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7x64 Brenneke or .270W?

The .270W enjoyed some initial support in Southern Africa after Winchester - by name of Jack O'Connor punted it and its proclaimed 3,000 ft/sec muzzle velocity with a 130 gr bullet as a "flat shooter".  Amazingly it became a favourite in South West Africa (now Namibia) - which still is mostly dominated by German culture from the time of the pre-WW1 Deutch Südwest-Afrika (German South West Africa).  The 7x64 Brenneke which by default should have been the favourite is more popular in South Africa than in Namibia.  The reasons for the popularity of some cartridges over others may still be a subject for a Master's thesis I think.

I owned three .270Ws and had bought them for culling of blesbok on the rolling plains of the Free State Province.  The first one was an impressive looking Parker Hale model 1200 but it was disappointingly inaccurate and I traded it on a Ruger #1 - which was impossible to group closer than  3 inches at 100 meter and I had it exactly for one week and traded it on a SAKO Model 85 Hunter which was a good shooter on the 2" diameter brain of blesbok and springbok at 280 yards - when my eyes could still do that.   Every landowner where I had contracts to hunt the remainder of the quota animals that still needed to be removed after the hunting season was impressed by its accuracy.

I used Hunter .270W once for hunting kudu and blue wildebeest at bushveld ranges (50-150 yards), and the combination of too high impact velocity even with the 150 gr poor choice of bullet (Sierra Game King), and the subsequent unacceptable meat damage convinced me that it was not meant for big game and could not compare with the .308W using 180 gr bullets.

Then I did some ballistic tests and came to the conclusion that for the same bullet weight of 150 gr it was the exact twin of the .308W regarding muzzle velocity and trajectory - and that it was limited to maximum weight bullets of 150 gr really.  So it was neither the "flat shooting" wonder that O'Connor portrayed and nor could it  handle the heavier bullets that makes the .308W such an outstanding big game one shot killer.  It stayed in my safe until I was contracted for cull hunting.

What puts the 7x64 Brenneke in a class of its own is its ability to handle 175 gr bullets, making it a formidable contender against the 30-06 for the best cartridge for elk-size animals.  Weight by weight the 7x64 Brenneke is about 100 ft/sec faster than the .270W - which is not much - but with 175 gr bullets it equals the 30-06 with 180 gr, and with a little better penetration impulse per bullet frontal area.

Since my days of having owned the .270W and becoming disappointed with its on-animal performance (apart from brain shots) great leaps have been made in bullet design and construction.  Nowadays with the excellent

monolithic solids like the Impala, Peregrine, GS Custom (and Barnes in the USA) it will approach the 7x64 Brenneke as a credible big game hunter in the South African bushveld.


The table underneath when completed will show the relative penetration impulse per square millimeter bullet frontal area of the two cartridges using Peregrine VRG-3 plunger-expanding bullets of 150 gr for the .270W and 170 gr for the 7x64 Brenneke.

(under construction)

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