Choosing My Rifle and Caliber – Or did it choose me?

I purchased my first Remington at the tail end of last winter.  I wasn’t sold on one manufacturer or particular model of firearm.  I was looking to upgrade from my old right hand Savage Model 340 in 30-30 Winchester to something left handed, faster, flatter shooting and a more modern style.  I inherited the Savage from my wife’s grandfather several months before he passed away from cancer in the mid-90’s.  It always was and still is more of a sentimental hand-me-down than a useful hunting rifle due to the fact it’s the wrong hand for me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the 30-30 cartridge.  In fact, if you were taking a deer under 200 yards, which is more the norm than the exception I understand, then 30-30 is the perfect round.  It has much less recoil than larger caliber rifle cartridges (that I can verify) and has more than enough kinetic energy due to the 150 grain or especially the 170 grain bullet to take a large buck in one shot…even with a poorly placed shot.  Sounds like my kind of cartridge!

My thought was, if I am to get into hunting (and I will) then I need something that will increase my odds of success. Especially at first.  Something that will allow for a not so well placed shot to still take the animal down.  And, not being wealthy I needed something that was affordable and multi-purpose.  There are so many choices of rifle manufacturer, model and caliber that actually making a decision without having first been out in the field having real experiences is just daunting.

However, I wanted something that could really reach out and touch something beyond 200 yards if needed.  I was looking at the ever popular .308 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield and .300 Winchester Magnum.  I know there are many who say that anything less than .30 caliber is a waste of time for large game.  So, I was following that line of thinking.

I ended up spending most of my time looking at various Savage and Remington offerings.  I hard a hard time settling on anything, even with good advice.

Then by chance I was having some minor adjustments done to my shotgun by a friend of mine.  Mike had this mint condition Remington 700 in his “retired guy” shop where he does stellar repair work and custom paint on gun stocks.  It was a black & grey synthetic stock and blued barrel…nothing custom but certainly not hard to look at either.  Another friend of his wanted to offload it and had left it with him the day before to sell.  This gun looked absolutely brand new, not a scratch or mark on it anywhere and it was left hand…..I started to drool.

Then I found out it was chambered in .270 Winchester and I began to doubt this was the gun for me.  But, Mike assured me this was a venerable hunting caliber.  As ultra experienced hunters, Mike and his son Chris both had hunted extensively with 270’s in the past and had taken varied and numerous large game with them.

They gave me a quick education in the 270 cartridge and introduced me to a name I wouldn’t soon forget…the legendary Jack O’Connor aka. Mr. 270.  Not being well educated in the world of hunting I didn’t realize his significance to the “sport”.  Afterward, I did some research and reading up on him.  Fascinating to say the least, a very thoughtful writer, an expert outdoorsman and hunter!  The 270 was his primary caliber of choice, especially on the North American continent.

The .270 Win cartridge is the flatter shooting, little brother to the virtually extinct 30-03 which became the 30-06 Springfield.  Essentially, the 270 uses a 30-03 case with a tapered neck to accommodate the smaller projectile.  The 270 using modern propellents and a 130-140 grain bullet is easily climbing over 3000 FPS.  That’s fast.  And reaching out with enough kinetic energy and minimal drop in trajectory to take deer, moose, elk, black bear, etc at 400 yards.  That’s deadly.

So, I went home did some in-depth research on the Remington 700 and the 270 and I liked what I was seeing.  Both the 270 and the 700 have long colorful histories and are legendary in their own respects.  The Remington 700 has a long and distinguished record of being a staple of the hunting community, law enforcement and military services since the 60’s. But still I hesitated, I attribute that more to my own lack of knowledge and experience than anything else.

I got a call the next day from Chris asking me if I had decided on it or not as he could sell it quick for what they were asking.  I knew he wasn’t kidding about the price or pressuring me. But, I wanted to be sure so I waited a bit longer and did more checking.

I got a call again the next day from Chris and he said “Buddy, I wouldn’t BS you this is a great gun and a steal of a deal.  Lefties don’t come around everyday, especially this nice.  I’ll tell you what, Dad has a Bausch & Lomb Balvar scope he took in on trade…it’s mint too.  We’ll throw it in, mount it, laser bore sight it for ya…ready to hit paper.  The whole rig out the door for 700 bucks.  Whaddya think?”

It took me about 1.5 seconds…”Sold!!” The price was far too good to pass up and the characteristics of the 270 are very impressive for a “smaller” rifle caliber.  Not to mention the very nice quality scope mounted to the receiver.

I proudly took home my new acquisition and have honestly not looked back.  If I ever become a prolific hunter then I will explore other larger caliber offerings then.  The 270 is everything I need for the foreseeable future.  It will afford me enough flexibility to reach out as far as my scope will allow and beyond without excessive muzzle blast or recoil.  The recoil is light enough to be enjoyable for target shooting and some plinking but it barks loud enough and kicks hard enough to let you know it means business.

When I take my first deer with it, that will be a day long awaited and a moment I know I certainly won’t forget.




One thought on “Choosing My Rifle and Caliber – Or did it choose me?

  1. Sovereign Canadian

    Cal, I appreciate your story. Doing my own research on long guns and handguns is greatly aided by people that I know running through their decision process.

    As a note on the .270 round. The area that I grew up in is a very dense, flat, farming area; small family farms everywhere. From what I have seen .275 is the maximum allowed calibre. So a .270 is essentially the max that you can use. I haven’t read the actual regulations on rifles here though. So I welcome any one else’s comments on hunting in SW Ontario.

    Hopefully the new year will grant you the opportunity to harvest a wonderful animal with your prized 700.

Comments are closed.