December 05, 2007
.270 vs. .30/06
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
I've just answered this for the fourth time in three days, so I might as well inflict it on all of you. I've owned numerous .270s (including a .270 Weatherby and a .270 WSM, neither of which are included here) and .30/06s. I've shot more '06 ammo than any other caliber because a lot of my shooting is gun testing, and the '06 is our most popular cartridge, so it makes sense to get guns in that caliber. Of all my rifles, the one with the most ammo up its spout is a Kenny Jarrett .30/06 built on a Model 700 action. The rifling is scorched about a third of the way up the barrel.
But for hunting, I've used the .270 far more than the .30/06. The reasons are the slightly lesser recoil of the .270, and the fact that it does somewhat better at long range, or at least I think it does. I've found absolutely no difference in the effectiveness of 130-, 140-, and 150-grain bullets; the type and make of slug are a lot more important than the weight.
I've had both cartridges to Africa, and while both did fine, I think the '06 is a better choice because a lot of what you hunt there is big, and a 180- or a handloaded 200-grain bullet is a righteous thing to have. From talking to African professional hunters, most of them agree with this.
I do not use a .270 because my mother was frightened by Jack O'Connor. A lot of people were frightened by Jack O'Connor, but my old mom wasn't one of them.