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Old October 24, 2013, 10:43 PM   #1
PVL
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Mountain Rifle Cartridge

I have picked out the brand of rifle that I want... I know that I will get either a Browning A-Bolt Stainless Stalker with the carbon-graphite stock, or the fancy, engraved Medallion model that is blued and engraved with a nice walnut stock. Whatever I get will have the BOSS barrel tuner and optional muzzle brake.

They ship the BOSS-equipped Brownings now with both of the adjustable weights for the tuner, one with a muzzle-brake and one without.

I will be using the rifle for hunts in the high desert and mountains, and will have to haul it around for quite a while before I can hope for a shot - that will most likely be long one. The ground will be uneven, the footing uncertain, and the altitude high.

What I am not certain about is the cartridge. - I'm torn between the 270 Winchester, and the 7mm Remington magnum.

On the medallion model (Cheapest of the two ) the 270 is 6 lb, 11 oz. and the 7mm RM is 7 lb, 1 oz. - A six ounce difference.

For the Stainless Stalker, the weight difference is eight ounces, half a pound.

Being an out of shape OF with bony shoulders makes the 270 seem attractive, but being a long-time magnum fan makes me lean toward the 7mm RM.

Would I be able to get by, shooting muleys and possibly an elk with the .270?

I hate to think about hauling that extra half-pound around for the 7mm RM - but I would do it if it's really necessary, I suppose.

My feet are hurting, just thinking about it.
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Old October 24, 2013, 10:55 PM   #2
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I love my .270 Win. I would not hesitate on Mulies or elk with my .270. The magnums will increase your range but a .270 is good to at least 400 yards. That is the longest shot I have taken on White tail and the round went right through the rib cage and exited the other side.

The Magnums seem like a lot of noise, powder consumption and meat damage IMHO. The two guys I used to hunt with used a 7mm mag and I could always tell when they shot because it sounded like a cannon going of. The exit holes were catastrophic.

I hope to draw a New Mexico Elk tag one of these years and my .270 Win will be going with me.
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Old October 24, 2013, 11:19 PM   #3
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I would advise you against the Browning rifle, I have had fits with my A-Bolt. My Tikka was SOOOOO much easier to work up loads for, vastly more accurate and with a significantly better trigger. Oh and when you shoot out the barrel on your Tikka you can put another one on it, with a Browning the action is a throw away since it is extruded metal and the barrel is loctited on.
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Old October 25, 2013, 03:04 AM   #4
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First elk I got when I moved to Co was with 7mag and first mulie was with 270 and that was 1977 and I still hunt same units I got that elk in.

I haven't changed much as I consider 270 good mulie/antelope rifle and I like little more horsepower for elk so I've never shot a elk (bull or cow tag) with 270.

Low elevation units I hunt is 7500ft goes up to 12K plus and I like rifle scoped 9 to 10lbs. I hunted mostly archery this year got a Nov cow elk tag about only rifle hunting do this year.

Most times I draw buck tag same season as elk tag so 270 stays home and last time I hunted that season got a good 5x5 buck with 30-338mag.

I hunt some drainage that they go from timberline down and some of them 400/500yd is average shot and with all the beetle kill you not going to get in the timber to hunt.

Well good luck
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Old October 25, 2013, 04:33 AM   #5
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There is nothing wrong with the .270. for the type of hunting you describe, out to 400 -450 yds. But I would question your choice of the Browning for that purpose. The claims are spectacular & it looks nice, but in the real world, the performance is often disappointing.
As Kachok stated , the Tikka is consistantly more accurate & has a far better trigger. Don't be swayed by the advertising.
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Old October 25, 2013, 06:15 AM   #6
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Not that I'm a browning fan, I much prefer a savage... Thats nonsense about not being able to rebarrel a browning.

http://www.longrangehunting.com/foru...g-bolt-102453/

http://www.longrangehunting.com/foru...lt-done-17047/

Get which one you like better. If carrying around an extra half pound really bothers you, skip a cheese burger or two.
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Old October 25, 2013, 07:08 AM   #7
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My experience with the Browning A-Bolt was a Stainless Stalker in .300 Winchester magnum that I owned a few years back.

Shooting Federal premium 180 grain loads, it would put the first three shots out of a cold, clean barrel into 1/2" at 100 yards, every time.

I did an experiment with that gun... It was accurate - and then I sent it off to have a Pachmyer decelerator recoil pad installed on the stock, while the barreled action went to Magna-Port.

When the gun came back, it behaved just as it had before except then it only kicked like a 30-06. It was also louder, you could literally feel it in your bones when it was fired because of the Magna-Port muzzle-brake. The accuracy was the same as before.

I don't know what kind of accuracy you fellows are getting out of your Remchesters, but in my experience the Browning was a tack-driver right out of the box, with factory loads.

This is what I hear most often from owners of Browning bolt actions and autos, but with the lever guns I hear that they are great - for a lever gun - but do not shoot as well as the bolt or auto except in rare cases.

As for the "extruded action" comment, you'll have to try that on someone who is not knowledgeable about firearm manufacturing processes. - It's amazing what folks will hear, and then repeat without any kind of fact-check.

I have noted that shooters who let the gun cool between shots at the range very seldom need to re-barrel their guns. Same goes for hunting rifles that are not used as range guns, but are only fired a few times a year.

Here's a picture I took with my bore-scope of where the rifling starts in a 7mm RM barrel. The gun looked new on the outside - but somebody had been misusing it at the range, firing rapid strings of shots and not letting it cool down.

( Click image to see it full-size )



Note how sharp the rifling is. - It is unlikely that the gun had over a hundred rounds through it, but it had been Bubba'd up by some shooter who didn't know any better than to fire a rapid string of shots, not letting the barrel have a chance to cool and recover. The steel literally crystallized in the heat that built up.

A little common sense would have kept that barrel from being ruined so quickly. Still, this raises a point in the 270's favor as it is not so hard on barrels as the 7mm RM.

Many shooters are not familiar with barrel tuners like the Browning BOSS system. For the most part, the only users of barrel tuners before Browning developed the BOSS were rimfire benchrest shooters, who cannot hand-load for accuracy.

What it does is tune the barrel vibrations, the same way you do by working up a handload. - But it does it much faster, with a lot less shots fired, and a heck of a lot cheaper.

Instead of tuning the barrel by tinkering with the ammunition by trial and error, you tune the barrel to whatever load you have by accurately moving a small weight at the end of the barrel. Once you have the setting for a particular load, you can tune the gun for other loads and always come back to that setting for that load again, without any trial or error.

This means that you can have the gun tuned for your favorite handload - but if you get stuck having to shoot factory ammo for some reason, you can get that stuff to shoot just as good through a process that will take less than half a box of ammo.

You can get a Browning without a BOSS, or any rifle without a BOSS to shoot poorly with the right ( wrong? ) load, but if you have a rifle equipped with a tuner like the BOSS and can follow simple instructions, you can get it to shoot tight with just about any reasonable load, factory or home-brew.

So I find the comments about poor accuracy in Brownings to be quite dubious, as they are not supported by my personal experience, or by common sense in the case of a BOSS-equipped rifle like I intend to purchase.

I appreciate the comments about the 270 Vs the 7mm Rem magnum, which are what I actually asked about.

Right now I'm leaning toward the 270, as I have discovered that elk hunts here are pay as you go, starting at 3k. The mule deer are a lot cheaper to hunt, especially if one can forgo the trophy hunts and participate in a culling action on one of the big ranches.

In any case, I only have one freezer and don't have room for another one.

I can't keep a garden here because the mule deer come down out of the mountains at night and will eat just about anything edible. If I have to get up in the middle of the night to pee, more often than not, this time of year I will hear a "clop clop" noise from outside which will be a herd of muleys walking down the street, or in my yard.

The drouth broke this year, we had lots of rain so I expect there will be culling operations on the big ranches next year. - I think I'll just stick with the mule deer and most likely will go with a 270 as apparently all agree that it's up to the job for mule deer up to 400 yds, which is as far as I would ever shoot in any case.

If I get a big enough wad of cash to afford an elk hunt, well then I'm guessing that I'll have enough money to buy a new 7mm RM too.

Thanks again, and I'd like to hear more about hunting mule deer with a 270 Winchester!

I think I'll check and see if the public library has any Jack O'Connor books, too.

Last edited by PVL; October 25, 2013 at 07:31 AM.
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Old October 25, 2013, 07:16 AM   #8
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Nothing wrong with the Savage or Tikka, I've never owned a Tikka but I've handled them and my most accurate firearm is a Savage in .243.

I wouldn't touch a Remington though with a ten-foot pole. - They're cheap to manufacture out of bar stock just like the Savage, but Remington charges a premium price and I will not support a ripoff with a brazed-on bolt handle. Despite being less expensive, the Savage is mechanically superior to the Remington, and generally more accurate because of it.

But that's just me. We spend a lot more time admiring our guns than shooting them, especially on a hunt, and I have developed a liking for the handling qualities and appearance of the Browning A-Bolt.

The X-Bolt I am not so enthusiastic about, especially since they do not offer the BOSS on that model. They're pretty, but ammunition and reloading components are too expensive to waste on load development. - I want something that will shoot whatever I come up with.
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Old October 25, 2013, 07:29 AM   #9
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The .270 will work, of course, but I chose the 7 Mag. A lot more bullets available and a bit more punch. A bit more kick, too, if that bothers you. Realistically, with 150 or 160 grain bullets, you can get 200-300 fps more from the Mag (within spec - someone always has an "extra hot" load). From an "energy downrange" standpoint, say another 100 yards. How far are you going to shoot? My 7 has been 100% effective, as in "no tracking", and I have never lost meat. Many can say the same for the .270. Since you are looking at a muzzle brake, recoil may not be an issue. I hate the contraptions, and you had better plan on hearing protection when hunting. The "magnum knock-em-dead" is loud enough without a brake.
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Old October 25, 2013, 07:46 AM   #10
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I have shot magnums, usually 30 or 33 caliber throughout my life - but I'm getting sorta elderly and have developed bony-shoulder syndrome. This also why I want something a bit lighter to carry.

My first rifle was a Marlin 1895g, with a straight grip and a plastic butt-plate. This gun taught me how to handle recoil without flinching as a skinny teenager, but later on I wanted something that would reach out further and shoot flatter.

I love the 7mm RM and can handle that amount of recoil OK, but the extra eight ounces of weight is kind of scary in these mountains.

Cheeseburgers have been off of the menu for a while, now. That in part is how I ended up with the bony shoulders. I'm one of those guys who had a heart attack and had to go over to the no fun diet.

The Browning BOSS has two weights, one with a muzzlebrake and one without. - I wouldn't use the muzzle-brake unless I had the shooting range to myself when practicing, and I would never PO a hunting guide by using one on a hunt. One should never PO your hunting guide, just as one should never pee in the foreman's thermos.

Back in my prime, none of this controversy would arise because I would be carrying a eight or nine-pound 300 magnum around like it was a toothpick.

Last edited by PVL; October 25, 2013 at 07:54 AM.
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Old October 25, 2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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Biggest mule deer I killed was with a .270 at 560 yards with a lowly 130 grain Sierra GK and a case full of 4831 powder. You can shoot as far as your comfortable with the .270, I shot that buck on a CRP field that had been mowed off by hail. I've killed several elk with the .270 as well, always used a 150 grain Nosler Partitions and never recovered a bullet. All elk were taken at 250 yards or less. The only real limiting factor to the .270 is the shooter.
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Old October 25, 2013, 08:28 AM   #12
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If you're really in mountains you'll be glad for every oz you are not carrying. The 270 will kill anything a 7mm mag will kill. You might need to get 25-50 yards closer. That is literally the only difference. As pointed out a 270 is a 500 yard+ cartridge. Can you shoot farther than that? Killing game is more about bullet selection and construction than headstamps or calibers. With the right bullets the 270 will take any game in North America, and most of them on the planet.

The Browning 270 is heavier than I'd want. Even the 270 is 3/4 pound heavier without a scope than my Kimber is with a scope. The 7 mag scoped would end up right at 8 lbs. That is no lightweight. Under 7 lbs scoped is the goal of a mountain rifle. A Tikka is about the least expensive route to get a truly lightweight mountain rifle.
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Old October 25, 2013, 08:31 AM   #13
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Today's bullet design and construction have made smaller calibers more effective than years past. Jack O'Connor was killing elk with a .270 using flat based cup and core bullets 60+ years ago, and they seemed to work then....

Bullets are now much more efficient in shape, losing less velocity and thus arriving with more energy, and needing less "holdover" and wind dope .....

The modern controlled expansion bonded and solid bullets (Accubond, Interbond, Scirocco II, Barnes TSX, GMX, etc.) have increased the penetration on larger game .....

The question now is not if the .270WIN is "enough" for Elk, but rather, are the Magnums too much?
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Old October 25, 2013, 08:52 AM   #14
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semi_problomatic most gunsmiths won't touch a rebarrel job on a Browning, there are a few that will try it but non of them that I could find would guarantee their work, they could not say that the heating process to remove the old barrel would not destroy the extruded metal action. Sure I have known guys that claim to have mastered the heating technique to separating them but other gunsmiths have called BS on that. While anything is possible I much prefer machined actions and barrels that are not sealed on with loctite, in the end I decided to just put up with my Browning's accuracy issues rather then trying to re-barrel it.
I finally got my Browning shooting good after many trips to the relaoding bench and firing range, and I like the overall feel of the rifle but it does not stack up to my Tikka, Winchester or Savages. While I like the look and feel of the new X-Bolts I won't buy one because of my bad experience with Browning who BTW has the worst customer service in the universe, their policy is to keep transferring you until you and putting you on hold until you give up, I spent several hours trying to get help.
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Old October 25, 2013, 09:02 AM   #15
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I am not experienced enough at long range shooting to try for anything past 400 yards.

The rifles that I am looking at are 6 pounds, 11 ounces without the scope.

The scope I am looking at is a Nikon Monarch 4-16x42 side-focus with the BDC reticule. Nikon has some online software that will tell you exactly what distance each of the BDC ovals are good for, if you enter your load information. Bullet weight, velocity, BC, etc..

I have a laser rangefinder and intend to use it if the animal is more than 200 yards away. I'll pick the appropriate BDC oval for the range and put the kill zone in the oval.

I'll certainly give the Kimbers a look before I decide, but I have never handled or seen a Kimber and that would be a drawback here. It would be kind of like that time I went out with my buddy's sister, even though I had never seen her. - It's not like she was a bagger or anything, but I soon found out that she was not my type. It was creepy, she was like a female version of my buddy, and I wasn't ready for that.

I have the Nikon scope I described on my 243 and am very happy with it, but I could probably find something lighter and do just fine. Leupold makes a compact 2-7x33 that I've had good luck with on a Winchester model 70 in .338 mag. I think the 338 and the 270 hunting load trajectory is very similar, it would probably work out fine for me on a 270.
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Old October 25, 2013, 09:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
I am not experienced enough at long range shooting to try for anything past 400 yards.
There is a simple (as in not complicated) remedy for that. It is just hard in the execution ....

BTW, do you know where I can find information on disassembly of the A-Bolt's bolt for cleaning? My niece has an A-Bolt (II?) and it is giving light primer strikes ..... one of my Remmy 721's had this issue until I took the bolt apart and cleaned 50 years worth of congealed gun oil out of it. Works much better now.... I just can not seem to find anyplace on the net that tells me how to take that bolt down.
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Old October 25, 2013, 09:30 AM   #17
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I have used a 270 Winchester since I was 12.
I have killed more Mule Deer than I can count and quite a few elk too. Add to that a bunch of antelope.

I have used various calibers in the last 45 years in several states and a few other countries, but I can't really say I have seen ANY caliber that was a lot more effective at killing elk or deer sized game than a 270.

Use a good bullet that won't break up and you can kill any animal there is under 1000 pounds with a 270, with any hit from the liver forward.

With hits through the lungs and heart area, I'd push that weight limit up to about 1500 pounds.

That is not to say the 270 is my #1 choice for all game under 1500 pounds, but I can say without reservation that it's capable. I would rank it #1 as a deer, sheep, antelope and caribou rifle however. I would rank it in the top 4-5 as an elk rifle.

For big bears I like more gun, but not because I really ‘need” more, but because I know a bit about grizzlies, and I just feel better with a 375
or a 45-70 if there are big bears around. I am 100% sure that if I were hunting bears I could do quite well with my 270. Many other men including Jack OConnor and Jake Coral have done it before me. Jake’s big Grizzly that is now mounted in the Riverton Historical Center was killed with one shot with a 270, as was the big bull buffalo that is mounted next to it. 1 shot each with 150 grain Remington Core-Loct bullets is what he used.

I have also used a 338/06, a 338 Win Mag and 375H&H. I have seen used a lot of 300 mags, 7mm Mags, 338 mags and also some of the bigger cals like 358 Norma Mag, 35 Whelen, 9.3X74R, 416s and 45-70.

On deer NOTHING have ever been better than a 270

On elk, the only gun I have used that seems to put them down faster was my 375H&H, but I will admit it is no faster on sideways hits, and the only advantage it really has is when one is "getting away" and I have had to run a bullet end to end to stop them.

That is where the big 300 and 270 grain bullets of the 375 are more effective.

For normal hits however, elk hit with my 270 have been on the ground either instantly, or within about 3 seconds. I have never had to track one shot with a 270 and I have never taken a 2nd shot either.
What’s not to like?
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Old October 25, 2013, 09:37 AM   #18
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PVL, for the caliber question, I am not enamored of the 7mm Mag. Lots of abuse and not a huge amount of benefit, especially if you are going to stay inside normal hunting range distances. I would actually prefer the .270. That said, there are other cartridges in the .30 and .33 calibers I would prefer.

7mms, with the light bullets will cause all kinds of havoc and that is what your photo illustrates. Steel is grains, not "crystals" and it does not "crystallize" as you inferred. Surface cracking as illustrated in the photo is not uncommon in the fast magnums if the heat treat and or machining had some QC issues. I split open a .308 that never grouped out of the box and the bore was the same. Just the factory proof rounds caused cracking. Crevice corrosion cracking can also occur in the right environmental conditions and lack of cleaning.

Anyway, the Brownings are decent, but the added chunk of metal on the end is not really worth the expense nor weight in a hunting rifle. If you are open to one of the best factory hunting rifles made, consider one of these: http://www.weatherby.com/product/rif...rkv/ultralight

Mine does not even tip 7 pounds with a sling and optic. It is insanely accurate, light and very well made. Sure, it is a bit more than the A-Bolt, but worth every penny.
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Old October 25, 2013, 09:41 AM   #19
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I just didn't want you to think you needed to go back to a magnum to kill mule deer and elk. Here is the deer I killed at LR with my .270 and no recovered bullet at that range either. I took the top of his heart off and had a quarter sized exit in the offside rib cage.





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Old October 25, 2013, 09:41 AM   #20
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The 270 does have some grade A credentials, but remember that the deer cannot read the head stamp, similar speed/energy/SD/construction bullets will perform in a similar manner on deer. I use my 6.5x55 loaded with 120gr BT bullets loaded to 270 Win speeds and the effect is markedly similar, very rapid kills. If you like a short action another favorite of mine is the 7mm-08, I prefer it to the 270 in barrels under 24", but in the longer barrels the 270 can really make use of all it's powder and that gets impressive very quickly.
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Old October 25, 2013, 10:05 AM   #21
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Greetings PVL,

270 vs 7mmrm, both good, both kill stuff. I would lean more toward the 270 or a 280 and not bloodshot the meat as bad. From what I have seen the 7mmrm seems do a lot more meat damage than the 3006 family of cartridges. Still a great cartridge, but if your intent is to eat what you shoot the 270/280 is probably a better choice.
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Old October 25, 2013, 10:25 AM   #22
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Thank you PVL for defending the A-Bolt, saved me some typing. I've owned one since the early 90's in 300 Winchester and it has served me very well. It was accurate enough to place Nosler Partitions into a 1" group regularly. My only complaint was the trigger but they seem to have fixed that with the A-Bolt II's, and with a little work I was able to get my trigger pull down to a crisp 4.5 pounds. It really sounds to me like you've made your choice and are going with the 270 Winchester and I don't believe you'll be disappointed. It is a great cartridge and with the right bullets is a good elk round. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your new rifle! What scope do you plan on putting on it?
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Old October 25, 2013, 10:32 AM   #23
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Too bad you weren't buying earlier this year! Browning was offering shot show A-bolt composite stalkers chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. That would have been the bee's knees for a mountain rifle.
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Old October 25, 2013, 10:45 AM   #24
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Get the lightest rifle in a .270. As Jack O'Connor said, "You carry a rifle more than you shoot it." In addition there is a noticeable difference in recoil. I have had both, and prefer the .270 for everything on this continent except the large bears.

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Old October 25, 2013, 03:17 PM   #25
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I have hunting rifles that range from .243 Win to .444 Marlin.
My go-to rifle for any type of game, is a .270.
But, it's a heavy .270. Fully loaded, with my preferred sling, it tops 11 lbs.

My 'mountain rifle' (~7.2 lbs?) happens to be chambered in .30-06, but I'd be perfectly happy with a .270 Win barrel on it.

If I was in the market for another 'mountain rifle', it would be another .270.
A well-placed shot from a .270 is no better or worse than a well placed shot from a 7mm RM... but you have the advantage of not having to deal with as much recoil or muzzle blast.
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