Winchester Model 70 .280 Remington upgrade to AI

Flintlock

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Oct 6, 2006
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100
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Central Oklahoma
I have been shooting the .280 for many years. Early on I shot Partitions and now I use Accubonds, both of them were 140grn. I have taken Elk, Whitetail, Antelope and pigs with it out 405 yards and wouldn't be hesitant to use it farther if needed. My first one was an old Remington 7 Express (280 with a fancy name) and then I got an Encore rifle barrel made in medium taper, Stainless 24" and use a Burris 4x12 Ballistic Plex.
Can't go wrong with the standard 280 unless you just want something different.
I tried the .280 AI in an Encore barrel but just didn't feel it got me any better groups or energy so I sold it.
Good luck and its not about needing another caliber, it's what you want and go for it.
Mike
 

Sid Post

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Texas, USA
What distance are you shooting game animals? I'm not suggesting shooting elephants with a 7x57 but, not every game animal needs the hammer from Thor for a clean ethical kill if the shooter has reasonable skill and doesn't shoot at unreasonable distances.

A 280Rem will whack Deer with authority with appropriate bullet selection. Is it ideal for Elk, no but a lot of Elk have fallen to various non-magnum 7mm's.

Most people don't have the skill to cleanly take an ELK at 1,000 yards, much less at 500 yards, so whether you carry a Magnum or not might be just an issue for campfire bragging and preening, and not practical in the field. Your FEATHERWEIGHT will also carry a lot easier than the Remington Sendero 300WM my friend lugged in the mountains, though he was capable of taking an ELK humanely at 1,000 yards.
 

xsn10s

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Yeah I passed on a 7mm WSM on a Stealth awhile back. I know it was because the twist was slower than I wanted. But I don't remember them being that slow.
 

Sid Post

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I just got a 280Rem in a M70 SG made in Portugal. Can confirm it is indeed a 1:10 twist. My initial thoughts were exactly that. Rechamber to 280 AI but with that twist rate it's a rebarrel job!
What do you hunt in the EU where the small difference in a 280Rem and 280AI makes a real difference? With Goats and Antelope being the ones that come to mind the most, I'd think a 280Rem would be pretty effective.

Being closer to Africa though, I could see some larger Plains game animals that would benefit from a larger caliber that hits harder.

Personally, I ended up with a 7SAUM but, my old Winchester 7x57 FeatherWeight is the one I grab the most! That old rifle is a sweet one and in Texas will really hit a deer hard and does an adequate job on a larger feral hog. If I ever make an African Safari, I would be tempted to take it with me for things like Springbok and maybe a Monkey or something similar around a watering hole though, a 375H&H backup makes a whole lot more sense.
 

FEENIX

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Great Falls, MT
What would it take to upgrade a .280 Remington to an Ackley Improved and what would I gain. I have never reloaded .280 as I don't use the gun much but I would if it became an AI and enabled me to hunt at distance a bit more. It is a featherweight model. Any suggestions for a gunsmith in central Florida, I live on the east coast?

Stick to this plan, it was your idea and you're going to be much happier with it. Do not let anyone, including myself to talk you out of it.
 
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BountyHunter

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Wilmington NC
What would it take to upgrade a .280 Remington to an Ackley Improved and what would I gain. I have never reloaded .280 as I don't use the gun much but I would if it became an AI and enabled me to hunt at distance a bit more. It is a featherweight model. Any suggestions for a gunsmith in central Florida, I live on the east coast?
Eric Bostram out of Myakka FL
 

xsn10s

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Stick to this plan, it was your idea and you're going to be much happier with it. Do not let anyone, including myself talk you out of it.
I was in a way suggesting stick with a 280 Rem. But you do have a point. If he wanted to load a 140-168gr bullet then there's nothing wrong with having it reamed out to an Ackley. Make a bunch of brass for the next barrel!
 

C S Fever

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May 11, 2014
Messages
76
What would it take to upgrade a .280 Remington to an Ackley Improved and what would I gain. I have never reloaded .280 as I don't use the gun much but I would if it became an AI and enabled me to hunt at distance a bit more. It is a featherweight model. Any suggestions for a gunsmith in central Florida, I live on the east coast?
I have both and the gains can be significant with the AI. The 168 Berger’s at 2950 fps should peak your interest which is normal velocities in a 150 gr range! The one problem I see is your model 70’s twist rate which may hinder any performance gains. A 1 in 9 would be a minimum 1 in 8.5 would be better. But to echo other sentiments on here Dead is dead! The 280 is a very capable caliber and you can get lots of performance simply by reloading it!
 

Bob Wright

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I didn't see you comment if its pre or post 64 action. But with a long twist and short barrel 22", you won't gain a whole lot.
I have an 8.4 twist, 26" in a 280AI. Its shoots great at 200 yds, but crappy brass has held me back. I'm close to testing the new Peterson brass I just loaded.
It shoots 143 Hammer Hunters with Nosler brass at a very boring 3100fps. I expect that the upper node will be in the 3200's based on my contacts here on LRH.
If you sell your rifle as is, then anything is possible. If you re-barrel it, it only has to be worth it to you. The 280AI is a great, efficient, low recoiling cartridge. It can shoot heavies with a faster twist very well.
 

JohnT

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Aug 26, 2008
Messages
31
What do you hunt in the EU where the small difference in a 280Rem and 280AI makes a real difference? With Goats and Antelope being the ones that come to mind the most, I'd think a 280Rem would be pretty effective.

Being closer to Africa though, I could see some larger Plains game animals that would benefit from a larger caliber that hits harder.

Personally, I ended up with a 7SAUM but, my old Winchester 7x57 FeatherWeight is the one I grab the most! That old rifle is a sweet one and in Texas will really hit a deer hard and does an adequate job on a larger feral hog. If I ever make an African Safari, I would be tempted to take it with me for things like Springbok and maybe a Monkey or something similar around a watering hole though, a 375H&H backup makes a whole lot more sense.
Hi Sid, I'm actually from Sydney Australia not Europe. The 280 Rem came out of the blue and a very recent acquisition. Brand new M70 Super Grade at a good price probably due of the unpopular calibre. I was surprised though when I could find 150gr Precision Hunter ammo in stock and at decent prices! Shoots it ok too. That sealed it - was never going to be an AI then plus the twist rate.

I haven't got any game in particular in mind. Always a fan of the M70 and after hunting Africa in 2019 with my M70 Kudu Custom 375H&H became an even greater fan! Ironic that the only animal on my list I missed out on was a Kudu. Kudu Services is what my gunsmith trades under.

Back to the 280Rem I'll leave it as is - it's a good calibre which becomes great if you hand load. If I need more speed I have a 7mm Rem. One pleasant discovery is the milder recoil compared to a 30-06. Not that the 30-06 is bad but you do feel the difference and it is just that "feel" so it's a personal opinion.

The 7x57 is great. Used my PH's rifle an M98 to take a Nyala and Warthog. So mild yet so deadly!

Hope you get to do your African trip. Well worth it.

Regards
JohnT
 

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