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.204 reloading and general

21 Feb 2013
@ 02:21 am (GMT)

jason brown

for a while iv wanted a small calibre long range varmint/practice rifle, mate for my sendero.
and a small calibre to re-load for.
i wanted the same action and stock so the two rifles felt the same.
the remington vssf is just that, in short action. but i wanted a fast twist 22-250 or fast 6mm.
but i would next to never find that second hand.
so at this stage im about to get a second hand vssf in .204
i would like to re-barrel it in one of the fast twists, but at this stage i dont have the money.

so im wondering about powders and primers others have had good luck with. its the standard 1:12 twist, so i also wonder if others can stabbilize the 40 grain projectiles in this twist.
any other .204 tips would be nice too.



21 Feb 2013
@ 08:03 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general

I am not really into the sub calibers Jason as I do not like the wind drift- so not much help with reloading the .204 sorry. It is not something I would pursue beyond basic reloading manual recipes and standard projectiles. I have no tricks for this cartridge.

Have you considered a .223 firing proper long range bullets. You mention wanting to stretch out- but the BC's of the .204 in question are akin to the .30-30. A simple T3 .223 rifle has an ideal twist rate, recoil is light enough and heat is low enough that you don't have to buy the varmint rifle if you cannot afford to stretch that far. We had a couple of guys on the forum a while back (Jim and Im2lazy) both pushing the same idea for long range varmint work in lieu of being able to get a fast twist .22-250.

Also, don't discount the standard twist .243 with 85-87 grain match style bullets- should you pick up a rifle that fails to stabilize the 105gr A-Max.
21 Feb 2013
@ 11:59 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
thanks nathan, i didnt want a 204 either. but it is what was coming on the action and stock i wanted. (with plans to re-barrel when i could)
but there has been a bit of a hold up with the rifle.

the tikka never really interested me. but what you say about them in 223 and not needing a heavy barrel might actually suit me.

thanks for the surgestion, i might actually do that.
what about bedding the synthetic stock or magazine length, any problems?
22 Feb 2013
@ 03:29 am (GMT)


Re: .204 reloading and general
Hi Jason,
I'll tell you about my little 223 Tikka 1:8 twist.
I've had it for quite a number of years now and it has fired a high round count. In one year I kept records and shot over 1000 goats with it. It has one of Gunworks EBS totally enclosed barrel suppressor's that Nathan hates :-) :-) :-)
After firing about 6000 rounds through the suppressor ( + a couple of thousand b4 it was suppressed) I sent it back to Gunworks to get the suppressor reconed and cleaned out. Robbie Tiffan had a look at the throat and reported that is was showing quite bad wear and not to expect very good accuracy from it. I was a bit disheartened at this so it has sat in the gun rack for the last 6 months or so, but last week I took it out and fitted a scope to it. I tried 3 COL, all with it's favorite load of 26.1gr BM2. Groups of 12mm and 9mm, Pleased with results I tried some dirty old Barnual 62gr HP ( I buy these in the thousands dirt cheap, something like $8 per box) Even with this cheap and nasty ammo it shot 16mm.
I have shot 35gr bullets at 4000f/sec, the 55gr V Max at 3150f/sec and the 75gr A Max at 2960f/sec. All into 1/2 inch, Did I tell you it's only got a 16 inch barrel that's as thick as McD's drinking straw.
Yes, I love this little 223, both my boys have shot their first goats with it at 6 years old and I still get a real kick out of head or neck shooting goats with it. In fact the biggest Boar I have ever shot (176lb) was sholder shot with the 223, and it didn't take a step. Now I'll be getting in trouble with Nath for promoting an completely unsuitable calibre.
SO........................ they are not magic. If your shot placement is not perfect it can/will end in tears. So now the kids use a 7mm08 with $60 a box bullets :-(
22 Feb 2013
@ 03:53 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
thanks mate,
im sold on this idea.
i want to shoot the heavy amax load,(varmints/practice) do you single feed them?
i also need a light weight rifle for close shots in the bush for fallow and goats (different projectile). from your review and nathan saying i dont need a heavy barrel makes it even better.
and a small calibre to load for.
all this and its cheaper than what i was going to get.

im looking to see who might have one in stock for me locally to pick up tomorrow. :)

22 Feb 2013
@ 02:58 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general
I have had one shooter phone me, who found that he could not get close to the lands with his T3 .223 loads and that he had not yet found optimum accuracy (though accuracy was not poor either). I suggested some work arounds, mostly a continuation of experiments such as going back even further in the case (often works), charge ranges, bullet styles (as there are a few bullet styles to choose from). I never heard back so I cannot report how this man got on.

The magazines can be altered but it is a bit of a major, takes me a couple of days as there are two resin pours involved (stock stabilizer).

Im2lazy does not single feed, he feeds from the mag.
22 Feb 2013
@ 05:28 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
thanks nathan.
i just got home with my new rifle so we will see how it goes.

23 Feb 2013
@ 04:32 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
hi guys, can anyone recomend a powder and primer.
i see in the kb 4198 recomended but its not in my reloading manual. (neither is your powder im2lazy) id like something stable and allways avalible, how about an adi powder, or varget seems common?
if the 75 grain amax and 80 are the same price, is there any reason not to choose the 80?

the new rifle came with some rust on the muzzle and under the action.
i adjusted the trigger to be lighter, and its quite nice. lighter than my sendero, i might even make it a tad heavyer.
i mounted my scope and got a quick zero at 50 yards, i really need to do it again at 100, but its all i could get today. and it will work for a fallow stalk in the bush tomorrow.

i fired about ten rounds. 55 grain factory federal. i was still getting use to the rifle and trigger, but through out the ten rounds it looked good. a good half inch. a couple of rounds touching and a couple in the same hole.
velocity wasnt quite the 3240 on the box, most between 3150 and 3196. and one at 3215 which i put down to the round sitting in the hot chamber while i took my time firing.
its nice to fire in the light weight platform. the sling does seem to be noisy on the hollow sounding stock, i thought i might jimmy something up, but im not sure how yet. maybe a spot of hot glue or something to dampen the sound.
i am looking forward to more use with this rifle though.
thanks for the recomendation.

23 Feb 2013
@ 01:36 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general
Hi Jason, Im2Lazy is using ADI Bench Mark 2 for the loads he quoted and is what I recommend also. It is readily available.

Our stabilizer will not only make the forend quiet, but it will make it rigid.

Make sure the rifle gets broken in properly. 10 shots in a row straight off the bat can be hard on a new barrel. There are a few other aspects of set up and maintenance that I would like you to go over so when you get a chance, could you give me a call on our land line please. Just try to steer clear of evenings.
23 Feb 2013
@ 07:58 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
yip, i will give you a call, thanks. im just not sure when. during the week im off early and home late.

yeah, the now 11 shots (i got a fallow this morning :)) wasnt my plan but i got a bit impatient. i got home from the store and the jag and brush didnt fit any of my cleaning rods. i worked something out using a patch wraped around a .17 brush.
the thing i found interesting was copper on the lands, my other rifles seem to get it in the grooves.
24 Feb 2013
@ 03:21 am (GMT)


Re: .204 reloading and general

Nice work on the Fellow.

Why the 75 grainer? I can't answer that....

With the 75gr A Max I use 24.9gr of ADI 2206H for a Av 2960f/sec.

Please start low and work up taking your time and carefully watching your brass. It's a small case so pressure might spike ( I haven't found this in my rifle)

Keep us posted
24 Feb 2013
@ 04:01 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
is 2206h the same as bench mark 2?
whats a good federal primer to use?
thanks, its just my second deer, both fallow. the tender loins are nearly ready for dinner. :)
whats a safe incriment to increase powder by in these small cases?
.5 or once i get close .2 grains seems fine in my 7mm mag, but maybe thats too much in these small cases.

i will probably go to the 80 grain amax, at least for long range rabbits, and a more solid projectile for the deer. the deer like today will mostly be about 50 yards. if they may be further i will use the 7mm.

good chat today nathan, i should have asked about primers, but i cant take your whole day talking about stuff, on a sunday too! thanks.
24 Feb 2013
@ 03:05 pm (GMT)


Re: .204 reloading and general
Bench Mark 2 is a couple of steps faster than 2206H.

According to the ADI handloaders' guide 2206H has the same burn rate as Hodgdon H 4895, IMR 4895 & slightly slower than Vihtavuori N135.

.5 then .2 grain incriments is a good idea. looking at my loads I must have gone down to .1 at some stage............;-)

I use the BM2 with the 55gr V Max.

Primers? use what you can get reliably and stick to the same brand. I use Federal.

On a side note stock up on primers if you can, there is "panic buying" in the USA and supplers are running out. Some reports are that there will be no more primers shipped into NZ untill 2014.
25 Feb 2013
@ 12:20 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
ok, thanks.
i knew there was panic buying, but i didnt think it was that bad. thanks.
27 Feb 2013
@ 09:07 pm (GMT)

Dan Keene

Re: .204 reloading and general
Panic buying IS happening in NZ. Most wholesalers have now sold out. Projectiles will be in short supply too. Cheers, Dan.
02 Mar 2013
@ 07:13 pm (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
so i de-capped my federal brass. i see there is a sleeve in the primer pocket, im guessing this is a military crimp?
there mostly uneven, thin on one side thick on the other. if my primer pocket uniformer tool breaks through them is that good to go?
the tool does, the only restriction seems to be a small part at the top. or does the whole thing need to be removed?
and because they look so ugly and lop sided, am i better of to just buy some good brass instead?

on a side note, the barrel seems to have white marks down the sides of the lands, i thought it was copper, but it seems too white.
any ideas? it seems to be shooting well.

03 Mar 2013
@ 04:59 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general
Ditch the brass Jason, it does not sound too good.

The white streak you are seeing is how the carbon fouling looks after cleaning. carbon sometimes has this appearance. A layer of carbon fouling can be important for accuracy preservation, almost like a teflon coating. The build up can however become too great, at which time it needs to be removed in order to regain any lost accuracy.
04 Mar 2013
@ 12:05 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
ok, thanks!
no more 75 grain amax until april. so i will probabley go 80 grain now.
remington and winchester bass is about the same price, so either one of those. i want something cheap as im not up to anealing yet.
04 Mar 2013
@ 04:38 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general
If you want something cheap- it will be un-annealed and may need annealing after a few reloads, depending on chamber dimensions and reloading practices.

Winchester is the first to need annealing.
Remington lasts longer before needing annealing.
Hornady lasts very well.
Lapua is properly annealed during production.

With current batches of Winchester 7mm rem Mag brass, I am finding that the cases need annealing after two reloads (the annealing then lasts for several reloads). Realistically, for those using Win brass in the magnums, cases should be annealed when new. No doubt jason, you will have found that none of your Hornady 7mmRM brass has split necks and does not need annealing at this stage.

If you have to anneal, a simple blow torch like the one I used in the bullet annealing video is sufficient. Annealing is quite straight forwards, no drama. You don't have to get too technical.
05 Mar 2013
@ 12:08 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
thanks nathan. yes my hornady has been good so far. only three loadings, most two. there was one case that split the neck a little bit. after the first handload. but i think it must of been the exception or a dud. the rest are fine. im guessing you anneal once you get a few that split the neck.

how do you do it... in a dark room until you see a colour change in the neck?
save the subject for a thread of its own if you like.

im sure you get what you pay for, but at this stage i will use the remington.

05 Mar 2013
@ 05:09 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general
I prefer the old fashioned simple method Jason.

Pan of water, halfway up the case.
Blow torch as per annealing video in KB
I set the vise so I can walk around it, I do one case at a time.
Apply heat to the shoulder and neck, once the case neck goes dull cherry red, I rotate the blow torch around the case so that the cherry color goes around the case neck.
Wait 5 seconds
Remove case from water with a welding glove or very gently with light poly grips on case body. lay on a towel. Case needs to cool slowly to anneal.

Either allow to dry naturally or oven dry at a very low temp. If you have annealed unprimed cases, be very careful of water trapped in the case, it can really get locked in the case. It is preferable to anneal fired cases while the dead primers are still in the case.

I then resize and decap the cases.

I have put another post in the rifles general thread.
06 Mar 2013
@ 02:11 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
thanks nathan. i will read the other thread too.
when i ultra sonic clean them, they are finished in hot water. and i use compressed air to blow them out before leaving to dry.
so i could use the same method for the wet cases.
08 Mar 2013
@ 10:18 pm (GMT)


Re: .204 reloading and general
All, I have been reading this tread and today I bought a 223 Tikka with the 1-8, gopher season is fast approaching and the 55 gr Vmax should do the trick and I'll be looking for the 80 Amax for fun and coyotes/ravens!

Thanks everyone for the great post, it helped a lot in making my decision!! Aj
09 Mar 2013
@ 01:06 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .204 reloading and general
Oh the peer pressure, twist our rubber arms. Good stuff AJ.
10 Mar 2013
@ 12:16 am (GMT)

jason brown

Re: .204 reloading and general
after some reading it looks like the 80 gr amax wont fit the magazine when seated close to the lands.
im still waiting for my projectiles and cases. which some options had to change due to short supply.
nathan or im2lazy were you seating to mag length with ok accuracy, or modifying the stock magazine to feed, from the magazine when seated to the lands?
the other day i was feeding factory rounds one at a time through the ejection port. just because i normally do it with my remington at the range. and even that didnt work well. the projectile would slide in too low to go into the chamber.

so what is the go, from the experienced?
10 Mar 2013
@ 05:50 am (GMT)


Re: .204 reloading and general
I seated the 75 gr A Max to mag lenght, but havn't played with the 80 grainers.

Yes you are correct, the Tikka 223's are a real pain to single feed. It relativally easy to lenghten the mag if this is required.

AJ, go the 223! haha


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