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257 Weatherby for mule deer?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Papa Whiskey, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Papa Whiskey

    Papa Whiskey Active Member

    Bought a .257 Weatherby and love it. Is it enough gun for mule deer? If so what bullet weight would you recommend?
  2. Pokyman

    Pokyman Well-Known Member

    Your rifle is plenty of gun for mule deer. Shoots fast, flat and plenty of energy for the job.
    Because of the velocity, choose bullets carefully. I shoot a 25-06 and use 117 boat tail bullets or 120 flat base. I have had good luck with Hornady and Sierra and Remington Corlock bullets. Quite a few years ago I tried using 100 gr. bullets with poor performance. Shots under 200 yards did not shoot through the animal. The amount of blood shot meat was shocking. Shots 250 yds + performed just fine.
    Todays premium bullets in the 100 gr. area will probably perform just fine.
  3. Papa Whiskey

    Papa Whiskey Active Member

    Thanks. I was thinking about 100gr. Barnes x but after your advice I'll rethink.
  4. RonDeer10mm

    RonDeer10mm Well-Known Member

    its really expensive with weatheby factory ammuntion Did you get the vanguard or Mark V?
  5. WYcoyote

    WYcoyote Well-Known Member

    Not only is it enough gun, it may be the ideal gun, IMHO.
    I'd give 110gr Nosler Accubonds and 110gr Hornady Interbonds a shot.
    115gr Berger Hunting VLD if you buy into the feedback on terminal performance. I'm trying them in my 25-06.
  6. Papa Whiskey

    Papa Whiskey Active Member

    Bought the mark v ultralight. I also bought some Berger vld's but haven't tried any hand loads yet.
  7. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    My .257wby is the Vanguard.

    I've shot three deer with it with the 100gr Hornady PtSpt. It didn't exit the animals, but it did a number on the deer. (shots were @90yds-125yds and handloads chrono'd at 3,550fps- see WC860 load mentioned below). Bullets were perfect mushrooms with the interlok feature functioning as advertised.

    I've used the Berger 115gr VLD from my .257Robert's (i've got two of those) at 3,000fps with excellent success. The two deer I've taken with it were at ~110yds, and were both lung shots. The bullets performed as advertised as well, but they did exit leaving substantial exit wounds. Even lung shots were DRT! I'm not too sure about using it at close range from the .257wby, however.

    I did have poor performance from the Nosler 115gr Ballistic Tips. These bullets perform much like the Bergers from the .257Roberts at 2,850-3,000fps. At 3,300fps from the .257wby however, I got shallow "blow-ups" on the two deer I've hit with them. Lost one, found one two days later after vultures found it first. I've also had one Nosler 100gr B.T. blow up from the
    .257Roberts but, it was from the first production run back in 1987, but subsequent lot's have been somewhat tougher. My choice of bullets for this rifle would be either the Nosler 115 or 120gr Partitions, the Hornady 117gr BTSPt interlok (one of my favorites, about half the price of the Noslers) or either the Speer 120's (spt or spt-bt) or the 117gr Sierra flat base or boat-tail.

    John Barsness wrote the he couldn't understand why Weatherby ever came out with the 117gr Round Nose load in the .257wby. I know why!

    Out to 300yds, its easily the best performing bullet I've used with my rifle. The bullet holds up as well as the 115 or 120gr Partition, is the most accurate bullet I've used in my rifle (but only slightly better than the 117gr Sierra's and 120gr Speer flat-base "hot-cor"), and "was" one of the least expensive bullets available. The disadvantage of the blunt round nose isn't apparant til beyond 300yds. None of my shots when hunting with this rifle have been in excess of 200yds, so, it's a moot point. (very few of my shots on 400+ deer I've taken over past 40yrs have been over 300yds. Four (4), to be exact. That's 1%.

    My "standard" load is 80.0gr of WC-860 with the 100gr bullets. 74.0gr with the 117-120gr bullets. (This is the discontinued Hodgdon H870, but is from surplus stock from pulled-down .50BMG ammo, as sold by Widener's Shooters Supply.) It is very temperture sensitive, however. I've seen as much as 10% velocity fluctuation between 40degF. and 90degF.

    I've gotten better velocities from Reloader25 (my favorite powder for the .257wby), but IMR7828 comes very close. I'm about out of RL25, but I stumbled upon a shop going out of business and snagged quite a few pounds of the IMR7828, so will be using it for cold weather hunting loads, probably for the rest of my life with the suitable cartridges...... I'm not still young!.... but not too old either....).

    For open country mule deer hunting, I can't imagine a better cartridge. The 7mm's kick quite a bit more and even the 7mmRUM dosen't shoot significantly flatter than the .257wby beyond 400yds. The .300Magnums are just too much, IMO. (I've got a .300RUM and it draws blood on both ends.....). I'm not keen on the .24's. So, the .257wby .257Roberts, .25/06, and the three .270's (Win, Wby, and WSSM) are what I consider the "Ideal" open country mule deer and pronghorn antelope cartridges.

    For elk, I use something a bit larger diameter, but I would not hesitate to use the .257wby if loaded with a suitable bullet (115-120gr, A-frame, Partition, Barnes-X, Interlok, or Bonded, ect).

    Too bad you can't get the 120gr Remington Corlokts any more.... It was my favorite .257" hunting bullet for the "Robert's". The next closest thing is the 117gr Hornady BTSpt-Interlok. (I'm not too keen on ANY of their SST's. I've had them in .284" ,.308"and .338" fail to expand at 2,800fps- from 7mm08, and .30/06, and 2,650fps from .338/06). But then, too, I had a bad batch of Hornady.257" 117BT-IL back in '93 ruin a Montana Mule deer hunt (jacket separation in-flight, -wouldn't hit a 2'-3' box at 300yds). I had some Nosler 85gr B.T.'s I'd taken for pararie dogs save my Mule deer hunt with the longest "deer" shot I've ever made. Hence, I prefer Nosler and Sierra bullets when out-of-state big-money hunting trips are considered.

    I hope you enjoy your .257wby as much as I have mine.

    To anwser your original question, the 100gr Barnes will probably do fine. Try 72.0-74.0gr of RL25. I'm getting 3,650fps from the 24" bbl.
    For the Pronghorn Antelope, the 100gr Hornady's or Remington CorLokts will do very well. The 110gr Interbond's I've tried didn't shoot well, so I'd leave them alone. You can't go wrong with either the 115gr or 120gr Nosler Partition's. Personally, though, I prefer the 117gr Sierra's where accuracy is critical. Never had a bad Sierra bullet.... The 100gr Sierra's are a little lightly constructed for Mule deer at the .257wby velocities. (Shot a LOT of whitetails with them through my .257Roberts, though).
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  8. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Well-Known Member

    ive killed a truckload of deer doing crop damage deer shooting with the 257. We use a bunch of differnt guns for doing it but the 257 is our favorite. Shots tend to come at longer ranges doing crop damage then in normal deer season and the 257 kills out to even 400 yards like a lightning bolt!
  9. Papa Whiskey

    Papa Whiskey Active Member

    Great info, Goose. Thanks for taking the time!
  10. Pokyman

    Pokyman Well-Known Member

    While we are talking reloading the 257 WBY I have another powder that might prove to work well for you.
    As stated earlier by me I have a 25-06. Since I am really happy with its performance, I figured I would be delirious with a 25-06 Improved. Performance with regular 25-06 powders made me somewhat undelirious with this cartridge until I tried Retumbo. This powder really perked the cartridge up. My chronographed loads out of 24 inch barrel came within 75 fps. of my reloading manuals list for the Weatherby out of a 26 inch barrel. You might give Retumbo a try.
    Why a 25-06 Improved you may ask? No body I know has one.
  11. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

    The .257 Wby with 100gr TSX bullets is an absolute death hammer on mule deer.

    I've got a buddy out here who uses one exclusively with that load OMG it is a serious deer swatter.
  12. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    Ed Weatherby, Sr used his .257 Wea Mag to harvest cape buffalo. :cool:

    I used the 100 grain projectile in mine, and one-shot is all it took on whitetail deer to 525 yards. Mule deer? No problem.

  13. smartshot

    smartshot Well-Known Member

    you'll smoke em with the 257, just use a bonded or copper bullet.
  14. Papa Whiskey

    Papa Whiskey Active Member

    Thanks everyone.

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