Q: Hello Ron,
I read some of your articles and I figured you could help me decide. I have a Remington 700 in 270 Winchester that I was thinking of rebarreling into something else. Here starts my problem, what do I go with? I’m looking for a hunting long-range low recoil caliber to shoot thin-skinned animals such as deer and antelope. I do not reload currently so would need to factor loads or rely on someone else at this time. So my big question is what do you recommend? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Also, I have a 300 winmag and 30-06 for big game so I have that department covered that’s why I wanted something on the lighter side with recoil. Basically asking what would you do if you were me.
A: Hello Chris,
Since you already have the 300 WM and 30-06, you can go pretty light/small with your new barrel. And long-range suggests a fast twist to stabilize a high B.C. bullet, so take that into account. The .277 bullets now are as heavy as 175-grains maybe some at 180-grains. those require 1:7.5 or 1:8 twist. But .277 isn’t much narrower than .308, so let’s step down to 6.5. Your M700 is a standard or long action, so the 6.5 RPM from Weatherby might be a good option for you except… Only Wby loads ammo for it at this point. And it’s pricey.
The 6.5 Creedmoor would be best from an available ammo standpoint, but it’s a short action, which would work in your long, but kind of defeats the purpose of short action. The 284 Winchester is a hot property for extreme range target shooting weight now, but it’s largely a handloaders cartridge and pretty ballistically similar to the 270 Win.
Step down to the unpopular .257 cartridges and you have two good options for performance: 25-06 Rem. and 257 Wby. Both standard length action, but the 257 Wby. requires a belted magnum bolt face. Your gunsmith could easily open your 270 Win. bolt, but you’ll be stuck with limited ammo supplies/options.
So here we are at 25-06. This hot little number can produce better long-range ballistic performance than the 6.5 Creedmoor, but factory ammo at this time isn’t extensive. Mostly you’ll find 110- to 120-grain loads. Recently 2 or 3 new, high B.C. bullets have come on the market (130- to 133-grains) but they require twists of about 1:8 or 1:7.5. And handloading. Light bullets go as low as 75 grains, making this a good option for varmint/coyote hunting with low recoil. A 75-gr. V-Max at 3,700 fps in an 8-pound rifle should recoil at 10.2 fps velocity and 13 f-p energy. Compare that to a 30-06, 150-gr. bullet at 13.3 fps and 22 f-p energy.
The 25-06 Rem. with fast twist rifling is your best option in a long action. If you had a short action you could entertain the likes of the various 243s and even some hot 22s. But, regardless of what you get, you should get into handloading or find a custom loader to build for you. This is the only way to really take full advantage of any cartridge’s potential. Good luck. Hunt honest and shoot straight.
2nd Q: Hey Ron,
Completely forgot to ask you, but what factory load do you recommend most with the 25-06? I see Hornady’s performance has some really nice numbers listed if they are telling the truth. Let me know your thoughts.
A: Chris, choose your factory loads based on the bullet and need, first. A premium, controlled expansion bullet-like Barnes TSX, Nosler AccuBond, Federal Trophy Copper, Nosler Partition, etc. for elk, caribou, big deer. Choose a more frangible varmint style bullet for coyotes, rodents. Then judge by performance (accuracy and MV in your rifle.) MV likely will fall short of manufacturers’ claims by as much as 100 fps, but the only way to determine is to test and measure. This requires a chronograph. I’ve found the inexpensive ones (around $150) come within a few fps of the accuracy of the expensive ones. Strike a balance between accuracy and MV.
One never knows exactly which ammo brand/bullet will work best in any rifle. You have to experiment. Good luck.
Rebarrel M700 270 Win. to ??? — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com