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[B]260 Rem Hunting Load Suggestions - Deer/Antelope[/B]

shootershooter Senior MemberPosts: 1,186 Senior Member
My Savage Lightweight Hunter in 260 Remington finally arrived and I picked it up Saturday. After my Wyoming antelope hunt this year, I promised myself that I would put together a "very lightweight" rifle for next year since the two rifles I used the last few years were a chore for this "soon to be 66 year old" to carry around a lot. My 2010 antelope hunt had me doing a lot more sitting than walking. This year was just the opposite. With fewer hunters (fewer permits issued) the antelope weren't moving as much as last year and I covered a lot of ground to get my goat.

I told my gunsmith buddy to get one of these for me when one of his sources had one available and he finally came through on the last day of the year. My Midway order arrived Saturday also and I finally had some brass. This is my first rifle in 260 Rem. New Redding dies came in last week but the brass was on backorder. I was going to run some 7-08 cases in my new Redding dies but the package arrived just in time. I got the Nosler brass and it looks pretty good.

I had a one piece scope base on hand but wanted the two piece Burris to shave some weight and they were also in the Midway package. I had the pictured 4.5x-14x Burris Fullfield scope on hand and hadn't intended to put such a large scope on such a petite gun but thought I'd mount it for load development. It has the E-1 ballistic-plex reticle that I really like and I'll probably get one of these in 3x-9x for this rifle. I was pleasantly surprised to see it come in at a little under 7# with such a large scope. My goal was about 7 1/2 # range for a loaded rifle with sling. I think I nearly have that with this scope! It now weighs 6# 14.4 oz. empty with a 4.5x-14x scope.

I have two hunting rifles in 6.5x284 and hunted antelope with them and the 129 gr. Horn. SST's in those rifles, so I have that bullet on hand. I also have Nosler 120 gr. BT's and just got some Hornady 120 gr. A-max bullets that are recommended for hunting in the new Hornady manual. So I'd like to develop a hunting load for deer/antelope size game with one of those three bullets. 120 a-max, 120 ballistic tip, or 129 SST. I have all the major reloading manuals; Barnes, Hornady, Lyman, Sierra, Speer, Hodgdon, etc., but I'd like to pick the brains of forum members who hunt deer size game with a 260 Rem. What are your favorite loads? Which bullets perform for you at 260 Rem velocities?

I'd appreciate hearing from those of you that hunt with this round. I have quite a few suitable powders on hand including H-4831sc, H-4350, H414, H380, Varget, RL-19, RL-22 and IMR-4064 & 4895, and WW-748. I should point out that my barrel is only 20" long.

Yesterday the winds were fierce, wind advisories issued, so I didn't even put up a paper target. I bore sighted the rifle and sighted it in with two shots at a rock on a dirt bank at about 80 yards . It should be on paper today at 100 if the winds die down enough for me to run a target down range and roll my shooting bench out of the garage.

Thanks in advance,
Joe

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There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!

Replies

  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,767 Senior Member
    While not a .260, I shoot a 6mm Rem at antelope. I've had very good results with the 95 grain NBT. It's a light enough constructed bullet that it opens reliably against antelope at any range I've shot them, from 200-400+ yards. I'd think you'd get the same results.

    I've not used any AMaxes. I have shot SST's into whitetail from my .270. My completely unscientific opinion is that the SST is slightly "harder" than the Nosler Ballistic Tip. Unless your rifle simply doesn't like them (personally, I've gotten great accuracy from NBT's in any chambering I've tried them in), it's going to be hard to go wrong with the NBT for antelope.

    Mike

    Oh, as to powder. Of the ones you've listed, H4350 will yield the highest velocity with the 120 NBTs and your barrel length. In fact, that's the powder I use in my antelope load. You can expect ~2900 fps with the 120 NBT and a max dose of H4350. I'm getting ~3300 fps with the 95's in my 6mm Rem, and the accuracy is about .75" at 100.
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,425 Senior Member
    H-4350 would be where I would start.
    NBT's have always worked good for me in several calibers for deer/antelope.
    The 140 A-Max has also worked good for me as well
    Never used the SST's.
    The 123 A-Max has a better BC, so I would use it over the 120 A-Max myself.
    The 130 Berger is another good option as well.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • WORLD TWORLD T Member Posts: 262 Member
    I almost bought that rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor or a 6.5x284. I am very interested in knowing how that gun shoots.
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 24,635 Senior Member
    Fine looking rifle.
    Shut up-----KAREN; OK Cynthia
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,387 Senior Member
    I'm already in love with that rifle. Nice wood and Love the fluted bolt. I have a 4.5-14x56 Leupold VX-3L with a 30 mm tube on my Yugo Mauser action Shilen Barrel .257 Roberts AI. The rifle is heavy, but though the scope is big it's not that heavy.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 20,861 Senior Member
    Only .264" bullet I've taken a deer with was a a Barnes 120gr TTSX. I was NOT impressed with its performance. I'd look at the 123 A-max, 120 Ballistic tip or 129 SST
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,387 Senior Member
    For white tail deer, for my money, the Sierra Game King has no peer. And also for white tail, the faster the better. I load 150 grain NBT in my Ruger 77 30-06 at right at 3,000 FPS. But I am thinking about trying some 130 grain bullets in it because several folks on here have had good luck with them. White Tail deer are not elephants and don't require heavy or strongly constructed bullets. Hell, Jayhawker and BP Sniper both have admitted to killing deer with 22 centerfires using match bullets and I have done the same. A match bullet is of thinner construction and is more frangible on average than a hunting bullet, yet they work well on white tail deer. Save the fancy bullets for elk and larger tougher game. You can kill all the deer in Texas with a Sierra Game King or Prohunter.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 7,425 Senior Member
    You are such a radical Snake.
    Don't you know you can't use match bullets to kill deer?
    They don't die unless the box of bullets says, "hunting" somewhere on the box:tooth:
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,387 Senior Member
    HeHeHe,:spittingcoffee::rotflmao::cool2:

    I just bought a box of Hornady 68 grain match to load for my 1-9 twist .223. I wish my 22-250 had at least a 1-12 twist, however it is a 1-14. But it does somehow stabilize the Speer Semi Spitzer 70 grainers pretty well. However, the 22-250 is still plenty of rifle for Texas White Tail with good bullets. Mine seems to stabilize the Sierra 60 grain HP Varminters very well. I am not afraid to shoot a deer with these in it, because it is accurate enough to hit them where I want every time.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,748 Senior Member
    I agree with Linefinder as to bullet selection. I've been using NBTs in my .243 for over 10 years, and they have performed very well on antelope. However, if you hit a big bone such as a hip bone, they will make a big hole and ruin some meat. Don't ask me how I know.

    One bullet that is seemingly always overlooked is Hornady's Interbond. I've taken one nice anteltope buck and one decent mule deer buck with the 139 grain Interbond from my .284 and am impressed with how well they performed on both. They're also a fairly cheap bullet, as I recall. Just something you may want to consider.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • 41 cal41 cal Member Posts: 97 Member
    my 260 loves the 120 nbt's with either a near max load of h4350 or varget.I have to agree with snake284 on the gamekings,can't beat the price or performance.I bought some trying to save on cost and they shoot great and the few deer/hogs shot with the gk's didn't seem to realize I was using "cheap"bullets.
    I was always taught to respect my elders, but its getting harder to find one ...
  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    We had an unseasonably warm day for January 5 so I ran a target downrange and rolled the bench out of the garage. I started with H-4831 and 129 gr. Hornadys and got 1 1/4"- 1 1/2" groups @ about 2800 f.p.s. Then I tried the 120 gr. A-max and H-4350 and it averaged 2886 f.p.s. and had about 1" group. This was all with virgin Nosler brass and Federal 210 primers. The brass looks good and velocities are in line with my manuals. I'll try the 120 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips tomorrow, since I have some on hand, but the A-max bullets look like a winner for next years antelope load.

    I have some Berger VLD's , 140 gr. A-max's and 139 gr. Lapua Scenar's that I shoot in 1000 yd. competitions from other rifles, but think that the 120's are probably ideal for deer/antelope hunting loads from this new rifle. This rifle is so light and compact that I am really beginning to like it!

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    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,824 Senior Member
    shooter wrote: »
    We had an unseasonably warm day for January 5 so I ran a target downrange and rolled the bench out of the garage. I started with H-4831 and 129 gr. Hornadys and got 1 1/4"- 1 1/2" groups @ about 2800 f.p.s. Then I tried the 120 gr. A-max and H-4350 and it averaged 2886 f.p.s. and had about 1" group. This was all with virgin Nosler brass and Federal 210 primers. The brass looks good and velocities are in line with my manuals. I'll try the 120 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips tomorrow, since I have some on hand, but the A-max bullets look like a winner for next years antelope load.

    I have some Berger VLD's , 140 gr. A-max's and 139 gr. Lapua Scenar's that I shoot in 1000 yd. competitions from other rifles, but think that the 120's are probably ideal for deer/antelope hunting loads from this new rifle. This rifle is so light and compact that I am really beginning to like it!

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    You have me very intriged with this rifle now. I have been on a quest for a light "mountain rifle" for some time now but have found them to be somewhat cost prohibitive. The Weatherby ultralight being my top choice at this point.
    Looking forward to hearing how things progress for you.

    Sako
  • 35RMB35RMB Member Posts: 56 Member
    Funny that I see this thread right now. The .260R is the caliber I've chosen for my first custom rifle build. I'll keep an eye on this thread for future reference for load development.

    BTW that rifle is sweet.....
  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    We had another nice day in west central Illinois, so I played some more with the Savage LWH. I had scrubbed the bore yesterday, so it was squeaky clean. The load was actually the same as yesterday, 44.6 gr. of H-4350, not 44.5 as I wrote on the target, but first shot from a clean bore was a little out of the group for the next 3. I've experienced this before with other rifles and will see if this continues. One of my 7-08's does this and I hunt with it with a fouled bore. I'm looking forward to trying Varget tomorrow.

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    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,748 Senior Member
    In the FWIW category, here's something I did this year with my hunting rigs. I was able to do this mostly because I live within 15-20 minutes of a range, and don't have to start work until 10 a.m.

    Starting about 2 weeks before hunting season, after I had what I considered to be my hunting load developed, I made several trips to the range. I started with a fouled bore. On each trip, I shot one time. On the first trip, I started with a new target for each rifle. On following trips, I shot at the same target, using the same aim point.

    What this did was to give me a good idea where the first shot of a cold, dirty barrel would go, and helped a lot with the confidence I had in my rifle and load.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    Jerry, thanks for your input. I have known folks who do it both ways and I'm pretty much on the fence, as each way has worked for me. One group says to get the gun squeaky clean and shoot a shot, then go clean it again and shoot another and get your three shot group that way. All shots through a clean bore. My range is at my house, so I could do that very easily. I tend to lean in the other direction most of the time and that is to hunt with a fouled bore. This past fall's Wyoming antelope hunt saw me bringing two rifles from Illinois with a couple fouling shots fired from each one. With modern smokeless powders, it's not like I was going to harm my rifles by leaving them fouled for a week.

    Two of my favorite gun-scribes are Layne Simpson and Wayne Van Zwoll, and they each recommend hunting with a fouled bore. It works for me. Something I do after cleaning my bore is to give it a light coating of TM oil. This could be why my first shot from a clean bore hits a few inches away from the next 2 or 3 (the bullet has to push the lube out of the way). Either way, a deer or antelope sized critter is not going to be missed because of a 2" divergence from the group at 100 yards. If it's 300 yards, I'd like the greater precision. Just my thoughts. It might make an interesting thread on it's own to see how others on the forum approach the issue.

    Joe
    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
  • shootershooter Senior Member Posts: 1,186 Senior Member
    Today was another fine day for January in Illinois. I got a 5/8" group with 100 gr. Nosler ballistic tips and H-4350 powder. I'm going to follow this up tomorrow.


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    There's no such thing as having too much ammo, unless you're on fire or trying to swim!
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