Long reach and low recoil highlight the 22-250 Remington’s benefits.
Another .224 caliber cartridge we’re going to take a look at going into varmint season is the 22-250 Remington, which is really the only super-fast 22 to enjoy much success.
There has probably been some version of the 22-250 kicking around in wildcat form since Charles Newton drummed up the 250 Savage back in 1915.
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The 250 case has a capacity just a little below that of a 308 Winchester or 7mm Mauser, making it an excellent choice for necking down to a smaller caliber.
Essentially, the little 22-250 case can hold just enough powder to get all the possible performance out of .224 caliber bullets without the need for excessively long barrels.
This balance has made the 22-250 a favorite among varmint hunters, along with the fact that the head size of the cartridge lends itself to being chambered on standard-size bolt-action rifles.
While the 22-250 was probably destined for popularity from the start, it got a real boost in 1937 when a wildcatter named J.E. Gebby went out and got a copyright on the name “22 Varminter,” which was what he had dubbed his version of the 22-250.
The fact that Gebby had tried to stake out a cartridge as his own territory peeved off gunsmiths nationwide, who began turning out 22-250 rifles under other names. The copyright dust-up had such a polarizing effect on the shooting community that it was probably a contributing factor towards Remington’s legitimization of the cartridge in 1965.
While a few oddities have added to the popularity of the 22-250 over the years, it really is a great varmint cartridge that is popular for some very good reasons.
With a 22-250, you can ramp lighter bullets up into the area of 4000 fps, which satisfies speed freaks. However, you can also slow heavier bullets down to roughly 3400 fps, which leads to longer case life.
Normally, the 22-250 will drink about 35 grs of powder per round, which makes it cheap to load a lot of rounds for and the current selection of .224 bullets on the market means it can be suited to just about any kind of varmint hunting.
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On a calm day when you can beat the mirage, a 22-250 can be counted on to nail prairie dogs out to 600 yards with little cost and even less recoil.
Some folks have always held that the 22-250 has a role as a big game rifle for critters like pronghorn or deer. While the 22-250 can and has been used on big game quite often over the years, it’s never really been a great choice for this application.
It does its job a little better every year as bullets improve, but upgrading to a slightly bigger bore — the 250 Savage, for instance — will always give more consistent results when it comes to game animals.
The gopher fields and prairie dog towns will always be where the 22-250 really shines, and its ability to pair long reach with low recoil will keep it popular for many years to come.
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