Custom Handloading

By Jeff Smith
December 1999

270 Winchester

This is a paper I put together for a friend who wanted to start handloading his 270 Win. rifle


If you desire handloaded ammunition, I would recommend building in a 100 block of ammunition. Most components are packaged for approximately 100 rounds.

You need 4 components to load ammunition:

Powder
Primers
Bullets
Brass

 

Powder:

One pound of powder will load approximately 100 rounds.

1 lb. of powder = 7000 grains

Most 270Win loads are 55-60 grains of powder per cartridge

7000 / 60 = 116 cartridges

The powder will not work out perfectly and some will be lost due to calibration, therefore I normally count on getting 100 rounds out of a pound of powder. Powder cost approximately $16.00-$19.00 a pound. There’s a lot of good powder out there – I like the Hodgdon Powders. Hodgdon 4831 would be a good choice for your rifle. I do shoot some other powders and like them as well.

Remington 270 – 59.5gr of Hodgdon 450
Browning 270 – 59gr of Hodgdon 4831
Remington 7mm RemMag – 72gr of Hodgdon 1000
T/C 30-30 Pistol – 31gr of Accurate BR2015
T/C 7x30Waters Rifle – 32gr of Dupont IMR3031

270Win velocities with Hodgdon 4831 and a 130gr bullet are normally around 3000ft/s.

Most .277 bullets have a ballistic coefficient of between 0.40-0.45. The BC is a fancy term for how well the bullet flies through the air. A round-nose bullet has a much lower BC than a Boat-Tail Spire Point.

 

At 3000ft/s and BC of 0.44:

Distance(yards) Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
Velocity 3000 2781 2572 2373 2183 2001
Time of Flight 0.00 0.10 0.22 0.34 0.47 0.61
Bullet Path-100 yard zero -1.5 0.0 -3.0 -11.3 -25.7 -47.5
200 yard zero -1.5 1.5 0.0 -6.8 -19.7 -40.0
300 yard zero -1.5 3.8 4.5 0.0 -10.7 -28.7

 

An interesting note: I shot at a buck one time running across a field at 100 yards. I just skinned him - Hair but no blood, bones, etc. This old man who must have been 120 years old ask me how much I lead him. It never occurred to me to lead an animal with a rifle capable of shooting in excess of 3000 ft/sec.

Running Deer - Check this out:

A deer can run at least 30mph.

There’s 5280 feet per mile

30mph= 30mph * 5,280 ft  = 158,400 feet per hour

A deer running at 30mph could travel 158,000 feet in one hour.

158,400 feet per hour = 158,400 feet per hour / 60 minutes  = 2,640 ft per minute

A deer running at 30mph could travel 2,640 feet in one minute.

2,640 ft per minute = 2,640 ft per minute / 60 seconds  = 44 ft per second

A deer running at 30mph could travel 44 feet in one second

*Hard to believe right?

It takes a bullet traveling 3,000-ft/sec muzzle and 2,781 at 100 yards 0.1039 seconds to travel 100 yards.

Distance = 44 feet per second * 0.1039 seconds = 4.57 feet

During 0.1039 seconds a deer would travel 4.57 feet.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Primers:

Primers come in a box of 100. They cost around $2.00 per box depending on brand and type. I have a wide assortment of primers and we can use these during testing until a primer is decided on. You have a choice of "Large Rifle" or "Magnum" primers. I have always had better results with the Magnum primers in rifles from a 270 caliber up. I would recommend starting with the Magnum primer and then switch to the Large Rifle if all else fails.

I test with the following primers:

CCI Magnum Primers
Winchester Magnum Primers
Federal Magnum Primers
Remington Magnum Primers

I always get the best results from the CCI Magnum and Winchester Magnum Primers. I test with all 4, however I seem to always end up shooting CCI or Winchester.

Bullets:

If I were getting my Ph.D. in weapons, I would write my dissertation on "Bullets". With that said, there’s no "Perfect Bullet" for hunting. The bullet selection for a hunter is a unique process, which will often times have much different results. When I'm working up a load for a rifle, the bullet selection is based off of a set of criteria to determine the type of bullet needed for the hunting style used by that weapon.

Most hunting bullets fall into one of three categories:

1. Maximum Penetration – Good on large dangerous game (Bears, Lions, Cape Buffalo, etc.), large game (Elk, Moose) and any game where the shot angle is not perfect. These bullets work with a partition at approximately the distance from the nose of the bullet. The forward portion of the bullet mushrooms back to the partition and the partition drives the bullet into the objective for deep penetration. These bullets tend to be on the expensive side.

Advantages:

Deep Penetration
Good on none perfect angles, as bullet will exit objective

Disadvantages:

Expensive
Not as accurate – lower ballistic coefficient
Can be too much bullet for some game

Nosler Partition 270 caliber 130gr and 150gr $20.99 per 50 bullets

John Nosler developed this bullet due to frustration after shooting Elk and watching them disappear with flesh wounds. All of this took place 4 or 5 decades ago and made the Nosler Bullet Corporation what it is today. These bullets work well in a 270Win. I don't feel they work especially well from a 7mmRemMag on deer sized animals. I've shoot probably 20-30 deer with a 150gr Nosler Partition in 7mmRemMag and seen to many "run off" – I would recover them within 100 yards however I prefer for them not to run. I feel on a broadside shot the bullet exits the deer with a large portion of the energy still intact with the bullet instead of delivering the energy within the objective. It’s almost like shooting the deer with a Full Metal Jacket. At ranges of over 200 yards, the deer would simply drop like it is suppose to with a gun. The 270Win seems to deliver the optimal energy for this bullet. I love this bullet in a 270 Win. I shoot the 130gr in one 270 Win and 150gr in the other.

Energy: Ft/Lb.

  7mm Rem Mag 270Win
Muzzle 3200 2597
100 yards 2833 2206
200 yards 2502 1866

As you can see the 270 Win at the muzzle has almost identical energy as a 7mm Rem Mag at 200 yards. This would explain why the bullets perform as they do.

Barnes X-Bullets – 130 gr. XLC $28.99 per 50 bullets

I tried these bullets and could not get the accuracy needed out of them.

Swift A-Frame Bullets – 130gr, 140gr, 150gr $43.99 per 50 bullets

If I were hunting Bear or Cape Buffalo, this would be my bullet of choice – not deer.

2. Mid-Range Bullets – These bullets offer the best of both worlds. They offer medium range penetration and higher expansion rates.

Advantages:

Good Penetration
Good Expansion
Accurate
Inexpensive

Disadvantages:

Marginal at some angles

Sierra GameKing – 130gr, 140gr, 150gr $16.49 per 100 bullets

This is a great bullet. I got good results out of this bullet. It’s accurate and does a good job on deer. I shot several deer with this bullet in a 7mm Rem Mag and it did well. A quality bullet at a reasonable price.

Speer GrandSlam – 130gr,150gr $17.49 per 50 bullets

Never used these, but hear good things about them.

3. High Expansion Bullets – Maximum expansion. Does great on perfect to near perfect bullet placement.

Advantages:

Very Accurate
Great on near perfect angles

Disadvantages:

Not a deep penetrator
Normally will not leave exit wound

Nosler Ballistic Tips – 130gr, 140gr, 150gr $12.50 per 50 bullets

This bullet works well for it’s intended use. I've harvested several deer with it and on good bullet placement will really do a great job. This is also the most accurate bullet I’ve ever shot. I am now loading it in my 7mm Rem Mag for long range shooting in a Remington Model 700 Sendero with a Leupold 6.5x20-50mm Target Scope. It shoots well.

Other Bullets:

Hornady 140gr BTSP $17.49 per 100 bullets
Remington 130gr Core Lokt (CL) $12.99 per 100 bullets
Winchester 130gr Ballistic Silvertip $13.49 per 50 bullets
Winchester 140gr Fail Safe $27.99 per 50 bullets
Winchester 150gr Partition Gold $25.49 per 50 bullets

With all of this said, what is the right hunting bullet? I think it depends on many factors that deal with terrain, shot distances, caliber and hunting style.

This is MY philosophy – others may not agree: I want a bullet that will exit the deer with just enough energy to fall to the ground on the other side of the deer. This means two good thinks happen:

  1. hydroshock – the objective received almost all the energy from the bullet
  2. entry and exit holes – two wound canals to bleed if the objective is able to flee

For stalk hunters who may shoot a deer in the "butt" or at an odd angle while they flee, I would suggest bullets in category 1 (1st Choice) or category 2. I shot a fairly large buck, 180 lb. range, standing still working a scrape one-day while stalk hunting. The deer ran and I shoot him again in the butt at 100 yards with a Nosler Partition (7mm Rem Mag). The bullet exited his brisket. That’s 4 feet of penetration and still going. If a deer is shoot broadside, how much energy would this bullet have as it exited the animal? A ton. This bullet from a 7mm Rem Mag would probably shoot through 3 or 4 deer at one time broadside.

For stand hunters in short to medium range shooting (0-250 yards), I would recommend bullets in category 2 (1st Choice) or category 3. Most shoots from a stand are taken when the hunter wants to shoot not when the deer dictates as with stalk hunting so often. For me, bullet placement is much better from a stand than stalk hunting.

For stand hunters in medium to long range shooting (250-500 yards), I would recommend bullets in category 3 (1st Choice) or category 2. Category 3 provided the accuracy needed and normally higher velocities down range because of the increase in ballistic coefficients.

So from these options, I decide what bullet I want to shoot in a particular gun:

This was/is my choice:

Remington 270Win – 130gr Nosler Partition
Browning 270Win – 150gr Nosler Partition
Remington 7mmRemMag – 150gr Nosler Ballistic Tip
T/C 30/30Win Pistol – 125gr Nosler Ballistic Tip
T/C 7x30Waters Rifle – 120gr Hornady Single Shot Tipped

 

Reloading:

For a new rifle I do the following:

Get 100 rounds of new brass. Brass is an overlooked component of accurate shooting. The brass needs to be quality brass and fire-formed for your rifle. I load all 100 rounds with the cheapest bullets and a light load of powder to shoot. These 100 rounds do 2 things:

  1. Fire form the brass to fit the chamber of your gun. The brass will expand to perfectly fit the chamber and from now on the brass will only be resized to the shoulder not full-sized.
  2. The 100 rounds will help to "season" the barrel of the gun. The barrel is like an iron skillet. It needs to be burned in. 100 rounds is a good start.

Brass Cost:

Federal Brass $38.99 per 100 (Nickel Plated)
Winchester Brass $27.99 per 100
Remington Brass $26.99 per 100
Remington Brass $30.99 per 100 (Nickel Plated)

I like the Federal Brass – it seems the highest quality. Nickel brass will last longer than standard brass because it does not stretch as much. 7mm Rem Mag brass will normally last for 5-8 shots before being defective due to neck stretching. 270Win will last at least twice as long. Everytime you fire the rifle the neck stretches depending on rifle characteristics. As it stretches it must be trimmed and the neck continues to get thinner and thinner over time..

Determine the maximum COL, Cartridge Overall Length, for your rifle. Rifle manufactures must produce rifles with a tolerance range that will fit ALL factory ammunition; therefore the loaded bullets in factory ammunition are always spaced away from the lands of the barrel. Normally the closer the bullet to the lands the better the accuracy. With reloading we determine this distance and seat the bullet at the perfect distance to just contact the lands lightly, which normally offers the best results.

Reloading Considerations:

The first thing I do is decide on bullet and weight.

Then I load test sets in loads of 10 each.

The test sets contain different powder and charges with different primer combinations.

Examples: (270Win)

Test Set #1

Nosler Partition 130gr
H450 powder – 60 grains
CCI Magnum Primer

Test Set #2

Nosler Partition 130gr
H450 powder – 60 grains
Winchester Magnum Primer

Test Set #3

Nosler Partition 130gr
H450 powder – 60 grains
Federal Magnum Primer

Test Set #4

Nosler Partition 130gr
H4831 powder – 58 grains
CCI Magnum Primer

Test Set #5

Nosler Partition 130gr
H4831 powder – 58 grains
Winchester Magnum Primer

Test Set #6

Nosler Partition 130gr
H4831 powder – 58 grains
Federal Magnum Primer

Never start loading with maximum load values. If you are going to reload get a quality reloading manual and work up to maximum loads watching for signs of pressure.

I would shoot these test sets and narrow it done to say 2 loads. Then reload and shoot 20-25 round tests with each set to determine a load. You can change the powder load by .5 grains and do more testing. You can change the Cartridge Overall Length and do more testing. Try different powders, primers – the list is endless. You can spend a lifetime twinking the load.

I also have a chronograph that I shoot through for determining bullet velocity.

Some of the factors that go into determining which load to use:

  1. group size
  2. feel of shot – smooth vs. small explosion
  3. number of strays (if any)
  4. velocity – never believe what is in manuals

Cartridge Cost:

These cost are approximations: (100 rounds)

Powder: $18.00
Primers: $2.00
Bullet: Depends on choice

Nosler Ballistic Tips – $45.00 ($9.00 box)
Nosler Partitions – $62.00 ($12.40 box)
Sierra GameKings- $36.50 ($7.30 box)

In Summary:

Through handloading, you can build custom ammunition that is a perfect fit for the chamber of your rifle. The bullet is seated at the right depth, you choose the powder/primer combination that shoots the best in your rifle and you choose the bullet that is suited for you’re hunting style. Now all you need to do is squeeze the trigger and you have a finely tuned shooting machine.