The .204 Ruger is a newer centerfire rifle cartridge developed by Hornady and Ruger, making its debut and being introduced to the shooting public in 2004. The .204 Ruger is a wildcat cartridge based on the 222 Remington Magnum cartridge case. By moving the shoulder forward and sharpening its angle to 30 degrees, the new 204 Ruger cartridge gets a definite case capacity edge over any similar wildcats based on any other small capacity case. The .204 Ruger, at the time of its introduction was the highest velocity commercially produced cartridge, and the only centerfire cartridge produced commercially for bullets of .204 inch diameter. The factory Hornady load is listed at 4,225 fps with a 32 grain bullet at the muzzle, which is hyper fast. To achieve these velocities, Hornady uses a powder specially formulated for the .204 Ruger.
More experience hand loaders should have no problem meeting and even exceeding the 4,000 fps, even without the use of any special purpose powder. The .204 Ruger is definitely a varmint-only proposition as a bullet of this caliber does not have the frontal mass, or the capability to deliver enough energy, to cleanly kill anything larger. One of the primary objectives of a good varmint round is that it should have a flat trajectory and the .204 Ruger meets this requirement with no problem.