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Why not .257 Roberts? Vs. 243 Win?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by David4516, Jun 11, 2008.

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  1. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    Why isn't .257 Roberts more popular?

    I've never actually shot one (yet), but on paper it looks like a good "dual purpose" rifle.

    This question came to me a while ago back, when I was trying to decide what caliber to re-barrel an old Mauser in.

    .257 seemed the natural choice, as this was originally a 7x57 Mauser and the .257 Roberts is based on the 7x57 case. I took the rifle down to the gunsmith. This is a side story, but he had the rifle for nearly a year and a half and didn't even get started on the project :cuss: . I took the rifle back last weekend and will need to find someone else to do the work... how long is a re-barrel project supposed to take? I figured I'd get the thing back within a month... Grrrrr.....

    Anyway, I've already bought reloading dies and brass and bullets for .257 so I started looking at the load data for this round. As far as I can tell the .257 Roberts should do anything that a .243 will do, only better. So why is the .243 so much more popular? Especially taking into consideration that it came out years later.

    I would have thought that the .257, with it's head start, and ability to handle a wider range of bullet weight, would have been the more obvious choice.

    I'm looking at the Nosler #6 book, it says that their 115gr .25 cal bullet has a ballistic coeficent of .453, not bad at all. And the .257 will push that bullet along at 2800+ FPS. Also, looking at their ballistic tables, it says that this combo will drop about 13 inches at 300 yards, if the rifle is zeroed at 100 yards. Not the flattest shooter, but not bad. Should be a great Deer round.

    On the other end of the scale they show an 85gr bullet with a BC of .329 at 3300+ FPS, with a drop of 9 inches at 300 yards, with a 100 yard zero. Sounds like it would make a decent small game/varmint round.

    I guess this is a long post for a quick question: Why isn't the .257 Roberts just as popular as the .243 Winchester?
     
  2. one-shot-one

    one-shot-one Member

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    all your thoughts

    on the .257 are correct.
    the .243 is more "popular" because of availibilty or factory guns & ammo.:D
     
  3. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    .257 is based on the 57mm Mauser case (7x57mm, 8mm Mauser).

    .243 is based on the .308 Winchester case (7.62x51mm).

    The .308 case is ubiquitous in the US. The Mauser case, not so much.

    More importantly, probably: in a standard American action, .257 is a long-action round and .243 is a short-action round. .25-06 will fit in the same rifle as .257, as will .270. The .257 competes with the .270 and .25-06, not the .243, which occupies a slightly a different niche.

    The .243 is popular as a "minimalist" round, the lowest-recoil, short-action deer round. It works well for small shooters, light "mountain rifles", antelope hunting, etc.

    The .257 Roberts is an also-ran, competing in the same market as the .30-06 family. The .270 has long dominated the necked-down .30-06 world. If there were more surplus Mauser actions being sporterized today, as there were post-WWII, you might see more .257.

    None of that takes from the .257's objective merits. The 7x57 is believed by many to be the most versatile hunting round in the world. Others favor the 6.5x55 Swede. Neither of these is as popular in the US as the standard .308 and .30-06 based rounds are. That's just how it goes.
     
  4. Mr White

    Mr White Member

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    What is the 'standard' bullet for the .257? Remington only loads a 117 gr soft point for it. The performance of that bullet is pretty dismal compared to the .243 or the .25-06; below 2000fps at 200 yd, below 1000 fp energy at 200 yd.

    I don't know what the .257 is capable of, but if it isn't any better than that, I can see why it isn't more popular.
     
  5. drtworks

    drtworks Member

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    My Grandfather's favorite deer rifle was and is his Winchester model 70 in .257 Roberts. I'll bet he took 30 deer with that rifle. He always used .257 Roberts for deer and 30-06 for elk. The one time he shot an elk with the .257, it took 9 shots.

    It is a sweet rifle. I hope to inherit it someday.
     
  6. JesseL

    JesseL Member

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    .257 Roberts does real nice vs. .243 Win, when you neck the Bob down by another .013 :D
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    It's a handloader's round, I suspect. In that case, it also competes with more wildcats than you can shake a stick at. If you only plan to shoot your own handloads, there's a lot to choose from.
     
  8. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    E.R. Shaw and Dan Pederson are well thought of by John Barsness of Rilfe Magazine. Do a google search or e-mail riflemag.com and they can give you the phone numbers.

    And it shouldn't take a great deal of time to rebarrel your gun.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The .257 Roberts is not more popular because the manufactures have to sell new rifles & calibers every year to stay in business.

    And all the gun writers tell everyone the new calibers are WAY better then the old calibers, because the gun magazines get big bucks from the manufactures advertising to stay in business.

    SO, the .257 Roberts isn't more popular because everybody & his dog want to sell new rifles, ammo, and advertising, & stay in business.

    rcmodel
     
  10. cdrt

    cdrt Member

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    The .257 Roberts was always under loaded by the ammo companies, probably because besides being offered in Rem and Win bolt actions, it was a std caliber in Remington's slide action rifles. Only handloading can bring out it's true potential. On the heavier end of bullets, it has the advantage over the .243 Winchester.
     
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  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I don't think the .257 Roberts was offered in a Remington slide action until the Model 760 which will hold .270 Win, at the time the hottest non-magnum round on the market.

    There is a legend that the .257 Roberts is lightly loaded because of the wildcat custom guns made for it on pre-'98 Mausers before it was picked up as a factory load. That does not hold up, either, because the .257 Remington Roberts is not the same as the original .25 Roberts (either of two versions.) And there is no shortage of strength in the Model 30 Remington or Model 54 and 70 Winchesters.

    I think the reason the .257 Roberts has always been loaded lightly was that it was hyped for accuracy and with the powders and bullets of the day, the most accurate load was usually well under the maximum the brass and gun would take. The rather blunt bullets gave longer bearing surface which also helped accuracy.

    The experts of the day devised the Three Inch Roberts, which they produced by putting a .30-06 magazine follower and bolt stop in a Model 70 .257 rifle. That allowed them to load a spitzer bullet close to the rifling. The real experts reamed the throat so they could seat bullets way out to 3.3". The gain in case volume was not great enough to produce the velocities they claimed, pressures were undoubtedly higher. But the round had been so underloaded that just bringing it up to the standard for other calibers in the same rifles was a big help.
     
  12. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    The biggest limitation for the 257 and almost every other quarterbore is the lack of a large variety of good bullets. 243 has benefitted from a huge selection of excellent bullets. Like 6.5 and 7mm, 6mm seems to be one of those 'magic' calibers that result in very good BC.
     
  13. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    The +P loadings put the round closer to it's potential:
    120 grain bullet at 2,950 fps
    100 grain bullet at 3,100 fps
    87 grain bullet at 3,300
    75 grain bullet at 3,500 fps

    Not quite 25-06 performance, but close enough for most purposes. I think the performance difference between the two cartridges is enough to get you into Elk territory, though only with a good load of Barnes TSX or similar quality bullet.
     
  14. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've been shooting my grandpa's .257 since age 11. He gave it to me when I was about 16. It's an old M722 short action Remington and a really nice, and accurate little gun. I load it to push a 100 grain Sierra game king to 3150 fps or a 117 Hornady Interlock to 3050. Those ballistics are closer to .25-06 factory loads than .243 and it shoots the Sierra load into 3/4 MOA consistently, the 117 grain load is a 1MOA load. I could reduce that, no doubt, if I weighed bullets, measured case volumes, and other such bench rest nonsense. :D

    When the .243 came out, the hype in the Zines was such that everyone clamored for it and the Roberts just sort of died. The round was never loaded by the factories to its potential pressure levels in modern guns due to a lot of older Mauser 93s and such being custom chambered for it back when Remington adopted the round from wildcat status. Original factory loadings pushed a 100 grain bullet around 2800 and a 117 to around 2600, significantly less than the new .243.

    In the mid 80s, there was a resurgence of interest in the Roberts. A few rifles were cranked out for it from Ruger and Remington and Winchester came out with a +P silvertip that pushed the 100 grain bullet to about 2950. But, it flashed and died again. It is and probably will forever be more appreciated by the handloader for its potential in a short action gun like the little 722. I'd NEVER THINK of selling mine, of course, due to inheritance and if my heirs sell it, I'll come back to haunt them. I killed my first whitetail with that gun at age 11. But, it's a fantastic little rifle regardless of emotional ties and a truly classic caliber. I don't own a .243. I won a .25-06 BDL in a gun show door prize raffle, traded it for my M7 Stainless in .308. Prefer the .257 to a BDL in .25-06 and I WANTED that M7. :D

    When I thought I was going to get to go elk hunting, only rifle I had was the .257. That's when I bought my 7 mag. I wanted enough gun. Oh, the .257 might kill elk just fine with a proper shot and controlled expansion bullet, but that's a lot like hunting deer with the .223 in my mind, marginal at best.
     
  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    As I said, I think this is urban legend. The .257 Remington Roberts never was a wildcat.
    The original .25 Roberts wildcat was shorter with a shallow shoulder angle. The .25 Roberts as semi-standardized by Griffin & Howe was the same thing except the neck left full length to save on brass preparation. When Remington adopted it, they went back to the 7x57's shoulder diameter and angle, or close to it. The commercial ammo would not chamber in the earlier wildcats and there were no weak action customs unless built after Remington announced in 1934.
     
  16. smokemaker

    smokemaker Member

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    I've got and old Rem 722 in .257, it shoots the Hornady 117 light mag into 1" at 100 yds, The 100 grain Speer hot-cor shoots real nice too. I suspect that the 100 grain Barnes TSX loaded to +p would do alright on elk. It's a great cartridge!
     
  17. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Quote:
    due to a lot of older Mauser 93s and such being custom chambered for it back when Remington adopted the round from wildcat status.


    As I said, I think this is urban legend. The .257 Remington Roberts never was a wildcat.


    Just repeating what I've read in multiple articles. Been a 257 nut for life and read everything I run across. Articles always start out like that. I wasn't around when Ned Roberts was writing/working on wildcats. I ain't THAT old. :D

    BTW, I get my best ballistics from H4831, a powder which goes WAY back. It is compressed, but shoots probably 150 fps faster than often hyped for the caliber 4350.
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Partial story is at:
    http://www.reloadbench.com/cartridges/257r.html

    It does not mention the fact that the original .25 Roberts was trimmed from 57mm as well as necked down and given a 15 deg shoulder; followed by G&H chambering rifles and not trimming brass to save a step. To learn that, I had to refer to 'Pet Loads' because Ken Waters was personally acquainted with Ned Roberts and a lot of the other big names of the day.
     
  19. pbrktrt

    pbrktrt Member

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    why not ? because we have the .257 Weatherby. now there's a hot little number.
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The weatherby is a long action and rather inefficient round. Yeah, it's faster. So is my 7 mag. It's also harder on shoulders and barrels and in varmint shooting, that could matter. I think the .257 is the better, as the OP says, combination deer/varmint caliber of the two.
     
  21. Shawnee

    Shawnee member

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    Hi David...


    GREAT question ! Have enjoyed all the responses ! Great Stuff !

    Though I dote on the .243 I'll add a couple minor thoughts about the Roberts here.

    No matter what the .243 (or 6mm, or 25/06, or yadda) can do - the .257 Roberts - even in the loadings of 3300 for the 85/87-grainers and 2800 for the 117s - was, and is, a GREAT deer rifle.

    You might also want to consider using a 250-yd. "zero" rather than the 100-yd. "zero" - because that gives your Roberts a fair chance. To wit:

    87gr. Spitzer at 3300fps

    2" high at 100 yds.
    zero'd at 250
    3 inches low at 300 yds. 1100+ ft/lbs. of energy :what:
    _______________________________

    117 BoatTail SP at 2800fps.

    3" high at 100 yds.
    zero'ed at 250 yds.
    4" low at 300 yds. 1100+ ft/lbs of energy :what:


    EITHER of those loads will dump a deer at 300yds. and either will do it anywhere from 0yds. to 300yds. without moving the crosshairs and, THAT, Sir, is one Fine deer caliber no matter how you or anyone else slices it.

    There is a very good reason people love the .257 Roberts, David. Enjoy yours to the hilt.;)

    :cool:
     
  22. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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  23. PotatoJudge

    PotatoJudge Member

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    I don't think the difference in performance between the 25-06 and the Weatherby Mag come close to justifying the extra cost and having to mess with a belted mag while reloading.
     
  24. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I guess that for me, the .257 Roberts is one of those good cartridges which just didn't fit my needs. Neither fish nor fowl when you have an '06 and a .243 and handload.

    It's certainly a good cartridge for most deer hunting, no doubt...
     
  25. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    The .257 doesn't really compete with the .243. I'd venture to say that the reason it isn't very popular these days is that it's outclassed by the quarterbore-dominating .25-06. Since the .257 has to be chambered in a long action anyway, most just opt for the extra 200-300 FPS and better ammo selection of the .25-06. That doesn't mean the .257 isn't a great cartridge-it is. But the .25-06 is just a bit better.

    FYI, the Roberts was a very popular cartridge for the first 35 years of it's life. But the introduction of the .25-06 as a factory standardized cartridge in 1969 pretty much killed the .257.
     
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