.204 Ruger Rifle
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3 Great Rifles Chambered in .204 Ruger for Small Game, Varmint, and Predator Hunting

For hunting varmint species, the .204 Ruger delivers that high-velocity, powerful distant trajectory you want.

When hunting coyotes, prairie dogs, or other varmint species, hunters need to be able to target these wary animals at long distances—which means you'll want a high-velocity cartridge with a flat trajectory and minimal recoil. Plenty of rifle cartridges have been released for this purpose over the years. However, one of the fastest and most powerful modern cartridges is the .204 Ruger.

Designed by Ruger and Hornady in 2004, the .204 Ruger is a centerfire rifle cartridge alternative to guns chambered in calibers such as the rimfire .17 HMR, rimfire .22 long rifle, or the centerfire .223 Remington. The difference is that the .204 Ruger offers vastly more effective factory loads, and its ammo is surprisingly accessible and affordable.

If varmint hunting is your thing and you're in the market for the newest and most effective coyote, groundhog, or ground squirrel gun, strongly consider purchasing a rifle chambered in .204 Ruger. You'll be blown away by the almost nonexistent recoil, incredible muzzle velocity, and effectiveness inside of 500 yards.

3 Great Rifles Chambered In .204 Ruger

Best Varmint Rifle Chambered in .204 Ruger

Top Pick: Ruger American Rifle Predator 

Weight: 6.6 pounds | Overall length: 42 inches | Barrel length: 22 inches | Length of pull: 13.75 inches | Action type: Bolt  | Capacity: 10+1 rounds | Twist: 1:12

Given that Ruger itself helped develop the .204 round, a Ruger firearm makes the top of our list as the best .204 Ruger rifle for varmint hunting.

The American Rifle Predator is an extremely affordable bolt-action varmint gun. This rifle has a 22-inch free-floating barrel with a 1:12 twist rate, which is the ideal rate for the .204 Ruger caliber. The barrel has a matte black finish and is constructed of alloy steel. Alloy steel is cheaper than stainless steel and has a slightly higher tendency to rust. However, alloy barrels offer a blend of strength, toughness, and resistance to wear.

The durable, scratch-resistant ergonomic synthetic stock drops the weight to a light 6.6 pounds. If this caliber were any larger, we'd be a little worried about recoil management. However, this round is small enough that hunters shouldn't feel much recoil when sending this round downrange, especially since this rifle's buttstock has a recoil pad. The Predator also has a 10-round magazine capacity, so you can take out multiple prairie dogs before reloading.

This Ruger features the company's Marksman adjustable trigger system, allowing users to set the pull weight anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds, depending on preference. However, the length of pull on this firearm is not adjustable. It does have a Picatinny scope base ready for your scope of choice. Sling swivel studs are installed on the bottom of the stock so hunters can attach a sling, too.

Overall, Ruger designed this rifle with its own .204 caliber in mind. This affordable, tough, and accurate rifle can hit everything from groundhogs to coyotes inside of 500 yards.

  • Ruger helped bring the .204 Ruger cartridge to life.
  • 10-round magazine capacity.
  • Lightweight.
  • Has a tough, synthetic stock.
  • Picatinny rail is ready for a scope.
  • 3-5-pound adjustable trigger pull weight. 
  • Has sling swivel studs.

  • Alloy barrel may be susceptible to rust.

Ruger American Rifle Predator - $560

Best Adjustable Varmint Rifle Chambered in .204 Ruger 

Top Pick: Savage Arms 110 Predator

Weight: 8.69 pounds | Overall length: 44.25 inches | Barrel length: 24 inches | Length of pull: 12.75 to 13.75 inches | Action type: Bolt | Capacity: 4+1 rounds | Twist: 1:12

The buttery-smooth action of the Savage Model 110 is legendary. The 110 Predator is no exception and was built with varmints in mind. 

The Savage Arms 110 Predator has a 24-inch carbon steel barrel with a 1:12 twist rate, perfect for launching .204 Ruger rounds. The synthetic stock is rugged and weather-resistant, plus it's covered in Mossy Oak Terra camo to help you stay concealed.

This rifle isn't exactly lightweight, since it weighs 8.7 pounds. However, the couple of extra pounds of weight makes it extremely stable and accurate. This is an asset when taking long-range shots on varmints, which is exactly how this firearm is intended to be used. 

The best thing about this Savage rifle is the AccuFit system. Accufit lets you adjust the length of pull and the comb height on the stock without needing special tools or a gunsmith. Not only does the Predator feature the AccuFit system, but it also has an AccuTrigger. Savage's trademarked AccuTrigger allows users to adjust the trigger's pull weight. This gun's trigger weight ranges between 1.5 and 6 pounds. 

Savage successfully created a dedicated varmint rifle that fits like a custom gun but isn't priced like one. If you have a shorter-than-average length of pull, tall cheekbones, or just love Savage rifles, this is the .204 chambering for you.

  • Adjustable trigger, length of pull, and comb height fit a wide array of hunters.
  • Barrel length and twist rate are optimized for the .204 Ruger caliber.
  • Highly customizable rifle that is still affordably priced.
  • AccuTrigger prevents accidental discharges if the gun is dropped.
  • Features Mossy Oak Terra camouflaged stock.

  • It is somewhat heavy, but the weight helps with steadiness and recoil management.
  • Mid-range price tag isn't super affordable or wildly expensive.

Savage Arms 110 Predator - $900

Best Luxury Rifle Chambered in .204 Ruger 

Top Pick: Cooper Arms M51 Montana Varminter 

Weight: 7.5 to 9 pounds | Overall length: Custom | Barrel length: 24 inches | Action type: Bolt | Capacity: 4+1 rounds | Twist: 1:12

If you're serious about adding a rifle chambered in .204 Ruger to your gun safe, look no further than Cooper Arms' Montana Varminter. Cooper Arms is based in Arkansas, and the artisans there care deeply about building high-quality varmint rifles. The M51 is one of their most modern varmint gun designs.

When chambered in .204 Ruger, the bolt-action M51 features a 24-inch stainless steel barrel with a 1:12 twist rate. This is the perfect length and twist for sending .204 Ruger bullets downrange. Depending on how long you'd like the stock to be, this rifle's overall length and weight can vary. However, most iterations weigh between 7.5 and 9 pounds. This weight range strikes a beautiful balance that optimizes accuracy, recoil management, and steadiness. 

The stock is constructed out of gorgeous, AA+ high-quality Claro walnut. It also has a vented forearm, which helps keep your gun barrel cool when taking back-to-back shots. The grip is checkered by hand, decreasing slippage and increasing the visual appeal of this firearm. The walnut is finished with oil to help protect it while hunting while maintaining its gloss. Lastly, the Pachmayr recoil pad helps you stay comfortable while shooting your target. All you have to do to make this gun truly yours is attach your favorite scope.

If high-quality, hand-crafted rifles and varmint hunting are your things, combine your two passions with a Cooper Arms M51 Montana Varminter. You'll be impressed with its superior accuracy and impressive fine details.

  • Cooper Firearms of Montana is a small business that started in the .90s when a handful of Kimber employees started their own company.
  • Renowned for high-quality, exceedingly accurate varmint rifles. 
  • Thoughtfully designed by modern craftsmen and gunsmiths.
  • 1/2 MOA accuracy guarantee. 
  • Fully adjustable trigger.
  • Available in a left-handed configuration.
  • One of the best rifles chambered in .204 Ruger on the market.

  • This is a luxury firearm whose quality exceeds other rifles chambered in .204 Ruger on the market.
  • Price tag is a reflection of the custom build and quality craftsmanship.

Cooper Arms M51 Montana Varminter - $2,500

What to Look For When Buying a Rifle Chambered in .204 Ruger

If you're in the market for a rifle chambered in .204 Ruger for varmint hunting, there are a few factors you'll want to consider to make sure you're buying the best rifle for you. Namely, you'll want to consider the gun's weight, materials, and fit.

Gun weight is tied to several factors regarding hunting and target shooting. First, heavy guns are a pain to carry for miles. However, if you're a stationary hunter, a heavy gun may be for you; heavy guns absorb more recoil and are steadier to aim with. Light guns kick more depending on their caliber, but they're far easier to carry in the field during long hunts. Most .204 Rugers tend to weigh between 7 and 9 pounds.

Like any outdoor gear, some rifle materials stand up to the elements better than others. Alloy steel barrels and receivers rust more quickly than stainless or chemically treated steel. Similarly, synthetic stocks are more durable and scratch-resistant than wooden stocks. Consider a gun's materials while shopping, depending on how and where you like to hunt.

Are you 5 foot 10 inches and 180 pounds? If so, I have great news for you: Any off-the-shelf rifle is going to fit you perfectly. These days, most rifles are manufactured to fit the average height and weight range for adult American men. However, if this isn't you, you should consider a gun's length of pull and comb height before you purchase anything.

Length of pull is how long the gun is from the end of the buttstock to a half-inch below the center point of the trigger. This measurement shows how well the rifle will fit in the crook of your elbow and your pointer finger's pad placement on the trigger. Measuring your length of pull is always recommended before buying a long gun.

Similarly, comb height is associated with the height of the cheek riser on the rifle's stock. Women tend to prefer a high comb because of our naturally high cheekbones. For women, higher combs typically mean better sight alignment with their target. Play around with a few different comb heights (or have a professional gunsmith measure yours) to see which measurement fits you best.

Your Questions, Answered

Ballistically, .204 Ruger rounds have a flat trajectory at lightning-fast speeds. This makes .204-chambered rifles incredibly ideal for varmint hunting at medium-to-long ranges. Depending on the weight of the bullet you're shooting, the muzzle velocity is between 3,625 and 4,225 feet per second. For comparison, a standard 40-grain .22 bullet has a muzzle velocity of 1,070 feet per second, three to four times slower than a .204 Ruger.

The .204 Ruger cartridge was developed by Ruger and Hornady in 2004. They made this caliber by necking down a .222 Remington Magnum to create a new 5mm round. It's worth noting that the .204 wasn't exactly something hunters had been asking for, but it didn't take long to generate a lot of buzz once hunters got word of its incredible ballistic capabilities.

It's generally easy to find an array of .204 Ruger ammo. This ammo is also available in different bullet weights, so you can find the grain size that works best for your purposes.

The .204 Ruger cartridge was designed with target shooting and varmint hunting in mind. Small game species such as ground squirrels, prairie dogs and woodchucksand pesky predators like coyotes—can all be ethically hunted with a rifle chambered in .204 Ruger.

The .204 Ruger round has practically no recoil. Most shooters say the recoil outperforms the iconic 22-250 Remington, which is impressive. This helps make the .204 Ruger ideal for younger shooters and for taking quick follow-up shots while hunting.

The .204 Ruger cartridges are ballistically superior to .17 and .22 cartridges. On average, .204 Ruger rounds have a muzzle velocity of about 4,000 feet per second. Some .17 HMR rounds travel this fast, too, but they have less power than a .204. Additionally, .22 long rifle bullets are far slower than .204 bullets—about four times slower. They also have about a seventh of the power that a .204 bullet does. When shooting coyotes, the .204 Ruger is the ideal chamber.

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