With hunting season right around the corner, many hunters are capitalizing on annual hunting sales and gearing up for another season. Now is as good a time as any to purchase a new hunting rifle, you can get plenty of practice done before gun season rolls along.

While popular calibers dominate the deer rifle market, often overlooked are the lighter caliber loads such as the 22 250 Remington, 223 Remington, 243 Winchester, 270 Winchester, 25-06 Remington, and 308 Winchester. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of these rounds, and we’ll compare them, to see the potential when it comes to 22-250 deer hunting viability. (Ballistics charts included!)

22 250 Remington Overview

  • Bullet diameter: .224 in (5.7mm)
  • Case length: 1.912 in (48.6mm)
  • Twist: 1-12, 1-14
  • Availability: Excellent

Bullet mass/type

Velocity

Energy

55gr. (3.6g) SP

3786 ft/s (1154 m/s)

1751 ft⋅lbf (2343 J)

60gr. (3.9g) BT

3580 ft/s (1090 m/s)

1708 ft⋅lbf (2316 J)

64gr. (4.1g) PP

3500 ft/s (1100 m/s)

1741 ft⋅lbf (2360 J)

The 22-250 Remington is a high velocity round preferred by varmint and small game hunters.

However, it can be a useful deer gun in states where permitted.

Primarily a varmint gun, the 22-250 can take down coyotes, and many hunters swear by its capabilities.

Obviously, 200+ yard shots can be risky, compounded by the lower kinetic energy and smaller bullet. However, with great shot placement and closer ranges, taking down deer certainly makes this caliber a viable option if you’re in the market for a varmint gun, and wouldn’t mind getting a crack at a deer without having to carry a bigger rifle with you varmint hunting.

What the 22-250 lacks in size it makes up for in speed and trajectory. Some factory loaded cartridges can hit speed in excess of 4000 ft/s! The extremely high velocity of the projectile allows for much flatter shooting, and greater effectiveness in windy conditions.

The recoil is almost negligible and so the 22-250 can be extremely accurate, even for novice shooters. Anecdotal research leads me to believe that while the 22-250 might not be the most popular choice for hunting deer, it is certainly a viable option for doing so where legal.

Not surprisingly, shot placement is the key to success. My call is if you are confident in your shot, shooting less than 200 yards, and it is legal, then consider buying a 22-250 the next time you’re out shopping.

223 Remington Overview

  • Bullet diameter: .224 in (5.7mm)
  • Case length: 1.76 in (45mm)
  • Twist: 1-12,1-7,1-10
  • Availability: Excellent

Bullet mass/type

Velocity

Energy

55gr. (3.5g) NBT

3240 ft/s (990 m/s)

1265 ft⋅lbf (1715 J)

60gr. (3.9g) NP

3160 ft/s (960 m/s)

1325 ft⋅lbf (1796 J)

69gr. (4.48g) BTHP

2950 ft/s (900 m/s)

1338 ft⋅lbf (1814 J)

The 223 Remington is perhaps the most popular caliber out there. It has uses in military, sporting, and hunting.

While it may be very similar to the 22 250 vs 223 is slower on average, and thus has lower energy. Legality aside (most states will cover this in their hunting regs) the 223 is also a flat shooting caliber. It is practically identical to the 22-250, with large variances in bullet drop occurring at the 150-yard range. If you’re in the market for a new rifle, there are much more choices in terms of firearms chambered in 223 than there are in 22-250.

I see the 223 being a good choice if I’m looking for a highly customizable AR variant with both varmint, deer and sporting capabilities. However, if energy and velocity are more important, the 22-250 should be your choice.

When it comes to the 223 vs 243 recoil, you may find that hunting with a 243 may tire you out after a long day, but the 223 Remington is a faithful and easy to handle companion you’ll be glad to have by your side.

22 250 ballistics vs 223

243 Winchester Overview

  • Bullet diameter: .243 in (6.2 mm)
  • Case length: 2.045 in (51.9 mm)
  • Twist: 1-10, 1-8
  • Availability: Great

Bullet mass/type

Velocity

Energy

55gr. (4g) BT

4058 ft/s (1237 m/s)

2012 ft⋅lbf (2728 J)

65gr. (4.1g) BT

3746 ft/s (1142 m/s)

2026 ft⋅lbf (2747 J)

75gr. (5g) HP

3447 ft/s (1051 m/s)

1979 ft⋅lbf (2634 J)

When it comes to the 22 250 vs 243 rounds. The 243 is faster and has more energy than both. It is a larger diameter bullet, with offerings in everything from 55gr to 105gr bullets. The 243 is a step away from varmint and towards deer. It’s higher energy makes this caliber viable at long range, and more devastating up close.

Almost every sporting rifle manufacturer will make 243 variants. With lower recoil than .30 caliber cartridges, and higher energy than most smaller cartridges, the 243 Winchester fill a niche market among entry level rifles suitable for stalking deer. Where the popular 30-30 reigns supreme, the 243 fits in nicely as a good compromise where lower recoil is desired.

25-06 Remington Overview

  • Bullet diameter: .257 in (6.5mm)
  • Case length: 2.494 in (63.3mm)
  • Twist: 1-10
  • Availability: Good

Bullet mass/type

Velocity

Energy

100gr. (6g) PSP

3230 ft/s (980 m/s)

2316 ft⋅lbf (3140 J)

115gr. (7g) PSP

3000 ft/s (910 m/s)

2298 ft⋅lbf (3116 J)

120gr. (8g) PSP

2990 ft/s (910 m/s)

2382 ft⋅lbf (3230 J)

The 25-06 is a considerable step up from the 243, offering approximately 200 ft⋅lbf more energy in relatively heavier bullets.

While the availability might not be in the same realm as the 270 Winchester and 243 Winchester, the caliber is a happy medium between the larger recoil of the 270, and the lighter energy behind the 243. Geared more towards deer hunters, the 25-06 offers bullet masses ranging from 75gr. to 120gr.

The recoil is noticeable, but it is certainly bearable, and much less felt than the .30-06, who is the parent from which the 25-06 is derived. Like most calibers in this class, the 25-06 is a flat shooter, and can be effective at further distances.

270 Winchester Overview

  • Bullet diameter: .277 in (7 mm)
  • Case length: 2.540 in (64.5 mm)
  • Twist: 1-10
  • Availability: Excellent

Bullet mass/type

Velocity

Energy

90gr. (6g) HP

3603 ft/s (1098 m/s)

2595 ft⋅lbf (3518 J)

130gr. (8g) SP

3060 ft/s (930 m/s)

2702 ft⋅lbf (3663 J)

140gr. (9g) SP

2916 ft/s (889 m/s)

2644 ft⋅lbf (3585 J)

Quite possibly the most popular round for hunting deer without going into 30 caliber territory is the 270 Winchester, and for good reason.

Often compared to the 308 and 30-6, this caliber is both lighter in recoil without sacrificing too much energy, and it is very flat shooting.

The 270 is very capable at long distances, and with the right optics, ammunition, and practice it can be effective well past 500 yards. It’s lighter recoil, flat shooting trajectory, and decent knock down power makes the 270 the prototypical hunting rifle for deer.

22 250 vs 270 ballistics

Figure : Nearly identical drop, but 270 takes the cake on energy

308 Winchester Overview

  • Bullet diameter: .308 in (7.8mm)
  • Case length: 2.015 in (51.2 mm)
  • Twist: 1-10, 1-12
  • Availability: Excellent

Bullet mass/type

Velocity

Energy

125gr. (8g) Spitzer

3100 ft/s (940 m/s)

2668 ft⋅lbf (3617 J)

150gr. (10g) Nosler

2820 ft/s (860 m/s)

2648 ft⋅lbf (3590 J)

175gr. (11g) BTHP

2645 ft/s (806 m/s)

2619 ft⋅lbf (3551 J)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one 30 caliber cartridge. Packing a heavier punch in both recoil and bullet mass, the 308 Winchester is an everything gun.

If you can handle the recoil, get consistent shot placement at yardages you’re comfortable at, the 308 will let you take down deer, bear, elk, moose and pretty much any other big game. It’s popularity and versatility mean you won’t have any issues finding everything from light 125gr factory loads to heavy 185gr loads.

In closing, you could argue the 22 250 vs 223 remington or the 22 250 vs 243 all day. The truth is, you need to know how you plan to use it before you can really say which one is best. Learn what your requirements are and then pick a round to match your hunting style and environment.

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