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.256 Winchester Magnum

Cartridge Drawing

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Even though the .256 Winchester is more flexible and thus more useful cartridge than the .25-20WCF, the Marlin Model 62 lever action and Universal Firearms M1 carbine are the only two rifles ever chambered for it. Obviously, few shooters took serious note of the cartridge since the production life of both rifles was brief. Life for the .256 Magnum was equally short in the Ruger Hawkeye, a single shot handgun that excited few people except collectors.

The .256 Winchester Magnum is nothing more exotic than the .357 Magnum case necked down for .257" bullets. Winchester still offers factory ammunition with a 60 grain jacketed bullet at over 2700 fps. Un-primed cases are still available from Winchester. Reloading dies are available from several sources.

When the ballistics of the .256 Winchester Magnum are compared with those of other varmint cartridges, its performance in the field is not something one would sneeze at. A 75 grain spitzer moving out at 2500 fps delivers over 600 foot-pounds of residual energy at 200 yards, or about the same as the .222 Remington at the same ranges. Zeroed 2" high at 100 yards, the same bullet is down by less than 2" at 200 yards.

A varmint shooter who just has to have a rifle in this chambering has no choice but to go the custom route. A custom rifle in this caliber built around the Martini Cadet would be a nice little outfit for roaming the varmint fields. Another good possibility is to have a custom barrel made tor the T/C Contender Carbine.

.256 Winchester Magnum


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