A good long-range load for a 26 Nosler

Q: I bought a Browning X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon in 26 Nosler (just like yours) and want one good load for it with a bullet that will hold up over the long haul.

I can’t find the magazine which had your test report in it, and decided to write in.

Could you recommend a bullet and load, and give me the ballistics and trajectory at 500yd?

Trevor Young

A: If you read my article about the 26 Nosler, you’ll remember my warning not to reduce the powder charges more than two or three grains under the listed maximum.

My three loads are:

  • Barnes 120gn TSX BT and 78gn of AR2217 for 3420fps;
  • Barnes 130gn TSX FB and 80gn Re-33 for 3418fps;
  • Nosler 142gn ABLR and 81gn of AR2218 for 3284fps.

You should be able to duplicate those loads safely in your X-Bolt.

The long-range load that you are looking for uses the Nosler 142gn ABLR.

Sighted in for a 300yd zero, the bullet is 2.63” high at 100, 3.25” high at 200, and drops 7.50” at 400 and 19.70” at 500, where the velocity is 2612fps and energy is 2151ft-lb.

By comparison, the Barnes 120gn bullet reaches 500yd with 2244fps and 1342ft-lb, and the Barnes 130gn has 2147fps and 1331ft-lb.

Quite a difference and a good example of how much advantage there is in using a longer, heavier 6.5mm bullet.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.