Question for those with both 223 and 204

Guesty

Well-Known Member
Can you really determine any significant external ballistic performance difference between the two for mid range vermin and foxing?
I have a 223 but am thinking of adding a 204, but would I notice any improvement in wind drift and trajectory out to say 350 yards? Yes, I can understand the online specs of each and note the generally higher advertised BCs and velocities of the 204, but plenty say those BCs figures are imaginary and unobtainable.
I have a 204 itch that I really want to scratch, but would I be satisfied? Maybe I should stop mincing about and just get a 22-250 which I know has a lot more go than the 223. Whaddya reckon?
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I have both. A couple in each, actually. At least I have two 204's: A TikkaT3 Lite and a CZ Varmint. I have a basket full of 223s. For three hundred fifty yards on fox, I'm not certain i'd break the bank switching from 223 to 204. I guess though, that it would largely depend on what twist 223 and what bullet you are using.

The BC's aren't unobtainable in the 204. It's the velocities. Few handloaders get to that magical 4000 fps. I know that i shoot 40 grainers at about the same speed as those from 223. The BC is higher in the 20 cal, generally speaking, so it does shoot somewhat flatter. You can satisfy your curiosity by doing some digging and coming up with the BC's of the bullet s ou are thinking of shooting. Look at data and pick relative speeds. Plug these into a free ballistic program like Hornady's, You'll have your answer.~Muir
 

Guesty

Well-Known Member
I have both. A couple in each, actually. At least I have two 204's: A TikkaT3 Lite and a CZ Varmint. I have a basket full of 223s. For three hundred fifty yards on fox, I'm not certain i'd break the bank switching from 223 to 204. I guess though, that it would largely depend on what twist 223 and what bullet you are using.

The BC's aren't unobtainable in the 204. It's the velocities. Few handloaders get to that magical 4000 fps. I know that i shoot 40 grainers at about the same speed as those from 223. The BC is higher in the 20 cal, generally speaking, so it does shoot somewhat flatter. You can satisfy your curiosity by doing some digging and coming up with the BC's of the bullet s ou are thinking of shooting. Look at data and pick relative speeds. Plug these into a free ballistic program like Hornady's, You'll have your answer.~Muir
Good idea, thanks for the info. I didn't know Hornady had an online ballistic app and it's a very useful tool.
I just compared my 1:12" twist 223 with the 53gn Vmax which can be pushed to about 3300fps to a 204 with the 40gn Vmax at 3600fps. Out to 400 yards which TBH would be beyond what I could ever need, the 204 does have a slight advantage in drop of 2" and drift of 1" in a 10mph cross wind. But that only works out to half a minute drop and quarter minute drift advantage and my shooting errors would already be greater than that.
It would seem that though the 204 does have the edge on a slow twist 223 it is not significant enough for me to notice.
I just ran the numbers for a 22-250 with the 53gn Vmax at 3800fps and that has a three quarter minute drop and drift advantage over the 223. Better but not mind blowing.
I need to either invent a laser, or spend time learning the drop and drift of the 223!
 

old keeper

Well-Known Member
I was quite pleased with the 204 I was about to buy but when I tried my 223 with some Hornady 40grn V-Max doing around 3800 it shot them so well it seemed pointless changing. Plus the fact there are so many ammunition options with the 223.
So for me it's 223 every time.
 

Guesty

Well-Known Member
I was quite pleased with the 204 I was about to buy but when I tried my 223 with some Hornady 40grn V-Max doing around 3800 it shot them so well it seemed pointless changing. Plus the fact there are so many ammunition options with the 223.
So for me it's 223 every time.
I'm happy with my 223 too but was just thinking about adding a 204 for NV. I still may but was surprised to see the advantage it has was so small.
There are quite a few who claim it ballistically beats the 22-250, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
 

big ears

Well-Known Member
Hi I had both and have recently traded in my 223 and kept the 204. As you say they are pretty much identical but for me the 204 I was able to head shoot rabbits at about 100-200 yards with such accuracy that it replaced my 17HMR. At 350 yards I think that 223 probably has the edge over the 204. 204 is excellent at 250 but can suffer with wind drift a little bit beyond then. As Muir said I home load and I get about 3700 out of my 204. It is quieter than the 223 and less recoil and therefore you can have a lighter rifle and is much more enjoyable to shoot. Each to their own either a 223 or a 204 will do you well.
 

bobjs

Well-Known Member
Guesty

go for it bud,

the 223 is a nice tool for what it is but for me the 20 cal wins every time, I have never looked back since I had my first 20 cal, now I am on my 2nd and 3rd, the tikka (number 3) has the NV on it and its superb and I took my longest fox the other night with it out at 305 yards here on the estate at the bottom of Beacon hill, I doubt I will surpass this as this is not the ranges that I push it to, 250 is my max range but this lad has been a pain in the Rs for a long time and now its done I have kept the head keeper very happy,

I like the fact that with the flat'ish trajectory and good BC for me its ideal for NV, I also sill have (number 2, 20 cal) and used that for longer shots in the day time, I have been shooting bunnies/corvids out to 400+ with that too. I am not a great fan of the .223 but as mentioned the ammo selection/availability is very good, but for topping bunnies and NV shooting for me the 20 cal wins every time.

enjoy, and if your reloading DON'T try and get the Velocities they say as you will not get there, just get it shooting true and sweet with a mild load and you don't need anything more other than a target.

regards and hope all is well.

bob.
 

Guesty

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your input Bob.
I will end up with a 204 one day, but the logical part of me says it should replace the 223 rather than supplement it.
 

bobjs

Well-Known Member
Thanks for your input Bob.
I will end up with a 204 one day, but the logical part of me says it should replace the 223 rather than supplement it.
if you have a calibre north of the 223, then IMO: give the 204 a run, like some of my 204/20 cal knocking mates who have all got shot of a 223,22/250 and a 222, seem to have spent their hard earned on a ....... 204,

bob
 

sir-slots-alot

Well-Known Member
I have owned 204 and 223 - run them , and tested them side by side.
Initially I was caught up in the " flatter than a 22.250" hype spewed out by the manufacturers and obviously very impressed with the stated Velocities and /BC given for the 204's
On paper its ballisticaly as good as a 22.250 - and a country mile ahead of the 223.

However , after hours and hours comparing drops - drift and testing the quoted BC.... I figured out the issue ... The BC's of the 20 cal bullets are inflated --- and the Velocities stated are difficult to achieve. (safely). This doesn't detract from the calibre - it is actually a lovely sweet flat shooting round with plenty of hitting power for LR vermin or foxes..... BUT IT IS VERY CLOSELY MATCHED TO A 223 WHEN SHOOTING A 40 GRN PILL.


IME of owning both , the 223 is much more versatile and the heavier bullets (50 grn +) DO hit with more authority. An off the shelf 8 twist 223 will enable you to zip a 40 gn pill fast and flat - or launch an 80 grn high BC bullet for LR applications.

Some things to consider in favour of the 223

1. There are more makes and types of rifles available
2. There are more barrel twist rates available.
3. There are far more bullet choices.
4. Reloading components are cheaper and more available.
5. Barrel life is better.
6. usually they are easier to move on second hand.


For the 204. ... it really only has one benefit that I can think of .... it is slightly flatter shooting using the same weight bullet... (in my tests -- my 204 dropped just over an inch less than my 223 at 400 yrds).

Anyway - I sold my 204 - kept my 223.... there just wasn't enough between them.


Good luck with your decision

ATB
Alan
 

Guesty

Well-Known Member
Thanks all for your input.
So it seems that whilst the 204 is a capable round it is not a death ray, or even quite a 22-250, and is more or less similar to a 223.
This stands to reason as it has a slightly greater case capacity, but slightly less bullet base area to push against. So bullets of the same weight will be driven to similar speeds. That 204 bullet will have a slightly better BC, but at the ranges I would be shooting at I would probably not notice.
I'll buy one eventually, no doubt, but I shall limit my expectations.
 

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