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Thread: Letís talk 257 Roberts, 257 Roberts Improved, and 257 Roberts Ackley Improved

  1. #1

    Default Letís talk 257 Roberts, 257 Roberts Improved, and 257 Roberts Ackley Improved

    257 Roberts, 257 Roberts Improved (28 deg),, 257 Roberts Ackley Improved (40 deg)óWhich caliber to build or buy a rifle inÖ.????

    Iím curious what the consensus would be on which 25 caliber to pursue for a ďwoods rifle for light skinned game and occasional varmint controlĒ.

    The 257 Roberts, and itís ďImprovedĒ versions, holds a lot of interest to me. It has held its own as a ďquarter boreĒ since the 1930ís for sure. Ken Waters picked it as his favorite ďsmall boreĒ. In 1948 Colonel Whelen stated he had come to prefer the .257 Roberts and .270 Winchester over all other cartridges for the taking of American big game. Jack OíConnor also sang its praises. Iím sure some of you have some great memories of the caliber too, or heard stories from Dad and Grandpa on how the 257 Bob put meat on the table for them.

    Iím kind of a nostalgia kind of guy, and the great old guns and calibers hold a strong attraction. I just turned ďfour deuceĒ, so Iím old enough to be old, but not old enough to have walked into the hardware store and seen pre-64 model 70ís in the rack.

    257 Roberts is one caliber Iíve never had a rifle in and for some time have been pondering what that rifle should be. This is a rifle that will get used, it will get battle scars over time. Used for small pests, coyotes, and up through deer size game.

    Ruger offers the 77 in 257 Roberts, so that is one possibility for a store bought solution. CRF, 3 position safety, good features.

    What about buying a Ruger and reaming it out to one of the ďImprovedĒ versions? I load all my ammo, so store ammo availability isnít an issue. What is the pros/cons between the 28 and 40 degree versions? Is their feeding issues?

    The 257 Roberts Ackley Improved (40 deg) sure looks good data wise. Load books show it pushing a 120 grain bullet right at 3000 fps and 85 grain at 3500 fps. The standard Roberts pushes a 100 grain bullet over 3000 fps, and the 85 grain at 3300+ fps.

    So, which one do you prefer and what are your experiences out of the three different 257 Roberts? What about barrel length? 20Ē is ok for the woods, 22Ē is tolerable and 24Ē is too much

    Of course, itís all about nostalgia because the 25 WSSM and 25-06 does the same and at a faster clip to bootÖ.

    Whatís your opinion?

  2. #2
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default My experience with these cartridges...

    I've owned six 'standard' Roberts rifles. Two 722 Remingtons, a controlled feed M70 Featherweight Classic, a rebarreled M95 Mauser, a VZ24 done up with a 26" heavy, and my current 'baby', a Czech VZ33 small ring 98 with 24" Douglas.
    I've a couple of friends with rifles that've been 'improved', and it's always a lot of fun to sit down at the bench with them and see their frustration when they can't seem to get more than 50 fps more velocity with their rifles than I do with my 'standards'....
    I don't know that I'd settle for the Ruger! It's only got a 22" barrel on it, and the round will definitely use 24 inches, especially with 4350 and the heavier bullets. If stuck with a 22" or shorter barrel, I'd go with the .250 Savage instead. Smaller case, more efficient in the shorter barrels with less muzzle flash and wasted energy......
    Do what you want, but, once the chamber's cut, you can't put the steel back in, and I believe you'll wish you could.
    If you 'need' more performance than .257 +P Roberts can deliver, then why not make life a WHOLE lot simpler and order in a .25-06?
    The Roberts has been a heckuva deer slayin' rig for me here in SE Idaho. Big mule deer just die. Real fast. Speed Goats at 300 or so yards die very quickly, and are easy to hit with the right rig. With a perfect shot, and a 'quality' bullet, I'd not hesitate to shoot an elk with it, though I'd not call it an elk cartridge by any stretch. An awful lot of elk get killed with .243's and 6mm Remingtons, and the Roberts is a LOT more gun than they are.
    With 75 grain bullets, it gives the satisfying 'red mist' on varmints, it pops rock chucks in the air doin' cartwheels and throwing 'stuff' all over the place....
    My opinion is that the "improved" Roberts is a waste of time, effort, and cash. If you need more, get a bigger cartridge to start with!

  3. #3

    Default .257 Ai

    I've had a standard .257 Rbts and a 40 degree AI. The Ackley improved was a custom on a 1909 mauser action with a John Buhmiller barrel. I could shoot an almost one hole 3 shot group with several loads. It liked 4895 best. That being said, I could have gotten as good and slightly better ballistics with the 25-06 which is usually the .25 caliber the AI is compared to. Today, I think I'd get a 25-06 and enjoy it as well. My AI did have a 24" barrel.

  4. #4

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    I'm down to two 257's right now- a custom on a Remington 700 LH action and a Ruger M77 Ultralight.

    The downside of the 77 is what I consider it's "short" chamber limiting you to 2.78" or so overall length. That forces you to seat heavy bullets awfully deep. Even saying that, it's a delight to carry and use. I put a compact Leupold 2x7 on it, and it is really fast handling and easy to carry. It's favorite powder is also 4895.

    The 700 was my dream rifle when RCBS built it for me back in the 1970's, and it's still my dream rifle today. It originally had a 26" Shilen 1:10-twist target barrel on it, but a few years back I had it cut down to 22" and stocked it with a McMillain synthetic. It's very light and handy now.

    But the key to my delight in it is the chambering. It has a long throat to allow seating 115 and 120 grain bullets out to 3" overall, significantly increasing powder capacity. Load it up to contemporary pressures and it will do almost everything any improved version I've owned or chronographed. RCBS made me a custom sizing die after chambering it, and you wouldn't believe the case life I get even with comparatively hot loads. And that barrel! I shot truckloads of rockchucks and ground squirrels with it over the years with the Speer 100 grain HPs- who knows how many shots. Yet it still groups just about any load I stuff down it under an inch with all bullets ranging from 87 grain to 120 grain. It's wearing a Leupold 3x9 compact, and still gets a lot of use.

    Before I built an improved gun, I'd sure get another 257 on a long action and have the throat lengthened to allow that 3" overal seating. In mine anyway, I get better performance from factory loads than I ever did with an improved. But that's kinda academic when reloading for it is so rewarding, both for accuracy and velocity.

  5. #5

    Default

    If I was looking for nostalgia in a 25 I'd go with Roy's 1944ish beloved 25, for the long and short, big and small of things.

    In Ak I've taken mountain goat, blacktail, and black bear. Other places, whitetail, coues, blackbuck, axis, capybara, and some eastern varmints. I have it in the ultralight version but if you want more traditional you could go with one of the wood and blue versions.

    Here's how it works on POW black bear:

    http://sports.webshots.com/video/304...39751215eWYXhJ

  6. #6

    Default

    I forgot to tell you that the long-throat Roberts shoots best with 4831 for 100 to 120 grain bullets, though 4350 runs a close second. I'd say it prefers 4895 for 87's and 90's, but in fact I can't get enough 4831 into the cases to be satisfied with that slow a powder and lighter bullets. Group sizes are still good with the slow, but velocities are down compared to what it will do with 4895.

    I haven't tried any of the RL powders in it cuzz I've still got so much of the old surplus 4831 kicking around. Once I lose or use that up, RLs would be first on my list to try to develop loads with.

    I haven't chronoed it since clipping the barrel, but when it wore the 26" barrel I could get real close to 3000fps with 115 Partitions. Pressure signs were getting "up there" so I backed off and settled on a load of around 2900. I'm betting with the clipped barrel the velocity is now closer to 2800 than 2900.

    It was easy to top 3100 with 100 grain bullets, and my favorite load was chronoed repeatedly at around 3150. I could have pushed that higher too, but it's not in my nature. Return to my comments about great case life and over 30 years of stellar accuracy. The 100 grain Speers used to hover around 1/4" groups CTC, but now they hover a little over 1/2". Not a bad price to pay for so many years of shooting and such big pile of critters.

    I haven't sung it's praises for bigger game, cuzz I figure all the old time writers did a better job than I'll ever manage. I'll just go so far to say that they weren't lying or exaggerating.

  7. #7
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    Default 257 Robert's

    I've been looking at the 257 caliber for a while. I've discussed this at length with my gunsmith and came away with a couple good points. If your going to go Improved (28 degree) or AI (40 degree) I would go with a 3.1" action such as the Montana Rifle Co short action. The 257 improved rounds really shine with the heavy for caliber bullets, but they also really eat up available powder space with a 2.80" OCL of a standard short action. You could also use a standard (30-06) length action for the 257 Robert's, but then you may as well go with a 25-06 and save yourself all the trouble. Sometime nastalgia is worth it, but sometimes it's just a PITA.

    As to barrel length I would want a 24" tube with either of the Improved rounds. 22" is fine with a standard 257 Robert's, but to my way of thinking a 24" barrel is necessary to realize any benefits of the Improved versions.

    My gunsmith has done several of the Improved versions of the 257 Roberts and he didn't see any feeding problems with the 40 degree version -vs- the RCBS 28 degree version. He said, and I firmly agree, that the 257 with the most feeding problems is the 25 WSSM. Too short and squatty to feed from a magazine. If fact, he'll only do the 25 WSSM as a single shot. I think a 25 WSSM would be cool in a NEF Handi-Rifle.

    One last thing, any time rechambering to an AI round the barrel needs to be set back to allow the standard (parent) cases shoulder to rest up against the new sharper angled shoulder. Otherwise you could end up with case separation or other nasty problems. Let us know what you end up with and how it turns out, inquiring minds want to know.

    Woody

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Great advice, wise counsel...

    Guys, thanks for all the good information and steering me straight. I really appreciate it. I think I was heading down the wrong path, or at least veering some.

    It is so easy for me to get caught up in numbers, that is chasing feet per second. Looking at calibers I donít have, reloading ones I do and trying to go faster, and faster, and faster. Many times to the detriment of my cause.

    I think the Improved versions are efficient and would be cool to have, but in the ďwoods rifleĒ application I would like to build, a 24 inch barrel is a bit much. 22 inches is really more than I want and less would be better. Carrying a 24 inch tube around through the briars and brambles is an exercise of frustration for me.

    Darreld, thanks for the reality check. You make good sense, and having owned six you obviously have the experience to back it up.

    Ed M, you are right on. Iíve got one of Royís favorites (257 Weatherby Mag) with a 26Ē tube and it is awesome and has its purpose. Woods hunting is not it, I can hardly get it out of the safe without whacking the barrel on something.

    Brownbear, I appreciate the insight on the 3Ē COL seating. I like that option. Iíve got a Remington 700 custom 270 Win with a 24Ē tube that I can do that on and it is super accurate and spits them out at 270WSM speed with 130 grains.

    Wa Woody, I can see you did your research. Some day I would like to do an Improved like you describe with a 24Ē plus barrel and have 25-06 speed out of it.

    I have decided after soaking all this in to stay with standard 257 Roberts and get an action where I can seat the bullets out.

    Thanks to all, I enjoy hearing about what works and what doesnít from the voices of experience. That is what is great about this forum, we all enjoy helping others avoid the errors we have made either by goof or by trying to do right and then having it go so, so wrongÖ That does happen to the best of us if you mess with enough rifles and reload long enough!

  9. #9

    Default

    Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for the fun!

  10. #10

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    Good choice sticking with the Roberts. I have one and like it. I know several folks who turned theirs into AIs and wanted the old Roberts back. The pain of the wildcat wasn't worth the extra performance. If you want a faster round get the 25-06.

  11. #11
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    Default 257 roberts

    Anyone know how much a custom 257 Roberts with a remington barrel and a ruger stock is worth?

  12. #12
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    Default

    Me, I would go the standard 25-06 route. Been there and down that with various wildcats. Since most of us buy and sell to fund new projects I found it easier to sell non wild cat rifles. Besides, dies and such are cheaper as well.
    But hey, it is your money. Enjoy what makes you happy and to heck with everyone else
    Peyton, Colorado

  13. #13

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    I picked up a hawkeye this spring for the purpose you stated earlier, light woods rifle for deer and varmints. I do not feel handicapped by the throat on mine what-so-ever, but have heard of earlier rifles with short throats. So maybe ruger corrected that. Since I wanted a woods like rifle, the 22" is ideal for me. I run a 100 grainer at 3000 w/o hotrodding it. I havent had much luck getting heavier bullets (117-120) to shoot well. Could be I just havent found the right load yet. I think the 100 grain bullets are about ideal for deer. If I am hunting bigger stuff, most likely going to make a caliber jump. As far as powders IMR4350 and WW760 seems to work best in mine. Good luck in whatever you choose. Great, fun little cartridge.

  14. #14

    Arrow 257 ackley improved

    I had a 257 ackley improved with a 20 inch barrel on a remington 660 action that was a great shooter and handy as all get out killed several deer with it then someone came along with the idea a 284 win. would be really great on my action and I've regretted that decision ever since.The really great thing for me as a reloader after forming the cases I never had to trim the cases again they just did not stretch as for the increase in velocity I only averaged 50 to 75 feet over the standard 257 roberts not really enough to mess with if you want great velocity increase I would go with the 25-06 as others have suggested I have one of those too. My 257 improved was on a 660 action and a shilen barrel put together by a local smith here action blueprinted and the works never had a better shooting or handier rifle may build another soon which ever way you go good luck they really are no wrong choices in any of the 257 roberts.....Good shooting Ronnie

  15. #15
    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    Default

    25-308 (Souper) Imp. I'm cogitating this one pretty hard . . .

  16. #16
    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    Default

    As others have suggested, the .257 Roberts is one of those "odd-ball" cartridges that just doesn't fit in well with the current crop of readily available action lengths. The Roberts is a very tight fit in a short action and gives up a lot when put in a long action.

    I had a .257 Roberts on a s/a Remington 700 mountain rifle, for a few years, and I didn't like it. By the time I got the bullets seated to where they wanted to be for best accuracy, they were too long to fit in the mag box. I tried REALLY hard to like the rifle, but ended up trading it off. I don't really miss it, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozarks View Post
    I have decided after soaking all this in to stay with standard 257 Roberts and get an action where I can seat the bullets out.
    If I were to go with a long action, I'd opt for the .25-06 or .257 Wby, and skip the Roberts altogether. Why carry the long action, only to stuff short shells in it?



    If you want a short action quarter-bore, there are better options than the Roberts. You could go with a 250-300 Savage AI, .25-08, or .25-284. All of them have a shorter case lengths than the Roberts case, and will give you more wiggle room in the mag box.

    I just ordered a .25 cal Pac-Nor barrel. I plan to build a .25-284 on a Remington short action, specifically for 100gr and lighter bullets.

  17. #17

    Default 257

    The 257's claim to fame is a rifle which has low recoil and is adaquate for animals to the size of elk at moderate ranges. It's a great ladies, youth and rifle for recoil sensitive persons.
    The 257 has a standard working pressure that is the same as the 7mm mauser which is the parent case and rifle (45,000 cup). In modern rifle actions this can be modified to 52,000 cup ( a significant increase,+P).
    With the standard load and long bullets of 120grs there my be some difficulty getting ammo in a short action, without velocity reductions. The long action cures the problem but is a smidge heavier.
    The alteration of the 257 to another chamber isn't really any longer a viable option. There are so many alternate rounds available, it's a waste of time really. As you say this is really a round of by-gone years.
    If I were building a rifle in this caliber class tommorrow it would be a 6.5x55. This case coupled with a modern receiver actions and projectiles is WAY underated an underused. This load when loaded to the same pressures as a modern ammunition is the equal to the 25-06,6.5x284, 6.5x06 and isn't a wildcat. It does require a long action but that's not a significant problem. It's already chambered by several manufacturers and accuracy is legendary in this caliber. The 6.5 mm bullets have a high BC to SD ratio and are offered in a wide variety of weights; from 85 grns to 160 grns in many different configurations ( basically ground hogs to moose with one rifle).
    Having had 2,I like the 257 but feel the 6.5x55 is superior in so many ways; that's my choice.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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    Why go to a .257 improved yadda yadda? Just go with a 25-06 and be done with it. Thats how i look at it. Kind of like buying a .22 Hornet and trying to get every last FPS out of it you can.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Why go to a .257 improved yadda yadda? Just go with a 25-06 and be done with it.
    Or just go 257 Roy and really be done with it!

  20. #20
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    Default

    It sound to me like you want a 257 Roberts. So get one with a mag long enough to fit the longer bullets you want to use and go hunting. I think a person should shoot what makes him feel good not what makes someone feel good. For what your asking the cartridge to do the 257 in stock form has worked well for about 100 years. So unless deer have started wearing body armor it should still work fine. I shoot a pre 64 in 300H&H because I like it. Yeah, I could have it reamed to 300 weatherby or 300RUM but why. Find an old mauser 98 that someone has customized to 257R and enjoy the rifle for what it is and what it will do. Happy Hunting

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