Savage Model 12 FV in .204 Ruger

Considering A .204 Ruger

Savage Model 12 FV in .204 Ruger

Savage Model 12 FV in .204 Ruger

Q: I am looking for a good flat-shooting varmint rifle and after giving the matter considerable thought, I’ve just about settled on a Savage Model 12 FV Varmint in .204 Ruger. What do you think of my choice of rifle and cartridge? Since I intend reloading ,can you recommend the best powder and give me your best loads with the Hornady V-Maxs in 33 and 40gn weights?
Chris Martin

A: The .204 Ruger is basically the .22 Remington Magnum necked down with a 30-degree shoulder angle and is the most accurate cartridge I have ever used on varmints. My rifle was a Remington Model 700 in .17 rem. that I had rebarreled with a a Ruger stainless .204 barrel. It grouped five shots into .75” with factory ammo but got down to .128” with my reloads. The best two powders were AR 2206H and W-748. My pet loads with the 33gn V-max were 31gn of W-748 for 4110fps or 30gn of AR2206H for 4155fps. But I preferred the 40gn V-Max and 29.5gn of W-748 for 4030fps.the plastic-tipped 40 grainer drifts noticeably less out to 500 yards and .25” less at 100. All loads assembled in Hornady cases with CCI 450 primers. I sighted my rifle in 1.5 ” high at 100 yards, (my standard procedure with varmint rifles) and found the 33 grainers shot so flat that I could hold dead-on a rabbit out at 300 yards. The scope on my rifle was an early Zeiss Conquest 4-14×50 which has plenty of magnification for long range varminting. For me, higher powers just have too narrow a field, too critical eye relief and mirage will always pose a problem on a hot day.

.204 Ruger Cartridge




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.