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257 Hot Tamale aka 25/7mmSTW

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Unread 07-06-2008, 07:20 PM
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Location: Blanchard, OK
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257 Hot Tamale aka 25/7mmSTW

Can anyone give me any feedback or insight on the .257 Hot Tamale, a cartridge developed by James Ferguson by necking down a 7mm STW case to .257 caliber. Reported to shoot 4,000 fps.

Any thoughts?
Rick Nolan, SPHR
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Unread 07-06-2008, 07:33 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Townsend, Montana.
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What weight bullet? I shoot 85 gr BT's @ 3690 from a 25-06. I prefer to shoot my .257's with 100 to 115 gr bullets. I am finishing up a Wby .257-300 Wby Mag. with a 28" shilen. I am hoping to get it to the 3900 range with 110 AB's. I think a .257 over 3800 will have a very short barrel life though. But when it goes I will rebarrel to .257 Wby. Time will tell. ;)

I think Gamedog has a .257-300 Wby for sale in the classifieds if you want a rocketship.

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Unread 07-06-2008, 09:26 PM
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The 257 stw that I have will shoot the 110 accubonds in the .1 and .2's at 3700 fps. One thing to know about this round is that Winchester no longer makes the 7 stw brass. If they restarted I am not aware of it. Anyway this is one thing to take in to concideration in thinking of rounds based off of the stw brass. I have had the 125 and 130 wildcat bullets at 3500 fps and they hit like a train. Shot well also. The 100 bt I had at just a little over 3900 fps and they shot well also. Blew up like all hell on coyotes and such, so I only hunt with the 110 accubonds. Have shot deer from just shy of 300 yards and as close as 30 yards. Both dead at impact of bullet. If you want to have one of these rifles, use at least a 28 inch barrel. 30 would be better as to allow someone to get the legs to say with this round. Hope this helps Oldfamily.
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Unread 07-07-2008, 10:09 AM
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Old Mr. Ferguson did the 257 STW (Hot Tomale) a disservice when he was pushing it as a 4000-4100 fps chambering with a 100 gr XLC bullet in a 28" barrel. Simply put, this is simply a sales pitch. It worked in the beginning but it was not long before the bad reports started to come in on these performance levels.

When I got into the rifle building business, I was also very interested in this level of performance for a flat shooting 500 yard and under deer rifle chambering.

I built one for myself and then another for my wife. Both were using 1-10, 3 groove Lilja barrels. Simply put, the Winchester 7mm STW brass will loose its primer pocket at anything over 3950 fps with a 100 gr bullet(ANY 100 gr bullet) in a 30" barrel.

I tested pretty much all the bullet combos out there to see where the best performance was at. Also, best accuracy results were in the 3850-3900 fps range, a full 200-250 fps off what Ferguson was claiming and this was out of a 2" longer barrel.

In my testing I came to really like the chambering once I realized the true performance levels of the chambering. It was accurate and flat shooting and did not need the ultra high velocity claims to make it sell.

This chambering is very barrel length dependant, as are all of the larger 1/4 bore magnums. In my testing, I took my 30" Lilja and set the barrel back an inch at a time until I was at 26" of barrel length. My findings that with the same loads, the velocity dropped an average of 42" per inch from 30" to 26".

Basically in a 26" barrel length you will see around 3730-3750 fps out of a Lilja 3 groove, 1-10 twist barrel with a 100 gr bullet. That is with a load that will produce a case life of at least 4 firings.

Far cry from the 4000 fps velocity claims of Ferguson but if you look at things realistically. Most loading manuals list the 25-06 at 3250-3350 fps with a 100 gr bullet. Most will list a 257 Wby at 3450-3550 fps with a 100 gr bullet, why would we expect another 500 fps to come from the STW. Its 3650 fps to 3750 fps velocity with a 100 gr bullet is exactly where it should be for this case capacity.

I have built several dozen of these rifles and all have been extremely accurate and consistant when used in their proper pressure ranges. I have also had several customers that needed a reality check thanks to Fergusons claims which in my opinion are not realistically possible with anything that resembles good case life.

It got to the point that I actually contacted Ferguson to see how he was getting these levels of velocity with what he claimed was acceptable case life. At first he simply dismissed my inquiries. I persisted as I did not feel it was responsible to recommend such levels of velocity.

Finally he admitted that he had very little concern about case life and that he only wanted velocity. He also admitted that the Win cases would have dramatic case loosening on the first firing and that after the second firing the cases were spoiled........

My comment was why not just drop off 150 fps and get much longer case life with longer barrel life and in most cases better accuracy and consistancy. His reply was that he did not want to give up the ballistic performance which simply says that he has not done the research to really see what the difference between the two loads was. Yes, the milder load will drop a bit more and have a bit more winddrift but in most cases, out to 500 yards, a shooters ability and shooting position will effect bullet point of impact more then the difference of these two loads. He never replied to that comment.

So simply put, if you can live with 3700-3750 fps in a 26" barrel or 3800-3850 fps in a 28" barrel or 3900 fps in a 30" barrel, you will be very happy with the STW. If you expect 4000 fps, you will not be happy with your rifle.

I would also like to add, the heavier the bullets the better. Yes they have a bit more drop and the velocity is not as sexy but in every rifle I have tested in at 500 yards, accuracy with the heavier bullets was better then the 100 gr bullets. In my opinion and from my testing, this was mainly because of velocity spreads. The heavier the bullet, it seems these big cases run much more consistant as far as velocity spreads. Or should I say its easier to get very tight velocity spreads compared to the lighter bullets.

I am not saying the 100 gr bullets are not accurate, most I shot out of my rifles were grouping under my 1/2 moa accuracy requirements at 500 yards. That said, the 130 gr Wildcat BCHP would consistantly play with the 1/3 moa range and often less then this.

Look at the 257 STW realistically and you will be happy, expect 4K with good case life and you will be very happy.
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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Unread 07-07-2008, 11:25 AM
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I have done several of these also and currently own 3. Two with 28" and one with a 26" barrel. When the 8mm rem mag came out in the 70's we necked it to about everything. I agree with Kirby on the velocities and info on this. It is a very accurate round when loaded responsibly. Mine will make one jagged hole in the target at 100 yards. It does lose quite a bit per inch as you would expect from anything that overbore. Don't shoot it at the range much after you get it dialed in. The barrel life with premium accuracy is not long.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
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Unread 07-07-2008, 12:18 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SW Texas
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Questionable advantage over 7mmSTW

Since you ask for opinions here's mine. I don't see the advantage of the 257 over the standard 7mmSTW with either light or heavy bullets. One reason is with light bullets in both the 7mm bullets generally have a higher BC at equal SD. For instance the 120 7mm generally have higher BC than the 100 257. And they can be driven to nearly the same velocity. Same thing with heavier bullets.

The 7mm hits harder and is just as flat shooting. Plus the 7mm will have longer barrel life. Clear choice to me.
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Unread 07-07-2008, 06:14 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: florida
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From a hunting standpoint

I currently shoot very short barrels in mostly singleshots. My current pet is a 25-06 with a 16 1/4" barrel. I have taken deer out to 325yds with this and they all drop within steps if not on the spot. I need to extend range as far as possible but with short barrels. I would like to do this with a bull possibly in 25 stw. Is this safe on a single platform such as encore and what do you believe practical kill range would be with such a short barrel with 100 plus grn ammo. I have done 500 with my 30-06 in 16" barrel but I just love the quarter bores. I like to live on the edge and do things others mostly do not. I have also considered a 25-300win because its similar to the 300 win with 125's we have been shooting. I know longer barrel is better but short is more fun for me. For the 7 fans, I have it and it does well, it's just is not as much fun


Last edited by fishinhuckle; 07-07-2008 at 06:17 PM.
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