.264 Winchester Magnum was introduced in 1958. The first production
rifle chambered specifically for this cartridge was the Winchester Model
70 Westerner, with one of the initial production pieces gifted to General Curtis LeMay1.
I would have thought the Model 70 African, chambered for the 458
Winchester Magnum, would have been a more appropriate gift.
The 264 Winchester Magnum is one of three related
cartridges, the others being the 458 Winchester Magnum - 1956 and 338 Winchester Magnum - 1958.
They are all based upon a .375 H&H Magnum parent case, neck modified
for caliber, reduced in body taper and shortened to 2.500" to
approximate .30-06 Springfield
length for function in a standard length action. A forth and similar
the 300 Winchester Magnum was introduced in 1963, however, this
cartridge case length is a longer 2.620".
If there was a radical or controversial component to
Winchester's introduction of these cartridges, it was the creation of
Winchester and the sporting arms press of the day. Beyond the myriad of
early wildcat adaptation of the 375 H&H case, custom gun makers like
Griffin & Howe used it as the basis for proprietary cartridge lines as
early as 19203
and Roy Weatherby launched his successful company with a raft of 375 H&H
derivative cartridges that were designed in 19432.
of the most successful 375 H&H derivative cartridges is the 7mm
Remington Magnum, which was introduced in 1962. Historically, the early
demise of the 264 Winchester Magnum's popularity has been attributed to
Remington's success with their cartridge. The larger 0.284" bullet in
Remington's design provides a better balance of high velocity and bullet
weights and the 7mm Remington Magnum is easier on barrels. Pictured
right, left to right, 257 Weatherby Magnum, 264 Winchester Magnum and
7mm Remington Magnum.
While H&H derived cartridges continued to be introduced,
I believe the 7mm Remington cartridge marked the end of successful
factory effort with H&H based cartridges. The 8mm Remington Magnum -
1978 and the 416 Remington Magnum - 1988 are excellent performers, but
occupy a market niche. Marlin's 2000 Shot Show introduction, the 450
Marlin have drawn few enthusiasts from the 45-70 Gov't contingency.
After all of the shuffling between short, long and some combination of
"fat" magnums, 30-06 Springfield length magnums with full length H&H
capacity seem to be the emerging mammal.
The 264 Winchester Magnum should have done better. I
believe it was axed by lazy writer's mob mentality as the popular
condemnations make no sense. If the round's velocity cooks barrels and
the bullet weight is too light, please explain the success and
acceptance of the 257 Weatherby Magnum for use on everything from
chipmunks to elk. And if the little 6.5 Swede is cheered on for use on
moose in Sweden, the most ballistically conservative nation in the
world, how could a cartridge moving the same bullets 700 fps faster not
be embraced in world wide unification?
So why are we all here, Joe...
Because I love the concept of the 264 Winchester
Magnum... and this big ass gun. There, I've said it out loud. And
because the laws of physics, and the state of Maine, don't support the
264 Winchester Magnum's reputation, I intend to load and shoot and
analyze the cartridge and record the results in concert with one of Remington's
truly spiffy Sendero SF II rifles. Big gun, big scope, very fast bullets
- what's not to like? Additionally, I have a couple of shop rifles in
build stage and one is slated to be a sporter weight 264 Winchester
Magnum so this project will help me to nail down some realistic
The Remington Model 700 Sendero SF II does nothing to
disguise its purpose. Its H-S Precision tactical type stock is made of
woven Kevlar and fiberglass cloth, unidirectional carbon fiber with an
epoxy-based gel coat and laminating resin laid over a fiberglass
reinforced polyurethane foam core.
The stock is finished with a non-reflective, non-slip baked-on
At the heart of this marriage of hardware and stock is a CNS machined
integral aluminum bedding block that solidly and consistently secures
the barreled action. Ambidextrous palm swells, wide flat bottom forearm
and excellent recoil pad make the gun comfortable to shoot from any
position. The Sendero's barrel is free floating and makes no contact
with the barrel channel. This is a stock design that has successfully
performed in many target, tactical and long range hunting applications.
It weighs only 2 lbs. 10 oz., it dampens recoil and it is virtually
The Sendero's barreled action is all 416 stainless. The
receiver is machined from solid-steel bar stock for uniformity and
strength, as opposed to a cast actions, as is found in many current
firearms. Remington's cylindrical receiver provides a solid bedding area
in the stock for consistent shot placement. The gun's recessed bolt face
locks up inside the counter-bored breech of the barrel which is
surrounded by the receiver, forming a triple steel enclosure of the
cartridge case head. The integral extractor is set in a groove inside
the rim of the bolt face, uniformly supporting the cartridge head. It is
a very strong and part of an innately accurate piece of hardware.
- the double swivel studs on the forearm allow for alternative sling
mounting positions and for a sling and bipod to be concurrently
attached. The Sendero's barrel begins at the receiver with a 1.25"
diameter barrel that tapers to 0.815" at the muzzle and the barrel's
shallow recessed target type crown. Fluting trims barrel weight while
gaining barrel rigidity.
The floorplate release is at the upper, inside trigger
guard loop. The bottom metal is aluminum for light weight with the
exception of the magazine follower and magazine box, two parts that see
a lot of metal on metal contact.
700 Sendero SF II
Remington Arms Company
||*8 lbs 8
|Drop at comb
|Drop at heel
weights and measures
The Sendero is equipped with the X-Mark Pro trigger, a
very slick trigger that is externally adjustable for pull. I adjusted
the trigger on this gun to 2˝
Lbs. The 264 Winchester Magnum version of the Sendero is built on
a long Remington action; bolts pictured above are from a .264
Winchester Magnum and 300 Remington Ultra Mag - both the same length and
minor bolt face differences.
The Model 700 Sendero is a well made rifle assembled from
premium parts. No injection molded plastic stock, no chrome moly as far
as the eye can see and lots of quality part fitting and secondary
machine operations. My personal 300 Ultra Magnum version has held up
well under a lot of use and delivers excellent accuracy today, just as
it did when first purchased. While it seems like a larg... ish rifle, at
8 ˝ Lbs it weights the same as my Winchester Model 70
Featherweight. No, the irony didn't escape me.
Some thinking out loud... Always a dangerous thing.
Cartridge overall Length
120 Grain MV
120 Grain ME
|264 Win Mag
With the exception of the 6.5 Swede, which is easy to
handload to a velocity higher than most factory ammo, the rest of the cartridges are
within expectations. The only problem is that there is an inconsistency
in factory test barrel length so the data is a little difficult to
interpret from the standpoint of efficiency. The 264 Win Mag earns a
19.3 BBI which
is high within this group, but lower than the perfectly acceptable .257
Weatherby that rates a 21.2 BBI. The lower capacity cartridges should
lose less velocity with less barrel length.
I saw an odd note in Sierra's Edition V regarding the 264
Winchester Magnum. The passage reads that this cartridge was loaded with
a is (was?) factory loaded with a bore riding bullet; the forward part
of the shank ahead of the bearing surface is land rather than groove
diameter. Their caution was rifles with short throats. My thought was
velocity readings might have been based on on reduced bore friction
bullets. Something to think
about. Powder choice should prove to be interesting as most manuals
referenced older powder types.
I'm going to spend a few days working up some load data
and installing an appropriate scope on the Sendero. Then I'll be back
with the combination's shooting manners and performance.
The 264 Winchester Magnum... Part I
The 264 Winchester Magnum... Part II
- R.L. Wilson
2Weatherby, The. The Gun. The
Legend - Grits & Tom Gresham
3 Wildcat Cartridges Volume
I - Wolf Publishing