22-250 Ballistics

22-250 Ballistics

An in-depth look at the 22-250 Remington's capabilities and 22-250 ballistics, including velocity, energy and bullet drop.

A popular bolt-action load, hunters know they can trust 22-250 for most varmint and medium-sized North American game. But what you do you know about this round’s capabilities down range? Let’s explore what the caliber can do with an in-depth look at 22-250 ballistics.

Quick 22-250 Caliber Facts

  • 22-250 Remington is its name, and speed is its game: This .22 caliber rifle cartridge boasts a muzzle velocity that can exceed 4,000 fps. That’s well over Mach 3!
  • With its 55 grain or lighter bullet and laser-like trajectory, the 22-250 is a varmint round through and through. Some hunters make good use of it for deer hunting via pinpoint shot placement, though.
  • While it is perfectly capable of finding very distant targets, the 22-250’s .224” bullet does its best work before its velocity tapers off to 1,600 fps. That’s approximately 550 yards for a 55 grain projectile. 
  • Available with a selection of polymer tip, hollow point, and soft point bullets that complement its fast velocity with rapid terminal expansion.

22-250 Ballistics Chart

Ammo Velocity (Feet per Second) Energy (Ft. Pounds) Bullet Drop (Inches) Ballistic Coefficient
 Barrel LengthMuzzle100 yds.200 yds.300 yds.400 yds.500 yds.Muzzle100 yds.200 yds.300 yds.400 yds.500 yds.Muzzle100 yds.200 yds.300 yds.400 yds.500 yds.(G1)(G7)Sect. Density
Winchester SilverTip - 55 Gr. Poly24368032722900255822401946165413071027799613462-1.50.90-5-15.4-32.80.2720.1330.157
Hornady - 50 Gr. V-MAX24400035173086269423342003177613731057806605445-1.50.70-4.3-13.5-29.10.2460.1180.142
Prvi Partizan - 55 Gr. SP2436753172272423181947161816501229906656463320-1.510-5.7-18-39.60.2140.1050.157
Federal - 55 gr. Nosler Ballistic24367032632892255022331939164513001021794609459-1.50.90-5.1-15.5-330.2670.1190.157
Hornady - 55 Gr. V-MAX24368032532867251121831880165412921003770582432-1.50.90-5.2-15.9-33.90.2550.1140.157
Fiocchi - 50 Gr. V-MAX24355031512786245021381849167813221034799608455-0.360-2.02-8.540.2650.157
Black Hills - 36 Gr. JHP24425014440.102
Federal - 43 Gr. Speer TNT2440003252261820651590122415281010654407241143-1.50.90-6.1-20.8-50.5
Federal Fusion - 55 Gr. SP2436003108266722671902158015831179869627442305-1.51.10-6-18.8-41.8
Federal Power-Shok - 55 Gr. SP2436503136267922641888155816271201876626435296-1.510-5.9-18.7-41.8
Federal American Eagle - 50 Gr. JHP2438503303281923841990163916451211882631439298-1.50.90-5.3-16.8-37.5
Sierra Prairie Enemy - 50 Gr. BlitzKing2438003368297726182260193016031259984761567414-1.50.80-4.7-14.6-31.320.259

22-250 Origins

22-250 ammunition from Black Hills

The 22-250 began as a wildcat round — namely the 250-3000 Savage, which was necked down to hold a .224 caliber projectile. First produced in 1937, the 22-250 essentially existed on the fringe of the shooting world until Browning began offering a rifle chambered solely for it in 1963. That was a bold move by Browning, considering that no major manufacturers were producing 22-250 ammo at the time. Remington followed suit a couple years later, thus cementing the 22-250 as a mainstream cartridge.

Your standard 22-250 ammo offers a 55 grain bullet and 3,680 fps muzzle velocity; a 50 grain bullet hits 4,000 fps, and a 36 grain bullet nearly hits Mach 4 at 4,250 fps. There’s even a Superformance load by Hornady that maxes out at 4,450 fps, making the 22-250 the fastest factory loaded cartridge on the market.

Varmint Hunting Specialty

The 22-250 sends varmints into low orbit. It’s especially good for social rodents that frantically chirp at one another when one of their clique senses a threat, as its high velocity permits 1,000 yard shots on small game. (In general, the 22-250 works best on coyote within 500 yards.) The 22-250 ballistic profile helped it earn its keep. It has proven especially useful on America’s plains, where crosswinds can quickly turn a slower bullet’s trajectory aside.

Low Recoil – High Popularity

Shooting a 22-250 rifle at the range and measure ballistic properties

The 22-250 is an appealing cartridge for younger and lighter framed shooters who want to avoid recoil — it offers substantially less kick than the 243 Win. Whether you can fire a 22-250 to take down a whitetail boils down to your skill level. A 55 grain V-MAX through the heart is going to take down a deer right where it stands, no questions asked. Anything aside from that is probably going to result in an aggravating chase.

Implications of Twist Rate

Many rifles chambered for 22-250 feature barrels with 1:12 rates of twist. While handloading a 22-250 round with a bullet heavier than 55 grains is possible, a barrel with so slow a twist rate is not going to give such a bullet the stability it needs to fly true. You would do better to stick with 223 Rem if you want to enjoy 62 and 75 grain projectiles.

Other 22-250 Attributes

  • Also known as the “22 Varminter” or “22 Wotkyns Original Swift.”
  • Inferior ballistic performance to the 220 Swift that came out two years later, but far more commercially available and less costly as the result.
  • The 22-250 feeds reliably from a box magazine thanks to its rimless case.
  • British and Australian Special Air Service regiments have both used Tikka M55 sniper rifles chambered for 22-250 for counter-terrorism efforts. 

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