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The .20-250 an extreme predator rifle

by Dave Affleck

The Rifle – Barrel
The barrels on the rifles previously mentioned are all Lilja #4 contour, 24” long.  I have found the #4 to be a great all around contour for my tastes.  So, a Lilja #4 contour barrel was the automatic choice. 

Twist rate was a much less automatic decision…  Nearly everyone I had spoken to in the early planning stages thought I would be crazy to go with a slow twist for such a large capacity case.  Most people thought I should do a 9 twist, in order to be able to shoot the 50 gr. Berger.  In the end though, I decided to commit to the medium weight .20 caliber bullets in order to achieve the flat trajectory and mild recoil goals for the project.  So a .20 caliber barrel with a twist rate of 1 in 12 twist was ordered. 

Barrel length was a tough choice too.  For such an intense cartridge as the .20-250, a long barrel of at least 26” is really called for.  But…  I know from years of experience what I like and what I don’t like in a coyote hunting rifle.  An overly long, cumbersome rifle is not much of a pleasure to get in and out of a pickup truck 15 times a day, carrying to and from stands etc.  Let alone the issues of balance and feel.  And the Nesika action was already a bit longer and heavier than the Remington 700’s I usually use (and quite a bit longer and heavier than the Model Seven action on my favorite rifle, my .17 Predator).  The scope I had chosen is longer and heavier than the Leupold’s on most of my hunting rifles too.  So I figured I was already getting a bit long and a bit heavy, even without a long barrel.  In the end, I decided that even if everything else turned out perfect, I wouldn’t be happy with the rifle if I didn’t like the way it balanced and felt, or if it was a pain in the rear to get in and out of the truck all day.  So I decided on having the barrel crowned at 25”.  That’s 1” longer than I usually like, a small compromise in recognition of the intense nature of the .20-250 chambering and the benefit of longer barrels when dealing with really over bore cartridges.  Between the slightly longer barrel, the heavier and longer receiver and the heavier scope, I knew this rifle would end up a bit heavier and a bit less “handy” than most of my hunting rifles, but I hoped it wouldn’t be truly unwieldy or unpleasant to carry and hold.  In the end, it worked out just fine.  The rifle is just a tad long for my tastes in a hunting rig, but the weight is a non-issue and the balance is great.  All in all, I think the barrel contour and length were an excellent compromise.

< Previous  Next >

Why the .20-250?
Why is flat trajectory so important?
Choosing an action, trigger and stock
Choosing a barrel
The scope
The Riflesmith
Loading dies & forming cases
Load work
Bullet performance issues
Final thoughts

Rocky Mountain Varmint Hunter

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