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.250-3000 Savage (.250-3000)

Cartridge Drawing

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A new cartridge with a muzzle velocity of 3000 fps wouldn't cause today's hunters to look twice, but can you imagine what a ruckus it would kick up if the fastest commercially produced big game cartridge available was the Winchester 30-30? This was exactly the situation when Savage introduced the .250-3000 cartridge back in 1915. Charles Newton, who designed the cartridge, urged Savage to introduce it with a 100 grain bullet, but in order to to reach the desired velocity of 3000 fps, bullet weight was reduced to 87 grains. Later, a 100 grain factory load was made available, making the .250 a more suitable cartridge for shooting deer.

Even though the .250-3000 took a back seat to the Winchester and Remington 6mm cartridges during the 1950's, there isn't two cents worth of difference in performance between the new and the old. Recent testing of the .250 in a Remington Model 700 Classic and Ruger Model 77 proved once again that when loaded with modern powders, the .250 will push a 100 grain bullet to over 3000 fps. Velocity with the 75 grain bullet averaged 3400 fps. A number of groups fired with both bullets measure less than MOA. Presently, the Ruger Model 77 and Remington's Custom Shop version of the XP-100 are the only factory firearms available in this caliber.

For all around hunting of deer sized game, the 100 grain bullet is hard to beat. Woods hunters who prefer deeper penetration for quartering shots on game usually opted for heavier bullets. The .250-3000 is not at all choosy about the powder it is fed, but the author has had best results with H414, H380, IMR-4320, and W-760.

Historical Notes:
Designed by Charles Newton, the 250 Savage was introduced by the Savage Arms Company as a high velocity round for the Model 99 lever action rifle. The original loading used an 87 grain bullet at 3000 fps muzzle velocity, and Savage named it the 250-3000. One suspects the 87 grain bullet was chosen because it could be safely driven at 3000 fps with the powders then available. This allowed Savage to introduce it with the ever so sexy name 250-3000. Remember in 1915, when this cartridge was introduced, riflemen were still marvelling at cartridges achieving 2000 fps. About 1932, the 100 grain bullet load was marketed by Peters Cartridge Company and later the velocity of the 87 grain bullet was slightly increased. Now it is simply called the 250 Savage. The Savage Model 20 and 40 bolt action rifles also chambered the round as did the Winchester Model 54 and 70 bolt actions. Late in 1971, Savage announced that their Model 99 would be again available in this caliber. Others such as Ruger and Remington, have made rifles in this caliber also.

General Comments:
Flat trajectory, outstanding accuracy and good killing power on anything up to and including deer are established characteristics of the 250 Savage. It was, and is, excellent on varmints through deer. In the past few years it has been edged out by the 257 Roberts and the new 6mm cartridges. It is far superior as a deer cartridge to the 30-30 or anything in that class, regardless of what some 30-30 addicts claim. Because of its light recoil, it is an excellent choice for youths and women. The 250-3000 is the basis of one of Ackley's best wildcats, the 250 Ackley Improved. Both Remington and Winchester continue to load this caliber. However the 87 grain and 120 grain bullets are no longer factory loaded.


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