The .280 Ackley Goes Mainstream
Nosler is factory producing two offerings in their Custom Line of ammunition. One is the aforementioned 140 grain AccuBond and the other a 150 grain E-Tip. In testing the Accubond, it was among the most accurate ammunition I have ever shot in my custom rifle — better than reloads. Nosler also factory produces both a 140 gr. and 160 gr. cartridge in .280 AI from their Trophy Grade line, using the Accubond and Partition bullets respectively.
For handloaders, Hornady, Lee Precision, Redding and RCBS all offer dies for the cartridge. L.E. Wilson, makers of case trimmers, offer a case holder and neck trimming die specifically designed to accommodate the .280 Ackley’s 40-degree shoulder.
You can even get 40-degree shoulder brass from Norma in .280 AI, eliminating the need for initial fireforming. There are no shortages of recipes, either, with both Sierra and Nosler publishing reloading data in their current manuals.
The cartridge is featured in the 12th Edition of Cartridges of the World.
In 2007, Nosler showed up with the Nosler Custom Rifle chambered in .280 Ackley Improved. And for the more budget-minded, Kimber’s Model 84L Classic Select Grade and Montana are both available in .280 AI and are excellent guns.
The .280 Ackley is an improvement over a standard 280 Remington, and that’s not easy to do. It’s a hot cartridge — as good as any hard-kicking over-bore capacity magnum in similar calibers — but without the harsh recoil.
When it’s time to head to the deer stand, I could grab a .30-06 or .243. But why? The .280 Ackley Improved was in Ackley’s day, and remains today, a better choice. Next deer season give it a try, and see if you don’t agree.
Editor’s Note: This article is based on a full length in-depth story on the .280 Ackley Improved appearing in the Gun Digest 2013 annual book.