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?
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.