Well-Equipped For Caribou?
Q: I own a Winchester Model 70 rifle chambered for .270 Wthby. Mag., scoped with a Leupold Vari-X 3-9x50. I plan to go caribou hunting next year. Is this setup a good choice? Also, what bullet would you recommend? My friend is going with me and plans to use a .30-06, and would also like to know which bullet would be best.
-George Silverira, Taunton, Massachusetts
A: Your .270 Wthby. is ideal for open country caribou hunting. Both it and the .30-06 are best served with streamlined mid-weight bullets that open quickly. Actually, a factory-loaded 130- to 150-grain pointed softpoint bullet in .270 caliber, and 150- or 165-grain bullet in .30-06 will work fine. Caribou are not hard to kill, and you can almost always get a chance from the side. Try the Nosler Ballistic Tip, Sierra GameKing or Hornady SST.
-Wayne van Zwoll
Q: I have a .30-06 caliber clip-fed Savage bolt-action rifle that my father bought in 1940. The only marking on the rifle is on the breech, which reads "Savage Super-Shooter," followed by the numbers 20927. The rifle is in great condition and very accurate. In fact, I've used it to harvest elk. Could you tell me when the gun was manufactured and how many were produced? Thanks.
-A.J. Carroccia, Cheyenne, Wyoming
A: According to my "1999 Standard Catalog of Firearms," your Savage bolt rifle is probably the Model 45 Super Shooter manufactured between 1928 and 1940. It differed from the Model 40 in that it came with a Lyman No. 40 receiver sight and checkered walnut stock.
Power Without The Punch
Q: I'd like some information regarding the ballistics of the .270 Win. and the 7mm Rem. Mag. My rifle is a Marlin Model MR-7 Win. And I'd like to take a step up to a 7mm Rem. Mag. for its long-range accuracy, but I don't want the extra recoil. By adding a muzzle break to the 7mm will this cut the recoil down to that of a .270?
Also, when dealing with semi-automatic rifles, is recoil-operated or gas better for long-range accuracy? I've been thinking about going to Browning's BAR gas-operated in 7mm Rem. Mag. Finally, what factory loaded bullet in .270 Win. has the most knockdown power beyond 300 yards?
-John Wadena, Kindred, North Dakota
A: In my experience a well-designed muzzle brake will lower the felt recoil of a 7mm Rem. Mag. to a level that is similar to the .270 Win. However, I should note that the trade-off is that muzzle brakes increase muzzle blast and noise. I'm not aware of any semi-auto sporting rifles in these cartridges that are recoil operated. The Browning is the only sporting semi-auto currently offered in magnum cartridges. It's well accepted that a gas-operated semi-auto will usually have a lower felt recoil than other rifles of similar weight.
Other than gun weight, perhaps the most important factor important to felt recoil is stock design. Synthetic stocks usually have less felt recoil. A wide, well-designed recoil pad is important. The comb should be straight or angled down in front so the gun recoils away from your face. Finally, a butt that's 90 degrees to the bore will allow the gun to recoil straight back and will reduce muzzle rise, which is what beats up your face.
As for what factory load has the most "knockdown" power at 300 yards, no cartridge has any "knockdown" power-that's a term that marketing people and gun writers dreamed up. The only thing we can measure is the remaining energy at 300 yards. But the bullet that has the most remaining energy is not necessarily the one that will perform the best on game. A better answer would be to suggest you match the bullet performance to the game you're hunting. Because you didn't mention that, I'm reluctant to recommend a bullet. However, you can never go wrong with a Nosler Partition bullet. The most popular weight in the .270 Win. is 130 grains. Also, the most accurate bullet is not always the best game bullet. Target bullets have better accuracy on average than hunting bullets, but they aren't reliable on game. It's all very complicated and entire books have been written on this subject. My advice is not to worry about long-range shooting for big game hunting. But instead work on your hunting skills to get closer. It's fine to want to shoot like a Marine sniper on targets, but for game it's about getting closer. Your skill at hitting targets at long range will help insure precise bullet placement at closer ranges.