Originally Posted by thumbs
Looking for another varmint rifle. This time a bolt rifle. Not sure if I want to stay with another .223 or maybe a 22 250. I am to understand the 22 250 is tough on barrels and it will have to be replaced reasonably soon. Which rifles are the easiest to rebarrel? Or is this really not a problem with the 22 250?
Another question is can I use a lighter bullet and get close to the same performance in a .223 as in a
22 250 and maintain the longer barrel life of the .223?
Many 22-250 shooters back their 55 grain loads down to 3500fps or so, claiming better accuracy and barrel life than full throttle loads. Personally, I disagree with this approach, but to each his own, I suppose.
A .223 with a 24" barrel and a minimum of a 12 twist can stabilize the Hornady 53 grain VMAX. Hornady's Superformance factory load featuring that bullet comes very close to 3500fps with a bullet that has a higher bc than any 55 grain .224 bullet. Essentially, with the combination of the Superformance loading and the 53 grain VMAX, Hornady has boosted .223 performance into the lower reaches of 22-250 performance.
Because most factory 22-250's have the stupid, hopelessly obsolete 14 twist, most factory 22-250's will not stabilize the 53 grain VMAX. With a 12 twist or faster, however, the 22-250 is capable of 3900ish from a 24" barrel with that bullet. Yes, barrel life will be shorter. You just have to decide if it is worth it to you to go with a custom barrel and to put up with shorter barrel life. Still, you will have to shoot A LOT or abuse your barrel before it will need to be replaced.
It doesn't take a lot for a good smith to re-barrel your rifle. If you want to do it yourself, buy a Savage and the appropriate tools.
If you plan to camp out over a prairie dog town, the .223 is probably the better choice. If you are after varmints other than prairie dogs, a 12 twist or faster 22-250 will outperform the .223 by a large margin.