• The First One: The .270 Weatherby

    I've never had much of an interest in Weatherby calibers below the mighty .300 Weatherby. I did own an Accumark chambered for the .257 Weatherby, but it was never my favorite "go-to" rifle. I guess I never had confidence in the smaller calibers. Eventually, through coaxing from members on this Forum, I did eventually purchase a .257 and now, the oil finished Lasermark is one of my favorite rifles in the safe. I used it on Pronghorn and was amazed.

    So, what about the .270 Weatherby? I bought a Euromark in the .270 Wby from a Forum member and have used it twice on wild Boar and was really impressed with the caliber. When used with the 140 grain Nosler Accubond, I would get 1" and under groups for as long as I wanted to shoot and recoil was negligible. As much as I like the bigger Weatherby calibers, the recoil is certainly noticeable.

    To underscore the importance of the .270 Weatherby Magnum it is worth noting that it was the first of Roy Weatherby's magnum cartridge series. Roy considered the .270 so important that is where he started. All of the other Weatherby Magnums, the .257 and 7mm (based on the .270 case), and the long .300 and subsequent famous Weatherby Magnums, came after the .270.

    Here's a quote from Rifle Magazine: "World War II was raging when a watershed event occurred that would permanently alter the path of sporting arms development. An amateur gun tinkerer decided to experiment with reshaping the .300 H&H Magnum case to enlarge its powder capacity. The experiment was a resounding success. A second experiment shortened the overall length of the cartridge case and adapted it to smaller calibers. This, too, was a success. With the end of the war, the experimenter's name and his creations soon became icons among hunters worldwide".

    The experimenter was, of course, Roy Weatherby, and his creations were the .300 Weatherby Magnum, .257 Weatherby Magnum and, the subject of this article, the .270 Weatherby Magnum. Other Weatherby magnums followed, but these original three have reigned supreme for decades, their luster undiminished.

    Among this trio, the .270 Weatherby Magnum occupies a unique niche. It has substantially less recoil than the .300. At the same time, it has enough striking power to be suitable for all but the largest big-game species. The .257, despite its dazzling muzzle velocity and flat trajectory, is best as a light-duty plains rifle and for that it is simply spectacular. My definition of light-duty takes it up to Whitetail. What would I use the .270 Weatherby for? I'd use it for sheep, goats, deer, black bear, hogs, and Caribou. In Africa, I'd use it for everything up to Gemsbok and possibly Kudu and I would do it all with the 140 grain Accubond. An Ultra-Lightweight Mark V would really make a very versatile and easy-carrying packing rifle.

    The .270 Weatherby really has no peers among factory offerings despite the recent advent of the short magnums, which are loaded to relatively high pressures and probably use powder formulations not available to handloaders. I'm not certain of this since I'm not a handloader.

    Compared to the classic .270 Winchester, the .270 Weatherby offers a 300-plus-fps increase with a 130-grain bullet and a 400-plus-fps bump with a 150-grain bullet. Despite its obvious superiority compared to other .277-bore cartridges, the .270 Weatherby has lagged in popularity. The .270 Weatherby is Ed Weatherby's favorite caliber and it is said he rarely reaches for anything smaller or larger when hunting most non-dangerous game anywhere. Col. Craig Boddington recalls a deer hunt with Ed and an episode where they were hunting Whitatails. As they were planning their next move, a buck ran out into an open field at round 250 yards and, in the time it took to write this sentence, Ed knelt down, swung with the deer, fired, and they both watched the buck slam to a stop. This is also on the Weatherby video about the .416 Weatherby Magnum.

    After six decades in the field, the .270 Weatherby Magnum is still among the most impressive performers in the field, and it's one that any hunter should be proud to own.

    For a two caliber Weatherby arsenal, it would be very tough to top the .270 and .340 duo for just about anything, and the caliber overlap would be very minimal as each would occupy a unique hunting segment.