Resurrecting the 270 Win

ZG47

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@Velo Dog We have all made good and bad shots on different sized animals so ... with all due respect (and never having been to Africa) I would classify that issue with the zebra as a classic example of a bad shot which required multiple shots to counter the effect of adrenaline release within the animal. I still like reading your posts (and the @Red Leg contributions).
Keep well, both of you.
 

rookhawk

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About the only .270 factory load that I've seen in which I believe its "africa suitable" is the Remington Safari Grade 140gr swift a-frame. While a bit on the edges of "okay", that was it. Incidentally, they are as rare as hens teeth and no longer made. They sell for $75 a box when you can find them. (I stockpiled)

The metric 7x57 and 6.5x55 is fortunate in that heavy for caliber 175gr and 160gr africa bullets are readily available in loaded ammunition in most locations, a significant edge over the .270. Handloaders could easily overcome this with the .270.
 

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About the only .270 factory load that I've seen in which I believe its "africa suitable" is the Remington Safari Grade 140gr swift a-frame. While a bit on the edges of "okay", that was it. Incidentally, they are as rare as hens teeth and no longer made. They sell for $75 a box when you can find them. (I stockpiled)

The metric 7x57 and 6.5x55 is fortunate in that heavy for caliber 175gr and 160gr africa bullets are readily available in loaded ammunition in most locations, a significant edge over the .270. Handloaders could easily overcome this with the .270.

If in NA, you have 160gr partitions and 180gr Woodleigh Weldcore offerings easily available for the 270 a Win. from Double tap Ammo. Probably others and for well under $75 a box. Suspect either would do to 200-250 what the 140 A-frames would. Much further and one would be much better off with lighter pills I suspect. Have not shot either, but there is a pretty good chance they’d stabilize due to the bullet profile. I have used their 175 partition in 280 to good effect on elk.
 

rookhawk

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I think the typical throat and twist rate of the .270 is not going to fare well with the 180gr woodleigh and perhaps the 160 partitions as well.

Swift A-frame is the most durable of the three for medium sized game when comparing partition, weldcore, and a-frame in the smaller calibers. Swift will not make a .270 bullet greater than 150gr for the simple reason is that will not operate well in most .270s.
 

TMac

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I think the typical throat and twist rate of the .270 is not going to fare well with the 180gr woodleigh and perhaps the 160 partitions as well.

Swift A-frame is the most durable of the three for medium sized game when comparing partition, weldcore, and a-frame in the smaller calibers. Swift will not make a .270 bullet greater than 150gr for the simple reason is that will not operate well in most .270s.

Possible, maybe probable, but keep in mind round nose 220’s in a 30-06, are but a few 1/1,000 different in length and SD from that round nose 180 in .277. Both commonly made with 1 in 10 twists. The profile & length of the bullets factors into stabilization too. There are sure loads of 220’s in 30-06 used here along the coast for elk. I may have to try the 180’s in a 270 just for scientific purposes, that or email Doubletap, they are pretty responsive. Regardless, they have offered them for years and there must be a market for both loads someplace...
 

rookhawk

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Possible, maybe probable, but keep in mind round nose 220’s in a 30-06, are but a few 1/1,000 different in length and SD from that round nose 180 in .277. Both commonly made with 1 in 10 twists. The profile & length of the bullets factors into stabilization too. There are sure loads of 220’s in 30-06 used here along the coast for elk. I may have to try the 180’s in a 270 just for scientific purposes, that or email Doubletap, they are pretty responsive. Regardless, they have offered them for years and there must be a market for both loads someplace...

I'd be interested to know their application and how they work in factory barrels.

I did some poking to try and figure out if there was a .277" bullet used in some caliber that is "abnormally heavy for caliber".

The 270 WSM and the 270 weatherby both top out at the 150gr Nosler Partition in factory loads. It tells me that Winchester, Roy Weatherby, Swift, and Nosler all believed there was a barrier that wasn't prudent to break as far as grain weight in .270 caliber rifles.

I'd wager (and you can test and report back) that the issue is the twist rate or throat of typical factory .270 barrels delivering less than desirable results with long bullets.

This is why I so adore the 6.5 and 7x57, they were made for the heaviest caliber bullets as "standard" and we've been down-loading them to lighter grain weights in modern times for flatter shooting, not the other way around.

My gut tells me that the 140gr-150gr A-frames or partitions are about as far as you can push a .270, but I'm open to data that suggests otherwise.
 

rookhawk

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Just found the likely application for the 180gr .277" bullet as an FYI.

Suppressed .270s and 6.8mm SPCs. It's so heavy, you sail it under 1050fps with a suppressor for silent shooting at very close ranges.
 

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Just found the likely application for the 180gr .277" bullet as an FYI.

Suppressed .270s and 6.8mm SPCs. It's so heavy, you sail it under 1050fps with a suppressor for silent shooting at very close ranges.

Interesting, they why go to the expense of a partition or weldcore? Gonna make me get a box here pretty soon to see.
 

bruce moulds

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"resurrecting the 270" might be an interesting term.
while people who have no experience might be led to believe by the marketing machine that tactical rifles in 6.5 creedmoor are the latest development in hunting tools, those who really hunt know that a 270 win in std hunting rifle configuration is vastly superior.
it will be a long time before the tried and proven 270 needs "resurrecting".
bruce.
 

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Find the Ole .270 Winchester a fascinating cartridge. (along w/ the 6.5x55 and 9.3x62)

Settled on the 150 gr. Nosler Partition load long ago, generally at the modest velocity of ~ 2800 fps, and as a medium-to-large game hunting round it is outstanding.

The .270 Winchester/150 gr load is an optimized round, combining the muzzle velocity and trajectory of the 150 gr. .30-06, with the BC and SD for down range energy and penetration of the 180 gr. in that cartridge.

And, if handloaded to ~ 2900 fps, it becomes essentially a non-belted magnum.

Also added the 2900 fps 140 gr. Barnes TSX a while back, when the Pierce Precision loading was available on liquidation for basically the component bullet cost, and that is a good performer as well.

With recoil that allows precision shooting in a 22" barreled carry-all-day 8.5 lb rifle - you do your part, and it will do the rest.




Red
 

Red Leg

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Just found the likely application for the 180gr .277" bullet as an FYI.

Suppressed .270s and 6.8mm SPCs. It's so heavy, you sail it under 1050fps with a suppressor for silent shooting at very close ranges.
At that velocity, might as well shoot a properly shaped solid - or just throw them.
 

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Find the Ole .270 Winchester a fascinating cartridge. (along w/ the 6.5x55 and 9.3x62)

Settled on the 150 gr. Nosler Partition load long ago, generally at the modest velocity of ~ 2800 fps, and as a medium-to-large game hunting round it is outstanding.

The .270 Winchester/150 gr load is an optimized round, combining the muzzle velocity and trajectory of the 150 gr. .30-06, with the BC and SD for down range energy and penetration of the 180 gr. in that cartridge.

And, if handloaded to ~ 2900 fps, it becomes essentially a non-belted magnum.

Also added the 2900 fps 140 gr. Barnes TSX a while back, when the Pierce Precision loading was available on liquidation for basically the component bullet cost, and that is a good performer as well.

With recoil that allows precision shooting in a 22" barreled carry-all-day 8.5 lb rifle - you do your part, and it will do the rest.




Red

I ran into pressure problems with the .270 using 140 gr TSX at that speed. I wasn't sure at first what was going on, then the primers started dropping out of the reloaded brass. Bumped it down to 2,700 FPS...no problem...very accurate!
 

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@Velo Dog We have all made good and bad shots on different sized animals so ... with all due respect (and never having been to Africa) I would classify that issue with the zebra as a classic example of a bad shot which required multiple shots to counter the effect of adrenaline release within the animal. I still like reading your posts (and the @Red Leg contributions).
Keep well, both of you.

Hi ZG47,

Thanks, likewise I enjoy your writing as well.
Always a good read for sure.

Yes, I totally agree with you that, first and foremost the bad placement of his first shot was definitely the main culprit in causing a merry chase and a staccato of more shots fired.

In my opinion, it’s however worth repeating that, as the gut shot animal then spun and galloped away, now quartering slightly to the left, a second hit from the little .270 had no visual affect.
I submit that a gut shot from a larger caliber likely would have produced the same resultant galloping off at high speed.
However ... with all due respect back to you, my entire point was that, something along the lines of a 9.3 with 286 grain or .375 with 300 grain, IMO would very likely have dropped this animal with that 2nd quartering away / badly angled shot.

Heavy animals at close range and bad angles, are where these small caliber / unnecessarily high velocity cartridges let us down.
If elephants always stood perfectly broadside, with their close on foreleg held slightly forward, so as to present all hunters with a perfectly exposed heart shot, cartridges like the various .458’s through .577 NE, would likely never have been thought of.

There are many chaps here who’ve seen a lot more zebra taken than I have.
But, I indeed have seen a fair sprinkling of them being struck with various calibers and brands of bullets, some from my rifles and some from other clients.
I’ve also participated in culling them and also in hanging zebra meat for an incoming leopard hunter.
From the above experiences and observations, not to mention the following story told to me by a PH (Hannes Swanepoel), I believe zebras might possibly be the most impact resistant of all African non-dangerous game animals.

Mr. Swanepoel encountered a badly wounded zebra, still very much alive and trying to graze, with its innards dragging the ground, evidently after a lion attack.
For all the above reasons, my opinion remains that our .270 is far from the best cartridge for hunting these incredibly tough 600 pound animals.
It would be however quite excellent for things like springbok, Vaal rehbok, Mt. reedbuck, long shots at impala and similar, just as it is here in N. America for long shots at deer, pronghorn and wild sheep.

That said, when I am to pay my carefully saved up retirement income on a safari once every few years, I will always use enough gun.
In that regard, the .30-06 with 180 grain bonded core bullets, such as the excellent Swift A-Frame, would by my personal bare minimum for zebra, underline “minimum”.
Putting my money where my mouth is, the last zebra I took was with a .375 H&H and a 300 grain PMP brand round nose.

I promise you that a heavy, blunt shaped .37 caliber bullet, leaving the muzzle at about 2500 fps will break the thick shoulder bone of a huge Hartmann’s zebra stallion, (eland as well) when the animal fails to stand perfectly broadside.
I do not know if any brand of .27 caliber bullet will do that every time.
Since the manufacturers still make larger calibers these days, neither do I care to experiment with the .270 in order to find out.

Our own Doctari (Dr. Kevin Robertson) wrote in one of his excellent books of a fellow who shot a zebra with the 7x57 and 175 grain bullet.
It ran.
After a lengthy track (Doc, please correct me if my distance is off) of I think 3 miles ?
Anyway, some blood, sweat and tears later, the animal was finally recovered.
The perfectly mushroomed bullet was found inside a chamber of the heart !

Incidentally, my friend with the .270, who had to shoot his first zebra 4 times, back in 2002 or 2003, then bought a .35 Whelen, installed a 4x Leupold on it, in low rings and returned to Africa with me a few years later.
I watched him drop a huge eland bull in thick, riverine bush (Limpopo District of RSA) with one shot at very close range.
It was walking away, from right to left, almost but not quite broadside.
He shot it “in the armpit” and his boring old fashioned 250 grain Remington “Core-Lokt” (dreaded cup & core) bullet crossed the animal and broke the far shoulder.

I do believe his .270 / 140 grain A-Frame likely would’ve also been fatal to the eland at that near perfect angle however, I bet it would not have broken that far shoulder and therefore would’ve risked either a tracking job/foot pursuit and/or more shots to put this animal on the ground quickly.

Anyway, I’m all over the track with my rambling here so, I’ll clam up now.

Kind Regards,
Paul.
 
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sierraone

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I believe zebras might possibly be the most impact resistant of all African non-dangerous game animals.
In full agreement, not based on all the experience you and others have, but from the stories I have read and heard from members and friends such as yourself. I cheated on my one and only zebra stallion. He only ran 30 yards and rolled over dead after being hit with my .404 in the SGM stripes, exiting just behind the opposite side SGM stripes.
 

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Interesting comment above. I had a 175gr partition from my 7x57 go into a zebra with a quality (not perfect, but quality) shot. Longest tracking of any shot game in Africa. 200-300 yards? It ran a LONG way. Tough critters. I suspected jacket separation as I've recovered MANY 175gr partitions with a variety of malformations and jacket separation issues. When they work, they work just like 1960s era elk-hunter grandad tells they do. When they fail, they fail epic. Swift A-frames are just like Nosler Partitions except they work every time, they mushroom every time.

I cannot understand (other than availability) why we still prefer partitions over a-frames as consumers. I have a pile of recovered bullets from both types and the partitions never look right, the a-frames look like marketing brochure quality examples of proper bullet performance.
 

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We have taken 4 zebra, admittedly not a huge number, with 175 gr Swift A-Frames out of a 7x57. All went down within 30 to 50 yards. Interestingly, the first zebra I shot was in the upper Luangwa valley with a 260 gr accu-bond from my .375. The shot placement was excellent but the bullet failed to expand at all, leaving a .375 exit hole. That rascal ran much farther than any of those shot with the 7x57.
 

bruce moulds

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Interesting comment above. I had a 175gr partition from my 7x57 go into a zebra with a quality (not perfect, but quality) shot. Longest tracking of any shot game in Africa. 200-300 yards? It ran a LONG way. Tough critters. I suspected jacket separation as I've recovered MANY 175gr partitions with a variety of malformations and jacket separation issues. When they work, they work just like 1960s era elk-hunter grandad tells they do. When they fail, they fail epic. Swift A-frames are just like Nosler Partitions except they work every time, they mushroom every time.

I cannot understand (other than availability) why we still prefer partitions over a-frames as consumers. I have a pile of recovered bullets from both types and the partitions never look right, the a-frames look like marketing brochure quality examples of proper bullet performance.

I gave this post a like.
I would like to give it 4 more.
the above has also been my experience.
I might add that our Australian donkeys weigh about 600 lb, and are extremely tough.
I have had consistently lacking performance from the 9,3x64 using 286 gn partitions.
I stand by my statement that nosler partitions are of more use in making a big gun into a little gun.
the varmint style nose blowing up can be handy on smaller animals, but the penetration of the lightened base can be handy on lighter game.
however swifts and other bullets make them go down as if electrocuted.
bruce.
 

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Totally agree!!!
 

CoElkHunter

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So the following is just for interest sake and I want to hear what everyone has to say on the matter:

So everyone raves about the various 6.5mm's, I completely get why, to be honest. I'm also well aware that the BCs of most .277 bullets are rather mediocre and the slow twist barrels associated with 270 rifles don't help.

However, I've noticed quite a few high BC .277 bullets around (150-180gr) and I was wondering what the general consensus is regarding what impact this might have on the competition between the various 6.5's and 270's? While I speak under correction, I think the highest BC I've seen was around 0.7 for a 180gr projectile which seems mighty useful if stabilized and launched with a MZ of between 2800-3000ft/s.

Interested to hear what everyone has to say!
My second rifle was a 1974 Winchester M70 .270 (still own). I have taken several deer, pronghorn ( 200 yds plus) and one wild pig with it. When I moved to Colorado, my father-in-law talked me into getting a .338 WM, so I have never shot an elk with the .270. BUT, I have seen a trotting elk shot with a .270 at about 100 yds. with a 150gr Core Lokt, and it dropped like a rock. The 150gr .270 has a decent BC. The Remington 7mm mag (.284 bore) cartridge HAD (still has) one of the most efficient (powder charge weight vs. bullet velocity) cartridges of ALL magnums, BEFORE the short, fat magnums came to market. The .284 bullets also have a very high BC. I know the current crop of 6.5s are all the rage and probably rightfully so, as they are a very efficient cartridge design. But what about the 6.5 and .350Rem Mags from 1966 ? Wrong timing for short, fat magnums plus poor production rifle choice (18" barreled carbines)? Anyway, I wouldn't (and haven't) hesitate to hunt with the .270 Win. for most non DG in North America and probably similar sized game in Africa. BUT, I LOVE my .338WM and would bring it to Africa before the .270. The other thing is the cost and availability of ammo? In the U.S., one can find .270 Win, 7mmRem, .300WM, .338WM, etc., at most retail outlets for a fair or even discounted price. Try and find Weatherby, RUMs and/or some/most of the current 6.5 offerings (although their availability is getting better) at your local retailer? For an obscure example, my father-in-law brought his 6mm Ackley Improved (great cartridge) to Wyoming for pronghorn a few years ago. BUT, he forgot his ammo (idiot). He couldn't find 6mm Remingtons locally in Laramie, so he drove home (60 miles) and retrieved his ammo. It all worked out, but?????
 
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meigsbucks

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The .270 is one of my favorite rounds. Does it need “resurrecting”? I think that it is like a vast majority of rounds. New ones come down the pike and like everything else, we want the newest and most popular. It doesn’t mean that these are better.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is an awesome target round. Low recoil, high BC match bullets, low powder use, great case life, good barrel life and great accuracy. All of these attributes sound familiar... .260 Rem and 6.5x55.
They also apply to the 6.5CM as a hunting round, which it is excellent. Is it better than the .270? I don’t see it that way. Since there is only .013” difference in diameter, we are basically comparing apples to apples. The 6.5 throws a 130 gr at around 2850 fps. The .270, the same weight at around 3050-3100. The higher BC will close the 200+ fps gap over distance but at what I would consider “hunting” ranges, the .270 is ahead. Then, if you go to premium bullets the BC’s are closer, hence the .270 maintains it’s advantage at greater range.
If you go heavier, say 140 gr, the 6.5 has the BC advantage in cup and core bullets. Go to premiums, once again, the .270 maintains it’s advantage.
I look at the .270 as being an excellent choice for game up to around 350#. From 350 to 550# a decent choice and from there to about 800# adequate, but to a lessening degree as the weight increases.
Rounds like the .280, 7 mm mags, .30/06 pick up where the .270 leaves off and have used them all to great effect. In fact, I think the .280 may be one of the most versatile rounds out there. However, for me, if I think I need more than a .270 with a 130 gr Barnes, TSX, I usually go to a .300 or .338 mag.
 

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