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The .20-250 an extreme predator rifle

by Dave Affleck

Why the big fuss over flat trajectory?
This whole project has been largely misunderstood by many of the people I’ve talked to about it.   It seems that many don’t understand my goals and reasoning without some explanation.  Most people, when I’d start to talk about building a .20-250, would immediately jump ahead and assume I wanted to shoot heavy for caliber bullets (50 gr. and up), in a fast twist, at long range.  When in reality, I wanted to do nothing of the sort.  So when I’d start to explain that what I really wanted to do, was push medium weight bullets, in the range of say 37 to 40 gr., at really high velocity, a lot of people just couldn’t understand why I’d be willing to go to such extremes of powder capacity and short barrel life just to push the same old light bullets a few hundred feet per second faster.  I mean, really, when you look at it, the velocity gains of the .20-250 over the .204 Ruger or Tac .20 might seem hard to justify when you consider the difference in amounts of powder burned and the dramatic difference in barrel life.  But for my purposes with this project, shooting at distances of 500 or 600 yards or more were not part of my planning, at all.  Performance at anything beyond about 450 yards is purely peripheral to this project - I'll take it if it's there, but it's not the point of what I'm doing. 

But people just tend not to understand why I want the specific performance I do, when there is so much "better" long range performance to be had using heavier bullets and a faster twist.  Really, I think these are mostly people that just don’t understand my brand of coyote hunting.  Honestly, for my style of coyote hunting, I just don’t care about “long range”, at all.   It simply isn’t relevant.  Todd Kindler, whom I like and respect and whom is a strong proponent of the .20-250, in one of his .20-250 articles, made mention of the advantages to the Western coyote hunter of the 50 or 60 grain .20 caliber bullet in a 9 or 8 twist barrel.  He spoke of taking coyotes at 500 or 600 yards.  This is the common thought process I see.  Well, sure, if coyotes at 600 yards is your game, then I can easily see the advantage of the heavier bullets.  But I very rarely shoot at a coyote beyond about 450 yards.  None of the coyote hunters I know shoot at coyotes that far away except on rare occasions.  But shot opportunities at between about 300 and 450 yards are not all that uncommon.  I do realize that people using different methods, in different areas, have different needs.  But for my areas and methods, these 300 - 400 yard shots are where we are struggling.  And again, these shot opportunities are not that unusual.

It seems that there is this vaguely defined area between about 300 yards and 500 yards that gets no attention by anyone.  I call it the "ignored medium range".  Long range enthusiasts begin their number crunching and analysis at about 500 yards.  Shorter range varmint hunters and most coyote hunters seem to generally not be concerned much beyond about 300 yards or so.  In between is the area where me, the western open country coyote hunter, occasionally finds himself wishing for flatter trajectory than the typical hot rod varmint chambering offers.  But still not into the kind of distance where the wind bucking and long range trajectory assets of fast twist VLD type setups start to earn their keep.  Essentially, with this project I'm trying to extend the so called "maximum point blank range" beyond what is possible with conventional/traditional chamberings.  In concrete terms, I want to be able to “hold on fur”, from the muzzle to 400 yards.  Obviously, an "extreme" chambering is where this has led me.   To anyone not familiar with the kind of coyote hunting I do, that might seem like a silly thing to try and accomplish.  Especially at such cost in terms of short barrel life etc.  Heck, even a lot of guys that are very familiar with the kind of coyote hunting I do are going to think this is foolish.  That's fine, I don't expect many people to understand the "why".  Indeed, as I said to begin this article, I’m under no illusions that this is a “practical” endeavor.  The .20-250 simply provides a set of features and an increased level of performance that isn't available off the shelf, anywhere, that I've decided to try and create, and which if achieved, I certainly will put to good use.

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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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