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

One Day...

Gold supporter
AH elite
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
2,687
Website
www.huntershillsafaris.co.za
Media
328
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
PHASA
Hunted
Europe, America, Canada, Africa
I think of all the weatherby calibers, you’ve found the demonstrably best. 257 and 270 present the biggest benefit and most lethality for their size. Recoil is managable. Either would be fine globally on animals up to Kudu/Elk and smaller at reasonable distances.
Yep. The next trip will be focused on Vaal Rhebok and the Tiny Ten. The .340 Wby somehow feels a tad on the "too much of a good thing" side, if we spend 90% of the hunt after 50 lbs antelopes LOL

But there will also be Sable, so the .340 Wby does come along.

The jury is still out for the Nyala. I guess it will depend on which gun I carry if we bump into a good one... Given the choice I would prefer the .340, just to be on the safe side, because I could take the shot from any angle, but the .257 would do fine on a clear broadside presentation I believe.
 
Last edited:

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
3,416
Location
Eastern US
Media
83
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
@One Day... it's been almost 2 years since you received the 257WBY.
I'm looking for your opinion on how happy you are with the caliber and performance.

As you know I have the R8 with the magnum bolt head.
This would play right into me getting a 257WBY barrel and calling it quits.

The other option is to get one of the 6.5mm's, and another bolt head to match.
The reason I'm considering a 6.5 is the very limited ammo availability of the 257WBY.
I don't reload and I most likely will not start...so I need loaded ammo options.

I know you have the 300WBY & 340WBY, so there are no real gaps in your battery.
But if you had to do it over again, would you choose the 257WBY or go a different route?

Keep this in mind...
The 300WM has been replaced by the 6.5CM for use in the US military sniper rifles.
This will mean even greater loaded ammo options will be available.
 

One Day...

Gold supporter
AH elite
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
2,687
Website
www.huntershillsafaris.co.za
Media
328
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
PHASA
Hunted
Europe, America, Canada, Africa
Hello BeeMaa;

.257 Wby

I had a most incredibly successful PG safari in 2019 using all but nothing else than the .257 Wby on animals progressively up to Roan. I wrote about the experience in my hunt report at https://www.africahunting.com/threa...ill-safaris-even-better-than-last-year.52376/

In summary: I experienced 100% one-shot-kill, pole-axed, dead-right-there reliability on 17 animals with the .257 Wby 100 gr TTSX.

Technically, I fired and hit 19 times, but I doubled on a Roan, which I do not believe was really needed: he was lighting-bolt-struck dead on its feet, and I purposely took a first back-breaking shot at a Vaal Rhebok because his vitals where behind a rock, and I doubled on him when he stood his two front legs.

I also missed 3 shots at a dead run at a great Gemsbok (stupid of me to take such long running shots!) and 2 'Hail Mary' shots at a Vaal Rhebok very far in gale force wind, from a precarious position (what was I thinking!). These are 5 shots I should never have taken and that cannot be blamed on the rifle or cartridge.

As stated in the report, I did not recover a single 100 gr TTSX bullet. All went through and exited through quarter-sized holes. All animals were down on the spot or within 3 to 10 yards.

I would not shoot a Roan or a Sable, or a big Wildebeest purposefully through the shoulder bones with a .257 Wby and 100 gr TTSX - it could work, but I am not sure, and this is a bet I will not take - but clearly with my favorite behind the shoulder double-lung shot, the cartridge will do a stunning job on animals up to 650 lbs. and likely more. I must admit that I was really amazed at the killing power of the .257 Wby 100 gr TTSX factory load. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

There might be something about that speed thing after all... This is what I attribute the .257 Wby lethality to. In my rifle, the 100 gr TTSX actually clocks at 3,583 fps (faster than the factory advertised 3,570 fps) - I live in Flagstaff AZ, the 7,000 ft. elevation is likely the reason - and the ballistic software tells me that at 300 yards it is still going close to 3,000 fps.

If it materializes, my R8 set-up will include for sure 2 barrels: .257 Wby and .300 Wby. With my .470 NE double, all 3 will fit in a Pelican 1700 case, and since I like to hunt DG up close and personal with open sights, I cannot think of any situation where this battery would not be not only adequate, but darn near perfect :)

A .416 Rem (or .458 Lott) additional barrel for the R8 would ably replace the .470 NE for the dedicated R8 aficionado ;)

6.5 Creedmoor

Conversely, the 6.5 Creedmoor typical 140 gr load leaves the barrel at ~2,700 fps and travels only at ~2,300 fps at 300 yards and barely ~2,000 fps at 500 yards.

Yes, it is easy to shoot well because it has zero recoil and rifles built for it are typically high precision rigs, and who cares about bullet drop in the era of laser range-finders, ballistic aps and reliable external scope turrets, but the problem is bullet performance at such slow speeds.

Here in Arizona and there in Africa, candid discussions with the professional guides include an endless and growing number of horror stories of elk-sized animals showing no reaction whatsoever to a long range 6.5 Creedmoor hit, followed in the best cases by hours of tracking of faint blood trails, or in the worst cases dead animals stumbled upon by chance hours or days later.

For example, please look at the first 7 minutes of this video: The Greatest Kudu Hunt on Earth. Look at the shot at 3:30 minutes and listen closely to the next 4 minutes of comments. In summary, the 6.5 bullet punched clean through, with no reaction and no impact sound from the 500 yards shot, with likely little to zero expansion, many people searched all morning, and they only found the dead kudu by pure random chance where they expected it the least...


The 6.5 Creedmoor is a great long range paper puncher, and a good medium range, medium game cartridge (like the grand old 6.5x54 Mannlicher and 6.5x55 Swedish) but I will never use the 6.5 Creedmoor to hunt large animals at long range. From past professional life I know that a wounded soldier results in the incapacitation of several combatants (the wounded + those who care about the wounded), so the 6.5 Creedmoor may make sense for military purposes, but this is not what we are discussing here, and regardless of the diversity of loads to be offered, there is no escaping a basic reality of the 6.5 Creedmoor: case capacity and resulting slow speed at range...

I know others will have passionately favorable opinions about the 6.5 Creedmoor, and we will read countless success stories of 800 yard kills, but to me the above video summarizes exactly the 6.5 Creedmoor for long range, big game hunting: wrong application for a great cartridge :cry:
 
Last edited:

One Day...

Gold supporter
AH elite
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
1,154
Reaction score
2,687
Website
www.huntershillsafaris.co.za
Media
328
Hunting reports
Africa
3
Member of
PHASA
Hunted
Europe, America, Canada, Africa
For your reading pleasure :)

In Praise Of The .257 Weatherby Magnum
From mice to moose, the .257 Weatherby Magnum does it all.


by Layne Simpson | January 4th, 2011

1601250180014.png


Of the many cartridges developed by Roy Weatherby, the .257 Magnum was his favorite. Many other hunters have felt the same way down through the decades. Based on annual sales of the various Weatherby cartridges, the .30-378 Magnum is in first place followed by the .300 Magnum, .257 Magnum, .270 Magnum, and 7mm Magnum. Weatherby developed his big .257 in 1944, but before settling on the cartridge we know today, he experimented with .25-caliber cartridges on various cases.

Had the slow-burning powders being produced today been available back then, Weatherby would most likely have stuck with the full-length Holland & Holland case. But since IMR-4350 was the slowest burning powder available, he chose to shorten it to slightly over 21/2 inches. Two other Weatherby cartridges, the .270 Magnum and 7mm Magnum, share that same case.

Like all belted magnums introduced by Weatherby, the .257 Magnum has the familiar double-radius shoulder. As popular opinion once had it, that type of shoulder had certain magical properties that caused propellant gas to flow more efficiently from cartridge case to rifle barrel. Those of us who knew Roy know why he chose a shoulder of such unusual shape: He chose it because he knew it would not be easy for every shade-tree chamber reamer grinder in America to duplicate.

Through the years Roy used the speedy cartridge quite successfully on game as large as moose and elk, and even the mighty Cape buffalo fell with one shot during one of Roy’s many trips to Africa. Declaring war on something as big and potentially nasty as a Cape buffalo with a 100-grain bullet was not something he recommended to others, and Roy did it just once to prove to himself that it could be done.

The .257 Weatherby Magnum has long been popular among other big-game hunters as well, and one has only to read the many customer testimonials published in Weatherby catalogs dating back to the first one in October 1945 to see just how many fans it has had through the years. Roy’s son Ed, who now runs the company, used the .257 Magnum to take a variety of antelope on his first African safari. The list of .257 Weatherby Magnum fans goes on and on.

It is doubtful that many hunters today would use the .257 Weatherby on game as large and as potentially dangerous as brown bear and polar bear, but hunters of yesteryear did it without hesitation. One thing that made the .257 Magnum so effective on big game was the fact that Weatherby was quick to realize most bullets available in the old days were too soft to withstand the tremendous impact velocities delivered by his super-speedy cartridge.

This prompted him to begin offering ammunition loaded with Nosler Partition bullets as early as the 1960s. Doing so made Weatherby the first to offer premium-grade ammunition loaded with what is now often described as controlled-expansion bullets, and I am sure it is the primary reason hunters were able to use the .257 Magnum so successfully on such a variety of game around the world. Back then, two Nosler bullets were offered: a 100-grain Partition at 3555 fps and a 115-grain Partition at 3300 fps. The 100-grain bullet was always Roy’s favorite, and since he promoted it at the drop of a hat, I suspect it was also the most popular weight among his many customers who hunted with the .257 Magnum.

Six factory loadings of the .257 Magnum are offered by the Weatherby company, and all are excellent for their intended purposes. The big cartridge is a bit much for hot-barrel prairie dog shooting, but for reaching across the Back Forty and surprising a distant woodchuck or coyote, the 87-grain loading at 3825 fps will get the job done with room to spare. When zeroed two inches high at 100 yards, it is dead-on at 300 yards and only about half the length of a standing groundhog low at 400 long paces where it is still packing over 1200 foot-pounds (ft-lbs) of energy.

1601250212897.png

The .257 Wby., .270 Wby., and 7mm Wby. cartridges are built on a shortened H&H case while the .300 Wby. is on the full-length case.

The 100-grain loading at 3600 fps is a great choice for shooting the smaller big game such as southern whitetails and pronghorn antelope so long as the distance exceeds 200 yards; shoot a deer up close with that one and you may take home more burger than chops. Because of its softness, I will also include the Nosler 115-grain Ballistic Tip in that same category–although it is my favorite when hunting deer and antelope in open country where shots are likely to be out beyond 200 long paces.

At closer ranges, the 120-grain Nosler Partition at 3300 fps is a better choice simply because it will damage less of the eating parts. I also consider it to be the very best choice for any hunter who decides to try the .257 Weatherby on larger game, such as caribou, elk, and moose, at any range. In fact, if I had to do it all from mice to moose with a single factory load in the .257 Weatherby Magnum, it would be the 120-grain Partition.

The factory load with a 117-grain roundnose bullet is a bit of an odd duck because bullets of its shape are not usually associated with an ultrahigh-velocity cartridge such as the .257 Magnum. However, it does have a purpose in the scheme of things. Up until 1964 the barrels of Weatherby rifles in this caliber had a rifling twist rate of 1:12 inches, too slow to stabilize pointed bullets much heavier than 100 grains.

Weatherby offered the 117-grain roundnose because it would stabilize in that twist rate, and the same load is still available for the benefit of those who own rifles built prior to 1964. Due to its softness, that bullet is not as suitable for use on game larger than deer as the 115-grain XFB and the 120-grain Partition.

Pointed bullets weighing 115 grains and up are also better choices than the 100-grain bullet when the wind is blowing rather briskly. Not long back I did some long-range testing of two Weatherby factory loads with the 100-grain Spirepoint and 115-grain Ballistic Tip bullets. Wind velocity ranged up to 20 miles per hour, which is about what you can expect on the typical antelope hunt in Wyoming, a place where strong breezes seem to never stop blowing.

Shooting from the bench, I observed very little difference in wind drift between the two bullets out to 300 yards. But when I switched to 400 yards, I found the 115-grain bullet much easier to keep inside the vital area of the paper target. According to the ballistics charts, wind drift does not differ all that much between those two bullets, but it seems like a lot more in the field.

We all like to dream about hunting the biggest game North America offers, but the fact is, for every moose, elk, or grizzly taken each year, hundreds of game animals ranging in size from caribou on down to southern whitetails and pronghorn antelope are brought to bag. The same applies to other parts of the world as well. In Africa, the big stuff, such as Cape buffalo, lion, and elephant, gets all the publicity, but most hunters fire many more shots at plains antelope, such as impala, sable, kudu, and oryx.

The ideal rifle capable of handling all of this does not shoot a bullet bigger than your thumb, nor does it pound your shoulder to a pulp with each squeeze of the trigger. The ideal rifle is one that shoots flat, hits hard, generates a level of recoil easily tolerated by most hunters, and is inherently accurate. What I have described is a rifle in .257 Magnum, and this is why I consider it to be the most useful cartridge in the Weatherby stable.

1601250272603.png

The .257 Wby. ranks third in popularity of Wby. cartridges; .30-378 Wby. is No. 1, and .300 Wby. is No. 2.

Recoil, Trajectory & Energy

Let’s closely examine each of the three important characteristics I just mentioned. Recoil of a rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum is about the same as that of a rifle of the same weight in .270 Winchester. More specifically, when a 100-grain bullet exits the barrel of a nine-pound rifle in .257 Weatherby at 3500 fps, one’s shoulder is caressed with 13.5 ft-lbs of recoil. When a 130-grain bullet exits the barrel of a nine-pound rifle in .270 Winchester at 3100 fps, 14 ft-lbs of recoil is generated. In other words, anyone who can handle the recoil of a rifle in .270 Winchester can also handle the recoil of a rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum.

Then we have the matter of trajectory. Simply put, no big-game cartridge offered by the major manufacturers shoots flatter than the .257 Weatherby Magnum. When a 100-grain bullet exits the muzzle at 3500 fps and is zeroed three inches high at 100 yards, it is about four inches above point of aim at 200 yards, a couple of inches high at 300 yards, and only about six inches low at 400 yards.

There have been times in my life when the .257 Weatherby Magnum has shot so flat as to defy explanation. One of those times was on a recent hunt with Wyoming rancher Marty Tillard. Behind Tillard’s ranch house is a nice benchrest and target butts out to 400 yards, and it was there that I checked the zero of my rifle before heading to the field. I was shooting a Weatherby Vanguard in .257 Magnum and Weatherby factory ammo loaded with the Nosler 115-grain Ballistic Tip.

With the rifle zeroed three inches high at 100 yards, bullets landed an inch high at 300 yards and dead-on my point of aim at 400. Accuracy was minute of angle (MOA) all the way out to that distance. When hunting with that particular rifle and ammunition, I could have held dead-on the vital area of an antelope at any range from just off the toes of my boots all the way out to about 430 yards.

1601250294910.png

The .257 Wby. generates about the same recoil as the .270 Win.

No worrying about how much to hold over or under–I could have simply plastered the crosshairs where I wanted the bullet to go, allowed for wind drift if needed, squeezed the trigger, and the bullet would have been there faster than I could have thought about it. I realize such an incredibly flat trajectory totally contradicts the exterior ballistics charts, but that’s what happened on that day.

Tillard is an avid coyote hunter and made the decision to build a new heavy-barrel rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum while he was looking over my shoulder through his spotting scope.

The .257 Weatherby Magnum also delivers more than enough energy to cleanly take deer and other game of similar size as far away as any of us should attempt. Right or wrong, 1000 ft-lbs has long been considered the minimum level of energy for quick kills on deer-size game, and the .257 Weatherby Magnum does just that all the way out to 600 yards. At more reasonable distances, meaning inside 400 yards, the distance at which most of us should restrict our shooting, residual energy ranges from 1400 to 1600 ft-lbs, depending on the bullet weight used.

.257 Weatherby Magnum Accuracy

I have shot rifles in about every caliber imaginable through the years, and I am about convinced that some centerfire cartridges have greater accuracy potential than others. Or perhaps I should put it another way: They may not be inherently more accurate, but the rifles chambered for them seem to always respond to a minimum amount of effort on my part by shooting quite accurately. I have yet to work with a rifle in .223 Remington, .22 PPC, or .220 Swift that I could not coax into shooting decent groups. The same goes for the .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 7mm STW, and .300 Winchester Magnum. There are a few others, and the .257 Weatherby Magnum is one of them.

I just took a look back at six rifles in .257 Weatherby Magnum I have worked up handloads for in the past. Three are Weatherby Mark Vs, and two are Weatherby Vanguards. The other is a custom rifle on the Remington Model 700 action with a Shilen 26-inch match-grade stainless-steel barrel. Now, get this: Every single one of those rifles delivered sub-MOA accuracy with several factory loads and handloads. The custom rifle consistently shot inside a half-inch with seven different recipes, all loaded with big-game bullets such as the Nosler Partition, Speer Trophy Bonded, and Hornady SST.

In addition to being an extremely accurate cartridge, the .257 Magnum is easy to shoot accurately due to it modest recoil. All of this adds up to make it the finest factory antelope cartridge ever created by the hands of mortal man.

1601251068162.png

My (One Day...) own .257 Wby Mark V shoots 3/4 MOA all day long...

Handloading The .257 Magnum

I know of no American company other than Weatherby presently offering .257 Weatherby Magnum ammunition, but several have taken a stab at other Weatherby cartridges. Weatherby ammunition is loaded by the Swedish firm Norma, and it is always considerably faster than Weatherby cartridges loaded by American companies. This is because Norma and other foreign manufacturers commonly load ammunition to higher chamber pressures than American companies.

With this in mind, it is logical to assume that duplicating factory load velocities when using data developed by American component manufacturers such as Hodgdon, Hornady, Alliant, IMR, Nosler, and others would be impossible. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When developing handloads for various rifles in .257 Magnum I have never found it difficult to duplicate the velocity of Weatherby factory ammunition. Regardless of whether the barrel measures 24 or 26 inches, I seldom fail to reach, or even exceed, 3500 fps with 100-grain bullets and 3300 fps with bullets weighing 115 to 120 grains, all loaded to acceptable chamber pressures.

The Vanguard I shot for this report has a 24-inch barrel, and maximum charges of Reloder 22 and H1000 behind 100-grain bullets in it virtually duplicated the velocity of Weatherby’s 100-grain factory load. And the load with Norma MRP was not very far behind. With one exception, the story reads the same for heavier bullets.

The Vanguard averaged 3357 fps with Norma MRP behind the 115-grain Nosler Partition, which compares quite favorably with the 3384 fps I got with factory ammo loaded with the Nosler 115-grain Ballistic Tip. The exception I mentioned earlier is the Nosler 120-grain Partition; my fastest handload averaged 3326 fps, which was almost exactly 100 fps slower than the factory load with the same bullet. In addition to being faster than any of my handloads, it was 25 fps faster than its factory velocity rating.

1601250349799.png

Plenty of excellent .25-caliber bullets are available for handloading the
.257 Wby., but slow-burning powders are required.

Handloading the .257 Weatherby is rather straightforward with no pitfalls I am aware of. Like any cartridge operating at high chamber pressures, its case has a tendency to stretch and should be trimmed back to 2.540 inches as required. As primers go, you could probably get by with the standard-force variety with some powders, but I prefer to keep life simple by using nothing but magnum primers in this cartridge. Weatherby factory ammo is loaded with the Federal 215, and the relatively new Gold Medal Match version of that primer is what I now use with great satisfaction.

Then we have the matter of bullet seating depth. For many years, Weatherby rifles chambered for all calibers except the .240 Magnum had chambers with 3/4 inch of freebore, but it was shortened to 3/8 inch during the late 1960s. Overall cartridge lengths for .257 Weatherby factory ammunition is usually close to the following:
  • Hornady 87-grain SP, 3.090 inches;
  • Hornady 100-grain SP, 3.145 inches;
  • Barnes 115-grain XFB, 3.150 inches;
  • Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip, 3.160 inches;
  • Nosler 120-grain Partition, 3.160 inches.
I have tried seating bullets out of cases a great deal farther than those lengths in order to reduce free travel in the relatively long chamber throats of Weatherby rifles, but quite often accuracy proves to be worse than when I stick closer to the overall lengths of factory ammo. In the handloads I shot in a Vanguard for this project, I seated the Hornady 75-grain V-Max to an overall length of 3.20 inches, and all other bullets were seated to 3.25 inches.

When developing loads for a rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum, don’t forget to allow the barrel to cool down after each group is fired. Ambient temperature was in the high 90s when I shot the loads listed in my chart, and after firing only three rounds the barrel would become too hot to touch.

Allowing the barrel of a rifle in this caliber to heat up excessively during sustained firing will shorten its useful life considerably whereas properly cared for, it will last for many hundreds of rounds. (Roy Weatherby once told me that of the many rifles he had sold in .257 Magnum, not a single one had ever been returned to him for replacement of its barrel.) To speed up my velocity/accuracy testing, I cooled down the barrel of the Vanguard between groups by rubbing its exterior surface with ice cubes I had taken to the range in a cooler. This is one of the advantages to having a rifle with a synthetic stock–you don’t worry about getting it wet.

In theory, a 26-inch barrel will produce higher velocities than a 24-inch barrel when both are chambered for the same cartridge. In practice, this is not always true. There are times when actual chamber and bore dimensions of two barrels of the same caliber can vary enough to cause the shorter barrel to deliver velocities just as high and sometimes even higher than the longer barrel. Such was the case with the two Weatherby rifles in .257 Magnum I worked with for this report.

Even though the barrel of the Mark V was two inches longer, it delivered velocities that were higher enough to matter in the field with only one load. Three loads clocked close to the same velocities in the two barrels, and the 87-grain load was actually faster in the 24-inch barrel of the Vanguard.

Given a choice, I would choose a 26-inch barrel for this cartridge, but considering the velocity difference between the two, no hunter should feel handicapped if the barrel of his rifle measures two inches shorter.

Something else I have noticed about rifles chambered in .257 Weatherby Magnum is that they often shoot big-game bullets of various weights to virtually the same point of impact at various ranges. Prior to recent hunts with a couple of rifles of this caliber, I shot both on paper out to 400 yards. Regardless of whether the bullet weighed 100, 115, or 120 grains, both rifles shot them so close together out to 300 yards I could have used them interchangeably during the same hunt.

If I hunted nothing but pronghorn antelope and smallish whitetails and had to do it all with a single rifle chambered for one of the Weatherby cartridges, I might choose the .240 Magnum over the .257 Weatherby Magnum.

The .240 shoots about as flat, is powerful enough to take deer at long range, and it generates even less recoil than the .257 Magnum. But since a good rifleman who is operating under favorable field conditions can stretch the .257’s capability beyond that of any 6mm-caliber rifle to include hoofed game as large as elk and moose, I’ll have to go with it rather than the .240 Magnum.

Shooting the .257 Weatherby Magnum

BULLET TYPES​
POWDER​
POWDER
(grs)​
MUZZLE VELOCITY (fps)​
100 YARD ACCURACY (inch)
WEATHERBY VANGUARD, 24-INCH BARREL​
Hornady 75-gr. V-Max​
H414​
69.5​
3852​
1.64​
Nosler 85-gr. Ballistic Tip​
IMR-4350​
69.5​
3653​
1.12​
Barnes 100-g. XBT​
Reloader 22​
72.0​
3539​
1.35​
Nosler 100-gr. Partition​
AA 3100​
68.0​
3433​
2.26​
Nosler 100-gr. Partition​
H1000​
78.0​
3534​
1.45​
Nosler 100-gr. Partition​
MRP​
73.0​
3524​
1.17​
Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip​
IMR-7828​
69.0​
3306​
0.86​
Nosler 115-gr. Partition​
MRP​
70.0​
3357​
0.79​
Speer 115-gr. Bear Claw​
AA 8700​
86.0​
3314​
0.92​
Hornady 117-gr. SST​
Reloader 25​
71.0​
3259​
0.79​
Sierra 117-gr. SBT​
H4831​
67.0​
3206​
1.56​
Nosler 120-gr. Partition​
H870​
82.0​
3326​
1.15​
Speer 120-gr. Grand Slam​
IMR-7828​
69.0​
3253​
1.74​
Swift 120-gr. A-Frame​
MRP​
70.0​
3255​
1.82​
Hornady 87-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3863​
1.18
Hornady 100-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3549​
0.92
Barnes 115-gr. XFB​
FACTORY LOAD​
3341​
1.76
Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip​
FACTORY LOAD​
3384​
0.87
Hornady 117-gr. RN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3368​
0.91
Nosler 120-gr. Partition​
FACTORY LOAD​
3427​
1.43
WEATHERBY MARK V, 26-INCH BARREL​
Hornady 87-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3810​
1.41
Hornady 100-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3588​
1.15
Barnes 115-gr. XFB​
FACTORY LOAD​
3418​
1.58
Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip​
FACTORY LOAD​
3379​
0.74
Hornady 117-gr. RN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3380​
1.22
Nosler 120-gr. Partition​
FACTORY LOAD​
3410​
0.87

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of two three-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest at 100 yards. Velocity is the average of six rounds measured 12 feet from the muzzle. Weatherby cases and Federal Gold Medal Match 215 primers were used in all loads. All powder charges are maximum and should be reduced by 10 percent for staring loads on other rifles.

NOTE: All load data should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and m
ake sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.

If I hunted nothing but elk, moose, and brown bear, I would choose either the .300 Weatherby Magnum or the .340 Weatherby Magnum over the .257 Magnum. Both are better for larger game. But for the hunter who mostly hunts deer-size game with no more than an occasional hunt for moose or elk, the .257 Magnum is the clear winner. Anyone who has used the .257 Magnum in the field as much as I have can easily see why it was Roy Weatherby’s favorite cartridge.
 
Last edited:

Ridgewalker

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
Aug 8, 2016
Messages
6,302
Reaction score
7,210
Location
Colorado
Media
229
Hunting reports
Africa
3
USA/Canada
3
Hunted
South Africa: Limpopo, Northwest; USA: Ak, Mt, Wy, Co, Ne, Ks, Nv, NM, Tx
One Day..., I whole heartedly agree with your position. As Mr Ruark said “use enough gun”. Every animal deserves as quick and clean of a kill as possible. I feel it is my responsibility to achieve it.
That said, I do own a 6.5 CM, but use it the same as my .243 Winchester. Deer and coyotes are my game choices.
 

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
3,416
Location
Eastern US
Media
83
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
@One Day...
You sir, certainly have a way of making a strong case.
Thank you so much for the information.
I'll be reading your hunt report.
 

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
3,416
Location
Eastern US
Media
83
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
The 264 win mag would be another option with the same bolt head for you @BeeMaa
The 264WM is one of the 6.5's that's in the running at the moment.
It's the 6.5mm that set the standard back in the early 60's.
Matter of fact it's leading (in my mind) except for one thing.
Just like the 257WBY, it suffers from limited ammo suppliers.
Not as badly, but only a few sources.

Quarter bore 257WBY or a 6.5mm in disguise as a 264WM.
It's good to have such hard decisions.
You would be surprised how many on line forums debate these head to head.
Not kidding...look it up.

Appreciate the input.
 

Fastrig

Gold supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
819
Reaction score
1,092
Location
Hill Country, TX
Media
28
Member of
NRA Life Member
Hunted
CA, TX, MT, CO, NV, AK, NE, SD, FL
The 264WM is one of the 6.5's that's in the running at the moment.
It's the 6.5mm that set the standard back in the early 60's.
Matter of fact it's leading (in my mind) except for one thing.
Just like the 257WBY, it suffers from limited ammo suppliers.
Not as badly, but only a few sources.

Quarter bore 257WBY or a 6.5mm in disguise as a 264WM.
It's good to have such hard decisions.
You would be surprised how many on line forums debate these head to head.
Not kidding...look it up.

Appreciate the input.

I went with the 257 Weatherby as the lowest caliber in that four gun set I just bought. They had other rifles in that custom set of Royal Ultramarks available but I’ve seen the 257 Weatherby at work in the field and there was not question in my mind on which one to choose. I chose the 300 Win Mag, 375 H&H and 416 Rem Mag over the Weatherby calibers in those ranges, but grabbed the 257 right after the 375 H&H I’d originally gone to see. If you can get a 257 Weatherby for your R8, just do it. You won’t be sorry and good ammo for that caliber is readily available. FWIW, I agree with One Day about the 6.5 CM, it’s a paper puncher and iron ringer, the 257 is a game puncher.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
2,492
Reaction score
3,407
Location
Wyong new south Wales Australia
Media
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SSAA
Hunted
Australia
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
@One day
Just take the 270 weatherby and hunt everything. Simples.
Bob
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
2,492
Reaction score
3,407
Location
Wyong new south Wales Australia
Media
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SSAA
Hunted
Australia
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!
@PARA45
Don't forget the rino Roy weatherby shot with his 257.
Bob
 

Fastrig

Gold supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
819
Reaction score
1,092
Location
Hill Country, TX
Media
28
Member of
NRA Life Member
Hunted
CA, TX, MT, CO, NV, AK, NE, SD, FL
@One day
Just take the 270 weatherby and hunt everything. Simples.
Bob

I had a choice between the 257 and the 270....picked the 257 because I was taking the 300 win mag.....plus a 257 is thumper on deer....if I hadn't taken the 300 win mag I would have opted for the 270.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
2,492
Reaction score
3,407
Location
Wyong new south Wales Australia
Media
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SSAA
Hunted
Australia
Hello BeeMaa;

.257 Wby

I had a most incredibly successful PG safari in 2019 using all but nothing else than the .257 Wby on animals progressively up to Roan. I wrote about the experience in my hunt report at https://www.africahunting.com/threa...ill-safaris-even-better-than-last-year.52376/

In summary: I experienced 100% one-shot-kill, pole-axed, dead-right-there reliability on 17 animals with the .257 Wby 100 gr TTSX.

Technically, I fired and hit 19 times, but I doubled on a Roan, which I do not believe was really needed: he was lighting-bolt-struck dead on its feet, and I purposely took a first back-breaking shot at a Vaal Rhebok because his vitals where behind a rock, and I doubled on him when he stood his two front legs.

I also missed 3 shots at a dead run at a great Gemsbok (stupid of me to take such long running shots!) and 2 'Hail Mary' shots at a Vaal Rhebok very far in gale force wind, from a precarious position (what was I thinking!). These are 5 shots I should never have taken and that cannot be blamed on the rifle or cartridge.

As stated in the report, I did not recover a single 100 gr TTSX bullet. All went through and exited through quarter-sized holes. All animals were down on the spot or within 3 to 10 yards.

I would not shoot a Roan or a Sable, or a big Wildebeest purposefully through the shoulder bones with a .257 Wby and 100 gr TTSX - it could work, but I am not sure, and this is a bet I will not take - but clearly with my favorite behind the shoulder double-lung shot, the cartridge will do a stunning job on animals up to 650 lbs. and likely more. I must admit that I was really amazed at the killing power of the .257 Wby 100 gr TTSX factory load. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

There might be something about that speed thing after all... This is what I attribute the .257 Wby lethality to. In my rifle, the 100 gr TTSX actually clocks at 3,583 fps (faster than the factory advertised 3,570 fps) - I live in Flagstaff AZ, the 7,000 ft. elevation is likely the reason - and the ballistic software tells me that at 300 yards it is still going close to 3,000 fps.

If it materializes, my R8 set-up will include for sure 2 barrels: .257 Wby and .300 Wby. With my .470 NE double, all 3 will fit in a Pelican 1700 case, and since I like to hunt DG up close and personal with open sights, I cannot think of any situation where this battery would not be not only adequate, but darn near perfect :)

A .416 Rem (or .458 Lott) additional barrel for the R8 would ably replace the .470 NE for the dedicated R8 aficionado ;)

6.5 Creedmoor

Conversely, the 6.5 Creedmoor typical 140 gr load leaves the barrel at ~2,700 fps and travels only at ~2,300 fps at 300 yards and barely ~2,000 fps at 500 yards.

Yes, it is easy to shoot well because it has zero recoil and rifles built for it are typically high precision rigs, and who cares about bullet drop in the era of laser range-finders, ballistic aps and reliable external scope turrets, but the problem is bullet performance at such slow speeds.

Here in Arizona and there in Africa, candid discussions with the professional guides include an endless and growing number of horror stories of elk-sized animals showing no reaction whatsoever to a long range 6.5 Creedmoor hit, followed in the best cases by hours of tracking of faint blood trails, or in the worst cases dead animals stumbled upon by chance hours or days later.

For example, please look at the first 7 minutes of this video: The Greatest Kudu Hunt on Earth. Look at the shot at 3:30 minutes and listen closely to the next 4 minutes of comments. In summary, the 6.5 bullet punched clean through, with no reaction and no impact sound from the 500 yards shot, with likely little to zero expansion, many people searched all morning, and they only found the dead kudu by pure random chance where they expected it the least...


The 6.5 Creedmoor is a great long range paper puncher, and a good medium range, medium game cartridge (like the grand old 6.5x54 Mannlicher and 6.5x55 Swedish) but I will never use the 6.5 Creedmoor to hunt large animals at long range. From past professional life I know that a wounded soldier results in the incapacitation of several combatants (the wounded + those who care about the wounded), so the 6.5 Creedmoor may make sense for military purposes, but this is not what we are discussing here, and regardless of the diversity of loads to be offered, there is no escaping a basic reality of the 6.5 Creedmoor: case capacity and resulting slow speed at range...

I know others will have passionately favorable opinions about the 6.5 Creedmoor, and we will read countless success stories of 800 yard kills, but to me the above video summarizes exactly the 6.5 Creedmoor for long range, big game hunting: wrong application for a great cartridge :cry:
@One Day...
To me that video wasn't hunting but long range sniping with an inadequate caliber for the game.
Yes the animals died but in what amount of time and some took 2 shots.to me the animals suffered unduly. I personally feel the 257 weatherby would have been better at those ranges or even a bigger caliber.
I would have preferred to stalk closer and use my Whelen for a one shot kill.
To each their own tho.
Just my thoughts.
Bob
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2018
Messages
2,492
Reaction score
3,407
Location
Wyong new south Wales Australia
Media
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
SSAA
Hunted
Australia
For your reading pleasure :)

In Praise Of The .257 Weatherby Magnum
From mice to moose, the .257 Weatherby Magnum does it all.


by Layne Simpson | January 4th, 2011

View attachment 369449

Of the many cartridges developed by Roy Weatherby, the .257 Magnum was his favorite. Many other hunters have felt the same way down through the decades. Based on annual sales of the various Weatherby cartridges, the .30-378 Magnum is in first place followed by the .300 Magnum, .257 Magnum, .270 Magnum, and 7mm Magnum. Weatherby developed his big .257 in 1944, but before settling on the cartridge we know today, he experimented with .25-caliber cartridges on various cases.

Had the slow-burning powders being produced today been available back then, Weatherby would most likely have stuck with the full-length Holland & Holland case. But since IMR-4350 was the slowest burning powder available, he chose to shorten it to slightly over 21/2 inches. Two other Weatherby cartridges, the .270 Magnum and 7mm Magnum, share that same case.

Like all belted magnums introduced by Weatherby, the .257 Magnum has the familiar double-radius shoulder. As popular opinion once had it, that type of shoulder had certain magical properties that caused propellant gas to flow more efficiently from cartridge case to rifle barrel. Those of us who knew Roy know why he chose a shoulder of such unusual shape: He chose it because he knew it would not be easy for every shade-tree chamber reamer grinder in America to duplicate.

Through the years Roy used the speedy cartridge quite successfully on game as large as moose and elk, and even the mighty Cape buffalo fell with one shot during one of Roy’s many trips to Africa. Declaring war on something as big and potentially nasty as a Cape buffalo with a 100-grain bullet was not something he recommended to others, and Roy did it just once to prove to himself that it could be done.

The .257 Weatherby Magnum has long been popular among other big-game hunters as well, and one has only to read the many customer testimonials published in Weatherby catalogs dating back to the first one in October 1945 to see just how many fans it has had through the years. Roy’s son Ed, who now runs the company, used the .257 Magnum to take a variety of antelope on his first African safari. The list of .257 Weatherby Magnum fans goes on and on.

It is doubtful that many hunters today would use the .257 Weatherby on game as large and as potentially dangerous as brown bear and polar bear, but hunters of yesteryear did it without hesitation. One thing that made the .257 Magnum so effective on big game was the fact that Weatherby was quick to realize most bullets available in the old days were too soft to withstand the tremendous impact velocities delivered by his super-speedy cartridge.

This prompted him to begin offering ammunition loaded with Nosler Partition bullets as early as the 1960s. Doing so made Weatherby the first to offer premium-grade ammunition loaded with what is now often described as controlled-expansion bullets, and I am sure it is the primary reason hunters were able to use the .257 Magnum so successfully on such a variety of game around the world. Back then, two Nosler bullets were offered: a 100-grain Partition at 3555 fps and a 115-grain Partition at 3300 fps. The 100-grain bullet was always Roy’s favorite, and since he promoted it at the drop of a hat, I suspect it was also the most popular weight among his many customers who hunted with the .257 Magnum.

Six factory loadings of the .257 Magnum are offered by the Weatherby company, and all are excellent for their intended purposes. The big cartridge is a bit much for hot-barrel prairie dog shooting, but for reaching across the Back Forty and surprising a distant woodchuck or coyote, the 87-grain loading at 3825 fps will get the job done with room to spare. When zeroed two inches high at 100 yards, it is dead-on at 300 yards and only about half the length of a standing groundhog low at 400 long paces where it is still packing over 1200 foot-pounds (ft-lbs) of energy.

View attachment 369450
The .257 Wby., .270 Wby., and 7mm Wby. cartridges are built on a shortened H&H case while the .300 Wby. is on the full-length case.

The 100-grain loading at 3600 fps is a great choice for shooting the smaller big game such as southern whitetails and pronghorn antelope so long as the distance exceeds 200 yards; shoot a deer up close with that one and you may take home more burger than chops. Because of its softness, I will also include the Nosler 115-grain Ballistic Tip in that same category–although it is my favorite when hunting deer and antelope in open country where shots are likely to be out beyond 200 long paces.

At closer ranges, the 120-grain Nosler Partition at 3300 fps is a better choice simply because it will damage less of the eating parts. I also consider it to be the very best choice for any hunter who decides to try the .257 Weatherby on larger game, such as caribou, elk, and moose, at any range. In fact, if I had to do it all from mice to moose with a single factory load in the .257 Weatherby Magnum, it would be the 120-grain Partition.

The factory load with a 117-grain roundnose bullet is a bit of an odd duck because bullets of its shape are not usually associated with an ultrahigh-velocity cartridge such as the .257 Magnum. However, it does have a purpose in the scheme of things. Up until 1964 the barrels of Weatherby rifles in this caliber had a rifling twist rate of 1:12 inches, too slow to stabilize pointed bullets much heavier than 100 grains.

Weatherby offered the 117-grain roundnose because it would stabilize in that twist rate, and the same load is still available for the benefit of those who own rifles built prior to 1964. Due to its softness, that bullet is not as suitable for use on game larger than deer as the 115-grain XFB and the 120-grain Partition.

Pointed bullets weighing 115 grains and up are also better choices than the 100-grain bullet when the wind is blowing rather briskly. Not long back I did some long-range testing of two Weatherby factory loads with the 100-grain Spirepoint and 115-grain Ballistic Tip bullets. Wind velocity ranged up to 20 miles per hour, which is about what you can expect on the typical antelope hunt in Wyoming, a place where strong breezes seem to never stop blowing.

Shooting from the bench, I observed very little difference in wind drift between the two bullets out to 300 yards. But when I switched to 400 yards, I found the 115-grain bullet much easier to keep inside the vital area of the paper target. According to the ballistics charts, wind drift does not differ all that much between those two bullets, but it seems like a lot more in the field.

We all like to dream about hunting the biggest game North America offers, but the fact is, for every moose, elk, or grizzly taken each year, hundreds of game animals ranging in size from caribou on down to southern whitetails and pronghorn antelope are brought to bag. The same applies to other parts of the world as well. In Africa, the big stuff, such as Cape buffalo, lion, and elephant, gets all the publicity, but most hunters fire many more shots at plains antelope, such as impala, sable, kudu, and oryx.

The ideal rifle capable of handling all of this does not shoot a bullet bigger than your thumb, nor does it pound your shoulder to a pulp with each squeeze of the trigger. The ideal rifle is one that shoots flat, hits hard, generates a level of recoil easily tolerated by most hunters, and is inherently accurate. What I have described is a rifle in .257 Magnum, and this is why I consider it to be the most useful cartridge in the Weatherby stable.

View attachment 369451
The .257 Wby. ranks third in popularity of Wby. cartridges; .30-378 Wby. is No. 1, and .300 Wby. is No. 2.

Recoil, Trajectory & Energy

Let’s closely examine each of the three important characteristics I just mentioned. Recoil of a rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum is about the same as that of a rifle of the same weight in .270 Winchester. More specifically, when a 100-grain bullet exits the barrel of a nine-pound rifle in .257 Weatherby at 3500 fps, one’s shoulder is caressed with 13.5 ft-lbs of recoil. When a 130-grain bullet exits the barrel of a nine-pound rifle in .270 Winchester at 3100 fps, 14 ft-lbs of recoil is generated. In other words, anyone who can handle the recoil of a rifle in .270 Winchester can also handle the recoil of a rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum.

Then we have the matter of trajectory. Simply put, no big-game cartridge offered by the major manufacturers shoots flatter than the .257 Weatherby Magnum. When a 100-grain bullet exits the muzzle at 3500 fps and is zeroed three inches high at 100 yards, it is about four inches above point of aim at 200 yards, a couple of inches high at 300 yards, and only about six inches low at 400 yards.

There have been times in my life when the .257 Weatherby Magnum has shot so flat as to defy explanation. One of those times was on a recent hunt with Wyoming rancher Marty Tillard. Behind Tillard’s ranch house is a nice benchrest and target butts out to 400 yards, and it was there that I checked the zero of my rifle before heading to the field. I was shooting a Weatherby Vanguard in .257 Magnum and Weatherby factory ammo loaded with the Nosler 115-grain Ballistic Tip.

With the rifle zeroed three inches high at 100 yards, bullets landed an inch high at 300 yards and dead-on my point of aim at 400. Accuracy was minute of angle (MOA) all the way out to that distance. When hunting with that particular rifle and ammunition, I could have held dead-on the vital area of an antelope at any range from just off the toes of my boots all the way out to about 430 yards.

View attachment 369452
The .257 Wby. generates about the same recoil as the .270 Win.

No worrying about how much to hold over or under–I could have simply plastered the crosshairs where I wanted the bullet to go, allowed for wind drift if needed, squeezed the trigger, and the bullet would have been there faster than I could have thought about it. I realize such an incredibly flat trajectory totally contradicts the exterior ballistics charts, but that’s what happened on that day.

Tillard is an avid coyote hunter and made the decision to build a new heavy-barrel rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum while he was looking over my shoulder through his spotting scope.

The .257 Weatherby Magnum also delivers more than enough energy to cleanly take deer and other game of similar size as far away as any of us should attempt. Right or wrong, 1000 ft-lbs has long been considered the minimum level of energy for quick kills on deer-size game, and the .257 Weatherby Magnum does just that all the way out to 600 yards. At more reasonable distances, meaning inside 400 yards, the distance at which most of us should restrict our shooting, residual energy ranges from 1400 to 1600 ft-lbs, depending on the bullet weight used.

.257 Weatherby Magnum Accuracy

I have shot rifles in about every caliber imaginable through the years, and I am about convinced that some centerfire cartridges have greater accuracy potential than others. Or perhaps I should put it another way: They may not be inherently more accurate, but the rifles chambered for them seem to always respond to a minimum amount of effort on my part by shooting quite accurately. I have yet to work with a rifle in .223 Remington, .22 PPC, or .220 Swift that I could not coax into shooting decent groups. The same goes for the .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 7mm STW, and .300 Winchester Magnum. There are a few others, and the .257 Weatherby Magnum is one of them.

I just took a look back at six rifles in .257 Weatherby Magnum I have worked up handloads for in the past. Three are Weatherby Mark Vs, and two are Weatherby Vanguards. The other is a custom rifle on the Remington Model 700 action with a Shilen 26-inch match-grade stainless-steel barrel. Now, get this: Every single one of those rifles delivered sub-MOA accuracy with several factory loads and handloads. The custom rifle consistently shot inside a half-inch with seven different recipes, all loaded with big-game bullets such as the Nosler Partition, Speer Trophy Bonded, and Hornady SST.

In addition to being an extremely accurate cartridge, the .257 Magnum is easy to shoot accurately due to it modest recoil. All of this adds up to make it the finest factory antelope cartridge ever created by the hands of mortal man.

View attachment 369454
My (One Day...) own .257 Wby Mark V shoots 3/4 MOA all day long...

Handloading The .257 Magnum

I know of no American company other than Weatherby presently offering .257 Weatherby Magnum ammunition, but several have taken a stab at other Weatherby cartridges. Weatherby ammunition is loaded by the Swedish firm Norma, and it is always considerably faster than Weatherby cartridges loaded by American companies. This is because Norma and other foreign manufacturers commonly load ammunition to higher chamber pressures than American companies.

With this in mind, it is logical to assume that duplicating factory load velocities when using data developed by American component manufacturers such as Hodgdon, Hornady, Alliant, IMR, Nosler, and others would be impossible. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When developing handloads for various rifles in .257 Magnum I have never found it difficult to duplicate the velocity of Weatherby factory ammunition. Regardless of whether the barrel measures 24 or 26 inches, I seldom fail to reach, or even exceed, 3500 fps with 100-grain bullets and 3300 fps with bullets weighing 115 to 120 grains, all loaded to acceptable chamber pressures.

The Vanguard I shot for this report has a 24-inch barrel, and maximum charges of Reloder 22 and H1000 behind 100-grain bullets in it virtually duplicated the velocity of Weatherby’s 100-grain factory load. And the load with Norma MRP was not very far behind. With one exception, the story reads the same for heavier bullets.

The Vanguard averaged 3357 fps with Norma MRP behind the 115-grain Nosler Partition, which compares quite favorably with the 3384 fps I got with factory ammo loaded with the Nosler 115-grain Ballistic Tip. The exception I mentioned earlier is the Nosler 120-grain Partition; my fastest handload averaged 3326 fps, which was almost exactly 100 fps slower than the factory load with the same bullet. In addition to being faster than any of my handloads, it was 25 fps faster than its factory velocity rating.

View attachment 369453
Plenty of excellent .25-caliber bullets are available for handloading the
.257 Wby., but slow-burning powders are required.

Handloading the .257 Weatherby is rather straightforward with no pitfalls I am aware of. Like any cartridge operating at high chamber pressures, its case has a tendency to stretch and should be trimmed back to 2.540 inches as required. As primers go, you could probably get by with the standard-force variety with some powders, but I prefer to keep life simple by using nothing but magnum primers in this cartridge. Weatherby factory ammo is loaded with the Federal 215, and the relatively new Gold Medal Match version of that primer is what I now use with great satisfaction.

Then we have the matter of bullet seating depth. For many years, Weatherby rifles chambered for all calibers except the .240 Magnum had chambers with 3/4 inch of freebore, but it was shortened to 3/8 inch during the late 1960s. Overall cartridge lengths for .257 Weatherby factory ammunition is usually close to the following:
  • Hornady 87-grain SP, 3.090 inches;
  • Hornady 100-grain SP, 3.145 inches;
  • Barnes 115-grain XFB, 3.150 inches;
  • Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip, 3.160 inches;
  • Nosler 120-grain Partition, 3.160 inches.
I have tried seating bullets out of cases a great deal farther than those lengths in order to reduce free travel in the relatively long chamber throats of Weatherby rifles, but quite often accuracy proves to be worse than when I stick closer to the overall lengths of factory ammo. In the handloads I shot in a Vanguard for this project, I seated the Hornady 75-grain V-Max to an overall length of 3.20 inches, and all other bullets were seated to 3.25 inches.

When developing loads for a rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum, don’t forget to allow the barrel to cool down after each group is fired. Ambient temperature was in the high 90s when I shot the loads listed in my chart, and after firing only three rounds the barrel would become too hot to touch.

Allowing the barrel of a rifle in this caliber to heat up excessively during sustained firing will shorten its useful life considerably whereas properly cared for, it will last for many hundreds of rounds. (Roy Weatherby once told me that of the many rifles he had sold in .257 Magnum, not a single one had ever been returned to him for replacement of its barrel.) To speed up my velocity/accuracy testing, I cooled down the barrel of the Vanguard between groups by rubbing its exterior surface with ice cubes I had taken to the range in a cooler. This is one of the advantages to having a rifle with a synthetic stock–you don’t worry about getting it wet.

In theory, a 26-inch barrel will produce higher velocities than a 24-inch barrel when both are chambered for the same cartridge. In practice, this is not always true. There are times when actual chamber and bore dimensions of two barrels of the same caliber can vary enough to cause the shorter barrel to deliver velocities just as high and sometimes even higher than the longer barrel. Such was the case with the two Weatherby rifles in .257 Magnum I worked with for this report.

Even though the barrel of the Mark V was two inches longer, it delivered velocities that were higher enough to matter in the field with only one load. Three loads clocked close to the same velocities in the two barrels, and the 87-grain load was actually faster in the 24-inch barrel of the Vanguard.

Given a choice, I would choose a 26-inch barrel for this cartridge, but considering the velocity difference between the two, no hunter should feel handicapped if the barrel of his rifle measures two inches shorter.

Something else I have noticed about rifles chambered in .257 Weatherby Magnum is that they often shoot big-game bullets of various weights to virtually the same point of impact at various ranges. Prior to recent hunts with a couple of rifles of this caliber, I shot both on paper out to 400 yards. Regardless of whether the bullet weighed 100, 115, or 120 grains, both rifles shot them so close together out to 300 yards I could have used them interchangeably during the same hunt.

If I hunted nothing but pronghorn antelope and smallish whitetails and had to do it all with a single rifle chambered for one of the Weatherby cartridges, I might choose the .240 Magnum over the .257 Weatherby Magnum.

The .240 shoots about as flat, is powerful enough to take deer at long range, and it generates even less recoil than the .257 Magnum. But since a good rifleman who is operating under favorable field conditions can stretch the .257’s capability beyond that of any 6mm-caliber rifle to include hoofed game as large as elk and moose, I’ll have to go with it rather than the .240 Magnum.

Shooting the .257 Weatherby Magnum

BULLET TYPES​
POWDER​
POWDER
(grs)​
MUZZLE VELOCITY (fps)​
100 YARD ACCURACY (inch)
WEATHERBY VANGUARD, 24-INCH BARREL​
Hornady 75-gr. V-Max​
H414​
69.5​
3852​
1.64​
Nosler 85-gr. Ballistic Tip​
IMR-4350​
69.5​
3653​
1.12​
Barnes 100-g. XBT​
Reloader 22​
72.0​
3539​
1.35​
Nosler 100-gr. Partition​
AA 3100​
68.0​
3433​
2.26​
Nosler 100-gr. Partition​
H1000​
78.0​
3534​
1.45​
Nosler 100-gr. Partition​
MRP​
73.0​
3524​
1.17​
Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip​
IMR-7828​
69.0​
3306​
0.86​
Nosler 115-gr. Partition​
MRP​
70.0​
3357​
0.79​
Speer 115-gr. Bear Claw​
AA 8700​
86.0​
3314​
0.92​
Hornady 117-gr. SST​
Reloader 25​
71.0​
3259​
0.79​
Sierra 117-gr. SBT​
H4831​
67.0​
3206​
1.56​
Nosler 120-gr. Partition​
H870​
82.0​
3326​
1.15​
Speer 120-gr. Grand Slam​
IMR-7828​
69.0​
3253​
1.74​
Swift 120-gr. A-Frame​
MRP​
70.0​
3255​
1.82​
Hornady 87-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3863​
1.18
Hornady 100-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3549​
0.92
Barnes 115-gr. XFB​
FACTORY LOAD​
3341​
1.76
Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip​
FACTORY LOAD​
3384​
0.87
Hornady 117-gr. RN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3368​
0.91
Nosler 120-gr. Partition​
FACTORY LOAD​
3427​
1.43
WEATHERBY MARK V, 26-INCH BARREL​
Hornady 87-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3810​
1.41
Hornady 100-gr. SN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3588​
1.15
Barnes 115-gr. XFB​
FACTORY LOAD​
3418​
1.58
Nosler 115-gr. Ballistic Tip​
FACTORY LOAD​
3379​
0.74
Hornady 117-gr. RN​
FACTORY LOAD​
3380​
1.22
Nosler 120-gr. Partition​
FACTORY LOAD​
3410​
0.87

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of two three-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest at 100 yards. Velocity is the average of six rounds measured 12 feet from the muzzle. Weatherby cases and Federal Gold Medal Match 215 primers were used in all loads. All powder charges are maximum and should be reduced by 10 percent for staring loads on other rifles.

NOTE: All load data should be used with caution. Always start with reduced loads first and m
ake sure they are safe in each of your guns before proceeding to the high test loads listed. Since Shooting Times has no control over your choice of components, guns, or actual loadings, neither Shooting Times nor the various firearms and components manufacturers assume any responsibility for the use of this data.

If I hunted nothing but elk, moose, and brown bear, I would choose either the .300 Weatherby Magnum or the .340 Weatherby Magnum over the .257 Magnum. Both are better for larger game. But for the hunter who mostly hunts deer-size game with no more than an occasional hunt for moose or elk, the .257 Magnum is the clear winner. Anyone who has used the .257 Magnum in the field as much as I have can easily see why it was Roy Weatherby’s favorite cartridge.
@one day
I enjoyed the article on the 257 Weatherby very enlightening.
My own 25 that I designed is very similar in regards to shooting 100,115,117 and 120 grainers to the same point of impact out to 300 yards.
Using a healthy dose of Hogdon superformance my 100 grain TTSX are leaving the barrel at a chronoed 3,670fps and the 115grain nosler combined technology silver tip and 117grain SST are at 3,350 fps.
My 25 constantly amazes me at it flatness and accuracy. When I first built it it was not uncommon to overshoot game at 300 yards by holding high instead of spot on where I wanted to hit.
20200929_113836.jpg

A regular 100 yard group with 115 grain nosler combined technology silver tip, the SSTs go on t a bit over 0.5 inches the same as the Barnes.
Bob
 

colorado

AH elite
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
1,081
Reaction score
1,039
Media
57
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!

Agree! I shot and killed many elk, black bear, deer and javelina with my BDL in 270 Win which I gave to my son. Having given up my 270 Win, I bought the 270 Weatherby. 150g Partitions were used on all of them, though I like the A-Frames a lot and shoot them exclusively in my 375 Weatherby.
 

deewayne2003

AH veteran
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
115
Reaction score
123
Location
Central Texas
Media
17
Pascal,

My experience with the .257wby would be on Whitetail deer with bucks being easily in the 220lbs (100kg) ranger and also on boar up to 550lbs(220kg).

My rifle was custom built on a mauser action with a 26" Hart barrel with 1:10" twist rate; I would later have the barrel shorted to 24" and only lost 50fps of muzzle velocity; which I confirmed with 2 different loads of ammunition by chronograph with measurements taken before and after the barrel was cut.

My load = 100gr. Barnes TSX, Winchester Magnum Primer and (0.5grain under maximum load) of Reloader #22 Powder.

This combination was absolutely lethal on game large and small while producing clover leaf groups at 100 yards and muzzle velocity of 3,500fps(which is identical to the 100gr TSX Weatherby factory load)

I once came across 3 medium size pigs feeding side by side and should to shoulder... 1 bullet killed all 3 pigs; completely expanding inside the first pig, completely penetrating the 2nd pig while fully mushroomed and stopping just under the skin on the opposite side of the 3rd pig!

I still have the recovered projectile somewhere and it weighs 93 grains.... so 93% weight retention after killing 3 animals and passing 2 complete body cavities and 5 layers of mud caked skin.

Unfortunately I have lost the pictures of the pigs and projectile but I assure you the .257wby is capable; after all It was Roy Weatherby's favorite and he even took a cape buffalo with it just to prove a point.
(I would not do that if it was legal to do so)
 

Fastrig

Gold supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
819
Reaction score
1,092
Location
Hill Country, TX
Media
28
Member of
NRA Life Member
Hunted
CA, TX, MT, CO, NV, AK, NE, SD, FL
Pascal,

My experience with the .257wby would be on Whitetail deer with bucks being easily in the 220lbs (100kg) ranger and also on boar up to 550lbs(220kg).

My rifle was custom built on a mauser action with a 26" Hart barrel with 1:10" twist rate; I would later have the barrel shorted to 24" and only lost 50fps of muzzle velocity; which I confirmed with 2 different loads of ammunition by chronograph with measurements taken before and after the barrel was cut.

My load = 100gr. Barnes TSX, Winchester Magnum Primer and (0.5grain under maximum load) of Reloader #22 Powder.

This combination was absolutely lethal on game large and small while producing clover leaf groups at 100 yards and muzzle velocity of 3,500fps(which is identical to the 100gr TSX Weatherby factory load)

I once came across 3 medium size pigs feeding side by side and should to shoulder... 1 bullet killed all 3 pigs; completely expanding inside the first pig, completely penetrating the 2nd pig while fully mushroomed and stopping just under the skin on the opposite side of the 3rd pig!

I still have the recovered projectile somewhere and it weighs 93 grains.... so 93% weight retention after killing 3 animals and passing 2 complete body cavities and 5 layers of mud caked skin.

Unfortunately I have lost the pictures of the pigs and projectile but I assure you the .257wby is capable; after all It was Roy Weatherby's favorite and he even took a cape buffalo with it just to prove a point.
(I would not do that if it was legal to do so)

Quality 90-110 grain rounds in the 257 Weatherby are flat deadly to pretty much anything they touch....
 

IvW

AH legend
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
2,814
Reaction score
5,183
Location
South Africa
Media
61
Articles
3
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
BASA, CHASA
Hunted
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia,Zambia
If taking it to Africa make sure it meets the caliber minimum to avoid any issues..
 
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

I’ll never hunt Africa, but give me please a Jack O’Connor hunt up high in the Canadian Rockies!
Just came from a hunt and already longing for the bush
JPmbogo wrote on yhc's profile.
I have factory loaded Hornady 450 NE 3 1/4 DGS that I am selling for not much more than the brass itself at $75/box - see my listing for same.
Justbryan wrote on Rafter JK's profile.
Get Crazy Larry yet? Wishing I had shot Alpine Ibex too!
 
Top