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.284 Winchester


Introduced in 1963, the .284 was Winchester’s answer to the .280 Remington cartridge. Designed to fit in the short action Model 88 Lever action rifle and Model 100 semi automatic, the .284 can be regarded historically, as an early short magnum. The .284 was unique, featuring a short fat case with a rebated rim, (the rim is smaller in diameter than the case). 

Unfortunately, the .284 failed to gain any great attention with hunters. A few lever action fans found the new cartridge to be both powerful and portable but otherwise the design never took hold and production of rifles was discontinued. As a custom chambering for short action bolt rifles, the .284 case lost a great deal of powder capacity when loaded with long sleek 160-162 grain bullets seated to work through short magazine boxes. On the other hand, the .284 under utilized long actions.

For several years it seemed that the .284 was in danger of becoming obsolete however just as this was about to occur, wildcatter’s rescued the .284, utilizing the case design necked down to 6.5mm for competitive shooting. The 6.5-284 gained and has maintained an immensely popular following which to a great extent, has helped preserve sources of brass for owners of the original .284 cartridge.


The .284 Winchester is a somewhat under rated cartridge. While it is true that in short action rifles, powder capacity is cramped when long projectiles are utilized, the .284 has some unique qualities. 
From the standard Model 88 rifle or short action bolt action rifles, all featuring 22” barrels, the .284 Winchester is an immensely effective medium game cartridge. Winchester used a 1:10 twist rate in the M88, producing best accuracy with 120-150 grain bullets although it is not uncommon for this twist rate to shoot 160 grain bullets just under the 1MOA mark. With modern 140 grain projectiles, the .284 hand loaded to 3000fps is fast killing and flat shooting. The same performance can be derived from 150 grain bullets driven at 2900fps. The .284 is able to drive 160 grain bullets at 2800fps and while this may not be considered an optimum velocity based on the potential of the case, it is nevertheless a substantial step up from the short action 7mm08 cartridge giving 2600 to 2650fps with this bullet weight.
The case length of the .284 measures 2.170” (55.1mm). The true short action .308 Winchester case measures 2” (51mm), similar to its sibling, the 7mm08. Obviously, the .284 case is substantially longer and wider than the .308/7mm08 case but although the .284 is capable of comfortably exceeding 7mm08 velocities and achieving its design goal, its full potential is limited due to the COAL of 2.795” (71mm) to work through short action magazines averaging 2.83” (72mm) in length. By the same token, if housed in a long action rifle with projectiles seated out long, the longest potential custom COAL with the 180 grain VLD is  3.078” (78.2mm), far shorter than the shortest of long action magazines (Browning and Ruger) at 3.385” and 3.425” (86 and 87mm). 
There is one action that is absolutely ideal for the .284, an action which is too long for optimum utilization of short action cartridges yet too short for flexible COAL’s with long action cartridges - the Mauser M98, in both its original military guise or as modified by Parker Hale. There are literally thousands upon thousands of these extremely well made, robust actions, designed for the Mauser 57mm case length. Magazine length of the M98 (and Parker Hale mod) is 3.307” (84mm).
For hunters who have M98 actions gathering dust or rust, waiting for inspiration, the .284 Winchester is the answer. The .284 fixes the age old problem of the M98 being slightly too short for the .30-06 length family of cartridges if long COAL’s are desired. Utilized this way, the .284 produces identical performance to the .280 Remington. Readers might ask - why not just adopt the .280 Remington? The answer is again, the .284 is a viable proposition and optimum method of utilization when faced with barreling or re-barreling the  M98 action.
One aspect of the .284 which is often overlooked, is that it is extremely well suited to competitive long range shooting, especially in high wind environments. From a 32” barrel, the 180 grain Berger VLD can be loaded to a mild 2950fps. This has proven to be a winning combination for Grant Lovelock, owner of True-Flite New Zealand Ltd. True-Flite barrels have been used to win shooting matches around the world, including, in 2009, the world F-Class champs at Bisley in the UK. As for the .284, Lovelock decided to build a .284 on a whim to see how it would fare against the 6.5-284 Wildcat. In the 10 to 25mph winds common in NZ, one does not need to be a rocket scientist to understand the potential of the 180 grain VLD at 2950fps.

Factory Ammunition

Olin continue to produce a single factory load for the .284, the 150 grain Winchester Power point at an advertised velocity of  2860fps (24” barrel) giving realistic velocities of around 2720 in 22” barrels. This ammunition is loaded to mild pressures to avoid extraction difficulties in the Lever and auto loading rifles.  The 150 grain PowerPoint is a fast expanding, wide wounding, fast killing projectile out to moderate ranges. Unfortunately, this bullet has a very low BC and is not a good long range performer, penetration is also limited due to the explosive expansion. For close to moderate range work using the M88 rifle, the PowerPoint is an excellent lighter medium game bullet.

Hand Loading

In the U.S .284 Winchester brass is readily available for hand loading. Outside of the U.S, Winchester brand brass can be ordered by importers however, it can be easier to obtain and re-form Norma or Lapua 6.5-284 brass - ironic considering that the original cartridge is exceptionally well suited to long range competitive shooting. 

Short action rifles chambered in .284 produce optimum velocities when loaded with medium slow burning powders in the 4350 range. In custom bolt action rifles utilizing long COAL’s, the 4831 burn rate is optimum.

From the 22” barreled model 88 and 100 rifles, typical velocities include 3200fps with 120 grain bullets, 3000fps with 140’s, 2900fps with 150 grain bullets and 2750fps to 2800fps with 160 grain bullets.
Custom rifles with long COAL’s featuring 24-26” barrels are able to produce velocities of up to 3100fps with 140 grain bullets, 3000fps with 150 grain bullets, 2900fps with 160-162 grain bullets and 2700fps with the long 180 grain VLD.
Due to the fact that the .284 duplicates the velocities of the .280 Remington (including long barreled AI versions), bullet performance is discussed in greater detail in the .280 text. Hand loaders are however reminded that in original rifles, the 1:10 twist and short magazine are sometimes best utilized with 139-140 grain bullets. The Nosler Accubond and the Hornady InterBond are both good medium range medium game projectiles. The Hornady 139 grain SST is an excellent open country bullet for lighter medium game, especially at longer ranges. On heavier game, the 140 grain Barnes TSX is an outstanding performer. The 160 grain Partition or Accubond driven at 2700fps are also excellent out to moderate ranges.

Closing Comments

The .284 has been a favorite cartridge of Australian gun writer Nick Harvey for many years. Harvey’s rifle is based on an M98 action utilizing 160 grain bullets loaded to 2840fps. The rifle was built light for demanding hunting trips and with it, Harvey has taken a large number of game, including some very tough, large medium game animals. For those who have M98 actions and are waiting for an inspirational build - the .284 is an excellent choice.
Suggested loads: .284 Winchester Barrel length: 22”
No ID   Sectional Density Ballistic Coefficient Observed  MV Fps ME
1 FL Win 150gr Powerpoint .266 .364 2720 2464
2 HL 139gr SST/IB/AB .246 .486 3000 2777
3 HL 160gr Partition .283 .475 2800 2785
Suggested sight settings and bullet paths           
1 Yards 100 125 235 272 300 325 350  
  Bt. path +3 +3.3 0 -3 -6.1 -9.3 -13.1  
2 Yards 100 150 275 316 350 375 400 425
  Bt. path +3 +3.7 0 -3 -6.4 -9.2 -12.5 -16.2
3 Yards 100 140 251 290 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -6.6 -9.7 -13.2 -17.3
No At yards 10mphXwind Velocity Ft-lb’s
1 300 9.3 2027 1368
2 300 5.8 2437 1833
3 300 6.6 2249 1797
Note: For custom long barreled rifles (24-26”), see .280 Rem tables.
 284 winchester final.jpg

  Imperial Metric 
A .473 12.01
B .500 12.70
C 35deg  
D .475 12.06
E .320 8.13
F 1.77 45.08
G .285 7.24
H 2.170 55.12
Max Case 2.170 55.12
Trim length 2.158 54.8

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