204 RUGER VELOCITY DATA
"For these tests I chose a T/C Contender in 24" length as a starting point. Like our previous data on the 17 HMR, I shot five rounds thru our Oehler Model 33 Chronograph, recorded the results, then cut 1 inch from the barrel and recrowned to repeat the velocity test.
It was my intention to go all the way to a 10" barrel. But . . . at about 18" length I started getting frequent "error" readings – from muzzle blast. I firmed up my Sky Screens to prevent movement and got good results until about 16" length. At this point I had to move back about 20 feet from my screens and tie down everything in the immediate area of my shop. I was pulling objects off shelves 30 feet away. At 14" it was impossible to get five dependable readings – because of this extreme blast – so my test was terminated at this length.
For my test I'd be forced to say that 23" is the optimum length. Those of you who know me, realize that I was hoping to find highest velocity at 20", but my chronograph won't lie just because I'm a fan of shorter barrels.
I have no answer for the fact that my test showed a high velocity of 200 fps slower than advertised – probably just a difference in testing procedure. Here's hoping this data is of interest and may help our shooters in making ideal decisions in length for their needs.
Good shooting!" - Fred Smith
Velocity Test Results
Note: As Fred mentions on this page, you will experience severe muzzle blast in 204 Ruger pistols. For this reason as well as general performance we recommend 20 Caliber pistol barrels be made in the smaller 20 Tactical or ideally the 20 VarTarg. These maintain better overall performance in short barrels due to their smaller cases and powder charges.
This 14-inch barrel's muzzle blast was too great for any dependable date to be gathered.
Patches dampened with Eezox™ were pushed through the bore after the cutting and recrowning processes, and to assure a clean bore for each test group.