Ruger 204
.204 Ruger
Country of origin

United States


Sturm, Ruger & Co.[1]

Year(s) designed


Year production began


Year production ended


Cartridge type


Parent cartridge

.222 Remington[1]

Overall length

2.26in (57.4mm)[2]

Case length

1.85in (47.0mm)[2]

Neck diameter

.231in (5.87mm)[2]

Shoulder diameter

.360in (9.14mm)[2]

Base diameter

.376in (9.56mm)[2]

Rim diameter

.378in (9.60mm)[2]

Rim thickness

.045in (1.14mm)[2]

Rifling twist


Muzzle velocity

4,400FPS - 24gr NTX® Superformance[3]
4,225FPS - 32gr V-MAX™ Superformance[3]
3,900FPS - 40gr V-MAX™ Superformance[3]
3,625FPS - 45gr SP[3]

Primer type

Small rifle[2]

The .204 Ruger is a rifle cartridge developed jointly between Hornady and Sturm, Ruger & Co.[1] At the time of its release in 2004, the .204 Ruger was the highest velocity cartridge in the world, a title which it holds to this day.[1]


The .204 Ruger was developed in the early 2000s as a joint venture between Hornady, an ammunition specialist, and Sturm, Ruger & Co., whom were looking to build upon the success of the .460 Ruger (another joint venture between the two).[2] Based upon the popular .222 Remington Magnum cartridge, and backed by two major companies in the gun industry, the .204 became an almost instant success.[2]

The .204, due to its reputation for balance and accuracy, gained popularity across the gun industry.[1] At the time of release, the .204 Ruger was the only cartridge of that calibre size, and almost exclusively used by Ruger's designs (such as the M77).</ref>[2] In recent years, however, other major ammunition companies (Winchester, Remington etc.) produce their own .204 calibre rounds, with almost every major gun manufacturer producing a firearm capable of firing the .204 Ruger.[1]

Design DetailsEdit

The .204 Ruger takes advantage of the .222 Remington Magnum's capacity, one of the largest cartridge capacities made.[2] This capacity was only marginally reduced, despite the fact that the neck of the cartridge was modified, angled 30 degrees shallower and extended to fit a .204in (5.1mm) bullet.[2] The bullet itself is available in four different grains (weights): 24gr, 32gr, 40gr and 45gr.[3]

In testing, Hornady used a specific powder composition, known as SMP746 to acheive the muzzle velocities listed.[2] Although not commerically available, Hornady's commerical power compositions come relatively close to the figures in general use, although are closer to their competitors muzzle velocities.[1]


As mentioned above, Hornady's use of a specific powder not commercially available does throw some caution as to the actual performance figures for the .204 Ruger. Below are the official velocity and energy figures  according to Hornady:

Name Muzzle Velocity (FPS) Energy (ft-lbs)
24gr (1.5g) NTX® Superformance 4,400[3] 1,032[3]
32gr (2.0g)V-MAX™ Superformance 4,225[3] 1,268[3]
40gr (2.6g) V-MAX™ Superformance 3,900[3] 1,351[3]
45gr (2.9g) SP 3,625[3] 1,313[3]

The figures for the 40gr round are similar to those for other comparable cartridges, such as the .22-250 Remington.[2] However, the .204 Ruger is able to acheive these figures without as much powder or by producing as much heat.[2]


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