22-250 Ballistics

A rifle and chronograph used to measure 22-250 ballistics at a shooting range

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

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 shoot 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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