The .250-3000 Savage

By Chuck Hawks

The .250 Savage was introduced by Savage in 1915. The cartridge was designed for Savage by Charles Newton. The .250 is a compact and economical cartridge whose modern appearance belies its age.

As originally factory loaded, the .250 Savage drove an 87 grain spitzer bullet to 3000 fps. This is why it was also known as the .250-3000. It was the first standard US cartridge to achieve that muzzle velocity.

Today's factory loads catalog a 100 grain bullet at 2820 fps at the muzzle with 1765 ft. lbs. of energy. At 200 yards this bullet is still traveling at 2210 fps and delivers 1084 ft. lbs. of energy. The recoil energy from this load in a 7.5 pound rifle is only 8.6 ft. lbs.

The .250 Savage does best with bullets of 100 grains and less. The long 117 and 120 grain bullets extend too far into the small case, considerably reducing powder capacity and thus velocity.

An interesting choice for big game is the Barnes 85 grain X-bullet, a controlled expansion design recommended for deer and antelope hunting that typically retains nearly 100% of its weight and penetrates well. According to the Barnes Reloading Manual Number One, this bullet can be driven to a MV of 3100 fps by 33.0 grains of H4895 powder; a maximum load of 37.0 grains of H4895 yields an impressive MV of 3264 fps. At a MV of 3100 fps the remaining energy of this bullet at 300 yards would be 936 ft. lbs.

Note: A complete article about the .250 Savage can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2004, 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.