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Whats your favorite 204 load?
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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Warnberg
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Joined: Nov 28, 2010
Posts: 17
Location: Tampa, Florida

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 11:46 am    Post subject: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

I just got a new toy and am trying to work up a load for it.
I got a Ruger Mark II target .204, 26" barrel, all stainless...

I was thinking about using 28gr varget, cci 400 primer and the hornady 32gr Vmax with a COAL of 2.250....

Anyone what to share their favorite 204 load?

Thanks

Dave

[img]http://www.huntingnut.com/index.php?name=coppermine&file=displayimagepopup&pid=2319&fullsize=1[/img]
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44marty
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Joined: Mar 20, 2009
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Location: Cheshire, MA; USA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

I have the exact same rifle. It loves IMR 3031 and IMR 4895 powders, with the edge going to the 3031. Both of these powders with 39 gr Sierra Blitz King bullets. Mine wasn't as accurate with Varget. The 32 gr bullets (both Sierra and Hornady) were only slightly less accurate than the 39 gr, and all three of the bullets mentioned were better than the 40 gr Hornady.

Using CCI 450 primers (sm rifle mag) was best. I highly recommend the Nosler custom brass. Bulk Rem brass is OK in a pinch.

By far, the best 2 loads were 25.6 gr of IMR 3031 , C.O.L. 2.257" with the 39 gr Blitz King and 2.3 gr (EDIT: 27.3 gr )of IMR 4895, C.O.L. 2.250" also with the 39 gr Blitz King. The chrono results were 3910 fps for the 3031 load and with the 4895 powder I was getting 3840 fps.

The best load for the 32 gr bullets (Blitz King and Hornady V-Max were about equal) was 26.5 gr IMR 3031 with a C.O.L. of 2.235" to 2.240". These were travelling at 4065 fps (10 feet from the muzzle).

I used the OCW method to come up with these loadings, then fine tuned C.O.L.. With almost all powders tried (there were MANY) I found a definite trend. The .204 cartridge absolutely loves slightly compressed powder loads combined with magnum primers.

My favorite targets:

Picking "kill shots" at 60 yards on 1" high by 2" long bears.

<img i840.photobucket.com/a...s1X2in.jpg /img>

Three shot 0.00" group at 125 yards. I intentionally held a bit low and left with the 4th shot, because I couldn't believe what I was seeing after the first 3. Sure enough, 4 shots into the backstop.

<img i840.photobucket.com/a...4Group.jpg /img>

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The strength of the wolf is in the pack; the strength of the pack is in the wolf. ~ R. Kipling

I LOVE YOU, LADY LUCK !!!


Last edited by 44marty on Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:32 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Grumulkin
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:56 am    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote



My favorite load.







A deer with that load; 252 yards.
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Warnberg
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

Thank you
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HayCreek
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Joined: Sep 10, 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

Don't use the CCI 400 primers. They're too soft for the pressures the .204 develops. Anything over 40,000 psi and you should move up to CCI 450, Rem 7 1/2 BR and the like.
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:13 am    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

The "standard" and "magnum" primer difference is the amount of "spark", not the pressure rating. Looking in the Speer #14 manual I see that most loads for the .223, .222, .222 Mag, etc. (they don't list the .204) are using CCI 400. Only a few of the powders require the 450.

CCI's primer usage chart:
www.cci-ammunition.com..._chart.htm

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"I ain't no better than anyone else, and there ain't no one better than me!" Ma Kettle

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Grumulkin
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Joined: Apr 16, 2007
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Location: Central Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:51 am    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

HayCreek wrote:
Don't use the CCI 400 primers. They're too soft for the pressures the .204 develops. Anything over 40,000 psi and you should move up to CCI 450, Rem 7 1/2 BR and the like.

You're pretty wrong there. ANY small rifle primer will work just fine in the 204 Ruger and CCI primers tend to be harder than the others.
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44marty
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

I disagree, Grumulkin (one of the very few times I have disagreed with one of your posts) - I tried both small rifle and small rifle MAGNUM primers. The magnum primers definitely gave better groups and more consistent chrono results. CCI 450 and Rem 7 1/2 BR are my go-to primers for the .204
The Hornady and Lyman manuals list Rem 7 1/2 primers, the Sierra and Nosler use Fed 205M, all magnum primers.

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The strength of the wolf is in the pack; the strength of the pack is in the wolf. ~ R. Kipling

I LOVE YOU, LADY LUCK !!!
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HayCreek
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Joined: Sep 10, 2011
Posts: 36
Location: Central ND

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:12 am    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

There's no pressure rating to speak of for primers. I was referring to the pressure developed in the cartridge. The other difference in primers besides "spark" is the cup thickness. The 400's are thinner than the 450's hence more susceptible to pressure.

I'm speaking from practical experience. Tried using them in my .204 during load development. Worked fine with 26 gr. bullets until the higher end of the load. 32 gr and 40 gr bottom-end loads were cratering severely. Did some research to find out why. Came up with lots of guys having similar problems and this:

www.jamescalhoon.com/p...essure.php

But, hey, use what you want. For me, the safety factor is more than worth the difference in price.
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Grumulkin
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

I have also tried a variety of primers and the ones I use work well with my load. It's true accuracy may vary with different primers but that doesn't make one unsuitable per se. There is also no danger with using any type of small rifle primer you like for your 204 Ruger loads provided you keep pressures at the proper specs. for that cartridge.
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HayCreek
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Whats your favorite 204 load? Reply with quote

Apparently you didn't read my last post. "Bottom end loads"... meaning the loads on the lower half of the published load tables. I don't load hot. I load for accuracy and watch my pressure signs as I work up the loads.

Glad the 400's work well for you. Wasn't saying they won't. Just that I won't use 'em and wouldn't recommend others use them, either. Rem 7 1/2s work just fine and have a thicker cup.

Like I said, use what you want. Your gun, your eyes, your hands.
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