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270 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum)


Introduced in 2002, the 270 WSM served no real purpose other than to sell rifles to hunters who were enamored with the original 270 Winchester and who figured that if it had the word Magnum added to the title, it had to be better.

Certainly, the 270 WSM has a ballistic advantage over the 270 Winchester but it has no discernable advantage over the 7mm WSM, which preceded it by one year.  In reality, just the opposite was true; because of the ballistically superior 7mm bullets available at the time, the 7mm version had a significant advantage.  Manufacturers offered a much wider variety of bullets in a wider range of weights, many of which had a meaningfully better BC, giving the 7mm the edge in terms of trajectory, delivered energy, and wind deflection for targets at longer distances.

Today, the same comparison between the 270 WSM and 7mm WSM cartridges still holds but we now have several 27-caliber bullets that come close to matching what similar 7mm bullets offer and we have a far wider selection of bullets in 27-caliber.

With the best modern components, the 270 WSM offers spectacular performance for the hunter who enjoys a bit less recoil than a typical 300 Magnum develops.  It is entirely capable for elk hunting and similar applications with shots to well beyond 500 yards in the hands of a marksman who knows when to take the shot and when to pass it up.

An aftermarket 270 WSM rifle with faster-than-normal rifling twist-rate can shoot the Berger 170-grain with impressive long-range performance but a similar rifle in 7mm WSM can shoot even heavier bullets with even better long-range performance.  Refer to the 6.8 Western discussion.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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