There are a lot of great hunting cartridges out there; chamberings for every type of game. Most of us can’t afford to buy a rifle for every specific game animal we pursue, so, we look for cartridges that can fill more than one role. I’m currently looking to strike a balance between something that’s big enough to take an elk but small enough for whitetail deer, and that’s where the video linked below comes in. YouTube’s Backfire channel fills us in on a very popular, very versatile hunting round: the .22-.250 Remington, which he says is “By far, one of my favorite cartridges.”
I’ve watched his channel for a while, but I still don’t know his name. Maybe that’s intentional or maybe I just missed that one, but either way, I’ll just call him “Backfire.” Dude, if you ever read this, feel free to hit me up and I’ll change it if you want.
Anyway, Backfire helpfully organizes his discussion into specific topics, so we’ll just follow right along:
Reasons to Love the .22-.250 Remington
1. Spot Your Impact
Thanks to the relatively low recoil of the .22-250, it’s possible to see where your shot hits, which is a big deal. Backfire notes that if you’re shooting stuff like 30.06, .308, or 6.5 PRC the recoil is enough to keep you from seeing the impact through the scope, which has enormous benefit for training people to shoot, especially kids. It’s also valuable for hunters, though you always prefer to hit with that first shot. Seeing where the bullet actually lands, instead of a puff of dust, is a good thing.
“It’s not very often that you see a cartridge that’s absolutely ideal for knocking out a squirrel and a deer.” The .22-.250 can do that and everything in between. It’s primarily used as a varmint round, especially on coyotes, but can and does take deer and antelope.
The round’s designation comes from the fact that it’s a .22 caliber bullet in a necked down .250 Savage casing. It has enough powder volume to drive that heavier .25 caliber bullet. That allows a wide range of bullet weights, from ultra-high velocity 35-grain projectiles to 65-grain loads suitable for larger game.
Backfire says he doesn’t use .22-.250 for deer, but not because he thinks it unethical or underpowered for the job. It’s simply that he sees no reason to. He has rifles chambered in larger calibers that aren’t too much for him to shoot well, so there’s no advantage to his choosing a smaller bullet. “It’s not how tiny can I go and still do the job,” he says, “It’s how big can I go and still shoot as accurately as possible.”
3. Laser-Like Trajectory
Backfire shows us a target he shot from 85, 185, and 285 yards. He held on the same point of aim and the bullet only dropped 5.2 inches. He notes the advantage of that kind of performance for a hunter. If you’re hunting coyotes on the move, you likely don’t have time to check their range, and it wouldn’t hold up anyway. Being able to fire out to nearly 300 yards with essentially the same hold is a big deal.
This is an example of “maximum point-blank range,” where you have a vertical range, in this case, five or six inches, in which you can be certain of hitting your target without adjusting the point of aim. He notes that this method “Makes you look like a better shooter than you are in a dynamic situation.”
4. Rifle Availability
The .22-.250’s popularity is reflected by the fact that most rifle manufacturers chamber for it. We all have rifle preferences and it’s nice that, if we want a .22-.250, we can likely find one we like with no trouble.
He also notes that the last two years have made him more aware of ammo availability and the wisdom of choosing rifles and calibers that are as readily available as possible. With the current political and economic situation, there’s no guarantee that the outlook for ammo prices and availability will stabilize anytime soon. The more versatile you are, the better.
5. Up to 4,500 FPS
Yep, you read that right. Backfire notes that the typical hunting cartridge fires its projectile at 2,700 to 2,900 feet per second. A normal, run-of-the-mill 55 grain .22-.250 runs in the neighborhood of 3,500. Hornady Superformance has a 35-grain load that tops out around 4,500 feet per second. That is absolutely scorching. With a 200-yard zero, that load would have four inches of drop at 300 yards.
He then shows footage of what a .22-.250 will do to a watermelon at 50 yards. I’m not sure which load he uses, but the results were spectacular. You should watch it.
6. 500 Yard Dash
The wind drift of the .22-.250 is low because it travels so fast, thus spending less time in the air. Again, I’m not sure which load he is referring to, but the .22-.250 travels 500 yards in just 0.57 seconds, making it the 19th fastest cartridge of the 82 that Backfire tracks. For reference, the .308 Winchester travels 500 yards in 0.69 seconds.
7. Decent Barrel Life
Backfire says that super-fast cartridges usually turn him off because there’s almost always a drawback. Usually, the energy needed to drive that bullet trashes your shoulder and/or burns out the barrel. The .22-.250 does neither. The recoil is more than manageable, and the average barrel lifespan is 2,000 to 3,000 rounds, comparable to the best cartridges out there. He attributes that to the small caliber and very light bullet weights.
8. It’s the Ultimate Coyote Hunter
The .22-.250 is “Probably the deadliest coyote cartridge in existence,” he says. The cartridge started as a wildcat from the .250 Savage in the 1920s and 1930s and was very popular. Similar cartridges came out under names like “.22 Varminter.” The cartridge was commercialized in the 1960s as the .22-.250 Remington.
Because it’s been around for so long and is so well-suited to coyote hunting, Backfire guesses it has taken more coyotes than any other cartridge. He does allow that the .223 Remington may be right there because of the round’s ubiquity thanks to the popularity of the AR-15, but among “Real coyote hunters, it’s probably the .22-.250 hands down.”
What do you think?
Is the .22-.250 Remington all that? I have to say, it looks like something I’d like to have in my arsenal. We don’t get many coyotes in the Appalachians but there are more every year. Who knows, maybe I’ll spend part of my retirement keeping coyotes away from the livestock with a .22-.250. Let us know your thoughts on this supremely versatile cartridge in the comments. As always, happy shooting, y’all.