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Discussion Starter #1
I am here in Afghanistan thinking about the things I will do upon returning home next spring. Among the "Honey-do" and "Must-do" lists I will find time to do some of my "Wish-to" list. Though archery is my key passion, it is very closely chased by my pursuit of firearms. Outside of my family, shooting either bows or guns occupies my mind more than anything else.

Where is this going? Well, I have some queries that may be answered by more experienced loaders. My own experience is about 20 years of following manuals and never going far beyond that. Now I have the urge to try some other things and was wondering for input. I admit to being a little bit of a speed freak (just a little), but I temper it with what works.

I have a 98 Mauser in .257 Roberts, that I want to load to modern specs. I know that the given loads suitable for 95 actions will suffice, but I want to see how much potential I can wring out of this rifle as it shoots surprisingly well (MOA with irons). I see from the loading manual online at Hodgdon that with the 60gr pill near 3900fps is possible even with the older rifles (3885 @ 46400CUP). Of course, I would assume that 4000 is possible if loaded to modern specs. That would be fun (I got 4200 out of a 243Win once with a published load, but never used it beyond seeing what it would do out of the rifle), but my preference is more for a deer round and either the 90 or 100gr loads. I would like to see them at 3500 and 3300 respectively. It seems possible, but I must ask if it has been done by anyone on here? I plan to use H414 for this and trying for a 500yd coyote round and 400yd deer round. I'm leaning toward the 90gr Sierra because of the things I have heard about it's terminal performance on both animals. Once I wear out this 50yr old barrel (gunsmith approved the whole gun for my purposes just so you know), I plan a Ackley Improved version to replace it. Probably be a while since I don't shoot more than 50 shots a month out of it. Just looking for anyone who may have tried similar with this round.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Well I don't think you can get that kind of speed with a 100gr. bullet in the Roberts. Maybe the AI version, but don't know for sure.

Having hunted with a Roberts for years, one of the endearing charms is how well standard bullets work at 2800-2900fps. Yes you can run 3,000 no trouble (mine a Ruger 77 so it's plenty strong). But, when things work well right out of the gate, I haven't felt the need to change.

My two loads are a 100gr. spitzer at 2,900fps (either a Core-Lokt or Nosler Solid Base) and a 75gr. Sierra HP at something over 3,000fps (forget the numbers). Might be luck, but they both print into the same group at 100 yards.

The HPs will open up varmits just great and the 100gr. bullets will do the job on deer, wild hogs, and javelina. Pretty much shoot it, and it dies. Easy on the gun and easy on me.

I've got a .257 Weatherby, if I want speed.

Personal opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have a preference for old cartridges. I have another thread about the 7x57 as I have permission to build it once I get home.

Loads from Hodgdon's site show a 100gr bullet with 45gr H414 flying at 3098fps. I know that is good, but I am always wanting the bullets to fly to their best potential. Sometimes that is a max load, and sometimes the groups go bad.

I have a wife who limirs me to one load per rifle. Probably because when she married me I had upwards of 12 loads for my one .223 and only ever used one. The rest sat until my kids shot them off. No biggie.

I am leaning towards the 90gr anyways as it could pull both duties as a varmint and a deer load. The site says with H414 I could send it down range at 3368fps with 50gr of powder behind it. If this is a 95 action load (44,400CUP) then a modern load might make 3500 easily. That would more than please me if it shot straight.
 

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GDC,

At 50 rounds per year, it will take the better part of your lifetime to wear out that barrel, unless it's already in bad enough shape that it should be replaced. Also, if you are "wanting the bullets to fly to their best potential", try to keep in mind that this very rarely means at the absolute razor's edge of velocity, from the cartridge being used to launch them. The vast majority of bottle-necked cases that I've worked with give their best accuracy with slightly less than maximum charges. Review the "accuracy" load in any of several reloading books which list such information to confirm how common this is.

I'm all for getting good performance out of your rifles, but try not to confuse that with the highest velocity possible, as those two terms are not synonymous.
 

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It is very common for young men to worship at the altar of the Great God Max Velo. But he's also very often a false god. To get the highest velocity, you have to use a lighter bullet. Fine if all you are shooting is paper, but not so good on game. Bullets designed for game balance expansion with penetration, and it is indeed a trade-off. Have too much velocity and you gets lots of expansion (possibly too much) and less penetration (possibly too little).

Conventional cup and core big game bullets in .25-caliber are designed for launch speeds of about 2800-2900 fps, which is why MikeG gets such good results with them at that speed. You can find bullets designed for "magnum" 25s, but they are premium bullets, neither terribly common nor what we'd call cheap.

I shoot a wildcat .25-308 which is just what the name describes. It falls just below the Roberts in case capacity and almost exactly equals the 250 Savage Ackley Imp. With 100-gr deer bullets, I comfortably get 2900 fps. I can push it to 3000, but get the occasional hard bolt lift at that level. Not in my comfort zone. Plus, the difference in drop is so negligible that the risk outweighs the reward hands down.
 

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gdcpony,

If high velocities are important to you, you may want to give a look at the .257 Ackley Improved. P. O. is known to have said that of all the cartridges he improved, the .257 was the one he like best. The improved is one of the cartridges that gave enough gain, with the fewest draw backs, to be well worth the cost of the improvement. The fact that the improved cartridges are obtained simply by firing factory .257 Roberts in the improved chamber.
Suggestion about Afgan, get a good 1" paint brush to keep dust and dirt out of your action, prophlactic on the end of the barrel will keep "junk" out of the bore and stay off the ridgeline.
 

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Actually, Parker Otto said that about the 250 Savage AI. He praised the Roberts AI as being close to the mythical "all-around cartridge," though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I understand that most loads work best at less than max. I have found that I am usually in top 10% of the loads though (working by .2gr). In this rifle the groups keep getting tighter right up to the max listed. Kinda encourages me I guess.

My view on the whole velocity versus precision is a bit different. If going .5gr heavier only loosens my average group by less than .1 at 100yds, I will take it. The extra energy might help me more than the accuracy. Of course, this depends on the use too. If I had more time I would continue, but I have to pretype my responses as I get little time to actually post. I will do better tomorrow.
 

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I have very little experience with my new 257 Roberts but a max load
behind a 110 grain Accubond gives 1/2" groups all day. I don't care how fast it shoots, that's good enough for me. Shot two big pigs with it so far with full exit holes out the other side of the animal. Good enough for me-
 

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I have a lot of expierience in my past with the .257 Roberts, my take on them for an all around bullet nothing beats the 100gn spitzer, they open up but have enough sectional density to do the job on deer and hogs, I might hesitate for black bear and go with a partition 100gn bullet.

The best bullet I used was the 117 SBT by Sierra, while not a speed demon I still launched it with upper end loads and never lacked for the difference in speed with it's 17gn less bretheran, it made up for it in BC and shot flat.

The exposed lead of the spitzers opened even on smaller game such as a rabbits head, at ranges out to 200yds, and seemed plenty for whitetail as I never had to chase one down shot in the vitals. Pass through was common with 100 or 117s.
 

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You will be very hard pressed to improve on the 257 Roberts from a practical standpoint. As a deer and varmint round is still is a terrific round. And you will likely spend a long time shooting that gun at 50 rounds per month to wear it out. At that rate your grandkids will be hunting with it long after your passing.

If you want a high velocity round like the 257 Roberts improved, you might perhaps be better off either just forgetting the fact that you have a good barrel on the gun and replace it anyway regardless of it's current condition. Or getting a "new" rifle by means of one that has a bad barrel or a new rifle/action intended for your idea and rebarreling that.
 

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It seems to me, that, to get velocities of 3300+ with 90 grain .257 bullets, you'd be best off to rebarrel or rechamber to 25-06.
 
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