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Same old dilemma

17 Feb 2015
@ 10:20 am (GMT)

Ted Pringle

So for some time now I have been looking to purchase my own setup as an upgrade from my old mans .270 that has been on permanent loan to me for the last few years or more.

The thing is I just can't make my mind up on whether to stick to .270 as it has been pretty good to me or change to something else.
The more research I do (this site is exceptional for that btw) the more my mind sways.

I do a mixture of hunting from deer in the bush & open country (50/50ish), as well as chasing tahr, with a bit of pig hunting too.
I have shot tahr out from 200-400m with the later shot being more of an educated guess in terms of hold over.
I would like to have the option of being comfortable shooting the longer distances & beyond, but don't want to buy a new rifle in a calibre that might potentially hold me back.
I know that there is not an ideal all rounder, but with my current situation there is no way I'll be able to get two rifles past the wife..

One question I keep asking myself is, do I need to go to a larger calibre like a .30 cal I.e 308 or 30-06 & if I do will I get any advantage by doing this?
I know this is a dangerous question but it seems for my application all three calibres I have mentioned have similar limitations of distance & energy out to 400m.
Correct me if I'm wrong but the .270 seems like it's limitations would be the pill weight, but it might have the better performance for what I am after, especially if using a decent round like a Barnes etc.

Another thing is if I am going to upgrade to say a 30-06, why not step up again to a magnum like a 7mmRM or 300wm.
If I am going to endure more recoil and bigger pils why not push them further and faster?

I can't help but think that the magnum option is a big step, and could be overkill for what I need, although some would say why not over kill something.
With a muzzle break or suppressor I can't really see the recoil argument coming into it too much for any calibre, apart from needing a longer barrel & additional bit of weight.

I know the calibre vs calibre has been done to death, but I am just after a bit of advise on if I am overthinking things & if I am potentially holding myself back by sticking with the .270?

Any comments would be much appreciated.


17 Feb 2015
@ 07:09 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Same old dilemma
G'day Ted
The .270W is ideal for the hunting you mentioned, you can drive yourself crazy. The next step above that is a heavy dedicated long-range rig.
17 Feb 2015
@ 08:15 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Same old dilemma
Hi Ted, quite often guys will have a two gun set up consisting of a simple rifle like the .270/ .308 / .30-06 etc- versus a more dedicated long range rig which is somewhat heavier as Bob mentioned. A case of horses for courses.

When I am asked to set up a guy with one rifle for everything, close and long range but without too much weight, we often end up at the 7mm Rem Mag. One of the main reasons for this, is to keep the rifle weight down a bit for hard climbs. Its a fine line between rifle weight and felt recoil. So thats one way we can solve problems.

The other common chambering we arrive at is the .30-06. This can be very useful for guys hunting relatively heavy bodied animals at closer ranges, but with the ability to reach out ridge to ridge down south. You can build or buy quite a compact .30-06. It is harder to connect on game once you get out to very long distances with the .30-06, but it is still highly capable. My cartridges book covers the pros and cons in detail.

An example of a simple .30-06 would be a Tikka T3. This could be fitted with a relatively heavy optic, perhaps the NF NXS 5.5-22 x 50 MOAR. The weight would be acceptable, recoil acceptable, accuracy optimal and the scope can handle both closer range shots and full on ridge to ridge shots down south. You would not need to fit a suppressor to such a rig.

There are many ways to skin this cat. Some guys would want a .300 Win Mag, middle weight rifle. this is certainly highly effective on Thar and Red deer. In some instances optimal.

My question to other readers- does my cartridges book help you narrow down your selection or- even with the step by step process, do some of you still feel like kids in a lolly shop?

Anyone weighing into this thread needs to understand that Thar are tough- I mean really tough. A good bull will weigh 150kg / 330lb but is tough to the core. The ball joints are the size of oranges. When you shoot a Thar, you want the animal dropped on the spot, not running for cover as you may never retrieve him. You want to throw everything you have at him. But at the same time, you don't want to be climbing a near vertical rock face with a TRG or 32" barreled wossname.
17 Feb 2015
@ 08:18 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Same old dilemma
To add to my post above. I was in the same position as you and after a lot of deliberation I went with a #3 24" barrelled 30-06 and a good mil dot scope. The outfit is 10lb, the weight gets to me sometimes but I love it. I use 168gn A-max @ 2880fps. I'm not into using different projectiles, I like to get used to the trajectory of one pill and buy a heap of them. So far that projectile hasn't let me down. I prefer heavy for calibre pills as they do the job but with less meat damage. I used a mates 270win with 130gn pills but I didn't like amount of meat damage. He now uses 150's I think and is very happy with it.
270, 30-06, 308 all great calibre's
Best of luck with it mate.
17 Feb 2015
@ 09:30 pm (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Same old dilemma
Nothing to add to the initial question - there are far more expert opinions here than mine. But to respond to Nathan's question "does my cartridges book help you narrow down your selection or- even with the step by step process, do some of you still feel like kids in a lolly shop?" I would say that the Cartridges book is one of my favorites, and I am an avid reader. I love the approach and the volume of information. It absolutely has helped me in terms of understanding my current rifles and deciding what I want in future rifles.
18 Feb 2015
@ 07:05 am (GMT)

Dale Wilhelm

Re: Same old dilemma
As a hunter of lighter build I would highly recommend test firing any heavy calibres before committing to buying a rifle if you are not solidly built. In the scheme of things a .270 doesn't have too much of a kick. I know personally that a 7mm Rem Mag is really the limit of what my body can put up with for more than one shot. The times I have fired a 300 Win Mag and other canons I find that after the first shot I'm getting very knocked around. For this reason I tend to use lighter calibres and just make sure that I can confidently shoot them accurately. I then just have to be disciplined about what I shoot at. If I can't take a clean shot then I happily sit back and watch the animal.
Using this theory my .222 has dropped animals of all sizes at various ranges out to about 350m. Most recently a pig at 220m with a shot placed through the spine just behind the head which meant it dropped on the spot. Now I know that some people will say that shooting long range with light calibres is risky and they are right unless you know you can place your shot correctly. But even a large calibre placed poorly at close range can result in a wounded animal and an unethical slow kill.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that no matter what calibre you end up with make sure you can comfortably shoot it well. Take the time to get it shooting as good as it can and practice with it.
18 Feb 2015
@ 07:25 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Same old dilemma
long time .270 user
lets do "Nathans thing" and skin this cat
take 500yards as your desired maximum range
look at energy figures for usual projectile weights
look at ease of off the shelf ammo
look at resale
take .270 and run my good man run
Im S L O W L Y coming around to the 150grn thing as I find it hard to let go of 130s after nearly 30 years of using them. I have heavy loads for up close and like the lack of recoil with 130s
that said
now I have suppressor projectile weight isnt an issue recoil wise.
behind me as I type is a 11 3/4" thar that went down to 130grn load and the stags and chammy were all the same.
the ONLY thing making me think 150 is the KB on nosler partitions (why its not mentioned in 130 Im not sure???)
in short Ive never felt under gunned with .270 with 300yards usual maximum (and yes Ive shot her lots further than that)
18 Feb 2015
@ 02:35 pm (GMT)

Ricardo Laborin

Re: Same old dilemma
Lovely thread, and I could step in Ted's shoes all day long with the same concerns.

Nathan, to your point, the Cartridges book has become like a nudie magazine for me, sneaking out for peeks and reads all through the week. There are clear distinctions and the text is VERY well thought out - but for us newcomers, the cartridge/rifle selection process can be overwhelming. Mainly zeroing in on the fine line between the .270 running hot 150's vs the 7mmRM with the 160-168's, and then comparing the Seven with the .300WM, so two "thin" grey areas between the .270 and the .300 and I arrive at no conclusion.

Although the 7mmRM is by far a more logical pick given the literature, the selection process and the expertise level, I don't know about you all, but I'm certainly PLAGUED by "what if" scenarios - What if I go to Alaska for Moose, what if I hunt Elk in the US, what if I pool resources with 300 owners to reload, etc etc....And end up arriving at the .300WM to cover my psychological needs. Then again, running the 270 and the 300 covers more bases than the overlapping 270-7mmRM combo, I believe.

I'm running out of cats to skin....jejeje.

18 Feb 2015
@ 03:44 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Same old dilemma
Then you must ask yourself how much are the reloading components? Powder ,Brass,primers and chosen projectiles? Ease of supply and life of the barrel? Ask Nathan I was for two years debating the same things that you guys are. I have a Sako 75 SS in 6.5 x 55 Sweed. I paid top dollar for it. I have decided to stick with it and learn how to get the best I can out of it. I can do lots with it as its a long action rifle so I can rebarrel it into another caliber if I want to change? Maybe a 338-06 but for now I am not going to change except for getting a Sightron 6-24x50 scope. I'm going to have to do a lot of shooting and that's going to use up consumables a big magnum like a big V8 costs more to run. I'm just going to have to do some sneaking closer before I unleash the A max or partition on my chosen game.
18 Feb 2015
@ 08:28 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Same old dilemma
Thanks guys, good to know that the book has been useful in these areas.

Beyond our own exploits, I have spent a great deal of time collecting data from readers and close friends with regards to the usage of the .270 Win on Thar. For decades it has been a stock cartridge for South Island shooting. But I also have to admit that I have seen many instances where projectiles have struck the front shoulder ball joint, then failed to penetrate further. High impact velocities can be a factor but if I was to average the ranges, they would come out at around 300 yards. So I do have a tendency to push the 150 grain bullets which are less prone to failure (failure meaning failure to cause a fast kill, follow up shots needed).

Without careful bullet selection, I believe the rules of thumb laid out in the book are optimal and have hoped they would prove useful.

The heavier the bullet, the less we need to worry about bullet weight loss during penetration. But then other factors come into play- if hunting lean game, we do not want a bullet with too much momentum and poor expansion ratios either.

The 130 grain Partition is a good bullet Mike. But, you have to understand that low SD Partitions can turn and lose the rear core on round bone. Wounding is much the same as the Sierra Prohunter. Of the Partition designs, the 150 grain bullet tends to show more uniform performance across the velocity spectrum.

The .270 Win can display great changes in performance beyond 275-300 yards if the bullet design does not display its own level of consistency. Other problems with consistency can occur when using hot 130 grain frangible loads in close.

Tolerable recoil is certainly a major plus of the .270 Win.
18 Feb 2015
@ 11:27 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Same old dilemma
One factory gun, one factory cal, easy!

Model 70 Extreme Weather Stainless, 300 WSM. with good optics.
Dulls recoil well, reliable, portable, handles nicely & accurate for out long.

Once you have it take a trip up to see Nathan and get him to teach you how to hang on the back of it, then recoil will not be an issue anymore, easy!
19 Feb 2015
@ 04:38 am (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Same old dilemma
First it is all about bullet placement and practice at the gun ranges where you must determine your limits and also you might decide to take game of any size or toughness within those limits - for distance considerations.

I have shot many, many moose, elk and other animals using a .308 Winchester, a 30/06 and back in the early 1980's got a great buy on a highly accurate Husqvarna Deluxe in 7mm Remington Magnum. Between it and a 7x57 I have taken a lot of game since. For elk and moose when using it, I get 3039fps muzzle velocity on average with 160 grain Speer Hot Cor bullets. With the .308 and .30/06 I used the same Hot Cors but in 180 grain.

I always had 70 to 80 percent weight retention even at close ranges and never had one fail in any way. Never lost an animal since taking my first elk in 1958 and one each year since.

How and where you hunt and strategies you use often can make it possible to obtain shots at reasonable ranges, and I always tried to keep ranges under 400 yards, but took some really great elk out around 500 yards with Speer 160 spbt in the 7mm Mag...when I could get no closer...but most were from 30 to 350 yards. Same with moose but they are surprisingly easy to kill for their size.

Point being made here is the .308 Win, the .30/06 and 7mm Mauser as well as 7mm Rem Mag all worked for me. Now as a new strategy if I decided to shoot elk across mountain valleys at extreme ranges like Nathan and his clients often have to do, I would grab my 7mm Rem Mag off the gun rack and head off with a bunch of 162 grain Hornady A-Max bullets for those longer ranges. I would expect to limit my shots though, to how I have practised my shooting skills, up to about sam as drilling a 10 inch milk jug from 750 to 800 yards maximum. Beyond that, while I know I can hit steel gongs out to 1000 yards, it is in my mind just pushing things too much for me to do. For others if they have access to ranges to 1000 yards and beyond, and are able to practice at those ranges, then go for it if you are confident.

20 Feb 2015
@ 07:06 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Same old dilemma
after deciding i wanted a new lighter rifle couple years as i was bit over lugging a 303 lee enfield around. i done a lot of research (pretty sure how i came across this great site) i settled on a tikka in 270 win its one of those calibre not everyone likes but not alot of bad things are said about it. after learning so much from nathans books, the forum members and now being a handloader i would possibly get a 7mm-08 and get it reamed out to 284 win just for better projectile selections
23 Feb 2015
@ 02:34 am (GMT)

Ted Pringle

Re: Same old dilemma
Thanks for all of the responses guys, I didn't expect that!

I am still leaning towards going heavier at this stage, but it seems I still have some thinking to do & will be looking into your cartridge book Nathan.

I haven't tried using 150's as of yet, so i will be looking into those too.
Wouldn't this be taking the advantage off it's 'flatter' trajectory for longer shots as a comparison though?
23 Feb 2015
@ 08:21 pm (GMT)

Thomas Pavelka

Re: Same old dilemma
Glad you asked that question Ted about the 150 grain bullet because it was on my mind too. Also, there is a drop in velocity.

But if Nathan said it I'm all ears, just need to understand the "nuts and bolts" of it.


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