The 22-250 Remington is a seriously fast round.
Speed seems to be everything these days when it comes to centerfire rifle cartridges and there are plenty of modern rounds that are pushing bullets to their limits. However, it's worth looking back to the past too, because there are some older, high-velocity rounds that are just as speedy and effective today as they were when they were first developed. Sometimes they're even faster now thanks to advancements in rifle and bullet technology.
One classic option for shooters is the iconic 22-250 Remington, a classic round developed back in 1937 that today can reach blistering speeds of 4,000 fps or more depending on bullet weight. Because of those speeds and a flat trajectory, this long-range round has become a varmint hunting staple in many parts of the world.
Let's take a little closer look at the 22-250 Remington today, go over some of its history, and take a gander at some of the rifles currently chambered for this nifty round.
22-250 Remington the round.
As we noted, this round was developed back in 1937. It's a wildcat round that designers Grosvenor Wotkyns, J.B. Smith, and J.E. Gebby necked down the .250-3000 Savage with a 28-degree shoulder. The cool thing about this story is that by all accounts, these guys basically built the round while tinkering around in their basement or garage. This round often draws comparisons to the .220 Swift. However, the developers quickly realized their new round burned powder a little bit more efficiently and squeezed some slightly faster speeds out of a .22 caliber bullet.
The designers named their new round the 22 Varminter. The round gained mainstream acceptance by gun companies in 1963 when Browning developed the first commercial hunting rifle in 22-250 Rem, because the ammo was not even made commercially at that time. It ended up being a sound move because shooters quickly realized how great this round performs on coyotes and ground hogs. These days there are even some hunters who love it as a round for medium sized big game like deer and pronghorn antelope. It's a little too small to be used for anything larger than that, but the 22-250 lends itself well as a beginner round thanks to the speed, flat trajectory, and low recoil.
Let's look at ballistics a little. Many of the fans of this round dig it because it has much improved ballistics over something like the 223 Remington. Depending on bullet size, you can get some seriously screaming speeds out of the 22-250 Remington. For instance, Hornady advertises a muzzle velocity of 4,450 fps with their 35-grain NTX Superformance rounds. At 100 yards, it's still going 3,709 fps and delivering 1,069-foot pounds of energy with just a half-inch drop in trajectory. Up that bullet size a little to 50 grains and you're still getting 4,000 fps at the muzzle, and 3,517 fps at 100 yards.
Nosler advertises similar speeds for their lead-free, ballistic tip varmint ammunition. A 35-grain bullet has a muzzle velocity of 4,200 fps and slows to just 3,598 fps at 100 yards. The 40-grain bullets are doing 3,950 at the muzzle and 3,420 fps at 100 yards. The 55-grain ballistic tips do about 3,550 fps at the muzzle and 3,153 fps at 100 yards.
Keep in mind these are factory loads we are talking about here. If there is a downside to this round, it's that factory rifle ammunition can be hard to locate sometimes. However, the 22-250 lends itself well to reloading and you can create some seriously hot handloads with this round. The great thing is the accessibility of materials because bullets are readily available from all the major manufacturers like Barnes, Speer, Hornady and more.
If there is one major downside to this round, it's the barrel life. Because it's shooting such a hot load and such fast bullets, the barrel is going to heat up a lot faster than something like the 223 Remington or even the .243. You can mitigate that somewhat with a heavy barrel, but just be aware it may not last quite as long as other caliber offerings. For many 22-250 fans though, that's just part of the price you pay for what is an extremely accurate and fast round. Now let's look at some of the rifles on the market today.
Savage Axis II
We'll start things off with an affordable model for almost any budget. The Savage Arms Axis II can usually be had for under $400, even if you go with the Savage Axis XP package that comes fitted with a bore sighted 3x9-40mm scope. This rifle has a 22-inch carbon steel barrel with a 1:9 twist rate, which is right in the sweet spot for a caliber this fast. The synthetic stock helps keep the weight at an extremely manageable 6.3 pounds. Savage also gives this gun their user-adjustable AccuTrigger system so you can adjust the trigger pull to whatever is most comfortable for you.
The Hogue is a solid mid-priced option for varmint and predator hunters looking for a lightweight rifle with the some higher-end features. For instance, you can get this gun in a traditional blued finish or step it up to Cerakote for more protection from the elements. The length of the cold hammer forged barrel varies between 20 and 24 inches for this model. Howa also sells ready-to-go package that tops the rifle with a Nikko Stirling 4-16x44mm scope so you can head straight to the range to sight it in. These rifles have a steel forged bolt and receiver, and an HCAT two-stage trigger.
Ruger Hawkeye Predator
There can be no denying Ruger makes some great-looking hunting rifles. Their Hawkeye Predator has a beautiful green mountain laminate stock that offsets nicely with the matte stainless steel finish for a classic hunting rifle look. This gun has a 24-inch cold hammer forged barrel with a 1:14 twist rate. It has a two-stage adjustable trigger and a Mauser-type controlled feed extractor that is non-rotating, making for some especially smooth cycling. The three-position safety allows for the locking of the bolt while loading and unloading. This rifle is on the slightly heavier side thanks to that laminate stock at eight pounds, but it sure is a looker that's going to be deadly on coyotes and groundhogs.
Browning X-Bolt White Gold Medallion
Another rifle with a classic look thanks to the sharp looking walnut and rosewood stock that has a gloss finish. Browning builds this rifle with a 22-inch barrel with a 1:9 twist rate, perfect for those extremely light and fast bullets. The barrel is stainless steel and has a nice satin finish that adds to the looks of this gun. Despite the traditional look, Browning kept the weight down to just six pounds, six ounces, meaning it's going to be a comfortable carry into the backcountry. The Inflex recoil pad helps add to the ergonomics of this rifle by soaking up what little recoil the 22-250 Remington produces. This rifle is fed through a four-round detachable rotary magazine. And the 60-degree bolt lift allows for faster and smoother cycling without worry about hitting your scope.
Winchester Model 70 Long Range MB
The Model 70 has been around for a long time and is still a fantastic hunting rifle. We picked the Long Range MB over the featherweight simply because this has a few additional features that make an already fantastic bolt-action rifle even better than before. The main thing here is the Bell and Carlson composite stock with an aluminum bedding block. That makes the stock rock-solid steady. It also makes it capable of standing up to the elements extremely well. The 24-inch barrel has 1:14 twist rate and has a classic matte blued finish. It is also fluted and features a muzzlebrake standard, thus the "MB" designation. This gun feature's Winchester's popular MOA trigger system and a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. Despite all the extra features, they managed to keep the weight at a very manageable seven pounds, eight ounces.
Franchi Momentum Elite Varmint
There's a lot of nice ergonomic features on the Franchi that help set it apart from others on this list. Mainly the TSA recoil pad which is going to reduce the recoil of this already easy to shoot round even more, by up to 50 percent according to Franchi. This rifle also features an adjustable single stage Relia trigger that can be changed to break between two and four pounds depending on what's most comfortable for you. This rifle has a 24-inch barrel with a 1:12 twist rate. Both the barrel and receiver are finished with a nice-looking Midnight Bronze Cerakote finish that's going to help this rifle stand up the elements. Both the barrel and bolt are fluted to help reduce the weight. There is also a muzzle brake. This rifle comes in at nine pounds exactly. Franchi offers a seven-year warranty with all their firearms as well as an MOA accuracy guarantee.
Christensen Arms Traverse
The Traverse is Christensen Arms' backcountry rifle offering and comes in at about 7.3 pounds, which is going to make it easy to hike with in search of predators or bucks. The carbon fiber wrapped barrel is 24 inches long with a 1:14 rate of twist. It also features a stainless steel muzzle brake. This rifle has a carbon fiber composite stock in Monte Carlo style with a raised comb, spot bedding, and a full palm swell for extra ergonomics. It cycles like a dream thanks to the enlarged ejection port and M16 style extractor. The 0-MOA picatinny rail is ready for the scope of your choice. Christensen Arms offers a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee with this rifle. It's a serious rifle for the serious hunter.
Mossberg Patriot Synthetic
This is another nice option for the hunter who wants a quality long range capable rifle without breaking the bank. This rifle features a black synthetic stock and a nice matte blued finish. The 22-inch barrel has a 1:14 rate of twist and is fluted to help bring the weight down to 7.5 pounds. This rifle features Weaver style bases for your scope mount. Mossberg also offers a combo package that comes with a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9x40mm scope already mounted. Just get some ammo and head to the range.
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