“IT’S HIP TO BE SQUARE”
As you get older, it’s said you get wiser and the latter is rumored to be a byproduct of the former. In the case of ammunition, older is usually better, in that time in the field has built a solid reputation with the shooter. The .223 Remington/5.56x45 (1962), .308 Winchester/7.62x51 (1952) and 30-06 Springfield/7.62x63 (1906) are all household names and are MUCH older than I, Norman Gray (1967). What about the ones that you don’t know about? Are they not viable simply because they are newer or unknown? The number of firearms cartridges that have come into existence since 1808 is staggering and the secret to finding which cartridge will serve you best is easier than ever? Of course, meticulous research and a good firsthand knowledge of handloading surely doesn’t hurt.
Remington Model Seven, .260 Remington
The .260 Remington (1997), also known to veteran shooters and handloaders as the 6.5-08 A-Square, its original wildcat configuration. Rifles chambered in the iconic 6.5x55mm such as the Swedish Mauser have been used in the European hunting community for many years. Then around 1962, the first American wildcat versions of the now .260 Remington made their appearance starting with the 263 Express by the gun writer Ken Waters. Outdoor Life’s Editor, Jimmy Carmichael, a competitive shooter himself, wrote an article on the 6.5mm. It is surmised that this gave handloaders the green light to start experimenting with 6.5 loads, mainly for competitive shooting.
Eventually, both A-Square and Remington submitted paperwork to SAMMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) for standardization of the cartridge and on January 29, 1999, the standardized 6.5 cartridge was officially named the .260 Remington. As of this writing, Remington still supports the caliber in their Remington Model Seven and 700 series and factory ammunition. Other manufactured sources are available, but my years of sitting behind a reloading press have taught me that to ring every bit of performance out of a cartridge, handloading is key. Start with Starline’s .260 Remington brass and handload it to maximize accuracy from your favorite match or hunting rifle using 260 Remington Ammo.
Combining the Remington Model Seven with a handloaded .260 cartridge allows shooters with recoil sensitivity to enjoy a wide range of game. It also offers a lightweight rifle and optics combination, coming in at around 6.5 lbs. unloaded. If you enjoy long distance varmint hunting, a 90-grain bullet will give you velocities over 3000 ft./sec. and give you an effective range of over 200 yards. Move up to a 140-grain bullet and you can fill your freezer with white tail deer. Everything in between those weights will fill whatever other niche you want to fill. Of course, we shouldn’t overlook the heavier rifles for what this cartridge was designed for, metallic silhouette targets and hunter class benchrest competitions.
Handloading for the .260 Remington allows for a wide range of powders, keep in mind this is just a small sampling - IMR 4064, 4350, 4895, H414, H380 H4831SC, Reloader 19, 15 and 22 get the ball rolling. Medium to slow burning powders seem to provide the best velocities and are often compressed loads. By using the Remington Model Seven, you will experience a loss in velocity with its shorter 20” barrel. I highly recommend you use a chronograph to check the velocities of your handloads and adjust accordingly to reach the sweet spot you’re looking for with the 260 Remington ballistics. Sometimes just a ½ grain increase will get you to the velocity you want to achieve. I use a Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2. The G2 is Bluetooth and works with your smartphone, tablet or PC through an app that allows you to save, edit and email your results.
I handload 15 rounds of each load to run through my Caldwell G2 Chronograph. This way if a problem occurs during the process, I have a few extra rounds as backup. If you’re not chronographing your handloads, you are only doing half the work, and will never discover a rifle’s true potential. If the handload is matched to the rifle, accuracy will be outstanding, just ask a match shooter.
Since Remington was the first manufacturer to chamber the newly vetted .260 Remington ammo in their Model Seven, it was just a matter of time before other manufacturers wanted a slice of that pie. A few well-known names started introducing rifles of their own to include the Savage Arms 16/116 Trophy Hunter XP, Sako TRG 22, Tikka T3x Hunter and LaRue Tactical’s 22” PredatOBR 260 AR. For this article, I used Remington’s Model Seven. I grew up on Remington shotguns and rifles as a young man, and I have never had any issues using or recommending their products.
You can load Starline’s brass right from the bag, chamfering the case mouth to insure the bullets load smoothly and produce a good taper crimp. If your loading for a bolt action rifle, a normal full-length, two die set consisting of a full-length sizer die with an expander-decapping unit, and a seater die with bullet seater plug will handle the job. With some semi-automatics like the LaRue Tactical PredatOBR 260 AR, lever action and pump action rifles, you may or will have to use a small base, two die set, consisting of a small base sizer with an expander-decapping unit along with your regular seater die with seater plug. The SB sizer die resizes cases below SAAMI minimums, reducing the shoulder and body by a few thousandths of an inch; ensuring proper functioning in these tighter chambers.
Trimming your Remington .260 ammo cases may be necessary after firing, depending on the brass and how hot the load was. I use a RCBS Trim Pro 2 Manual Case Trimmer mounted on a RCBS Case Trimmer Stand powered by my cordless drill. The Trim Pro uses a spring-loaded universal shell holder that accommodates cases with .250-inch to .625-inch rims and standard caliber specific pilots. Pairing it with a 6.5mm RCBS Trim-Pro Three Way cutter you can trim to length, chamfer and deburr all in one step, saving you time.
The right equipment makes trimming brass effortless after your first firing.
HAND LOAD CHRONOGRAPH RESULTS | REMINGTON MODEL SEVEN | 260 REMINGTON BALLISTICS DATA
|BULLET WT. / MANUFACTURER:||POWDER:||AV:(FPS)|
|85 gr. Sierra Hollow Point||10 grs. HS-6||1402|
|120 gr. Barnes Triple Shock TSX||37 grs. 4064||2664|
|130 gr. Sierra Hollow Point||40 grs. H-4350||2568|
|140 gr. Hard Cast||9 grs. HS-6||1253|
|160 gr. Hornady Round Nose||47 grs. H-4831||2538|
Notes: Velocities figures are derived from a ten-round average recorded on a Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph G2 placed 15 feet from the muzzle. Velocities will vary for each loading depending on factors such as bullets, powder and primers used. Abbreviations:(AV): Average Velocity
I was turned on to Starline brass by two experts in the handloading industry. I was told I didn’t have to spend my valuable time resizing their new rifle cases and could handload them right from the bag, they spoke the truth. Don’t believe me… read it for yourself https://www.starlinebrass.com/faqs. Don’t believe them, try it for yourself. The length and weight of each case is so precise with only thousand(s) of an inch/grains in the variance between cases. Loaders understand, time management is so important in the handloading process and eliminating a step is a big deal when processing hundreds of cases. Excellence is Starline’s trademark, I’m a customer for life and guarantee if you try Starline you will be too!
.260 REMINGTON BRASS SPECIFICATIONS
Maximum Case Length: 2.035
Max OAL (Over All Length): 2.800
RCBS Shell Holder: #3
RCBS Pilot Caliber: 26
RCBS Collet: 1
Primer: Large Rifle
Remington: (800) 243-9700 www.remington.com
Starline Brass: (660) 826-6640 www.starlinebrass.com
RCBS: (800) 379-1732 www.rcbs.com
Caldwell (877) 509-9160 www.btibrands.com
DISCLAIMER: All reloading data in this article is for informational purposes only. Starline Brass and the author accept no responsibility for use of the data in this article.