The .260 Remington

By Chuck Hawks

.260 Rem.
Not shown to scale. Illustration courtesy of Nosler.

This may be the optimum Class 2 game cartridge. It duplicates the ballistics of the famous 6.5x55mm using a .308-family case, thus being suitable for all modern short action rifles.

Federal, Remington and Speer are offering factory loads for the .260 Remington. Bullet weights offered are 120 grains (SD = .246) and 140 grains (SD = .287). The handloader also has 87-100 grain, 125 grain, 129-130 grain, 150 grain, and 160-165 grain hunting bullets from which to choose.

Generally speaking, the 87-100 grain bullets are for varmints and small predators, the 120-130 grain bullets are intended for medium size deer, sheep, goats, and antelope, the 140 grain bullets are the favorite choice for larger or tougher animals like wild boar, black bear, and caribou, and the heavy 150-165 grain bullets are for the largest non-dangerous game.

The Federal, Remington, and Speer factory loads using 140 grain bullets all have a MV of 2,750 fps and a ME of 2,350 ft. lbs. Zero a scoped hunting rifle to hit 2.7" high at 100 yards and it should hit about 3" high at 130 yards, 1.7" high at 200 yards, and 3" low at 275 yards. Notable for use on tough game are the Federal Trophy Bonded and the Speer Grand Slam bullets in this weight. The 140 grain factory loads have the power to take large game like caribou at ranges in excess of 200 yards.

Here are some specifications of interest to reloaders: bullet diameter .264", maximum COL 2.800", maximum case length 2.035", trim to 2.025"

The .260 is easy to reload and works best with medium-slow to slow burning rifle powders. Recommended powders include H4350, IMR 4831 and RL-15 powders for light bullets and IMR 7828, H1000, and H4831 powders for heavy bullets.

Reloading data from the Hodgdon Powder Number 27 Data Manual for the 120 grain Speer spitzer bullet shows a MV of 2814 fps using 43.5 grains of H4350 powder, and a MV of 2960 fps in front of a maximum load of 46.5 grains of H4350 powder. Pressure was measured at 58,200 psi with the latter load. These would be excellent long range loads for the medium size species of big game.

Hodgdon's reloading data for the 125 grain Nosler Partition bullet shows a MV of 2725 fps using 45.0 grains of H4831 powder, and a MV of 2862 fps with a maximum charge of 48.0 grains of the same powder. Pressure was measured at 58,000 psi with the maximum load.

Hodgdon's reloading data for the 140 grain Nosler Partition spitzer bullet shows a MV of 2619 fps with 48.0 grains of H1000 powder and a MV of 2730 fps in front of a maximum load of 50.5 grains of H1000. The pressure of the latter load was 57,000 psi. Remington cases and 9 1/2 primers were used to develop all of the Hodgdon loads quoted here.

Note: A full length article about the .260 Remington can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2004, 2017 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.