280 Ackley Improved

riverrat13

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Mar 23, 2017
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I am in the market to build my next hunting rifle. It will primarily be used on whitetail. However I would like to have the ability to use it on mulies and elk. After alot of research, the 280 AI seems to be the caliber that checks the most boxes. With 140 grains at 3200 FPS and 180 grains at 2800+, it seems to be able to bring the speed and KE needed without stepping up to a magnum round, while still maintaining decent barrel life (2500+ rounds). Before I pull the trigger, I wanted to get some first hand opinions on the 280 AI and how it compares to relatively similar calibers. (7mm-08, 270, 280 Rem, 7mm Rem Mag) Also, what twist would you recommend, 1:8 or 1:7.5? I will probably stay with the 160+ grain bullets.

- I reload, and Nosler Brass seems to be easy enough to get. Worst case, you have to fireform 280 Rem. So I am not worried about availability of factory ammo.
- I want to stay under 8lbs bare rifle. So the shorter barrel the better (I am talking 22'' or 24''). That may steer me to the 7.5 twist.
 
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MudRunner2005

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.280 AI is a great round. But, if you want true 7mmRM performance from a standard LA cartridge, the .280 Sherman is where you need to look. Think of it as a .280 AI Improved. If you're going to have to fire-form brass anyway, might as well bump up the performance by going with a wildcat. :cool:

https://shermanwildcatcartridges.com/280-sherman

If you want to stay under 8 lbs rifle only, go with a 26" Proof Research 1:8 twist carbon fiber barrel.
 

riverrat13

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What could you expect for barrel life on the 280 Sherman? Do you feel a 26'' Barrel is a necessity? Big fan of the proof's but I would rather put the extra $500 a Proof cost towards glass and go with a Bartlien.
 

Slick8

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I agree with mud on the proof if weight is a concern. If you want to compromise on weight and cost then perhaps a 3 or 3b Bart.

I'd go 26 inches at an 8 twist. I wouldn't handicap this round with a short barrel.
 

RockyMtnMT

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I just got my 22" Proof sendero light barrel in for my 280ai. This is going to be screwed onto a win model 70 long action. For now I will drop it back into the old factory stock. Next year it will go into a McMillan Game Warden edge fill. It will keep its blind mag. Will also have a small PK brake. I got an 8" twist so I can run 177g Hammer Hunters if I ever felt the need. Although I plan to run the 143g Hammer Hunter. Should be able to get close to 3200fps. This will give me all I need to 700-800y.

Steve
 

MudRunner2005

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What could you expect for barrel life on the 280 Sherman? Do you feel a 26'' Barrel is a necessity? Big fan of the proof's but I would rather put the extra $500 a Proof cost towards glass and go with a Bartlien.
Barrel life should be somewhere between the 7mmRM and .280 AI.

As for barrel length, yes, I find any long action and magnum cartridge should start at a 26" barrel. Like Slick8 said, don't handicap yourself/gun for the sake of losing only 2" of barrel. 24" vs. 26" is not that different when toting through the woods. From my experiences, until you get down to a 22" or shorter barrel, then you'll never really notice a huge difference over a 26" barrel.

The money is worth the weight savings... But, if you must save the $500, a nice fluted 3B Bartlein would be an ok option. Remember, in LR hunting, the heavier your rifle = the steadier your aim = the better your shot placement.
 

JW74

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I built a 280 AI a year ago and after weighing the pros and cons decided it would fit my needs. It gives up some energy to the 7mm RM but no a lot. I think you have to think about the ranges that you plan to shoot with it. I have a 26" barrel on mine and with 180gr bullets get between 2750-2800 fps and no pressure signs. Also loaded some 195 Berger EH @ 2765fps that shoot 0.5 moa as well.

280 AI 3-18.jpg
 

cheechin

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Jun 28, 2018
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the 2 280AI which i have experience with have been outstanding, you dont need more than a 140 at 3140fpx to take a Ga deer over a bean field. a good 700 hart bbl 9 twist will shoot in the .300's

they will take a lot of meatout if you hunt woods, i have taken mulie out to 400 they drop, period.

by the time you buy a factory custom you can have a 700 trued bbled and stocked that shoots better, just my experience.
 

the hunter

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If you are hand loading you could git a 180gr 30-06 to almost 3,000 fps. After all Carlos Hathcock used it as a sniper round.
 

MudRunner2005

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If you are hand loading you could git a 180gr 30-06 to almost 3,000 fps.
My .30-06 AI with a custom chamber (tight match body, no-turn neck) only has a 1:12 twist, but it will push Berger 185 VLD's at 3K with a really stiff charge of 7828 SSC. I'm thinking about dropping down to a 180 Elite Hunter to push it over 3K and have higher BC than the 185 VLD's.
 

the hunter

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I do not handload but looking at hornady's 180gr superformance 30-06 loads, I was thinking that handloaders could git it at lest a little over 2,900 fps. I gess I will never try handloading if I cant beat the factory speeds. Please correct me if I am mistaken.
 

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