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.257 Roberts (.257 Roberts +P)

Cartridge Drawing

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Back in the 1920`s, N.H. (Ned) Roberts spent several years testing a number of .257" caliber wildcats on various cases. Probably upon suggestion of Charles Newton, Roberts finally settled on the 7 x 57mm Mauser case for his cartridge. Adolph Neidner built most of his test rifles, and Col. Townsend Whelen named the cartridge .25 Roberts. The final version of Roberts wildcat had an extremely long neck and mild shoulder angle. The cartridge quickly became quite popular and other firms such as Griffen & Howe and Sedgley chambered rifles for it.

In 1934, Remington simply necked down the 7 x 57mm case, retaining its original body taper and shoulder angle. About the only things the Roberts and Remington cartridges had in common were parent case and caliber. But, since Roberts had devoted so much of his life to his wildcat, it was only fitting that the new cartridge be called .257 Remington-Roberts.

For reasons that have long puzzled cartridge historians, Remington chose to load the new cartridge with a round nose bullet at extremely low chamber pressures. Consequently, the .257 Roberts factory load offered practically no improvement in performance over that of the .250-3000 Savage. But handloaders soon discovered that the magazines of Remington Model30 and Winchester Model 70 rifles could be modified to handle the cartridge with long spitzer bullets seated out of the powder cavity. And thus was born the tree inch .257 Roberts.

The .257 Roberts is an excellent varmint cartridge and anyone who says it is inferior to the 6mm cartridges has never seriously worked with it. For big game hunting, no 6mm load can equal the .257 Roberts loaded with a 120 grain spitzer at 2800 fps. Favorite powders for .257 Roberts varmint loads with light bullets are H380, and IMR-4320 but for big game loads with bullets of 100 grains and up, H414, H4350, IMR-4350, and W-760 are better choices.

Historical Notes:
The commercial version of the 257 Roberts was released by Remington in 1934 chambered in their Model 30 bolt action rifle. It was quickly picked up by Winchester for their Model 54 and later their Model 70. The Remington 722 bolt action and the 760 slide action models were also available in 257 caliber. In recent years many American manufacturers have discontinued it, although Ruger still offers it in their Model 77 bolt action. The original cartridge was designed by N.H. Roberts (a well know experimenter and gun writer during the 1920`s and 30`s) and is based on the 7 x 57 Mauser necked down. Remington changed the Roberts shoulder angle from 15 degrees to 20 degrees. The name of the cartridge was adopted to honor its original developer. Custom rifles in this caliber were made by Niedner Rifle Co. as early as 1928.

General Comments:
The 257 Roberts has often been referred to as the "most useful rifle cartridge ever developed". That is not very far wrong. It is suitable for a wide range of hunting under a variety of conditions. As a long range varmint cartridge, it is as good as they come, being only slightly inferior to the newer 6mm`s. On deer, antelope, black bear, sheep or goat it is as good as any other cartridge available. Naturally, it is not as powerful as the 270 Winchester or 30-06 Springfield but has ample power for the game mentioned at all practical ranges.

The 257 Roberts was underloaded by ammunition companies. However, in the late 1980`s higher pressure +P loads were introduced which enabled factory loaded 257 Roberts ammunition to reach full potential. With modern powders the reloader can improve performance safely in all bullet weights. With 117 or 120 grain boattail bullets at velocities at 2800 fps the 257 can be used successfully on elk and caribou. It is at this end of the scale that it has its advantage over the 6mm`s. Ackley`s improved version of the 257 Roberts practically duplicates the ballistics of the larger 25-06. Winchester, Federal and Remington all offer this caliber. The 87 grain bullet is no longer factory loaded.

.257 Roberts (.257 Roberts +P)


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