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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

ishawooa

I can't add much that would improve on what has already been said. I would like to provide further education gained at my expense. Back in about '77 I just had to have a 6 x .284. Got it too. I had the sizzler built on a Rem M-700 short action with a 24 inch Douglas. It grouped wonderfully when I got the nice Bishop stock properly glassed. Then along came enough money to buy an Oehler. As you can imagine I realized after firing a few rounds that my "almost a .240 Weatherby" was really "damn near a .243 Win". I sold it, built a 6.5 x .284 with a long throat on a M-70 long action and was very happy...until it only turned in numbers a bit better than my old Sako .270 Win. Such is life when you are young and curious. Although I rarely use it any more like Cooper said that someone else said "There's not much you can't fix with five shots and a thirty ought six" or something to that effect. Did I tell you what I am doing with the 7 mm Ultra case? Never mind enough boredom for now.

Paul Boyer

I have a Model 100 in 308 like new that I loved when I bought same and used it many years ago. It was very accurate and brought down several whitetails. Still has factory installed firing pin. Where can I get a new firing pin?

Milton T. Burton

The one unscratched firearms itch I still have is
a 99 Savage in .284. When I first read about this combination about 1968 I almost had a fit! Imagine--.270/.280 ballistics in the best lever action ever made!! A few years later I was able to order one at Discount City in Jacksonville, Texas, only to have my order come back a week later with a note that the chambering had been discontinued. Of all the gun shows I've been to since I have never run across one. Don't really need one now, but....

Clay Cooper

Savage Model 99e .308 Cal. Rifle

Now that’s a lever action with a attitude!

284 Winchester in this model would be great to!

JA Demko

The Savage 99 in .300 Savage is my favorite rifle/cartridge combo. I have one with the brass cartridge-counter rotary magazine. It was a gift from my father and I wouldn't part with it for anything. It purely stomps whitetail deer. I've never had to shoot one twice.

ChevJim

For a new Model 100 firing pin, call 1-800-322-4626. They will ask for your serial number. You will send them your old firing pin, and they will send you a new one. You will get a $30 check to have a gunsmith install it. I installed mine myself--my gunsmith wanted around $50! It's not that difficult, but make sure you understand disassembly instructions--such as how to get it out of the stock--or you'll break something! Don't shoot the 100 with the old pin--it can break and protrude through the firing pin hole, causing a slam fire before the bolt can lock up. Good luck!

JA Demko, I don’t believe that you have a model 99

Dickie

Would you guys PLEASE cut it out. Or, do we have to send all of you to cyberspace "time out" ? Enough already.

JA Demko

You're right, nonnie, I don't have a Model 99. I have two. An older rotary magazine model in .300 Savage and a somewhat newer one with the box magazine in .308. The .308 is from near the end of Model 99 production and shows how sadly quality had fallen off on the Model 99.

Dr. Ralph

Unfortunately for Winchester, Remington came out with the 7mm Rem. Mag. and a brand new rifle, the legendary Model 700 in 1962 a year earlier than the .284. Winchester's cartridge was dead before it was even born.

Dr. Ralph

Ishawoo, the saying is "there's nothing in the world that can't be fixed with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six" Written by Lindsey Cooper-Wisdom, daughter of Colonel Jeff cooper.

ishawooa

Thanks for the clarification maybe I've shot so many magnums that my memory is slipping. Now if I neck down a .284 to .204 and change the shoulder angle...there I go off rambling again.

Ed J

ishawooa

You should neck the .284 up to .308. Then you would have a cartridge that neatly fills the gap between a 308 and 30-06.

Wayne

My Father-in-Law has a Win. model 100 in .308 that has a nasty habit of firing two shots for one trigger pull. No one he has talked to seems to know why. Any help out there?

Dr. Ralph

Wayne, worn out sear... my M1 carbine likes to spit out a few when it gets really hot. Doubles and triples are not uncommon. Really makes me wish I had an M2. Buy 1000 rounds and turn two teenagers loose with 30 round magazines. It will get hot.

1000 rds. .30 cal.carbine...... $200-

Smile on your boys faces...... priceless

Dr. Ralph,
Thanks. I'm not sure who has checked the gun out but for some reason my father-in-law seems to think it can't be fixed. I'll talk to him about having someone who knows what they are doing look into it. He's had it a long time and likes it, but dosn't hunt with it now.
P.S. My boy is 3, no M1's just yet.

Buddy

Can anyone say .244 Remington? What was the .244 Rem but a sooped up .243 Win. Somebody goofed at Remington and applied the wrong rifling. The .244 Rem pretty much died! AHA!! "Let's change the rate of twist in the barrel and since the name .244 Remington is *%^&**, we'll call it the 6mm Remington."
WAH-LAH!!! A killer diller round!!
Far superior, I think, to the .243. I love it! Remember, it was a mistake by Bell that made the phone work!

ishawooa

Ed J: Necking up to .308 is an absolutely grand idea but unfortunately was done long ago. Do you think maybe the neckup of the .284 case to .312 (aka .303 British) would fill the obvious void between .308 and .323? Insofar as the rifling twist issue concerning the 6 mm Rem. it has been my limited experience that this has actually not panned out in the field or on the range. I have two .243s (a Win M-70 and a pre-Garcia Sako Forester Deluxe) plus a Rem. M-722 in 6 mm. The old Remington shoots any bullet weight as well as the .243s and the Sako is a tackdriver. I would have to look up the twist rates of these rifles but all have factory barrels. Like the .222 mag, the .280, the 8 mm, Big Green did not do a very good job at advertising and promoting. Market timing was not perfect either. What the heck I'll just neck down the .50 BMG to .204, see how long a barrel Shilen will make, add a Nightforce of equal physical size, trade my one ton diesel for a dually to haul the rig, and go shoot a few p-dawgs.

Ed J

ishawooa
the 50 bmg should be shortened abit to about 140 gr which is about 20 grs more than the 378 WBY (which has been necked down to .224 creating the 22 eargesplittin loudenboomer)thereby given you, when necked to .204, disapointment. Unless you have an exuburant chronograph to record high speeds.

ishawooa

Ed J you are absolutely correct. I immediately gave up on the poorly conceived project and elected to return to my plain old vanilla .22-.250s. They have worked just fine for over twenty years in spite of the fact that my shooting bud maintains that his Swift is far superior. Maybe a little faster through the Chrony but it does not show in the field. Such are the ways of riflemen, the most steadfast of tinkerers. One more .284 story. John Porter at www.morningcreekoutfitters.com has used a 6x284 or 6.5x284 for long range shooting almost exclusively for many years. Actually a lot of his clients use his rifle to shoot elk, deer, and sheep in excess of 500 yards on a routine basis. A guy who works for me shot a nice Bighorn year before last at 645 yards with the 6x284. I'm not recommending this for eveyone but it does demonstrate that a responsible, well equipted hunter who is properly trained, and sometimes just properly instructed, can make long shots under carefully selected conditions. On the next hunt another local shot his ram with the same rifle at about 75 yards. When the trigger was pulled on this one it became the seventh ram to fall to the custom barreled Remington 6x284. Yes there is a rather lengthy list of cartridges that could achieve the same result and some with more assurance of a one shot kill. If it works for you use it and ignore those who disagree.

ishawooa

I did forget a couple things I meant to add in the previous comment as my granddaughter interupted with a very important demand about wanting strawberry flavored milk.
John uses Berger VLD bullets without exception. Last year he went to Africa and brought back about every size of plains game from dik-diks on up. All were taken with the 6x284. Last week he killed what appears to be a new Wyoming state record bull moose. No 6x284 this time, a Matthews and I didn't ask which arrow or broadhead. In reality it is the indian and not the arrow.

WA Mtnhunter

Coop:

My Savage 99 is a .358 Winchester. THAT is a lever action with attitude!

Clay Cooper

WA Mtnhunter, THAT’S NO JOKE! My Fathers friend in the Military Bob M. had a Savage model 99 in a 308 and he was hell on anything and at any range. Talk about turning the crank and knocking multiple coyotes down! By the way, I inherited my Fathers 6.5x55 Swedish carbine. When I was 13 I closed a turkey shoot with it! Everyone stopped shooting because of me. Shot the centers out of clays at 100 yards! 44 grains of IMR4350 and a Speer 140 SPBT! Just loaded up 50 rounds of Hornady 140 SST’s.

SilverArrow

Last cartridge introduced that fills a legitimate gap or need? In 1959 Winchester necked down the venerable .375 H&H magnum case, shortened it to fit the 'standard' .30-06 length action and gave North American hunters a flat shooting, hard thumping cartridge suitable for any large and dangerous game on the continent; the .338 Win Mag. This cartridge nicely filled the gap between the existing .30 caliber chamberings and its parent .375 H&H. Roy Weatherby quickly thereafter developed the .340 Wby Mag and Remington followed in 1965 with the .350 Rem Mag; thus proving the validity of the effort. In 1963 Winchester necked the .338 down to .30 and called it the .300 Win Mag but in that crowded field Winchester's offering was a Johnny come lately. The genious of using the standard action length allowed rifles chambered for the .338 Win Mag (as well as the .264, .300 and .458 Win Mag cartridges) to be made on the same production lines and thereby cost much less than long action magnums.
While both the .300 Win Mag and 7MM Rem Mag were introduced after the .338 Win Mag neither filled any significant gap for hunters.
That is my not so humble opinion anyway; what say you?
SA

Clay Cooper

SilverArrow

I love taking 7mm Remington Mag cases and necking/resizing them out to 338 Win Mag. Works fantastic in my 338 and it's funny to watch a 7mm shooter try to chamber one!




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