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jeepcreep927 07-14-2008 01:23 PM

Caliber Opinions
I am going to put together three AR 's for a prairie dog hunt next summer in South Dakota. One is for me, one for my dad and one for my brother. I am trying to decide on caliber. Initially I wanted to do them in .204 Ruger, then I saw the price of ammo compared to .223. I have read the ballistics charts but would like real life opinions from you guys. Once this hunt is over I can safely bet that my brother's and dad's rifles will mostly live in their safes. Where I hunt here in Vermont, 300 yards is the very limit for a woodchuck or crow, closer for coyotes. I have no experiance with the .204.
The guide says 1000 rounds a day between the three of us is about right, and we're going for four days. Do you guys think the .204 that much better for essentially a one time thing? Not to sound cheap, but the ammo cost is really my hang up. Thanks for any input.

Dillinger 07-14-2008 01:37 PM

Personally, I would think that purpose building ( 3 ) AR's in a platform like .204 Ruger for one trip would be a waste of your time and resources ( $$ ).

I like the .204 Ruger - and it would make a pretty good groundhog thumper, but four days of shooting, then what? If you are going to use it again, you still have the ammo price concern. If you aren't going to use it again, you have spent cash on something that will make a nice paperweight.

If you built them stock on the .223, at least you could move them down the line if an Assault Weapons Ban comes into play next year.

But, if you are asking if the .204 Ruger would make a good groundhog caliber I would say absolutely. I just personally wouldn't build three platforms on it given the facts as stated.

However, it's still a free country for a few more months and that is what makes it a great place to live. :D


jeepcreep927 07-14-2008 03:55 PM

Thanks for reinforcing what I was thinking. I would like a 204, but I don't NEED one. I would use it after this trip but inside 200-300 yards I don't know if the justification is there since I have half a dozen .223s and a .222 already, don't really need another sub-caliber.
On another note, have you noticed any trouble in getting AR parts? I plan to do these up over time as finances allow (read that: easier to get past the wife). My buddy has three DPMS lowers with consecutive serial numbers in stock but I wanted to use Stag lowers. If finding them is going to be a battle I may just jump on the DPMS lowers he has. Thanks again.

Dillinger 07-14-2008 04:12 PM

Jeep - We have seen some parts become harder to get. DPMS, for one, is no longer selling parts, they are only selling complete units because of the demand.

About two weeks ago I think it was, we placed a large ( for our shop - parts for 10 builds ) AR Parts order and had to split it between Brownell's and Midway because neither place had everything we needed. The obvious downside was multiple shipping.

We haven't had any realproblems getting stuff, but you have to look a little harder to get everything you need. Normally, like this time last year, I could pick up the phone and read off 20 parts to the gal at either Midway or Brownell's and have them shipped the next day, now you kind of have to hunt and peck a bit.

The stripped lowers are the big item right now, with the election pending.

Here's some notes I published back on the 26 of last month...

As of Thursday June 19th this information was accurate:

DPMS has stopped selling anything but full, complete rifle builds. They aren't selling spare lowers or uppers because none are to be had at the moment. What hasn't been published is the fact that they are currently holding 13,000 orders for rifles on the books to be manufactured as soon as possible.

Rock River Arms - Same deal, but there backlog is a little lower at around 7,500 to 8,000

If I were your buddy, I would hold those consecutive units until later in the year, I would be willing to bet he can turn a decent profit.


Dillinger 07-14-2008 04:15 PM

As a side thought on caliber, how about a .221 Fireball? Great, flat shooting round, minimal recoil and you can shoot all day long whacking 'hogs without going broke. :D


matt g 07-14-2008 05:05 PM

I still like the .450 Bushy, but it might be a little over the top for varminting.

I'd just stick with .223/5.56x45. It'll drop anything up to a small deer.

jeepcreep927 07-14-2008 05:31 PM

I thought about the Fireball, for a second or two. I have a contender in .222 and a bunch of AR's all in .223. I couldn't justify (even to myself, which when it comes to guns, I can do pretty effectively) buying something so similar in performance. If I build another AR after these, I would probably stray to something with vastly different ballistics than a .223/5.56. Maybe .50 Beowulf or .458 SOCOM just for the novelty. I have heard of the .450 Bushy but never read up on it.

I think I will follow my initial thought and your and Matt's advice and stick with 5.56 chamber for simplicity and economic reasons this go around. Thanks for the help.

Dillinger 07-14-2008 07:56 PM

Well, if you go that route you can save yourself a ton of coin on all the lower end pieces. Just build yourself a new upper, slap it on and go to work.

My project that I am working on is a 6.5 Grendel, but I think I am going to build a separate upper for it in something ridiculous like that .450 Bushy that Matt showed me....


RL357Mag 07-14-2008 10:45 PM

RRA's .458 socom got excellent reviews. I would like to order an upper from them for my RRA NMA4. DPMS makes a nice AR in .243 which I would also like to buy - if I ever hit the AR in .243 would take over where the .223 ends.

Dillinger 07-14-2008 11:08 PM


If I ever hit the lottery
That could be a whole thread unto itself - what you, or how many of, would you buy if? LOL

This week the lottery is $88 Mil, I'll make a deal with the Universe, if I am the sole winner, I will build all you guys the rifle of your choice free of charge. :D


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