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.264 Winchester Magnum

Cartridge Drawing

The .264 Winchester Magnum caused plenty of excitement when it was introduced in 1958. The color advertisement read: "The .264 Winchester Magnum, Its Makes A Helluva Noise And Packs A Helluva Punch." And it did. Then came the 7mm Remington Magnum to steal all the thunder and the .264 Magnums gathered dust on dealer's shelves. Which is sad since Winchesters cartridge does everything they said it would do. In the 26" barrel of the Model 70 Westerner, that is. But shooters wanted a shorter barrel and they go it in the Model 70 Featherweight. They also got plenty of muzzle blast, plenty of recoil, and .270 Winchester performance.

Hunter opinion has always been divided on how much big game territory the .264 Magnum can cover. Some consider it to be a deer cartridge at most while the opposing team praises the .264 as an excellent elk cartridge. Actually, both are correct when bullets of proper weight and construction for the job at hand are used. A 140 grain spitzer loaded to 3100 fps in a 26" barrel delivers almost a ton of residual energy at 300 yards. It sectional density is about the same as that of the 160 grain 7mm, and 190 grain .30 caliber bullets.

For long shots on deer and pronghorn, the 125 and 129 grain bullets fly a bit flatter and hit hard enough, but for all around hunting, the 140 grain spitzer wins the contest every time. H4831 and IMR-4831 are excellent powders for all bullets up to 129 grains, but H870, IMR-7828, and H1000 take the lead when heavier bullets are loaded in this cartridge.

.264 Winchester Magnum


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