Hornady Manufacturing and Ruger Firearms saw the need for an improved small bore cartridge with high velocity and joined together in 2004 to create the .204 Ruger. The .204 Ruger, when it was introduced, was the speediest production .20 caliber cartridge in existence. Designed to hunt varmints, the .204 Ruger case was based on a slightly modified .222 Remington Magnum. They necked down the .222 case to 0.204 inches. They moved the shoulder of the cartridge forward and changed its angle to 30 degrees. Rounds fired from cases with these changes in dimensions achieved an exceedingly high velocity and sub MOA accuracy at 100 yards, yet the cartridge generated less recoil than other rounds in its class.
Bullets commonly weigh between 30 and 45 grains, and are available in soft point boat tail, JHP and V-MAX configurations. Muzzle velocity for the .204 Ruger varies between about 3,500 feet per second to more than 4,200 feet per second. Muzzle energy generated by bullets going this fast is more than 1,200 foot pounds. The .204 really shines in its downrange performance. If a 32 grain bullet is zeroed at 200 yards, the bullet will only be 0.6 inches high at 100 yards, and will only have dropped 13 inches at 300 yards. Max range for the cartridge is 500 yards, at which point the bullet will have dropped 29 inches. Even at 500 yards, the bullet velocity is nearly 1,900 feet per second, and bullet energy is more than 250 foot pounds.
Ruger continues to make rifles chambered for the .204 Ruger cartridge, as do Mossberg, Remington, and Savage among others. Rifles with a bolt action a very common, as are single shot rifles. Federal, Hornady, Remington, and Winchester manufacture .204 Ruger ammunition, and it can be found readily.
For shooters who want a great cartridge with mild recoil and excellent accuracy, they would do well to choose the .204 Ruger.