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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hornady superperformance

The .250-3000 Savage

Author: John Barsness / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Feb 07 2008

The .250-3000 Savage is only occasionally chambered in factory rifles anymore, but there are lots of older rifles in this chambering still available, and handloading really improves its versatility. Only Remington and Winchester offer factory ammunition anymore, and in one weight - 100 grains. Pressures are kept moderate for use in really old rifles, and real-world muzzle velocities average around 2,700 fps. While this will do for most deer hunting, the cartridge is better than that.

The original name was indeed the .250-3000 Savage, though most shooters (and even the rifle ammunition companies) simply call it the .250 Savage anymore. The original name arose from the fact that it was the first commercial cartridge to achieve 3,000 fps at the muzzle. However, to do this an 87-grain bullet was required, and that’s still about the heaviest bullet weight that safely reaches 3,000 fps.

Also, because of this relatively light bullet (all that was originally available in factory ammunition) the standard rifling twist was one turn in 14 inches. This will not stabilize some 100-grain spitzers, and even some of today’s 85- to 90-grain bullets are a little too long.

So the first thing for any new .250 handloader to do is measure the rifling twist. This is most easily done with a cleaning rod and a cotton patch just tight enough to slide down the bore. A mark is made on the rod, and the distance from the muzzle to the mark noted. Then the cleaning rod is pushed into the bore until it makes one full revolution, and the distance from the muzzle to the mark measured again. This is the rifling twist.

The .250 Savage is ideal for most whitetail hunting.

In commercial .250 Savage rifles the twist is either the original 1-14 or the more modern 1-10. Or at least it supposedly is. In older rifles, barrels sometimes weren’t as precise as today’s. I have measured twists in many older .250 Savage rifles, and a few are closer to 1-15 or 1-13.

At any rate, if your rifle has a slower twist, only lighter bullets will shoot accurately. Most such rifles will handle relatively short 100-grain spitzers such as the Speer Hot-Cor and Hornady Spire Point InterLock, and you really need look no further for a good deer load. At .250 Savage muzzle velocities of around 2,800 fps or a little more, even such “conventional” bullets will expand and penetrate reliably. If neither of those bullets shoots accurately, however, the 87-grain Speer Hot-Cor is probably the best choice for deer.

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