.204 Ruger Review: Pros and cons of the .204 Ruger

The .204 Ruger is a relatively new cartridge that was introduced in 2004 by Hornady and Ruger. It was designed to be a fast and flat-shooting cartridge for varmint hunting and target shooting. In this blog, we will discuss the pros and cons of the .204 Ruger and why it has gained popularity among hunters and shooters.


  1. High Velocity: The .204 Ruger is one of the fastest commercially available cartridges. It has a muzzle velocity of around 4,000 feet per second, which makes it an ideal cartridge for varmint hunting and long-range target shooting. The high velocity also means that the .204 Ruger has a very flat trajectory, making it easier to hit targets at long ranges.

  2. Low Recoil: Despite its high velocity, the .204 Ruger has low recoil. This makes it easier to shoot accurately and allows for faster follow-up shots. The low recoil also makes it an ideal cartridge for smaller and lighter weight rifles.

  3. Accurate: The .204 Ruger is known for its excellent accuracy. The combination of high velocity and low recoil, along with the quality of the ammunition and the rifles chambered for it, makes it a very precise cartridge. This accuracy makes it an ideal choice for varmint hunting and target shooting.

  4. Efficient: The .204 Ruger is an efficient cartridge in terms of powder usage. It uses less powder than many other cartridges with similar performance, which makes it an economical choice for shooters who want to shoot frequently.


  1. Limited Availability: The .204 Ruger is not as widely available as some other cartridges. While it can be found at many sporting goods stores and online retailers, it may not be available at all stores. This limited availability can make it more difficult to find ammunition and reloading components.

  2. Limited Application: The .204 Ruger is primarily designed for varmint hunting and target shooting. It is not suitable for larger game animals or self-defense situations. This limited application means that shooters who want a cartridge for multiple uses may need to consider other options.

  3. Barrel Wear: The high velocity of the .204 Ruger can cause increased barrel wear over time. Shooters who shoot frequently or use the cartridge for long-range target shooting may need to replace their barrels more often than with other cartridges.

  4. Wind Sensitivity: The flat trajectory of the .204 Ruger makes it very sensitive to wind drift. Shooters who are shooting at long ranges or in windy conditions may need to adjust their aim to compensate for wind drift.

The .204 Ruger is a high-performance cartridge that is well-suited for varmint hunting and target shooting. Its high velocity, low recoil, and accuracy make it a popular choice among shooters who are looking for a fast and flat-shooting cartridge. However, its limited availability, limited application, barrel wear, and wind sensitivity are some of the drawbacks to consider when choosing this cartridge. Ultimately, the decision to use the .204 Ruger will depend on the shooter's specific needs and preferences.

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