Winchester Model 70 in .270 Win
The Winchester Model 70 Featherweight in .270 Winchester has accounted for countless deer

A choice of two .270s: standard or WSM?

Q: I am in the market for a new rifle. It will definitely be a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight, but I am undecided between getting it in standard .270 Win or .270 WSM.

I’ve been told that a 150gn AccuBond from a .270 WSM drops 6.8” less than a 140gn AccuBond from a standard .270 out at 500yds and hits with 268ft-lb more energy at that range.

On paper at least, the .270 WSM looks to be harder hitting on game, but I find it hard to believe that the short magnum will kill game any deader than will the old .270 if both bullets land in the right place.

What do you think about my choice of rifle and cartridge?

Joe Wiseman

A: I cannot argue against your choice of rifle as I am a Model 70 fan from away back. The latest classic version of the Model 70 Featherweight is, in my opinion, the best so far.

Its appearance, fit and finish are excellent, far superior to anything that’s gone before. It balances nicely offhand and accuracy is hard to fault. 

As far as the cartridge itself is concerned, my impressions of the .270 WSM are a bit of a mixed bag.

Sure, it’s more powerful, a bit flatter shooting and inherently accurate. On the downside, it’s more lively to shoot and harder to control than say, a 7mm Rem Mag and it has more recoil.

Any edge it has over 500yd doesn’t interest me much as I rarely shoot game over 200yd, so the milder .270 Win would be my first choice. 

The magnum is put out in a 24” barrel against 22” for the standard .270, which may be a bit handier for you.

The reality is, the choice is really a personal one and entirely up to you.

Having said that, there’s one final and vital thing to know: Winchester Australia has stock of the Model 70 Featherweight in .270 Win but does not currently list the WSM among its imported range.

Therefore, you would have to find out if your dealer can have Winchester Australia bring in a WSM for you on special order, but the commercial logistics of bringing in a single rifle of a different calibre are probably going to rule it out.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.