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Remington 700 VTR Review

General discussion and information about the .204 Ruger.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:36 pm
If you don't want to read this windy description skip down to the second post for a range report.

Why .204 Ruger

While out calling coyotes I had night mares about a $400 bobcat stepping out of cover and the 22-250 Rem. I was holding reducing the bobcat to $25. (At least that is how I pitched it to my wife.) I had already witness first hand the effectiveness of 35 grain Burgers on coyotes and bobcats at velocities around 4000 f.p.s.. I like to have the option of buying ammunition off the shelf in a pinch. It has been several years now and factory loaded .204 Ruger ammunition seems readily available now.

Why the Remington 700 VTR

The primary purpose of this rifle was to take calling predators. For me that means that it must point and swing well. It can’t be so pretty that I worry about dinging the stock, or scratching the finish. I do not want to risk a bright shiny barrel that might flash when making minor - deliberate adjustments while the coyote is coming in drawing attention to me. I also like the feel of varmint/target barrel and stock configurations.

As I visited various manufactures websites I came across many rifles that I would love to have, but would hate to take coyote hunting. I knew these rifles would wait in the cabinet to be put in a hard case and transported to the range, or the lava flows. Something that doesn’t happen much anymore.

100% of the shopping for this rifle was done on the internet. I purposely avoided the message boards for this purchase. I find it is difficult to tell if there are multiple people parroting the same isolated problem. I did look at other manufactures but there was always something that I was unfamiliar with or unsure about. Without the benefit of fondling the rifle I found myself gravitating to models and manufactures that I was familiar with. My Remington 700 BDL in 22-250 with 22” barrel has served me well for many years and influenced my choice in a big way. I also enjoy thumbing my nose at the liberal media every chance I get.

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Initial impressions.

This is the first rifle I have purchased without first fondling it in a store. I was a little nervous what it would be like once it got here. When I took it out of the box the first thing I did was put it to my shoulder. The 22 inch barrel makes for quick pointing and an easy comfortable swing. That will due for those times that I wish I had brought the shotgun.

The stock is made of a green composite, with black over molds rather than customary checkering. The vented forearm is 2” wide with two lugs to accommodate a bipod and a sling. Finished off with a low profile cheek rest. It is comfortable for me to hold. I do wonder what the materials used will do in summer heat, but this is a coyote rig so I may never know.

When I buy a rifle with a varmint tag on it I expect a minimum of 3 easily verified characteristics: 1) a fat barrel. 2) a wide fore-end so the rifle will sit firmly in a sand bag. 3) a full floated barrel from the action forward. I guess 2 out of three isn’t bad. On this particular rifle I can not get a dollar bill started between the barrel and stock, let alone slide it to the action. I’m thinking that I will give it a fair chance before I “fix” anything. If I get this barrel hot the coyote deserves to play another day anyway. I’m sure ambient temperature could cause some issues, the severity of those will be the determining factor of “fixing” it or not.

The trigger, a little heavy for my personal preference, feels clean and crisp with no creep or over travel. It breaks at 3 ¾ #.

The elephant in the room is the triangular barrel with a muzzle break. The un-customary shaped barrel gives the VTR a look of it’s own. I did kind of wonder about the shape of the barrel and it’s usefulness. Cooling time and strength can be debated but I know I got a heavy barrel feel without as much weight. The muzzle brake uses up the last 1 ¾ inches of the barrel.

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I outfitted my VTR with a Leupold VX-3 4.5-14X40 with an adjustable objective, and a varmint hunters reticle. Leupold bases and rings as well.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:37 pm
Range report 1

I used Hornady factory loaded 32 grain V-Max for initial range testing. 6 shots were fired at 57 yards to rough in the zero after bore sighting. I adjusted the scope after each shot and cleaned after 3. I then moved to 100 yards to finish out the 20 round box. I shot 2 three shot groups and two 4 shot groups cleaning after each group. I used my Harris bi-pod for a front rest and a wadded up jacket for support in the back. To be honest, and fair, at this point I’m just familiarizing myself with the rig and I’m not too concerned with group size. I assume any and all wild fluctuations are on me. It seems to me that it is widely accepted that the .204 Ruger really comes to life somewhere in the 75 to 100 round mark anyway. Because you are going to want to know, the groups measured 1 1/8”, 1 7/8”, 2 7/8”, 1 1/8” in the order they were fired. These are measured from outside to outside with a tape measure with no deduction for bullet diameter. Shooting without hearing protection with this rifle, due to the muzzle brake, is pretty close to shooting a .357 mag unprotected. Not quite but close. I hope that I don’t notice how loud this thing is when I have fleshy targets in front of me.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:12 pm
That looks like a nice rig. I think that once you get the barrel broken in and maybe 50 to 100 shots down the barrel you groups may begin to tighten up. If you are a reloader, your custom rolled ammo should really help tighten up those groups.

I hope you will begin wearing hearing protection before you damage your ears too badly. You only get one set of ears and when you ruin those, you'll be wondering--"Why didn't I wear hearing protection?"
Catch ya L8R--Silverfox
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:21 pm
The barrels on these stocks have a pressure pad pushing up on the barrel. They are not free floated... not even close. I removed the pressure pad on mine (.204 R700 SPS... same stock) and glass bedded it. I feel that it has helped.

I like your photo with the rifle on the horizon. :wtg:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:28 pm
Thanks guys.

Silverfox, I usually do wear some kind of hearing protection when I plan on shooting a lot. Not so much when I’m hunting though.

I have done a little more shooting. I got out and shot 10 rounds one night. The first group was scattered over 2 inches at 100 yards, (I will take the blame on it because nothing felt the same.) here is the second. Factory 32 V-max again.

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I didn’t think that was too bad for sitting with sticks.

The next afternoon I shot 6 5-shot groups. (factory 32 V-Max) 2 at 100 yds. 2 at 200 yds. 2 at 300 yds. in that order. I cleaned between each group with the exception of the last string of ten shots. I held in the center of the target on all but the last 300 yard group. (first hold over line on the varmint hunters reticle marked on target.)

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So far all <MOA groups have been shots 6-10 after cleaning.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:58 pm
I've had the opportunity to hold and dry-fire a Remington 700 VTR a few times at our local sporting goods store, and just as you say, it handles nicely and points easily. What scares me off is the fact that Remington started off with a short barrel (22") and then added a muzzle break. The break obviously makes the gun much louder, and on calibers as small as are used for varmint hunting (which I think of as 243 Win. and down) I honestly can't imagine any real benefit in recoil reduction. I wish they would chamber the standard SPS (with the blued barrel) in 204.

Anyway, glad you found a load your gun likes, now let's see you get out there and shoot some coyotes! Happy Hunting!!

Davis

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:22 pm
I purchased a CZ-model 527 in the Triple Deuce (.222 Rem) caliber last year and it shot great with factory Hornady 50-grn V-Max! I bought the rifle of a friend of mine who with another friend purchased one of those new Remington triangle barrel rifles. Neither of those guys could get those rifles to shoot under 3/4 inch groups using their handloads. Now after 2 months of reloading and testing they both went back to the Savage model 12 rifles in .204-Ruger cal. The shoot some mighty small groups with both those guns at our club. Last week using 40 grn bullets they had a .279 and a .322 - MOA at 100 yds off the bench.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:03 pm
This is my favorite firearm. I have the
VTR with winchester bipod and 6-24 X 50 Berska Scope.
It took about 100 rounds to fully break the barrel in, but at about 60 rounds, it started to shoot some amazing groups.
Here is the gun and target.
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Steve Pinder
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:29 pm
That is an amazing group. Nice.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:27 pm
Always thought the VTRs looked pretty neat.
Couple Qs, ok, maybe 3:
1-Does the break make it alot louder?
2-say if you hunt at night, the vertical blast would almost blind ya, wouldn't it?
3-Is there any real benefit to the brake?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:06 pm
That is a tight group. I have yet to shoot mine from the bench and bagged in solid.

Mine seems to crack just less than a .357 mag where there are buildings and such to reflect the sound back. Not so bad out in the field but I have caught myself flinching.

I have not shot mine at night.

In my opinion on a .204 R no. I have shot my buddies sps varmint and was seeing impact in the scope without the break.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:15 am
The break makes it crack a bit louder, but surprisingly doesn't blind me at night. I shot that group with the use of a bypod, but no sand bags. The break really help keep your eye on the target through the shot. I never shot one without the break, so I can not compare.
Steve Pinder
Texas, USA

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