Essentially the .260 Rem is a commercialised answer to the 6.5-08 Wildcat cartridge. Launched by Remington in 2007, the calibre was held back initially by the availability of quality brass.
It comes as no surprise that so many manufacturers have tried to harness the awesome ballistics of the 6.5mm in their own concoction of brass housing. It is one of the most versatile, accurate and manageable bullet diameters ever to have been chambered. Indeed, the virtues of its favourable ballistic properties have been described here before. I will not repeat these, but will instead evaluate if the .260 Rem is a worthy addition to the already crowded queue of calibres hoping to be the ultimate answer to the 6.5mm bullet.
Essentially the .260 Rem is a commercialised answer to the 6.5-08 Wildcat cartridge. Launched by Remington in 2007, the calibre was held back initially by the availability of quality brass. Home-loaders soon found a satisfactory solution by necking up Lapua .243 brass or necking down .308 Lapua brass. The extra prep time was worth it for the results, but this didn’t help non-loaders, with off-the-shelf ammo hard to come by.
Since then, life has been made considerably easier with Lapua recognising the need for dedicated, high-quality .260 Rem brass. In March this year, Hannam’s Reloading started importing the first batches. I have been testing it since its arrival, and it is quite possibly the most high-tolerance and consistent brass I have ever used. This is hardly surprising given the calibre’s rise through the target shooting world, with many shooters trading in their .308s for the new kid on the block.
Thankfully it is no longer a preserve of reloaders, as several ammo manufacturers now produce loads for the .260 Rem, including Remington and Federal. In the hunting world the uptake has been a bit slower, although it is enjoying increased use across Europe.
The .260 Rem does not have it all its own way, however, as the introduction of the 6.5×47 Lapua and Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge have provided the inquisitive shooter with something of a dilemma. The bottom line is that in practical hunting terms, there isn’t a hair between them. Sure, the 6.5×47 factory loads are down about 150fps on the others owing to the smaller case capacity. They can, however, be loaded to greater pressures, and handloads soon bring them back in line.
Until recently my personal preference would have been to opt for none of the above, and instead chamber a hunting rifle in 6.5×55 Ack Imp. Above 140 grains, the larger 55mm case has a marked advantage, but I never load rounds above this in the 6.5mm Swedish. If I want to punch 160- or 175-grain bullets, I reach for my 7×57 Mauser. I have a mountain rifle build in the planning stages for next year, and I am pretty sure now it will be a short action chambered in .260 Rem. Why this over the others? Simply because I have had the chance to load it at some length, and the brass is superb and readily available. BP