This sample 204 Ruger bullet drop chart gives you a general idea of how the 204 Ruger trajectory looks.
Note: The chart above is an example of one 204 Ruger load, and actual ballistic performance may vary depending on bullet weight, lot, barrel length, and environmental conditions while shooting.
Muzzle velocity is the speed at which the bullet leaves the firearm’s barrel and is measured in Feet Per Second (fps).
Due to the lightweight bullets, the 204 Ruger generally has high muzzle velocities. For example, the Hornady Superformance Varmint 24-grain NTX has a muzzle velocity of 4,400 fps, while the heavier Hornady Superformance Varmint 40-gr V-MAX has a muzzle velocity of 3,900 fps.
Nosler and Sierra also produce 204 Ruger rounds that claim a high velocity of more than 3,800 fps.
The high muzzle velocity of the 204 Ruger ensures a flat trajectory and is ideal for long-range predator hunting for coyotes, or varmint hunting pesky groundhogs or prairie dogs.
Muzzle energy is how much force a bullet delivers to its target, measured in foot-pounds of energy (ft-lbs).
One might think that the lightweight bullets of the 204 Ruger don’t have a high muzzle energy compared to heavier bullets. However, because they’re traveling so fast, they carry a lot of power with them.
The HSM Varmint 39gr BlitzKing has a muzzle energy of 1,288 ft-lbs, and the Hornady V-MAX 40-grain bullet has a muzzle energy of 1,351 ft-lbs.
In 2004, when Ruger and Hornady created the 204 Ruger, it was the fastest factory ammo on the market, with a flatter trajectory than the 223 Remington.
Developed using the 222 Remington Magnum case, the 204 Ruger is an ideal choice for keeping your property clear of coyotes, or small game like groundhogs and prairie dogs.
But how does it stack up today against other varmint rifle cartridges?
Check out our article for an in-depth explanation of the differences between the 204 Ruger vs 223 Rem.
The 204 Ruger generally has a higher muzzle velocity and a flatter trajectory, while the .223 has more knockdown power (muzzle energy).
The Winchester Super X 34-grain JHP 204 Ruger has a muzzle velocity of 4,025 fps, and the Hornady V-MAX 53gr 223 Rem has a muzzle velocity of 3,465 fps. Yes, they’re different weights, which helps to account for the difference in velocity.
The 223 Rem 53gr V-MAX drops over 40” at 500 yards, while the 204 Ruger 32gr V-MAX drops just under 32” at 500 yards. Once again, the lighter bullet plays a role in the flatter trajectory.
However, the heavier bullets of the 223 Rem 53gr V-MAX help it maintain a muzzle energy of 1,413 ft-lbs compared to 1,268 ft-lbs of the 204 Ruger 32gr V-MAX.
Don’t miss our in-depth analysis on the 204 Ruger vs 22-250 Remington.
Despite the bullets coming in similar weights, the 22-250 has a flatter trajectory, higher muzzle velocity, and muzzle energy than the 204 Ruger. This is due to the 22-250 case having nearly 10 grains more case capacity, meaning that it can cram in more propellant in the case and push its bullets out of the barrel faster.
Thus, the 22-250 Rem outperforms the 204 Ruger on paper.
At 400 yards, the 32gr 204 Ruger bullet drops 19”, whereas the 35gr 22-250 Rem bullet only drops 13.4”.
The 204 Ruger 32gr bullet can reach 4,230 fps in factory loads, but the 35gr bullet of the 22-250 can reach up to 4,450 fps in factory ammo.
The 22-250 Remington 35gr bullet packs more punch with 1,539 ft-lbs, while the 204 Ruger 32gr bullet has a muzzle energy of 1,268 ft-lbs.
The team at Ammo.com has gathered and answered some of the most commonly asked questions about 204 Ruger ballistics.
The effective range of a 204 Ruger is about 500 yards for the average shooter.
Depending on the load you’re shooting, a 204 Ruger drops between 4 to 5 inches at 300 yards.
Yes, the Ruger 204 is accurate, thanks to low recoil and a flat trajectory.
The muzzle velocity of a 204 Ruger with a 32-grain bullet is 4,230 fps.
The muzzle velocity and energy for a 204 Ruger cartridge are 4,230 fps (velocity) and 1,268 ft-lbs (energy).
204 Ruger Ballistics Tables From Major Manufacturers originally appeared on Ammo.com