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.257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?

21 Feb 2024
@ 07:04 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler


New owner: Mark V - 257 W’by Mag – 26” bbl.

I now have brass, powder and lighter Varmint bullets in stock for Coyote hunting. The Nosler 100 gr BT is shooting 1 hole groups @ 100 yards. 87 gr Speer TNT load development will begin very shortly – 3,600 to 3,700 fps. 3,700 is max recommended by Speer. Doable with my components. Yes, it is too much gun for Coyote. Thanks, but I don’t care. Lots of potential at hand with this versatile cartridge.

If I may, here’s my question…

For game animals up to about 400 +/- lbs – UNDER 400 yards - I’m looking for a more appropriate BG bullet. Have read Nathan’s work on this many times. With serious concerns about close-distance bullet blow ups - .257 Partitions, Accubonds, Interbonds, bonded bullets of any weight are literally impossible to find right now. Likewise Scirocco. Did find one location with 100 gr Hotcor’s??

If you have field experience with this cartridge – and would like to recommend “another” Big Game bullet that will hold together reasonably well at closer ranges and still be effective to 400 yards - I would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

Thank you kindly.




21 Feb 2024
@ 08:22 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?
Hi Dan, if you don't mind, I would like to use analogies to help answer this, unless you would prefer me to pop some steroids, hop on a sunbed, bleach my teeth, grow a garden gnome beard, cut my hair so that I look like something a dog just pinched off on a street corner - and then finally make you a podcast on the subject.

Imagine I have a pebble and I throw it at you. If it hits your body, it won't hurt.

Now imagine that I have thrown a fist sized rock. If this hits, it will hurt. The reason it hurts is because firstly the weight of the stone is already high and secondly, if multiplied by speed, the rock contains a very high level of kinetic energy. Once the rock strikes, its momentum is completely interrupted, causing all of that energy to be imparted on contact.

In order to achieve the same result with a pebble, it must be driven exponentially faster. It is this very factor that Weatherby and others have exploited.

But there are some problems with using a pebble. The first problem is that very high speeds place a lot of stress on a bullet. The answer may seem simple - use a tough bullet. But in doing so, we can run into other issues.

A very small bore produces a large wound via speed but this still needs to be transferred into another form of energy (hydraulic force) on target, otherwise it will be wasted. To reiterate, in order to produce the same width of wounding as a larger bore (heavier bullet), the smaller bore must not only be driven faster, but must dump more energy (i.e. some weight shedding action - even if small). This becomes even more apparent when using .22 centerfires.

As velocity falls away, especially with small bore cartridge's firing light, low BC bullets, the bullet needs to dump even more energy. At low speeds, construction needs to be quite soft if the projectile is to generate a large wound.

The trouble with a lightly constructed, light weight bullet, is that it may not produce adequate penetration on large game game animals - depending on range, shot placement and game angles.

It is for these reasons that it can be much more preferable to match the .257 Weatherby cartridge to specific game weights, rather than try to make it perform well on large game at both close and long ranges. This allows us to work with and enjoy the strengths of a cartridge, rather than having to focus on its weaknesses.

These comments aside, the 120 grain Partition can work as acceptably well on larger bodied deer. Realistically, without the Partition, the .257 Weatherby might not have survived as a commercial cartridge. The two really go hand in hand. The 120 grain Hotcor is another option. Though it is not completely ideal, it should not be overlooked. Bullets with a heavier bond (Accubond etc) can also provide a compromise between wounding and penetration, though performance does (especially in smaller bores) wane at extended ranges due to the light weight (no 120 grain options), poor energy and therefore increased weight retention. Having spent some time using these at extended ranges, I can state that they are not very exciting - a seemingly humdrum cartridge like the 7mm-08 produces a much larger wound at 400 yards. Yet another option is to dual load utilizing a copper bullet above 2400fps and a softer bullet below this impact velocity - if you can get both to print close enough together.

If on the other hand you cannot obtain suitable projectiles, it might be preferable to use a heavier cartridge such as the .30-06.

I hope that helps to provide some clarity.
21 Feb 2024
@ 09:31 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: .257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?

It most certainly does. Thank you.

Just me now - personally - I've always worked hard to create a DRT when hunting, matching cartridge, bullet, animal to that goal. Never guaranteed by any means, but always worth the effort.

After reading your post VERY carefully - it seems I will trust my judgment to use other rifles / cartridges in my safe for BG hunting. That's not to say the .257 W'by wouldn't be adequate with the right bullet and distance. I've always tried to exceed adequate with my rifle choice. So far, so good with that policy.

.257 Partitions and other bonded bullets are just not available - at least not that I can find and I have looked!! Staying with deer up to maybe 250 lbs - should I just use the 100 gr Hotcor or the 115 BT / 117 SST and call it a day??

Thank you.

21 Feb 2024
@ 03:50 pm (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: .257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?

Following up on your recommendations and unavailability of the Partitions.

My student asked to postpone his lesson this afternoon so I had a few hrs to read "actual" performances on small to med sized game with copper bullets.

Confirming your sound FPS advice above - for the .257 Weatherby - I've pretty much settled on the 100 gr TTSX. The 2,200 fps minimum provides me with a more than sufficient shooting distance I'm comfortable / confident with. It may be a compromise against the Partition but should provide the terminal performance I seek - inside 100 yards and out to my personal working distances.

Thank you again. Best to you and your family.

22 Feb 2024
@ 11:40 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: .257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?
The cartridge is 80 years old. When Roy Weatherby said it was his favorite, in 1945, he was referring to its flat trajectory, which, at a time without range finders and precision optics, ruled.
23 Feb 2024
@ 05:56 am (GMT)

Daniel Schindler

Re: .257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?
The cartridge is 80 years old. When Roy Weatherby said it was his favorite, in 1945, he was referring to its flat trajectory, which, at a time without range finders and precision optics, ruled.

Yes indeed Sir. And not too shabby yet today.

The unavailability of Partitions and the 120 gr HotCor have put an interesting - questionable - light on the .257 W'by's speed advantages. Hopefully, that availability will change.

In the meantime, I will use a larger bore as Nathan recommended.

Thanks for your comment.


14 Mar 2024
@ 11:14 am (GMT)

David Lenzi

Re: .257 Weatherby Big Game bullet?
Has anyone seen the 135 ELD-M in the wild for the 25s?

If it performs like the rest of the ELD-M line, I can't imagine anything even comes close for an intermediate to long range option.


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