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  #1  
Old 08-01-2009, 04:27 PM
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Default Seeking Deer Load for .257 Roberts.......

Being fortunate to own a Pre-war Winchester M/70 .257 Roberts, I would like to deer hunt with it this coming season. I'm looking for a good load for Whitetail deer, shots will be 100-200 yds.. I have been shooting Federal Light Magnum for a foctory load and the rifle groups them well. Looking for a handload using 115-120 gr. bullets and IMR powder. I have several pounds of IMR-4064 that I use in my .35 Whelen, if I could utilize that in the .257 that would keep my powder inventory from getting too extensive.
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:48 PM
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I got the new Guns & Ammo today and it has a reloading article on the 257.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:18 PM
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You might try a Nosler 115 partition with your IMR 4064. Nosler #4 lists 35.0gr of 4064 as Max! I personally have found that IMR 4350 is the best powder for the heavier bullets in the .257 Roberts. You should be able to work up some loads with 4350 and those Hornady 117gr. bullets that shoot tighter groups than those factory Hornady light-mag rounds.
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:42 AM
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Great cartridge! I am currently working on a .257 Roberts deer load myself, and I am using the 2 powders Dan mentioned with Speer Grand Slam 120 grain bullets. So far I am liking the 4350 better. I have a Ruger #1 I am shooting. I have not seen the new G&A, but would add that Handloading recently did an article on it too, within just a few issues, I'll try and remember to dig it out later and let you know which one.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:30 AM
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I have reloaded/experimented for a Rem. 722 in 257 Robt. more than for any other cartridge. I finally ended up using 120gr Nosler Partition over 46.5 H4831sc, a load developed by John Barsness in Rifle/Handloader magazines. The load uses CCI 200 primers and WW super brass. John reasoned that since the 6mm is an offspring of the 257 and is loaded to a higher psi, the 257 could be also loaded to a higher psi in modern rifles.

I have used this load for two deer, killed them quick, and shows no pressure signs in my gun.

My older notes shows another good load using 120 Grand Slams, over 43gr. of IMR 4350, also w/ CCI 200 primers and WW Super brass.

Of course, start 5% below these powder amounts and work up carefully.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:48 AM
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If your Winchester is a long action (30-06 length), by all means, seat the bullet further out than required in the medium length actions. You can achieve 25-06 velocities (or very close) in the long action.

Check the data you use for seating depth, as the difference from med-long action is huge.

My Browning Micro-Medallion (medium length action) requires quite deep seating, with a LOT of the bullet below the neck base. It stills shoots very well.

IMR 4350 is the correct powder for the heavy bullets.
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:05 AM
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I think you'll find the increase in velocity gained by seating bullets further out is less than expected. Once again, Barsness shows that the increase in velocity is 1/4 the increase in powder. A 10% increase in powder charge only gets a 2.5% increase in velocity. He specifically uses the 257 Robt. as his example. Many guns magazines were modified to hold 3" OAL instead of factory 2.8" and velocity gains were negligible. If your getting close to 25-06 velocities with similar bullets, you may have dangerous pressure. A 120 grain Partition from a 257 going 2800 or so is a deadly round on thin skinned game.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:15 AM
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I've killed a bunch of deer with various 257 Roberts chambered rifles over the last 50 years. I'd actually have to look but suspect it's approaching 100 or so. That does not include sheep, caribou, numerous antelope and my first 11 elk and untold smaller critters..

I started hunting big game at age 12 with a sporterized Mauser 98 with a Douglas barrel in 257 Roberts and shot it exclusively till I left for the service.

If you have access to Ken Waters Pet loads check them out and the section of the book on the Bob. It is one of if not the most definitive write ups of the 257 Roberts anywhere. He mentions that for him the 257 Roberts tends to shoot 100s more accurately than heavier bullets and of course they can be driven a bit faster. My data would tend to support that thesis. Whether the tiny increase in accuracy and speed is worth the lower ballistic coefficient and carry would be the issue only you can decide.

Yes, any modern rifle in 257 Roberts should be able to take at least the same pressures generated with a 6mm Remington. The down fall of the 257 Roberts to the various 6mms ala 243, 244 and the 6mm Rem was because the 257 was severly under loaded by manufacturers to accomodate older rifles, mostly pre war stuff.

They also were viewed by writers as a better dual purpose rifle than the 25s, which is a myth.

Back to bullets and loads. The 257 Roberts works best with powders in the medium burn rate catagory. I use IMR4064, IMR4320, IMR4350 and even IMR4831 when I use heavier bullets in the 115 to 120 range.

There are some pretty standard loads for the Bob that get you 3000 -3100 fps with a 100 grain bullet that work well on deer, even big deer.

When you get to the 115s and various 120s velocities will drop off with a reasonable loads at 2800+ fps. I have never been able to achieve 3000 fps with the Bob using 120s with any of the 38 rifles I own that are chambered in 257 Roberts, without excess pressure. It can be done with the 257 Ackley Improved but for the average guy it isn't worth the time, efforst or cost. If you NEED 3000+ fps out of a 25 caliber rifle using 120s it's best to just get a 25-06.

These loads are specific to individual rifles I own. Most are warm but not excessive. I would drop at least 10% as starting loads and work back up if you used any of them..

120 grain Nosler Partition with 45.0 grains of IMR 4831and a CCI200 primer at 2821 fps with a SD of 12 fps. I've also used 117 Sierras, 120 Grand Slams and even some Bergers and Swift A Frames in this weight. Some rifles like different bullets.

120 Nosler Solid Base with 42.0 grains of IMR 4350 and a CCI200 primer for 2805 fps with a SD of 11 fps. This is the single most accurate HEAVY bullet load in my rifles chambered in 257 Roberts plus the 8 or 9 owned by brothers, cousins and other family members. (I do everybodies reloading and load work)

100 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip or Partition with 46.0 grains of IMR 4350 with and a CCI200 primer gives 3087 fps with a SD of 9 fps and is the "Standard deer load" in the family when using the 257 Roberts.

85 Grain Noslers and 87 grain Sierras will work IF they are a hunting bullet and not a varmint bullet. Be sure and check the box and the manufactures data on the bullet. They can be driven faster than 100s but the BC is lower and they shed velocity faster so I tend not to use them hnting big game any more.

The single most accurate load I have found to date in the 257 Roberts was designed around a custom Ruger #1 with a 28" Shilen Match Grade barrel chambered with a tight neck that requires turning brass but when I do my part I have managed 5 shot groups as tight as .313.
That load is a 75 grain Sierra HP with 42.0 grains of IMR4064 and a CCIBR2 primer for a velocity of 3387 and a SD of 6 fps. That is essentually a bench rest load and when fired in the #1 I weight sort all the bullets and brass the other standard brass preperation, uniform primer pockets, chamfer and uniform flash holes, chamfer case mouths and anything else I think of. I know not needed in a hunting load but I have LOTS of time.

However, in my Standard Ruger #1 and various other Winchesters and Remingtons it has also accounted for a **** load of rockchucks and coyotes over the years.

If you handload then you could start with any powder with a medium to slightly slow powder and work into the bullet. If you use +P cases be sure and reduce the load data to start as they hold less pwoder and pressures can climb real fast all of a sudden. Load slightly off the lands if you can.

Some rifles chambered for the 257 Roberts don't allow for this. Some manufacterers chamber it on their short action and set it up for the SAAMI spec of 2.75 OAL in the magazine and then chamber the rifle with a long throat. Just incase you decide to use 120 round nosed bullets I guess.. The Winchester Model 70 and the Browning A Bolt are terrible when it comes to this. My Featherweight needs to have stuff loaded to .273 in order to work through the magazine correctly. Sadly it is chambered with a long throat and the bullet takes a .367 jump when fired. That's not conducive to the best accuracy.

Rifles chambered on the standard/long action allow a longer AOL and allow seating much closer to the lands. The Ruger 77, Remington 700s and Sakos were/are chambered on the standard length action along with a bunch of others. Savage 99s must be loaded to 2.75 to work in the magazine regardless of the chamber.

In the family enough guys hunt with various Rugers and Remingtons in 257 Roberts that we finally took them all in one winter and had 19 of them all throated to take a 120 Nosler loaded to 3.00 AOL and be just off the lands. It seems to work fine for everybody and then it doesn't matter who grabs whos box of ammo.

If it ever cools down I've have a bunch of load work done with the seriously slow powders and 120s to fire for groups and chronograph to see if they work better than IMR4831. Those include Retumbo, IMR 7828 and H1000. If it actually pans out I'll post the data.

The 257 Roberts is a great cartridge and you should enjoy the heck out of loading for and hunting with one.

Ross W Thomas
Great Basin Ranch
Owyhee County, ID
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  #9  
Old 08-03-2009, 09:47 AM
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Beaver: It wasn't so much to increase case capacity but to reduce the JUMP to the lands that most of us reamed our 257s to 3.00" OAL so the chamber matched the magazine.

He's correct on the speeds and like I said if you REALLY need 3000+ fps with a 120 you should simply buy a 25-06 or a 25 WSSM. Of course the 25 WSSM is headed the way of the dodo.
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Old 08-03-2009, 02:35 PM
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Wickahoney, Your post was very informative. I don't know if I can add anything other than I also love the .257 Roberts. I only have owned one rifle in this caliber and it is a Winchester Mdl. 70 Featherweight purchased new by me in 1981. I have tried many different loads using all the IMR powders you mentioned and the load I found best for me, in my rifle, for whitetails is a 100 gr. Sierra with 44 gr. of IMR 4350 with a Federal standard primer. This load will group 5 in an inch and a half at a hundred. Not a target rifle for sure, but it does the job. It has taken at least one deer per year since 1981in PA and WV. It will shoot a little better with an 87 gr. Sierra in front of the same load, but i don't really trust the 87 for deer.

I'm sure in other rifles where you can seat the bullet out to the lands it will shoot a lot better than mine, but even with it's little quirks I really love this old caliber.

Good luck and have fun experimenting with loads for your rifle. You just might find that one special load that will really group great.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:06 AM
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The .257 Roberts has been my favorite hunting cartridge for the last 25 years or so. In that time I have found the best load to be H4350 with a 117 gr Sierra bullet over a Federal 210 primer.
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:07 PM
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Great posts about this classic cartridge - another .257 Roberts lover here.
I tend to shoot heavy for caliber bullets in most rifles and I like the 120 Nosler Partition in my Ruger No. 1.

Seated to OAL of 2.913, this bullet will chrono 2834 M with 43.0 grains of IMR 4350 in the 26 inch Ruger tube.

I also shoot 120 Nosler BT's for practice and general shooting. Again, I rate the .257 Roberts as one of the all time classic rounds along with the .222 Remington, .270 Win, 30-06 and 45-70. My No. 1 seems to shoot nearly any decent load pretty well and very near to the same point of impact.
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Old 09-09-2011, 10:29 AM
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Default my load for deer

I have browning a-bolt medallion in .257 roberts, and a nikon monarch 4-16x50 scope, what a great combo, i'm shooting 1/4 inch groups at 100 yards using sierra game king 100 grain boat tail bullets, over 36.3 grains 4064 set off by federal large rifle primer
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Old 09-09-2011, 11:24 AM
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For Whitetail at the ranges you list, I use 115 or 120 gr bullets.
Lighter bullets will clock +/- 3100 fps and be too destructive.
For years my load has been 120 gr Nosler Partition in an old WW case or a Win +P case with CCI 200 and 43.0 grs of IMR 4350.
This chronos at 2805 fps from my 22" Ruger 77R.

Last edited by Birddog2; 09-12-2011 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:13 PM
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Default my load for deer

with 36.3 grains of 4064 and a 100 grn gameking i get a crono reading of 2765 which is slow enough to not explode and delivers approx. 1400 ft lbs of energy @ 100 yds. and 1000 ft lbs of energy @ 250 yds again approx. within 30 to 40 lbs.
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:14 PM
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Also use the Nosler Partitions in my Bob, the 120's work very well.

A few here are suggesting MAX loads. The beauty of the .257 Roberts is that you really don't need max loads and it's a tremendous deer cartridge.

FN in MT
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:41 PM
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Birddog2, I'd be curious to know how you can get all 430 grains of powder in that case. Is it difficult to seat the bullet then?
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:09 PM
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Recently picked up a new Browning micro in 257 rob. Bought a spare mag to practice on, and hogged out the front insert in mag to allow bullets to be seated very close to the lands. Worked, and the accuracy improved.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeke View Post
Recently picked up a new Browning micro in 257 rob. Bought a spare mag to practice on, and hogged out the front insert in mag to allow bullets to be seated very close to the lands. Worked, and the accuracy improved.
I too hogged out the front of the mag so I could chamber the bullets closer the lands, makes a huge difference. I've just started shooting @ 200 & 300yds I've mounted a bi-pod on the gun and i made a squeeze bag for the butt. it should improve the consistency & accuracy. I have to reload some more rounds and do some testing.
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:34 PM
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Default 300yds

I tested the loads and am getting 2.5 inch groups at 300 yards.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marksman View Post
Being fortunate to own a Pre-war Winchester M/70 .257 Roberts, I would like to deer hunt with it this coming season. I'm looking for a good load for Whitetail deer, shots will be 100-200 yds.. I have been shooting Federal Light Magnum for a foctory load and the rifle groups them well. Looking for a handload using 115-120 gr. bullets and IMR powder. I have several pounds of IMR-4064 that I use in my .35 Whelen, if I could utilize that in the .257 that would keep my powder inventory from getting too extensive.
I loaded 36 grains 4064 under 117 grain sierra gameking bt traveling at approx 2600 fps and grouping 3 shots under 3 inches at 300yds. the rifle is a Browning a-bolt medalion .257 roberts with a 4 to 16 x 50 nikon monarch scope.

I also recrowned the barrel using a brass round head screw in an electric drill with lapping compound as per midway you-tube instructions. and the gun shoots minute of angle with what ever I put in it.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:10 AM
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a lot of good info has been shared. i don't have a lot to add but i have had a roberts and have loaded for others that had them. i also have loaded a good bit for 250-3000 and 25-06 and i don't care for all the trickey bullets, such as partitions, they are just not needed on most deer. i like accuracy and in that department they just don't do it for me. in the 25 cal. i like the sierra gameking 120gr. bthp they are extreamly accurate, the tips don't deform in and out of the gun, they are heavy enough to go end to end on mast deer size game. and they put a fist size hole in any critter.

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