I've been doing some analysis of medium-range rifle calibers, and .270 WSM compares quite favorably the cartridges that I've been investigating.
As a round more powerful than .308, but with not that much more recoil, favorable wind drift and drop, I wonder why it hasn't become more popular. I understand that ammo availability is limited, but that seems a chicken-and-egg thing to me, meaning that if the round were more accepted, manufacturers would make more ammo for it.
Here are my comparisons, taken from the Big Game Hunting Blog (which has lots of interesting articles comparing calibers, by the way).
I'm curious what others have to say about this round.
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I had Kimber Montana in a .270wsm. It was a great rifle to carry hunting for elk and mulie in Colorado, was vey easy to stalk the hills and mountains of Co. Only but is I couldn’t get that thing to have consistent groups with factory or hand loads. Ended up with a Sako Finnlight in a.300wsm
I had a hunter I was guiding for Elk wound a 6pt bull with one in the San Juans and had to follow him for couple hours to finish it off, probably just poor shot placement. Why not 6.5 CM? its pretty good also.
I have updated the chart for 6.5 CM. The 6.5 CM has higher drop and drift, and less energy at 500 yards, though it has significantly lower recoil. I'd definitely consider it for a long-range target round, but for a medium-range round with more power than a .308, I think the .270 WSM is the better round.
While I'm not particularly recoil-sensitive, the .300 WSM is almost double the recoil of the .308 at only 150% of the energy at 500 yards, and though drift is similar to the .270 WSM, it drops more.
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That happens just as often with a 300 Mag. It ain't the rifle or the bullet, it's the guy pulling the trigger.
270 is very popular around these parts. Bigger isn't always better. It's big enough and very effective without separating your shoulder.
Smaller and faster is becoming the trend. I see lots of people with 6.5s and 257 Weatherbys these days. I've hunted with a 257 for many years now for everything from elk on down. Hit it right and it won't take a step.
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I guess what I'm asking is why the 270 WSM isn't more popular.
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Availability would be my first guess.
Even in plentiful ammo times, 270WIN was probably 50:1 over 270WSM on local shelves around here.
I've known multiple 270WIN hunters (myself included), but only 1 or 2 WSM users.
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I think there are plenty of rifles with great ballistics that never got the traction to be popular, for a handful of reasons. It’s also unlikely to be able to spread commonality among a handful of cartridges, when the old standbys are doing just fine.
Many get their start with the military. A good introduction & complimentary magazine articles helps too. Plenty introduced become scarce in 5-10 years, even when ballistics are fine.
My favorite for most deer & bear hunting is the 284 Winchester, kinda like a 7mm-08. I have used the 300WSM some, started for many years with a 308.
I like the 3, 6.5 Swedes we have, one a modern CZ. I haven’t felt the need for the Creedmoor.
The short mags popularity came and went. Brass, even before the recent silliness, wasn't exactly growing on trees.
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My guess is the 270 WSM had a very late start around 2002 when compared to the other two already established .270 caliber big game hunting rounds. The 270 Win been around since 1925 and the 270 Weatherby been around since 1943 or so. It also did not help the 270 WSM in the fact that Winchester rifles ended up in a clusterfuck not many years after they released the 270 WSM. Also the price point for ammo kind of high when you look at the 270 WSM and than the 270 Win.
I own two 270 Win in Sako and Remington one Tikka t3 in 270 WSM and one Sako in 270 Weatherby. All 3 .270 calibers are very capable hunting rounds with the (right loads) if the shooter does his part. I mostly got the T3 270 WSM because it had the features I was after and picked it up at a good price after hunting season one year and wanted to see what it would do.
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Well, they now have the new improved version, 6.8 Winchester Western. Based on the same case using a longer, heavier bullet. It's a niche cartridge that never really seemed to catch on. I still struggle with the idea of picking up a .325 WSM. It checks all the boxes for what I want as a do everything hunting rifle in Alaska except for being able to find ammo for it.
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Lots of deer hunters in the hills of western VA love the .270 and the majority hand load for it.
Not all cartridges with SAAMI acceptance become widely used. There are so many chamberings on the market that it's probably quite challenging to introduce a new one that consumers will rally behind. It takes some tangible improvements to eat into the sales of existing cartridges.
Look at the various chamberings introduced for AR15s in recent years. Not all are selling like hotcakes.
I think the 224 Valkyrie is slowing down. Remember the 223 WSSM?
I’m happy with my 223’s, 22-250’s, & regular 243’s. I already have to many to reload for.
I top out with the 300WSM. I’ve actually gone smaller for some hunting. Fir deer, a lighter weight 243 is fine, with a good bullet. That’s if I don’t take my 284 Win.
I remember a guy selling his 223 WSSM not long ago. He was asking above market value cuz it was ‘rare’? That may be true, ammo is too.
I LOVE the 270 WSM. It's perfect for deer and antelope out to any hunting range. I'd go with something stouter on ELK.
I was talking with a gun buddy of mine today about the 6.8 Westerner. In my mind the the 270 WSM with lighter faster bullets and less recoil is a better choice for deer sized animals. The 6.8 Westerner with its heavier bullets might be better for sniping a 1000yds or something but in my mind that's not hunting.
The 6.5 PRC might be the most similar round with 130gr bullets at 3200fps or so compared to the 270 WSM at 3200 with 140's. The 6.5 130's might have a little higher BC depending on exact bullet. With the recent ultra popularity of the 6.5's there might be more bullet styles available for it but on the other hand with all the shortages you might be able to actual be able to BUY 270 cal bullets easier?
Anyway I still have 2 Kimber's and a Sako and have taken game with all 3. Culled 9 feral goats with 7 shots with one if the Kimbers. Anyway It's a GREAT round and one of my all time favorites. It's a 270 Winchester + 200fps with the same bullets and fits into a Short Action. Not much to not like!
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Except that you can get .270Win everywhere (at least before this latest disaster but it will go back to normal eventually) and give up essentially nothing at ranges that are meaningful.
Or you can pick 7mm rem mag and have the same again.
Not every tiny bit of ballistics makes something popular.
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I've always felt the loss of the Model 70 line contributed to the demise of the wonderful short and super short magnums. Seems to me, the few examples offered up by FN were chambers of more common hunting rounds. It was a bitter pill when I placed a stainless Model 70 back in the rifle rack for lack of funds, in the 7mm Short Magnum. It got purchased by a friend who mounted a scope atop which was more expensive than the rifle. What a shame these fine cartridges aren't more popular. Guess folks are to busy 223n it.
Interesting that you bring up the 6.8 Western. I didn't know about it until yesterday, but in my research, the ballistics are just a smidge below the .270 WSM. The .277 Fury and the .270 Weatherby are also similar, but the .277 Fury appears to have significantly less recoil.
In the comparison I saw, all used the same 150gr, .590 BC bullet.
Of course, the .277 Fury is a belted case, if I recall correctly. If that matters to you.
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I suspect it's too soon to confirm the Fury's relative recoil. The cartridges are generally considered short & fat. They produce roughly the same MV with the same bullet weights. Recoil should be comparable.
This isn't like comparing a 300WM versus the 300WSM, where a noticeable shorter/fatter case produces less recoil. Not a huge reduction is recoil, but enough to notice the difference in side-by-side shooting comparisons.
I suspect it's more correct to label the Fury's case as having a 2-metal construction. It's not a belted case, along the lines of a 300WM or 375 H&H.
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It's hard to knock the classic "tried and true" rifle cartridges out of popularity.
The classic 30's and 7mm's have been taking meat for over 100 years now and I'm sure logistics has a lot to do with it.
I personally have ten rifles chambered in 308 and three in 223. It wasn't only until recently when I started shooting 600-900 yards that the thought crossed my mind to perhaps convert one of my 308's to 6.5C.
But still, for hunting, I personally see no need to not use a 308 for deer or elk. Especially since most shots will be inside 200 yards, I don't see a need to use anything more than a 308.
Hunters are generally traditionalists and unless the hunter has deep pockets or reads gun rags, most will stick with the popular cartridges and a budget rifle. Medium range and long range hunters are a much smaller group and rely on the classic belted magnums for their faster, flatter shooting rifles.
I believe the 6.5C's success has to do with its popularity in target shooting and the fact that it uses a standard 308/30-06 diameter case head whereas the 270WSM has the magnum case head.
I think for a new cartridge to have success, it has to check off certain boxes before it's a success:
-Was/is it used by the military in any capacity?
-Is it proving itself on firing line in matches
-How many platforms are offering the chamber
-Cost of factory ammo
Just my two cents.
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