.256 Newton questions

mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,828 ✭✭✭
I recently acquired several vintage firearms in trade (no cost to me / new to me).

A member of my gunclub was divesting himself of most of his firearms to focus on collecting and selling ammunition and reloading equipment and ephemera related to the industry.

I had a fairly large stash / hoard from my gunshop days including ammo for guns I recently sold off through locust fork here on GB - and he had a number of guns left over from an estate he acquired that he was having trouble moving.

One of the rifles is an early production low serial number .256 Newton bolt action spotter.

I am in the process of doing my own research and working through me reference library but I would of course also welcome some feedback and information from the membership here.

.256 Newton cartridge

Is there a source for loaded ammo and components???

Or do I need to have hand loads fire formed and tailored to my vintage original rifle???

Is there a preferred loading for light game / deer sized game???

Can anyone suggest a preferred loading for range day target shooting at 100-200 yds from a bagged benchrest???

Is it worth it to pursue chronograph readings and records for each loading???

When inspecting once fired brass are there any particular areas of concern I should pay attention to???

If any what are the 3 cartridges that have the closest similar performance envelope???

I still have a .250-3000 savage and a .25-06 - is there any similarity in projectiles and case capacities???

Any suggested powder for target shooting (consistent velocity and accuracy)???

General opinions or personal experience with the .256 Newton???

Worth pursuing and playing with or an evolutionary dead end that is easily duplicated by newer or better cartridges???

Thanks in advance - any input is appreciated and valued - as always...



  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    First, ".256" is a misnomer by modern standards. The BORE diameter is .256", the groove/bullet diameter is approximately .264" a 6.5mm. Therefore no commonality with .250 Savage or .25-06 (except that you could probably form .256 Newton out of .25-06.)

    For a handloader, resizing and trimming .30-06, .270, or .25-06 would be a straightforward conversion. I googled some brass for sale but no loaded ammunition. Quality Cartridge lists some custom loaders that might make it, but cost would be high. Here is one

    Originally, .256 Newton was limited by powder availability to about like a 6.5 Swedish Mauser. Slower burning powders like IMR 4350 will let it crowd the .270. Sorry, I don't know of reloading data for current propellants. The standard load was with a 129 grain bullet, Mr Newton was kind of a speed freak.

    I wouldn't call it an evolutionary dead end, there are many 6.5s doing the same work now; just that long action rounds are somewhat out of fashion.
  • mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,828 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I do have the 6.5 Swedish and the 6.5 arisaka and the 6.5 mannlicher shoenaer and the 6.5 carcano and the 6.5 mannlicher carcano...

    I have a barreled action project (FN commercial Mauser) in 6.5X47mm Lapua that I plan on putting into use eventually - but I know next to nothing about the cartridge and it's history or usage...

    I had not realized the projectile diameter discrepancy - perhaps one of the above referenced cartridges has some bullet compatibility or a powder that works well in more than one of these platforms...

    The last custom ammo I commissioned I sourced the nickel plated brass from Mike at Greyback wildcats and Superior Ammunition loaded / assembled the cartridges...

    I will not be going back to Superior if my life depended on it for personal reasons...

    Dangerous Dave is no longer a viable option...

    I may be somewhat removed from the game at this point.

    I have noted the data you contributed - anything else you care to add would be valued.

    Thanks, Mike.
  • nononsensenononsense Member, Moderator Posts: 10,645 ******
    edited November -1
    This article provides all the answers to the questions you ask regarding making and reloading the cartridge for yourself:


    The .256 newton is derived from the .30-06 parent case although it will be easier to form cases from the .25-06 brass. There is reloading data available but if you need assistance I can help develop something for you.

  • mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,828 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    That had more relevant data in one place than the 24 reference books I pulled out and copied source material for the guns file...

    I have had wildcats from Donaldson and Gibbs and Ross and rigby and ackley - and will now be able to add Newton to the list...

    I am strictly a hobby level shooter and duffer - and the rifle did come with dies - so I may explore hand loading some safe suggested loads to see how the gun performs...

    The gun came with one box of once fired commercial brass and 12 loaded rounds.

    I would like to put at least 100 rounds through it and maintain a ready reserve of approx 100 loaded rounds.

    And I may pass the gun on to another owner after testing it out - but I could not pass on the chance to have some range day shooting fun with it first - it does seem to be a very fine gun.

    The combination of a cocking piece column style peep sight and an older bauch & lomb scope on a tip off mount along with set triggers does seem promising...

    I know I have been living in the past as far as custom cartridges go - and that there are some amazing new offerings that have been introduced in the last dozen years - the .26 nosler does intrigue me as does the .458 socom.

    Thanks for the assistance - for at least getting me started on the right path.

  • Hawk CarseHawk Carse Member Posts: 4,296 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Here is a breakdown of the several models of Newton rifles. Books for sale for more information.
  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,718 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I acquired a .256 Newton rifle about 25 years ago. It's a model 1916, often called origional Newton. Mine has a Weaver K4 mounted in a Weaver side mount. It is not a "tack driver". Unlike you, I did not have the luxury of the proper loading dies so I made do. I started with .270 cases, trimmed them, and set the shoulder back with .260 Rem dies. The loading data I found was from an old "Speer Reloading Manual for Wildcat Cartridges #4", published in 1960. Do NOT use that data! After a blown primer, I cut that data way back! I would suggest you try IMR4350 powder: 52 gr. with a 120 gr. bullet for 2950 fps, 51 gr. with a 129 gr. bullet for 2890 fps, 50 gr. with a 140 gr. bullet for 2780 fps. I chronographed those loads with an Oehler 35P. They show no excessive pressure signs in my rifle. As you can see, that bests the popular 6.5 Creedmore by a little bit and so should be more than adequate as a deer cartridge.

    Good luck with your project. (Those are pretty modern looking rifles for 100+ years old, don't you think?)
  • charliemeyer007charliemeyer007 Member Posts: 7,348 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2019
    I like the 256 N. My sis and I shot dad's (in the 60's) that was made on a FN action by the A&M guys. It has a quick twist less than 1-9 IIRC. Dad used national match brass -57?. Bullets were 87 to 180 gr (very long). At 100 yards (way back then) I could dot the O's in coors cans using the hood for a rest.

    I have a Newton rifle (1920's) that came with a shot out 256 barrel and fiddle back maple stock adapted from some other rifle. The stock fractured in a microbed accident (release agent failure, likely my fault). I have a pattern stock made for it, fitted to the new Springfield 06 (3-43) barrel I got for free that was in cosmolene. I got to turn off the barrel steps myself as well as finish the chamber. My favorite gunsmith died and I lost the blond walnut blank we were going to panograph to my pattern. The rifle has the nicest double set triggers I have ever used. I wanted it to become my offhand rifle. I would like to re-rifle the original barrel out to 7mm and make it a 7mm-06 Ackley improved, maybe some day.
  • mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,828 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    The double set triggers are like a fine Swiss multi function chronograph...

    Each adjustable for trigger weight and length of travel and to allow a straight pull or a two stage pull...

    Surfaces are machined turned on some kind of mini lathe and the screws have very fine threads...

    Detailed disassemble of the gun and forensic inspection of the obverse sides and hidden internal surfaces and observing their function and architecture has proved to be a noble pursuit.

  • pulsarncpulsarnc Member Posts: 4,389 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Bob Haley at Haley?s custom ammo in Texas for the ammo
    cry Havoc and let slip  the dogs of war..... 
  • BuckeyeJimBuckeyeJim Member Posts: 1
    Mr Mike,
      If you are still looking for info, I can help.  I have been loading and shooting the .256 Newton for close to 30 years.   Find a copy of Ken Waters' Pet Loads.  He did a superb job on the .256 Newton.  Without Ken Waters as a start point, many .256 Newton shooters would be in a hurt.  Also Charles Benke did a nice article on loads for the .256 Newton.  If you are unable to locate those articles, go to a reloading manual that covers 6.5-06.  Nosler and Hornady do.  Drop back 10% from their max loads and work up carefully.  The loads listed in the Speer Manual for Wildcat (or Obsolete) Cartridges dated in the 1950s is a nice reference but the loads are probably too high now.  Powders of today (those listed in the Speer Manual are IMR) are not exactly the same as they were in the 50s.
      One more thought- if you know someone who has the computer program called QuickLoad Ballistic Software, you can get load data for the .256 Newton.
      Good luck.
  • bpostbpost Member Posts: 31,140 ✭✭✭✭
    The poster of the original question is no longer allowed to post here, he has been permanently banned for reasons that seem sound.
Sign In or Register to comment.