Skip to main content

.26 Macho Cartridge — Wildcat Notes

The .26 Macho can accurately propel the 120-grain Sierra bullet to speeds great enough to allow the bullet to create a devastating wound channel on deer-size game.

.26 Macho Cartridge — Wildcat Notes
The .26 Macho’s parent case is the .260 Rem. (l.), with a 30-degree shoulder that was pushed forward about .080 inch.

The genesis of the .26 Macho came during a benchrest match in May 2014. Fellow competitor Steve Grosvenor brought up the idea to build a custom cartridge. I thought the idea was interesting, so together we started planning. The goal was simply to develop an accurate hunting cartridge that would be devastating on deer-size game. We decided to explore the .264/6.5mm caliber, which is known for its inherent accuracy and healthy bullet selection.

Steve did a lot of research and decided on the .260 Rem. as the parent case. The .260 has shown it will digest a lot of different powders has decent velocity and low recoil.

Most .26 caliber bullets are long, slender, boattails, but I wanted a shorter, flat-base bullet that would not have to be seated deeply in the case. We also wanted a bullet heavy enough for deer-size game but light enough to get some decent velocity. We settled on the Sierra 120-grain Pro Hunter bullet.

We did not want to turn our case necks, so we decided on a .297-inch neck, which would give our loaded case necks slightly over .002-inch clearance over the heel of the bullet.


We wanted the proven accuracy and reliable feeding of a 30-degree shoulder angle, along with more case capacity than the .260 Ackley Improved provides. We ultimately decided upon pushing the shoulder forward roughly .080 inch to accomplish this. The .26 Macho ended up with 56.4 grains of water capacity—a significant increase over the .260 Rem.’s 52.8 grains.


26-Macho-Wildcat-Notes

We sent our reamer dimensions to Dave Kiff at Pacific Tool and Gauge. Kiff gave us a few recommendations, and we received the finished chamber reamer in early 2015. The project also required custom dies, and I sent three fired cases and a copy of the reamer print to Hornady’s Custom Shop. A few weeks later, two perfectly made dies arrived in the mail.

To fire-form the brass, I took Lapua .260 Rem. brass, loaded it with a stout load of H4350, used a lot of neck tension and seated the bullet long to engage in the rifling. It took two firings to really sharpen things up.

For load work-up, I started with H4350 because it is a proven powder in both the .260 Rem. and .260 Ackley. I knew I would be safe by starting with a low powder charge at 41 grains, and I worked my way up by shooting a ladder-load test at 200 yards. (Editor’s note: To learn more about this, visit our website and search for “ladder test.”)

The sweet spot ended up being around 48.5 grains of H4350. I started shooting groups with powder charges in that range. The proven winner with H4350 was 48.7 grains, with multiple groups at 100 yards under half an inch.


I then experimented with different powders, neck bushings, and seating depths to see if I could find a better load. I tried Reloder 15, Reloder 16, Reloder 17 and H4831 SC. All produced sub-one-inch groups at 100 yards, which tells me the Macho is a good eater just like its parent case. The 48.7-grain charge of H4350 (.293 bushing, CCI BR2 primer) became my go-to load. It pushes the 120-grain Sierra from a 26-inch barrel just shy of 3,200 fps—a pretty good boost over the 2,900 fps the .260 Rem. does with the same-weight bullet.

After three successful seasons and three different bucks, it is rewarding to report that we met our goal. The .26 Macho can accurately propel the 120-grain Sierra bullet to speeds great enough to allow the bullet to create a devastating wound channel on deer-size game.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Rifle Review

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Rifle Review

RifleShooter Magazine editor Scott Rupp breaks down all the features of the Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle chambered in 6.5 PRC.

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

RS Sako Finnlight II

RS Sako Finnlight II

The new Sako Finnlight II sports an innovative stock and Cerakote metal paired with the terrific 85 action.

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Scott O'Brien from Steyr Arms sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to take a look at Steyr's new tactical heavy barrel sniper rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak performer.Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review Reviews

Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 14, 2020

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak...

Gunsite's Ed Head reviews the Ruger American/Robar Scout Rifle.Ruger American/Robar Scout Rifle Review Reviews

Ruger American/Robar Scout Rifle Review

Ed Head - April 23, 2019

Gunsite's Ed Head reviews the Ruger American/Robar Scout Rifle.

Practical rifle marksmanship depends on following these five fundamentals.5 Fundamentals of Rifle Marksmanship Shooting Tips

5 Fundamentals of Rifle Marksmanship

Jospeh von Benedikt - August 13, 2020

Practical rifle marksmanship depends on following these five fundamentals.

Some history and reloading recipes on five popular .17-caliber cartridges, including the .17 Ackley Hornet, .17 Hornady Hornet, .17 Mach IV, .17 Remington Fireball and .17 Remington..17-Caliber Reloading Data and History for 5 Cartridges Reloading

.17-Caliber Reloading Data and History for 5 Cartridges

Layne Simpson - June 05, 2019

Some history and reloading recipes on five popular .17-caliber cartridges, including the .17...

See More Trending Articles

More Ammo

Craig Boddington takes a look five great military cartridges, all more than a century old, that continue to solider on. 5 Great Military Rifle Cartridges Ammo

5 Great Military Rifle Cartridges

Craig Boddington - August 07, 2020

Craig Boddington takes a look five great military cartridges, all more than a century old,...

The .300 BLK offers more versatility in terms of rifle selection, but in terms of energy the .30-30 bests the .300 BLK by a wide margin..30-30 Win. vs .300 BLK Ammo

.30-30 Win. vs .300 BLK

Brad Fitzpatrick - December 24, 2019

The .300 BLK offers more versatility in terms of rifle selection, but in terms of energy the...

The .222 Rem. is not only a classic round. It also spawned an entire family of cartridges..222 Remington Rifle Cartridge – Family Portrait Ammo

.222 Remington Rifle Cartridge – Family Portrait

Layne Simpson - July 24, 2020

The .222 Rem. is not only a classic round. It also spawned an entire family of cartridges.

Hornady Subsonic Rifle ammo stays below the sound threshold while still providing the kind of terminal performance you want.Hornady Subsonic Rifle Ammo Review Ammo

Hornady Subsonic Rifle Ammo Review

Keith Wood - December 31, 2020

Hornady Subsonic Rifle ammo stays below the sound threshold while still providing the kind of...

See More Ammo

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the RifleShooter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All RifleShooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now