A Worthwhile Wildcat: The .250 Savage Ackley Improved

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posted on March 13, 2014
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Of the cartridges that receive the P.O. Ackley-inspired treatment-a reduction in body taper and a sharp, 40-degree shoulder (resulting in increased propellant capacity and less case stretching, among other things)-the .250 Savage Ackley Imp. (aka .250/3000 Savage Ackley Imp. and .250 Imp.) is among the relatively few that garner significant improvements in external ballistics. For example, when using Sierra Bullet’s Reloading Manual (5th ed.) as a reference, 100-gr. projectiles can attain 3000 f.p.s. from the .250 Savage-if maximum charges are utilized. In the .250 Savage Ackley Imp. (shown on right in image), though, projectiles of equivalent weight can reach 3200 f.p.s. with two different propellants, albeit also with the listed maximum propellant charge. It’s worthy of note that this is the same velocity that the .257 Roberts Ackley Imp. is capable of with 100-gr. bullets, though it uses less propellant than the Roberts to do so. Even with heavier bullet weights, the .250 Savage Ackley Imp. and .257 Roberts Ackley Imp. are similar with regard to velocities. One must transition to the long-action .25-06 Rem. for a marked improvement in ballistics.

The .250 Savage Ackley Imp. case is created via fire-forming a .250 Savage (shown on left in image) in the .250 Savage Ackley Imp.-chambered rifle, and in an ammunition pinch, the parent cartridge can be used, too; in fact, in my T/C Encore handgun, which has a 14 1/8” SSK Industries barrel, handloaded .250 Savage and .250 Savage Ackley Imp. loads are equally accurate. Due to the abbreviated barrel length, however, there is a slight reduction in velocity; still, the cartridge’s external ballistics are remarkable, and there’s minimal recoil to boot. Topped with a Burris 3-12X 32 mm handgun scope and using handloaded Nosler 0.257”-diameter, 100-gr. Ballistic Tip bullets, the aforementioned arrangement accounted for an antelope doe at 301 yds. outside of Moorcroft, Wyo., a couple years ago. According to Reloading Manual (5th ed.), it’s the cartridge that Sierra Bullets uses for daily control testing. Suffice it to say that it’s an accurate cartridge.

The .250 Savage Ackley Improved is a handloading-only proposition, as there are no factory loads currently manufactured for it. Likewise, .250 Savage ammunition and component cases are difficult to find. This isn’t a deal-breaker for handloaders, though, as readily-available and inexpensive .22-.250 Rem. brass can first be resized through a full-length .250 Savage resizing die, at which point a mid-range .250 Savage recipe (from a reputable source) can be handloaded. Firing the .250 Savage in the .250 Savage Ackley Imp. barrel will fire-form the case, which will then need to be sized in .250 Savage Ackley Imp. dies.

Overall, the .250 Savage Ackley Imp. offers excellent external and terminal ballistics with minimal propellant usage, long case and barrel life, and modest recoil. For the handloader and recoil-shy shooter, it’s the dream cartridge.

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