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Woohoo! Blooded the 204 Ruger today!

orchidmanorchidman Senior MemberPosts: 8,276 Senior Member
The Hunt

Bloodhound asked me to go check and move the stock on his forestry block and told me to 'knock' something over if I wanted. I decided to take the Ruger M77 MKII in 204 for a wander even though I haven't yet worked up a load for it. Last time I was at the range I used factory Hornady 45gr SP's to sight it in so I knew it would be bang on at 100yds. After moving the stock and pumping water up to the top tank I went for a wander.

I saw a few deer (Fallow) in the first couple of hours but with the swirling wind and gusts up to 20knots I didn't get any closer than 140yds and wasn't prepared to take a shot at that range due to the gusty conditions.
Finally the wind seemed to settle so I walked the boundary ridge until I was in a position to hunt into the wind then dropped off the ridge and headed for the creek. Managed to stalk to within 25yds of a couple of does but while trying to get the camera out of its waterproof bag ( a ziplock freezer bag lol) they heard me and departed for greener ( and safer) pastures. We don't shoot does at this time of year as they are either carrying or have young at heel. One of the does had a fawn with her that stopped and looked at me from 12yds until I got the camera finally out then she got shy and ran off.

As I approached the creek I saw a couple of brown objects and raised the bino's to have a look. Damn........they were on the other side of the boundary fence. I decided to sneak in closer with the camera ready but as I got within 80yds of them I saw another 5-7 about 60yds further up the creek.............Wait a minute!! they are on our side of the fence!
The camera got put away ( very quietly I might add), and the stalk was on.

To get to the ones on our side of the fence I had to pass within 50 yds and in full view of the neighbours deer. I knew if I spooked them they would scare all the others so, by only moving when their heads were down feeding, I slowly got into a position where I could check out the others.

4 does and a yearling...........then 2 more animals walked into view........both bucks! I was looking for a spiker damnit!!

Another animal then walked up the bank and came into full view...........woohoo a 2-3yrold spiker!!

20 minutes later I had closed the gap to about 60yds and slowly dropped to a sitting position. I had to wait another 3-5 minutes before I had a clear shot as the spiker was moving through the other deer and there were some 'scrubby' bushes in the road. Finally the moment came when he was clear and I allowed the Ruger to speak. At the shot, the spiker dropped on the spot while the others exploded into action and headed for safer climes.

Here is a pic from where the shot was taken. The arrow points to the deer which can just be seen as a light coloured patch.

204blooding002_zps32294f97.jpg

Here is a 'zoomed in' pic

204blooding004_zps28446ae1.jpg

At the time of the shot the spiker was slightly quartering towards me with his right side facing me and my point of aim was the base of the neck.

Being comfortable with a closed bolt I took the next pic..........

204blooding010_zps47d8d8e9.jpg

After dressing it out I took this pic of the lungs and heart ( Luckily, as on the way back up the track on the quad in the dark the plastic bag I put them in burst and I didn't realise until I was back at the Jeep)

There was damage to the top of the lungs and 2 of the main arteries to the heart were shredded. ( More about that later)

204blooding012_zpsf90f7c60.jpg

A final pic taken when I unloaded the quad at the Jeep..........

204blooding020_zps85a7ffd8.jpg

It was dark at this stage so I decided not to head back and find the heart/lungs.

The Post Mortem

Entry point was exactly where I held, base of the neck........as the deer was slightly higher than me I figured it was better to hold slightly lower as the bullet would angle up slightly. Here is the entry hole................

204blooding030_zps34d6a992.jpg

I didn't expect the 45gr sp to exit as I figured it would 'blow up' inside............But here is the pic of the 'offside'..............

204blooding032_zpsc5512ab4.jpg

Looks like most of it exited through the shoulder!

Here is a pic of the entry side with the shoulder cut and folded back.............

204blooding046_zps16299277.jpg

..........and the off side exit with the shoulder cut and folded back also........

204blooding034_zps099e6223.jpg

After digging around on the off side I found that the bullet had passed through the base of the neck and you can see bone fragments at the tip of the knife in the next pic...........

204blooding036_zpsb9192460.jpg

The damage to the lungs and heart were caused by fragments that the bullet shed on its way through the animal, probably when it fragmented as it passed through the neck bone.

To say I am pleased with the 204 performance is an understatement. I think this rifle will be my 'go to' rifle for both varmints and Fallow. Am going to send it away in the next couple of weeks and have it threaded to take the suppressor that is currently sitting on the Sako 222. I need to change the 'glass' as well and will probably swap the Bushnell Trophy XLT 4-12X40 for a Leupold VX2 6-18X40 Target.

I am glad I finally got to blood the 204.......now I just need to get to the range and find the load that suits it.
Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....

Replies

  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Here is a final pic of the animal before I did the PM.

    204blooding024_zps1506ab04.jpg

    Looks to be in prime condition and seeing how it is summer over here, I might have to fire up the BBQ in the next week or so............
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 22,447 Senior Member
    Nicely done my friend :beer: :worthy:
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Good shot and a clean kill! Looks like the .204 did a good job of penetration and taking out the vitals. Looks like you have another rifle to do some serious hunting with now. :up:
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    :cool2:
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    To say I am pleased with the 204 performance is an understatement. I think this rifle will be my 'go to' rifle for both varmints and Fallow.

    Great start..... very nice informative post.

    You plan on using different bullets for the different tasks ?

    I've only shot 32 and 40 grainers out of mine so I look forward to seeing your results
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,812 Senior Member
    Good job! :up:

    Thanks for the good report.
  • Big Al1Big Al1 Senior Member Posts: 8,280 Senior Member
    Nice job and great pics. At first I thought Zee posted this, but I had miss-read, it's a .204 not .404!!
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Great job and a fine animal. However, not being a baby bullet aficionado, I must say that I believe this to be more of an example of great shot placement by a professional than the performance of this particular cartridge on deer size game. You did this regularly with a 222 which I would say is the very smallest cartridge I could in good conscience recommend for deer. But then again, the inherent accuracy of these tiny pills does make great shot placement a bit easier for anybody, and more so a professional like yourself. JMHO
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    To say I am pleased with the 204 performance is an understatement. I think this rifle will be my 'go to' rifle for both varmints and Fallow.

    Great start..... very nice informative post.

    You plan on using different bullets for the different tasks ?

    I've only shot 32 and 40 grainers out of mine so I look forward to seeing your results

    Yep.
    The load I am working up is for 40gr bullets but once I get those shooting to my satisfaction I will drop down to 32 and 30gr.
    Unfortunately I bought the last packet of 45gr hornady sp projectiles's in NZ ( I note from Hornadys website that they are 'suspended', whatever that means) and the heaviest bullets available now over here in my area are only 40's. They may be too light for Fallow so I will have to do some testing before I use them on deer. In the meantime I will use factory ammo as and when required and build up a stash of brass.......which is also as scarce as hens teeth here.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,720 Senior Member
    Nicely done Alec. My first thought was that the .204 is awfully lite for deer, but you can't argue with success..........Robin
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,684 Senior Member
    Very nicely done Alec! I have thought of trying a rifle in .204 but have never got around to it. Look like it did a great job.
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 26,131 Senior Member
    I appreciate your effort. Will read your post when I have more time and comment appropriately. Just didn't want you to think I was ignoring this.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    Great job and a fine animal. However, not being a baby bullet aficionado, I must say that I believe this to be more of an example of great shot placement by a professional than the performance of this particular cartridge on deer size game. You did this regularly with a 222 which I would say is the very smallest cartridge I could in good conscience recommend for deer. But then again, the inherent accuracy of these tiny pills does make great shot placement a bit easier for anybody, and more so a professional like yourself. JMHO

    Here is a rough comparison between the 204 45gr load and the 222 50gr load.

    204 45gr sp projectile
    at muzzle 3625fps with 1313 fpe.
    100yds fps is 3188 with 1015 fpe.
    200yds fps is 3104 with 779 fpe

    222 50gr psp
    at muzzle 3140fps with 1094 fpe
    100yds 2602fps with 752 fpe
    200yds 2123fps with 500fpe.

    Bloodhound and I have pondered over the 204 for a while regarding its effectiveness on small deer. We both agreed that although it weighs 5 gr less than the load we both use in the 222, the 45gr 204 makes up for it in energy and speed. The only question that really needed answering was whether or not the lighter faster bullet would hold up to an animal heavier than rabbits or coyotes etc.

    It seems it does...........provided the shot is correctly placed. ........and I agree that shot placement is the key. That and getting in close to use the bullet before it runs out of steam.

    I would have no hesitation in using it out to 150yds on Fallow or goats ( sorry Buffy) out to 200+
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 11,773 Senior Member
    Great Shot Alec! You are making me more and more of a believer in shot placement over size and power. You truly are a profesional
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    I appreciate your effort. Will read your post when I have more time and comment appropriately. Just didn't want you to think I was ignoring this.
    No problem.

    Will be cutting the animal up in a couple of days..........it is sitting in the chiller at the moment. I hope to have some more info. I am a little puzzled by the damage to the lungs/heart and want to find out more. I am assuming at this stage the damage was caused by fragments of bullet or bone chips from the neck bones.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Thanks for the kind comments guys. I don't regard myself as a professional, just a guy that enjoys the stalk more than the kill and likes the hunt. I will be 60 in a few weeks and the 'Buzz' I got from yesterday is the same if not greater than the one I got from my first successful stalk many years ago.

    The only downside is that today I woke up with aches and pains from crawling etc..............but every time I hurt it reminds me of another day doing what I love.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    Can you bring that stuff back with you on your next trip here?
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    Can you bring that stuff back with you on your next trip here?

    Yes.............that's what I plan on doing. The alternative is you could bring some over next week, it gets you away from the cold, the fishing is great at this time of year, the hunting is 365 days of the year and, being summer, the lack of cold is exceeded only by the lack of clothing on the local girls........:yikes::drool:.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Wait... did you do that today or tomorrow? I'm so confused...
    Actually...........it was yesterday:rotflmao:
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    orchidman wrote: »
    Here is a rough comparison between the 204 45gr load and the 222 50gr load.

    204 45gr sp projectile
    at muzzle 3625fps with 1313 fpe.
    100yds fps is 3188 with 1015 fpe.
    200yds fps is 3104 with 779 fpe

    222 50gr psp
    at muzzle 3140fps with 1094 fpe
    100yds 2602fps with 752 fpe
    200yds 2123fps with 500fpe.

    Bloodhound and I have pondered over the 204 for a while regarding its effectiveness on small deer. We both agreed that although it weighs 5 gr less than the load we both use in the 222, the 45gr 204 makes up for it in energy and speed. The only question that really needed answering was whether or not the lighter faster bullet would hold up to an animal heavier than rabbits or coyotes etc.

    It seems it does...........provided the shot is correctly placed. ........and I agree that shot placement is the key. That and getting in close to use the bullet before it runs out of steam.

    I would have no hesitation in using it out to 150yds on Fallow or goats ( sorry Buffy) out to 200+


    Sorry Alec, I didn't want to pee on your parade and in yours or someone in your league's hands I have no problem with it. I just worry about Joe Six Pack gets hold of one and thinks he's Carlos Hathcock.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    Very nicely done! Looks like that little bullet is up to the task.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,974 Senior Member
    Excellent!
    Nice description and pictures:up:
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    orchidman wrote: »
    Yes.............that's what I plan on doing. The alternative is you could bring some over next week, it gets you away from the cold, the fishing is great at this time of year, the hunting is 365 days of the year and, being summer, the lack of cold is exceeded only by the lack of clothing on the local girls........:yikes::drool:.

    I would love to take you up on that your country is high on my list.

    Besides He'd never let me out of the house with his stuff

    IMG_0219.jpg

    IMG_0217.jpg
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 26,131 Senior Member
    I too am surprised the bullet exited. Especially being so light and a soft point. Did the bullet go through the vertebrae of the neck? That's what I would suspect the damage to the lungs came from. That being bone fragments. There's not much mass to that small of a bullet. If it was bullet fragments that went through the lungs, that would have come apart when going through the spine. That's half the distance through the deer. I don't think the remaining portion of the bullet (that didn't fragment) would have had enough umph to continue penetrating the east of the deer and give you the exit you got.

    I think the billet held together for the most part and the secondary damage you saw it from the bone fragments of the spine.

    Of course, if the spine was not struck, my theory is shot. Literally.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 8,276 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    I too am surprised the bullet exited. Especially being so light and a soft point. Did the bullet go through the vertebrae of the neck? That's what I would suspect the damage to the lungs came from. That being bone fragments. There's not much mass to that small of a bullet. If it was bullet fragments that went through the lungs, that would have come apart when going through the spine. That's half the distance through the deer. I don't think the remaining portion of the bullet (that didn't fragment) would have had enough umph to continue penetrating the east of the deer and give you the exit you got.

    I think the billet held together for the most part and the secondary damage you saw it from the bone fragments of the spine.

    Of course, if the spine was not struck, my theory is shot. Literally.

    The damage to the neck was at the base and through the bottom half the bone. The bullet appears to have passed through the lower half and continued through the front of the shouder and out. I will know more when I cut it up Monday night and will post better pics of the damage when I do.

    I must admit that I did entertain the thought, when I first saw the exit hole, of hanging the carcase in a tree then backing off to 60yds and putting a bullet through the shoulder to see what would happen.........

    Might have to go find some feral goats and do some 'ballistic' testing.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,974 Senior Member
    Tissue testing - Woo-hoo!
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,953 Senior Member
    Tissue testing - Woo-hoo!

    Go get em.
  • Farm Boy DeuceFarm Boy Deuce Senior Member Posts: 6,083 Senior Member
    Great write up. Go do your tissue tests on feral goats. It's for science after all.
    I am afraid we forget sometime that the basic and simple things brings us the most pleasure.
    Dad 5-31-13
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