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The heavy bullet .22 Cheetah

The 22-250 is considered the king of the varmint cartridges. With a muzzle velocity of 3,700 feet per second and sighted in 1” high at 100 yards, it will be zeroed in at 200 yards, dropping 5 inches and 15 inches, respectively, at 300 and 400 yards. A 10 mile an hour crosswind will drift the bullet 16.5”s at 400 yards. Remaining velocity and energy at that range would be, respectively, 2,260 and 623. These figures are for the 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, a popular bullet in the 22/250. It has a sectional density of .157 and a ballistic coefficient of .267.

Compare these ballistic figures to the .22 Cheetah, a wildcat cartridge based on the .308BR, using the 75 grain Hornady A-Max bullet. This bullet’s sectional density is .213, with a ballistic coefficient of .44. The Cheetah case is capable of launching the heavier projectile at a velocity of 3,500 feet per second, fast, but 200 feet per second slower than the 22-250’s 55 grain bullet. This is where the superior ballistic coefficient of the 75 grain bullet comes in. This bullet, despite its heavier weight and lower velocity, virtually matches the 22-250’s trajectory. The notable difference is the wind drift and energy figures at 400 yards. Energy for the Cheetah is 1,117, compared to the 22-250’s 623. The most important difference, however, is drift. At 400 yards the Cheetah’s bullet drifts 10 inches as compared to the 22-250’s 16.5 inches.

The ranges of loads available, in calibers from .17 to .45, are adequate but incomplete. A high velocity, heavy bullet .22 center-fire with a high ballistic coefficient, is needed to help rectify the problem. It would enhance the efficiency of high powder capacity .22 center-fires, such as the Cheetah, and also help fill in one of the gaps in the cartridge family. Unfortunately, there are no factories producing a high velocity, heavy bullet .22 cartridge at this time. Hopefully they will, rather than bringing out another .30 caliber that is similar or duplicates other .30 calibers in everything except case dimensions.