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My 2023 predator calibers

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I've used/tried a lot of rifle calibers during my 4+ decades of predator hunting.

This is what I'm using in 2023.

Because I like it and it works very well for me, the .243 has been my primary cartridge for most of my time predator hunting, only switching to a .20 caliber cartridge for use when hunting in caliber restricted areas of the state.

Before I started hunting in those areas, the .22 hornet was my backup cartridge of choice.

The 204 Ruger is available, but because I can, I wanted to build a wildcat .20 caliber chambered rifle.

I decided to build a  20 practical, which is a .223 case necked down to 20 caliber.

I was looking to mimic the 22 hornets speed and wanted to push a .20 cal 40 gr projo past 4,000 fps.

The 20 practical was the easiest and cheapest way for me to accomplish that.

Plenty of brass available and places to buy savage pre fit chambered barrels.

In terms of forming/sizing brass and loading for a wildcat cartridge, this is as easy as it gets.

One pass through the press to form the brass, load it and go to the range.

No difference in performance from a first sized or fireformed piece of brass.

I now prefer the 20 practical over the 22 hornet.

In 2021, after buying and liking the .243 Savage Impulse Predator straight pull rifle, I wanted to build one in .20 practical.

Only problem is that Savage has no .378" .223 rim size bolt head available for the Impulse rifle and there's no aftermarket support for it either.

So my quest was to find an acceptable .20 cal cartridge with a .473" rim dia case to fit the Impulse bolt head.

Late in 2022, I was informed about the 20-250 cartridge, which fit all of my requirements.

I don't know how I didn't find out about the 20-250 cartridge before that during my research. 

.20 cal, .473" rim Dia, longer case to avoid magazine feeding issues with AI magazines, easy two step brass forming and loading.

I found a barely used barrel that's too long and heavy, but I didn't have to wait 9 months to have one made.

I'll get it shortened and maybe reprofiled after the 2023 season ends.

One negative about the 20-250 cartridge, is barrel life.

All small caliber bottleneck wiz bang rifle cartridges suffer from short barrel life.

The 20-250 is supposed to have just over a 1k round lifespan shooting super hot 40 gr 4,500 fps loads.

The way I look at it, it's my backup rifle and if I shoot it 50 times a year with mild 55 gr loads, this barrel should last me at least 30+ years.

I don't know if I'm going to be around that long, so I bought some tough 40 gr projos and plan to shoot it like I stole it.

The 20-250 is super accurate, drops coyote and is a great addition to my predator hunting cartridge line up.














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Most of my firearms and cartridges I load for are of the varmint type so I can understand your passion completely. I own plenty of so called barrel burners, maintained properly they will hold on to their practical  accuracy and outlast me. I like learning about new stuff and your 20-250 cartridge is an interesting one for sure, and I liked your writeup about it and learned something new.


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I forgot to add and assumed that others would know that the parent case of the 20-250 is the 22-250.

It's necked down in two stages.

I've had good accuracy with first fully sized cases compared to fire formed cases.

The bull barrel is 26"s long, has a 1-9 twist and is chambered for the long 55 gr Berger BTHP projo.

The rifle weighs a ton, but that'll be addressed in the off season.

The 55 gr is designed for long range shooting, not meant for the sub 100 yard shots I'm using it for.

The first dog I heart shot at 75 yards dropped like a rock, with pass through.

The dog I shot at 20 yards I hit in the shoulder and blew it's leg and chest to pieces, without pass through.

I've had very good luck with the 40 gr V max in the 20 practical, but it won't hold up to the velocity potential of the 20-250, so I bought some tougher constructed 40 gr Nosler Ballistic tips that I'm told can be pushed to at least 4,500 fps.

I'm happy with the 55's and have 500 of them, so I'll stick with them and mess with the 40's too.

Hopefully I'll get to test it out past 200 yards on some chucks this summer.

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