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I'm buying a Rem 700 heavy barrel varmint& 4-12 scope combo from Dick's, for $539 out the door.Trying to decide between the .223 and 22-250.Looking through the reloading manuals, I see the maximum velocity for various .223 bullets is about the same as the starting velocities for the .22-250.I reload for .264Win but am not familiar with the .22 centerfire characteristics.I'm wondering if the .22-250 at starting velocities, would give about equal accuracy to the .223's best accuracy. If so I would get the .22-250, mostly shooting it at .223 velocity, and still having the option for more performance if I wanted it. I load my .264 with 85,100, and 120gr loads at starting level velocities, they are accurate and pleasant to shoot, and can go up another 3-400fps if I want it. I like this versatility, and would think the cases, and barrel will last longer too. So do you think it would work this way with the .22-250 too, or are the .22 centerfires not this flexable. Thanks for any help and opinions. Paul
 

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Paul,

You didn't really mention what you intend to do with the gun, whether it will be used for targets or some long-range varmint hunting, but either cartridge will work fine. Your specific question concerns whether or not you can load a 22-250 down to .223 velocity: Yes, you can do that, and it will be easier on your cases and barrel, just as milder loads are easier on your .264WM.

The big difference, in my mind, is that recoil is not going to be objectionable with full-throttle 22-250 loads, whereas some people might feel maximum .264WM loads would kick more than necessary. I don't really question your logic, if your greatest concern is to extend the life of your brass and barrel, but with either cartridge, loading them down to lower pressure/velocity is rather like buying a Corvette and never shifting out of 3rd gear.

So, if it were my $539 dollars, I would definitely buy the 22-250, but I wouldn't restrict it to entry-level loads; I would use good reloading practices to work up to a mid to high velocity and really stretch the legs on that fine old cartridge! You won't wear out your shoulder, and truth be told, with good rifle maintenance, you probably won't wear out the barrel in your lifetime, either! As for brass...eh, it's too cheap to make that a limiting factor in my reloading. Even with my 30 Herrett cases, which require quite a bit of work to just make, I don't restrict it to basement level loads! :)
 

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One thing you have to look at is the 22-250 was thee benchrest round for many years. And the classic load is 55 grain bullet and 38 grains Hogden H-380.
 

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I own both .223 and 22-250 (although the .223 is in mini-14...hehe). I couldn;t be happier with my Rem 700 VSF in 22-250. That is a zipping little round with mild recoil, and will handle bullets from 40gr to 60 grain in a 1-14 barrel.
 

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The average accuracy of 500 rifles in each caliber would likely show a solid 1/16 th inch advantage for the .223. If that matters, your next problem would be on which side of average your individual rifle might fall.
 

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If your planned usage is for coyotes or something else where you shoot 50 rounds a day, then the 22-250 will suit you fine. If you plan to shoot 50 rounds an hour at prairie dogs, then the 223 is the gun for you.

The 223 gives you a little bit less: less recoil, less blast, less barrel wear, less powder per shot, less cost for brass ...
 

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Ah, yes, the 22-250 the round than caused the .225 Win to become extinct.
Been around a long time, and a pleasure to shoot.
On the other hand, the ,223 can get loaded into a high cap mag.....
 

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Jag, my friend, do a casual perusal of some drop and drift tables sometime. With the same bullet, there really is not that much advantage for the 22-250. At any range you care to pick, the difference is less than the subtension of the scope reticle - and that's no difference at all.
 

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Ah, yes, the 22-250 the round than caused the .225 Win to become extinct.
Been around a long time, and a pleasure to shoot.
On the other hand, the ,223 can get loaded into a high cap mag.....
Ya know, in the history of American cartridges, I can't think of a better example of one very fine round completely obscuring another! If the 225 Winchester had come along just a few years earlier, or if the excellent 22-250 wildcat hadn't been standardized when it was, the landscape of centerfire 22's might be very different, today. I admit to being biased: The 225 is the first cartridge I ever shot a sub-MOA group with and the 6.5JDJ Contender I have is a 225 necked up and blown out, so I have a very sentimental spot when it comes to that old cartridge! The thing is, objectively speaking, it's a great round. The semi-rimmed case is very strong, works quite well in single-shot and bolt-action rifles and a varmint hunter that doesn't need more than 300 yards would be hard-pressed to find fault with the range and accuracy it offers.

When $$ is no object, I will own a pre-64 Model 70 in 225 Winchester. Until then, one of my next projects is going to be a David White barrel-stubbed 225 for one of the H&R actions I have. I'll buy ya lunch if it won't shoot MOA out to 200 and beyond! :)
 

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I have two dedicated varmint rifles, a Winchester Model 70 Heavy Varmint .22/250 with 26" heavy barrel and a Browning A-Bolt varmint model with medium weight 24" barrel with BOSS. I have used both rifles for prairie dog shoots for many years. Although this is only a sample of two rifles and I am just some anonymous idiot on the internet, here is my experience:

My .223 is the most accurate rifle of any kind I have ever owned. If I do my part, it shoots cloverleaf groups at 100 yards. Nowadays I use mainly 40 grain Hornady V-Max bullets at about 3500 fps with a load about 1 grain under maximum with surplus AA2230C. The rifle is effective (by which I mean that I hit 75% or more of the prairie dogs I shoot at) to about 315 yards or so.

My .22/250 is a very accurate rifle also, but cloverleafs are rare...it shoots into about 1/2" pretty consistently. I use the Remington 55 grain Power Lokt HP bullet (purchased in bulk) with a maximum load of 40.0 grains of H414. It produces about 3600 fps and is effective (75% hits on PD's) to about 315 yards or so.

Both rifles produce identical trajectories with the loads I use. Theoretically the .22/250 with the heavier bullet will shoot flatter beyond 300 yards and buck the wind better...but I cannot tell any difference between them on live targets in the field. If the wind starts to howl or the range increases beyond 315 yards, my hit percentage drops with either rifle. If a prairie dog is hit with either rifle, it explodes just as spectacularly as it would if hit with the other.

The .22/250 uses more powder, more expensive brass and mine is a heavier rifle although that won't probably apply to you. The .223 is milder in report (I replaced the ported BOSS with the non-ported version to save my hearing) and recoil, is more accurate, shoots just as flat, doesn't heat up a barrel as fast, cleans a bit faster and costs less to shoot. It uses about 14 grains less powder per shot.

Of course if I used heavier bullets in the .223 or lighter ones in the .22/250, the larger cartridge would have a flatter trajectory, and the .22/250 has more power for larger game. But, if I was limited to one varmint rifle, I would keep the .223 and sell the .22/250 without hesitation.
 

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I had a 22-250 in a 700VLS. Nothing wrong with the rifle, but I just couldn't justify the "extra cost" of shooting it compared to my .223. I "traded" the 22-250 for the same rifle in .243. It will shoot better than the 22-250 did if I can do my part. Neither is/was more accurate than my old worn out 788 in .223. I too shoot 40 grain Vmax's or 40 grain Noslers, depending on who has what when I need a 1000 or so.

Just another note on the .223, I now have three of them in bolt guns. Two 788's and one in 700SPS.

Oh by the way, the .222 was THE caliber to have for benchrest shooting "back in the day", I've got one of those too. It's probably more accurate than any of the .223's or the .243 or the 22-250. Not as good for "long range" although it tries it's best. :D

My vote would be for a .223.

RJ
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to everyone for your responses. I will mostly be target shooting with the gun, and trying different reloads.What I'm really wondering about is, if the 22-250 is loaded at its starting velocities in the manuals, which is about the same as the max velocities of the .223, is it likely to be as accurate as the .223? or does the .22-250 need to be loaded to mid to top loads to get best accuracy? I have never been one for max loads, my light loads in my .264 equal top loads in .243 with 85&100gr, and 120gr .260Rem , but without max load pressures in the gun. This may sound like some odd logic, but its working well for me in my .264. I don't know how long the gun will last at or near max pressures, I just feel this is easier on the gun, and gives me a little more safety margin. The down side is I burn a little more powder, and use more expensive brass, to get the same velocity, thats ok. Thanks. Paul
 

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Get both top speed and cheap to shoot, .204 Ruger :D
 

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Personally I doubt if you would get the best accuracy at the starting load level. Most cartridges do best at higher loading density levels. You may be OK...but why buy a .22/250 to be a .223 when you can have the real thing?
 

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I had the same question a couple years ago - 22-250 or 223.... There are supporters of both. From what I found there was not a great amount of difference between the two. I got the 223 because I did not handload then and found more loaded 223 than 22-250 in the stores. I was picking up 223 brass at the range in handfulls while I did not find but (3) 22-250 cases. I started hand loading the 223.

Then I started reading about the 204 Ruger. I found a CZ Varmint in 204 for a good price as a return (unwanted gun prize at a club party). I shoot under 1/2 inch at 100 yards with handloads. 200 yard groundhog headshots are the norm. The recoil is so little I see the bullet hit. I would consider the 204 also.

The other option is just go for the 308.
 

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This is a proverbial "Blondes or Brunette" question.
Both will do the job, both are fun to shoot, one will cost you more to take out but might be a bit more fun.
I have 2 of each .223 and 22-250 not the women :)) and it really depends on the barrel twist to see what weight bullet is going to perform best.
My 22-250 is a Heavy barreled Sako with a 1-14 twist and is best with 50 and 53 and 55 gr. bullets-veritable tack driver and has accounted for numerous 300 yard plus groundhogs.
My .223 is a Rock River AR platform with a 1-8 twist and can handle the heavier bullets that give me a higher BC and better wind bucking ability than the 50's and I can stretch out the range another 100 yards with precision.
So, it all depends on what you want to do with it and do you reload.
All in all, however, the .223 is probably cheaper to feed and just as accurate - although I have deep sentimental attachment to the Sako 22-250 I must say if limited to just one 22 centerfire it would probably be the 223.
Just my humble opinion-YMMV.

Gary
 

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If your planned usage is for coyotes or something else where you shoot 50 rounds a day, then the 22-250 will suit you fine. If you plan to shoot 50 rounds an hour at prairie dogs, then the 223 is the gun for you.

The 223 gives you a little bit less: less recoil, less blast, less barrel wear, less powder per shot, less cost for brass ...
As an owner of both I agree.

Not to throw racks at the .22-250 but the .223 goes prairie dog hunting. It's not unusual on a weekend to shoot over 500 rounds. Many times its one shot after another until I clean it at 50 rounds. The .223 seldom has heating problems except on the hottest days. Same can't be said of the 22-250.

Concerning accuracy I can tell no difference in the field but the edge on paper goes again to the .223. The long range award between my two rifles again goes to the .223. I've shot lots of PD's at 300 to 400 yards with both, the best being 426 with the .223.

I'd still like to screw a .204 barrel on the M12 Savage and give that a try. Prices on .204 components are riveling the .223.
 

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You should look at the 204, it is fast and fun.
Bob was the one that got me hooked on it.
Miss you insight my friend!
 

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I've got a 22-250 but I shoot so much during the spring and summer at varmints that I use the 223 more. There are so many good choices of cartridges out there for the 223 that I don't re-load for mine. Too time consuming.
If real long range is not what you are getting it for, I'd stay with the 223. I can tell you with personel experience that it will work real well on hog sized animals. I've probably killed about 35-50 hogs with that caliber, and as long as the shot is 150 yds or less, they will kill 200 lbs hogs just fine with a good 55 grain soft point. I use a lot of the cheap, made in Serbia stuff, which is accurate and has plenty of powder.
you'll win either way you go.
 
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