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.204 is the "next best thing" and has been for several years now.  However, 223 has been around a long time for very good reason.  I've resisted the urge to jump ship from .223 as loaded with 40gr projectiles, it almost matches the zippy performance of the .204 but it's easier to find factory ammo for, reloading is cheap and you have the added advantage on those windy days that at 300 to 400 yds, it's less affected by wind if using heavier projectiles. Mine drives 69gr TMKs (great for fox) at over 3000 fps in a 1/8 twist.  You won't find a more versatile .22 calibre.  The .204 is really more of a one horse trick...crow/fox/rabbit to 300 yds in light to moderate breeze and great with night vision as a point and shoot calibre to 250 yds.  If the wind steps up or you get a chance of a Roe (in Scotland) you'll wish you'd brought a 223 with you.  I'd probably steer you towards the 223 route and develop several loads for it (light and zippy and heavier longer range. 55gr is a good compromise for fox/deer).  You can even get them in lovely little short action mini mauser actions (CZ527).

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I was in this position a few years ago when moving up from rimfire to center fire and i thought a 22 hornet would be all I need for some longer range crows. My first response when some one said why not just get a 223 was that it was more than i was after "overkill"..............its the best advice anyone has ever given me. I loved the centre fire and moved on to fox, Scottish Roe,longer range gongs, and targets for fun i could not have done ALL this with a lesser caliber. You could argue for a dedicated fox rig the .204 would be great and many love them but im sure you CF shooting will develop. 

We are all going through this journey just some are further down the line than others. If i was starting again i would go straight to a 1/8 twist tikka super varment in 223, factory trigger is good and easy to work on if required, I quite like the stock its perfectly good enough, its not too heavy. I also like the sound of the CZ short action mention above a good option. Plenty of other options a different price points but the 1/8 or 1/9 (CZ) is important for the heavier loads. If you go 2nd hand get it checked out before you part with the cash if you know nothing about the rifle. 

easy to load for (which i now do and never thought i would when starting out) shed loads of factory ammo with all the bullet types you need and the 1/8 will stabilise the heavier end which will be helpful in bucking the wind. 

Good luck with what ever you end up with.

Sam

 

 

 

 

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But also the 6mm comments on this post are completely justified. as it would do your primary request well (fox) but also a perfect Roe round and legal in England. You would have all bases covered. I have one for this but i dont know your situation. 

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Well guys, I’ve bought a .204 ?.   A used Howa 1500 with a grs stock and a t8 mod.   

Thanks for all your input & advice, I thought I’d give it a shot and if I wanted to move up/across, I’ll get a 223 next

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On 7/29/2018 at 8:17 PM, ronniedodds89 said:

Well guys, I’ve bought a .204 ?.   A used Howa 1500 with a grs stock and a t8 mod.   

Thanks for all your input & advice, I thought I’d give it a shot and if I wanted to move up/across, I’ll get a 223 next

You won't be disappointed! 

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On 7/11/2018 at 4:43 PM, David Hancock said:

I sold my bug holing Howa 1500 .223 for a .17 Hornet - testing on Friday - and a 6.5 Creedmoor, this after having a "blueprinted .204 which would not hit the proverbial barn door.

There is a lot to be said for a (smaller) deer legal varminting .223 shooting 40gn Vmax - 55gn Sako gameheads..

Something wrong with a 204 shooting like that,  I had a 22.250 years ago that was pretty poor.   223 is a sweet caliber I would agree especially with a fast twist.  

A

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