The .240 Apex

By Chuck Hawks

The "Roaring 20's" saw the birth of a special Holland & Holland creation, the .240 Apex (or .240 Magnum Rimless). This smaller belted magnum pretty much duplicated the performance of the much later .243 Winchester. No small feat given the limitations of the smokeless powders used by the British in 1920.

The .240 Apex was a belted rimless cartridge intended for use in repeating rifles. There was also a rimmed version, the .240 Magnum Flanged, designed for use in double rifles.

These are smaller cartridges than the .244 H&H Magnum, but still contain a worthwhile quantity of powder. The case of the .240 is about the same length as the 6mm-06, but a little smaller in diameter. Loaded to the same pressure with modern powder the .240 Apex has the potential to exceed the performance of the modern .243 WSSM.

The .240 case is of typical belted rimless configuration with a sharp shoulder and moderate body taper. Only its long neck (a plus!) reveals its age. The rim diameter is .467", the base diameter ahead of the belt .450", and the shoulder diameter .403". This case is 2.49" long and the COL is 3.21" long. Bullet diameter is given as .245 in Cartridges of the World.

The original factory ballistics call for a 100 grain bullet at a MV of 2900 fps and ME of 1870 ft. lbs. At 200 yards the factory figures are 2445 fps and 1330 ft. lbs. This was achieved by 40 grains of an unspecified and undoubtedly obsolete smokeless powder.

If a 100 grain Speer Grand Slam bullet with a BC of .351 were substituted for the original British Copper Point bullet the trajectory would look like this: +2.6" at 100 yards, +3" at 135 yards, +1.8" at 200 yards, -3" at 278 yards, and -5.2" at 300 yards. Thus the maximum point blank range of that load (+/- 3") is 278 yards.

According to the "Expanded Optimal Game Weight Table" that load should be effective on small 100 pound CXP2 class game at a maximum optimum distance of slightly over 400 yards. For large CXP2 class game weighing 200 pounds the maximum optimum range is 210 yards. It may be old, but there are no flies on the .240 Apex as a deer and antelope cartridge!

Why the .240 Apex did not achieve the world wide popularity enjoyed today by the .243 Winchester is anybody's guess. The .240 Apex cartridges I have seen were loaded with relatively blunt semi-spitzer bullets, which would not have helped the cartridge's downrange performance. Probably it was just too far ahead of its time, much like the .350 and 6.5mm Remington Short Magnums when they were introduced in the 1960's.

Note: An article about the .244 H&H Mag. and the .240 Apex can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2005, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.