The .250-3000 Ackley Improved
By Chuck Hawks
The .250-3000 Ackley Improved is one of the most useful wildcats of the improved type. There were quite a number of .250 Savage rifles built, most of them Savage Model 99 lever actions. This fine rifle is no longer produced and therefore cannot be purchased new chambered for a more modern cartridge. The shooter who favors the .250 caliber Model 99 but would like a little more performance must go the wildcat route, and the best and simplest way to do that is the .250-3000 Improved cartridge.
The Model 99 is a strong action that was later chambered for the .308 Winchester cartridge, so it has no problem handling an improved .250. And while, by comparison to the later .257 Roberts +P, .243 Winchester and 6mm Remington, the standard .250-3000 might be considered a little bit anemic, the performance of the Improved version is right there with the later cartridges.
This is possible because the .250-3000 case has quite a bit of body taper, so "improving" the cartridge by blowing it out to a more cylindrical body shape increases the powder capacity more than is possible with most modern cartridges. And it is a relatively simple matter to ream the chamber of existing .250-3000 rifles to accept the .250 Improved cartridge. No rebarreling or magazine changes are necessary.
Like all Improved cartridges, brass is "fire formed" by the simple expedient of shooting standard .250 Savage cartridges in a rifle with an Improved chamber. Open the action and out comes a .250 Improved case.
The .250-3000 Ackley Improved case measures .467" in diameter at its base and .445" at its shoulder. The rim diameter is the standard .473" and the case length is 1.91". Overall cartridge length is 2.52" and bullet diameter is .257".
According to P.O. Ackley, the .250 Improved will drive a 100 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of about 3045 fps in front of 41.0 grains of IMR 4350 powder, or a MV of 3200 fps in front of 42.0 grains of IMR 4350. This makes it the ballistic equal of the 6mm Rem. and .257 Roberts +P, and about 280 fps faster than the standard .250 Savage factory load for that bullet weight. Barrel life is still good, and the Improved case lasts for as many reloads as the original. Altogether, the .250-300 Ackley Improved is one of the very best of the breed.
Copyright 2005, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.