In the past, we’ve covered Weatherby Mark V and Vanguard rifles in a multitude of chamberings, but none grabs us like the .257 Weatherby Magnum. While many owners opt for handload for a mix of cost savings and customization, finding quality factory ammunition is not as unusual as some would have you believe. In fact, .257 Wby Mag ammo is currently produced by multiple major manufacturers, all of whom recognize the capabilities of the round. Here are a few of our favorite choices.
A Brief Biopic on the 257 Weatherby Magnum
Before delving into the list of hot ammo, lets first take a more in-depth look at why this round ought to be on the radar of every hunter, check out our piece all about the blazing .257 Wby Mag. In these constraints of time and space, suffice it to say the .257 Weatherby Magnum remained company founder Roy Weatherby’s brainchild and personal favorite.
That’s saying something coming from a man who built an American legend and created multiple chamberings. This is an ultra-fast, flat-shooting round that is capable on everything from varmints to Pronghorn to deer and--with the correct bullet and shot placement--even up to Elk.
We’ve long admired--and found solid terminal hunting results--with Hornady’s premium Precision Hunter line of longer-range ammo. This one packs a 110-grain ELD-X projectile with its heat-shield tip. It’s essentially a match-grade bullet with hunting qualities that acts on high velocity from 0-400 yards and low-velocity expansion at distances greater than 400. Hornady lists their Precision Hunter with a muzzle velocity of 3240 FPS and 2564 ft pounds of energy. The company lists it as ideal for game from 50-300 pounds.
While Nosler builds numerous bullets ideal for the 257 Wby Mag--including the Partition and Ballistic Tips--our proven favorite is the Accubond. To be more specific, it’s a spitzer-tipped, boat-tail bullet with a white business end. In the Trophy Grade family of factory production ammunition, Nosler offers the 110-grain Accubond. As far as price goes, this is option is the costliest, but Nosler’s attention to detail is worth some change. This Accubond load clocks a muzzle velocity of 3,400 FPS with 2823 Ft pounds of energy. This one represents a hard-hitting deer, and even bigger game round.
While we were sad to realize that Federal seems to have dropped .257 Wby Mag from the 2022 catalog, they have not parted ways altogether. In fact, the speedy .257 is ideal for the company’s fresh family of Custom ammunition. Though the Custom Shop is running on limited stock as the great ammo and component shortage continues, there is the possibility to snag what is essentially handloaded 257 Wby Mag rounds--with a choice of projectiles and loads-- at a price equal to or lower than some factory boxes on this list.
Weatherby not only builds firearms and creates unique chamberings, but they offer a beefy lineup of factory-branded production ammunition as well. Buyers have a choice of either Select or Select Plus. Both are premium products, though the latter is top-shelf. Buyers have a choice of bullet weights including 80, 100, 110, 115, and 120-grains. Current selections include Barnes TTSX; Nosler Accubond, Partition, or Ballistic Tip; Hornady Interlock or ELD-X; and Swift Scirocco. The lightest 80-grainer is zipping along at 3,870 fps and a serious contender for long-range varminting. All the other projectile types and weights cover the gamut of 257’s huntable game.
In the past, one of our favorite and most accurate-shooting .257 Wby Mag rounds was Hornady Custom?? That has since been swapped out with the improved, and equally tack-driving Outfitter lineup. It uses a 90-grain CX copper-alloy projectile. The nickel-plated, corrosion resistant cases feature a sealed primer and case mouth for an extra attention to waterproofing. These rounds are not only California compliant, but suitable for any non-lead hunting areas. Specs indicate the round is moving at 3625 FPS with 2626 ft pounds of energy. We’ve used Hornady’s 90-grain Custom loads to devastate both deer and Pronghorn.
Whether you choose to hunt coyotes with a light bullet, cover wide open western country for Pronghorn, or move up to the heavier bullet weights for larger deer, there is factory-built ammunition tailored to the pursuit. Heck, you might even want to grab a set of reloading dies and save that brass for future handloading, but it’s always nice to know there’s ample options in factory ammunition--especially for a unique, zippy, capable round with a rich American history.