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Discussion Starter #1
I've had some difficulty finding bullets. I did manage a couple boxes of Speer and Remington JSPs. It looks like H4198 is the powder of the day for the .256 with jacketed bullets.

Do any of you shoot cast bullets in the .256? It looks like Meister .25-20s are my best option.

The neck isn't as long as I'd like it to be. I'm concerned about the bullet extending into the case, or would it?

Have you had leading problems?

Do you use gas checks?

Please share some wisdom :- )

Thank You
 

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4227 is another top powder for the .256. Speer 75 grain bullets are your best all around option in jacketed bullets these days. Cast bullets usually work well, just keep the plain based Meisters below about 1400fps. Gas checked designs usually work well up to about 1900fps. You can load hotter but accuracy normally goes away.

In the late 1970's there were a number of good articles on the .256 and lead bullets in Handloader. You might check with them about reprints. I can't remember whether the articles were by Jay Turner or Wayne Blackwell.
 

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I believe either Speer or Hornady makes a 75 grain flat nose bullet for the .25-20 which would be fine in your .256 Mag. Also Hornady still makes a 60 grain RNSP. You can also find 86 grain soft point .25-20 Win. bullets by Remington at Midway also. What Model/Brand of rifle do you have for your .256?? As for powder choice either: IMR-4198 or IMR-4227 are good choices. Also Unique or SR-4759 for cast bullets.
 

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Rocky,

This is off topic, have you read the Lane Pearce article on the 256 Win Mag in the latest Shooting Times?
This article failed whet my appetite for more information on the little cartridge. There was little to no information on the cartridge, forming the cases or shooting the firearms. I found myself asking what was the point of the article.
I don’t blame the author, I assume he wrote the article for the editor as Pearce has more than ample experience to write an in depth article about loading the 256 Win Mag. If a young shooter had any curiosity about the 256WM cartridge or about loading for any obscure cartridge this article did not provide any useful information.
As a freelancer it has got to be tough to sell an article with detail to a magazine these days. Other than perhaps Varmint Hunter and Precision Shooting is there a ready market for the type of articles you write?
 

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I did read it - and was also a bit underwhelmed. In his defense, putting a lot of detail into an article about a cartridge that few if any readers will ever even see does seem to be pointless. I'd also disagree with him about the difficulty of forming cases, as I had very few problems. But then I knew that little trick of running .357 brass through the seater die first as a form die.

On your other topic, it is indeed very hard for a freelancer to place articles these days. Magazines are shrinking in size due to declining ad money, and that leaves barely enough page space for their staff writers. I just got acceptance on a piece for Handloader but they have more than a year's worth of backlog on articles so even though they promised to run it soon, "soon" might be a relative term. I have six pieces submitted as we speak, and that's the only one I've had a definite answer about.
 

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Didn't have case forming problems so long as I started with (1) new brass (2) brass-brass (not plated) (3) THIN application of imperial for lube.

3/4 length through a .30 Tok. sizing die to start the neck down.

Strip the decapping assembly out of the .256 sizing die.
Set the die UP in the press until the case just starts to neck down the case.
size all cases
screw the stripped 256 die down a turn
size all cases

Keep repeating the last two steps until its full sized (it lets the compound leverage of the press work to your advantage).

Couple of things to remember babout the .256.

Its a rimmed case so headspace is set by the rim. Factory chambers are often long and fat, and when that shoulder moves forward, it stretches the case...but its not headspace (unless the action is "springy" and increases real headspace when fired). In this respect, its a lot like Britich .303 rifles; even with prefect headspace, full length cases tend to stretch and fail quickly.

Its a tiny case, and reaching for that last 200fps really redeuces case life disproportionatly.
 

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Why don't you contact the board owner, Marshall Stanton, at the 1-800 number listed in red on the home page for cast bullets and recommended powder types/loads?

We need to support Beartooth Bullets to keep this board up and running.
 

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Rocky, my thought was if ST was going to bother with putting something in the magazine it might as well be useful.
Anyone of several threads on the Beartooth forum or the Campfire has considerably more information on the 256 Win Mag cartridge and firearm history, case forming, loading and shooting information.
As for magazines I suppose I am mistaken thinking more in-depth writing on a subject would draw more interest from readers. When I cruise through the shooting boards there seems to be a hunger for detailed information on case forming, loading for obsolete cartridges, guidance on developing handloads etc. Some current gun writers trivialize the internet shooting boards but the magazines seem to be doing little to meet the needs of today’s shooters.
I believe a few gun magazine editors could learn something about the history of gun magazine content from Jim Foral or simply by taking a look at the American Rifleman of the 1920’s through the ‘40’s. Articles in the magazines of the depression era were informative without being dull or boring. A good example of this is the introduction of the Model 71 Winchester in the Rifleman. The article by F.C. Ness was short but informative with two follow up columns which expanded the available information on the 348 Cartridge. No product introductions I have seen in recent years come close to this article,
Good thing you are not making a car payment on your article submissions.
 

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I'm in full agreement that if you are going to print it, it may as well be complete...or as complete as 1,500 words allows. Gone are the days when a full-length article ran 3,000 words. Loooong gone.

Neither my book royalties nor my article checks combined would regularly make a car payment, LOL! I write because I love to. The checks just about cover the costs of the components or items used. No freelancer (to my knowledge) makes a living or even a major part of a living doing this.
 

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The interesting thing is many of the pre-WWII articles were short.
I prefer the magazines of the early post-WWII to any of the forums. Just something special about a good magazine.
I have written to a number of gun related magazines and I’ll hand it to Dave Scovill, he always writes a return letter. Over the years he has answered every letter I have written. Dave often forwards my letter to other writers and they have been kind enough to reply. I just prefer the interaction of letters.
 

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Yup. Dave forwards such things to me - and then checks to see that I've answered, too. He and John Anderson (Varmint Hunter) are my two favorite editors, although I know people who do not feel that way about John. I don't write for him often, but Roy Huntington is also a straight-up guy.

The only magazine I absolutely refuse to write for is G&A. My beef is with a long-gone editor, but the policy that I object to is still in place even with new staff, as far as I know. (You may not write anything critical of an advertiser.)

Sorry for the off-topic rambling, guys.
 

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Rocky,
Just about spit out my tea!
I am remembering Bob Milek’s article in the July 1993 issue of G&A: “Why the 256 Winchester Magnum.”
Bob felt there were many better cartridges to work with than the 256WM. Bob felt there were no redeeming qualities for the cartridge.

NASA shut down Mission Control today. Hard to believe.
 

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I have been shooting the new sierra 70gr Blitzkings with good results. They are shooting around 1" @ 25yds from my iron sighted 10" Contender, and show good performance on Coyotes and armadillo's. I am sure if I scoped my barrel those groups would shrink considerably. I do not have a chrony to see my velocities but my load is 15.5 gr of h4227, and fired cases show no pressure signs. After reading Rocky's article I plan on working up a load with Lil'gun. I used the anneal, lube, one trip through the seating die set to just start the shoulder, then a 2 trips through the full length sizer one to start the neck then all the way, and trim technique to form my cases and it worked well. I started with 50 once fired winchester cases and 50 once fired remington cases. Winchester cases seemed to form best, all of the cases I ruined were Remingtons, but I only ruined 10 cases out of 110 (I replaced the ruined rems with winchester cases so I could start with an even 100 rnds)
 

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I’d say you did a darn good job of forming cases.
I always felt the old Simmons 2-7X pistol scope was a good one for this class of cartridge. The scope was clear enough and did not suffer from parralax. While we did not test it with bullets heavier than 310 grains the low cost scope stood up to 44 Magnum recoil with no trouble. It was a good scope for the money.

Have you measured fired cases from your chamber? Bob Milek thought the TC chamber was cut long too.
I enjoy loading for the 256WM and would like to have a chamber of proper dimension to enhance case life.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've put over 2500 rounds through it now. It's a real joy to shoot. Very accurate.

I tried the polished seating die trick. It's a great idea. But I found it unnecessary.

I formed 600 cases. 500 new Starline and 100 once fired Winchester. I lost three cases out of the first 100 by spraying on Hornady One Shot. It's definately not for case forming. Once I switched to RCBS Case Slick, I lost no more brass.

Brass sized right out of the bag has a very fine crackled appearance around the neck and shoulder. Probably pressed wrinkles. You can feel them if you run a fine point across them. Running through the seater die in stages didn't remedy the issue. I have one box of expensive "custom ammo" that looks the same.

Once I started annealing the brass I had no more concerns, you can run it straight through the sizing die. It makes very nice brass that looks like factory ammo. One lot of 50 has 10 firings without signs of duress.

I'm shooting 85gr .258 RNFP over a load of Trail Boss. I have had no problems with lead. I have a very tight chamber. If I screw the die out 1/4 turn I can't close the action without squeezing on the lever. Brass shows no measurable expansion. Primers have a tendency to back out. I expect that means I'm very low on pressure.

I'm using a Marbles tang sight. Groups at 50 yards are under 1". The gold bead takes up too much target to be realistic at 100, but will tumble tin cans at that distance with regular rhythm.

It would be real interesting to see what it would do with a scope, but I don't want to D&T the action.
 

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I think you're doing it all just fine, Strider. I'd still use the seater as an intermediate form die, but you seem to be getting away without it. Dittoes on the spray lube; I think the stuff is wasteful, messy and a fairly poor lube to boot. For forming, nothing can beat Imperial. It's all I use for all my reloading, and my first tin of it is till 80% full after ten years or so.
 

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.256 Win. Mag.

I know this is an old thread but perhaps someone might get something out of my post. I bought a .30 Luger die from Lee and started the neckdown operation by running the .357 case up into it about 1/4". I then finished it off in the sizer die. Another guy in our group ran one up into a .300 blackout sizer the same way to start the neck. I'll have to try the seater die. I annealed the case mouths and had no trouble forming cases, even the plated ones.

I've never done the photobucket link thing before but here goes.. Hope it works.

http://s145.photobucket.com/user/Newtire/library/?view=recent&page=1
 

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Resurrection! - the .256 Win Mag still lives...

I recently bought a carbine barrel for the Contender chambered in .256 Win Mag. There is absolutely no logical reason for this but a purely emotional response to the cute little cartridge. Truth be told, I can do everything and then some with the .25 for small game using my .25-35 barrel. To digress a bit, the 21-inch 25-35 barrel balances about the same as the 18" bull-barrel configuration.



Ok, to continue, so far I've tried the 75 gr VMAX and Sierra HP, the old Hornady 60 gr. RN, 75 gr. Speer FN and 86 gr Remington FP (for the .25-20). I've tried H4227, IMR 4227 and H4198. I just got some of the new Hornady 60 gr FPs. These have a noticeably flatter point than the older 60 gr. bullets.



Forming brass has not been at all difficult. I tried it, just to see what would happen, without annealing but got crazing and wrinkles. Annealing is definitely the way to go. I could not find any other brass quickly so got Hornady brass. I annealed it by holding the case by the rim/head and spinning it with my fingers in the flame from a blow-torch until it was uncomfortable to hold and then dropped the cases in bucket of water with a slotted splash cover over it. After all the cases were done the water was drained off in my wife's kitchen colander (shhhhhhhh...) and the cases allowed to dry and checked before priming and loading. ZERO case loss with this method.



Although I've only got about 300 rounds through the barrel it seems that the most accurate bullet is the 75 gr Speer FP. The jury is still out on the VMAX. I'm hoping that one will be accurate enough and with enough velocity for it to open up in a coyote at least as well as a big game bullet. I'd like the 60 gr. Hornady to work well enough to be a viable alternative as neither the 75 gr. FP or 60 gr. Hornady can be counted on to be constantly available.



This should be a good walking-around-the-farm gun so all I need to work on now is my ability to walk around.
 
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