Return to previous Page

Reloading The .204 Ruger

(Photo from Hornady - loaded ammo with 32 gr. V-Max bullet


Firing a 32 grain bullet at well over 4,200 FPS is moving right on out. Most common bullet weights range from 26 grain (Barnes) to 50 grains for this little 20 caliber hot-shot. Some people think you can neck size down a 223 case and that is what this round was made from. No, the large part of the case is longer and neck taper is different. If you wanted to try to neck down something available, I understand a .222 Rem Magnum might work. You neck it down and fireform it. But brass for the .204 is as easy to get, so why do it? This was a joint project from Ruger and Hornady, and not originally a wildcat project.

Barnes says of their 26 grain, .204" bullets, "Barnes’ Varmint Grenade™ is a unique varmint bullet that delivers explosive results. Originally developed for military applications, the bullet’s copper-tin composite core is highly frangible, greatly reducing the chance of ricochets. The new flat-base, hollow-cavity bullet remains intact at ultra-high velocities, yet fragments explosively on impact. Virtually vaporizes ground squirrels and prairie dogs, even at extended range. The bullet blows up completely at high speed, creating little or no exit wounds on larger animals. Leaves coyote and bobcat pelts virtually undamaged. Delivers sniper-like accuracy for dependable long-range kills." Regarding loads, Barnes said, "you can use other published load data from Hodgdon or Hornady and the 32gr bullet for use with the 26gr Varmint Grenade bullets. Use the minimum load data to start. Working up in 1/2 gr. increments."

You can get brass from Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington & Winchester. That's what I suggest you do. 2008 prices range from $.25 to $.50 each in 100 lots.

Loads for .204 Ruger:
(Note: Most are maximum loads, you should use 10% less to start.) But where you see a (MAX) load, the one above it is the starting load, do not go below that amount.
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.) TAC is "Ramshot TAC, a versatile rifle powder that performs well in a number of different calibers. TAC has the ability to provide some of the industry's highest velocities for 80 grain bullets in the .223 caliber while maintaining SAAMI pressure guidelines. TAC is a double-based powder providing for ease of metering and consistent charge weights." [ ed:It's being tested widely in the .204 ] - Jeff Quinn likes Hodgdon Varget and Accurate Arms 2460 for loads.

Bullet size is .204" in diameter. Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.

(THIS PAGE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS)
----------------------------------------
26 gr. Barnes VM (Varmint Grenade)
    (You can use loads from the Sierra 32 grain below)
    IMR 4198  21.0 gr.  3,736 (min)
    IMR 4198  23.5 gr.  4,143 (max)
    XMR 2015  24.5 gr.  3,615 (min)
    XMR 2015  27.0 gr.  4,045 (max)
    Benchmark 25.5 gr.  3.661 (min)
    Benchmark 28.0 gr.  4,172 (max)
    X-Terminator 25.0 gr 3,773 (min)
    X-Terminator 27.5 gr 4,163 (max)
    Win 748   27.5 gr.  3,712 (min)
    Win 748   30.0 gr.  4,200 (max)
    RL-10X    24.0 gr.  3,806 (min)
    RL-10X    26.5 gr.  4,197 (max)
    H335      26.0 gr.  3,986 (min)
    H335      28.5 gr.  4,161 (max)
    H4895     26.0 gr.  3,680 (min)
    H4895     28.5 gr.  4,222 (max)
    Varget    27.5 gr.  3,787 (min)
    Varget    30.0 gr.  4,139 (max)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    TAC       29.9 gr.  3,427 fps-(unverified)(MAX)
  [note from a user: "32 grains TAC is MAX/MAX and will 
     produce over 4,200 fps" - not verified, caution]
     This load likely exceeds max pressures, use at your own risk
         I would use the TAC loads below for the 32 grain 
----------------------------------------
32 gr. Sierra BlitzKing
    X-Terminator 24.8 gr. 3,607 fps
    X-Terminator 27.5 gr. 4,008 (max)
    TAC       26.0 gr.  3,700
    TAC       28.5 gr.  4,100  (MAX load)
    Benchmark 26.0 gr.  3,700
    Benchmark 27.9 gr.  4,000+  (max load)
    IMR 3031  23.0 gr.  3,782
    IMR 3031  26.2 gr.  3,935  (Max)
    AA Rel-7  20.0 gr.  3,725
    AA Rel-7  23.0 gr.  4,087  (Max)
    Varget    26.0 gr.  3,500+
    Varget    28.8 gr.  3,900+ (max)
    IMR4895   26.0 gr.  3,500+
    IMR4895   28.3 gr.  3,950+ (max)
----------------------------------------
32 grain Hornady V-Max
    H4895     29.0 gr.   3,980 fps (Max load)
    RL-15     26.5 gr.   3,600
    RL-15     29.3 gr.   4,100  (max)
    IMR 4895  27.0 gr.   3,627  (start)
    IMR 4895  29.0 (Compressed) 3,949 (max load)
    IMR 4198  23.5 gr.   4,006  (max load)
    Varget    27.0 gr.   3,548
    Varget    29.0C gr.  3,792  (Max)
    H335      26.0 gr.   3,712
    H335      28.3 gr.   4,042 (Max)
    Benchmark 26.0 gr.   3,765
    Benchmark 28.0 gr.   4,043 (Max)
----------------------------------------
35 grain Hornady V-Max (you can use the Berger loads below as well)
    H4895     28.2 gr.   3,910   (Max load)
    Benchmark 25.0 gr.   3,590 (start) 
    Benchmark 26.6 gr.   3,863  (Max)
----------------------------------------
35 grain Berger HP
    H4895     26.0  gr.   3,577
    H4895     28.2C gr.   3,908   (Max load)
    IMR4895   26.5  gr.   3,609
    IMR4895   28.3C gr.   3,866  (MAX)
    Varget    28.0  gr.   3,702
    Varget    29.0C gr.   3,814  (Max)
    H335      25.5  gr.   3,659
    H335      27.5  gr.   3,902  (Max)
    Benchmark 25.0  gr.   3,587
    Benchmark 26.6  gr.   3,855
    IMR3031   25.0  gr.   3,609
    IMR3031   26.1C gr.   3,796  (MAX)
----------------------------------------
39 gr. Sierra BlitzKing
    Benchmark 25.7 gr.   3,645  (max load)
    H4895     26.5 gr.   3,638  (Max)
    IMR4895   27.0 gr.   3,755  (Max)
    IMR4198   20.0 gr.   3,200+
    IMR4198   22.0 gr.   3,500+ (max)
    IMR-3031  23.3 gr.   3,200+
    IMR-3031  25.3 gr.   3,600+ (max)
    RE-10X    21.6 gr.   3,200+
    RE-10X    25.1 gr.   3,700+ (max)
    IMR4064   25.2 gr.   3,200+
    IMR4064   27.2 gr.   3,600+ (max)
----------------------------------------
40 grain Hornady V-Max
    X-Terminator  23.0 gr. 3,241 fps
    X-Terminator  25.5 gr. 3,601 (Max)
    TAC       24.0 gr.   3,300
    TAC       27.0 gr.   3,680 (MAX)
    H4895     26.0 gr.   3,501 fps
    H4895     27.7 gr.   3,741 fps (Max Load)
    H335      25.0 gr.   3,506
    H335      26.8 gr.   3,736 (Max)
    Benchmark 24.0 gr.   3,415
    Benchmark 25.7 gr.   3,645 (Max)
    IMR4895   26.0 gr.   3,410 
    IMR4895   27.8C gr.  3,696 (Max)
    IMR3031   24.0 gr.   3,454
    IMR3031   25.6C gr.  3,691 (Max)
    IMR4064   25.5 gr.   3,381
    IMR4064   27.5C gr.  3,611 (Max)
    RL-15     25.0 gr.   3,405
    RL-15     27.3 gr.   3,800  (max)
    Varget    26.0 gr.   3,395  (start)
    Varget    28.1 gr. (compressed) 3,647 fps (Max)
-----------------------------------------
45 grain Hornady SP
   H4895      22.0 gr. 3,205
   H4895      24.8 gr. 3,500+ (Max)
   Varget     23.3 gr. 3,200+
   Varget     26.7 gr. 3,600+ (Max)
-----------------------------------------
50 grain Berger Hollow Point Boat Tail (HPBT)
   H335       22.5 gr. 3,037
   H335       24.3 gr. 3,265 (Max)
   H4895      24.0 gr. 3,165
   H4895      25.7 gr. 3,352 fps (max)
   IMR4895    24.0 gr. 3,095
   IMR4895    26.2C gr. 3,343 (max)
   IMR4064    24.0 gr. 3,075
   IMR4064    25.8C gr. 3,327 (max)
   IMR3031    22.0 gr. 3,038
   IMR3031    24.0 gr. 3,282 (max)
   Benchmark  22.5 gr. 3,108
   Benchmark  24.0 gr. 3,256 fps (max)
   Varget     24.0 gr. 3,070
   Varget     26.0 gr. 3,284 (max)
 (Note: hard to stabilize longer bullets, 1 in 12 twist is not enough)
-----------------------------------------

Discussion: This 20 caliber cartridge has been around since 2004. It is especially accurate with the smaller bullets like the 32-40 grain ones.

* * * * *

References: Internet sites (powder and bullet companies) - Numerous magazine articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted.
Powders: RL-15, RL-7 are Accurate Arms Powder; H335, H4895, Benchmark & Varget are Hodgdon, IMR powders are also supplied by Hodgdon. X-Terminator & TAC are powders from Ramshot. Ramshot and Accurate are the same company (Western Powders Inc -- Miles City – Montana) in 2008.

Return to previous Page


This page created 7-7-08 by M.D. Smith and last modified on July 10, 2008 ©