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Q: What is the best grain for a .270 caliber rifle and the farthest distance you can shoot accurately? I am shooting a 150 gr. bullet and recently shot a hog at 300 yards. I don't know if I moved or the hog moved, but the shot landed a little low. I still got him though. Roy Amis

A: #1 That's a great question. Knowing the limits of your firearm is critical to the success of your hunt. Countless stories circulate around every hunting camp of "The one that got away," and attempting long distance shots that are beyond the range of your rifle significantly decreases your chances of making a successful shot. Attempting long range shots to test the limits of your rifle, as fun as it may be, risks injuring or maiming an animal, and should probably be reserved for the local rifle range.

That being said, and also bearing in mind that the specific ballistics possibilities are virtually endless depending on powder type, bullet weight and type, barrel length, as well as countless external factors, it is certainly not uncommon for hunter to successfully attempt 300+ yard shots with a .270 caliber rifle. As you probably know the .270 has a significantly flatter trajectory than many rounds, including its parent cartridge, the comparable and equally popular .30-06.

However, if you are using a 150-grain bullet, (one of the heaviest loads for the cartridge) 300 yards is pushing the envelope of its effectiveness. This is without taking external factors such as windage into account. Finding the perfect balance between velocity (lighter grain cartridge) and impact (the heavier cartridge) is a seesaw battle of opinion, so selecting the "Best Grain" for your cartridge is not only open to opinion, but variable based on what game you are hunting and at what distance.

According to ballistics data from Chuck Hawks' "Rifle Trajectory Table" the maximum point blank range for a .270 cartridge with a 150 gr. bullet traveling at approximately 2900 fps is 287 yards. For reference, the Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR) is the distance at which the bullet falls 3 inches below the line of sight. Attempting a shot beyond that range with a 150 gr. bullet is certainly possible, however, it leaves much to circumstance, and risks injuring the animal rather than delivering an effective and humane kill shot. Keep in mind that mid sized game, including hog and whitetail, typically have a kill zone of about 8 inches from top to bottom.

Few traditional cartridges have an MPBR beyond 300 yards, meaning they cannot be considered effectively accurate beyond that range on a consistent basis due to the exponential drop-off in trajectory beyond that point. However, the .270 is one of the few calibers with several loads rated with a 300+ MPBR. You can improve the range of your shot by using a lighter load, such as a 130 gr. bullet, which at 3140 fps at the muzzle will offer you an MPBR of 305 feet.

So to answer your question, yes you can be accurate at 300 yards with your .270 under the right circumstances. Using a 130 gr. would still deliver the effective knockdown power necessary to drop a hog while offering a 300+ yard range ability. I have personally field tested Winchester's new Supreme Elite XP3 bullets and found that even at 130 gr., the bullet delivers bone jarring impact at long distances. Winchester's popular Supreme Ballistic Silvertip also delivers tried and true performance, and should also be fatally effective at that range.

Most importantly though, you should familiarize yourself with the limitations of your own gun. Tables and theory's are nothing if not argument starters, however, their application in the real world is often misunderstood. A kill shot on paper does not necessarily translate into a kill shot in the real world. You should range test your gun with your selected cartridge and determine, for yourself, the maximum distance that you feel comfortable making an accurate shot under real world conditions. If you can consistently make 300+ yard shots with reasonable accuracy than you already have your answer. If not, experiment with different brands and weights of cartridges until you find the combination that helps you reach your goal with your rifle.

Tracy Green

Woods 'N Water Magazine