Caribou Gear

One gun to do it all .25 sst (Sherman short tactical)

FlatlanderAZ

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From what i know, the Blachjack Ace behaves like a Berger VLD on game.
In other words, pick your shots.
It is not a bullet to go through the shoulders with.
It behaves like a VLD in that it goes in 1-3 inches, then expands violently! Often shedding it's jacket.
And from using the Berger VLD on some decent white tails here in PA, it's amazing the amount of blood that comes out of the bullet sized entry wound only!
Looks like you shot a spray can of red paint!

From my experience & observed others experience, the 25 calibers seem to kill above what you would expect.
70 yard shot with 115gr VLD has deer "puffing up, going straight legged, and falling over".
100gr Balllistic Tips give clean pass throughs.

At shorter ranges for accuracy, the 131gr Ace is merely ok, as a hunting bullet. Where it really shines is beyond 400 yards.
Thanks. That’s why I have been anxious to see the Elite Hunters come out. But I also hear great things about the hammers, with a few reports of reduced accuracy at extended ranges. I’ll be interested to see what happens.

Can’t wait to start posting some results for you guys. Hopefully this project is operational in tome for my sons’ youth deer/javelina hunt in November.
 

buffybr

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When you don’t get a pass thru and have no blood trail you will change your tune.
In the late '70s I was a fan of P.O. Ackley. Back then I only had one centerfire rifle, a .30-06. My hunting partner gave me a .30 Gibbs case and I carried it around for several months, and I thought it was so cool that I decided to have my .30-06 rechambered to .30 Gibbs for my elk rifle.

At the same time I decided to build a .257 Roberts Ackley Improved for my deer and antelope rifle. Most of my hunting with it has been with 117 grain Sierra GameKing bullets. Over the years I've probably killed 30 or more deer and 30 or more antelope with this rifle/bullet combination. Most of the deer and antelope were one shot kills and I have never lost an animal that I shot with this rifle, although I did have to track two deer a couple hundred yards where I found them dead.

On one antelope hunt in eastern Montana I was walking back to my truck and went through a prairie dog town. On one mound there were 3 prairie dogs standing in a line. They were about 125 yards away, and I just couldn't resist a shot. The 117 grain GameKing bullet literally exploded the first two dogs and cut the third one in half.

In 1979 I went on my first Montana Unlimited Sheep hunt. I backpacked by myself into unit 303 east of Gardiner and north of Yellowstone NP. I had only planned on hunting for a few days, and by the third morning I hadn't seen any sheep, but not long after I left my camp I heard an elk bugling and coming toward me. The early elk season was also open in the Wilderness there and I had an elk tag in my pocket, so when I saw those 6 point dark brown antlers with ivory tips walking toward me I couldn't resist, and when he stopped broadside about 70 yards in front of me I put a 117 grain Sierra tight behind his shoulder and he simply dropped dead.

That little 117 grain bullet hit a rib going in, shredded his lungs, and didn't cut the rib cage on the opposite side.

Through the '80s I continued to hunt the Unlimited sheep units and ended up killing 3 of my own rams and finishing another ram than another hunter had wounded and lose. I used my .257 Ackley with 117 grain GameKing bullets, and all of those rams were one shot DRT kills.

In 1999 I went on a cancellation Dall sheep hunt in Canada's Mackenzie Mountains. This was my first guided hunt and I again used my .257 Ackley. This was a fly-in backpack hunt, and the first day of hunting we found a band of 5 rams with one ram that I said I wanted as soon as I saw him. We stalked in to 208 yards and again a 117 grain GameKing bullet dropped him in his tracks. That bullet went completely through his chest, but there was almost no blood on either side. That ram turned out to be 10 1/2 years old and has 39+" horns on each side.

A few days later in that hunt my guide and I were flown to another area to hunt for Mountain Caribou. We hadn't seen many caribou and just after we got up on the third morning two bulls walked by our camp. We had seen these bulls earlier several miles away and my guide had wanted me to shoot the larger one, but I had wanted something larger. Since this was about the end of my hunt, I grabbed my rifle and shot the larger bull. It was about a 200 yard shot and as soon as I shot we heard the bullet ricochet off the rocks beyond the bull.

The bulls ran out of sight down the hill, and my guide said he was sure I'd hit the one but he didn't know about the sound of the ricochet. I said "Yeah I hit him, lets go get him." We found him dead about 30 yards beyond the crest of the hill. Again my bullet went completely through his chest, and there was almost no blood on either side.

So after over 40 years of hunting with my .257 Ackley and over 60 kills without heavy blood trails, I haven't changed my tune and I am still 100% confident with this rifle for everything from prairie dogs to elk.
 

Don Fischer

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In the late '70s I was a fan of P.O. Ackley. Back then I only had one centerfire rifle, a .30-06. My hunting partner gave me a .30 Gibbs case and I carried it around for several months, and I thought it was so cool that I decided to have my .30-06 rechambered to .30 Gibbs for my elk rifle.

At the same time I decided to build a .257 Roberts Ackley Improved for my deer and antelope rifle. Most of my hunting with it has been with 117 grain Sierra GameKing bullets. Over the years I've probably killed 30 or more deer and 30 or more antelope with this rifle/bullet combination. Most of the deer and antelope were one shot kills and I have never lost an animal that I shot with this rifle, although I did have to track two deer a couple hundred yards where I found them dead.

On one antelope hunt in eastern Montana I was walking back to my truck and went through a prairie dog town. On one mound there were 3 prairie dogs standing in a line. They were about 125 yards away, and I just couldn't resist a shot. The 117 grain GameKing bullet literally exploded the first two dogs and cut the third one in half.

In 1979 I went on my first Montana Unlimited Sheep hunt. I backpacked by myself into unit 303 east of Gardiner and north of Yellowstone NP. I had only planned on hunting for a few days, and by the third morning I hadn't seen any sheep, but not long after I left my camp I heard an elk bugling and coming toward me. The early elk season was also open in the Wilderness there and I had an elk tag in my pocket, so when I saw those 6 point dark brown antlers with ivory tips walking toward me I couldn't resist, and when he stopped broadside about 70 yards in front of me I put a 117 grain Sierra tight behind his shoulder and he simply dropped dead.

That little 117 grain bullet hit a rib going in, shredded his lungs, and didn't cut the rib cage on the opposite side.

Through the '80s I continued to hunt the Unlimited sheep units and ended up killing 3 of my own rams and finishing another ram than another hunter had wounded and lose. I used my .257 Ackley with 117 grain GameKing bullets, and all of those rams were one shot DRT kills.

In 1999 I went on a cancellation Dall sheep hunt in Canada's Mackenzie Mountains. This was my first guided hunt and I again used my .257 Ackley. This was a fly-in backpack hunt, and the first day of hunting we found a band of 5 rams with one ram that I said I wanted as soon as I saw him. We stalked in to 208 yards and again a 117 grain GameKing bullet dropped him in his tracks. That bullet went completely through his chest, but there was almost no blood on either side. That ram turned out to be 10 1/2 years old and has 39+" horns on each side.

A few days later in that hunt my guide and I were flown to another area to hunt for Mountain Caribou. We hadn't seen many caribou and just after we got up on the third morning two bulls walked by our camp. We had seen these bulls earlier several miles away and my guide had wanted me to shoot the larger one, but I had wanted something larger. Since this was about the end of my hunt, I grabbed my rifle and shot the larger bull. It was about a 200 yard shot and as soon as I shot we heard the bullet ricochet off the rocks beyond the bull.

The bulls ran out of sight down the hill, and my guide said he was sure I'd hit the one but he didn't know about the sound of the ricochet. I said "Yeah I hit him, lets go get him." We found him dead about 30 yards beyond the crest of the hill. Again my bullet went completely through his chest, and there was almost no blood on either side.

So after over 40 years of hunting with my .257 Ackley and over 60 kills without heavy blood trails, I haven't changed my tune and I am still 100% confident with this rifle for everything from prairie dogs to elk.
It would be interesting if we were able to duplicate every one of those shot's with the same rifle but a different 117gr bullet!
 

ImBillT

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I'm pretty sure you already know this but rather than going to a custom bullet in the 25 cal you can step up one cal to 26 cal and using the same case shoot that factory bullet faster!
Couldn’t say it any better myself, but might add, “and you can shoot tremendously heavier bullets if you ever choose to do so”.

There are only two reasons to shoot a .257” cartridge. A) you already have one. B) you just want to for the sake of it. I do B) on things a lot, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing logical about it. There are a zillion flavors of .264” bullets, and nearly as many cartridges, many of which have readily accessible dies at low cost.
 

std7mag

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Couldn’t say it any better myself, but might add, “and you can shoot tremendously heavier bullets if you ever choose to do so”.

There are only two reasons to shoot a .257” cartridge. A) you already have one. B) you just want to for the sake of it. I do B) on things a lot, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing logical about it. There are a zillion flavors of .264” bullets, and nearly as many cartridges, many of which have readily accessible dies at low cost.
Then why not go to 7mm?
 

.270

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I'm pretty sure you already know this but rather than going to a custom bullet in the 25 cal you can step up one cal to 26 cal and using the same case shoot that factory bullet faster!
Ohh I hear ya and if it wasn't for the need to have one of everything, I would stick with the .270! I have a couple of 26 caliber cartridge's including the infamous 6.5 manbun, but the only quarter bore I have is a 1:10 twist Bob that can't stabilize the new heavy 130 class bullets. I am a marketer's dream, always chasing the new and shiny.
 

buffybr

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It would be interesting if we were able to duplicate every one of those shot's with the same rifle but a different 117gr bullet!
Me being a reloader, I'm often swayed to try something different. Actually the first mule deer that I shot with my .257 Ackley was with a 120 grain Hornady HP bullet, which resulted in a one shot DRT kill.

Over the years I've tried a bunch of different bullets in my .257 AI: 100 and 120 grain Nosler Partitions, 110 gr Accubonds, 100 grain Nosler solid base, and 115 grain Ballistic Tips. Right now I'm working on a load with 100 gr Barnes TTSX bullets. With different powders and powder charges, the possibilities are almost endless.

In over 55 years of hunting and reloading, the one thing that I have found to be true with my .257 Ackley and all of my other hunting rifles is that if I shoot my bullet into the vitals of any animal, it will die. At first I was going to say "expanding hunting bullet" but then I remembered the number of deer that I shot with .22 LR bullets, the bears that I shot with cast lead pistol bullets, the mule deer and American buffalo that I shot with lead muzzleloader bullets, the small African animals that I shot with FMJ bullets, and the mule deer buck that I shot with a 1 1/8 ounce Trap handicap load of #7 1/2 shot. And all were one shot kills with the bullets being shot into the animal's vitals.
 
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FlatlanderAZ

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Me being a reloader, I'm often swayed to try something different. Actually the first mule deer that I shot with my .257 Ackley was with a 120 grain Hornady HP bullet, which resulted in a one shot DRT kill.

Over the years I've tried a bunch of different bullets in my .257 AI: 100 and 120 grain Nosler Partitions, 110 gr Accubonds, 100 grain Nosler solid base, and 115 grain Ballistic Tips. Right now I'm working on a load with 100 gr Barnes TTSX bullets. With different powders and powder charges, the possibilities are almost endless.

In over 55 years of hunting and reloading, the one thing that I have found to be true with my .257 Ackley and all of my other hunting rifles is that if I shoot my bullet into the vitals of any animal, it will die. At first I was going to say "expanding hunting bullet" but then I remembered the number of deer that I shot with .22 LR bullets, the bears that I shot with cast lead pistol bullets, the mule deer and American buffalo that I shot with lead muzzleloader bullets, the small African animals that I shot with FMJ bullets, and the mule deer buck that I shot with a 1 1/8 ounce Trap handicap load of #7 1/2 shot. And all were one shot kills with the bullets being shot into the animal's vitals.
FYI, I believe the ACE is a rebranded Sierra GameKing. Having 131 gn options is really nice.
 

ImBillT

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Then why not go to 7mm?

I’d like to give you more credit than that. Care to pretend you’re not serious?

I suggested an increase in bore diameter of .007”. That’s an increase in bore area or 5.5%. To match the SD of the typical .257” 115gr bullet, a .264” bullet only has to weight 121gr. That difference is minuscule. No one is refusing to shoot a 121gr bullet from a 6.5-06 because the recoil is too much, and then gladly shooting a 115gr bullet from a 25-06 and claiming that the recoil is mild. When in comes to major manufacturers, .257” choices are limited, and they top out between 115gr and 120gr. For .264” bullets major manufacturers offer more choices at similar weights and SDs, AND they go waaaaayyy up. There are at least six .264” bullets, from at least four major manufacturers(Sierra, Norma, Lapua, Berger) that are 155/156gr, and to my knowledge ZERO .257” 148gr(same SD) bullets are available from major manufacturers. For a .264” bullet of similar design to the BlackJack Ace to match its BC, it would only have to weigh 138gr. It’s an extreme design from a niche manufacturer, and a 138gr .264” bullet with the same BC could easily be made. Just count how many .257” options are available from Nosler, Norma, Lapua, Barnes, Berger, Sierra and Hornady and then do the same for .264”. If you’re looking for light weight bullets, there are 90gr-100gr .264” options from major manufacturers that fit very closely to the 85gr .257” options.

The exact same situation exists for .277” vs .284”.

Why not go 7mm? That’s a 22% increase in bore area over a .257” bullet. For the same SD as a 115gr .257”, it would have to weigh 140gr. While still not a load that most would shy away from the recoil from a 280Rem with a 140gr bullet would be quite a bit more than from a 25-06 with a 115gr bullet. Not only is recoil substantially increased but so are problems related to meat or hide damage if one was to be shooting smaller critters. There are not a lot of 85gr-100gr options out there in .284” bullets(Sierra makes a 100gr). To get an equal SD to the .264” 156gr, you have to go up to 180gr with .284” bullets. That’s a substantial increase.

Is there anything wrong with a 7mm? NO!! If a guy is asking about good options for a .256” cartridge, I’m often going to include the suggestion that he consider necking up just .007” of an inch and availing himself to the wonderful variety of widely available options in .264”, but I’m rarely going to suggest that he neck up .027” or .051”. If recoil is really a big issue, and really big animals aren’t on the table, I might even suggest considering dropping down to a .243” option. A .243Win, 6mm Rem, and 6mm CM with a 115gr bullet, barely lag behind a 25-06 with a 115-120gr bullet in terms of velocity, produce less recoil, AND have a higher SD.

Roughly the same SD
243Win/100gr/3161fps* smaller case
25-06/115gr/3170fps
6.5-06/120gr/3295fps lower SD
6.5-06/125gr/3110fps higher SD
280Rem/140gr/3152fps


Roughly the same weight
243Win/115gr/2963fps*smaller case
25-06/115gr/3170fps
6.5-06/120gr/3294
280Rem/115gr/3234fps

I used the 30-06 case because it has easy to obtain load data in all three diameters, but results will be similar accross the board.

Why not go 7mm? Maybe he doesnt want to shoot bullets weighing 140gr-180gr. Why not go 6mm? Maybe he wants to shoot bullets in excess of 115-120gr(although heavier options exist in .257”, they are limited) Why not go 6.5mm? Now that’s a good question. For practical purposes it’s almost identical to .257”, and yet his options are almost limitless.
 

ImBillT

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FYI, I believe the ACE is a rebranded Sierra GameKing. Having 131 gn options is really nice.
The BlackJack ACE, if that’s what he’s referring to, is no GameKing, and is not a rebranded Sierra. It’s a custom bullet.
 

ImBillT

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6.5 can maintain low recoil while shooting bullets with very high ballistics coefficients. Once you get into the 7s that can launch the high bc bullets comparably to the 6.5 bullets efficiently the recoil goes up which will start effecting some shooters
Yes…about 22% heavier than comparable .257” projectiles would be if they existed, and 15.5% heavier than comparable .264” projectiles. That increase in mass is a substantial advantage in terms of killing power, and a substantial disadvantage in terms of recoil and component cost.
 
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Don Fischer

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Me being a reloader, I'm often swayed to try something different. Actually the first mule deer that I shot with my .257 Ackley was with a 120 grain Hornady HP bullet, which resulted in a one shot DRT kill.

Over the years I've tried a bunch of different bullets in my .257 AI: 100 and 120 grain Nosler Partitions, 110 gr Accubonds, 100 grain Nosler solid base, and 115 grain Ballistic Tips. Right now I'm working on a load with 100 gr Barnes TTSX bullets. With different powders and powder charges, the possibilities are almost endless.

In over 55 years of hunting and reloading, the one thing that I have found to be true with my .257 Ackley and all of my other hunting rifles is that if I shoot my bullet into the vitals of any animal, it will die. At first I was going to say "expanding hunting bullet" but then I remembered the number of deer that I shot with .22 LR bullets, the bears that I shot with cast lead pistol bullets, the mule deer and American buffalo that I shot with lead muzzleloader bullets, the small African animals that I shot with FMJ bullets, and the mule deer buck that I shot with a 1 1/8 ounce Trap handicap load of #7 1/2 shot. And all were one shot kills with the bullets being shot into the animal's vitals.
Couldn't agree more. I do notice your lean to Nosler bullet's. Good bullet's I'm sure but only ones I ever tried were in the early 1970's and they still had the jacket that was prone to shear off at the partition. Didn't care for that for some reason I don't remember. About that same era I also tried Sierra bullet's and found them to do a lot more damage than I wanted to see. These days there's only two bullet's I ever hunt with. That would be Hornady inter locks and Speer Hot Cores. Tested a number of different bullet's at 100yds years ago looking to see what happened to the bullet. Did not shoot the Nosler then, partition was all they had then. But the Hornady Spire Point and the Speer Hot Core destroyed the pack. Both retained 85% of their weight. Hornady core was loose in the jacket though and Speer was tight in the jacket. Hornady had a small margine in accuracy in all my rifle's except one, a 7mm Rem Mag. So over the years I did hunt mostly with Hornady bullet's. In my present 6.5x06 I shoot Speer Hot Core. Thing about me, good, bad or indifferent is I have a hard time moving away from something that works simply to try a new product. Oh yea, For target shooting and varmint shooting I like Hornady V-Max and Sierra MK! For me target shooting, nothing beats Sierra MK's.
 

std7mag

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The BlackJack ACE, if that’s what he’s referring to, is no GameKing, and is not a rebranded Sierra. It’s a custom bullet.
A custom bullet made for Blackjack by Sierra.
Sorta like the Winchester Silver Tip by Nosler, and Sig V-Crown by Sierra.
 
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cahunter805

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Update:
Axisworks says the action is on track for deliver mid August with the stock shortly behind. So build should be complete in October.

I’ve been able to get my hands on 1,000 lrp, 3# of H1000 and 50 128 gn hammer hunters, 100 Berger 135 gn target hybrid and have Berger Elite hunters on preorder and Blackjack Ace on back order (going on 3 mos).

Brass is a a little tough right now as Rich is only selling it 50 pcs at a time in a bundle with a set of dyes for $300. Luckily I have two buddies with the same caliber who stocked up on brass early and have plenty I can buy from them.

Sounds like a great build! The heavy 25cal bullets will be fun no doubt.
Good luck on the Manners stock. They are very nice stock but the customer service is pretty ridiculous. Their shipping date estimates must come from a magic 8 ball!😁
 

ImBillT

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A custom bullet made for Blackjack by Sierra.
Sorta like the Winchester Silver Tip by Nosler, and Sig V-Crown by Sierra.
Then I suppose that I stand corrected on the manufacturer. It’s no GameKing though.

I was under the impression that it was more like JLK VLDs, or any other small custom bullet maker. I guess it’s more like a DTAC.
 
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3855WIN

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Couldn’t say it any better myself, but might add, “and you can shoot tremendously heavier bullets if you ever choose to do so”.

There are only two reasons to shoot a .257” cartridge. A) you already have one. B) you just want to for the sake of it. I do B) on things a lot, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but there’s nothing logical about it. There are a zillion flavors of .264” bullets, and nearly as many cartridges, many of which have readily accessible dies at low cost.
When critters do the bang, flop with a 25, no need for anything else.
 

buffybr

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When critters do the bang, flop with a 25, no need for anything else.
Can't this be said for any cartridge?

For about the first 10 years of my big game hunting my only rifle was a .30-06. That rifle/cartridge produced bang flops for everything that I hunted from prairie dogs to elk. I now have 8 bolt action rifles from .223 Rem to .375 RUM that can and have produced bang flops.

In the '70s I was a fan of PO Ackley, and his books were full of just about every cartridge and wildcat cartridge that you could think of. Rifle loonies are constantly trying to develop the "perfect cartridge."

Today's marketing has developed a pile of super wiz-bang cartridges that in reality just produce the ballistics of the new cartridge that are just a little farther down range from where the ballistics of an old cartridge were. At ranges over 500 yards these ballistics are impressive, but in reality, how many of your average Joe hunters can ethically hit an animal at 500+ yards, let alone bang flop the kill?
 

ImBillT

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When critters do the bang, flop with a 25, no need for anything else.
Please explain why they would do anything different than when hit by a 6.5mm bullet of similar construction, same SD and same impact velocity.
 
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