.270 Winchester

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Norma-USA, Aug 23, 2017.

  1. Norma-USA

    Norma-USA SPONSOR Since 2014 AH Enthusiast

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    A fair-haired boy as cartridges go, the .270 Winchester has charmed hunters since its 1925 birth. First chambered in the company’s Model 54 bolt rifle, it drove a 130-grain bullet 3,140 fps. At 300 yards, far beyond normal game-killing ranges of the day, that missile still clocked 2,320 – faster than a .30-30’s at the muzzle! But Depression-era bullets behaved erratically at high impact speeds. For hunters whining about meat damage, Winchester added a 150-grain load throttled to 2,675 fps. Nobody bought it. The .270 remains a race-horse; 150-grain bullets, now stronger, are loaded to over 2,850 fps, for the flat flight and hard hits at distance hunters expect. Extra-tough bullets, like Norma’s Oryx, combine a broad mushroom with high weight retention and deep penetration across a wide range of impact speeds.
    You can make .270 cases by necking down .30-06s – though factory-fresh .270s are a tad longer. Case capacity averages 63 grains of water. Norma .270 brass is commonly considered some of the most uniform. The .270 generates pressures in excess of 52,000 psi; high-quality brass also treats handloaders with long case life. Handloading the .270 can be as easy as carding off a charge of H-4831 at the mouth, then seating a 130-grain bullet – albeit you’re smart to weigh even the slowest powders.

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    The 120-grain Norma Kalahari bullet zips from a .270 at 3,280 fps. It’s perfect for deer, pronghorns.


    Winchester’s choice of a .277 bullet over a .284 still seems odd. The .277 diameter was shared by no other commercial cartridge at that time. The .284 or 7mm had earned a following since the 1892 debut of the 7x57. Other 7mms followed in Europe. Still others were mid-wifed by wildcatters in the U.S. after the .300 H&H Magnum arrived, also in 1925. Perhaps Winchester wanted a truly distinctive round. The 7x64, circa 1917, was similar; a 7mm bullet would have given Winchester a frisky 7x64 or what we know as the .280 Remington (introduced 1957). Then again, the Great War was fresh in memory. The 7x57 had come from Germany, our recent foe. America’s most celebrated rifle-maker may have decided to market a uniquely American cartridge.

    A popular, versatile big game round, the .270 also recoils gently. That “can” is a sound suppressor.Gun writer Jack O’Connor used the bully pulpit of Outdoor Life to praise the .270. With it he shot “everything from javelina to Alaska-Yukon moose.” He reported firing 10,000 .270 rounds in tests in one year. While the .270 would no doubt have succeeded without O’Connor’s blessing, he gave it a boost. So did Winchester’s Model 70 rifle…. By 1931 Winchester was in receivership, a victim of the Depression. In December it was acquired by Western Cartridge Company, which committed to improving the Model 54. The Model 70 appeared in 1937 and drew raves. Subsequently, only the .30-06 in a long list of charter chamberings proved more popular than the .270. Not only O’Connor, but sages like Townsend Whelen favored this round. Though many elk hunters have fallen under horsepower’s spell, others still appreciate the .270’s modest recoil. In surveys I conducted in the 1990s, the .270 ranked third in popularity in elk camps, behind the ’06 and 7mm Remington Magnum. In my experience, a .270 with proper bullets is all you need. One bull, quartering off, tumbled like a shot hare when I landed a 150-grain Nosler Partition. A very big six-point I’d hunted with a client reared like a horse when struck by his 130-grain softnose, then fell backward, planting its antlers in the earth, to lie still as a stone.

    In general, I’ve found riflemen with .270s better marksmen than those with thunderous magnums that crack clavicles and dislodge molars. A fellow who culled elk for Colorado’s wildlife agency used his .270 because it enabled him to keep shooting without a flinch.

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    A popular, versatile big game round, the .270 also recoils gently. That “can” is a sound suppressor.


    While most .270s are bolt guns, Remington and Browning have cataloged autoloaders, Ruger and Browning dropping-block single-shots. Remington’s slide-action 760 series and Browning’s lever-action BLR have also chambered the .270. So too many rifles manufactured in Europe. Most .270 barrels have a rifling pitch of 1-in-10, though Sweden’s Husqvarna chose 1-in-91Ž2. Mannicher-Schoenauers were rifled 1-in-9. Many .270 rifles these days have 22-inch barrels, as did O’Connor’s famous Biesen-stocked M70 Featherweights. You’ll get more speed from 24 inches, standard for early Winchester M70 barrels. Among the many fine factory loads for the .270, Norma’s USA line boasts a couple of the best. A 120-grain hollowpoint blitzes coyotes, whitetails and pronghorns. The 150-grain Oryx is ideal for African plains game as well as mule deer and elk. It hits hard but recoils courteously, even in lightweight rifles.


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  2. HuntingGold

    HuntingGold AH Fanatic

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    How I came to the decision to buy a .270 I will never know. Undoubtedly I had read praises of the cartridge by various gun authors, undoubtedly one was Jack. However, there I was in the summer of my fourteenth year, riding my bike to Parker's Rod and Gun Rack to obsess over one particular Remington Model 700. As it came to be, I was able to put that gun on lay-away, making payments over the summer and fall until one day it became mine. It is my favorite rifle and likely always will be.

    Since that time, I have shared campfires with friends and, of course, during many of those evenings we talked about guns and cartridges. One very good friend frequently bashed the .270 as under powered and hardly worthy of being in an elk camp. I listened to this banter off and on for many years before realizing my good friend had only one elk to his credit while I had stacked up nearly a dozen and a half with the .270! I now talk about this bull I shot, or that bull I shot, and wait for him to chime in on his...

    None the less, for years I have thought about finding a better gun/cartridge combo and have yet to do so. With the .270, I have taken dozens of deer, pushing close to twenty elk, a few pronghorn, and a small bull moose. For me, my hunting style, and what I hunt, the .270 has always done it. I have other guns and will have more, but when push comes to shove, I will be reaching for my Remington Model 700 in .270.

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    A fine black-tail deer taken in the Cascade Range of Oregon
     
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  3. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    There may be a cartridge better suited for a particular situation, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a round that does as many things as well as the good old .270 Winchester.
     
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  4. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I posted this before but a friend took his .270 to Africa and was more than satisfied with its performance. Shot the wildebeests, hartebeest, oryx, warthog, waterbuck, springboks, and several other animals. What a great all around caliber.
     
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  5. Adrian Matei

    Adrian Matei AH Senior Member

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    I'm using my 270 w in Norma orix 9,7 grams for almost 5 hunting season and I shoot starting from fox,jackal,roe bucks,wild boars,red stags,black goats and one brown bear
    It's a super performance caliber and I love it
     
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  6. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    I'm a fan of the 270!
     
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  7. colorado

    colorado AH Fanatic

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    Me too! Killed a lot of elk, deer and seven black bears with ours. 150g Partition at 3000 fps is my favorite handload.
     
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  8. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    I'm on my 4th 270

    Swapped a 30/06 for a 270 in August 1980.
    Current 270 is a Sako synthetic stock with s Swarovski 3.5-18 scope.
    I like the "flatness" of the 270 without the noise generated by the 7 mm Remington magnum. I sold my 7mm years ago.
    I had 2 30/06s and they were great but my favorite is the 270 although I really like my 338 Winchester magnum.
    In Australia the 270 is called the queen of the mountains and fir good reason.
     
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  9. Terry Blauwkamp

    Terry Blauwkamp AH Senior Member

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    I too have had several 270's over the years, and still use one quite often.

    With the new 130 Gr Barnes TTSX, it has serious killing potential, as I've taken many African Plains game animals with it.
     

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