The .280 Remington

By Chuck Hawks

.280 Rem.
Illustration courtesy of Hornady Mfg. Co.

Designed in the 1950's, and also known at various times in its history as the 7mm-06 (a wildcat) and the 7mm Express, the .280 is Remington's answer to the .270 Winchester. Like the .270, the .280 is based on a necked down .30-06 case, with a slightly longer body to (hopefully) prevent it accidentally being loaded into a .270 Win. chamber.

Remington .280 factory loads are currently offered with three different 140 grain spitzer bullets, all with a muzzle velocity of 3,000 fps and a muzzle energy of 2,797 ft. lb. One is a pointed Core-Lokt, one is a Nosler ballistic tip, and the third is a boat-tail spitzer bullet. Clearly the 140 grain bullet has become the most popular weight for the .280. In addition, there is one load with a 150 grain pointed Core-Lokt bullet at 2,890 fps. The old 165 grain RN bullet at 2,820 fps is also still available.

Reloaders with .280 rifles can take advantage of many different bullet weights and powders. However, they are likely to find that the 130-160 grain bullets are the most useful for big game hunting. Relatively slow burning powders such as IMR 4350, IMR 4831, H4350, H4831, and RL 19 are useful for a wide range of bullet weights in the .280 Remington.

When loading .280 ammunition for use in pump action or autoloading rifles it is best to stick with the lighter loads. This is not for reasons of safety, but because these actions lack the camming power to extract stuck cases. It is also a good idea to full length resize cases that will be used in these actions. Maximum loads are intended for use in bolt action rifles.

Some basic .280 specifications useful to reloaders are these: Bullet diameter .284", Maximum COL 3.33", Maximum case length 2.54", MAP 60,000 psi.

According to the Speer Reloading Manual No. 13 their 130 grain spitzer bullets can be driven to a MV of 2773 fps by 53.0 grains of IMR 4350 powder, and 3106 fps by 57.0 grains of IMR 4350.

Also according to the Speer Reloading Manual, their 145 grain spitzer bullets can be driven to a MV of 2815 fps by 54.0 grains of IMR 4831 powder, and 2975 fps by 56.0 grains of IMR 4831. These are good all-around loads for a .280 hunting rifle.

The Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, Sixth Edition shows that their 154 grain bullets can be driven to a MV of 2400 fps by 42.7 grains of IMR 4831 powder, and to a MV of 2900 fps by a maximum load of 53.9 grains of IMR 4931. If I were hunting large game with a .280, these are the bullets I would use.

Note: A more extensive article about the .280 Remington can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2004, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.