Ok, I confess; I have a love affair with the .270 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) and reloading. This affair with the .270 WSM began when I began my quest for "The Lunchbox Hunter's Long Range Rifle" or what I term a "Multi-Purpose Hunting Rifle" (MPHR). Currently, my MPHR is a Winchester Model 70 Shadow in .270 WSM. However, the research that led me to this rifle has piqued my awareness in the famous .270 Winchester. My hunting partner in Montana, Bob Anderson swore by his Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in .270 Winchester. I see .270s everywhere. I recently received the 50th anniversary edition of "Handloader" which contained a reprint of the first edition. What was the Pet Load in that edition? You were right if you said .270 Winchester. While my awareness and interest in the original 27 caliber were piqued, the .270 WSM remained the apple of my eye. Read More...
This is a thread for discussion of the article, The 270 and Reloading, By Charles Smith. Here you can ask questions or make comments about the article.
With all the more recent magnum mania, many shooters, including LRH's, overlook cartridges that are 50 years or OLDER. However, with modern propellants, bullets, rifles, barrels, scopes, etc, several of these old timers are remarkable long range rounds.
A couple of my 24" barreled 270 Win's can easily achieve 3,150 fps with several 130gr BT bullets, and with reloading care and proper component selection, break the 3,200 fps barrier. And while I like 130's for deer sized game, the 140's can be selected for larger animals and present with deeper penetration and downrange wind bucking abilities. Again, several 24" 270 Win barrels can launch a 140gr near or at 3,100 fps or so, and I have witnessed a few custom 26" tubes reach the 3,200 fps range. Those are very LRH rounds, and they do not require the more expensive brass, 70+ grains of powder, etc, etc.
Many years, umm decades, ago, I remember watching an old NRA shooter take a tuned Remington 700 in 270 Win and fire a clean 1,000 yard prone target. that sold me on the abilities of the old standby 270 Win. Since that time, I have used several 270's on everything from varmint to elk sized game.
My experiences have revealed the 270 Win to be easy to reload for very accurate, 1/2 moa and less, group sizes, and of course, very controllable recoil. It is a great round for smaller framed youth and women, or for those who no longer desire the hammering from magnum mania rounds. Yes, muzzle brakes greatly reduce those recoil numbers, but with the numerous off the shelf rifles out there, the 270 does require an additional trip to the smith for a $250 brake job.
Many of those older rifles can be reborn into very accurate shooters with modern bullets, powders and reloading tech. I have a 1961 FN Belgium in 270 Win that was always a 1 moa shooter, but with bullets from the last couple of decades, that rifle will shoot 1/3 to 1/2 moa all day long. I have lost count of how many older rifles when properly cleaned, trigger adjusted and correct handload tailored for it will shoot under 1 moa. Modern factory bullets are so much more precise than decades ago.
The .270 and many other smaller calibers do the work asked of them. I do prefer somthing alittle heavier such as the old grand dad 30-06. I have seen stated that it can pull the wheight of a 300 and still have the finess of somthing smaller.
Honestly though the .270 in any form has proven to send the mail. That is if the operator is competent
While I have something in calibers ranging from .223 through .312, I certainly understand the draw to the .277's.
While he wasn't able to gain a lot of time with it, I think that the times he did drop the hammer on it I think my pop knew that the one he got as a retirement gift was something a bit faster and flatter than his pride O3A3.
Since his passing however, that rifle has accounted for several trophies taken by myself, my daughter, and oldest grandson. It has shot great groups with just about any combination of load components we have assembled from mild to wild. The all around favorite however has been used almost since we got it. My mom was still hunting at the time and having had neck issues, she needed something with a mild recoil. Weighing in at only 7lbs with scope mounted, I tried out some IMR-3031 with the 130gr. Nosler Solid Base. The load slips out at at 2800'ish FPS. She used it to take her last buck with, then she decided it was all just better for the younger crowd.
The daughter picked it up at around 9 and laid waste to numerous hogs and several nice deer. Now though, the oldest of three grandsons has taken a real shine to it. He has stretched it out on several occasions to around 300yds on several big hogs and is hoping to bag a nice buck we have watched mature for the past 6 yrs. He laid off it twice last year, but I doubt seriously he will give it a pass this year.
Enjoy them in whatever configuration you have them in. From the 6.8's up to the Allen Mag's they do have a huge following.
Charles, read your post with a great deal of pleasure and a lot of smiles....you have nearly exactly described my "birth" and "growth" as a shooter...from 50 cents per hour wages working at a gas station, first reloading tool being a Lee Loader (though mine was in 30/30 Winchester, got the .270 Lee a couple of years later), first press, and first bullet casting to present .270 shooter....though yours is a WSM.
I too was an avid Jack O'Connor reader...I guess that younger readers will be saying Get Off My Lawn...but that's okay, I embrace certain aspects of growing older...but some of them are like getting a kiss from an aunt with a mustache!
I'm down to 2-.270 Winchesters and though I have other rifles including a couple of long range models that I have worn out....don't we all....it seems that when whitetails are my quarry, I find myself reaching into the safe to draw one out
Why, you ask...because it just shoots! It has that certain ability of taking me back to my first one (and my youth) that seemed that I was shooting a laser beam...compared to my 30/30
The old .270 certainly brings back a flood of good memories. I bought my first one from an old timer in the village where I lived. It was 1963 and the rifle was a REM 721. I remember selling "Grit" newspapers to buy it. It took me almost all year to save up money and my grandmother helped me out with $10. I was cloud 9 I was so proud. Regrettably I sold it when I returned from Vietnam in 1967 as I didn't want to even look at a rifle then. I started hunting again in 1970 and what did I buy?...Yep. Another .270, still have it. 55 grs. of IMR 4350 and 130 gr Sierra, nothing else needed!!
Vietnam 1966 # 10 GI Where's the ammo??
The .270 WSM is an excellent cartridge. But it would be a far stretch to claim that it's better than the .270 Win.
Biology is always excluded from cartridge debates because science, not opinion, is controlling. Nothing living remains in that condition sans topside oxygenated blood flow. In fact, death is defined by lack of brain activity. When the brain dies, every single animal will die. That is biological fact.
A big game animal's brain will die by either destroying it directly or by depriving it of oxygenated blood flow. The first is instant. In the second, the animal is dead standing up. He's just waiting for cessation of topside oxygenated blood flow to cause it to hit dirt. When he hits dirt, he ain't getting up.
Whether a .30-30 Win or .300 Mega Magnum destroys a big game animal's heart and/or lung is immaterial. It's just as dead with either one. Again, this is biological fact.
Our hunting forefathers killed everything in North America with the 7x57, .303 British, .30-40 Krag, and other cartridges that some might consider inferior to our array of super magnums. But animals died. Before that, humans killed big game with arrows. In fact, every season huge animals are killed by well-placed arrows traveling at ~300 FPS. Before archery, humans used spears.
The reality is we needed no other cartridge after the US Army came out with what we know as the legendary .30'06. It has killed everything on Earth. But one cartridge wouldn't be fun. So along the way we were offered God only knows how many cartridges, some for specialize application. Some stuck around while others have gone to where cartridges go when hunters will not buy rifles chambered for them. Weatherby introduced us to hyper-velocity. But his cartridges didn't kill North American big game any deader than the '06.
MY OPINION is the .270 Win is one of the best cartridges ever introduced to American hunters. My first deer rifle was a Model 700 in .270 Win. The '06 was thought to be too much gun for a young hunter. While I have picked up other rifles along the way, two chambered for big cartridges, on Saturday when Utah's general deer season opens, I'll be carrying my 43+ year-old Model 700, my first deer rifle, and one of two with which I've made very long shots. The other was with a 7MM Rem Mag.
The .270 Win has very mild recoil. It's a breeze to bench shoot. Bench shooting builds confidence. Confidence kills big game.
Besides its ability to put big game on dirt, I love the .270 Win because it's inherently accurate and both of my .270 Win rifles have 22" barrels, a length I consider perfect for hunting at Rocky Mountain altitude.
Whether 200 FPS advantage of the .270 WSM is material would be opinion. Trajectory would be negligible. They will both kill big game dead. Neither holds advantage in ability to decommission equipment required for topside oxygenated blood flow. The .270 WSM requires a long barrel to maximize its stellar potential.
Like most things hunting, cartridge choice is personal preference. Some hunters like magnums, and others are good with standard cartridges. Objectivity is success as defined by dead big game.
I like the .270 WSM, but the reality is for my North American hunting needs, my trusty .270 Win will do all I want done, and that includes, hopefully, another trophy bull elk rut hunt and moose.