.257 Weatherby Magnum on 300 to 500 lbs antelopes - opinions please

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by One Day..., Sep 11, 2018.

  1. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Hello;

    Do you guys have any experience with the .257 Wby on Elk or Moose in America or Europe, or Wildebeest / Hartebeest / Kudu / Waterbuck / Sable / etc. in Africa?

    I am tempted by something with 'the weight and recoil of a .22' (well, LOL, almost!) and that supposedly can pole-ax 300 to 500 lbs animals like the hammer of Thor...

    I am starting to put together my next African trip with a dedicated stint after Vaal Rhebok (after all I am at core a Chamois hunter from the French Alps), but there will also be Lechwe, Nyala and Sable, and likely a few others on the list, and I think that I will take only one rifle this time. Would the .257 Wby with 115 gr Barnes TSX do?

    Would especially love to read from folks who have actually shot (hunters) or witnessed first hand (PHs and guides) animals in the 300 to 550 lbs class shot with .257 Wby.

    Thank you all in advance
    Pascal
     

  2. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Not a Bee, but I reloaded 25-06 for a buddy who grew up on a ranch near Rifle, CO and that was all he used for elk and mule deer. Having all that private land to hunt, he got one of each almost every year. He never understood why guys wanted to get beat up by 300 and 338 magnums to take deer and elk.
    Not much help, but I believe Billc uses a 257 Bee in Africa along with a bow. Maybe he will see this and respond.
     
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  3. Graham Hunter

    Graham Hunter AH Fanatic

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    I have burnt 1 bbl out of a 25-06. Shot a ton of Deer, Black Bear, Antelope & 9 Elk. Have shot Elk, Deer and Antelope with the Wtby. Great caliber and both good cartridges.
     
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  4. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    My last trip to Africa I took my 257W and it preformed just fine. I used 120gr Swift A-Frames and 100gr TTSX bullets that by using 2 different brands of brass I could get to shoot to the same spot at max loading.
    I would not use the TSX bullet. The TTSX will open more reliably. Personally I prefer the Swift A-Frames and they have worked well in my 257W and my daughters 257Roberts here in the USA and in Africa. She used 120gr A-Frames in Africa and for a couple of deer and pigs here in the USA. Kudu, Impalas, Bushbuck, warthogs, Zebras, Red Hartebeest, black/white and common Springboks, Baboons, monkeys and more using the 257R and 257W. They did just as well as my 338win mag and 225gr Swift A-Frames.

    I would take it. But I would use 120gr Swift A-Frames or at least use TTSX and not TSX bullets.
     

  5. Tom Leoni

    Tom Leoni AH Senior Member

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    I wish I had any first- or second-hand experience with this cartridge--but I have never even seen it shot. I've seen a whole party use .25-06 and 6.5x55 quite successfully on Finnish moose, though, which is a mule-deer-sized version of its North American cousin (as you surely well know). Distances were moderate, however, which did not fully express the potential of the quarter-bore. I know that with 115+ gr. bullets the .25 has a reputation of bucking the wind fairly well out to 300 yards, and that the bullets' sectional density makes for good penetration even from more difficult angles. I would also take a look at 120-gr Nosler Partitions, although I don't know what reputation they have at .257 Wby velocities and I would hate to take wild guesses.

    Having read your hunt reports and your posts, I gather you are a very good shot and that you don't make your decisions on a whim. I bet that a .257 Wby would be perfectly fine for you, for the quarry you intend to go after.
     

  6. Graham Hunter

    Graham Hunter AH Fanatic

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    I use the 120 partition exclusively
     

  7. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    Pascal,

    I haven't done it as I have this mantra of bigger, faster, stronger for bigger, faster and stronger game animals.

    Can it be done? Sure it can....people here have done it most definitely by the high degree of accuracy of their shot. The problem is that if something goes wrong what happens.

    As silly as it may sound many people load for the animal that they will probably shoot where I always load for the animal I actually might see and shoot.

    I bet the largest cape I ever shot was around a 1000 or so pounds, the same with a Brownie, but I know that they can both get much bigger so I arm and ammo with something I believe will get the job done.

    I have a few different 25 caliber guns , but I would not take them for anything that could possibly weigh over a grand like a big bull moose.

    Just my opinion...
     
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  8. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Good way to find out if your luck on not loosing any wounded animals holds out...
     
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  9. Lee M

    Lee M AH Fanatic

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    Billc does like his 257 Weatherby. I know his son took a cape Kudu with it and Bill has taken many of the smaller antelope and I believe a zebra as well.

    I would definitely use heavy for caliber bonded or a frame type bullets. Good shot placement is critical.

    I have the same concern as Von S. I once shot an elk in the shoulder at 100 yards with a trophy bonded bear claw 160 grain from my 7mm mag which is considered a decent elk round. It dropped in its tracks and was kicking. While walking up to it it got up and ran off into heavy timber leaving only a few drops of blood along the way. We searched for a long time but nothing. Two days later while walking I bumped him (unknowingly) into my friend who shot him at close range with his 7mm mag. He asked me over a walkie talkie what shoulder I hit and I replied the left. He replied I shot ur elk. It had a broken left shoulder/leg and was running on three legs. My shot/bullet hit the shoulder center/ball breaking it but not penetrating further, so no vitals hit. We recovered my bullet. It was perfectly mushroomed and not broken, maintaining most of its 160 grains. So it performed well except for the penetration.

    So my concern with a 120 grain or less bullet on a big animal is what happens if you hit big bone??? Now big bull elk are tougher in my opinion then oryx and Wildebeest of which I have taken with my 7mm and 160 grain pills, but 120 grains is on the light side.

    So Pick your shots carefully on 300 lbs plus critters and be patient. It certainly has been done by others before. And remember in Africa if you draw blood, you bought it.
     

  10. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the input, especially @Divernhunter your input on .257 TSX performance, and @Lee M, your post captures perfectly my hesitation:
    Amen!
    And @cls is entirely right:
    Funny :) but very appropriate observation. I am convinced that shooting bigger/heavier/faster has often helped that luck, and I have some deep trepidation departing from that...

    Going .257 Wby would indeed be a grand departure from my entire hunting life. I have always been on the bigger/heavier side, but (I believe) within reason: e.g. I took the .340 Wby last month to Africa (https://www.africahunting.com/threa...faris-august-2018-plains-game-paradise.45017/), but it was only because Eland was on the menu. Otherwise, I would have taken the .300 Wby in @Red Leg's ideal classic american rifle configuration (https://www.africahunting.com/media...stainless-new-haven-made-300-wby-rifle.61218/), but this one is now hear-marked for one of my sons upcoming 26th birthday. The .340 was hardly the best choice for Mountain Reedbok, Springbok or Steenbok - although it did work quite well. Of course .257 and .340 represent the two extremes for plains game, just like Eland and Steenbok represent the two extremes of plains game. These are easy to decide for, and I agree with @Von S., that I would not pick a quarter bore as first choice for moose. I shot mine with a custom .338 Win Dumoulin Mauser 98 stutzen carbine in dense woods and with the dearly departed Griffin & Howe custom .340 Wby (see next paragraph) in open space, and was happy with the outcome (although I quickly learned that 210 gr bullets, even Nosler Partition, were too light for the .340 Wby speed, and I noticed since - that was something like 25 years ago! - that Weatherby discretely quit offering the load. I suspect I know why...)

    The more difficult choices are for the in-between. I could take the .300 Wby with 150 gr Partition or 165 gr TTSX and that would be ideal for Sable, but still a lot of gun for Vaal Rhebok and to a lesser degree for Lechwe or Nyala. Or maybe not... And any way by then it will be my son's. I will likely not take nice guns on airplanes anymore (remember my misadventure with my first .340 Wby... see https://www.africahunting.com/media...rno-602-action-damaged-during-handling.65928/) so that takes out of the running a number of middle-weight guns in my safe (6 mm, .270 Win, 7x64, 7 Rem Mag, etc.), and ... and ... and I will unabashedly confess that a .257 Wby or .270 Wby stainless Mark V or Win 70 Classic (if I can find one) tempts me as light 'beater' that I will not cry over if some airline gorilla destroys it, to complete my stainless guns battery.

    Ah, decisions, decisions... My wife would say that I am just trying to convince myself that I need a new gun LOL ... and she would be right LOL again.

    Heck, maybe I take both .340 Wby and .257 Wby (or .270 Wby?) and problem solved LOL
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018

  11. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    Lee M,

    I am happy that you got your cripple and who would have ever thought that could happen with a 7mm Mag at 100 yards without the bullet having blown up to cease penatration?

    If the 264 Win Mag that I use on speed goats, Mulies and white tails in Texas that nicely takes these 100 to 200 pound + animals then my thought is how can a 7mm mag be so much more powerful as to warrant a clean kill of an animal 5 times heavier simply because of a .5 mm diameter raise? BUT it does every year many thousands of times over as the 7mm is one hell of a reliable elk , moose ,and bear round.

    My guess is that you couldn't duplicate that again in 1000 years and like they say in baseball when a gust of wind blows a ball headed for a home run back into the field and is caught, "You was robbed".

    I have 7's and use them often on smaller big game at long distance where I can go on the bipod.

    I really liked your adventure and your telling of it.

    Thanks.
     
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  12. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

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    No experience with the .257 Wby.

    Taking what you suggest above would probably be the safest option.

    What I can add is that(I am sure you are well aware of this) is that hunting Vaal rhebuck can be very demanding and very satisfying to hunt. Depending on where exactly your hunt will take place, it will be high in the mountains as Vaal Rhebuck prefer more exposed areas at higher altitude than Mountain Reedbuck.(Typically 1400-2500 meters above sea level). They do not need to drink water as they get what they need from dew and the diet. They typically rest for 3-4 hrs during the hot time of day in a sheltered spot out of the wind.

    This often means wind at these higher altitudes. This wind can be surprisingly brisk and added to the terrain, is more often than not very constant in either direction or strength. As long as you are comfortable with your caliber choices ability to "buck" the wind, you will be good to go.

    The .270 WM may for this reason be a slightly better choice.

    The Vaal Rhebuck is considered by most to be the most challenging buck to hunt in South Africa. They appear to be larger in body size than what they really are due to their long legs.

    Shots are often taken at longer range 300-400 yards and taking the conditions into account as well as the size are not always easy.

    Shot placement is critical as wounding one could well mean a lost one as they are the same colour as the grass habitat they prefer and if it disappears over the next ridge could make recovery very difficult if at all.

    The flat shooting hard hitting calibers you mention are very good choices.

    Good luck and I wish you success on one of the most iconic hunts in SA.
     

  13. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Thanks @IvW for these information, these are indeed all the reasons why I want to hunt them. I am planning to go to the family property of the PH I hunted with at Huntershill: Jason Olivier, in the mountains west of Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.

    As stated in the opening post, I am still, and will remain for ever, a Chamois hunter at heart. These are my native hunting grounds in the French Alps:
    DSC01387.JPG

    Hah, the comfort of glassing for Chamois in the Oisans, the part of the French Alps I come from... (and no, as the vegetation shows, the camera is not tilted for effect LOL)
    DSC01369.JPG

    Here is one... By the bulk, the behavior, and the fact that it is alone, it is likely a male. Now to decide on how to approach him; verify that he is a Class III male (more than 10 years old) - which explains the 20x Steiner binoculars (because if you shoot the wrong Class, upon mandatory inspection the animal will be confiscated, you will be fined, and you will get your license suspended for 3 years) - and get close enough for a shot in a place where it will not dive into the abyss when mortally hit.
    DSC01393.JPG

    I will go dig in these aforementioned boxes of pics and post a few Chamois pics.

    Can't wait to hunt Vaal Rhebok! Sadly, my trusty Steyr-Mannlicher Luxus .270 Win with Zeiss 1.5-6 x 42 on claw mounts will not be with me, otherwise this thread would not exist. I decided a long time ago to leave it at the family chalet in Alpe d'Huez in France, to avoid endless frustrations with international gun travel...
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  14. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Can't resist posting this one for your aesthetic and hunting pleasure. Chamois hunting in early winter when they come down to seek refuge in the deep forests. The success rate is generally very, very low, but just being out there is success enough: happiness in its most elementary form.

    It is a hunt of chance encounters, in profound silence, and if you ever shoot, it will likely be really close. You may also chance onto a Sanglier (wild boar), or extremely rarely onto a Chevreuil (Roebuck) but more than likely the season for them is already closed.

    PA290380.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  15. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

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    WOW! Great pics. What we call mountains for Vaal rhebuck will not post any issues for you!

    Thanks for sharing.
     

  16. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    Hi, One Day...

    I come from the eastern side of the Alps and I have some experience with the 6,5x68 on chamois and deer.

    https://www.africahunting.com/threa...request-for-opinions.38969/page-7#post-467440

    I think, the performance of a .257 Weatherby-Magnum is pretty close to a 6,5x68.

    I know, that a 300 lbs animal is not a challenge for a 6,5x68, and I think, it also can handle a 500 lbs'er.

    But in Africa, I would prefere something bigger ..... big and angry stuff can come around the corner, and I guarantee, you will feel better when you are prepaird for the worst case.

    Waidmanns Heil

    HWL
     
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  17. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Oh yeeeeesssss, the 6.5x68 is a wonderful cartridge!
    For our American friends, likely lost in our Old World considerations, the 6.5x68 is essentially the European twin of the .264 Win Mag. It's bore is therefore ever so slightly 'bigger' than that of the .257 Wby (6.5 mm instead of 6.35 mm) and it accepts bullets up to 140 gr. I have never used it myself, but a friend of mine has wrecked terror on our local Chamois with it.

    The same praise goes for its bigger brother, the 8x68S, also designed in the 1930's by Schüler. It adds ~100 fps to the hottest load you could ever dare with a .300 Win Mag.

    If it was not such a nightmare importing RWS ammo in the US (I still do for my 6.5x54 Mannlicher Schoenauer 1903), I would have both in the gun safe. That alone should be motivation enough to finally start reloading. Never really had the time so far. Maybe when I retire, if I can ever afford to retire LOL

    I am going to check GunBrokers.com just in case, to see if a lonely 6.5x68 is looking for a new home on this side of the big pound ;-)

    I generally agree that 6.5x68 would be a little light for "big and angry stuff". This is why I have been asking for folks' experience with the .257 Wby, rather than just doing it, and why I think that I will also take my .340 for bigger plains game. As to my "big and angry stuff" medicines, they are, depending on circumstance .470 NE (https://www.africahunting.com/media/kreighoff-classic-big-five-470-ne.65769/) or .416 Rigby or .458 Lott (https://www.africahunting.com/media/cz-550-416-rigby-rifle-mauser-66-458-lott-rifle.61217/). For Vaal Rhebok I am looking for something a tad smaller LOL

    Waidmanns Heil indeed @HWL
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018

  18. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Here is a typical Class I male Chamois. Young adult in its second year (Eterlou in French):
    La Garde Sept 99 #16.jpg

    And here is a grand old Class III female Chamois. In her case, way past the 10 year criteria for Class III:
    La Garde 2001 #12.jpg

    She is my best ever... so far... (despite breaking her horns in a 300 ft fall after the shot)
    La Garde 2001 #18.jpg

    Let's go hunt Vaal Rhebok !
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  19. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    And the verdict is...

    Thank you all for your input. I truly appreciate.

    1) I share the favorable perception about the .257 Wby, in its proper game context, expressed by @Ridgewalker, @Graham Hunter, @Divernhunter, @Tom Leoni, etc.

    2) I entirely agree with the reservations expressed by @HWL, @Von S., etc. about the .257 Wby on larger plains game. This is why I have a .340 Wby. Case closed as far as I am concerned, because, as rightly suggested by @cls, I am not interested in a "good way to find out if my luck on not loosing any wounded animals holds out..."
    Where is the threshold? I asked for input on the 300 to 500 lbs range because I was curious to see what others' experience is on this. I personally feel that the upper reasonable limit for the .257 Wby may be a tad lower (say around 200 to 250 lbs) in order to maintain a good margin of safety, because I do indeed want to continue to hit them hard, and not everything is always perfect. That still leaves a large number of species on the .257 list, including the 'Tiny Ten' that intrigue me and are reputed to be hard to hunt, and a whole lot of plains and mountains smaller antelopes (Impala, Grant, Thomson, Springbok, Reedbok, Rhedok, Lechwe, Blesbok, Bushbuck, etc. and even, at the upper end, Nyala, Tsessebe, etc.).

    3) I will continue to take two guns to Africa.
    Last time was .340 Wby (mostly large, and very large, plains game on the list) and .470 NE (Cape Buffalo). Next time is shaping to be .340 Wby (large plains game) and .257 Wby (small plains and mountains game).

    4) My load selection will be the 120 gr Swift A Frame loaded by Choice Ammunitions at 3,387 fps (https://choiceammunition.com/product/257-weatherby-120-grain-swift-frame-100-hand-loaded/). Yeah I know, I need to reload my own. Maybe one day when I retire...
    The rationale behind it is to address the 115 gr TSX behaving like a solid at lower (i.e. distant) velocities as outlined by @Divernhunter; to shoot heavy enough, as recommended by @Graham Hunter, in order to break through 250 lbs antelope shoulder bones as @Lee M addressed (the TTSX weighs only 100 gr); and to achieve maximum weight retention in such a small slug (I have loved Nosler Partition for 40 years, and continue to shoot my stock of them with full satisfaction, but technology advances being what they are, the Swift A Frame, which is nothing but a bonded partition, provides objectively a higher weight retention).

    5) There is a .257 Wby coming my way!
    As luck would have it, there was on GunBroker exactly (how rare is that!) what I was looking for, and was ready to wait for, for the time it would take. This is the carbon copy of my .340 Wby (https://www.africahunting.com/media...stainless-new-haven-made-300-wby-rifle.61218/): Mark V Stainless (true stainless earlier model, not the current silver coated Weathermark); 26" barrel (needed with the .257 Wby overbore); machined stainless steel bottom (not the current cast metal bottom); looking new, and they swear the barrel and throat are like new, and if I disagree I can return it. And best of all, I 'stole' it for $850 !!! What's not to like?
    I will add a Bell & Carlson Medalist Kevlar & Aramid stock with full length aluminum bedding block and pillars ($272); will have it drilled & tapped for 8x40 base screws ($50); will use Talley bases and rings ($170); and will put on it a Schmidt & Bender 1.5-6x42 with 30 mm tube that I already own.
    That will be a 10 lbs rig, which I like (I do not like super light guns that dance in the wind, and anyway I used to carry the 23 lbs squad machine gun in a previous life), and it will give me 14 ft/lbs of free recoil, i.e. just under half what the .340 Wby will give me with 225 gr TTSX (29 ft/lbs), which is itself already 20% less than what it gave me this year with 250 gr Partition (36 ft/lbs), which was not an issue for me, but I will take any 'cherry on top of the cake' I can get. Life is good and getting even better!
    Sighting will be +3" @ 100 yd; +3.7" @ 200 yd (horizontal cross hair a bit above the belly line between 50 and 200 yd); zero @ 300 yd; -8.9" @ 400 yd (horizontal cross hair a bit above the shoulder line a 400 yd), which is the same rule of thumb I use with the .340 on bigger animals. There will not be confusion.
    And yes, to address @IvW concerns (in a different thread) I will verify that the screw holding the trigger group to the action is tight (they are pinned from the factory and never loosen themselves, unless removed by a third party during re-barreling or whatever, and not being properly torqued and pined back when re-installed). That will address any safety question.

    Can't think of a better plains game battery than stainless .340 Wby & .257 Wby. Shoot flat; hit hard; appropriate for all non DG game; impervious to elements; firing pin-blocking safety on the Mark V; affordable; proven; etc. and the Roy stock does not bother me, either aesthetically (especially the Bell & Carlson one) or functionally.
    Yep, the .300 Wby with 150 gr and 200 gr loads could do it all, but mine goes to my kid, and the reality is that a lighter 9 lbs 2 oz .300 Wby (i.e. my Model 70 https://www.africahunting.com/media...stainless-new-haven-made-300-wby-rifle.61218/) recoils almost as much with a 150 gr slug as my heavier 10 lbs 8 oz Mark V does with a 225 gr slug (25 ft/lbs vs. 29 ft/lbs); and actually recoils more, with either 180 or 200 gr slugs than my .340 does with 225 gr slugs (31 ft/lbs vs. 29 ft/lbs).
    The 14 ft/lbs free recoil of the .257 Wby with 120 gr A Frames will be so sweet (and conducive of such easy accuracy)...

    Can't wait...
    Thank you all
    Pascal
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018

  20. PARA45

    PARA45 AH Fanatic

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    Hunted:
    South Africa, Nicaragua, FL, CA, SD, GA, SC, CO
    Pascal, I don't know if you know this or not, but Roy Weatherby shot a bunch of game to include a Cape Buff with a 257 Wby. This was done way before we had the quality of the bullets we currently have. I've only killed deer & hogs with my 257, and it kills like the hammer of Thor. I have several friends who hunt Elk, and they use 270, 25-06 & 30-06 successfully every year. IMO, shot placement is the key here.

    BTW, congrats on the purchase of the 257, you stole that rifle!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018

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