.280 Ackley Improved

I’m not much when it comes to rifles , but I was startled when Nosler took the .280 AI to SAAMI to have it standardized as a commercial cartridge and Kimber offered a rifle for it, Another surprise was Hornady and Marlin joining up to produce their LeverEvolution ammo and rifles. Experiences with shooting, hunting, or handloading these, anyone? Kurt

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The .280 AI is an interesting cartridge in that it does give the shooter a little more than the regular .280 without the recoil of the 7mm Rem Mag, but it ALMOST matches the 7mm in the lighter bullet weights. It started getting popular because it was one of the favorites of Kenny Jarrett and his legendary beanfield rifles. He was looking for a very accurate cartridge to shoot deer at long range, which is why he wasnt as concerned with the heavier bullet weights. And the 7mm has very good SD and BC, better than even the 6.5’s everyone loves, but with more recoil. The big advantage is the almost 7mm Rem Mag performance with lower recoil. I am not sure about the Marlin and LeverEvolution as the length and pressure would be a hard fit for even a modern lever action. The 280 AI is really a handloader’s cartridge. Sure, you can buy factory ammo for it, but it is all premium level as it is a bit of a specialty cartridge. So, if you have one and want to shoot it a lot, handload.


I am a proponent of “common calibers” 30.06, .30.30,.308. .223. Most of the rest is splitting hairs. :roll_eyes:
@KURT17 I have been shooting Hornaday LeverEvolution in my 1980 Marlin 336 for about 10 years, I thought the Micro Groove barrel might be a problem but after some 150 rnds. with no problems and they have extended my accurate range to 300 yds. With a 200 yd. Zero it will drop 11 ins. at 300 yds. (pretty much per the box). The last time on a good day I shot a 3 shot, 3 in. group at 300 yds. The 160 grn. bullet is a bit explosive on White tail but will more then do the job. :+1:

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Wow, finally a convo about one of my favorite rounds! Shot my very 1st deer with this round! I absolutely love it and shoot it mostly out of a Kimber Accent rifle. Fantastic all around rifle for any med/large game on the NA continent, and at range! I fell in love with the 280AI after spending the day down at Jarret’s rifle a few years back. I spent the day hunting and hanging out with their hand loader. He taught be more then I can remember and showed me some amazing things. The 280AI was one of those things. Agree 100% with it being a round for “reloader’s” round, but have been beyond impressed with Nosler Trophy grade. I think the other poster covered the numbers ballistically better than I could so I’ll defer and agree. I don’t know, I just really love this round! Then again, I’m a caliber junky so there’s not many I don’t appreciate for one reason or another. Lol