.257 Norma Weatherby Magnum

filmjunkie4ever

Handloader
May 4, 2011
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Has anyone heard of this “wildcat” caliber? No I didn’t make a typo, I just acquired a Springfield 1903 Bliss Titus custom in this truly one of a kind caliber. It looks exactly like the standard .257 Weatherby case but instead of measuring 2.549” its case (a highly whittled down .308 Norma Magnum hull) mics at 2.365.” I received a box and a half of loaded ammo, the reamers, all the trim/forming dies and some basic load data.

I got it from a distant relative with the thoughts of perhaps having it re-chambered to .257 Weatherby Magnum as doing so would be quite easy. The 24” barrel is only marked “.250 Bliss Titus,” though the reamers are clearly marked .257 N W Magnum. The rifle is in excellent shape with vintage Leupold mounts and rings and a Leupold Vari-X 3-9 scope with tapered crosshairs reticle. The trigger is a real beauty. It’s normal pull is around 3.5# but you can set it, resulting in a hair trigger. The walnut stock is gorgeous with hand checkering.

I really found a pearl here, I just want to know if anyone has any information on the caliber itself. So far I have turned up nothing on that subject. Bliss Titus himself was an interesting fellow, a gunsmith and barrel maker from Utah that is quite well known.

Any help you can provide will be most appreciated!


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That’s a beauty. Only help I can offer is shoot it before you plug a longer reamer in. Might be that it’s a real hummer, be a shame to fool with it if so.
 
I couldn't find anything on the cartridge but the rifles made by Bliss Titus are bringing a premium price.
Could be worth more if you left it alone then to run a reamer in and change it.
I would shoot it with some fresh ammo since you have the dies and brass and see what it will do.
 
Yep, I vote for keeping it as is, it's a unique rifle, classic post war gun smithing.


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I wonder if he shortened up the case dimensions in order to seat the bullet out longer? Many of those old time Smith’s were very innovative.
 
That's a beauty. I'd be inclined to leave it as is for now, especially since you have the dies, brass and info on it.
 
That is one great looking rifle with a super cool caliber, I vote to leave it as is, I know I would.
 
OU812":25ohurrc said:
That is one great looking rifle with a super cool caliber, I vote to leave it as is, I know I would.

Without a doubt! Too darned cool!
 
gbflyer":2h9a8ju9 said:
I wonder if he shortened up the case dimensions in order to seat the bullet out longer? Many of those old time Smith’s were very innovative.

The ammo that I got with the gun is using vintage .308 Norma Mag brass that’s been whittled down in a series of trim/form dies. All of it is loaded with what looks to be Hornady 100 grain SPs seated to the cannelure.

My theory is that he probably wanted a .257 Weatherby but didn’t want to pony up the cash to have one made or to buy the expensive and custom order ammo to keep it fueled. So he did what any tightwad would do, he went with the cheapest alternative he could find.

Why he didn’t go with a variant of the .25 Niedner instead is what baffles me. Milsurp .30-06 brass was everywhere back then and again more cheap than .308 Norma. He chose a 24” barrel instead of a 26” even with the magnum case. A very, very interesting rifle indeed.


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I would load the toughest bullet I could find short of full metal and kill with the up most confidence. You have a gem to be sure, least that is how I see It, enjoy the caliber.
 
Beautiful rifle!

I still have my grandfather's old dies for the 257 Weatherby. His rifle dates from the late 1940's or early 1950's and is Mauser based, but not as nice looking as yours.

Grandpa's dies were intended for necking down, resizing 300 H&H brass to the 257 Weatherby, and I still have some of that old brass. Pretty cool stuff.

I had to get new dies to work successfully with modern 257 Weatherby (and Norma) brass. The old dies wouldn't properly size the necks of the newer brass.

Surely do admire your beautiful old rifle! How different from the Weatherby cartridge is it? Just a tad shorter?

Guy
 
Guy Miner":1t5detob said:
Surely do admire your beautiful old rifle! How different from the Weatherby cartridge is it? Just a tad shorter?

Guy

As far as I can tell Guy, this one’s just shorter. The case OAL is 2.365 while the standard Weatherby is 2.549. I really want to leave this original but forming brass is really a pain. Tried several times Friday to no avail, just ruined brass. Against all advice, she might be headed to the ‘smith for a Weatherby reamer. Would love to get this rifle up and going for the occasional deer/antelope hunt.


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It's your rifle, and I don't think you'd be "wrong" either leaving it as is, or converting it to 257 Weatherby.

The Weatherby is a great cartridge! "Our" old rifle really belongs to my son now and he doesn't seem to use it much. I might load up some more ammo for it one of these days. I haven't used it a lot either.

Most of the old 257's had a rather slow twist rate, I forget what is in our old 257 Wby, but it seems to do best with standard 100 gr bullets, rather than the longer 115's & such.

Guy
 
OU812":3l2kwyjy said:
I would load the toughest bullet I could find short of full metal and kill with the up most confidence. You have a gem to be sure, least that is how I see It, enjoy the caliber.

I wouldn’t be a bit scared of making brass for that speed demon. Awesome example of good gunsmithing when it took a craftsman to build them.
 
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