View Full Version : .257 Roberts. The perfect deer rifle?

July 5, 2006, 03:39 AM
I'm looking for others who just adore the .257 Roberts. I have one that has been in the family since 1962. Since then 21 people have taken thier first deer with it. It seems to provide more slap than the .243Win, while allowing the use of 120gr Noslers as a viable option for a light-kicking elk rifle. It's real home has been on deer though, and it may be THE perfect marriage of caliber-to-quarry.

Also, if you do not handload, and would like some top notch custom ammo for your .257 Roberts at a fair price ($14-$16 per box) I will post it on this thread at a later date. I gotta go home and locate this gentlemans card first. His name is Dick Brown, and he assembled the first ammo my old Rem 722 ever made a one hole group with!

July 5, 2006, 08:12 AM
It was sad that they finally introduced a proper 117-120 gr load for the 257 Roberts 50 years after the introduction of the cartridge !!!! I'm an old fan of the 6.5x55 which provides better weight and sectional density even with the 140 gr bullet. Though that has become a handloaders cartridge at this point. FinnAagaard called the 6.5 the perfect deer cartridge.

Jack O'Conner
July 5, 2006, 08:17 AM
My sister-in-law (a lefty) hunted with a Browning BLR in 257 Roberts for about 6 years. Some big mulies were dispatched with no problem. One buck weighed nearly 300 lbs. She nailed several 'lopes at long distances as well. All with Remington factory ammo and an older 6X Redfield scope.

But my brother traded it for a BLR in 7mm-08 for Ellen to use for elk.

The 257 Roberts never rec'd the same marketing dollars or attention as other cartridges. I'm sure this has something to do with its fading from current chamberings.

July 5, 2006, 08:18 AM
I also have a Remington model 722 in .257 Roberts. It has dropped about a dozen whitetails. Elk, at least in my opinion, is pushing it a bit, but if you've done it....great!

My model 722 was first purchased by my dad, back in 1959 or 1960. He handed it down to me in 1964, but went back to my dad from 1966-1970, due to my "hunting" trips that were compliments of "Uncle Sam".

Here's a somewhat humorous story about my 722. I had used an old Weaver K4 scope on it for years, but decided to try a variable power scope on it, in about 1974. Besides the new variable scope, I put on new scope rings. I didn't bore sight it before taking it out to zero it.

During that shooting trip (remote shooting area), I had two brand-new shooters and one of my long-time shooting buddies along. The shooting area was made up of some fairly steep slopes, but it was mostly rolling hills.

After setting up our camp, I pulled out the model 722 and took off the lens caps, just to "glass" the surroundings. There was a shiny object in the distance, and at 9x, I saw that it was a Coke can that was partially hidden behind some low-lying grass. I "guess-timated" that it was at about 350 yards....give or take a few yards.

"See that coke can?", I asked my friends while I pointed in its direction. With the naked eye, they didn't even see the shine of the aluminum can. Well, just for the heck of it, I loaded 3 rounds into the model 722 and steadied the forend on a jacket that I placed on a tall rock. "BANG"!
All three of my friends were looking in the general direction of where the Coke can was, and they saw the can fly into the air! All three of them exclaimed, "WOW!"

Now, I knew that I hadn't actually HIT that Coke can, for it wouldn't have "flown" as it did if I had put a hole THROUGH it. The round had struck at a low point....but it appeared to have been dead-on, horizontally.

Later on, I paced off the distance to that Coke can, and was amazed! It was closer to 450 yards! Needless to say, the zero'ing process with the new scope was VERY easy!

Art Eatman
July 5, 2006, 12:04 PM
I've never really figured that any cartridge was THE perfect answer, but ther's no doubt that the .257 is a superb deer cartridge...

:), Art

Rich Lucibella
July 5, 2006, 12:22 PM
I have a .257 Roberts Ackley Improved. It has proven to be a positively devastating round on deer. Love it.
Clearly it doesn't make the "If I could only keep one gun" category and, to many, it's little more than a curiosity. But that doesn't take away from the fact that, in its narrowly defined niche, it is really a tough caliber to top.

July 5, 2006, 11:33 PM
I know a guy with a savage M99 in .257 Roberts in his basement and my how i want it but my brother has made several attempts and he wont part with it. I think its a nice little round and it fell by the wayside for no reason

July 6, 2006, 12:54 AM
No. The .257 (and the 25-06) is not a great elk rifle, but I consider it a practical minimum for this task, whereas the .243 is just too light to consider. I do know of a local man who, due to a detatched retina, cannot handle recoil, and who kills elk regularly with a .223, but he is essentially bowhunting with a rifle. He takes only CNS shots at 100yds or less.
What I was really putting the .257 forth as was a great deer rifle that would double for elk in a pinch.

I used the 120gr Nosler +P loaded by Fed for years. This was an okay load, but it never did do better than about 1.5". I always felt the gun could do better. Last year I used 100gr SP from Dick Brown Custom, a load he claims just touches 3100fps mark (pretty much max). The accuracy was awsome, and I saved about 10 bucks a box! I shot a deer with it. My wife shot 2. My friend Sean shot his first two. All went down like they were struck by lightning, but there was a pair of separated jackets. Ranges were from 75 to 420yds (No wind. Known distance. Bi-pod....Couldn't resist!)

I loved how flat this load shot, but next year I think 100gr partitions will be the bullet of choice. This load so closely matches the 100-500yard crosshairs on my wifes Burris ballistic plex scope, that she was able score 8 consecutive hits on a 9" target at 500yds. Mind you, we do NOT regularly shoot that far while hunting, but it's nice to know you can in the event you need to put down a wounded animal. If an animal is previously hit, in my book, all range limitations are off.

silicon wolverine
July 6, 2006, 02:40 AM
My wifes grandpa has a .257 roberts ackley imp. that he has hunted deer with for over 40 years. according to him it has less than 200 rounds through it.


July 6, 2006, 03:58 AM
+1 to the 6.5x55. It's good stuff too! I don't own one, but when I'm rich all my woodland WT will fall to a 1952 M-S in 6.5.

Nope, not my "just one gun" choice either. For that I'd take an '06 for Stateside use, or a .375 for globetrotting. There's other options, but that's what I'd take.

You are very, VERY right. Especially if my wife asks. As in: "Why, Honey, there just ain't no such thing as THE perfect answer...". "That's how come I need another rifle!":D

No, I have not done it, but my 722 has. Four times that I know of. All before I was old enough to shoot (very young in my family). It would not be on my list as a first string elk rifle. If a recoil sensitive shooter is hunting elk on a regular basis I would go with the .308,
7-08, 7mm mauser, 8mm mauser or something like that. That new
.338 Federal looks good for that, too.

Jack O'Conner
July 6, 2006, 11:21 AM
The 99 Savage action is too short for the 257 Roberts. Perhaps you've confused it with the 250-3000 Savage cartridge.

July 7, 2006, 09:46 PM
I have never shot the 257 but have always heard great praises towards it...

July 8, 2006, 01:55 AM
Mine is on the Rem 760 platform and I couldn't wish for a better deer rifle. I had one shot kils with the 243 but always had a warmer glow with the 257. I expect I'd like a 260 Remington just as well, and wouldn't hesitate to go that route either. Since I've never hunted anywhere that presented a shot over 300 yards, the standard calibers work perfectly.

July 8, 2006, 02:10 AM
My daughter has a no 1 ruger in it and I have a 77 in it. I have a 700 classic and a mexican mauser that belonged to my wife's grandfather all in the "bob"

July 8, 2006, 05:39 AM
Actually Jack, I know a local woman who hunts with a savage 99 in .257roberts. Seen it, held it, didn't get to shoot it though. I'm pretty sure too short guns, or more to the point magazines have always stymied the Roberts.
That and some woefully light factory loads due to a few poorly converted
6.5mm Arisakas & 88 Mausers.

July 9, 2006, 10:48 PM
There are NO Savage 99's in 257 roberts. Will not fit. period. in 1950's Savage had to stretch the action a little bit to make the 243, 308 and 358 length cases fit. and they are 51 mm long. The 257 is based on the 7x57 case and will be over 6 mm to long to fit. That 1/4" inch or so will not fit.

Although there are some short actions out there which have been chambered for the 257 most are long actions because if you load with a 115 120 class bullet and seat it to work thru a short action 700 or 70, you loose too much powder space from the bullet inside the case.

You handled a 250-3000 model 99, just about as good a cartridge and MY personal favorite for anyone the slightest bit recoil sensitive.

July 11, 2006, 01:09 AM

Nope, not a 250-3000, a .257 Roberts. I am well aware that Savage never made 'em, but the 99 has been altered to shoot it. I have seen others so converted.

As to the .257 being too long...you are mostly right, but it will go through a short action just fine. It is a 57mm long cartridge based on the 7mm mauser case. A look at any box of factory ammo, however will tell you that seating the bullet deeply is exactly how they get it to chamber in a short action. If you have one in a long action you are free to seat your bullets out, and can get more velocity this way. NOW, here's the kicker: If you don't buy +P ammo at higher prices, you have in your .257 a ballistic twin for the .250 -3000. If you do buy +P ammo you really are not getting +Ps at all, but rather you are getting ammo that's just not loaded down. Confusion over these two things has always been the Achilles' heel of this otherwise fine cartridge.

If the .257 won't fit in a short action (with factory ammo), don't tell all of us Ruger M-77 SA & Rem 722 shooters about it. It'd break our hearts!

Jack O'Conner
July 11, 2006, 10:18 AM
By altered, I assume you mean cutting the action in half and welding extensions into place. The rather complicated moving parts of the action does not lend itself to easy modifications at all. Seems like a huge effort for nothing gained. I have to wonder about the sanity of such an expensive endeavor.

I once handled a wildcat 99 Savage. It was the 300 Savage case necked down to .270 and was reputed to shoot very accurately out to about 300 yards or so. It belonged to a rancher from Texas that came up to hunt at Grandad's place in the late 60's. What really impressed me was the ivory inlays in the stock and gold wire scroll work on the metal work. The grip cap was custom and featured diamond checkered blued metal.

July 11, 2006, 05:41 PM
The consensus being there is no 'perfect' deer caliber. Just alot of good ones and the 257 Roberts is pretty good at that. The best? No way!

July 12, 2006, 04:37 AM

That rifle sounds pretty neat. I wonder what the MV of such a thing would be? I'm fixin' up a rifle no one else would bother with, too. It's a 721 chambered for the .30-'0plainwhitebread6, but being a 16th birthday present from my father it's getting a polish & reblue as well as a Royal Arms stock on a Serenghetti blank. $? I don't want to talk about it! But what price can you put on sentimental value. I'll send pics when it's done (about March of 2007).

July 12, 2006, 11:43 AM
.257 Roberts. The perfect deer rifle?
Nah... the .270 is the perfect medium game rifle...

July 13, 2006, 05:42 PM
My buddies mom shoots a .257 Roberts (stock cut down to fit her < 5 ft frame) as well as anyone I have ever seen shoot. Shot a monster elk a few years ago with a great shot. It wasn't a bang-flop, but she had plenty of tracking support, and it was sure dead when we got it.

July 14, 2006, 08:32 AM
Yeah, .257 robts, 6.5x55, .260 rem - somewhere in there seems to me to be the best balance of killing efficiency, recoil, trajectory, etc., for whitetails. I'd probably changed my tune if I was up in Minn or Canada where they get BIG. Then I'd probably be saying .270.

Wild Bill Bucks
July 14, 2006, 12:28 PM
We have 2 different .257's at deer camp, and both are excellent. Only gripe I hear from the two guys that own them is how expensive the ammo is, and how hard it is to find around here.( We don't have a very good selection around here)

I agree with Art about NO rifle is the PERFECT rifle. To me, the perfect rifle is my .308. I have pulled the trigger, on game, 46 times in a row without losing an animal (Knock on wood) so that makes it the most perfect rifle I own.:D

July 14, 2006, 01:12 PM
Regarding finding rounds, my buddy's mom (referenced in earlier post) has it made in a sad way. Her husband (buddy's dad) was a fanatic reloader. Would build a round specifically for each rifle in the hunting camp. Bench tested each round, tweaked them grain by grain, bullet by bullet, until he had the perfect round for that gun. He fought with lung cancer for the better part of 2 years and during that time built her enough ammo to shoot as much as she could ever want, so she would have it after he passed.

Kinda like he is with us on every hunt.

Rest of the crew has access to all his load notebooks, but they are on thier own to reload 'em.

July 18, 2006, 04:19 AM
Okay, I feel your ammo cost pain. I went to the local sporting goods store last Fri. to end the short action .257 debate once and for all. When I got there .257s were up $6 a box to 31.99!!!!!! I WILL get that number for Richard Brown of Shephard, MT for you folks...But I seem to have misplaced his card!

AS to the debate on wether the .257 will fit in a savage 99: I pulled a box of Fed Premium .257s off the shelf, as well as several boxes of .243 & .308.
.257s were 120gr while the others were 80, 100, & 150 grain. The .257 was actually SHORTER than about half of the .308 loads on the shelf and no longer than most of the .243s! Now since we all agree that 99s came in 243 and .308, why is the overall length of the .257 too great?

I think you may be confusing overall length with case length. The .257 DOES have a longer case than the .308 family, but it is loaded to the same overall length as the 51mm cases by seating it's bullets (too?) deeply.

If you do not believe this, go to your local ammo joint & try this comparison yourself.