The .264 Winchester Magnum, commonly referred to as the .264 Win Mag, is a high-powered, belted, bottlenecked centerfire rifle cartridge introduced in 1959 by Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The cartridge was designed to deliver exceptional long-range performance, flat trajectory, and high impact energy, primarily for big game hunting and long-range shooting applications.
The .264 Win Mag is based on the .300 H&H Magnum case, shortened and necked down to accept a 6.5mm (.264 inch) diameter bullet. The cartridge typically features bullet weights ranging from 120 to 160 grains, with muzzle velocities reaching between 3,000 and 3,300 feet per second. Its high ballistic coefficient and sectional density make it a particularly effective long-range cartridge, with superior aerodynamics, penetration, and retained energy.
The .264 Winchester Magnum was initially embraced by hunters for its ability to take down medium to large-sized game, such as deer, elk, moose, and bear, thanks to its flat trajectory, high impact energy, and excellent terminal performance. However, the cartridge’s popularity waned with the emergence of other magnum cartridges, such as the 7mm Remington Magnum, which offered similar performance with less recoil and barrel wear.
Despite its reduced popularity, the .264 Win Mag remains a viable option for dedicated long-range hunters and shooters who appreciate its flat-shooting characteristics and potent downrange energy. The cartridge’s performance has been further enhanced with the introduction of modern bullet designs and propellants, making it suitable for various hunting and long-range target shooting applications.