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Looking for info on the .256 win mag

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by The Undertoad, Jan 28, 2004.

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  1. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Member

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    My friend has an old (I believe mid-60's?) rifle of his fathers, chambered in .256 winchester magnum. We went to the gun shop and the owner had never heard of the cartridge, had to look it up in a reloading manual. He eventually dug up a set of dies, a box of 50 brass, and a box of 100 bullets that should fit.

    IIRC, he quoted us $100 for the above and powder, and offered to teach my friend and I how to reload, on his press in the store, if we come back to buy the stuff. I don't know if that price is any good, but if you throw in the lesson it's tempting.

    Is there anywhere to find ammo for this? Or are we pretty much stuck with reloading? The book said the brass tends to stretch so it's only usable for about 3 reloads. I haven't been able to find out much about this round at all. I didn't get a chance to look at the ballistics in the book either. If anyone has any experience with this I'd love to hear it. I have a feeling (knowing my friend) that it'll be used only rarely for paper-punching at the range.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I don't have one, but for background...

    The .256 Winchester came out in 1960 as a high velocity varmint pistol cartridge. It is essentially a .357 Magnum necked down to .25 caliber. Nobody could make a revolver work with it - the .22 Remington Jet in the S&W M53 was also a flop, revolvers just don't handle bottleneck cartridges well.
    So Ruger came out with the Hawkeye single shot pistol and Thompson Center made Contender barrels for it. They would shoot a 60 grain bullet at 2400 fps.
    Marlin made the Model 62 lever action rifle for it. I assume that is what your friend has. Universal made some Ferret .256 automatics on modified M1 carbine actions.

    I don't think Winchester has made the ammo for some time but you could probably find some from dealers in obsolete ammo. We used to have a guy here who took an amazing assortment to gun shows. The Old Western Scrounger has some custom loaded for $30 per 20.

    I guess you could learn to load on it about as well as anything. I have heard that forming brass out of .357 Magnum is kind of tricky. I would let Buffalo Arms do that part. Some of the older manuals have load data.
     
  3. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Member

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    Thank you for all the info, Jim! :) It is a Marlin lever with a box magazine, so I'm sure it's the model 62 you referenced.
     
  4. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    $100 for the dies, brass, bullets and powder?

    That sounds mighty steep.
     
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Not if you have to buy them new.
    Buffalo Arms gets $17.50 for 50 cases and $69.50 for dies; have to figure $15 or more for bullets.
    The dealer probably didn't have that much in them. I bet they had been laying around for years. But what is the alternative?
     
  6. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Member

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    Just spoke with my friend and I was incorrect - dealer wanted $80 for all the above, not $100. I was busy checking out and buying a rifle of my own, I guess I wasn't paying enough attention. :eek:

    Given the prices you just quoted Jim, $80 sounds pretty reasonable to me. Especially since he'll be letting us use his press... :)
     
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