In Praise Of The .270

BY Herschel Smith
6 months ago

BlueMountainEagle.

What made me start to wonder was when I started comparing the .270 to the 7mm Remington Magnum that I usually hunt with. As it turns out, I can fling a 140-grain bullet from my .270 just as fast as a 160-grain bullet in my 7 mm. The 7 requires a 2 inch longer barrel, which means more gun weight. It also requires more powder in a bigger case leading to a significant bump in recoil. Are those extra 20 grains worth all that?

Then I started looking at the shiny new toy in town. These days the 6.5 Creedmoor seems to be the man, and I admit, it does pretty well. However, the .270 throws its bullets between 100 and 200 feet per second faster. While bullet weights top out around 140 grains in the 6.5, you can find bullets up to around 160 grains in the .270, which would be a better choice when you are chasing the big stuff. Well, the 6.5 has less recoil, you say? Yep, by about 1.5 foot pounds. You are one sensitive dude if you can notice that difference.

Well then, why not step up to the .30-06 then? After all, you can lob bullets over 200 grains with it. It certainly isn’t a bad choice, but with the heavier bullets, recoil goes up as well and velocity goes down. These days we have a plethora of good bullets to choose from. So while I do believe in heavy-for-caliber bullets, there is no need to overdo it. The .270 deals out bullets that will handle anything we hunt around here. While the good ol’ .30-06 can pretty much keep up with the .270 with comparable bullet weights, the ballistic coefficient of the 30-caliber bullets is pretty poor. That means its trajectory won’t be as good.

I have to say that I like the lower recoil of the 6.5 Creedmoor, having shot both the .270 and the 6.5mm.  However, I’ve looked into the ballistics of the .270 versus the 7mm magnum and the 300 WinMag.  There isn’t a whole lot of difference, and if I wanted to take large North American game, I’d still choose the .270.


Comments

  1. On March 23, 2020 at 4:18 am, TRX said:

    Jim Carmichael was a huge .270 fan and promoted it for years in his magazine columns.

    For some reason I never really warmed up to that cartridge, but if I had one in my hand I’d probably be happy with it. It has good long range ballistics and a wide selection of bullets for whatever game you’re after.

  2. On March 23, 2020 at 9:15 am, Chris said:

    My wife’s been shooting the 270 in a Ruger #2 for a decade or more and has taken many white tail with it here in North Central Pa. great all around caliber for what we hunt here.
    CIII

  3. On March 23, 2020 at 9:40 am, SGT.BAG said:

    In 2018 I found a Winchester Model 670 in .270 dirt cheap. Took a chance and I started to warm up to the cartridge. Then late last year after I bought a JC Higgins Model 50 in .270 on an FN action I became a hard core devotee.

    At 59 i guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

  4. On March 23, 2020 at 12:55 pm, Thomas D Price said:

    I shoot a 270 most of the time. A good many years back I had built a 270 with Mauser action and a Shilen barrel. A heavier thumb-hole stock settles the recoil some. I had it crowned at the full 24 inches, Shilen said it was a good bore all the way. Additionally, the barrel fitter hada reamer that gave the chamber a little more free-bore so I can load it a little further out and give it more powder if I wish. Now it rocking magnum velocities or just cruise along.

  5. On March 23, 2020 at 7:56 pm, Wes said:

    The .270 is a fine cartridge. However it will get its best when judiciously handloaded. Some many years back while inquiring as to O’Connor’s information (and he was as big or bigger devotee of the 30-06 as well) I chrono’d 14 different factory offerings and found their advertised velocities way more optimistic than delivered at the cash register. And not by a little either. But handloaded it can really shine, particularly with the advent of the high BC bullets we find now. The 6.5 Creedmoor is interesting to me only a little because I still have a handloaded-for 7mm-08 that is earning its keep.

  6. On March 23, 2020 at 8:49 pm, John said:

    “What he said.”

  7. On March 24, 2020 at 1:26 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    As great as the venerable .270 has been as a hunting cartridge, it has underwhelmed as a target and precision cartridge. That seems to be the story I’m getting in reading about its history since the 1920s. Projectiles (bullets) in the .260 to .280-caliber range are capable of having excellent ballistic coefficients and SDs, but it seems like virtually no one has exploited the cartridge for precision target, competition or military use. Given that its typical 130-140-grain loads are so much flatter-shooting than most .30-caliber projectiles, this is mysterious to me. Anyway, whatever the reasons, almost no one is making bullets designed for such use. Sierra used to sell a match-grade in its excellent Match King boat-tailed hollow-point line, but other than that, pickings are slim.

    Perhaps someone who knows the cartridge better can fill us in….

  8. On March 24, 2020 at 3:03 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Behind the scenes rumors are that Winchester wanted a totally proprietary cartridge to the point of creating a “bastard” 7mm bullet diameter. I’m inclined to think that’s true.

    It is a very good cartridge, without doubt, taking game on many continents including Africa.

    Still, though not nearly as common, the 280 Remington/7mm Express is actually a better round because it provides the whole scope of 7mm bullets to choose from. Ruger chambered their Model 77 in it for a while, of course Remington did as well. I’m not sure who makes rifles in the caliber today. The late P. O. Ackley made one of his Improved cartridges in both the 270 and 280, which gave much closer ballistics to the 7mm Magnum.

    The newest round in this class, is the 6.5mm PRC which requires a .30-06 length action, and offers sizzling ballistics. Ammo is uncommon, though, and pricy.

    Being a inveterate traditionalist, when possible, I did manage to snag a Ruger RSI, 6.5 Creedmoor, in stainless steel.

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You are currently reading "In Praise Of The .270", entry #23705 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published March 22nd, 2020 by Herschel Smith.

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