View Full Version : Improving the .204 Ruger

January 26, 2010, 05:15 PM
Having read TFL and similar forums for some time, and reading about various improvements on standard cartridges such as a .xxx Ackley Improved...I'm wondering if this is possible for the .204 Ruger. I know it is already based on a parent cartridge (.222 Rem Mag?)...but my question is this: is there a way that the case could be altered to be more efficient, as in the AI cartridges? To be clear, I'm perfectly happy with the performance of the .204, I'm just curious. I'm not interested in changing to a different caliber, and I'm not even really interested in doing anything to my rifle, again, I'm just curious if there is any potential for this particular cartridge to be improved.

January 26, 2010, 06:25 PM
The improving process involves blowing out the taper and giving the shoulder a steeper angle.

As such ANY cartridge can be "improved". Will that affect the ballistics of the 204 Ruger? Possibly. Is it worth the effort? Probably not, unless you just want to be different.

The biggest benefit to most "improved" cartridges is less brass flow/stretch and very positive headspacing.

Just so we are clear, the "improvement" is all about the brass, not about the ballistics.


January 27, 2010, 06:03 AM
the .204 allready has a pretty steep shoulder.

January 27, 2010, 12:36 PM
Sure, 22-250.

January 31, 2010, 02:49 AM
I feel that improvements to the Ruger .204 would probably not be worth the trouble for two reasons.
1 As has already been stated the shoulder is already quite steep.
2 the .204 case appears to be pretty much minimum taper anyway so increases in capacity by the normal Ackley methods are not going to be easily done.
The Ackley improvements generally work best on heavily tapered cases like the 22-250 where you can gain significant case volume.

T. O'Heir
January 31, 2010, 03:11 AM
20 and 17 calibre cartridges are the answer to an unasked question. The manufacturers have to come out with new stuff regularly or they risk losing market share. And the marketing types get laid off.

January 31, 2010, 03:36 AM
The Ackley improvements generally work best on heavily tapered cases like the 22-250 where you can gain significant case volume.

The .22-250 is fairly straight. A better example would be the .220 Swift. The Improved versions of the Swift increase case capacity a notable amount. (The .22 K-Hornet is another good example of significant increases.)

It should always be kept in mind, though... An increase in case capacity requires an increase in powder, to achieve the same velocity. Generally speaking, a 10% increase in internal volume will require an 8-10% increase in powder charge... to achieve the same performance.

As it has already been pointed out - Most 'Improved' cartridges are actually improvements to extraction and brass flow problems. The cartridge usually doesn't gain enough performance to justify the process.

The .204 Ruger doesn't seem to need any major modifications for reliability or case life, so I doubt it would be worth the time.

And - The term 'Improved' indicates that factory ammo can still be fired in the chamber, effectively fire forming the cases to the 'improved' design. If factory ammo cannot be fired in the chamber, it has become a wildcat (or different chambering).

February 1, 2010, 04:45 PM
Frankenmauser, I don't know what kind of 22-250 ammo you are using but before fire forming in my Ackley chamber mine measure (SAMMI) .470 at the base and . .0414 at the shoulder meaning .026 taper in each side of the case or in otherwords .056 total taper for both sides of the cartridge. This is significantly more taper than the .008 taper one side or total for both sides of .016 for the 204 Ruger. As to blanket statements like the improvements not being worth the trouble for small velocity increases this is true for some calibers but also not true for some others I use three Ackley Improved rifles and my chonographed loads are
223 Ackley 55 grain bullet 3650 ft per second, 24 inch barrel
22-250 Ackley 55grain bullet 3950 " " " , 26 inch barrel
25-06 Ackley 100grain Bullet 3700 " " " 26inch barrel
While to some people these velocity improvement of 250+ ft per second may appear small, have a look at what it does to bullet drop and windage figures out side of 400 yards.

February 1, 2010, 05:15 PM
I shoot a standard 22-250 out of a 28" barrel, and I can push the bullets as fast as you do. You are gaining velocity due to both the AI case improvement and longer barrel, but it's hard to quantify which is giving the greatest improvement. Again, I shoot a 223 out of a 20" barrel for 3,180 fps. You are using a 4" longer barrel and gaining 400+ fps (WOW!), but it's hard to quantify which is giving the greatest gain.

I feel there is probably very little to gain from improving the 204 Ruger. As stated, it already has minimal body taper and a fairly steep shoulder. Any gain would be minimal, probably 100-200 fps. Considering you will need new dies and have to pay for a reamer to boot, I doubt there is much value in improving a 204 Ruger.
20 and 17 calibre cartridges are the answer to an unasked question.I don't know that I completely agree with this statement. If we were all shooting 40-60 Winchesters, would a 30-06 look like bottled lightning? You bet! But at the other end, if we were all shooting 30-06s, would a 40-60 look attractive? Not so much. Some folks want it there as fast as possible, others have other tastes. If people didn't buy all the new cartridges, would the manufacturers keep making them?

February 3, 2010, 04:07 PM
Scorch, My velocity improvements were over and above what I used and chronographed in the same rifle with its old 24inch barrel in the standard 223 and load data that I had for the standard 22-250 & 25-06 that I fired in the same rifle with the old 26 inch barrells once again before I rebarrelled with the Ackley chamber so although not an exact comparison barrel length was not really an issue.
While the loads I am using are not maximum loads they are pretty close but a thing to watch out for is that Ackley chambers do not show normal pressure sign as early as more conventional tapered cases. For an idication if a load is too hot I prefer to use case head expansion rather than looking at primers or their pockets.
A friend Developed a really hot load for a .270 Ackley and just the velocities he was getting should have warned him that things were too hot but on running his load through my ballistics program loads were running around 65,000 cup but even at this level his primers and pockets still looked good