.204 Ruger (using Hornady bullets)
Date: Jan 07 2015
The .204 Ruger was introduced in 2004, a joint development between Ruger and Hornady Manufacturing. It is based on the .222 Remington Magnum case necked down to accept .204-inch bullets, with the first factory loads containing a 32-grain bullet at 4,225 fps, or a 40-grain at 3,900 fps. It boasted of an unusual flat trajectory, mild recoil, comparatively low muzzle report, accuracy, and has become popular among varmint shooters. With 40-grain high B.C. bullets, it is an honest 500-yard varmint round. All major U.S. ammunition companies currently offer factory loads. Additional bullet weights (in factory loads as components have been added that include 24, 39 and 45 grain weights, further increasing its versatility. Every major rifle manufacturer is offering models so chambered.
While many powders work well and are accurate in the .204 Ruger, only a few truly duplicate velocities reached by the proprietary powders used in factory ammunition. Using the 24-grain Hornady NTX (non-toxic) bullet, Ramshot X-Terminator powder exceeded factory load speeds from the 22-inch barrel of the test rifle, reaching an impressive 4,457 fps. Switching to the 32-grain Hornady V-Max bullet, Vihtavuori N-540, Accurate 2520 and Hodgdon CFE 223 powders more or less duplicated factory load velocities. The 40-grain V-Max is probably the most versatile of all .204 Ruger bullets, with Accurate 2520 and Hodgdon CFE 223 being top performers that fully equal or exceed factory load ballistics and produced top accuracy.
If powder charges are thrown from a powder measure, spherical (or ball) powders are the best choices to prevent bridging in the small-caliber case neck.
The Remington 7 ½ Small Rifle Primer was used to develop the accompanying data. To achieve reliable ignition with all powders listed "standard" (or non-magnum) small rifle primers should not be substituted.