A Comprehensive Guide to 22-250 Ammo: History, Uses, and Performance

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22-250 ammo

The .22-250 Remington, often simply referred to as 22-250, is a high-velocity rifle cartridge that has gained immense popularity among varmint hunters and target shooters. Known for its flat trajectory, impressive accuracy, and speed, the 22-250 is a cartridge that combines the best attributes of smaller calibers with the performance needed for precision shooting. This article delves into the history, development, uses, ballistics, and considerations for selecting 22-250 ammo.

History and Development 22-250 Ammo

History and Development
History and Development

The 22-250 cartridge has a storied history that dates back to the early 20th century. Initially developed as a wildcat cartridge, it was based on the .250-3000 Savage case, necked down to accept .224 caliber bullets. Wildcatting, the process of modifying existing cartridges to create new ones, was popular among early 20th-century shooters and experimenters looking for better performance in terms of speed and accuracy.

The .22-250 emerged as one of the standout wildcat rounds due to its exceptional velocity and flat shooting characteristics. In the 1930s, J.E. Gebby and Grosvenor Wotkyns were among the key figures who contributed to its development and popularization. The wildcat version gained traction among shooters and handloaders, and by the 1960s, the demand for a factory-loaded version was evident.

In 1965, Remington standardized the cartridge and introduced it as the .22-250 Remington. This move brought the cartridge into the mainstream, offering factory-loaded ammunition and commercially available rifles chambered for it. This transition from a wildcat cartridge to a standardized offering solidified the .22-250’s place in the shooting world.

Uses and Applications 22-250 Ammo

Varmint Hunting

The 22-250 Remington is perhaps best known for its effectiveness as a varmint hunting cartridge. Its high velocity, often exceeding 4,000 feet per second with lighter bullets, allows for long-range shots with minimal bullet drop. This makes it ideal for hunting small, fast-moving targets such as prairie dogs, groundhogs, and coyotes. The flat trajectory ensures that hunters can take precise shots at varying distances without significant adjustments.

Target Shooting and Benchrest Competitions

The accuracy of the 22-250 also makes it a popular choice for target shooting and benchrest competitions. Shooters appreciate its ability to maintain tight groupings at long distances, making it a staple in competitions where precision is paramount. The cartridge’s relatively mild recoil further enhances its appeal, allowing shooters to maintain better control and follow-through.

Predator Control

In addition to varmint hunting, the 22-250 is effective for predator control, particularly for species like coyotes and foxes. Its ability to deliver a quick, humane kill at longer ranges is a significant advantage for wildlife management and livestock protection.

Tactical and Law Enforcement Use

Although less common, the 22-250 has seen some use in tactical and law enforcement applications. Its long-range precision capabilities make it suitable for certain sniper roles, particularly in environments where minimal bullet drop and wind drift are critical.

Ballistics and Performance

Ballistics and Performance
Ballistics and Performance

Velocity and Energy

One of the standout features of the 22-250 Remington is its velocity. Depending on the bullet weight and load, muzzle velocities can range from 3,500 to over 4,000 feet per second. This high velocity translates to impressive kinetic energy, ensuring that the bullet retains sufficient power to deliver effective terminal performance at long distances.

Bullet Weights and Types

The 22-250 can be loaded with a variety of bullet weights, typically ranging from 35 to 70 grains. Lighter bullets (35-45 grains) are favored for varmint hunting due to their high velocities and explosive terminal effects, which are ideal for small game. Heavier bullets (50-70 grains) offer better performance at longer ranges and in windy conditions, making them suitable for larger varmints and predators.

Common bullet types include:

  • Hollow Point (HP): Known for rapid expansion and fragmentation, ideal for varmint hunting.
  • Soft Point (SP): Offers controlled expansion and deeper penetration, suitable for medium-sized game and predators.
  • Ballistic Tip (BT): Combines the aerodynamic benefits of a spitzer bullet with rapid expansion, offering a good balance for hunting and target shooting.

Trajectory and Accuracy

The flat trajectory of the 22-250 is one of its most appealing characteristics. With minimal bullet drop out to 300 yards and beyond, shooters can engage targets at varying distances with less need for holdover adjustments. This flat shooting nature is particularly beneficial for varmint hunters who may need to take quick shots at unpredictable ranges.

Accuracy is another strong suit of the 22-250. When paired with a quality rifle and optics, the cartridge is capable of sub-MOA (Minute of Angle) accuracy, making it a favorite among precision shooters. The relatively mild recoil also contributes to better shooter accuracy and faster follow-up shots.

Reloading and Ammunition Selection

Factory Ammunition

The availability of factory-loaded 22-250 ammunition is extensive, with offerings from major manufacturers such as Remington, Winchester, Hornady, Federal, and more. Factory loads are designed to meet a variety of needs, from varmint hunting to long-range target shooting. When selecting factory ammo, consider the intended use and the specific performance characteristics of the load, such as bullet weight and type, velocity, and ballistic coefficient.

Reloading Considerations

For handloaders, the 22-250 offers a wide range of customization options. Reloading allows shooters to tailor their ammunition to their specific needs, optimizing for accuracy, velocity, or terminal performance. Key considerations for reloading include:

  • Powder Selection: The 22-250 performs well with a variety of powders, but popular choices include Varget, IMR 4064, and H4895. Powder selection will impact velocity and accuracy.
  • Bullet Selection: Choose bullets based on the intended application. Light bullets (35-45 grains) for high-velocity varmint loads and heavier bullets (50-70 grains) for longer-range accuracy and wind resistance.
  • Case Preparation: Proper case preparation, including trimming, deburring, and ensuring consistent neck tension, is crucial for achieving optimal accuracy.

Rifles Chambered in 22-250 Ammo

A wide range of rifles are available in 22-250, from budget-friendly options to high-end precision rifles. Popular models include:

  • Remington 700: A classic choice known for its accuracy and reliability. Available in various configurations to suit different needs.
  • Savage Model 12: Favored by precision shooters for its excellent factory trigger and out-of-the-box accuracy.
  • Tikka T3x: Known for its smooth action and high-quality build, offering great performance for hunting and target shooting.
  • Ruger American Predator: An affordable yet accurate option, ideal for varmint hunting and general use.

When selecting a rifle, consider factors such as barrel length, twist rate, and overall build quality. The twist rate is particularly important for stabilizing different bullet weights; a 1:12 twist rate is common and works well for lighter bullets, while a 1:9 twist rate is better suited for heavier bullets.

Pros and Cons of 22-250 Ammo

Pros and Cons of 22-250 Ammo
Pros and Cons of 22-250 Ammo


  • High Velocity: Enables flat trajectory and long-range precision.
  • Accuracy: Capable of sub-MOA performance with proper equipment.
  • Versatility: Suitable for varmint hunting, predator control, and target shooting.
  • Availability: Widely available in factory loads and reloading components.


  • Barrel Wear: High velocities can lead to faster barrel erosion, requiring more frequent replacements.
  • Noise and Recoil: While recoil is relatively mild, the noise can be significant, necessitating good hearing protection.
  • Wind Sensitivity: Lighter bullets are more affected by wind drift compared to heavier calibers.


The 22-250 Remington stands out as a versatile and highly effective cartridge for a range of applications. Whether you are a varmint hunter looking for long-range precision, a target shooter seeking accuracy, or a predator control specialist needing reliable performance, the 22-250 delivers on all fronts. Its rich history, combined with modern advancements in ammunition and rifle technology, ensures that it remains a top choice among shooters.

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 by adminwea

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