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.270 Winchester for plains game

This is a discussion on .270 Winchester for plains game within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; Hello all. I have a question regarding the .270 Win. on plains game. Is the .270 Win. a good caliber ...

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    Default .270 Winchester for plains game

    Hello all. I have a question regarding the .270 Win. on plains game.

    Is the .270 Win. a good caliber for plains game from Impala up to Kudu and Gemsbok? The reason I ask is when we go to our local sportsman's show and I talk to PH's a lot seem to recommend 7MM mag and up for plains game. Some even recommend .30 cal and up. One PH (from South Africa) made a face when I told him that I use the .270 Winchester, even after I told him that I use 150 grainers he still wasn't pleased.

    So, what I'm asking is if I do get to hunt plainsgame in the next few years, should I buy a .30-06 for it? I am not a crappy shot and I don't get all shaky with a big game animal in front of me, so it isn't like I need a huge margin for error.





    P.S Please excuse my grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. I am sure there are plenty. LOL

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    Hey there. Most authorities would say I think, that the .270 using premium bullets of at least 140 grs., is more than adequate for most plains game in the size range you mention. Its not neccessarily an eland cartridge but many have been taken with less. The late Finn Aagaard stated on more than one occasion that rounds in this category are perfectly adequate for most plains game if a good bullet is placed where it will do the most good, in the boiler room. Some animals seem to be a little tougher than others, wildebeest to name one. When I went to Namibia a couple of years ago, my brother on his first safari was running around doing the one-shot-kill, beginners luck thing until he shot his blue wildebeest. It took 5 total rounds of 200 gr. Nosler Partitions out of his .300 H&H magnum at over 2900 fps to finish the bull. They are tough! Having said that I would not be at all afraid to take a .270 loaded with premium bullets for plains game if I had lots of shooting practice and took care to place my bullets and not try to stretch the distance too much, like inside 300 yards. Most of us have no business shooting at game much beyond 200 yards anyway, myself included! On heavier game the '06 may have a slight advantage but its not all that much. Take your .270, shoot well and the game will fall.

    There is no hunt like an African hunt.

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    Thanks for the well thought out post. I know the Wildebeest are tough animals, I believe some even call the Wildebeest the "poor man's buffalo".

    BTW, I also agree that most hunters have no business shooting out past 200-250 yards and myself included.

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    Christian,
    The .270 will be fine to use on anything on a plains games package. I really dont know why the PH made a face, but I suspect either an ego or experience problem. Let me tell you the majority of commercial famers use the .270 Win on the farms. Since then , sure , there have been new calibres that had arisen and that a lot of guys use. But, believe me the .270 will be sufficient. My personal rifle that I hunt with, whether for my self, backing up a client , or a client hiring it from me , is a .308 Win, loaded with 130 gr Monolithics. It has taken from Gemsbuck to Blue Wildebeest to Duiker. Anything you can think of.

    Hope that I have shed a bit more light on the subject.

    Kind Regards
    Marius Goosen
    Marius Goosen
    KMG Hunting Safaris - South Africa, Namibia, Zambia
    info@huntsafaris.co.za
    www.huntsafaris.co.za

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    I grew up with the 270 and taken about 30 kudu without problems. It is a fine cartridge and with very moderate recoil. But the last couple of years I did a bit of hunting with my cousin’s 30-06. I believe that a bigger hole does more damage and in the case of these two calibres it is true. They both shooting pretty straight up to 220yards, and as mentioned you should not be shooting beyond these range anyway. These days I do most of my hunting with a 300Mag and shoot allot of bluewildebeest, but don’t see the true benefit at bushfeld range and because of terrible meat bruising I am forced to take head shots. To conclude things: I love my 270 but I will happily exchange it for the 30-06!
    Success I think is where experience, preparation, commitment and luck meets up

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    The 270 has been used to take Elk here, which are pretty tough and need a good hit to put down. Should be ok for most plans game in africa.

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    trigger creep is offline AH Enthusiast
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi505 View Post
    The 270 has been used to take Elk here, which are pretty tough and need a good hit to put down. Should be ok for most plans game in africa.
    By Elk do you mean Red Stag? An Elk is something totally different here in the USA.

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    I live in Northern canada and am familiar with elk! Hit one poorly and he will disappear to the next mountain! You will not see him again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi505 View Post
    I live in Northern canada and am familiar with elk! Hit one poorly and he will disappear to the next mountain! You will not see him again!
    I thought (because of your name) that you lived in New Zealand. A kiwi is a person who lives in New Zealand if I am right. Sorry for the mistake.

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    No problem as I am a Kiwi, born and bred. I have lived in this town for more then twenty years now!

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    I agree with everyone here that a .270 will be fine for 90 percent; of the situations you will face on a plains game hunt. I own three, and it is without doubt my favorite deer round - particularly with a good 140 gr bullet. And a b'zillion head of game have been taken with the 7x57 all over Africa, though the traditional loading was a heavy for caliber bullet with tremendous penetration. That said, for an expensive, fairly rare adventure to Africa, I would seriously consider someting a bit larger.

    I took both a .270 and a .338 on my first trip in 08 to Namibia. This was big open country in the Erongo Mountain region. The .270 was never fired after the sighting in session, and didn't even go in the truck after the second day. My first game animal was an impala at about 100 yards through a narrow gap in the acacia. I had the .338 in hand because we were also looking for wildebeest. It obviously dealt with the impala easily. The next shot was a trotting Hartman zebra moving along an opposite ridge at 250 yards. I would not have attempted it with the .270. Next shot was a gemsbok quartering away at 200 +. Again, that 250 gr partition was a fairly certain package to send on its way, when again, I would have hesitated with the .270. After that, I left the .270 in camp. My son was shooting his 30'06 and he did fine, but only two exit wounds. This year, with buffalo on the list, I used my .375 on everything and never felt over-gunned.

    As clients, we typically have a very limited amount of time on one of these hunts; we may or may not be sharing a PH - which has the effect of further cutting our hunting time in half (I would strongly recomend not sharing a PH). Kudu, gemsbock, and wildebeest are all three to four times the weight of the average whitetail shot in this country. Some percentage of your shots will not be ideal - indeed most will not be the sort of ideal presentation we can often wait for in a deer stand. Finally, it also matters a little what your PH believes. In my profession, I spent my life around weapons, and hunted and shot competitively my whole life. It still takes a little experience becoming comfortable with shooting sticks and having an audience for each attempt at a game animal. Having a critical audience can only add yet another factor to that equation.

    A .30 cal with a 180 gr TSX or similar premium load would be my recomendation as a minimum for a first trip. I am going to S.C. next week to hunt whitetail and my rifle will be a .270; I head back to Namibia just for plains game next August, and my rifle will either be a 30'06 with the TSX load or my .338. Besides, there are worse things than an excuse for a new rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Leg View Post
    I agree with everyone here that a .270 will be fine for 90 percent; of the situations you will face on a plains game hunt. I own three, and it is without doubt my favorite deer round - particularly with a good 140 gr bullet. And a b'zillion head of game have been taken with the 7x57 all over Africa, though the traditional loading was a heavy for caliber bullet with tremendous penetration. That said, for an expensive, fairly rare adventure to Africa, I would seriously consider someting a bit larger.
    If I get to go to Africa in the next few years, I would strongly consider a Ruger M77 or a Winchester M70 in 30-06. If I would do that, I would take the .270 as a back up rifle. As far as the 7X57 Mauser, I would love to own a rifle chambered in 7X57 Mauser. It has incredible penetration with 175 grainers.


    I took both a .270 and a .338 on my first trip in 08 to Namibia. This was big open country in the Erongo Mountain region. The .270 was never fired after the sighting in session, and didn't even go in the truck after the second day. My first game animal was an impala at about 100 yards through a narrow gap in the acacia. I had the .338 in hand because we were also looking for wildebeest. It obviously dealt with the impala easily. The next shot was a trotting Hartman zebra moving along an opposite ridge at 250 yards. I would not have attempted it with the .270. Next shot was a gemsbok quartering away at 200 +. Again, that 250 gr partition was a fairly certain package to send on its way, when again, I would have hesitated with the .270. After that, I left the .270 in camp. My son was shooting his 30'06 and he did fine, but only two exit wounds. This year, with buffalo on the list, I used my .375 on everything and never felt over-gunned.
    Was your son shooting 180 grainers? If he was then that is surprising that he only had 2 exit wounds. I bet a 220 grain .30-06 would almost always have exit wounds.


    As clients, we typically have a very limited amount of time on one of these hunts; we may or may not be sharing a PH - which has the effect of further cutting our hunting time in half (I would strongly recomend not sharing a PH). Kudu, gemsbock, and wildebeest are all three to four times the weight of the average whitetail shot in this country. Some percentage of your shots will not be ideal - indeed most will not be the sort of ideal presentation we can often wait for in a deer stand. Finally, it also matters a little what your PH believes. In my profession, I spent my life around weapons, and hunted and shot competitively my whole life. It still takes a little experience becoming comfortable with shooting sticks and having an audience for each attempt at a game animal. Having a critical audience can only add yet another factor to that equation.
    I have read that shooting sticks take some time to get used to them. Is there somewhere you can buy the same style of shooting sticks most PH's use? I have not booked a safari or anything, but I am hoping that I do get too get to hunt in Africa soon.


    Besides, there are worse things than an excuse for a new rifle.
    Agreed!


    Thanks for the well thought out response Red Leg.

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    We made a mistake on bullets for him. We used 180 grain fusions which seemed to open up very quickly (they grouped MOA in his rifle). I would expect much better penetration with the TSX are the Partitions. If I use my 30'06 next summer, it will be with the 180 gr TSX. That said, exit wounds are much more difficult to achieve on most PG. They are just bigger than deer. Also, you really do need to hit them dead on the shoulder and a bit low - hard for most of us with a lot of time spent hunting deer. This is not to break them down, but rather because their heart lung area is much farther forward than a deer. That means your bullet is often working its way through a lot of bone.

    These guys make a very good set of shooting sticks which I use at the range a lot. www.sportingwoodcreations.com. That said, you can also make a very servicable set out of three cane poles and a bit of rubber inner tube material. Some PH's use bipods rather than tripods, but Ifind them about the same to use. Regardless, practicing with them is very important. The first couple of times you use them, they'll drive you a little crazy - that right elbow is really floating. But you will find with a few sessions they become a great shooting aid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Leg View Post
    We made a mistake on bullets for him. We used 180 grain fusions which seemed to open up very quickly (they grouped MOA in his rifle). I would expect much better penetration with the TSX are the Partitions. If I use my 30'06 next summer, it will be with the 180 gr TSX. That said, exit wounds are much more difficult to achieve on most PG. They are just bigger than deer. Also, you really do need to hit them dead on the shoulder and a bit low - hard for most of us with a lot of time spent hunting deer. This is not to break them down, but rather because their heart lung area is much farther forward than a deer. That means your bullet is often working its way through a lot of bone.

    These guys make a very good set of shooting sticks which I use at the range a lot. www.sportingwoodcreations.com. That said, you can also make a very servicable set out of three cane poles and a bit of rubber inner tube material. Some PH's use bipods rather than tripods, but Ifind them about the same to use. Regardless, practicing with them is very important. The first couple of times you use them, they'll drive you a little crazy - that right elbow is really floating. But you will find with a few sessions they become a great shooting aid.
    I have read that the vitals are a little further forward with African animals than American animals. Which is why it is best if you use heavier bullet weights.

    Thanks for posting that link Red Leg.

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    Christian,
    I used a .270 with 150 gr Winchester XP3 Elites on my hunt in Namibia in May 2008. PH originally wanted a .30 caliber (at least), especially for the Blue Wildebeest and the Zebra. However, I told him I was very comfortable with my .270, so he said "Ok, bring it, and maybe you will use my .300 for the Zebra and Wildebeest." As it turned out, my gun (and me) were on, and the XP3's performed very well, both long (310+ yards) and short (~40 yards) range. Shot kudu, gemsbok, springbok, steenbok, blue wildebeest, and Hartmann's Zebra. Only had to shoot the Zebra twice because he walked forward when I pulled the trigger - he was out past 300 yards. Your .270 will be fine as long as you practice and take good quality bullets.
    Joe Rendon

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    On my first safari, I used a .270 on everything from Steenbok to Eland. Wildebeest dropped as if struck by lightning. My shot placement wasn't perfect on my eland, so I spent 3 precious days of my safari chasing a bull through the bush! I have hunted Africa a few more times since that first trip with the .270 and I used a .300 Weatherby Magnum or my DGR. The incident with the eland rattled me and regardless of what you can use - I chose a bigger gun.

    I felt much more confident with the .300 and I will never go back to Africa with anything less than a .300 Mag. Sure the locals use smaller guns - the same way I use a rimfire on wild boar on some hunts here at home. But if you're going to invest in a big hunt, knowing that a wounded animal costs you just as much as a dead one, then why not take a bigger rifle (assuming that you can cope with recoil)? Far as I'm concerned, when in Africa, assuming it does not affect your shooting ability, bigger is always better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schembridan View Post
    On my first safari, I used a .270 on everything from Steenbok to Eland. Wildebeest dropped as if struck by lightning. My shot placement wasn't perfect on my eland, so I spent 3 precious days of my safari chasing a bull through the bush! I have hunted Africa a few more times since that first trip with the .270 and I used a .300 Weatherby Magnum or my DGR. The incident with the eland rattled me and regardless of what you can use - I chose a bigger gun.

    I felt much more confident with the .300 and I will never go back to Africa with anything less than a .300 Mag. Sure the locals use smaller guns - the same way I use a rimfire on wild boar on some hunts here at home. But if you're going to invest in a big hunt, knowing that a wounded animal costs you just as much as a dead one, then why not take a bigger rifle (assuming that you can cope with recoil)? Far as I'm concerned, when in Africa, assuming it does not affect your shooting ability, bigger is always better.
    Well, I am not a recoil wimp so maybe I'll take a .30-06 if I get to go soon. Maybe if I go to Africa I'll take the .270 along for a back up? Seems like a good idea to me.

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    The .270 won't fail you but your shot placement will. If you are familiar with the .270 and have a good accurate load, have faith in yourself and you will be fine. You do not have to take the first shot offered to you. Your PH should help you 'hunt' the animal and with some self discipline you can wait for the best shot. This applys to any calibre.

    The PH who grimaced at your suggestion of a .270, only wants to promulgate the Big Game Safari Industry Ethos so easily sold to non Africans. Or he has no idea. Either way don't book with him.

    I took a 9.3x62 to Africa on my 2nd hunt and should have stuck with the .308W 165 Woodleighs I took on the first. I now have a 7x57 with 154 Interlocks and will take it on No.3 for Bushveldt plains game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Code4 View Post
    The .270 won't fail you but your shot placement will. If you are familiar with the .270 and have a good accurate load, have faith in yourself and you will be fine. You do not have to take the first shot offered to you. Your PH should help you 'hunt' the animal and with some self discipline you can wait for the best shot. This applys to any calibre.

    The PH who grimaced at your suggestion of a .270, only wants to promulgate the Big Game Safari Industry Ethos so easily sold to non Africans. Or he has no idea. Either way don't book with him.

    I took a 9.3x62 to Africa on my 2nd hunt and should have stuck with the .308W 165 Woodleighs I took on the first. I now have a 7x57 with 154 Interlocks and will take it on No.3 for Bushveldt plains game.
    Thanks for your reply. I really don't know why that PH wasn't happy that I use a .270. The .270 has been used effectively on Elk and Moose, so why couldn't it handle a Kudu? I figured that if you use a 150 grain everything should go fine.

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    Use good bullets and its plenty! I like TSX's!!!!! Woodlieghs are good too! Go heavy!

    Ed

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