.22-250 ammo is extremely versatile with the right load and rifle, capable of excelling at long-range tasks from varmint control to sport shooting.
The “best” .22-250 ammo depends a little bit on your rifle and a whole lot on what you want to do with it. Just like with any other cartridge, you want to pick a load that suits your purpose.
Here we’ll take a deeper look at .22-250 ammo, how to select the right kind for you and 7 great factory loads for different purposes.
How To Choose .22-250 Ammo
As always, first determine what you plan on using your rifle for. Depending on what that is, certain barrel twist rates will be better than others since different tasks favor different bullet weights. For a .22-250 rifle, its role will generally either be for varminting, hunting or long-range sport shooting.
For varmint hunting and predator control (i.e., coyotes, foxes or possibly raccoons) the light-for-caliber loads of 35, 38, 40 or 45 grains are the conventional choices with almost any bullet type being appropriate.
Game hunters tend to prefer medium-weight bullets, such as 50-, 55-, 60- or 62-grain soft points or polymer-tipped hollow points.
For longer-range shooting, longer and heavier bullets are the better choice given the higher ballistic coefficient.
Generally speaking, fast to medium twist rates favor heavier grain weights while slow twist rates favor light to medium projectiles. Most factory .22-250 rifles have a 1:14-inch twist rate or a 1:12, but there are plenty with a 1:10 or 1:8 twist as well.
In other words, a varmint rifle with a slow twist rate will have the best results with light-for-caliber loads, a long-range rifle with a faster twist rate will get better results with heavy-for-caliber loads, and a hunting rifle with a twist rate in the middle will get best results with medium-weight projectiles.
If you’re still shopping for a .22-250 rifle to accomplish a predetermined goal, this information on twist rates will help you pick a model that’s best suited for the task. If you already have a .22-250 rifle, the barrel’s twist rate will determine what bullet weights it can effectively stabilize and therefore what the rifle could be ultimately used for as well.
With that all in mind, let’s look at some top factory loads of .22-250 ammo.
What's The Best .22-250 Ammo To Buy?
Low Cost, All Purpose:
PPU .22-250 55-Grain SP
PPU's 55-grain SP (soft point) is a good pick for an economical do-it-all load. 55-grain bullets will stabilize well in 1:12 and 1:10 twist barrels, and with a soft point bullet, can be good for anything from varmints to predators and even medium game in legal jurisdictions at appropriate distances.
Bullet Type: Jacketed Soft Point
Bullet Weight: 55 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 3,674 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,644 foot-pounds
G1 BC: Not advertised
MSRP: ~$25 per box of 20
High-Volume Varmint Load:
Remington UMC 45-Grain JHP
Remington's 45-grain JHP (jacketed hollow point) load in their UMC line is a good choice for the varmint shooter that wants to shoot a lot but spend less. It's a light-for-caliber, high-velocity load that can (and has!) put down a lot of prairie dogs and more than a few coyotes. It's best for rifles with a 1:12 or 1:14 twist rate.
Bullet Type: Jacketed Hollow Point
Bullet Weight: 45 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 4,000 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,599 foot-pounds
G1 BC: .173
MSRP: ~$35 per box of 20
Best Game Load:
Federal Premium Nosler 60-grain JSP
Federal Premium has been offering Nosler Partition loads for decades. For .22-250 hunting ammunition, they offer the .22-250 with the 60-grain Partition bullet. It's arguably the best choice for medium game in legal jurisdictions–assuming good marksmanship and responsible ranges–given it's built to hold together. It's best in fast twist barrels, with a 1:8 twist being perfect.
Bullet Type: Bonded Jacketed Soft Point
Bullet Weight: 60 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 3,500 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,632 foot-pounds
G1 BC: .227
MSRP: ~ $53 per box of 20
Lead-Free But Still Deadly:
Barnes VOR-TX .22-250 50-grain TSX
The Barnes VOR-TX .22-250 load, with a 50-grain TSX monolithic hollow point, is a great game load for rifles that have a slower twist rate. If you want to hunt whitetail, hogs or javelinas but your rifle has a 1:12 or 1:14 twist, this load will stabilize better than heavier soft points. It will also certainly do for varmints or predators.
It would also be an excellent choice for an AR chambered in .22-250.
Bullet Type: Solid Copper Hollow Point
Bullet Weight: 50 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 3,830 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,628 foot-pounds
G1 BC: .197
MSRP: $45 per box of 20
Long-Range Match Ammo:
Copper Creek Cartridge Co. 77-Grain OTM
Projectiles this heavy aren’t always easy to find loaded in .22-250 ammo, but you can get it from Copper Creek Cartridge Co. They can put a 77-grain Berger Open Tip Match bullet in Hornady, Lapua or Norma brass for you. It's only for rifles with a fast twist—they specify a 1:8 twist at a minimum—so bear that in mind. An excellent choice for long-range applications, if you have the right rifle.
Bullet Type: Open-tip
Bullet Weight: 77 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 3,200 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,750 foot-pounds
G1 BC: .374
MSRP: ~$45 per box of 20
Best Varmint Load:
Sierra Prairie Enemy 50-Grain Blitzking
Sierra’s Prairie Enemy 50-grain .22-250 load features their Blitz King tipped hollow point. It's designed for varmint rifles and to feed reliably in semi-autos as well. It works best in rifles with a medium to fast twist rate with 1:12 being ideal.
Bullet Type: Tipped Hollow Point
Bullet Weight: 50 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 3,800 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,602 foot-pounds
G1 BC: .259
MSRP: ~$40 per box of 20
Best High-Velocity Varmint Load:
Underwood Ammunition 38-Grain Lehigh Controlled Chaos
If you wanted to smack a prairie dog with the highest velocity bullet you could, the Underwood Controlled Chaos load is the ticket. It features the 38-grain Lehigh Controlled Chaos bullet, making it best suited for rifles with a slow twist rate. If yours has a 1:14 twist, it's perfect.
Bullet Type: Fragmenting Hollow Point
Bullet Weight: 38 grains
Muzzle Velocity: 4,200 fps
Muzzle Energy: 1,488 foot-pounds
G1 BC: .196
MSRP: ~$44 per box of 20
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