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204 Ruger lead free varmint load starting point


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#1 goosebrown

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 08:39 AM

Leaning to Hornady NTX 30 gr or Nosler BT Lead Free 32 gr. Not selected powder at this point. Any opinions?Found recommendations for Varget (not that many) IMR 4198, 4895 and Hodgdon 355, 322 and Winchester 748.Better ideas? Looking for accurate more than fast although fast is fine of course.I have not reloaded in 20 years and have no community to check with so all advice comment welcome.Going lead free so I only have one load regardless of where I am going to shoot.

#2 Baja_Traveler

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 11:21 AM

I settled on RL10x powder for my .204, it gave me tighter groups than Varget or 4895. Every gun is different, so if you are after total accuracy you'll have to make up a pattern board, spend a day at the range and start at the low end and shoot groups in increments up to the max load. I went 2 tenths of a grain and shot groups of 5, some go half a grain and groups of 3... In the end when you examine the target you'll see the groups rise and fall in size dependent on what the gun likes (assuming you held up your end at the bench). It's amazing how 2 tenths of a grain can make the difference from a 1 inch or larger group to a half inch group. I picked the smallest group with the least powder to make an economical load. I know that at 100 yards my rifle is capable of a 5 shot group that can be covered with a dime, so any other result is because of the knucklehead behind the scope!Gotta hit the gunshow tomorrow and pick up some more RL10X...

#3 goosebrown

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:15 PM

Another question. I have settled on the Varmint Grenade at 26 grains because I can find good load data and price was great from Midway. My question is on seating the bullet. I have heard that with some of the all copper bullets in some calibers, you are advised to back the bullet off so there is some space from the bullet to the lands. Should I do that? Any advice on distance to seat the bullet down? My plan for now is to go in 1/2 grain increments from 26 to 28 grains of Benchmark and to seat the bullets to the lands. I can double my initial loads and back half of them off if everyone or anyone thinks its a good idea. Comments?

#4 Colin

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:22 PM

The Varmint Grenade is not "technically" an all copper bullet, same with the Nosler. They have a copper/tin alloy as the core. I don't think the all copper (seating them off the lands) applied to those bullets, but I am not completely sure on that. I have used the 36gr Varmint Grenade in my .223 and am not completely satisfied with their performance on coyote sized game...huge entry holes and no exits...Although they have killed the coyotes I have shot, I worry about raking shots, etc. I have used the Nosler E-Tips in several calibers and, yes, the jump to the lands greatly increases accuracy for me. By the way I love 10X for my .223.

#5 gmoney

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:25 PM

no good luck with the vg's here.... my cz will not shoot better than 3/4 inch no matter what powder I used, I lucked out and got 500 balistic tips lead free today and I am gonn use them, my cz shoots hornady factory ammo about a hair under 1/2 almost 3/8 groups, not real good for 300 yard jacks not very explosiveBrandon

#6 goosebrown

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:34 PM

Damn. Thanks guys that is quick. I am not going to worry then for the first go round. I am going for ground squirrels so I reckon almost anything that actually hits them is going to do the trick, there just isn't that much space for a superficial wound. I wanted Noslers too but price and I am flat out broke now... LOL. Still I have lots of ammo! Or will have.

#7 gmoney

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:50 PM

at least for me the wounds were not superficial out to 225yds when the vg found its target it was terminal... it was just not explosive like a balistic tip or a spear tnt or comparable bullet in a fast 22 cartridge. I want my varmint rounds to cut them in two pices out to 225 yards, thats how I like my stuff personallyTry the vg's you could find a load for you, you never know till you try

#8 ratassassin

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 08:01 AM

Resurrecting this old thread to see if any of you guys have had any more recent experiences reloading .204 Ruger. Thinking about getting one and reloading for it. From what I've read, Hornady's factory ammo runs faster than what handloaders can achieve because of the proprietary powder Hornady is using. Are any of you getting over 4,000 fps with a 32 gr handloaded bullet? What sort of performance are you getting these days in terms of accuracy, range, favorite loads, bullets and powder?

#9 Frank

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 09:09 AM

Rat, when I had my 204 Remmy(of course/lol), it drove tacks with the 39 grain Sierra's behind 25grs of RL10X... One of, if not thee very best powders for this caliber in our testing. If I remember right I finally settled on Benchmark powder, but can't recall the charge. Believe 27grs(?). I believe it was Benchmark that also produces the fastest velocity at a chronographed velocity of around 3740 fps from a 26" barrel... SLOWER than my 223 & 28.5 grs of Benchmark with the 40gr Nosler at 3774 fps. B.C. is better with the 204, but only BARELY & will see little to no bullet drop difference at the rifle range at various distances; Depending on the distance! I also tested Hornady's 32 & 40 grain factory ammo. While velocity was very good & could not be duplicated with handloads, it still fell well short of their advertised velocities. And again we were using 26" barrels. I no longer have the records as they went with the rifle when I sold it. Anyway, if my memory serves me right, velocities were somewhere around 150-200 fps slower than advertised. Also, in 3 of our 204's, the Hornady factory ammo's accuracy was only fair... at best! The 32grainers were more accurate, again, if I remember right. The 204 has a HUGE following, but I am not one of them. With the exception of the lighter bullets for rats etc, the 204 has nothing over the 223 with their 39 & 40 grain bullets that are normally used for coyotes. Also, in our testing, we found the 204 extremely picky on what handloads it liked, with few bullet weight choices available in the 204 caliber. UNlike the 223 that has a huge number of bullet and powder choices that most, if not all, works great in.Oh, almost forgot... Yes, I got a tad over 4,000 fps with the 32gr bullet and Benchmark powder. However, the accuracy was not anywhere near as good as with the 39 gr Sierra bullets. I cannot recall any other handloads with the 32 gr bullet, as I quickly gave up on it and the 40gr bullets, due to the inferrior accuracy we were getting. But that could have been just us of course. Sorry for the "Book", and good luck in your decisionFrank

#10 Divernhunter

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 03:07 PM

In my savage 204ruger varmit rifle using 32gr V-Max bullets I get right at(just slightly better than)4000FPS over my chrono using Benchmark. It is very accurate. Ground squirrels hate it.

#11 ratassassin

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 08:16 PM

Thanks, gents.Frank, the detail was very helpful. Surprised to hear your .204 velocities were lower than .223 Rem. Man, you're cranking with those 40 grain Noslers doing 3774 in your .223 Rem. With my .223 Rem varmint rifle (Sako action, Krieger SS fluted 26" barrel, 1:14 twist), I'm getting 3686 fps with Barnes 36 grain Varmint Grenades and H335, and 3456 fps with 40 grain V-Max and H335. Really happy with both of those loads as they shoot .40" 5-shot groups at 100 yards. Divern, sounds like you've got a good recipe. Are you using a maximum (or hotter) load of Benchmark to get to 4000 fps? And what is your Savage varmint rifle's barrel length?

#12 Divernhunter

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Posted 05 March 2011 - 10:03 PM

Not sure about the barrel lenght but it is factory. The load comes from Sierria Bullets for the 32gr bullet and is the "Accuracy Load" but it is max if I remember correctly. It is 27.9grs of Benchmark.




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