thanx for the responses; obviously the .257 is not quite the mangy dog that some folks think!
funny that RR mentioned the Ruger model 77; that particular rifle was mentioned in one of the slams against the Roberts. I am beginning to suspect that the barrel quality of the big firms varies year-to-year. right now, the consistent buzz is that Savage is making truly excellent barrels right now.
based on my reading, the Roberts seems like an excellent "starter centerfire". I was considering getting one, but due to the factory support issue I will probably go with the .260 Rem. pretty close performance between the two.
David; point well taken about the relative importance of things. all sorts of people rave about the Remington model 700, who are 3 MOA shooters.