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.270 Win on red deer

24 Apr 2012
@ 05:16 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

From an email query.....

I have a question for you and was hoping you could help. I've currently switched ammo in my .270win to 130gr SST Superformance and love the accuracy of them. But the problem is.....yes you guessed it - they're not a very good bullet at less than 100yds. They are shattering on impact on shoulder shots (red deer) so I'm not very happy about that. Now I've been doing a bit of research through other websites and then I found yours

My question/s is: If I upgraded to the 140gr superformance sst will that 130fps slower at the muzzle and 10grains heavier pill help alot or just alittle at shots less than 100yds? or is the 130gr GMX superformance ammo a better option? My shooting range is generally 100 - 350yds not too many under 100yds but I do get lucky occasional.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


24 Apr 2012
@ 05:17 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .270 Win on red deer
Sounds like somebody needs to start reloading!

Yes, its a problem isn't it. The change to the 140 grain SST will help somewhat but jacket core seperation may still occur on Red deer, though not during onside penetration.

The GMX is at the other extreme, excellent penetration but as velocity falls below 2600fps, there is a risk of losing the animal if it runs into heavy bush from a slow kill. The same goes with close range shots if for example the animal moves as the trigger is pulled, resulting in a gut shot or a shot that strikes between the lungs and spine. The best balance is achieved via a projectile that both loses some weight, imparting maximum energy (especially important as velocity falls), while retaining a portion of its shank for deep penetration (especially important at close ranges).

Over the years, I must have had hundreds of guys ask me about enhancing the potency of the .270 on Reds. Always the same (well before the advent of the SST), the 130's are often too light, but a stout bullet is, well, too stout. The answer has always been the same, regardless of changes in bullet designs- a 150 grain bullet offers the best balance of a high SD for maximum penetration, allowing a softer bullet to be used (within reason) for maximum trauma. Its a combination that works from zero to 650 yards or so.

So, unless you are willing to hand load (set up will be about $400), you may well need to dual load. The 130 grain GMX (or better still, the InterBond) for close ranges, the 130 grain SST for your longer shots. You can try the 140 grain SST but although it will show an improvement and it will work quite well, I think you will always be suspicious. Lets face it, you already are.

Before we had the 150 grain SST in NZ (and before the Partition was readily available), the best bullet for Reds from 0-400 yards was the 150 grain Hotcor. These days its a bit old hat, the 150 grain SST is certainly a better performer out long, the Partition is now more readily available. But the point is, things haven't really changed. Even Jack O'connor back in the day new the deal. he favoured the 130- grain Partition (150gr bullets weren't available initially) so he used the Partition for its combination of energy transfer (aided by the Partition shedding weight at the front) combined with the solid rear core for deep penetration. It was neither one extreme nor the other, the best balance he could find. Craig Boddington is another U.S writer, favours the 150 grain bullets after having failures with light soft bullets. The late Graeme Henry from Rod & Rifle culled hundreds of deer with the 150 grain Speer, shot many Thar, wore out 2 or 3 barrels with that load and recomended it to hundreds of readers who were happy with the results. Yet today, we have salesmen trying to push the 130 grain Ballistic Tip etc onto Red deer hunters.

You are right to be concerned, keep working towards your goal. Also, please send me any autopsy pics, including any of the 130 grain SST.

Hope that helps a bit.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.