There are those that are proponents of the 6.5mm Cartridges over the .270 WInchester. for hunting deer and elk, but they are few except if you create a new Cartridge like the 26 Nosler. As I told readers this year, I am in line to test one this year in the new Nosler 48M Patriot Rifle at $1600 retail. (Update -October 2017 I have not tested one yet) The .270 is .277 inches in diameter and the 6.5mm is .2559 in diameter. Lets round that up to .256. The difference is .021 inches or 21 thousandths of an inch. A large reason to own the 26 Nosler is that you hunt or shoot at long distances. The 26 Nosler is a cheetah that can out distance the.270 and even the 7mm Remington Magnum for Max Point Blank Range (MPBR) shooting a 129 grain Long Range AccuBond bullet at 3400fps with MPBR of 415 yards with the new Long Range AccuBond bullet. Further, that when coupled with the Nosler Long Range AccuBond it holds on to energy and speed at long distances. As an example it has 2500 ft lbs of energy at 250 yards to kill a Moose or down a deer at 800 yards with over 1200 ft-lbs of energy.
The .270 Weatherby Magnum shoots a 130 grain at 3100 fps out of a 26 inch barrel and that is fast but the 26 Nosler’s 129 grain LRAB exits the barrel at its fastest at just over 3400 fps. That is a gain of 300 fps and is significant in the 130 -140 grain size. Above the .270 and into the 7mm category (actually 7.2mm) is the 7 mm Weatherby Magnum based on the 300 H & H case and shoots a 139 grain head at 3300 fps and the 7mm Dakota which uses the same 404 Jeffrey Case as the 26 Nosler, it is smack between the 120 grain head with Mv of 3400 fps in the 7mm Dakota and the 139 grain head with Mv of 3300 fps. So basically the 7mm Dakota can be necked down to 6.5 mm to make it a 26 Nosler case. Head space is set on the shoulder for improved accuracy verses the belt on a belted magnum. The 7mm Shooting Times Western Cartridge has a belt but shoots a 139 grain head at 3300 fps. In conclusion, I believe that Nosler sells the 26 Nosler with their M48 Patriot Rifle with a 26 inch Pac-Nor Barrel with Long Range AccuBond bullets to enhance the performance as a “long range hunting rifle package.” Nosler did dozens of cartridge comparisons of speed and energy see the charts below. It is very impressive with the Long Range AccuBond Bullet. So the bullet itself is part of the story, not just the cartridge. Energy distances for the 26 Nosler with 129 grain LRAB bullets for Moose is 250 yards for 2500 ft-lbs, Elk is 650 yards for 1500 ft-lbs and deer is 800 yards for 1200 ft-lbs. The .270 Winchester has a distance of 75 yards to achieve the recommended 2500 ft lbs for Moose, 380 yards for elk and 600 yards for deer. So there you have it. Many Moose are killed with the .270 at 150 yards or so with a well placed shot. Do you need all that whiz bang? If you want to shoot farther than others with energy to spare, the answer is yes. Here in the Northeast the 26 Nosler is a waste but out west or south in the beanfields it is in its element at 400 -800 yards with accuracy and not create so much recoil as to create a flinch but again, till I shoot one I will hold back my desire to jump on that bandwagon and open my wallet. © 2015.
Update 2017- I believe there is more excitement for the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge with its low recoil and fabulous bullet selection and CXP3 (Controlled eXpansion Performance) capability.