The 5 Best .22-250 Rifles for Varmint Hunting (Written by Bill Bernhardt)

While most long range rifle shooters seem to have a distinct preference for flat shooting rifle cartridges, this feature is especially important to varmint hunters who commonly hunt small sized prey at what most hunters would consider to be exceptionally long ranges.

In addition, because most varmint species are relatively small and, because the purpose of most varmint hunting is to simply eradicate the prey, most varmint hunters prefer small caliber rifles due to their lightweight bullets and relatively light recoil.

Plus, the lightweight bullet’s rapid expansion and dissipation of its kinetic energy upon impact with the target ultimately causes instant incapacitation due to a physical phenomenon known as “hydrostatic shock” which instantly shuts down an animal’s nervous system.

Therefore, for many years, the holy grail among varmint shooters was a rifle cartridge that would propel a small caliber bullet at velocities over 3,000 fps but, it was not until the development of the .250-3000 Savage that this was finally achieved.

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However, the development of the .22-250 Remington enabled ammunition manufacturers to push .22 caliber bullets at velocities over 4,000 fps; thus creating what could very well be the ultimate varmint hunting rifle cartridge!

Of course, like so many of the now commercial factory rifle cartridges, the .22-250 Remington cartridge started life as a wildcat cartridge which was based on the .250-3000 Savage case necked down to .224 caliber.

In addition, even though it is outperformed by the larger .220 Swift cartridge, the .22-250 has found much wider acceptance among shooters and thus, it has a wider variety of commercially available factory loads than the .220 Swift does.

In fact, Phil Sharpe who was one of the first gunsmiths to build a rifle for the .22-250 stated that "the Swift performed best when it was loaded approximately to full velocity whereas, the Varminter (aka .22-250 Remington) case permits the most flexible loading ever recorded with a single cartridge since it shoots well at all velocities from 1,500ft/s up to 4,500ft/s".

However, ballistics tables for this little round state that it will fire a 40 grain bullet at 4,224 fps and, a 64 grain bullet at 3,500 fps and consequently, it is definitely a very flat shooting round with explosive bullet expansion and thus, it could very well be considered the perfect varmint hunting cartridge.

So, below you will find a list of the 5 best .22-250 rifles for varmint hunting currently in production.

Weatherby Vanguard Sporter 3

When it comes to high quality production rifles, it is hard to beat Weatherby. In fact, Weatherby has a long and well deserved reputation for producing some of the highest quality magnum powered rifles on the market. Thus, the Weatherby Vanguard Sporter certainly continues that tradition by providing dedicated varmint hunters with one of the finest varmint hunting rifles on the market.

Featuring an “A” grade Turkish Walnut Monte Carlo stock with a raised comb and a palm swell coupled with fineline diamond checkering and a rosewood forend cap with a Vanguard recoil pad, the Weatherby Vanguard Sporter is a visually stunning sporting rifle!

Then, the gorgeous stock is mated with a cold hammer forged, 24 inch, #2 contour, heavy barrel paired with a fully enclosed bolt sleeve, a one-piece, machined and fluted, bolt body and, an integral box magazine with a hinged floor plate. Plus, it also features an adjustable, match quality, two-stage trigger and, the receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting a scope.

Plus, Weatherby guarantees that the Vanguard Sporter will shoot sub-minute of angle groups provided that Weatherby or other premium ammunition is used!

So, if you are looking for a visually stunning yet, exceptionally accurate varmint rifle, then you need look no further than the Weatherby Vanguard Sporter.

Kimber Varmint

Kimber Varmint 2

There is just something about the Kimber Varmint series rifle that simply makes you want to pick it up and shoo it!

Perhaps it’s the grade “A”, highly figured, walnut stock with its hand rubbed oil finish and its Pachmayer Decelerator recoil pad or, perhaps it’s the 24 inch, heavy, fluted, stainless steel barrel mated with its blued steel receiver or, perhaps it’s the fact that this rifle absolutely shouts precision accuracy that makes you want to put it through its paces but, whatever it is, the Kimber Varmint is one gorgeous rifle.

Plus, as any good precision bolt action rifle should, the action of the Kimber Varmint is glass bedded and, the heavy, fluted, barrel is free floated and, the bolt action is accompanied by an externally adjustable, match grade, trigger and an integral, six round, box magazine with a hinged floor plate.

But, whatever it is about the Kimber Varmint series rifle that makes it so appealing, it is arguably not only one of the most aesthetically pleasing varmint rifles on the market today, it is also one of the most accurate.

Thus, if owning one of the best .22-250 varmint hunting rifles available appeals to you, then you should definitely consider the Kimber Varmint series!

Remington Model 700 VLS 3

When it comes to precision accuracy, Remington 700 series rifles represent the flagship of the Remington and are well known for their superior out-of-the-box accuracy.

In fact, the U.S. Army uses Remington 700 actions to build their proprietary M24 Sniper Weapon System bolt action sniper rifles. However, in the case of the Remington 700 VLS, Remington has mated their Varmint Laminated Stock which is a handsome, resin-impregnated, laminated stock that has a Monte Carlo cheekpiece and a wide, flat, beaver tail shaped fore-end for enhanced stability with their proprietary model 700 bolt action and a vibration-dampening, 26-inch, free floating, heavy contour, varmint barrel with a concave, target-style, barrel crown with a richly blued, fine satin, finish.

Plus, it also features Remington’s X-Mark Pro externally adjustable trigger and in integral, four round, box magazine with a hinged floor plate.

Thus, the Remington Model 700 VLS bolt action in .22-250 is specifically designed to deliver tack-driving, varmint rifle, accuracy.

Ruger Hawkeye Varmint Target 2

Of course, for those varmint hunters who are also Ruger fans, Ruger offers the Hawkeye Varmint Target rifle chambered for the .22-250 Remington cartridge. While this rifle is a little more austere than the rifles listed above, it still deserves its place among the best .22-250 rifles for varmint hunting since it features Ruger’s precision bolt action mated with a cold hammer forged, stainless steel, heavy contour, 26 inch, barrel with precision rifling and a target-style muzzle crown.

Plus, it also features a black laminated stock with an extra wide forearm that is very stable in changing weather conditions and, it has an integral, 4 round, box magazine with a hinged floor plate. In addition, it also has a unique, two stage, adjustable target trigger with a short "take-up" stage followed by a crisp, light, target pull with no creep or overtravel and, an easily accessible three-position safety that allows the shooter to lock the bolt or to load and unload the rifle with the safety engaged.

So, although the Ruger Hawkeye Varmint rifle may not be quite as fancy as some of the other rifles listed above, it is nonetheless a precision rifle that provides varmint hunters with extreme long range accuracy and thus, it has long been a favorite rifle among dedicated long range hunters.

Savage Arms Model 12BTCSS

Commonly known as one of the most accurate production rifles available, Savage rifles incorporate several unique innovations not featured on other rifles.

For instance, headspace (the distance from the bolt face the back of the cartridge when a round is chambered) is absolutely critical to accuracy but, most manufacturer’s designs require them to first establish a safe headspace range and then attach their barrels accordingly whereas, Savage’s barrel nut system enables them to first adjust the headspace of each chamber individually before tightening the barrel nut for a precision fit chamber on every rifle.

In addition, bolt face to case head alignment is another critical factor to rifle accuracy and thus, instead of the standard single-piece bolt, Savage bolts feature a two-piece, floating, design which enables the bolt face to precisely align with the case head each and every time.

Thus, in order to create the model 12BCCSS, Savage started with a laminated wood thumbhole stock with a vented and free floated forearm and then, they mated it with a precision stainless steel receiver and a fluted, heavy contour, 26 inch barrel and then added their adjustable Accutrigger mechanism.

So, although the Savage model 12BTCSS may not be the fanciest .22-250 varmint hunting rifle listed here, it is certainly one of the best!

Conclusion

So, if you are in the market for a varmint hunting rifle to either control pests and invasive species on your ranch or farm or, for use as a means of recreation to while away the long hours to the next hunting season, then you should consider the .22-250 Remington cartridge since it has quite a bit to offer the avid varmint hunter.

In addition, all five of the .22-250 rifles listed above represent the very best .22-250 rifles the market has to offer hunters and, as you may have noted, they are available in a wide range of grades from super fancy to hard working models and thus, there is one to fit all types of varmint hunters.


Written by Bill Bernhardt

Bill Bernhardt is a professional outdoor/wildlife writer and is a professional fly fishing instructor and guide as well as a professional hunting guide. He is an avid outdoorsman with expertise in fly fishing, hunting, firearms, archery, cutlery, outdoor survival, camping, and kayak touring.​

The 5 Best .22-250 Rifles for Varmint Hunting (Written by Bill Bernhardt)
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