The top 10 cartridges for hunting deer in Canada

The .270 Winchester pairs perfectly with the Sako 85 Finnlight II

.270 WINCHESTER

My first hunting rifle was a Remington 760 pump-action chambered in .270 Win. Like many others of my age at the time, I was greatly influenced by the writings of Jack O’Connor, who heaped praise on this cartridge as being ideal for game ranging from pronghorns to elk. I can’t really remember how many deer I shot with my .270, but it was more than a few. I even took it to Africa on my first safari, and while carrying a pump-action rifle raised a few eyebrows, the .270 Win. bullets performed as well on kudu and impala as they did on North American game.

Designed on a .30-06 case necked down to 0.277 inches (instead of 0.308 inches), the .270 Win. pushes its smaller diameter bullets at higher velocities with a flatter trajectory and less recoil than the .30-06. The downrange energy doesn’t quite match up, but it’s capable of nearly 1,500 foot-pounds of energy out to 500 metres. That makes it a capable round for practically all deer-hunting scenarios.

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Another one of those rounds considered by some as yesterday’s cartridge, the .270 Win. carries more energy out to 500 metres, with slightly higher velocities and nearly identical wind drift, as the 6.5 Creedmoor. And while it has greater recoil, the .270 Win. is easily tolerable for most hunters.

Perfect pairing: Sako 85 Finnlight II