What's so Special about the 270 Win?

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
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Never owned a 270 Winchester. Started with a 30-06 and also had a 280 Remington. I've taken WT deer, Black Bear, Antelope, Caribou and has both of these rifles as back up rifles on various hunts, they work.
Jack O'Connor praised the 270 Win with his writings, I studied them as a kid growing up. The 270 is capable of taking any game in NA with the right bullet. I favored the 7mm and 308 calibers because of the vast range of bullets. Much better than the 277 offerings. Higher BC bullets in these offerings can shoot reasonably flat and carry more energy way out there.
Brinky72 brought his 270 Win over and we water jugged a 130 gr Power Point and a 150 gr PT.
Both were perfect mushrooms and the 150 gr I almost penetrated into tomorrow.
So why the 270 Winchester?

JD338
 
With that case capacity and caliber, combined with a good bullet it will kill great at the distances most people hunt at.
You could also say the same thing about the 25, 6.5, 7mm, and 30 caliber with that case capacity, combined with a good bullet 😇
 
Why the 270 Win? It shoots flat, has mild recoil and kills well. Pretty much any 277 cal bullet performs well at 270 Win speeds. There are high b.c. bullets available, how many does one actually need? Many people that say there is a higher amount of good bullets available for 7mm but then only use one or two types anyway. The 280 is a good round but many of them aren't twisted fast enough so can't shoot any high b.c. bullets anyway. Bottom line is they all work and have minor differences between them that don't really make much difference in real world situations. Of the 3 rounds you mentioned like I eluded to earlier the 270 will recoil less and shoot flatter.
 
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Jim me personally think just because it was promoted so much by O'Conner and became readily available that people just gravitated to it. It does work for various game. Only about 3 ins difference from a 7mmRM at 300yds with less powder and recoil. Can find shells most places under reasonable times. If I only had one rifle, which I had as a younger man, it would be a 30-06 or a 270 Win just because of their versatility. Dan.
 
Funnily enough, I've never owned a 270. However, when I built a collection of the WSMs, to my surprise I found that the 270WSM became a favourite. It was the last of the WSMs that I acquired and I was certain I wouldn't like it. It killed moose and elk very quickly with a 130 grain bullet, and that was good enough for me. Like Jim, I began with 30 caliber and 7mm caliber firearms and just never had time to add a 270. If I didn't have so many firearms chambered in a 7mm cartridge (280, 284, 7X57, 7WSM, 7mm RM, etc.), I might consider a 270. It is a good round undoubtedly.
 
My first 270 was the WSM version, still have it and it still shoots great, but as I got into P64's, the rifle to have was/maybe still is, the Featherweight in a 270 Winchester. I don't think it's any better/worse than the 25-06/6.5-06/280/30-06 but it surely is pretty easy to buy a 270 and about any decent ammo on a shelf will work for hunting about anything you'd wanna hunt with hooves. The bullets were made for 270 Winchester speed, so as Jim mentioned, the Core Lokts and Power Points always turn in a great performance and if you're tackling elk sized stuff, the 150 PT or whatever around 3K FPS is just danged good. I like alot of stuff but my buck rifle on stands or still hunting is my P64 Featherweight 270. Its like Minute Rice, always ready to go!



 
270 in a cheap old Remington 721 was my son's first centerfire rifle. He killed many deer with it. When I was buidling my M70 Stainless CRF collection I acquired one in .270. We killed a few deer with it as well. We only shot factory ammo in the 270, either Remington Corr-Lockt or Win Powerpoint. DRT. I tend to use that for my Texas harvest rifle now.
 
I think somebody nailed it, Jack O’Connor wrote extensively about it and the majority of outdoorsman took their cues from the writers of the magazines. Not unlike the internet today. I have never owned a .270 and at this point in my life, unless I won one, I probably never will. But if somebody were looking for a recommendation for one rifle that they could hunt everything in the lower 48, the 270 is one that I would put on the list. If the .280 had made its debut and Jack had written about that, I’m not so sure the .270 would exist today with anywhere near the popularity it achieved.
I’ve always been a 7mm fan, probably because my first rifle was a 7x57. But also because of the versatility in bullets. Even before the 7mm-08 started to become more popular several years ago I thought it was an efficient cartridge. Easily able to match modern loads of the 7x57, with the exception of the heavier bullets. Then certain writers, tv hosts, YouTubers all started to gravitate towards it. I thought this thing will take over the gun sales of every other cartridge if it keeps up. Then comes a 6.5, not doing anything more than a 6.5 Swede could do. But the more it made its way into the articles and other influential media sources the more guns we saw and more ammo on the shelf we saw. This last year I hit a few sporting good stores just walk the isles. They had a lot of ammo on the shelf but I was amazed how little .243, 7mm-08, .270 and .30-06 there was. A ton of .308 and 6.5 CM.

But back to the original question, the .270 just works with a milder recoil and a track record that’s hard to argue with. Even for a 7mm fan…
 
There is nothing special about the 270. Jack O'Connor used it and promoted it heavily and people bought into it. The truth he used a 30-06 for game bigger than deer/sheep.
The bit about less recoil is garbage also. The 25-06 has less recoil also. The 257W has one pound less recoil than the 270.
The 270 is just another good cartridge. It is not the holy grail as some people think.
 
I was in the 280/280 AI fan since the late 70's and never owned a 270 until 2022 when I picked up a plastic stocked M700 in 270 at a local pawn shop at a bargain price. My thought at the time was that it would be a loaner rifle or a truck gun, but since ammunition was scarce and I had bullets, powder, primers, and dies on hand I loaded up some ammo and made a trip to the range. The rifle is stunningly accurate for a generic hunting rifle. My first trip to the range with it, I shot several 3 shot groups in the 3/4" range and after the barrel was broken in I can now shoot groups pushing 1/2" with it. RL-17 and 130 gr. NBTs are a perfect match for this cartridge in this rifle delivering both speed and accuracy.
 
My first rifle at age 12 was a Remington 7400 in 30-06; I thought that the 270 wasn't big enough. At that age I wasn't thinking about recoil.

As time went on one of my first bolt action rifles was a Vanguard in 270 Win. As I have played around with everything from 223s to 340 Wby over the years I have come to find the 270 Win as a sweet spot when it comes to both effectiveness and recoil. It's enough that one could use it for elk but mild enough to use routinely for antelope and whitetail, which is where I've used it over the years. I've thought to myself more than once that I had to choose one cartridge of all the ones I own to be my "only" it would probably be this one.

Thankfully I do have plenty of choice when it comes to what I want to take in the field.
 
"If the .280 had made its debut and Jack had written about that, I’m not so sure the .270 would exist today with anywhere near the popularity it achieved."

There's a lot of truth in that statement. Coming out in what, 1925? Ghat's a long time ago and one hell of a head start. Then have an educated writer who was also an English professor saying good things and saying them in print. The .280 on the other hand had at least two strikes against it when it came out. The .270's head start for one and the fact that Remington deliberately kept the .280 from being properly loaded so as to keep the ammo safe for their pump and autoloader rifles. Dumb move Remington.
Just how good is the .280 when loaded to the damn general pressure level as the .270? My .280 is a custom rifle based on a 1909 Argentine Mauser. Using Winchester nickel plated brass so that I can tell it from .270 brass I can run a 160 gr. Speer Grand Slam, the older two core version to a slight bit over 2900 FPS. Who needs a .280 AI? FWIW, I have not yet tried the 160 gr. cup and core version of the current Grand Slam bullets so no idea on their performance. I reached that velocity level with two different powders, IMR7828 and Winchester's long gone WMR. (Winchester Magnum Rifle) Accuracy with 7828 was not good but with WMR .50" were common and the largest groups were 1.25" with the average about .75". Fortunately I have a lifetime supply of WMR which is not only good in the .280 but in the .270 and .300 Win. Mag. as well. It does not work at all in the 30-06. Damned if I know why but Winchester data supports this, it does not work in the 06.

My work with the .270 is long but thin. I got my first one in 1973 IIRC and over the years have acquired four or five more. Shot all of them a bit but other than a few deer back in the mid 70's and an antelope in 2009 they've been mostly safe queens a or occasionally shot on paper. The one I used for antelope was a push feed Winchester M70 I picked up at a gun show. It had a synthetic stock that was shaped like the current Featherweights, a style I like very much. Price was a bit high but I wanted the stock. Turns out the stock is a McMillan and Winchester made a run of those rifles using the McMillan stocks. My M70 .300 Win. Mag also has a McMillan stock. Both rifles are incredibly accurate. The .300 run at .75" or less and the .270, .80" or less and both are mostly less.

It's not that I dislike the .270. It's more like Matt Quigley's not having much use for handguns. Most of the time I reach for the 30-06, .308, or .35 Whelen, mostly the Whelen when elk is on the menu. Also, I only hunt with my handloaded ammo. Factory stuff is strictly for getting brass. I took my .280 out on one elk hunt. The shot was only about 270 yards, give or take and that bullet hit about three feet below the elk. The load was a Remington factory round as I hadn't started to reload for the .280 yet. I never got around to taking that rifle on another hunt so no idea how my handload will work. (160 gr. two core Grand Slam at 2900FPS)
Paul B.
 
The 270 Win just works, plain and simple. Just like all the other cartridges derived from the ‘06. O’Connor certainly gave the 270 a staunch advocate.

30-06 based rounds are in the sweet spot for velocity. I think they all work so well because the velocity range for 25-06, 270, 280, and 30-06 is right at the upper limit of conventional bullet performance. Meaning, their respective velocities are about as fast as a c&c bullet will hold together, no matter who makes the bullet.

They have been idiot proof from the time they were introduced, due to descent bullets pushed to just shy of the point of bullet frangibility. That took all the guess work out of it for millions of hunters. They also have roughly the same trajectories. If you can judge range with one, you can estimate range with the entire family of ‘06 cartridges. Very user friendly.

For example, when I load my 7RM’s for deer I’ll usually download a little so the bullet holds together. (270 Win speeds) Or I will load E-Tips or Partitions in order to preserve bullet integrity at full power, which is what I usually do. Above about 3000-3100 fps all c&c bullets become Berger’s. The ‘06 family of cartridges come in right before turning bullets to Berger’s. Hence the 7mm Rem Mag may be a little less idiot proof than say a 270 Win. I’ve had a 270 Win for at least 35 years and NEVER lost an animal with it. However I wouldn’t have lost any with any of the ‘06 family. Sweet spot.
 
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Pretty simple. The 270 drives its most popular weight bullet (130) to magnum velocities without magnum recoil or need to handload or use special high bc bullets to get great ballistics or performance down range. It is a pretty good recipe for most hunting. New bullets have only made it better

Jack O’Connor used the 280 and had several custom 280s built. So, he did try it and decided it did not do anything different than the 270 already did. What people don’t get is O’Connor was not a theorist when it came to cartridges. He found the 270 with 130s and 150s hit everything he aimed at and killed Elk as well as say a 30-06. He did not care that a ballistic chart showed a 280 handloaded hot with a 160 gr bullet showed some advantage on paper. The 270 / 130 worker great, was easy to hit with, and did not kick in light rifles. The combo killed everything up to elk and moose just fine. When O’Connor was hunting big bear or dangerous game he used a bigger gun. But for anything less he did not think it made a difference whether using 7x57, 270, 30-06, etc… but liked the little higher velocity/flat trajectory of the 270 the most.

Often people will quote O’Connor as saying the 30-06 was more versatile. Of course it is! His wife used a 30-06 for Tiger and Elephant - not something he would recommend a 270 for. However, when he hunted this game himself he used a 375 or big bore. Does not mean he preferred the 30-06 for most hunting

Lou
 
I never got into the 270 Win. , not sure why. Maybe slow twist , smaller bullet selection not sure. My brother has an 270 Win. in a Browning sitting in the safe , I have bullets , brass , dies , and ready to go but never given the green light.
I coworker friend of mine hunted years with a Savage in 270 Win. swore it was the best deer rifle he owned. 5 years ago he switch to 6.5 Grendel and never went back. Not sure again.
 
I never got into the 270 Win. , not sure why. Maybe slow twist , smaller bullet selection not sure. My brother has an 270 Win. in a Browning sitting in the safe , I have bullets , brass , dies , and ready to go but never given the green light.
I coworker friend of mine hunted years with a Savage in 270 Win. swore it was the best deer rifle he owned. 5 years ago he switch to 6.5 Grendel and never went back. Not sure again.
I’ve thought about building a new upper for one of my AR’s in 6.5 Grendel. Been dragging my feet on it though.
 
When it was introduced in 1925 it was a hot little number... today, it's mostly riding on its history and reputation.

Easily accurate, very light recoil, powerful enough for elk size game at reasonable distances.... not much not to like.

My wife shoots one, M70 Featherweight (FN built)... she's deadly with it within the limits of her non-turret scope... she shoot 140 BT's in it under 59 grains of MRP...2,975 fps out of the 22 inch barrel... drops 400 yard deer like a lightning bolt.

Today, there's a least a half dozen other rounds that can do the same thing...7mm-08, several non magnum 6.5's, fast twist heavy bullet 25-06, etc, etc.
 
Oddly enough I never “bought“ a 270. I’ve had several 06’s, 280, 280 AI 7-08 6.5 Creedmoor, 25-06’s and just about everything else around the 270. The one I have was given to me by my Uncle Frank and has shot an unbelievable amount of deer. Surprisingly it still shoots very well. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the barrel was worn out when I got it but it still bug holes with proper loads. He shot crop damage with it from when he bought it new in 79-80 until 95. He shot around 100 or so deer a year keeping the local freezers full and feeding countless families through the winter in the local area. You can do the math on the head count. Mostly 130 grain bullets with the first couple hundred being factory Remington fodder to get brass and the rest being 130 Speer Hot Cor handloads my dad rolled for him. It was nothing fancy for optics. He had a Japanese made Tasco 4x12 that he zeroed at 400 yards sitting on see through mounts. Yep, those goofy ones everybody laughs at. Anything under a hundred yards he’d shoot with the irons, anything over that was through the scope. Still have the scope some where but the mounts are long gone. It wears a vintage Leupold 3x9 with Talley mediums. I’m in the process of fixing up the wood stock with a hand rubbed oil finish and a new fore end tip. Keeping some of the nicks for character though. It’s dang accurate, hardly recoils and cycles like butter. I’ve never shot anything with it but have witnessed countless deer fall over at extended range as if the proverbial rug was pulled out from underneath them. I’m thinking that this year I’ll break it out and shoot something with it so my Uncle Frank knows it’s still earning its keep.
 
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