June 2006

270 WSM Bolt-Action Rifles: We Would Buy Savage’s 16FSS

The Savage was the most consistent shooter, and it cost less, but Browning’s A-Bolt II was better suited to the heaviest loads. Ruger’s MK II rifle was less satisfactory, and we’d pass on it.

According to Winchester, the main values of its Short Magnum (WSM) cartridges are that when compared to conventional, long-action calibers, the 270 WSM, 7mm WSM and 300 WSM exceed the ballistics of the 270 Win., 7mm Rem. Mag. and 300 Win. Mag. respectively. Also, WSM rifles achieve these improved ballistics in short-action configurations which purportedly are lighter and faster handling than their long-action counterparts.

We’ve tested several of the fat-but-fast WSM and WSSM cartridges over the years, usually comparing them to their closest standard-action competitor. As you might expect, sometimes we liked the WSM/WSSM guns better than standard chamberings, and sometimes we didn’t.

This time around we wanted to set aside the multiple-cartridge matchups and put three similar 270 Winchester Short Magnums to the test. Toward that end, we acquired three rifles, each measuring about 43 inches in length and weighing about 7 pounds. Our test subjects were the Savage Arms 16FSS No. 17425, $569; a Browning A-Bolt II Composite Stalker No. 035012248, $734; and the Ruger KM77RFP MK II No. 17839, $695.

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