Today I’m going to show you the best .22-250 rifle.
I’ve hand-tested over 20 guns alone for this review.
The best part?
I’ve sorted each rifle by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best budget 22-250 rifle, you’ll find it here.
Let’s dive in!
The 4 Best .22-250 Rifles
If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best .22-250 rifles:
- Browning X-Bolt: Best Overall .22-250 Rifle
- Winchester Model 70: Best .22-250 Rifle for Coyotes
- Remington 700: Best for Varmint Hunting
- Savage Axis XP: Best Budget .22-250 Rifle
1. Browning X-Bolt: Best Overall .22-250 Rifle
Browning’s history is overflowing with incredible firearms and you’ll be glad to hear that the X-Bolt is no different.
It’s elegant, it’s sleek, and not to mention, it has an insane amount of quality built into a 700 dollar rifle.
A lot of hunting rifles will do what needs to be done, but the X-Bolt can do it in style.
With hunting rifles, accuracy is the name of the game, and the X-Bolt excels in this department.
I was able to nail my shots, all within an inch of each other. The groupings were consistently tight, never deviating more than half an inch away.
The X-Bolt has a multitude of features that bolster its impressive accuracy.
The fluted barrel is solidly constructed and gave way for precise shooting. Good construction and understanding of design help make a straight-shooting rifle.
The trigger (which we will touch on later) is nice and let me get a clean pull and a clean shot.
The light construction of the gun makes it trivially easy to move and to aim.
These parts combined will help you put your shots right where you want them to land. You can hunt better, set up faster, and get on target swiftly.
I’m happy to report that the X-Bolt is a very reliable weapon, as are a large portion of hunting rifles.
I ended up not having any malfunctions while I was using it.
The actual bolt is the biggest reason I didn’t have any issues.
It’s a short-stroke so I never had any issues clipping my scope or underpulling the mechanism. The intelligent design prevents malfunctions and enhances usability long term. The shooter can rest easy knowing he can rely on his gun.
I was surprised when I picked up the X-Bolt because it was shockingly comfortable.
There’s a smooth rubbery grip in several places, but it’s soft to prevent you from getting tacky on the hands. It was easily one of the most ergonomic rifles I’d held in my life.
In a similar vein, the recoil is made from an alike material and was super comfortable to hold on my shoulder.
Textured gripping makes an appearance as well. The front handguard and stock grip both have stippling that can assist in keeping a tight grip.
These ergonomic features have great upsides.
It’s just comfortable to hold, so carrying it around should be absolutely no issue. The grip placement and texture help you keep a tight hold on your weapon. This means you can get faster target acquisition and keep your firearm rock steady.
The Browning X-Bolt comes packaged with an adjustable 4-pound factory trigger; it’s nothing incredible, but it’ll get the job done.
The pull is slightly heavy, but the action is smooth and the break is clean which is really the most important aspect of a trigger for me.
I would say it’s even good enough to keep it stock. No real need to swap triggers on this gun. It will do great for whatever you need it to do.
A smooth trigger is smooth shooting. I don’t need to tell you twice that a sluggish and squishy trigger is bad for a man’s temper and heart. You won’t be jerking to the left or right on this rifle.
Magazine and Reloading
This package features a four-round rotary magazine. The construction is of good quality (as reflected throughout the entire rifle) and is super intuitive.
The magazine release is just a simple pull tab. I’m familiar with this type of mechanism, but it should be a breeze to learn how to use it if you aren’t
You won’t be doing any speed reloads with this rifle, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be slow. You don’t usually need to be particularly fast with this type of firearm, but you can increase your speed if you practice.
The mag is functional and easy to use. It’s nothing special, but fancy reloading systems aren’t a necessity for firearms designed with hunting in mind.
Length and Weight
The X-Bolt 22-250 is measured at 41 and a half inches. Quite the long firearm, but it should be no issue since you get the benefit of added accuracy.
The weight is extremely low-weight being just a smidge over 6 pounds, lighter than a bag of groceries.
While not incredibly easy to swing around quickly due to the length, it’s still quite the weapon to handle. The lack of weight really makes up for it. Aiming can be snappy and carrying it around is no sweat. This rifle would be great to carry around, even on longer treks.
Recoil wasn’t an issue for me as 22-250 is not a caliber well-known for its kick.
Coupled with a very nice, borderline luxury, recoil pad, I was able to ignore recoil almost entirely.
I had a great time with the Hornady Superperformance Varmint. It’s a superb round if you’re wanting to go hunting.
If you’re trying to save some money or just want to put rounds downrange go with the PPU .22-250.
The X-Bolt comes equipped with Picatinny rails on top to mount an optic.
I only have one recommendation to put on those:
- The Burris Fullfield II. This scope will get the job done in most hunting situations and it doesn’t come with a crazy high price tag.
A little bit pricier than some on the market, but fully worth it, the X-Bolt is going to cost you around 900 dollars.
Is the Browning X-Bolt .22-250 worth it?
Absolutely. 100%. Yes. Do yourself a favor and pick up this hunting rifle.
- Accuracy (Easily one of the most accurate rifles with half-inch groupings)
- Reliability (Zero malfunctions or jams)
- Weight (Light as a feather and hard-hitting like a hammer)
Do yourself a favor and grab this gun for all your future hunting expeditions. Look at any other .22-250 rifle reviews and they’ll same the same thing.
2. Winchester Model 70: Best .22-250 Rifle for Coyotes
For generations, the Winchester Model 70 has been the best tool for ranchers and farmers to defend their animals from one of nature’s most devious and opportunistic predators.
When I’ve got one of those sneaky bastards in the sights with my M70, there’s no question that he’s about to meet his maker.
Let me tell you why…
Coyotes are stupid good at sneaky, but the accuracy of the Winchester M70 makes short work of picking them off.
Designed with a solid alloy bottom metal and a forged steel receiver, the added rigidity provides better accuracy with each shot and prevents any shift from zero over time. The free-floating barrel and recessed target crown to protect the rifling are subtle ways that this rifle was made to be used for decades without any loss or shifts in accuracy.
My M70, which out of the box comes drilled and tapped for a scope, sports a Leupold optic. This combo is put to work regularly at 500+ yards when the sunset-driven yips start calling me to the task.
If I can see them, I can hit them. Every time.
A big part of that confidence is also thanks to the rock-solid reliability of this bolt-action hunter.
There are two bolt-actions that are synonymous in this category:
The Winchester Model 70 and the Remington 700 stand eye-to-eye with unwavering reliability built by two industry leaders.
The unique qualities of the Winchester include the masterly controlled round by claw extractor. From feed to ejection, with an assist from the blade-type ejector, the unfaltering consistency of my M70 bolt-action is impeccable.
When it’s time to get busy, the M70 shines once again with ease and fluid action in handling.
The satin-finished black walnut, with checkering where it counts on the stock, is more than just an awesome looking rifle. The grip and feel of the stock are so natural and I never have to worry about my hold slipping and sliding.
The three-position safety, located behind the trigger guard, is easy to reach and to maneuver with clear visibility.
Generally, I am out stalking with this rifle and the ease of use in this category is a big help. Unlike a rifle course, the importance of the smooth switch and set-up is huge. To keep my focus on outwitting my adversary, the M70 handles the way a rifle should.
No worries or fumbles on the hold and grip here. It’s go-time in no time.
As with all rifle hunting, especially at a distance, the trigger pull is everything.
Winchester stepped up to that plate with confidence and has built the Model 70 with an MOA trigger system. The stainless steel, brushed polished trigger is set with a 3.5-pound pull, and has zero take-up, creep, or overtravel. It’s perfect.
Installed within an alloy trigger guard, the crisp performance is everything I’d look for in a stock trigger.
No surprise here. Winchester is on point and ready to work.
Magazine & Reloading
The bottom-loaded magazine with its 5 + 1 capacity loads through a hinged floor plate with the work from the bolt-action.
The bolt itself is jeweled to capture and carry oil better. What some may see as an aesthetic feature is really there to improve performance. The smooth action and feel to the bolt is largely due to this unique inclusion to the hardware, and over the life of the rifle will continue to perform with fluid motion each time.
My bolt-action M70 has cycled rounds for decades and still feels exactly the same thanks to these well-designed load features.
Length & Weight
When it comes to stalking, the featherweight of the Model 70 is legitimately a huge factor in why this rifle became my go-to in the first place.
Winchester’s 22” 1:14 twist, super-slim barrel works on a platform that only tips the scales at a measly 6 lb. That’s just barely heavier than a sack of sugar.
Dude. That’s nothing.
I can cart that rifle anywhere, to distances farther away than I’d ever need to hike, without feeling any burden to the weight on my back. It’s a beautiful thing indeed and I love that about the 70.
The barely-there-weight of Winchester’s hunting pro does have a counterpoint, and that’s felt in the recoil.
This is a hunting rifle, not a precision shooter for the regular repetitive shooting done on a course, so the heavier recoil felt should be something to be aware of, but not something that should deter a hunter.
The stock’s engineering and Winchester’s Pachmary Decelerator butt pad do well at mitigating the hit and smart ammo choices help me as well.
I don’t need target rounds… I need kill-those-stupid-evil-mongrel rounds.
With my clear mission, there are a few choices that I regularly stick with for ammo when hunting the menaces on my land. They are:
- Sig Sauer Elite Varmint & Predator, 40 Grain Rounds – is my favored round for the mission. The lightweight yellow-tipped hollow point rounds are perfect for bringing down the coyotes.
- Federal American Eagle Varmint & Predator, 50 Grain Rounds – this more affordable option is a jacketed hollow point round. Its explosive expansion on impact will eliminate the pack one shot at a time.
When it comes to the best rifles, completing the package with the best optics is the only way to be truly ready to hunt.
For my M70, I have a Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm Rifle Scope to help me bring down my targets. The light capture is incredible in the twilight hours thanks to the appropriately named Twilight Max Light Management System.
Since I’m getting down to business near sunset, this feature is a stand-out in the plus category, alongside the Leupold quality and affordable price tag.
When it comes to the price tag on the Winchester 70, the average model will run you just under a thousand bucks.
I picked mine up a while back for about eight and a half, and you can generally find them in that price range.
Now factor how much money those damn coyotes are costing me every time they lay waste to my bread and butter. Do I need to spend some good money to make sure that I can eliminate every single one of those mangy freeloaders? Dang skippy I do.
That’s the price of doing business in my book.
Is the Winchester Model 70 worth it?
Practically a legend on its own, this harbinger of death for the ravenous pack has quality in many ways, and the Winchester Model 70 will always be my only choice when it comes to defending my animals.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I hate coyotes.
They stir up, hurt, and sometimes kill my animals, which sucks. They cost me money every time they are successful, which sucks more.
So without question, the battle will continue…I will win…and my Winchester will be there every time.
3. Remington 700: Best for Varmint Hunting
The Remington 700 is the best varmint hunting rifle on the market.
Time-tested and loved around the world, the Remington 700 has remained popular over the years for its simple yet rugged design and exceptional accuracy.
But, how does the 700 measure up against modern-day hunting rifles?
Let’s find out!
The Remington 700 has earned praise over the years as one of the most accurate factory-made, U.S. manufactured rifles.
For its mid-range price, the accuracy is very acceptable. From 100 yards, my average grouping was just under 1”!
Remington has taken a few extra steps with the 700 to ensure excellent accuracy.
The heavily-contoured, hand-forged steel barrel is made to incredibly specific guidelines for maximum precision and durability.
The internal design features three rings of steel locked into the bedding platform, and the tighter bore and chamber tolerance contribute positively to the accuracy.
Accuracy is essential for varmint hunting, and Remington has definitely delivered in that department.
The key to consistent maximum accuracy?
Finding which loads the 700 likes best.
Remington’s quality and reliability have remained consistent throughout the years.
The 700 has remained a favorite for its rugged reliability and status as the most successful factory-made bolt-action rifle on the market.
Bolt-actions are inherently quite simple and reliable, and Remington is known for crafting its firearms with the highest-quality materials.
The 700 is used and trusted by military agencies in several different countries, so you can surely count on it to get the job done while hunting.
Remington did have a couple of issues with the 700’s extractor not extracting empty casings a few years ago, but if this affects you, the company will gladly fix it quickly and correctly.
The Remington 700 comes with a traditional pistol grip and a matte black synthetic stock.
It’s designed with a wide beavertail fore-end you can easily rest against any surface, and it’s vented for better heat dissipation.
The non-reflective barrel and receiver, along with the hunting-style stock, help with concealment and make the Remington 700 truly the best bolt-action hunting rifle.
The re-designed, adjustable X-Mark Pro trigger fixes all the problems users of older Remington 700s have reported over the years.
The pull is around 3 lbs, breaking cleanly and crisply with virtually no take-up or creep to speak of.
The trigger is wide enough to fit the shooter’s entire finger pad, and the vertical grooves create a non-slip surface.
If you’ve been considering the 700, but are feeling hesitant because of the issues others have had with its trigger, rest assured that the re-designed trigger solves all of the problems.
Magazine & Reloading
The 700’s blind magazines have a 4+1 capacity.
It can be quickly loaded and unloaded through the ejection port.
The blind magazines are slower to load than a detachable box magazine would be, but this set-up works just fine for hunting.
Length & Weight
The barrel length varies by model, but my 700 features a 26” barrel with an overall length of just about 48”.
Unloaded, it weighs 8.5 lbs. Think a little less than a full gallon of paint.
The 700 is heavy and long. However, once you add a sling, it’s easy to carry through any environment you’re hunting in.
The stock of the gun comes with a grippy, rubber recoil pad.
It’s easy to get into your shoulder, and stays there while you shoot.
The stock and recoil pad both do a great job of soaking up any recoil so the shooter doesn’t take any of the force.
As mentioned earlier, the key to consistent accuracy with the 700 is the right ammo. Here’s what worked well for me:
- Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint 50-grain: My average grouping was just about 1” using these. You can find a box of 100 for about $31.99.
- Sierra GameKing Hollow Point Boat Tail 55-grain: Even better, my average grouping using these was just .9”! They’re also a little cheaper, at $21.99 for a box of 100.
The 700 is drilled and tapped for scope mounts.
It also features two sling swivel studs, if you want to mount a bi-pod in front of the sling.
The possibilities are endless, and aftermarket support for this gun is very strong.
I added a Harris BRM bi-pod in front of the QD stud, and a black sling to match the stock.
As far as scopes go, a Leupold VX-Freedom mounted on Leupold rings and a two-piece base helped me shoot accurately up to 1000 yards!
The 700 also comes ready for a chassis, which goes even further to improve accuracy. I’d recommend an Oryx.
The Remington 700 retails for around $500.
For a time-tested, well-loved rifle, it’s very reasonably priced.
Is the Remington 700 Worth it?
The 700 is ideal for varmint hunting, predator hunting, and long-range shooting.
It’s rugged, simple, accurate, and very customizable. There’s an endless supply of DIY tutorials and people who can work on them, so you’ll never outgrow it.
In fact, this is a rifle that can be passed on for generations.
For the money, you won’t find anything better.
4. Savage Axis XP: Best Budget .22-250 Rifle
When it came time to select a good bolt-action for my kids, good quality was key and an affordable price tag was a priority.
At first look, Savage has come through on both fronts with the Axis XP .22-250 Rifle.
But, can this steal of a deal truly be all it’s cracked up to be? I hit the test course to see for myself.
Out of the gate, the Axis proved without a doubt to be an accurate rifle.
Being a package rifle, the Axis XP comes with a factory-mounted and bore-sighted scope. This is kind of huge for a bolt-action rifle that is one of the cheapest “name-brand” rifles I’ve ever seen.
Once unpacked, I simply loaded the rifle and hit the bench to test just how accurate the XP is from the assembly line. No zero and not a single adjustment had me on-target with 4-inch groups on target.
That’s akin to taking a stock Chevy to the drag race and not looking like a fool off the line.
Some minor zeroing, because bore-sighting is never actually as good as it gets, was a breeze and the groupings were tight as a tick with nominal effort.
A big part of why this rifle is a good choice for starter rifle hunting is the reliability of the Axis’ bolt-action.
The utility of the smooth movement with the bolt has a never-fail consistency to the load and ejection. An easy to operate bolt handle, with logical placement and action, this rifle performed without fail.
Man, do I love a bolt-action rifle. Reliable as the tides since 1824.
She may not be the prettiest girl in town, but the Axis XP has a good personality and great handling.
The slim design may have cut down costs for material, but smart styling and ergonomics provide me clear grip holds with grooves to get a hold of on the foregrip and on the forend. Smaller hands than mine will have no trouble getting a secure and stable hold on the rifle.
There’s a good look to the rifle, and any kid will be thrilled.
Axis rifles initially took a hit on the trigger quality, so now all but the first generation models of this rifle come equipped with the AccuTrigger that is standard on the higher quality rifles Savage produces.
I can appreciate that they were trying to keep the costs down, but it’s such an important feature for shooters, especially for the young shooters that are learning.
The good move from Savage to upgrade to the AccuTrigger was a big save for this model.
Magazine & Reloading
A 4 cartridge detachable box magazine comes included with the Axis.
For my purposes in getting the young hunters ready, the single mag is sufficient to get them out in the field and hunting.
The smaller capacity is typical of the bolt-action rifles, and they are generous in load compared to single-shot rifles. Those bad boys take learning to hunt to a whole new level.
One shot + One kill = Hours of entertainment.
Length & Weight
Savage knows where to skimp and where to spend, and the carbon steel 22” 1:10 twist barrel of this rifle is proof that they have their priorities straight.
Even with the slim design, the Axis XP is a touch heavier than some of the finer (higher priced) bolt-action rifles.
For a grown adult, the 7.4-pound weight is not much of an issue. For the teens, it may be more of a burden, but only just enough to build some character.
A generous recoil pad at the butt of this rifle provided good relief from the hit at the shoulder.
The added weight of the weapon is a plus here and mitigates the jump enough to be more comfortable to shoot than some of the featherweight rifles.
If you are worried about the recoil for the beginners, there are also plenty of ammo options that are intended to further reduce the impact. A Low-recoil load certainly won’t eliminate the recoil, but it helps.
Since we are sticking to affordable options for getting out to the field, the ammunition that I tested with was all in the mid to low end of the price range for this caliber.
The Axis performed well with the entire variety of them, and here are a few that I would recommend for hunting with this rifle:
- Federal Fusion, .22-250 Remington, SP, 55 Grain – designed specifically for deer hunting, this penetrator round will get the job done without breaking the bank.
- PPU, .22-250 Remington, SP, 55 Grain – a dirt cheap option from PPU is the best way to keep start-up costs to almost nothing.
- Federal, Premium Vital-Shok Nosler Partition, .22-250 Remington, NP, 60 Grain – is the most expensive option here, but still well under the top-priced penetrators on the market. This is what I take the newbies out with, and the reliability in performance and stopping power is what makes this my pick of the litter.
No matter which option you choose, the deer will fall with a well-placed shot from the Axis XP.
The nice thing about the package rifle is that you don’t need accessories.
That doesn’t mean you won’t want them!
The clear choice on what to buy to make your life easier, especially when out with a young hunter, is extra mags.
For just over $43 you can be prepared for a cold day when it’s just easier to come prepared with pre-loaded magazines. Eliminating the need to fumble with gloved or numb hands to reload.
Trust me, it will be the best forty bucks you’ve spent: Savage Arms 4 Round Detachable Magazine.
For the Axis rifle, with a scope, bore-sighted, out-of-the-box and ready to roll:
$1,000? Nope. $800? Nope. $600? Nope…
Four hundred bucks. Seriously.
That’s unheard of for a big bolt action deer rifle that can get you well-equipped on the stand straight from the factory.
There’s just no other way to put it. This is the most affordable option for a quality weapon, hands down.
Even with an extra mag, to put you close to the $450 mark, you could buy two of these rifles for the same price that most hunters would pay for their Remington or Winchester Bolt-Action rifles.
Crazy cheap. I just can’t say it enough.
Is the Axis XP worth it?
If you require an affordable option to get the job done, this is your rifle.
For less money than I’ve spent on goalie equipment, I’ll get my son out in the woods by my side with this accurate, ready-to-roll, quality rifle.
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope you enjoyed my best .22-250 Rifle guide.
So as a recap:
If you’re looking for the best overall .22-250 rifle, I highly recommend the Browning X-Bolt.
Want the best rifle for coyotes? The Winchester Model 70 is for you.
How about for varmint hunting? Then get the Remington 700.
Or if you’re on a tight budget, I’d opt-in for the Savage Axis XP.
Now I want to turn it over to you:
Which rifle will you pick for your 22-250 round?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.
7 thoughts on “The Best .22-250 Rifles [Hands-On Tested]”
The only maker I have any dealings with is SAVAGE and I can tell you that my dealings with them is finished. Story: bought a Savage Model 12 lrpv in 22-250, returned it and received a new replacement, sent that one back for the same reason, got a new replacement and that one is the worse of the bunch. In between all of this, the CEO plus one other, admitted that my problems were not what they wanted to represent their products. As it stands, I own a Savage M12lrpv that has trash in the barrel and it has never been fired. Yes, I have contacted them and……………..nothing. I did say I needed nothing from them and I guess they are holding me to my word. If you like, I have 15 boresight photos.
You discuss the Winchester M70, but the sporter you show is no longer made in .22/250 cal. Only the feather weight comes with walnut stock in that caliber. The coyote special comes in that caliber, but I find it rather ugly. How would you rate the featherweight in .22/250, especially for accuracy?
The only rifles a ever sent back is savage . One for not ejecting empty rounds had to tap bolt with hammer one for trigger problem. .sold both for huge lose .still got 17 hornet that want feed half the time.. love to trade for any weatherby with bent barrel or broke stock…
Thank you for the feedback, I have a savage. 17hmr I am very happy with and a.22 mk11 target that nails bunnies out to 84 yards with head shots past that and they wonder.
Try the lithgow Australian brand rifles very accurate almost target quality.
Read your article, bought the savage. Haven’t received it yet. I have worked extensively with with the .17 WSM, .308, .300 Mag and 6.5 Carcano Carbine. .308 and .300 are to powerful for S.W.A.T Urban work. Their romantic and all (you know Carlos Hathcock and all). The .17 is fast, easy and rapid to handle as is the 6.5 Carcano. The Carcano had a draw back as to deflection angling going through glass shots. So I was left to develop the .17 and 22-250. both are fast with 15 to 35 grain hollow point bullets. I’m waiting to try the 22-250 for size (22 inch barrel) standard barrel 35 grain Hornady Superformance ammo. The problem: 99% of sniper work is within 50 yards, requires rapid response by the nearest officer who is never equipped with or trained to “to take the shot”. Handguns are great at 21 feet but you need to be able to strap up w/o all that crazy exorbitant equipment and “take the first shot on the spot”. The weapons have to be inexpensive and maintained and carried in every patrol car by trained officers. No more 65 pounds of helmuts and flak jackets and bullet resistant hand held shields. No need for 100 decked out cops to respond and camp out at the scene while the rest of the City falls apart. Sometimes I think these, man with a gun calls are for “Look Magazine” to show up and do a photo shoot.
I would trade my pre-64 Win. 70 in 30.06 and Unertl Scope for the Savage .17 WSM when I was in Nam. 9th Marine Expeditionary force 62-65 Camp Muir. So much easier to do the job. Let you know how it turns out.
Where are Tikka rifles. Likely better than all. MY criteria is 1/3 to 1/2″ and all my tikkas do it. Remington pure junk for last 20 years. NEVER had a Browning get 1/2″
22–250 IS A DAM GREAT GUN…A GREAT SURVIVAL RIFLE….SOME PEOPLE THINK IT IS NOT A GOOD GUN FOR SURVIVAL…THEY NEED 2 READ MORE ABOUT IT & SHOOT ONE…..A 22 IS MY FAVORITE GUN & THE 22—250…..THEY WILL PUT U DOWN …GREAT GUNS