257 Hot Tamale aka 25/7mmSTW

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by ricknolan, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. ricknolan

    ricknolan Well-Known Member

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    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?
     
  2. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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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.

    Jeff
     

  3. oldfamily

    oldfamily Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  4. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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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.
     
  5. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  6. Varminator 911

    Varminator 911 Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  7. fishinhuckle

    fishinhuckle New Member

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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

    Thanks
    Huck
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008
  8. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't go any shorter than 26" with the 257 stw. My 26" looks like a flame thrower late in the evening with all the powder blowing out the end. Any shorter and a 25-06 imp wouldn't be that far behind. Got to have barrel length to make those big overbore monsters go.
     
  9. ol mike

    ol mike Well-Known Member

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    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The 257 stw is a truly high performance cartridge -if you take long time long range hunters advice it would last for many seasons.

    I also agree w/ varminator - about the efficient 7mm bore and -better bc than the .257 bullets.

    I'm a big fan of the wsm case and think a 257wsm would make a great little hard shooting cartridge ,although again the 7mm w/ lighter bullets would shoot just as well if not better.
    Hell come to think of it the 300wsm would be even more effecient and with light bullets like the 110gr v-max and 125 nbt's you could probably get 4200-4300fps out of a cartridge like that -it would be the ultimate rifle no doubt............................
     
  10. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    There is no question that with conventional 25 cal bullets the options are pretty limited as far as comparing them to the 7mm family of bullets.


    That said, there are bullets out there that turn the STW into a totally different critter then it is when used with commercial bullets. Why the industry has not pulled their head out and changed the standard twist rate for the 25 cals from 1-10 to 1-9 is it is with most 6.5mm chamberings.

    With a 1-9 twist, you can shoot custom bullets up to 142 grains in the STW. There are not alot of them out there but they are there. The huge 156 gr ULD RBBT from wildcat bullet is an amazing bullet. The 257 STW is the min chambering I recommend for this bullet as you will only see around 3100 fps max with a 28" barrel but when you consider your driving a bullet with a BC in the 0.8 range, it takes this chambering into an entirely different long range performance class. The sectional density of this bullet is also extreme. Still, the rifle must be designed specifically for this bullet and that will eliminate some other bullet options such as most conventional jacketed bullets will not handle the 1-8 twist needed for these bullets. Still all ballistic tips and accubonds would work fine as would all X or TSX bullets.

    For something a bit more conventional with a 1-10 twist barrel, there are 125 gr and 130 gr custom bullets out there that will do ANYTHING that a 140 or 150 gr 7mm bullet will do and do so at the same velocity.

    BCs are basically identical to the 7mm bullets. Muzzle velocity is a bit more for the 257 but barrel life is shorter for sure.

    Again, with conventional commerical bullets, the 257 family is lacking badly but there are other options out there to provide us better results and will allow the 1/4 bore magnums to act much more like 7mm magnums they they really should.

    Anyway, the STW is not WAY overbored, my 257 Allen Magnum is WAY overbored!!! :D
     
  11. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Varminator I agree with you as you go up in caliber you get a better hunting round but some people like me just like to play with all of them. Like that 25 wsm ol' mike mentioned, that would be a fun one. You didn't go up high enough in caliber for the best hunting round off the 8mm rem mag case though. Necked to 338 it is the best long range killing machine of the bunch. About the time the 8mm rem mag came out sierra came out with the 250 gameking in 338. The highest bc hunting bullet ever made and was for years to come. I necked it up to 338 and also built a 340 wby for this bullet to hunt long range. They were awesome. Then I decided to open the bolt face on one of my mk 5's, got a 378 mag box from wby, necked the 378 case to 338 and man it was a new long range world for that time period. Then as long range bullets progressed into the nineties a lot of good stuff started becoming available to the average guy. But typically as the caliber went up so did the BC until you get to 338 where you reach the top, then it starts falling off beyond that. This is changing some now for example with people like Kirby developing calibers like 375 off the chey-tac case pushing companies to develop long range bullets for them.

    For years the best killing long range rounds have been the 338's because of this. Yes, I can take my little 220 weatherby rocket and kill about anything I want with a well placed shot. But when I have pounded hills for a lifetime looking for that 40" mulie or 400" elk you can bet I will have my 338 with me. There is no comparison to a big caliber, heavy round hitting an animal. Shock effect and huge entry and exit wounds for trailing an animal anywhere so it can't get away. If you misjudge the distance or wind a little and hit a bit high, low or to far back in field conditions you have a much higher chance of recovering your animal with the 338. So why in the world would a hunter limit himself with a smaller caliber? I have seen hundreds of animals for many years from little whitetails to big grizzlies, elk and moose shot with all kinds of rounds and I shoot a 338 for long range when I am after serious trophy animals.

    A guy can build a 340 wby or 338-8mm rem mag and not shoot the barrel out in a lifetime. Even up to the ultramag case it would last the average guy a lifetime. So why in the world would anybody shoot anything other than a 338? Why do they even build rifles in anything else? With the light kicking 338 winny you don't even need a muzzle brake and it will easily take out large game at a half mile and is super accurate. Just line my cabinets with all the 338's.

    With all that said I own over a hundred centerfire rifles in all calibers in who knows how many wildcat configurations and I love to shoot every one of them because they are all fun to shoot. Yes, I might could have made better choices with some of them but they all killed most everything I ever shot at so I really can't complain. I wish I had a dollar for every campfire argument from the 60's to the 80's about how much better and how much more power either the 270 or 30-06 was or had. Get the best equipment you can afford, load it responsibly, learn how to shoot it well and you will probably be happy. No, I take that back, you will probably still be like me looking for that perfect gun as you build number who knows how many.

    Varminator thank you for that post and believe me I am not attacking you. I guess it just tripped a switch. Everyone is right in this argument. I enjoy taking a deer or antelope just as much with my little 243 AI as I do with my big 338-378. They are all just fun to shoot so I guess that is why they make all kinds.
     
  12. Varminator 911

    Varminator 911 Well-Known Member

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    I need them all too!!

    I agree with what everyone has added. The 257 STW with a 0.8 BC bullet would be awesome. Maybe even better than the 7mm STW, but not by much. I'd also like the 257 STW with the light bullets for medium varmints to about 400 yds. And no argument about the big 338s with high BC bullets on large game. I'm getting one as soon as I get my eyes on the right bullet. I need BC> 0.9, accuracy, and on game performance. Makes sense to me to build the gun around a bullet or two.

    Is that BC> 0.9 338 hunting bullet avaliable and proven yet? Also, the bullet needs to be light enough to get 3000 fps with the Edge. I'm thinking the 280 Henson is close( BC~0.878 jacket maybe too thin) and still holding out for Wildcats Al tipped versions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  13. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    You can also put a 200 gr ULD RBBT in a 7mm STW and drive it to around 3000 fps and you will have an extremely potent long range round. This bullet has a bit higher BC then the 156 gr ULD RBBT in 25 cal. All that said, it really comes down to what you want.

    Also recoil can be a consideration if a muzzle brake is not wanted, a 200 gr 7mm at 3000 fps will come back a bit in lighter sporter weight rifles.
     
  14. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for that last line, "If recoil is a consideration". When designing a hunting rifle I start out with three categories. 1. The most I can get out of a lightweight rifle without needing a brake. 2. The ones that must have a brake but are still light enough I can backpack with. 3. Last the long rangers that require a horse for transport and can be set up like a howitzer on an overlook making about anything you see a potential target. The 7 stw with a 160 grain bullet is about it for me to shoot well without a brake but it varies with the individual.

    I think a lot of people need to consider this before a first time rifle build. Do you want a rifle you must put in your earplugs before you shoot or one you can shoot quicker. Lots more stuff to consider other than ballistics. The 6.5-284 or one of it's improved versions is one of the most accurate rounds available with excellent ballistics. Can be built on a ltwt rifle and does not require a brake. It can take out a deer or antelope size critter about as far as you can see it. All the short mags fit into this category. So there are a lot of choices out there.

    By the way varminator I currently own five 7mm stw's so I think quite a lot of your favorite there.