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Many consider the .24 calibers to be the ultimate dual purpose caliber. In my opinion the .24 is a great varmint caliber, but is a bit light for medium/big game. In my opinion, the dual purpose caliber begins and ends with the .25’s. Anything larger is overkill for varmints, and anything smaller is underkill for larger game.

25-20 Winchester, Introduced in the late 1800’s, this is a fun little cartridge that makes a dandy foraging rifle. Small game up to coyote in size but way underpowered for deer. The Speer 75 grain bullet was around 1600 FPS using IMR 4227 in the Marlin 1894 rifle.

250 Savage was a successful attempt to get 3000 FPS with the 25 caliber. i never got that velocity, although I did have success with the cartridge. Around 2800 FPS with the 87 grain bullet and 2400 FPS with the 120 grain bullet. I took a lot of groundhogs with the former and a couple of deer with the latter. I traded the Savage 99 rifle I had for a .....

257 Roberts. Based on the 7mm Mauser necked to .257, this is truly a multi purpose cartridge. I had help with the loading of this cartridge as I received load data the rifle liked with my trade. The powder was IMR 4831 and it pushed 87 grain Sierra at a touch over 3200 FPS and the 117 grain Sierra to almost 2800 FPS. The rifle was a custom Mauser.

25-06 Remington. Around 1920 the A O Neider Rifle Company necked the 20-06 to 25 caliber and called it the 25 Neider. In the late 1960’s Remington commercialized the cartridge and called it the 25-06 Remington. An 87 grain at 3400 FPS makes this an awesome, if somewhat loud, groundhog rifle, while the 117 grain bullet at 3000 FPS is poison on deer. I am very fond of this cartridge and have owned three of them. The first was a H&R Handi Rifle which was an accurate rifle trying to get out. It shot groups that were less than 1 inch wide, but would string vertically about 3 times that. I replaced it with a Stevens bolt action, but got velocities not much better than the 257 Bob with the shorter barrel. The cartridge really likes the 26" barrel of the H&R rifle. I now own a H&R Ultra that will shoot MOA. I am happy.

25-45 Sharps. this is simply the 223 necked to 25 caliber. A cartridge that I really want to like. It’s supposed to give 3000 FPS with the 87 grain .257 bullet. My velocities were always nearly 200 feet below that, but I was using a 20" barrel. My biggest gripe though was accuracy. I just could not get it. With the right load I could shoot 1.5 inches or less, but 2" groups were not uncommon. I envisioned this as a multiple use rifle, but this just would not do for varmints, as a deer ‘ pig rifle it was acceptable though. I want to like the cartridge and think it just might deserve a second chance. Rifle was an AR.
 

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What doomed the .257 Roberts was that it was either put in an overly long .30-06 length action and the cartridges moved forward during recoil which lead to feeding problems. This also caused the rifles to be unnecessarily heavy. OR, it was crammed into a too short .308-.243 action which required the OAL to be such that the bullets had to be seated too deep which reduced its case capacity that lead in turn to reduced MV(aka performance). It really needed the not common x57 mid length action for best performance.

Now you know the rest of the story.

BTW. My email address is based off of this cartridge. "[email protected]**.net" if that gives a clue of what I think about this cartridge. ;)
 
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Discussion Starter #3
What doomed the .257 Roberts was that it was either put in an overly long .30-06 length action and the cartridges moved forward during recoil which lead to feeding problems. This also caused the rifles to be unnecessarily heavy. OR, it was crammed into a too short .308-.243 action which required the OAL to be such that the bullets had to be seated too deep which reduced its case capacity that lead in turn to reduced MV(aka performance). It really needed the not common x57 mid length action for best performance.

Now you know the rest of the story.

BTW. My email address is based off of this cartridge. "[email protected]**.net" if that gives a clue of what I think about this cartridge. ;)
I have never seen a 257 Bob except on Mauser and Arisaka actions. I never gave action length much thought as it was never an issue with the few rifles I handled. I knew that the cartridge would not fit in a short action. I had a 6mm Remington, which was based on the 257 Roberts / 7mm Mauser, in a model 700 long action. It never gave troubles. My 257 Bob was built on a Mauser action and was very heavy, but it had a 1 1/2" diameter barrel from receiver to muzzle. It was also very accurate.

I always thought (and read) that what caused the 257 Bob to lose favor was the appearance of new powders that let the 25-06 reach its full potential. Before that the two were about like 2 peas in a pod. But if the long action was causing feeding problems, it just makes sense that the shorter cartridge would lose favor over the longer.
 
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