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Thread: 280 or 7x64

  1. #1

    280 or 7x64

    I am trying to make a decision on which calibre
    If anyone has experience of both and can give some pointers I would be grateful

    the other info needed is the availability or ease of purchasing ammo and brass in the UK, so again any views from people who know

    Uses- long range gong bashing and normal hunting use


  2. #2
    It's a question I've been considering recently (280 Ackley Improved v 7 x 64). There's very little to choose between these two. More European ammunition available for 7 x 64. The Norma site is worth a browse.

    Regards JCS

  3. #3
    I have both: one .280 Remington and three 7x64s.

    My first 7x64 is a vintage Mauser full stock carbine with butter knife bolt handl,, set triggers, and a Hertel & Reuss 2-7x32 scope in claw mounts. I got it by trading a similar Mauser with some history. in 8x60. The more I studied the 7x64, the more I liked it. A 20.5 inch barrel is not the best for this cartridge, but I love the rifle and it has been fun finding ammunition which shoots well, and working up loads for it.

    I looked and looked for a full length rifle, to utilize the potential with 160, 162, and 175 grain bullets. After missing several or finding ones not to my taste or wallet, I decided to build one. I bought a Delcours match barrel, and a Ruger tang safety M77 for little money, and mated those. Now I am building new stock for it, adding nice open sight, taking my time, so I can shoot each variation.

    While doing this, I ran across a .280 Remington in an mint SIG SHR 970. I already owned an SHR in .308 which shoots wonderfully, and this .280 was so inexpensive, that I bought it. I had just been on the verge of buying a .270 barrel for my .308 SHR, and had already bought the synthetic stock ( the SHR is stainless, Teflon coated). Well, this .280 shoots so well, and has such unusually nice wood, that I decided to have a 7x64 built for a pure all-weather hunting machine. Tikka would not import one for me. Neither would CZ ( their beautiful anniversary model 550 ). So I ordered a Steyr SBS Pro Hunter with open sights, buying it for wholesale. It is pretty weatherproof, too, with a Mannox coating and stainless bolt and trigger group.

    So I am still learning both cartridges. Here is what I know.

    They are twins, ballistically and in loads. You can start with the same bullets, primers, powder and charges and work up to about the same recipe for either of them. They are not finicky. With modern powders, they can easily push high-BC bullets like the 160-gr Sierra GK to 2800 to 2900+ fps. With a 140-gr bullet, they are just like a .270 Win, at 3,000 fps normally. With the 150-gr, they are like the .30-06, about 2,900 to 2,950 fps. But the 7mm 150 and 154-gr bullets have BCs of .500, .525, etc. So they walk off from the .270 there, and flatter than the .30-06 at long range. Inside 300 yards, you cannot tell the difference between .270, 280, 7x64 or .30-06. For me, it is a perfect cartridge for big deer at long range, antelope, sheep and goats, the 400 yard shot you may have to take, especially the 2nd shot. And it does it without the recoil of the 7mm magnums.

    The 7x64 has a slightly longer neck which may help with longer bullets. The 7x64 generally has a fast twist for heavy bullets, about 8.75 to 1.
    The .280 generally has a 10:1 twist, but varies by manufacturer. My .280 has a 22 inch barrel in 10:1 and shoots 140-gr, 150 and 154 so well that I don't care if if shoots 160s or 175s as well. 175s would be for closer big game, anyway.

    Both of them can be loaded down mildly to 7x57 / 7mm-08 velocities, and be all you need for most game, or just use the 160-gr and vary the bullets in toughness, from 162 SST to 160 Sierra SPBT, to Sierra 160 HPBT, to Speer Grand Slam or Swift A-Frame.

    If I could have gotten a Tikka T3 with iron sights in 7x64 or .280, I would not have bought the Steyr ( heavier ), or the .280 Rem ( oddball with my other 7x64s), but I won't sell any of them. They are all going hunting in the mountains with me this year, and out West for sheep soon. At the time I got into the 7x64, it was not restricted like the .30-06 and .308 were, a true international hunting caliber.

    Find a good rifle you like and get either cartridge.

  4. #4
    I have both so I will make it a simple answer , either.

  5. #5
    I have neither but do have a 7mm-08 and like the 7mm. I've looked at this myself and at some point I will get a 7x64 or 280. I think the reality is it will be the 7x64. The main reason is it is very popular all over Europe and in South Africa where I intend to use it so getting ammunition will be easy. Over here in the UK I don't think it really matters which you get as you'll find that you'll need to reload for both. Basically they are for all intense and purposes identical.

  6. #6
    Performance on game will be identical. 7x64 ammo will be easier available in Europe. Even in the UK, I think. So 7x64 would be my choice.

  7. #7
    To re-iterate, the major difference is in the rifles, what is available in each cartridge, and in the rate of twist - more American rifles for the .280, more European rifles for the 7x64. So it be good to talk to as many owners of different rifles as possible, even ones out of production, for how they handle different weights and styles of bullets. There are some beautiful vintage rifles built on the 7x64.

    The .280 has some excellent American ammunition, and some of it loaded to high velocities, such as Conley and Hornady Superperformance (140 gr ), as well as some Barnes and GMX monolithic bullet loads.

    Reloading is going to be necessary for you, but there are tons of good bullets, from 120 to 175 grains.

  8. #8
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    I have a 280, Belgian made in the 1960s when this was one of the alternative calibres with 30-06 being prohibited in both Belgium and France at that time. Availability of brass when I bought it about five years ago was good. The dies I sourced via eBay. One advantage of a less popular US calibre (compared with 270 WCF or 30-06) is that the dies when they are available on eBay are cheaper.

    I got my brass from Norman Clarke. The BIG advantage was that being a USA made cartridge case....Remington made in was cheaper than the European made 7x64 cartridge cases.

    Given the strength of the UK Pound against the US Dollar and its value against the Euro I would guess that that factor is still important. Hannam's Reloading will probably have 280 brass in stock for mail order. At a list of 62 for 100 made by Remington.

    On Midway UK Norma 7x64 is 39 for 20 and Norma 280 is 32 for 20. Hmm!

    But as others rightly say factory ammo, off the shelf, is a different matter. I'd doubt that there is anywhere in the UK that has any. 7x64 may be almost as bad if not quite as bad. But is that really an issue if you handload?

    On the continent because of this legacy of 280 being one of the alternatives to 30-06 you'll still find ammunition for it but only in "many" gun shops. You'll find 7x64 in ALL gun shops.

    I'd make a choice on what RIFLE suits you best. Unless you only shoot factory ammunition in which case 7x64 is the only sensible choice as I doubt anybody here in the UK actually imports loaded 280 Remington ammunition including any of the main importers as the demand is nil.

    Same as if I was offered an superb Holland and Holland 240 Apex at a ridiculous price. I'd buy it and worry about sourcing ammunition afterwards as it is still a current calibre. A good 280 Ross I'd now pass on as it is an obsolete calibre. So only you can make that decision.

    My own rather perverse delight is that if I couldn't have my 280 Remington, if ammunition and cases became obsolete, I would't bother with a 7x64 as a "second choice"...I'd just go a get a 30-06 or 7mm Remington Magnum.
    Last edited by enfieldspares; 11-11-2014 at 22:21.

  9. #9
    The 280 and 7x64 are very nicely balanced cartridges. Flat shooting, plenty of power and not a lot of fuss in terms of recoil / noise etc. I've always felt that they are probably at the top of the list for deer and other medium / large game. Which to go for depends on which side of the Atlantic. In the uk 7x64 ammo is available, but probably worth buying several boxes at a time. For most of us 200 rounds can last a good long time.

  10. #10
    Thanks for the replies gents
    It looks like finding the brass easily and cost effectivelywill be the answer to selection, as they are so similar
    If I am using around 160g bullets would the neck length ofthe 7x64 be better or is it really not worth the worry
    Any other views still welcome

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