Q: I’ve got a Winchester Model 70 in .243WSSM with a burned out barrel that I was going to have re-barreled to a different calibre, but my gunsmith told me that the action cannot handle anything but one of the fat, stubby WSSM cartridges. He also said that no more rifles are being made for the WSSMs because they were never popular. Can you tell me why they didn’t become more popular?
‚Äì Alan Morcombe
A: One strike against the .223, .243 and .25 WSSMs was that they duplicated the ballistics of the .220 Swift, .243 Winchester and .25-06 albeit in a very stubby, barrel-shaped case which didn’t feed all that smoothly. My experience with them was quite limited, but I’ve heard from shooters who bought them that not only was barrel life was relatively short with full-power loads, but the cases needed full length sizing every time they were reloaded. Winchester made a bad mistake bringing out such finicky cartridges which required a special action. In my opinion they missed out on a good bet by not bringing out the same three calibres based on the .284 Winchester case which would have been well suited for the standard short action Model 70. But them’s the breaks and the WSSMs virtually died in their infancy. Nor have all the Winchester Short Magnums achieved much of a following. The .300 WSM and .325 WSM seem to be the best sellers followed by the .270 WSM while the 7mm WSM barely made a ripple which puzzles me no end.