While the 100-grain .243 Win is often seen as too light for bigger deer species and the .308 Win a bit of overkill, I see the .257 Roberts as a sensible mid-point.
I have never been one to follow the crowd, and I’ve steered clear of the common .243 Win, .270 Win and .308 Win chosen by most hunters. There is no imagination in that, even though – the overrated .270 Win excluded – they may be the logical choice. When I went looking for a new calibre to slot into the dominant position usually reserved for a .243 Win, I wanted a calibre that showed a bit of lateral thinking, and that could hold its own from foxes to red deer.
I initially thought I had the investigation sewn up with the .25-06, but in the process of looking into .25 calibre options, I stumbled across the .257 Roberts. I have to admit I had never heard of the calibre before, but on discovering it was based on a necked-down version of the 7×57 case, I was immediately interested.
The original cartridge design was chambered in custom rifles as far back as 1928. Remington released a commercial version in 1934, altering the shoulder angle from 15 to 20 degrees.
In the early years, the widespread use of old military 7×57 actions for .257 conversions held the calibre back. The ageing constructions of old actions meant pressures had to be kept down to ensure safe operation, so factory ammo was generally under-loaded. This issue was addressed in the 1980s with the introduction of the .257 Roberts (+P), allowing factory loads to reach their full potential. But the real question is: How does it compare to other options?
It’s important to decide what we are pitting it against. A friend of mine said the .257 Roberts doesn’t match up to 6.5mm cartridges. That may be true, but I think it is the wrong comparison to make. In the UK we have no real need for the punching power of bullets above the 120-grain mark. While the 100-grain .243 Win is often seen as too light for bigger deer species and the .308 Win a bit of overkill, I see the .257 Roberts as a sensible mid-point.
The output from QuickLoad puts the 75-grain .257 Roberts 1.7in flatter at 400 yards than the equivalent for the .243 Win. Even the 117-grain bullet in the Roberts has 1.6in on the 100-grain .243 at the same range, only losing an inch to the 115-grain .270 Win. In terms of wind drift, the 117-grain Roberts tops the table with a 0.4MOA edge over the rest, while its down-range energy almost mirrors the .270 Win once out to 300 yards. The stats are very favourable, while the calibre shows a break from the crowd and a flare of imagination. I can’t think of a good reason not to buy one. BP