I am finally getting around to projects I have been anticipating for several years. One of these is putting together a credible all-around hunting rifle. The goal is something with more stretch than the .308 Winchester and perhaps a bit of finesse. Among the rifles I have chosen is the Mossberg All Terrain Rifle in .270 Winchester. I have enjoyed such good luck, for so long, with the ATR rifle in .308 Winchester, I did not wish to rock the boat and stayed with a proven product.
As a writer, I often obtain firearms purely for review and research purposes. I test different calibers and optics. The ATR rifle is a personal choice that I have kept on hand because it works and delivers good performance for the money. The usual relationship with firearms is temporary, and I seldom keep these firearms for the long term.
However, I always keep a good hunting rifle on hand that is properly outfitted and zeroed. The short action ATR in .308 is a good rifle, but I have been wishing to find a good rifle in .270 for all-around hunting and recreational shooting. The balance of accuracy and price with the ATR is outstanding, and the .270 long-action chambering is a real bargain.
My newest ATR demonstrated a crisp trigger of just less than four pounds with a nice let off. As for the .270 Winchester cartridge, the .270 is among the most versatile and effective cartridges in America. The .270 was introduced in 1925 and has proven popular ever since. Quite a few magnums have waxed and waned in the meantime.
The .270 is simply a .30-06 Springfield necked down to .277 caliber. The .270 is intended for long range work and killing power at moderate range. The late Jack O’Connor wrote of the efficiency of the .270 Winchester, and while he used other cartridges the .270 was clearly a favorite. The cartridge is accurate and effective but doesn’t kick as hard as some rifle cartridges. The .270 has taken every species of North American game. While perhaps light for the largest bears, the cartridge stands alone for versatility. As an example, the 90-grain bullet may be loaded to a full 3,600 fps. This makes the .270 an effective varmint cartridge. Sure, we will probably use a .223 but for the man with one rifle the .270 is a varmint buster.
A 100-grain bullet at 3,500 fps is another option. The enthusiastic handloader can really make the .270 talk! The standard 130-grain bullet at 3,100 fps is a good all-around deer load for long range. There is also a 150-grain bullet for heavier game.
The .270 is efficient with a variety of loads and bullet weights. The accuracy of the cartridge may be demonstrated off of the benchrest, as the following tables demonstrate. The power of the cartridge may be demonstrated by ballistic media. The balance of penetration and controlled expansion of these loads is excellent. I particularly like the .270’s neck design. There is plenty of tension in the neck with all bullet weights, even with the lightest bullets.
While lighter and faster bullets may be used, the standard 130-grain load shoots flat over long distances. While some may master magnum cartridges, I do not own a magnum rifle. I prefer the .308, .270, and .30-06 cartridges. They do the business with accuracy, efficiency, and less bruising and raising of eddies in the skin.
The cartridge responds well to a careful handloader. Effect on game is reliable. My experiments with the Mossberg ATR/.270 rifle combination have been good. What really counts, and the reason I was led to this combination, are the glowing reports of the .270’s effect in the field. This is why the .270 has been called the rifleman’s rifle. Nothing I have observed can contradict this statement.
I fitted a Vanguard Endeavor RS 41240 BDC riflescope to my personal rifle in an effort to give myself an edge in the field. The scope features good adjustment, clear optics and good zero retention. Adjustment was rapid. It was with a minimum expenditure of ammunition that the rifle was sighted in. When choosing rifle ammunition for the .270, the field is broad.
Hornady offers at least nine loads from 100 to 150 grains. The Sierra 90-grain Varmint bullet is a handloading proposition, and the Hornady bullets are available as components. As I often do, I searched for an economical loading to get the hang of the rifle and to sight it in.
During the initial evaluation, I used the Fiocchi 130-grain JSP, and later fired the Fiocchi 150-grain loads. Results were excellent. Accuracy was good and the powder burn was clean. While testing, I learned two things. The .270 kicks more than the .308, but then it is a larger cartridge. It also burns more powder and churns up a bit more horsepower.
In addition, the .270 and the ATR were not quite as accurate as the .308 and the ATR. Not surprising either as the .308 is a match-grade cartridge. The difference? An average of one-inch or less at 100 yards for the .308 and .8-1.25 inch for the .270. However, I haven’t experimented very much. Considering that it takes an excellent rifleman to stand on his hind legs and fire a three-shot 5-inch group at 100 yards, I think the .270 offers all of the accuracy I need.
The rifle is sighted to strike two inches high at 100 yards, which gives me a dead-on hold to 200 yards. If you cannot shoot, of course, you may as well throw rocks. However, that is the accuracy this rifle and cartridge is capable of delivering. I would like to cap off this story with a report of success in the field but it isn’t quite that time of year yet. One thing is for certain; if I get a shot and do not connect with the game, it isn’t the fault of the gun or the ammunition. It is mine alone. This rifle is a credible choice anyone on any budget.
Do you have a favorite hunting cartridge or caliber? Is it the .270 Winchester? What is you favorite hunting rifle? Share your answer in the comment section.
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