Shooting is like a trail in the Rockies, winding here and there from open meadows to black timber forests. No two vistas are exactly alike. That's why we never tire of our sport, because there is always something new to learn, sometimes shooting old theories down in flames. The more we find out, the more we realize how much there is to know in a sport ocean deep and mountain high. This brings on "friendly discussion." Over the years, many great gun arguments raged like prairie fires. Here are a dozen to massage around the potbelly stove when the shooting range is frosted over with winter's chill, with last hunting season only a memory and the next one months away. Here we have Jake and Bart in a friendly disagreement:
Gunwriters skate around the edges of this argument by weaseling. Many claim both cartridges are entirely adequate for North American big game. neither truly having the edge over the other, which is ballistically false. Personal preference has a lot to do with choosing one round over the other. A hunter simply likes .270 better, or the '06, and that's that. The .270 lover might argue ballistic coefficients and trajectory. After all, a the .270 compared to a 30-caliber bullet of the same weight gives the edge to the smaller diameter projectile. For example, a 130-grain .270 Hornady SST has a sectional density of .242 with a ballistic coefficient of .460, while a .30-caliber 130-grain bullet goes .196 sectional density and not much better than .300 for ballistic coefficient. Ah, but when all of the romance is removed and bare ballistic facts stand naked before us, the .30-06 wins the prize from ranges three feet past a hunter's boots to 300-yards and farther. That's the unvarnished truth, like or not. Sighted in for 200 yards, the 130-grain missile drops only 6 1/2" at 300. Meanwhile, getting 3,075 fps with a 150-grain bullet in the '06 is no big trick. Sighted in for 200 yards, this projectile falls 7 1/2" below the line of sight at 300, making the two equal in trajectory in real-life hunting situations (scratch the inch difference).
The .270 delivers a little less recoil and shoots a shred flatter, but for delivered energy downrange, its parent cartridge holds sway, ,just as P.O. Ackley, the wildcat man, said in his 1959 Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders. "It will be seen that the .30/06 is a lot more gun over average hunting ranges than the .270 with equal weight bullets." I can't buy into the last part about equal weight bullets. The '06 has more starch than the .270 with its heavier bullets at good velocity. A note to the wise: If you own a .270 you do well with, never sell it. Nonetheless, Jake wins this one on the basis of pure ballistic fact. See the .270 vs. '06 table.
Controlled expansion bullets are wonderful, such as Nosler's Partition, Swift's A-Frame, Speer's Grand Slam, Nosler's AccuBond, Hornady's SST, Barnes Triple-Shock and many...