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Is the .204 Ruger Powerful Enough for Coyote Hunting? Watch and See

Watch This Hunter Drop A Coyote With A 204 Ruger
YouTube/Brandon and Stacy Hunt

The .204 Ruger is a relatively new cartridge that shoots small, lightweight bullets at an incredibly fast velocity.

Released as a joint project between Ruger and Hornady in 2004, the .204 Ruger has minimal recoil, is very accurate, has an extremely flat trajectory, and is decent enough for long-range shooting. It's marketed as a great all-around cartridge for predator and varmint hunting.

However, some are skeptical of the effectiveness of the .204 Ruger on coyotes because it shoots smaller and lighter bullets than the .22 caliber centerfires that are so popular among predator hunters.

The hunter in this video was using a Sako 85 Varmint Stainless in .204 Ruger firing 40 grain bullets, Hornady V-Max to be exact. Hornady advertises a 3,900fps velocity for that factory load. Believe it or not, that's the slowest .204 Ruger load they offer and is a relative slow poke compared to their 32gr V-Max and 24gr NTX varmint loads that clock in at a screaming 4,225fps and 4,400fps respectively.

Now that incredible speed is all well and good, but how does it translate to real life performance coyote hunting?

Watch the video to see for yourself.


He did a good job of capping off a great calling sequence with a really nice shot. That coyote probably never knew what hit it. Don't you just love predator hunting?!

As you can see, though the .204 Ruger is indeed quite a bit smaller than other popular varmint hunting cartridges like the .223 Remington or .22-250, it can certainly get the job done if the hunter places that tiny bullet where it needs to go.

One video of a hunter taking a coyote with good shot placement with the .204 Ruger doesn't prove anything one way or another regarding the effectiveness of the cartridge on coyotes. However, I'd say that it's well worth considering and investigating further. Coyote rifles mean different things to different hunters. Some like AR-15s, others stick with basic bolt actions. The caliber is yet another choice to make.

For what it's worth, it appears as though the bullet did not exit the coyote and caused very minimal pelt damage in this particular case.

If you're getting a varmint rifle (or just a coyote gun), you could do worse than the .204 Ruger.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on The Big Game Hunting Blog. Follow him on FacebookYouTube, & Instagram.



Is the .204 Ruger Powerful Enough for Coyote Hunting? Watch and See