Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Musings

As I was sitting in the sermon this morning, my mind wandered, as it is apt to do. The pastor was talking about Thomas, the doubting disciple, and I was thinking about rifles. Particularly, the .250 Savage. It was designed by Charlie Newton and standardized by Savage Arms, most notably in their Model 99 lever action rifle.

The .250 Savage, also known as the .250-3000 was one of the first factory cartridges to break the 3000 fps barrier. It's been eclipsed by the other quarter-bores, most notably its older brother the .25-06. The .250 Savage is neither fish nor fowl, not a varmint cartridge and not really a big game cartridge. Yeah, it'll make 3000 fps with the little 87 grain pills, but it doesn't carry well with the bigger bullets. It can push a 117 grain bullet to between 2500-2600 fps, which isn't screaming, it's only adequate for a number of tasks. The .25-06 will push that same 117 grain bullet faster and if you want screaming speed, the .257 Weatherby will make it go even faster. My Lee manual puts the .25-06 with the 117 grain bullet at the 2900 fps range and that's what I'm seeing with my Ruger 77.

There's not much to recommend the .250 Savage except that it's built in light rifles, has light recoil, and is easy to shoot. It's getting harder to find factory rifles chambered in the little cartridge, but Savage makes two. A stainless steel synthetic stocked rifle called the Model 16 FHSS and a wood stocked version they call the Model 14 American Classic.

I've got a .25-06 leaning in the corner and I've got other rifles, most notably my go-to rifle, the .30-06. The .250 Savage is about as useless to me as it can be. Still, that little cartridge jumped into my mind this morning when the preacher was talking about Doubting Thomas. There's got to be a lesson there, but I'll have to pray over it.


Anonymous said...

What you say about the .250 and the
25-06 is true. But...most of the deer I've killed have been taken with a Ruger 77RL in .250 with Remington 100 grain Core-Lokt bullets. Most of those deer have fallen on the spot
where I shot them.

Deer shot with a .30-06 and a 16 gauge shotgun with buckshot didn't go down as fast.

I think the 100 grain bullet opens fast and does a lot of damage right away. The 150 grain bullets I used in the '06 kill well but don't act
as swiftly.

The .250 has also been a very accurate cartridge. Only my M1A is
as accurate as the little Ruger .250.

What's not to like?

Rivrdog said...

Consider the history here. In 1915, when the cartridge was introduced, most medium-game hunters used the 30-30 (then called the .30 WCF) if they were modern thinkers, or the old, slow, bigger-bore offerings, such as the 45-70. 30-caliber military rifles had not hit the surplus stores just yet, although Krag-Jorgensens would in just a few years.

The 250-3000 would have been considered as if it was a rail-gun to us at that point in time. The rifle it was chambered for, the Savage 99, was gaining popularity as being a modern design for a lever-gun to supersede the Winchester designs, which were getting long in the tooth by then. It had a rotary magazine, which meant that spire-point bullets could be shot from it (couldn't be from the Winchesters except the 1895), and it had a round counter to say what that magazine capacity remained. It was light, mounted quickly, had fast lock time, and with the 250-3000, could be said to be as modern as a non-auto-loading rifle could be. The fact that the round and the rifles are still around 97 years later is a testament to the forward-thinking of it's designer, Charles Newton.

I have a Savage 99E, one of the first built back in '61 in the then-new .308 Winchester. I had just turned 18 when my Dad gave it to me as my first firearm (I had had pellet guns before). It is a tough rifle, and it's Weaver K4 glass is just as tough. It's put plenty of venison in my freezer.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of the little .250 as well, but is it ever tough to find factory loads for it. The 6mm Remington is nearly as hard too, funny as it and the .243 were the ones that killed the smaller .25 bores way back when. My .250 is a pre war Savage 99T carbine, that was definitely used hard when it was young. Not abuse, use - a lot of it. The 4x Pecar on top has never let me down - not bad for 60 year + optics.

About as polite a deer rifle that exists, that fits my description of my .250.