I didn’t waste much time before I was developing a load for the 165gr Matrix bullets. I tried two powders… H4831SC and H1000. The final results were a load of 58.5gr of H1000 using Winchester cases and CCI BR-2 primers. The 165gr Matrix bullets are seated about .020” off the lands. This combination is netting 2890fps from my 28“ barrel. I found excellent accuracy even as ranges reached beyond 1200yds. The BC of this bullet in my testing is about .650. Not as good as advertised, but excellent nonetheless. If you run the numbers in the ballistic calculator you’ll find this just about matches the wind drift of my old 7wsm load. Real world testing seemed to follow suit, first round hits beyond 1000yds were the standard in my usual shooting spots even when conditions got a bit “iffy“. I have more than a few long range rifles but the 270 was taking center stage quickly as it brought back memories of my old 7wsm.
Long range shooting competitions are the best possible practice for hunting in my opinion. The time constraints and pressure can simulate the stress (buck fever) some experience when shooting game. You can quickly learn your weaknesses and work to address them. You learn that shooting across a canyon you’ve never shot in before isn’t like your home range. Basically… you get humbled, even if you place well. I’m very conservative when it comes to long range hunting. If you can’t make a good hit with the first shot… it’s too far (no matter how close it is). Four days before Ron and I planned to leave for a hunting trip I was signed up to compete in the “Field Shooter’s Challenge”. This particular match is held a few times a year and is always different and challenging in new ways. Taking the rifle I planned to hunt with was a no-brainer. The 270 proved very capable despite a few mistakes on my part. I managed to place 4th despite that I was also acting as an “RO” and shooting every stage first. The temperatures were at least mid 90’s and there was plenty of dirt and dust to find any issues with my setup. Not surprisingly, the 270 functioned flawlessly all the way through.
Anything written about the 270 Winchester just has to include a hunting story… I live in Washington State and I’ve been hunting deer here since I took my first buck at the age of 10. I know Washington isn’t the best state for quality game, but I love hunting the Cascade Mountain range. I believe it’s one of the most scenic ranges in the world. There are many other places I would love to hunt one day, but probably only Alaska could pull me from the Cascades permanently. In Washington we have what’s called the “High Buck Hunt”. It’s an early season (starts in the middle of September), 3 point minimum hunt, allowed only in designated “wilderness areas”. This year Ron Sinnema and I decided to team up for the 10 days of bliss we call the “high hunt”. In pre-season scouting I’d found several good bucks. A tall 3x3 I figured at about 26” wide, and a couple of tall 4x4’s at least 28” wide. I normally hunt solo but we planned to leave two vehicles, one at each end of the wilderness area so we’d never be more than 14 miles from a vehicle. We planned to move camp every couple days. This would allow us to access to much more country without the worry of packing meat a ridiculous distance. We would share a tent but we both brought bivy sacks in case one of us couldn’t make it back to camp at any point. Well, our great plan didn‘t exactly work out, one of the trail heads turned out to be inaccessible. Undaunted we hiked in into a “honey hole” where I’d gazed upon many nice bucks over the years. We continued into the dark, finally making camp about a mile from prime deer country.
The very first day we saw several bucks. Most I passed on immediately, but one had me thinking. Around 4pm we found a buck that was a definite “shooter” He was a tall 4x4 with very dark horns and lots of mass. He was high in a meadow spotted by stunted alpine trees about 950yds away. The clouds were ripping through the canyon pushed by gusty 25-35mph winds over the ridge. He would come into view for very brief periods before the clouds thickened up concealing the buck once again. The winds further down in the canyon were much more mild, but difficult to read. A shot at this distance in these conditions was out of the question. The arc of the bullet would require it to experience the stronger winds above the canyon walls. We quickly started moving in closer. Getting to within about 800yds we spot him again. Still uncomfortable with the conditions I decided we needed to close the distance even more. We found a nice spot just inside of 500yds… I could definitely make this shot because the bullet would never have to deal with the stronger winds above. The Canyon was socked in for several minutes before I got set up and in position… I prepared for the shot… but the clouds never moved out before dark. I was a little discouraged but I knew I’d made the right choice ethically.