The 270 Winchester is a rifle cartridge that was introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1925 for their bolt-action Model 54. It was one of the flattest shooting cartridges in use for many years and is one of the few cartridges to gain global acceptance throughout the world.
In 1925, Winchester Repeating Arms Company (WRAC) unveiled the 270 WCF (Winchester Centerfire) round and the Model 54 bolt action rifle. It took almost 20 years for the cartridge to gain popularity as the 30-06 Springfield cartridge was generally more dominant among American hunters and shooters.
Gun writers such as the late Jack O'Connor touted its performance in the pages of Outdoor Life magazine for over 40 years, which led to the round becoming one of the most popular and widely used big game hunting cartridges on earth. This also had to do with rifle scopes becoming more popular. Discerning shooters noted that the 7mm bullet used in the 270 Winchester was much flatter shooting than the 30–06 Springfield and closer in trajectory to the 300 H&H (Holland & Holland) Magnum.
In recent years, the introduction of low-drag 6.8mm or 7mm bullets suited for 270 Winchester are promoting a renewed interest among long-range hunters in mountains and plains areas.
The 270 Winchester is most commonly chambered in bolt-action hunting and target rifles. Browning has chambered both lever-action and semiautomatic rifles in 270 Winchester and Harrington & Richardson as well as Thompson Center Arms have offered single shot break-open rifles in this caliber. Remington Arms offered pump-action rifles in 270 Winchester and European rifle manufacturers have made straight-pull and double-barreled safari rifles for this cartridge.
As a hunting cartridge, 270 Winchester has been a proven round for over 100 years. It is extremely effective on big game animals such as white-tailed deer, caribou, wapiti and pronghorn antelope. Heavier bullets have made it useful against larger game animals such as moose, elk and most of the so-called plains game in Africa.
It is often a favorite caliber for hunters in the mountains going after game such as big horn sheep or mountain goats, species typically taken at longer ranges than most.
The 270 Winchester has been used by law enforcement in roles such as animal euthanasia and as a rifle round for police sharpshooters or snipers.
Its flat-shooting ability and a good variety of different bullet weights and profiles have made the 270 Winchester popular as a target round for professional and amateur shooters alike.
270 Winchester is chambered in standard length rifle actions. It is too long for what is considered a short action with its 2.540-inch-long case length. Bullet weights can be as light as 90-grains and as heavy as 180-grains. Most common bullet weights are in the 130-grain to 150-grain ranges.
The recoil of a 270 Winchester is not terribly excessive, but it is not exactly mild either. This is definitely a round where a good muzzle brake can alleviate much of the felt recoil.
Typical muzzle energy for the 270 Winchester averages about 2700 foot-pounds of energy. Depending on the weight of the bullet used, it can fluctuate by an additional 100-pounds either way. A lighter 90-grain bullet will decrease this by about 100 foot-pounds, for example.
SBR Ammunition offers a 270 Winchester load using a Lehigh Defense Controlled Chaos 127-grain projectile. The bullet is designed to penetrate to a specific depth and to fracture as the internal hydraulic pressure exceeds the hoop strength of the nose design. At the time of fracture, a massive energy spike is released as the particles break away and radiate outward from the initial trajectory path. this energy spike and resulting temporary cavity sends a shock wave through the animal's circulatory and nervous systems immediately shutting down the functioning of these systems.
Additionally, a 130-grain load using a Hornady Interlock Jacketed Soft Point (JSP) is available.