It’s been 98 years since the .270 Winchester cartridge (.277 bullet diameter) was first introduced under the name 270 WCF (Winchester Centerfire) and along with it the Winchester Model 54 bolt action. The Winchester company being the obvious designer.
Only a mere 19 years had passed since the 30-06 was introduced in 1906. And while the .270 Winchester was not an instant success in 1925 when it first appeared (in part due to the popularity of the 30-06), it did not take long for it to rise in the big game hunting world.
As time passed well-known writer and big game hunter, Jack O’Conner utilized the .270 and wrote praises of the cartridge in Outdoor Life magazine. Even renowned gun writer and cartridge designer, Townsend Whelen spoke favorably of the .270 Winchester cartridge.
Hunters started noticing that the .270 Winchester caliber cartridge was capable of shooting flatter than the popular 30–06, and with the increased usage of hunting scopes post WWII the .270 Winchester began to flourish in the hunting community.
Visit our dedicated 270 Winchester ballistics page, next.
The cartridge was initially factory loaded to push a 130-grain bullet at about 3,140 feet per second. The .270 Win was marketed from the get go as a suitable cartridge for big game shooting in the 300-to-500-yard range. From personal experience, the .270 is certainly in its zone at those distances.
Other bullet weights and designs have been introduced over time from 90 grain up to 150 grains. However, the 130-grain bullet remains the most popular option. My personal experience has been primarily with the 130 and 140 grain bullet offerings in commercial loads.
Today many newer .277 caliber offerings are on the market and all offer excellent results. However, none of these new cartridges appears to match the popularity of the old 270 Win and in reality, offer scant advantage for most hunting purposes.
The .270 Win is still one of the most popular loads is because of its acceptance worldwide. Internationally, ammunition and firearms manufacturers offer this chambering in a wide range of firearm action types and ammo.
The .270 Winchester is more than suitable for hunting deer-sized game, and larger. The cartridge loaded with the 130-grain bullet will retain around 1,500 ft-lb. of energy up to 400 yards, which many consider the minimum suitable for elk.
In the very near future, I plan on my Winchester model 70 in .270 accompanying me to Africa for plains game. I would not do so unless I had complete and total faith in this cartridge.
Having taken everything from deer to oryx to black bear to caribou and elk with this cartridge I can assure you the .270 has stood the test of time and still remains a timeless classic … and will for many years to come.