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Old January 17, 2001, 03:34 PM   #1
RiverRider
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I have waited a long time for this.

The January 2001 issue of "RIFLE" magazine has an article by John Barsness about custom bolt-action rifles. In the article he includes some reloading data and ballistic results for several calibers, including the .280 Remington. In the .280 section, he lists the following loads and results:


powder charge velocity accuracy

139 Hornady Spire Point H-4831 60.0 3,111 .57
150 Nosler Partition H-4831 58.5 2,984 .87
150 Nosler Partition Federal Premium factory
2,806 1.06



It's about time someone had the huevos to tell what the handloaded .280 is capable of.

Thank you, John Barsness!
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Old January 18, 2001, 11:51 AM   #2
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Those loads have to have been done with a drop tube. I would certainly approach those with caution. They are 2gr over max in the Lyman#47 manual. This isn't bad, but neophytes could get into trouble with them. The reloads are mighty close to 7MM mag performance. That H4831 is a long stick powder, but H4831-sc may fill the case better.
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Old January 18, 2001, 12:58 PM   #3
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Actually, a drop tube isn't necessary.

The reason I am so happy to see this is that this cartridge can handle higher pressures than Remington decided on when they legitimized it (it was derived from the 7mm-06). They wanted to duplicate .270 ballistics at lower pressures, or so the story goes (they limited the cartridge to 50,000 cup). A typical Remington mistake---no one CARED what the pressure was, they cared about how fast it would push a big bullet! Anyway, I personally have been pushing the .280 into this territory for years, but it's a bit unnerving at times when no one else is willing to tell what THEY are doing. To see it published is kind of a relief, and is gratifying.

The point is, when loaded to its potential, the .280 is that much more powerful than the .270 Winchester. And when you look at the bullet weights available in 7mm, well...it speaks for itself.

I forgot to mention that these loads were shot from a 23" barrel...

And yes, they ARE hot on the heels of the 7mm Mag. That's the point EXACTLY.

Belted cases?? We don't NEED no stinkin' belted cases!
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Old January 19, 2001, 11:25 AM   #4
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The real reason for the 280Rem and at those pressures was 270 performance in the 740-760 rifles. Many of these developed headspace problems prematurely in 270. They were redesigned as the 7600-7400 models anyway. The 280 suffered a generation before it found its niche. Enjoy
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Old January 19, 2001, 03:41 PM   #5
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Thanks, No.3. I was never aware that the 740s and 760s in .270 had this problem. That answers one of those questions that kept me wondering for so long. Now it all makes sense. The most in-depth explanation I ever read beofre now was as I posted just previously.
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Old January 23, 2001, 12:44 PM   #6
*Cag
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My understanding as to why the .280 factory loads are on the wimpy side is that they were originally designed to shoot out of a slide action and therefore could not take heavy pressures, but on a bolt action rifle the story changes. I have friend that out performs a 7mm mag with his .280 in velocity and is very accurate. Mine shoots in the 3000's.

Best of luck....Cag
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Old January 23, 2001, 02:44 PM   #7
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Cag, it's always been a kind of blurry story to me. The story about the Remington 760 pump action kinda makes sense, but not when you consider the fact that the same rifle was offered in .270 Winchester.

The .270 cartridge appeared in 1935, IIRC. The Remington 760 came out in 1952, five years BEFORE the .280 Remington. Remington had to have known that the rifle would develop headspace problems by the time the .280 came along. So, why would they continue to offer the rifle in .270?

When the Remington 740 (the autoloader) came out in 1955, it was only offered in .30/06 and .308, but the .308 is a 52,000CUP cartridge. The Remington 742 replaced the 740 in 1960, and it was offered in 52,000 CUP cartridges as well.

According to Frank C. Barnes, in "Cartridges of the World", Sixth Edition, if .280 ammo is "used in the auto loader or slide action, pressures must be kept below 50,000 pounds per square inch." But then again, if these same rifles were offered in .270 and .308, then a 52,000 CUP .280 cartridge should be perfectly safe!

I dunno, the more I look at it, the more confused I get. Too many contradictions! I think I'd rather just believe what I once read SOMEPLACE that Remington just wanted the cartridge to perform like a .270, but at lower pressure.

The important thing is, though, that we know that we can soup up the .280 Remington safely, and we don't need no stinking belted cases!

-RR-
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Old January 23, 2001, 10:18 PM   #8
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Heck, if you run the pressures up high enough, you could probably beat many belted case magnums. But the handloader isn't concerned with the liability issues that Big Green has, nor is he legally bound by SAAMI pressure guidelines.

See what I'm getting at here? As I've read and re-read my loading manuals from the last ten or so years, I've noticed a good portion of the loads have tapered off to sedate levels, even in the zippier rounds. Somebody's afraid of a Kb! happening somewhere, that's a given. Many of us, including myself, wish to return cartridge performance back to it's pre-liability lawyer days. The .280/7mm Remington Express is another victim of that consciousness.

Truthfully, an Oehler strain gauge would be a darned useful item to have when playing with uncharted loads that are over published maximums. I had no choice, there wasn't much load data available for my 6.5-06, and I do exceed .264 Winchester Magnum velocities fairly easily with the smaller -06 case, using compressed loads of H4831SC. I have some comfort in knowing my pressures are no higher than the .25-06. However, if I ever blow the darned thing up, I know I won't be suing Remington or Winchester, it was my fault I overpressured the round. The .280 Remington, hot-rodded to beat the 7mm Remington Magnum, sounds like quite a performer, but I'd be awfully darned careful when you're playing out in that territory on the far side of 52,000 CUP.
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Old January 24, 2001, 11:56 AM   #9
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Gewehr98, I'm in total agreement. It is not my intent to "outdo" the 7mm Mag, nor is it my intent to exceed the 52,000 cup limit.

That is exactly why I wish the powder and bullet manufacturers would be more forthcoming. If they can publish data for .45-70 at three different pressure levels (Lyman has done this), then it seems to me that what I would like to see is not so unreasonable.
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Old January 26, 2001, 07:52 PM   #10
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On the heels of the 7Mag? I don't think so lads! I've never found it hard to get 3200fps with a 150gr. bullet, that isn't what you .280 boys are gettin. When you figure out a way to get an honest 3000fps with a 175gr. bullet with a 24in barreled .280 give me a holler and I'll be all ears. -MamaJama-
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Old January 26, 2001, 09:52 PM   #11
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When it gets down to it there is no substitute for case capacity. A 7MM RM will out perform (velocity wise) any 7MM on a 30-06 case whether improved or not. I once chronograhed some of the Gibbs cartridges and the velocities were very little above standard cartridges in the same length barrels. Some of the wildcatters of the past used long barrels and selected "fast" barrels and then advertised their cartridges as being typical of those results. Personally I never have worried about "efficiency" in a cartridge. I am willing to sacrifice that for the velocity performance I want. I have wanted a 6.5-06, but now am not doing any hunting so I don't think I will ever get one. However, there is no way that a typical 6.5-06 will equal a .264WM. I never cared for the 264 as it requires a 26 inch barrel to reach its potential.I suspect that in a 22 inch barrel, my favorite length for hunting, a 6.5-06 would be very close to the 264.
Regarding pressure, I never worried about that either in a good rifle. If you work up loads carefully you will find that you get stiff bolt lift and extraction before you reach dangerous pressures. Since stiff extraction is not good in the field. or anywhere else, I just drop back a grain or so and use that. (I did have a Rem 721 270 that would blow primers with slightly below max handbook loads, and didn't give any warning like hard bolt lift.) Over a 45 year period of hunting and shooting rifles from the heat of NM to the cold of Alaska this procedure has served me well. Use a good strong bolt action and use caution and common sense and you will be OK. For me a chronograph is a necessity to make sure my loads are doing what I require of them. I require a 7MM Mag to reach over 3100 fps with a 160 gr bullet. I have no trouble reaching that, but it is a hot load. I never bought a Mag to get standard cartridge velocities. Jerry
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Old January 27, 2001, 12:27 AM   #12
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Show me a deer or elk that knows the difference between being hit with a 150-grain 7mm Partition that started out at 3200 fps and a 150-grain 7mm Partition that started out at 3000 fps, and I'll show you a deer or elk that will elude you all your hunting days.

Besides, I doubt seriously you will get 3200 with a 150 unless you surpass the 52,000 CUP level, and would probably need a 26" barrel to boot. And you would have to burn 65 or 70 grains of powder. And tolerate the throat erosion.

If you don't go all the way to 7mm STW, there's no point in messing with belted cases at all in 7mm.

Of course, that's just my opinion.

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Old January 27, 2001, 11:18 AM   #13
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RiverRider
The argument you make regarding the 150 gr. at 3000 vs 3200fps is not a bad one. However, If 200 fps doesn't make any difference then why not go to 2800 fps? Then how about 2600? A deer certainly wouldn't know the difference, but I think the elk might. Actually I prefer a 175 gr. for elk. I bought a Rem 700 7MM RM in about 1961. It was the first year it came out. A friend of mine in Alaska, where I was stationed, was a company commander. In his unit was a man whose father was a distributor for Rem. He got me a rifle before they were widely available on the market. It has a SS barrel, which they discontinued in time. Here are some of the velocities I chronographed in my rifle with a 24 in barrel and N 205 powder.
140 gr. Sierra SP - 3320fps, 150 gr. Herters - 3218fps, 160 gr. Nosler - 3174fps, 175 gr. Horn SP - 2969fps. I could never reach the 3000 mark with 175 gr. bullets. I got 2945 with the 175 Nosler with H 4831 powder. I don't really care if the pressures exceed some magic figure as long as I get good performance, cases last a reasonable number of loadings, and fired cases extract easily in hot weather.
In looking at the 7MM STW I am not convinced that the velocity increase over my 7MM RM is worth it. If we eliminate elk and go for deer and similar game, I think the .270 does everything one needs to do. If I go for elk I think something like my 338-06 with a 210 gr Nosler bullet at 2800fps is better than anything of smaller caliber. Of course that is another discussion. While Elmer Keith went off the deep end at times he did have the right idea as to rifles for game of the elk and larger class.
Let me make one more observation. I have read for years that it isn't so much what you shoot with, but where you hit the game. That a .222 is good enough if you hit in the right place. Yet I never saw those guys using a .222 for elk and big bear. Again it is a case of the right principle being misapplied. An interesting thread.
Jerry
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Old January 27, 2001, 11:38 AM   #14
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I must've really misapplied the right principal, because I never thought to use my 6.5-06 for hunting.

I built my Krieger 25" barreled beast for other purposes. The 120gr Nosler Ballistic Tips at 3200fps, as well as 140gr Sierra MatchKings at 3000fps, were intended to make holes inside a 10" circle at 1000 yards, and compete in tactical matches. Now the 6.5-284 is taking over from the 6.5-06 for that purpose, in a shorter action length to boot!

I did pop an armadillo in the sphincter end at 300 yards, once. Messy pink explosion. Completely scooped the shell clean. May have to rethink the application and take it out for Wyoming elk season, which I normally left for either my 8mm Gibbs or .35 Whelen...
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Old January 27, 2001, 02:57 PM   #15
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Jerry, I guess it all just depends on how you look at it. The idea of 2800 fps being good enough if 3000 fps is valid also. We all draw a mental line somewhere though, don't we? For me, it's the marginal gain in velocity for the marginal added powder weight. I suppose there are many other ways of looking at it.
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Old January 27, 2001, 10:15 PM   #16
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Gewehr98,
I can't imagine a better deer class rifle than the 6.5-06.
If I were still carrying rifles up mountains, I would get one of the accurate super lightweight rifles that would stay under 7 lbs with scope in 6.5-06. I personally never cared for short action rifles as the action length limits the oal of the cartridge, and, therefore,velocity and the practicable length of the bullets that can be used. I once owned a .35 Whelen that was rebarreled on a M70 FW action. I had observed its use on one Kodiak bear and was favorably impressed. It seemed to be as good as my .375 H&H. As it turned out I never shot anything with it and sold it. I wish I had it back. Now I prefer the 338-06 due to the selection of bullets. I haven't shot anything with it either, but the .333 OKH which Keith used was evidently very effective.
Good hunting,
Jerry
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