too-no surprise there...). Basic science method- it's called "testimony'-the results/data others have collected.and reported ..in a way that one can check empirically-generally good testimony is 'replicable'.... Good theory is invaluable,but I'd keep casual use of 'theoretical' for something that has not been tested empirically,and perhaps would be difficult to so test...nice when it all converges-that is essentially 'testimony' to the successful approach of science.Not universal,though-

 

"Prof Mayday,I see that this year's exam questions on Politics are actually identical to those set four years ago"......

"Indeed they are,Professor Factous,but of course the correct answers have changed." :-0

 

g

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"There is an 'inner mental game'-essentially it's attention/focus etc...but it is not an alternate to physics....But I do understand -from that research etc-that humans have some trouble sometimes with evidence etc that does not quite fit with their hopes ,beliefs,investments,and ...err.. Errors..."

 

I like that .

 

 

Exactly

 

Reliable (!) Data is the only way for us to overcome our own 'Confirmation Bias'.

 

I buy a gun. I have an emotional commitment to it and its calibre. So it is hard for me to have an even handed view of its worth and capabilities. Even when I see things I will reinforce the occasions which support my bias and downplay the others.

 

A good example is it is the "it's a 0.5 moa gun - when I do my bit" . After shooting 6 x 3 shot groups with only one being 0.5 moa and all the others being 1.0+. Our bias holds onto the one affirmative result and discards the rest. So we believe our $10 20 year old piece of that which promotes growth and vigour shoots 0.5 moa when it clearly does not and never did with that tupperware stock.

 

So 'real world shooting' is distorted by our own unconscious bias and is unreliable in making judgements.

 

Having said all that, if you want a .204 rather than a .223 just buy it - whyTFnot?

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Here's a 'theoretical' hypothesis (ie one that has not been carefully tested empirically,but is consistent with many field reports:

 

"If 1000 similar foxes (or small vermin) were shot with similar shot placement with similar construction appropriate bullets in similarly loaded ammo(eg SAAMI ) at similar ranges to 250 yards,with rifles in 204Ruger,223Rem,222Rem,222Rem mag ,and 20 Practical/Tactical (and probably 17Rem) there would not be any significant differences in fatal hits,or runners."

 

Some real time shooters might still have preferences,including subjective ones,based on other criteria,and that's OK,so long as they accept the hypothesis if the data support it.

 

gbal

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Exactly

 

Reliable (!) Data is the only way for us to overcome our own 'Confirmation Bias'.

 

I buy a gun. I have an emotional commitment to it and its calibre. So it is hard for me to have an even handed view of its worth and capabilities. Even when I see things I will reinforce the occasions which support my bias and downplay the others.

 

A good example is it is the "it's a 0.5 moa gun - when I do my bit" . After shooting 6 x 3 shot groups with only one being 0.5 moa and all the others being 1.0+. Our bias holds onto the one affirmative result and discards the rest. So we believe our $10 20 year old piece of that which promotes growth and vigour shoots 0.5 moa when it clearly does not and never did with that tupperware stock.

 

So 'real world shooting' is distorted by our own unconscious bias and is unreliable in making judgements.

 

Having said all that, if you want a .204 rather than a .223 just buy it - whyTFnot?

 

 

I think that this is what it all boils down to. Still interested in just why some prefer shooting the 204 to a hot 223 round though. Wouldn't tempt me away as the 223 is used for Muntjac and the one I currently shoot is a joy to use and load for. Maybe this is the real bias...versatility? I do know a couple of guys that switched to .204 and would never go back, but in all fairness, they never did shoot 40gr pills when shooting .223, they shot 50 to 60 gr, so I am sort of left scratching my head.

 

Gbal...yes, I see your point(s) and agree with you. I used to be keen on my road racing and track days, and even had a few tricked out bikes which took all my time up. They weren't as sharp or new, or kitted out with the best suspension, nor were they amongst the most powerful, but the attitude and effort of the pilot often saw them ahead of better machinery. My gear may not have been the latest and greatest but it performed well and I bet I enjoyed every minute as much as the guy with the better machinery, if not more! Now that I'm a family man and getting old (er) I relegate myself to a vee twin tractor and still enjoy it!

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Wouldn't tempt me away as the 223 is used for Muntjac and the one I currently shoot is a joy to use and load for. Maybe this is the real bias...versatility?

 

 

There it is in a nutshell.

 

Just pick a versatile twist rate and chamber it in .223 and you have a supremely versatile rifle whereas with a .204 or similar .20 cal you basically have a one trick pony.

 

Looking back at the history of the .204 Ruger it was developed with the 32gr bullet in mind and the twist rate and parent case was chosen to get this bullet past 4200fps which made it the fastest production round in the world and where the tales of laser flatness came from, once you put the bigger 39/40gr bullet in things slowed down and it became pretty much .223 40gr class. The .20 cal still holds a small ballistic advantage over a 40gr .223 but based on field proven figures is its not a big enough advantage to gain one extra hit/kill over the .223 out to the caliber capable range.

 

Foxing, plinking, rabbits, crows whatever, I can't honestly think of many situations where I would recommend a 20 cal (unless it was purely to shoot 32gr bullets over shorter ranges) over a .223 even in standard factory rifles/twists - go one step further and choose a custom barrel in 8 or 9 twist chambered in .223 and you have a rifle balisticly superior to all but the biggest 20 cal. Only the 20BR with 55gr Bergers will trump the .223 with 77TMKs but even then the Bergers dont expand well so not good for long range vermin even if you can hit them.

 

If you want to shoot 32/40gr bullets out to their capable ranges and have a 20 cal itch then by all means scratch it but at least be clear about exactly what you getting. Its not the wonder caliber the marketing men would have you believe in any way. Ive had a 20BR and I still have a 20 Practical and a 20 Tactical and Ive shot lots of things with them, apart from a few long range crows with the 20BR to 600yds I honestly can't say the other 20 cals haven't achieved anything I haven't done with a .223 i any way, shape or form.

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Al,very substantial agreement-20 cals lack versatility compared to 223 (with better bullets and twist rate0

.

Did you mean (last para..'It's NOT the wonder..."-though it hardly matters what marketing men imply.

 

And (last para). "... 20 cals haven't achieved anything I haven't done with 223..." Is pretty much a real time actual shooting confirmation of my general hypothesis ("no significant differences' )-within the specified parameters.

Theory,extensive ballistic analyses and shooting experience coincide.

Choose sensibly,given shooting needs.

Happy days.

gbal

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Well, I shot alongside my pal's 204 ruger today using 39gr Blitzkings. I was using 53gr V-Max in the 223.

 

8" steel rabbit was at 503 yards in a 15mph wind. The 223 landed just as many, if not more, shots on the target. Based on today's testing I don't see any major advantage other than a flatter trajectory which isn't enough reason to shift for me - we both had to dial (obviously) and both are flat enough out to usual lamping ranges. I think the 53gr V-Max dealt with the wind marginally better.

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I have a slow twist 223 that I use for fox lamping, but I can't help thinking that a 204 would be better for the job.

Reportedly the 204 launches a 40gn bullet about 100fps faster than the 223, and that bullet will have a better BC. According to Quick Target, the trajectories are very similar up to 200 yards, but the 204 is significantly better at 300 yards.

The advantage of 204 over slow twist 223 may be small, but surely undeniable?

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I'm pretty sure based on today's testing that the BC is overrated. Flatter, yes. Reduced wind drift when compared to the slower 53gr V-Max? No.

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so the F1 guys are wasting their time with all that engineering analysis and simulation, it's what the driver feels is happening that counts ??

 

wonder what the Big Data revolution is all about...

 

The answer to your question is - the F1 guys are using data may initially start off theoretically on the drawing board ... however is verified on the track after conducting thousands of hours of testing and analysis.

 

Your analogy is more like , choosing to buy your new car based ONLY on the quoted MPG figures produced by the manufacturers of the vehicle.

We have all seen the ads which claim that their car will do 80 miles to the gallon. <_< Based on these , I should be putting £10 a week in my car ---- but I'm not. :wacko: So personally I would far rather hear about REAL world performance, than people quoting ballistics that are known to be dodgy.

 

So while the 204 is a fine calibre and I am not knocking it ( I have had 2 of them) So what ACTUALLY does the 204 give you over the 223 ????

its certainly not a big step up in ballistic performance.

 

The 223 has far more versatility than the 204 in my experience .. and that why both custom barrelled 204's were resigned to history ... and why my trusty old Tikka 595 is still knocking Charlie over.

So what has the 223 got over the 204.

 

  • Far better selection of rifles and twist rates.
  • Far more bullets - weights and designs to suit all disciplines 30 grn to 90 grn
  • A range of very high BC bullets// 77 grn TMK's - 75 grn Amax ect
  • More choice of reloading components - and easier / cheaper to get hold of.
  • More barrel life - less throat erosion.
  • Hits harder - a 55 grn pill has more thump and knockdown power than a 32/ 40 grn pill - even if the 22 bullet is going slower

 

ATB

S

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I have a slow twist 223 that I use for fox lamping, but I can't help thinking that a 204 would be better for the job.

Reportedly the 204 launches a 40gn bullet about 100fps faster than the 223, and that bullet will have a better BC. According to Quick Target, the trajectories are very similar up to 200 yards, but the 204 is significantly better at 300 yards.

The advantage of 204 over slow twist 223 may be small, but surely undeniable?

 

 

Hi Guesty.

I thought the same thing -- several years ago.

 

I compared my 204 directly against my 223 many times - both shooting 40 grn bullets at around the 3750 fps mark.

There was a 1 inch of drop more at 400 yrds with the 223 . Both calibres needed to be dialled in, so the differences were negligible in the field.

 

I wondered HOW can this be ???? . the 204 should be miles better.

 

I did a lot of testing and investigation by shooting the bullets from the 204 and 223 over 2 crono's and measuring the velocity drop over different distances (out to 300 yrds).

The actual BC of the 20 cal bullets was about 0.240. in comparison, the Nosler 40 grn 0.224 bullets were pretty bang on 0.230 ...mystery solved. The 20 cal pills had a Bullsh1t BC.

 

One more thing to comment on --- It far more common to see a 204 shooting around the 3700 fps mark with a 39/40 grn bullet -- than it is at 3900 fps.

If you plot the true figures - (3700fps with a bullet BC of 0.240) - all of a sudden it doesn't seem such a wonder cal.

 

 

 

MYTH BUSTED

 

 

 

 

ATB

S

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Thanks for that, you have saved me a lot of bother and cost of changing cartridge.

If the benefit is hardly tangible then it isn't worth the effort.

I do fancy something with a bit more go than 223 for point and squirt foxes, but that only really leaves 22/250 which doesn't float my boat.

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Thanks for that, you have saved me a lot of bother and cost of changing cartridge.

If the benefit is hardly tangible then it isn't worth the effort.

I do fancy something with a bit more go than 223 for point and squirt foxes, but that only really leaves 22/250 which doesn't float my boat.

 

 

Had you considered 22BR?

 

Its great with light bullets for point and squirt. :)

 

If you put an 8 or 9 twist on it then it also becomes a real long range varminter as well.

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Now I do like the sound of that.

I have a 6BR being rebarrelled at the moment and a 22 would compliment it nicely.

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Hmmmm

 

what sort of range are we realistically talking about? If "point and squirt" is the end game, then 240yds MPBR with a 77gr TMK in 223, slightly more with a higher charge (260 yds with the second of my preferred loadings) is what i have tested with these given a 200 yd zero. That's point and squirt, surely? 2.4 inch drop at 240 yds and 2.2inches high at 120 yards. Slightly better (flatter) with the 69TMK to 250 yds thanks to higher velocity. The 77gr figures quoted are using the Litz tested G7 BC of 0.202 (verified by measuring drops/speed) and at a lowly 2650 fps MV. I have a load which generates more than 100fps more but really, the advantages are marginal and accuracy for my .223 is better with the lower load.

 

Most people wont be taking 300 yd shots in the dark, and if they are, they'd better be really sure of their backstops and who else might be about! For daylight shooting, any cal will likely be dialled much beyond 250 yards, as holdover just doesn't cut it at elevated distances unless using a bdc ret, or millhas/dot tested for the load and you know your exact placements at distance. I dial for everything now as with exposed tactical turrets, and a rangefinder, it takes seconds to dial (pre-determined dialling points already on a cheat card for distance and windage) aim and squeeze the trigger.

 

If it all boils down to is just wanting something different which does the same job, then why not? Go for it. Personally, I value versatility over anything else when it comes to the smaller cals, so the only consideration when choosing something different would be "will it be versatile enough to get used a lot or, for example, will it sit in the cabinet when it's windy or there's need for longer range or more energy retained at range?"

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300 yards would be an absolute and unlikely maximum when lamping, and most shots would be around 200 yards. Ranging and factoring in 2+" hold under & over or twiddling turrets isn't an option when foxing. In my experience the less to think about the better, and mid chest, or top of back / head aim points are about as much as I would want to consider.

Apologies to the OP for derailing the thread.

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Varm,agreed. Allthe evidence ('theory',lab testing,field shooting). Comes to the same bottom line-all the likely suspects are very similar to 250 yards on small vermin/gongs etc. I sho t 222rem for years,then prefered-for rabbit- the 17Rem-it just had minimal recoil disruption of reticle view at 24x (I like to see the target,don't care about the surrounding view more than 20 yards away (given it is clear/safe).The 17 was also uber terminal (not that the 222 was hit or miss!) Later the 223 was fine too-and a bit more versatile,but I had more of a golf bag view then-usethe best cartridge for the job-rifle twist comes in,and any one barrel can only have one twist! 20 cal is right in there,and for thread relevance,taking Guesty's pointson board,rebarreling won't make. Much effective ballistic difference-indulge your whim!

The next step up was the 22/250 and the 243,getting a bit over kill in 6mm though,and recoil substantially more (sight picture).Then the 22 and 6PPCs came along,offering superior accuracy at somewhat greater distance-350+?...heavier rifles,helped recoil.Then the 6BR which could do all this out to 600y (over twice the effective range for 17/222and for most223s)-and with 40x mag/heavy rifles a joy to shoot. (And of course,closer in was a gimme).

Some distance versatility comes with more pop,and a few cartridges -see above-oblige with accuracy as well-near guaranteed-not just 3/5 hits on a good day. Now,I might only have a light 6BR if carrying,for all small vermin (out to 600Y)...and that is pretty versatile (even for small deer,at sensible range,if one must). Alternatively,we can have more than one club in the ...locker room,rather than golf bag,but there isn't much really between the '250 yard' contenders;the 'more than that' contenders neeed a little more consideration.Beyond 600,it's bigger targets that begin to figure as muchin the choice-even for 3/5 hits -unless of course,our afficionado is indeeed "shooting the breeze"

(Remember the 22rf is 'dangerous within a mile'-it used to say so on he box...it's just not possible to say what specifically might be in danger,with any confidence - rabbit?,barn door?? Housing estate???). :-)

gbal

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300 yards would be an absolute and unlikely maximum when lamping, and most shots would be around 200 yards. Ranging and factoring in 2+" hold under & over or twiddling turrets isn't an option when foxing. In my experience the less to think about the better, and mid chest, or top of back / head aim points are about as much as I would want to consider.

Apologies to the OP for derailing the thread.

 

 

Then really, there's no meaningful difference between a 223 and 204 depending on the 223 load. 32gr with a 204 zero for 200 yards is over 4 inches down at 300 yards, so holdover or dialling is needed as it would be for 223. At between 150 and 200 yds is where the 204 using high velocity factory loadings can be point and shoot with less than an inch difference in POI between 150 and a 200 zero, with trajectory apex at about 130 yds/0.8 inches.

 

223 using 77gr heavies would be 2 inches up at around 120 yds given a 200 yd zero, or using 40gr Vmax, you'd have a 1.3 inch apex and be down at 300 yards by only one inch more than the .204 given a conservative 3550fps MV.

 

The 223 comes into its own in the wind using higher BC bullets and at range. The 77TMKs allow for 750 yard capability retaining plenty of energy at that. The 204, much less so at those sort of distances.

 

Looking at those figures, I think I'd take a fast twist 223 over a 204 personally, but it boils down to personal preference and why not have something different? 22BR would be fun and accurate plus has the advantage of benefiting from the large range of .224 bullets.

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I agree that there seems to be little difference between the 204 and 223 40gn loads when taking anecdotal evidence into account. I prefer to keep the trajectory up to an inch above sight line at most, and the heavy 69+gn 223 loads would have too much of a pronounced trajectory for foxing.

I appreciate that heavy 223 offers 'jack of all trades' versatility, which must be attractive for owner wanting it to do everything, but I have plenty of other kit for vermin deer etc, and am looking for the 'master' for foxing at 300 yards maximum.

To get significantly better fox lamping performance than 223 I would have to step up to a larger case such as 22/250, 22BR etc.

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I agree that there seems to be little difference between the 204 and 223 40gn loads when taking anecdotal evidence into account. I prefer to keep the trajectory up to an inch above sight line at most, and the heavy 69+gn 223 loads would have too much of a pronounced trajectory for foxing.

I appreciate that heavy 223 offers 'jack of all trades' versatility, which must be attractive for owner wanting it to do everything, but I have plenty of other kit for vermin deer etc, and am looking for the 'master' for foxing at 300 yards maximum.

To get significantly better fox lamping performance than 223 I would have to step up to a larger case such as 22/250, 22BR etc.

 

I agree Matt, but change the 69gr 223 to a 40gr and it would have the inch or so max you're looking for either way out to about 240 yards, so should tick that box. Sounds like you're after something a bit different, so why not a 22BR?

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SAAMI ammunition so comparable-any could be hot loaded a bit,so relatives similarities/differences preserved:

 

Fps mv 100y. 200y. 300y

 

204r 40g 3900 .7 0 -4.3

3750. .8 0 -4.7

3625. 1.0 0. -5.5

 

223 40g. 3800. .9. 0. -5.5

3600. 1.1. 0. -6.3

3400. 1.3. 0. -7

 

223 69g. 2950. 1.8. 0. -8.1

2900. 1.8. 0. -8.4

2850. 1.9. 0. 8.3

 

223. 77g. 2750. 2. 0. -8.6

 

22-250 40g. 4150. .6. 0. -4.5

 

The slight 'anomalies' are because the BC's can vary a little,between loadings/same bullet weight.

All have enough energy,the a bit more never does much harm to effectiveness.

This is not 'anecdatal' and there is clear consistency,allowing comparability remains if any are loaded hotter-so long as comparisons are also loaded 'hotter'.Range of MVs to indicate MV effect ball park.

 

Nobody is getting to 300y with only 2 inches drop,or three,or four for that matter,but 204 (and 22/250) comes closest.

10 mph wind at 300 is about 8 inches for40g 204;12+ for 223 with 40g,with 69 its about 10,and 77 about 9.40g 22/250 its10".

 

Everyone is at least partly right.

 

General points seem to hold-nothing much in it to 230/240.A bit by 300,if stick to low trajectory;wind is an issue for all-BC starts to be an issue beyond 250y and BC issues change the detail a bit,so room for wriggle any which way.

I still like the 22 Middlestead figures,now available with standard 55g 243 @3850 (.8,0.-5 and 9" drift)-though needless nightime energy and muzzle lift (presumably these are very close in 204,223w).

 

gbal

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Gbal, can those figure be relied upon? They show the 204 whups the 223 at middling speeds with 50% less drift and 25% less drop even before 204 trajectory is adjusted for a max of 1" above line of sight.

The general consensus here from those who have had both is the difference is negligible in the field, but your figures show the 204 does have a significant advantage.

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Gbal, can those figure be relied upon? They show the 204 whups the 223 at middling speeds with 50% less drift and 25% less drop even before 204 trajectory is adjusted for a max of 1" above line of sight.

The general consensus here from those who have had both is the difference is negligible in the field, but your figures show the 204 does have a significant advantage.

The 204 BC seems very exaggerated so I'd take that with a pinch from of salt straight away.

 

Flatter trajectory is the only advantage as far as I could tell, but as I've said along with a few others, it only becomes an advantage when dialing or range estimation is difficult (at night). Even then, most shots would be sub 200 yards and both the 223 and 204 are pretty flat out to those ranges.

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