History of the .257 Roberts
Q: I know the cartridge dates back to the early 1930s and is one of your favourites. I've read virtually everything you have written about it, but I'd like to know everything about its history. What can you tell me about how it evolved?
A: You're stretching the friendship chum! However, as far as I can ascertain, Ned Roberts developed a wildcat cartridge bearing his name sometime during the 1920s and '30s, by shortening the 7x57mm Mauser case about 0.06 inch, reducing its shoulder angle from 20 degrees to to 15 degrees before he necked it down to .25 calibre. A.O Niedner, father of the .25-06 who advised Ned Roberts on the design of his cartridge also built custom rifles for it. During the late 1920s, custom rifles for the Roberts were produced by Griffin & Howe. Later Griffin & Howe decided to forego the case trimming when forming cases by leaving the 7x57mm Mauser case full length, and stamped their barrels ".25 Griffin & Howe." In 1934 Remington decided to adopt the G&H wildcat, but chose to modify its case so that factory cartridges could not be fired in
rifles chambered for the .257 Roberts or .25 G&H. They did this by changing the shoulder angle from 15 degrees back to the original 20 degrees of the 7x57mm Mauser. In 1935, the legitimised .257 Remington Roberts was offered in Remington's Model 30 bolt-action,a 1921 sporting version of the M 17 Enfield military rifle. Winchester followed by chambering its Model 54 bolt action for it. Underloaded at the factory for most of its life, I had very little interest in the .257 until 1983 when Remington gifted me a Model 700 Classic along with some pretty anaemic factory ammo. I found that in this good rifle, the .257 wasn’t only capable of excellent accuracy but much higher velocity and performance. Classic powders were IMR4350 and 4350, but I decided to experiment with slower propellants. Finally settling on Winchester's 785 Ball powder, I got the 117gn Silver Tip going 2900fps and the 100gn Sierra at 3125fps with not slightest sign of any excessive pressure and 5-shot groups under one MOA. The Sierra 90gn HPBT achieved 3300fps with some 3-shot groups of 1/2 inch. It was later that I settled for the Barnes 100gn X-Bullet at about 3200fps which became my favourite load for deer. Later I had the rifle long-throated.