27 November 2006

The "25 Roberts" rifle (aka .257 Remington Roberts)

Lying awake and trying to find my way into sleep one night during this past hunting season, like pearls on a string I began sliding along the memories of deer killed by my 25 Roberts. I lost count and fell into sleep somewhere past sixty. More important to me were the seven individuals whom I could recall having used the rifle. Though it is a mere material fetish, it gives me great pleasure to connect the lives of these friends and family members through an elegant piece of wood and steel.
When I was a kid, I read an essay by Jack O'Connor about the 257 Roberts--probably on the pages of Outdoor Life magazine. A few oldtimer friends of my grandfather hunted with the 250-3000 Savage M99 lever action, and that cartridge carried quite a mystique. When O'Connor declared the 25 Roberts to be far superior to the 250-3000, I knew I had to have one.

It took awhile. After dozens of deer shot with everything including a 222 Remington, 20 ga shotgun slugs, and a 308 Winchester, I was working at an oil refinery in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and had a little folding money to spare. It was the late 1970s, and Winchester had reintroduced its M70 Featherweight. A local gunshop ordered me one in 25 Roberts.

It proved to shoot accurately with 50 grains of IMR 4350 pushing 100 grain Hornaday softpoints. I've since reduced that load to 48 gr, since occasionally with warm weather the load has proved a little too hot--leading to cratered primers and sticky ejection. For bullets, I've switched to 100-gr Nosler "blue tip" boattail softpoints, a super accurate bullet suggested by my friend Don Kieffer (from whom I recently re-acquired a 25-06 Browning, after having traded him the rifle some years prior to that). I also like the 100-gr Barnes all copper bullet--it is accurate, holds together on elk, and has not caused the copper fouling problems reported by some.

The 25 Roberts is a low recoil round that kills deer and antelope very well. I do not like shooting big magnum rifles and the flinching (bad shooting) habits they induce in most users. The 25 Roberts is also light to carry, something I appreciate when stalking mule deer up and down the rugged canyons of the lower Big Hole River valley. While the 25 Roberts is not the best choice for an elk rifle, it did kill a nice bull elk (1 shot) last year that happened to be feeding with a bunch of mule deer. Also, my hunting apprentice AJ used the little rifle to kill his elk cow this year. The first shot was at rather long range (well over 200 yards), and the second shot (delivered after the cow made it to the bottom of a steep walled valley and lay down, where AJ caught up with it) was probably superfluous.

On many deer hunts over the years, hunting partners have used my 25 Roberts to kill their deer. Sometimes, this has been after they missed a deer with their own rifle. I think some people are just careless about working up a good load in their own rifle and shooting it enough to have confidence in it (and to KNOW it’s sighted in!) but this has lent my rifle an almost magical reputation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey,I have a 25 roberts but have no ammo. If you know were or how I can get ammo please let me know.
Please send all info to

thank you for the help in my serach for ammo