Hard to argue against either one of those choices.
I dont have a 257 but have several 7mm-08's. The 257 if Im not mistaken takes a long action and although the Roberts is close to a 25-06 , it isnt , so why not a 25-06 if you are going to have a long action 25 cal? I have 25-06's too and it is one heck of a caliber and I've vaporized pdogs , use it for coyotes , and its a hammer on deer! I have taken more deer with my 7mm-08's than with any other caliber I own and a lot of them were heavy bodied Wi deer when I lived there. Ability to use heavier bullets than the 25 cal will allow would be the advantage there in my opinion. 140 grain partitions in a 7mm-08 have impressed me on deer!
Either one would be plenty for deer of any size but Id lean towrds the 7mm-08 if strictly a deer rifle. If you want more versatility I would go for the 257 or a 25-06.
I really like my Roberts a lot. I have a #1 B and a custom model 70 257 AI. I have only shot antelope with it, 3 of them between 200 and a hair over 400 yards. I load a 100 grain bullet at 3170 fps from the #1. I like the 25-06 but it is an overbored cartridge. and really isn't any great improvement over the Roberts. especially when handloaded for. Both barrel and case life should be greater in the Roberts. Now for the 7-08, It is a great round and ammo is easier to find. even though I prefer the more classic 7x57.it would be a better elk round but I doubt any deer would tell you the difference. Some of the great gun writers such as Finn aggard . John Barness and Bob Milek love/loved the Roberts. I believe Finn shot his largest mule deer with it and countless other deer, as remember none took a second shot.
Im heading out tomorrow to buy a win 70 featherweight in 257 Roberts for the wife. If you have found a Roberts I would grab it. You can always get a 7mm08 but Roberts have become cult like and seem to increase in value every year. I don't think you would be sorry with either one but the cool factor to me goes to the BOB.
If you go the Roberts way be a reloader as that is what it takes to make it shine. Ive had multiple 25-06 rifles and am down to one, I have a 25-35 the 257 and 257 AI and the second Roberts tomorrow. I like .25 bores. But when I hunt out your way I tend to use my 30-06 or usually my 338 win mag. I guess my suggestion would be to get them both.
My 250 Savage and 250 Savage Ackley Improved rifles do fine on deer. I've used Nosler Partition AND the Ballistic Tips both in 100 grain weight. I've also owned a couple of 25-06's but never got to try them on deer. The bullet you choose is the ticket. Big deer, go for a quality controlled expansion bullet such as the Partition. Smallish up to 150 lb I think the BT is fine. The BT has fully penetrated all the deer I used it on...well...it was just one : )
Actually a few more deer with the 25's now that I think back. I've been using only a bow the last 8 years so the 250's have only gotten to the range a few times.
Not to be picky cobalt402, but technically moose are members of the deer family. And a moose can weight 4 or 5 times as much as one of our average, Idaho mule deer.
Nevertheless, there’s not a deer in Idaho, including a moose, that can’t be successfully taken with a 7mm-08, if you do your part. I’m partial to .30 calibers myself, but my wife, our oldest daughter, and now one of our grandsons have been killing mule deer with 7mm-08s since the cartridge was first commercialized.
That said, I think a .257 Roberts with the right loads would serve a deer hunter just as well as the 7mm-08s have served the other deer hunters in my family. Except for that one thing – as rugerjunkie mentioned, I too think a .257 Roberts requires a long action. So practicality wise, a deer hunter might as well step up to the .25-06.
On the other hand, to me personally the .257 Roberts has a certain “panache.” Panache is why when I had my custom, retirement rifle built, I had it chambered for the .308 Norma Magnum. I know my .308 Norma Mag won’t do anything a .300 Win Mag won’t do. In fact, on paper a .300 Win Mag will do just a little bit more as it’s slightly faster for all bullet weights. But everybody and his uncle has a either a .300 Win Mag, or a 7mm Rem Mag. My .308 Norma has panache. And that’s why if I personally was going to choose a .25 caliber rifle for deer hunting, it would be a .257 Bob rather than a .25-06 Remington.
A bunch of us here are long in the tooth. I do appreciate the older 'obsolete' cartridges, they are appealing to me in that they have been making meat a lot longer than I've been alive. IF I had to do it over from the start, I'd forget everything and go 30-06 only.
Re OP's proposal, my choice would be the 257 Roberts.
I can vouch for the 257 Roberts having made 32 one shot kills on deer and Antelope.
Using 100gr Barns-X bullets only, which I Moly plate ala NECO. My last deer was a running shot at about 100 yrds. at a 250lbs buck. The rifle is an H&R single shot completly custom. Every part was either rebuilt or reworked. Used hand loads only at 3150 ft MV, the rifle has a 24" octagon
barrel and 3-9 Sightron scope. The trigger breaks at 32oz. The 257 Bob is on of my favorate besides a 257Wby Mod 11 Luxus single shot rifle. Both rifles are super accurate.
Mtneer, I completely understand 'panache' and why you chose a .308 Norma Magnum.
My Roberts is a Howa 1500 long action. It began life as a .30'06 and I had E.R. Shaw install a 24" stainless magnum profile tube with 1:10 twist. This rifle is way more accurate than my miserable abilities will permit. Interestingly it has a pretty short throat so I load to 2.780. I have a terrible flinch and cannot shoot anything with much recoil. The standard pressure .257 in a rather heavy rifle is just about perfect for me.
My rifle is topped with a Burris Fullfield II 3-9x40 in Leupold rings. It really likes a 117 grain Sierra or Hornady bullet over 34 grains H380 or 37.6 grains H4350. Haven't chrono'd it yet but I would guess either load is good for 2600 fps. I've been watching a couple of big, mature bucks on my place this year and look forward to trying the .257 on one of them in a couple of weeks.
I bought a 257R M77 tang safety for my daughter when she was about 8 years old. She shot it so much she shot out the barrel. I had it rebarreled with a Douglas SS barrel. Put a Timney trigger and B&C stock on it. It has a Leupold 3X9X40 Scope.
She took it with use to Africa. She shot Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Zebra, Impala(2), Warthogs(8) with it at ranges from 135 to 410 yards all spot and stalk. All were one shot no tracking kills. Some of those animals have a reputation for being hard to kill and requiring more than one shot. Some are pretty large animals also. The PH was impressed. She was using 120gr Swift A-Frame handloads.
Here she has taken several deer and a number of hogs mostly using 100gr Swift Scirroco handloads and a few 100gr Nosler Partition handloads. All have been 0ne shot no tracking kills.
While I (and she) have better rifles suited for moose we would not worry about using it on deer/hogs/elk. I agree there are better choices for elk but the 257R would work. I, personally, would use my 338win mag for elk.
I am presently going to turn a tang safety M77 from a 6mm Rem into a 257Roberts set up the same for her 4 month old daughter. Then mom/daughter will have like rifles. Never really liked the 6mm/243 stuff.
I also have a Tikka T-3 Lite in 7mm-08. It is a nice rifle. I have not killed anything with it yet. At reasonable distances I guess it will work as well as the 7mag I had. I turned the 7mag into a 264Win mag and prefer it to the 7mag.
The Roberts is pure poison on deer. A 115 grain Partition that involves one or both shoulders will give you DRT results with boring regularity. My 257 Roberts Ultralight is just like the one pictured above. Finding a 257 Roberts will be a challenge. The reward is worth it.
I killed my first deer with a 257 Roberts 55 years ago. Since then I've killed 257 big game animals, mostly deer and antelope with various 257 Roberts rifles. I also killed my first 11 elk with a 257 Roberts before somebody told me it wasn't suitable for killing elk. A few bears, a couple of caribou........
Do you reload, if you do the .257Roberts will shine for you. Frankly the short action long action argument is bunk, why have a 7-08 when you can have it all with a .280 Remington.
I have piled up many deer with the 257Bob, mostly shooting 100 gr pills, My son and daughter both took their first deer with the .257roberts, I took my first elk years ago with the same .257 with 120 grain Noslers.
If you look just at paper then the 7mm-08 will have better numbers, Numbers are all relative. The .257 will stop any whitetail as effectively as any other rifle cartridge with a well place shot, A bad shot is a bad shot regardless of caliber.
My .257 handles 75gr to 120gr slugs, and the Bob see's most of its duties these days hunting fox and coyote with 75gr slugs.
You won't find a nicer soft shooting rifle that will stop whitetails cold.
WE OLD FARTS pre date the 25-06 as a standardized cartridge. When "I" started the 25-06 really wasn't that big a deal.There just weren't powders out slow enough to make the over bore 25-06 that effective. With the advent of 4831 and 4350 it finally made sense.
BUT if you are a reloader the 257 Roberts is still a better choice if you want to use that one rifle for multiple task and you are looking at bore efficency and barrel life. The 25-06 is like all over bore cartridges, it shines with the heaviest for caliber bullets. When you come down from that the exspansion rate requires MORE powder and thus more more recoil to drive the same "light" bullet as a Bob. Yes stick more in a 25-06 and you get more or the same velocity but not some HUGE increase unless you are looking at heavy bullets.
If the 257 Roberts is bore balanced and it is then the 25-06 is over bore simply by definition.
Yes I own a few 25-06s. But if ytou look at them even with 120s the max load is well within the reach of the Roberts and certainly the 257 Ackley Improved with the range of the variation of fast barrel versus slow barrel.
I probably own 25 rifles chambered in 257 Roberts and 257 AI. Especially in #1s with a 26" barrel they will push a 25-06 hard with anything other than the heaviest bullets and often with significantly less powder.
Yes, I lso shootthe AI a lot and got my first one before the standarization of the 25-06.
All that said, if I did NOT hand load and didn't shoot a LOT but wanted to use a 25 bore I would probably opt for the 25-06 and not give a hoot about any added expense or recoil because frankly it would get shot less than my 257s. My 257 Roberts #1 "V" is coming up on 6000 75 grain Sierras down the tube since being built in 1971. The throat still looks pretty good.
I too am a fan of the .257 Roberts. I've got a Ruger 77 RL as well as a Remington 700 Classic. Like many othersi prefer the 115 grain Partition. I've been meaning to try the 100 grain Partition in the Ruger but haven't gotten to it as yet.