Released by Remington in 1965, the .22-250 began life as a wildcat cartridge. While the development of the rifle cartridge is shrouded in a bit of mystery and controversy, it seems clear that we know the following facts:
- The parent cartridge of the .22-250 Remington was the .250-3000 Savage. The bullet size was reduced from .248" to .224" and the angle of the shoulder was increased by 28-30 degrees (depending on to whom you listen), giving more case capacity (and by extension, room for more smokeless powder and therefore, speed).
- Grosvenor Wotkyns was the originating designer of the cartridge, apparently in the early 1930's. Wotkyns was a consultant to Winchester at the time he came up with the idea. After giving Winchester the right of first refusal, which Winchester did refuse, Wotkyns left the firm. Winchester eventually turned his idea into the cartridge known as the .220 Swift.
- Dismayed that Winchester rejected his idea, Wotkyns brought in fellow shooters to help him build his idea of the most efficient .22 centerfire caliber cartridge. He turned to J.E. Gebby to help with construction and testing. Between them, they then settled on the brass case as we know it today.
- After settling on a design, the team copyrighted the name ".22 Varminter". This slowed the acceptance of the cartridge by major ammunition manufacturers (due to legal reasons) until well after World War II.
- The first rifle chambered for this cartridge was the Browning High Power rifle. What made this unique was the fact that there was no commercially available ammunition available for use in a factory rifle. Simply put- you had to roll your own if you wanted to shoot this caliber.
Originally, the cartridge was designed with the varmint hunter in mind. One of the most powerful of the .22 centerfires ever produced in terms of velocity, this cartridge was meant to be used on small varmints and game, such as the prairie dog and groundhog. The .22-250 can be used on larger game with the heavier bullets (e.g. coyote), though this is not advised for game such as deer. The cartridge also lends itself to target shooting, as well.
The .22-250 is available in the following bullet weights (measured in grains): 33, 40, 45, 50, 52, 55 and 70. Bullet configuration can be anything from spitzer to hollow point. Maximum case length is 1.912", with trimmed case length as 1.902". This cartridge is loaded with .224" bullets and gets its name from its bullet caliber .22 and the Savage parent cartridge 250. Velocity of factory cartridges vary from 3,500 to 4,000 FPS.
Today, the .22-250 Remington is one of the most popular small centerfire rifle calibers ever manufactured, second only to the .223 Remington. It has stood the test of time and continued to be an accurate and well respected cartridge. Factory ammunition is available, many handloaders still load it, and many rifle sales attest to its continuing success.