So I've started researching my next rifle in hopes that I might afford one sometime in the near future . I'm looking for a caliber that fits nicely between my 243 win and 280 remington. Primary use for the rifle would be hunting hogs (and possibley deer and antelope) and 600 yd tactical shooting. As far as the rifle I'm going with a model 700 because of familiarity and good luck in the past with them. I'm pretty set on a 6.5 caliber and will load a 130 gr Accubond (if the gun likes them) as my primary load. As far as caliber all my research points to the 260 Rem. I was pretty much good to go until I started noticing the increasing number of new 264 win mags on the market.
The 264 is intriguing to me because it will drive the 130 AB just over 3000 fps, almost 300 fps faster tahn the 260 rem. Speed aside, I don't know much about the cartridge. Most people dismiss it because it use to be a barrel burner, but with newer powders and bbl material that's a mute point. It does recoil a bit more than the 260, but I've never shot one to know whether that would be an issue. I also have no experience reloading belted cases and heard they can be a pain.
So basically I want to know...what am I missing? What are the true minuses of the 264 and the true pluses of the 260? Why is the 260 so much more popular among benchrest shooters? Why is the 264 making a comeback?
If it's the speed you want then get the .264. Everything else , to me, points towards the .260.
The barrel life isn't a mute point. No matter how much better the powders and metals get, the .264 is still gonna burn a barrel out A LOT faster then the .260. You just need to determine if that extra 10% velocity is worth it to you.
I think the .264 is making a bit of a comeback because the 6.5's are just now getting the recognition they deserve, and that I believe is due to the better bullets of now a days.
In short, its a magnum. People like the greater speed that can be produced. As with any magnum the minus is the expense in powder. Your loads with the mag will be double what you will put into the 260. As far as the belt is concerned, don't waste your time on concerning yourself with the belt. Rifles are head spaced off of the shoulder now, so your accuracy will be fine with either cartridge. You will burn a barrel quicker with the magnum just for the fact you are burning more powder and throat life will be shortened. Recoil is going to be heavier and the use of break will be necessary for barrel control for your tactical shoots.
The 260 will offer better barrel life. Like you I have done some extended research on this caliber and find it very plausible to use for long range capabilities. Some would argue the 6.5X47 Lapua would be the better option, but it can not handle the bigger bullets. The 130 grain will work well with either caliber. There are a lot of guys moving over to the 260 for tactical competition due to the lower recoil and greater accuracy. Fatigue generally caused by the 30 cal. used in competition are being trumped by this little caliber. Barrel life will be greater, but you will not get the speeds.
I suppose it comes down to what will best suit your needs? If you use the heavier bullets the BC will compensate somewhat for the lack of speed, but your trajectory will not be as flat. You will retain better energy however. If I were to use the 260. I would look at the Ackley improved version and use the 139 to 142 grain class bullet. Even with the standard version you will still be pushing them right around 2800fps.
Just my .02
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
If you find your self in a fair fight, your tactics suck!- Marine 1st Sergeant Jim Ryfinger
Friends don't let friends develop canonitis!-chucknbach
arguing over the internet is like the special Olympics....even if you win, you are still...special!
i just got a custom built to 260 and i was kind of in your shoes. did not know really what i wanted. so i also did some research. what i found is both are usually tack drivers well under .5 moa. the 260 will be cheaper to operate all the way around. and with a quality scope and some practice that 300 fps well you will be dialing up for a 600-800 yard shot anyway no matter what so what is 1 or 2 more clicks.
So really no matter how you slice the pie you will still have to make the choice.
you will be better off just making the choice yourself because you are the one shooting it and also paying for it. as long as you love it that is all that matters. as far as performance the GUNS will perform.
God is the true Provider of all things
The .260 is a superb tactical/competitive cartridge out to 1000 yards, easy to reload, easy on the shoulder and ears... what's not to like? I just switched to it from .308, and can figure out why I waited. It's a great hunting round, too; I built one for my son's first deer/pig rifle, and I use it on our shorter range coastal pigs regularly.
On the other hand, the .264 WinMag close to an ideal long range antelope rig, good velocity, great bullets available, and with enough energy to get the job done further out than the .260. My .264 WinMag is definitely my go-to rifle for antelope season, though quite a few deer have heard its roar too. It's a bit much for 90 rounds of competition, though.
Driving the 130's to 3000 doesn't require the .264WM case. All of the 6.5x47 Lapua's I have built with 26" barrels will run 130 bergers between 2950-3050fps and get a dozen loading on a case. I am sure the 260 would be right there also, but the Lapua does it with slightly less powder and a smaller case.
I to am considering building a .264WM as my intermediate long range rifle....muley's and antelope out to 800...maybe the occasional elk. I am my 338 Edge for everything past that. It looks like alot of folks run the 140's in the .264 at right around 3200 with a 26" barrel using retumbo.
For tactical comps, the .264 not be the best. You go through alot of rounds in a hurry and the barrel would be way to hot. We shoot comps across the west and use out 6.5x47's. A guy can usually run a 5-10 round string very fast and the barrel just starts to get warm...unless it's 105 degrees outside. We have run 3 shot strings in under 5 seconds and the barrels are not even warm. I am afraid if you tried that with a magnum, you wouldn't be able to touch it for awhile. If I proceed with the .264 WM project, I will post up some info.