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September 05, 2007

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The Strange and Tortured Career of the .284 Winchester

Back in 1963, when Winchester was in its second set of death throes, its engineers came out with a remarkable new cartridge. They called it the .284, and it was designed to bring .270 ballistics to the flawed Model 88 lever-action and the horrible Model 100 semi-auto rifles. For a hidebound company like Winchester to come out with something as radical as the .284 was as radical as Buffalo Bill showing up for a buffalo hunt with a phaser.

The whole idea was to stuff a lot of powder in a short case, and to this end, the W-W designers gave the .284 a fat body, a sharp 35-degree shoulder, and a rebated rim that would fit a .30/06-size bolt face. It was, at the time, the only rebated rim in the panoply (!) of American cartridges. It failed because the 88 and the 100 were doomed anyway, and because Winchester seated the .284 bullets so deeply that they took up a lot of that wonderful powder space.

Browning chambered some BLRs for the .284, and Savage made some  Model 99s for it, but otherwise it died as a commercial round. What saved it was the fact that it drove wildcatters mad. Show them a .284 case and they would start to shake all over and proceed to neck it up, down, and sideways. It may be the most-wildcatted case of all time. In 1967, my friend Russ Carpenter built himself a 6mm/284 on a Ruger Number One action, and put a scheutzen stock on it. It was his antelope rifle, and did a fine job.

However, the .284 fell on harder times. Because of low demand, Winchester let the quality of the case tooling slide, and it became nearly impossible to get decent brass. It was saved again by the development and rapid blossoming of the 6.5x284, which is more popular among target shooters than leather jackets with lots of straps in the front. Hornady and Norma now load this cartridge, and turn out fine brass to boot.

So the .284 story has a happy ending after all.

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Comments

WA Mtnhunter

CLAY
My son has a 99F in .308 Win and it is not a real tackdriver, but it will put 3 shots inside 1.5 in. at 100 yards with factory Remington 150 gr. Core-lokts and about the same with handloaded 150 gr Hornady BTSP's.

Basically, it'll hit and kill what you aim at!

My old 99 in .358 Win will hit where I point it with these tired eyes with a Lyman peep sight. Zeroed an inch high at 50 yards, it doesn't miss a milk jug at 100 yards!

Rocky Mtn Hunter

I was in two gun shops today to buy Ammo for pratice. The only WSM's either had was 2 boxes in each store of 300 WSM's. Talked to owner and he agreed with me, the WSM will soon leave the mfgers make of Ammo,. If you got a WSM or WSSM you better learn to re-load or trade guns.Rem has stopped the mfger of their RUM, they at least see the trend going back to the oldder caliber we all use.

BA

At this rate I guess I should load up a few hundred more rounds of 270 WSM so I'll have enough to last me the rest of my life. I'm sorry to hear of the demise of WSM cartridges. They may not outdo the standards by much, but it allows me to have a fine handling short action rifle(Tikka T3 Lite) with great 270 ballistics. It's a real tackdriver. 68 grn. Magpro, 150 grn Swift A-Frame, 3020 fps chrono, =.375 @ 100 yds/5 shots. That's the only load I need for any big game hunting. Find what you like and be happy. 22-250 to 375 H&H. Who cares as long as it works for you? Yes, the 6.5X55 Swede is a heck of a round.

WA Mtnhunter

I had heard that the 7mm RUM was on the short list. It seems that everyone is on the WSM bandwagon. All they do is duplicate existing cartridges in short actions. I doubt anyone but the sick, lame, or lazy can tell much difference in the carry weight assuming all else is equal. If you read between the lines from many gun tests, you might find that some of the velocity claims are exaggerated.....

If you can't kill it with a nought six or 300 Win mag (or lighter), better find a new game.

BA

WA Mtnhunter. I hadn't given much thought to being sick, lame, or lazy. I've killed my share of game with many calibers. I'm the kind of guy who likes to try out the latest bullets, powders, guns or cartridges. As a matter of fact I haven't owned a 270 for 45 years. But this one I like. I have never said it would kill anything any deader or faster than any other rifle. I will say it will hold it's own for the price and convenience right out of the box. As a matter of fact you gave some of the best advice: Plan early, plan well. I guess I can't do that though if I'm sick, lame, and lazy. Like the Wise Man says (RMH): Shoot often, shoot straight. (Clay): It isn't the arrow, it's the Indian! BA

WA Mtnhunter

Two of the guys I hunt with have .270 WSM Browning A-bolt rifles. Their prformance on game is outstanding. A fine caliber rifle indeed. I am not a Browning fan for no particular reason, but those two shoot really well.

BA

In 1962 I knew a kid who killed more Bucks than I could count on both hands, with a Savage 99 in .243 Win., with handloaded 105 grn. Speer bullet. This guy neck shot all. To my knowledge he never missed. (Clay): It isn't the arrow, it's the Indian. (WA Mtnhunter) Plan early, plan well. BA

Gregor

I have a 284 in a Savage 99. I load it down a bit from top pressure loads but it's a dream of a combo. I also have a 6.5 Rem in a Rem 660 and a Ruger Flatbolt and a 660 350 Rem Mag.

Thin bullets like the 6.5 and 284 don't really take up all that much space when loaded deep. I obviously like the concept and you only gain 25-50 ft/sec with these calibers in a long action. Not worth all the talk opinionated gun writers from the 60's and 70's. Lots of crap just gets repeated from one generation to the next.

The 350 does take up some powder space but the 225 Nosler Partition isn't too bad when seated to 2.825 and it's a great combo at 2600+ft/sec.

Del in Kansas

BA and Alabama hunter

Ten yr ago I had a 6mmX284 built using Rem. mod 7 action, Shilen stainless 25" barrel and HS precision stock. It was very accurate and deadly on whitetails. But I too bought an Ohler and found out it was closer to a 243 than a 240 Wby. I have a Rem 700 in 350 and I agree with the late Col. on that one. When I was stationed at Ft. Wainwright back in the 80's made 1 shot bang flop kills with it on Moose, Griz, and Blackbear. The old Speer 250 gr hot core bullet worked great. Nowadays I use the 225 partition because it can be loaded a little faster. My most recent toy is a new Kimber in 2506. Was browsing the guns at Cabela's in KC last Sep and the salesman said they just got one in. He opened the box while I watched and it turned out to have a really nice piece of walnut so bought it then and there. It shoots 100 gr. partitions 3350 fps thru the screens with the right amount of VV N160. I get 1.5" groups. Shot 2 deer with it last Nov. at 152 yds and 205yds respectively. Recoil is light and it kills like Thor's hammer. The action cycles smooth as a Swiss watch and has a great trigger all for about $1k or less than half what I have in the 6mmX284. There is one glitch. The chamber leaves a small circular groove just below the shoulder on every case. Probably only a reloader would notice but apparently the finish reamer was not properly used. It does not seem to hurt anything but cosmetics. My ? is should I send it back to the factory? Kimber has offered to repair it. Or just leave it as is. For the gent that wants a fine shotgun Cabela's had a Holland & Holland Royal grade in the gun library priced in the low 30's. I was in London last July, stopped in at H&H and priced a new Royal grade over and under. The twelve bore was 60,000 pounds or over $120K U.S. That's way over my price range.




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