.270 Schuster and can cartridges be patented?

The .270 Schuster, or .270 SCH, is a new wildcat European cartridge. It is basically a necked down .308 Winchester to 6.8mm (.270″).

.270 SCH (left), .308 Win. (right)

What is most interesting about the cartridge is that the inventor is trying to patent the cartridge case dimensions both in Europe and the United States (patent application #20110048269, published 3 March).

I hope that this patent is rejected by the USPTO. Prior art must exist. I am sure wildcatters have necked the .308 Win. up and down to every conceivable caliber.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Witt Sullivan

    SSK copyrighted the .300 Whisper and made die manufacturers enter agreements making that round exclusive to SSK. They didn’t patent it, but no one can manufacturer it without paying $$ for the dies, or royalties to produce it or the .300 Whisper casings.

    Isn’t that why AAC developed the .300 Blackout round? You can make wildcat cartridges identical to .300 Whisper, but you can’t officially call them .300 Whisper.

    • Witt, there is a big difference between patent and copyright. With copyright (or was it a trademark?) you could still make the round. With a patent you could not produce the round, regardless of the name and branding, without royalties.

  • JesseL

    Look at the saga of the WSM and WSSM cartridges and the patent held by Rick Jamison (USPTO #5,826,361) for a glimpse at how clueless the Patent Office can be and how much one unscrupulous jerk can extort from the shooting industry.

  • He should be able to copyright the name, but the cartridge isn’t nearly different enough to garner a patent in my mind.

    If he had invented an entirely new cartridge from scratch, that would be a different story.

    That being said, why 6.8? What does this cartridge do that many others don’t already? What’s the appeal of this over 7mm08?

  • Vitor

    That must be one high BC.

  • Your Patent Friend

    There is nothing inherent in the design of a cartridge that would prevent it from being patented. That said, to deny this application, the patent office would have to find a reference that shows the claimed cartridge characteristics prior to the filing date of the application of August 25, 2009. That is, every element of the claim 1 (dimensions, parts described, etc.) would have to be shown in a reference dated prior to this application filing date.

    In the alternative, the patent office could reject the application as obvious by finding that the applicant’s cartridge design only differs from the prior art in minor obvious ways. The 7mm-08 and the .260 Remington are prime candidates to render this design obvious. However, I note that the design appears to intentionally employ a case length of between 1.900 and 1.950 inches versus the .308 Winchester case length of 2.005 to 2.015 inches, perhaps to avoid rounds based on the .308 Winchester case being used as prior art.

    But I have also seen mention of various cartridges such as 270 Sabi, 270 Redding,, and 270-308 in various forums and someone even mention that they would like to see something like this posted in a forum (http://www.handloadersbench.com/forum25/421.html time stamp: Sat Apr 30th, 2005).

    In another forum there is a description of the 270 Sabi as a .308 necked down to .277 (http://thehunterslife.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1591 time stamp: 01-16-2005, 11:58 PM). “Enter the 270 Sabi. This is a 308 case necked down to 277 calibre (270). The standard 150gr bullet is launched at 2300ft/s, perfect for a bushveld rifle. The load was developed about 10 years ago by Magnum Arms (aka Sabi Rifles).”

    Another forum mentions an article in Handloader from about 1994 on the .270 Redding (.277 based on .308 Winchester). (http://www.go2gbo.com/forums/index.php?topic=86348.0 time stamp: February 17, 2006, 07:07:03 PM). (See also http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BQY/is_10_47/ai_78130022/)

    In view of this, the applicant will probably face an uphill battle at getting this application allowed and a patent granted.

    However, another thing to note is that, given that the applicant specifies case length and other dimensions, it would be trivial to implement a non-infringing alternative (assuming a patent is granted) if there was truly a market for something with a .277 bullet based on a .308 Winchester case (either novel, or any of the above .277 based designs).

    Lastly, it remains to be seen how this is going to distinguish itself sufficiently in the crowded field of the cartridges that bracket it (.260 Remington and 7mm-08) in size and performance to generate any interest. Prognosis? Likely DOA.

    Feel free to move this to the front page as an updated article if you like.

  • Slim934

    One would hope it would be rejected, but given that the patent office often patents even extremely common things which have been in use for decades there is no reason to assume outright that the they would reject this application.

    A more interesting line of inquiry is why on earth the inventor would be so stupid as to try to patent something like this. Just because an idea can be patented does not mean it is going to be adopted or profitable. Indeed, depending on the item in question patenting could be a horrendously stupid idea for the invention.

    Imagine for a moment if a patent is granted to this design, what exactly will be the effect? It will artificially drive up the cost of producing it because now a manufacturer not only has to buy new tooling to make the round, but now they must pay some schmoe with a piece of paper from the government a royalty to even make it. If the patent is granted the only thing it will do is drive the cartridge into obscurity because there will be little reason undertake the cost of production for the minimal gains one will receive from its use.

  • Nothing will kill the adoption of a cartridge like patenting/trademarking/copyrighting or otherwise controlling development/manufacture of it.

  • Winchester made a .270 variant of the .30 Light Rifle cartridge (pre-7.62mm NATO) back in 1953 as part of their “Homologous Series” for Project SALVO. Other calibers in the series included .18, .22, and .25, all using the .30 Light Rifle case.

  • Zach

    Keeping others from using your cartridge design without paying you a fee and entering into a license agreement is the most effective way to kill a new cartridge before it even gets to market. Just look at the disaster of the 6.5 “Grendel”, which really hasn’t caught on, and has such onerous use restrictions that Les Baer Custom is duplicating its dimensions and capabilities while calling it something else to avoid paying AA fees.

    AAC did the right thing in making their 300 AAC Blackout concept freely available with no licensing or royalties. That cartridge, only a few months old, already has more barrel and upper options on the market TODAY than the Alexander Arms cartridges have now, despite being on the market for nearly a decade.

  • Emperor Fabulous

    I don’t see how you could patent dimensions for a cartridge. Even if was allowed, it would be easy to get around by simply changing one dimension by a thousandth of an inch.

  • Leaving aside the patent aspects of this for the moment (which I agree seem silly), what is the purpose of this cartridge? Hunting, target or potential military? Any info on the ballistics?

  • Thanks Steve, could be a good police sniper round in an AR-10 development or similar. Of course, probably no better than a lot of other alternatives….

  • jdun1911

    I wouldn’t worry about it. The cartridge is DOA.

    With that said you can patent loading/reloading die for the cartridge. I’m sure you can patented cartridges as long as there are no prior designs.

    In the USA if you bought copyright materials, you can make copies of it legally as long as you don’t resell it.

    Trademark are there to prevent other companies from using their brand. For example companies cannot used the name Glock on their products unless it is Glock or Glock allows them.

  • If you read the patent, you will see that it is framed primarily as a target cartridge with possible tactical and hunting applications. The case is shorter so that longer ogive projectiles can be utilized while remaining within the COAL limits of a .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO magazine. While 30 degrees is seen as the desired shoulder angle, he covers all of the bases from 25 to 45 degrees for the rimless version and from 20 to 45 degrees for a rimmed variant for single-shots and drillings. In contrast to certain target cartridge cases, the designer has increased the body taper of the parent .308 Winchester case in hopes of improving feed reliability.

    Except for case taper, you could get something similiar if you necked up the 6.5mm Creedmore case . I suppose if you wanted to be cheeky, you could now file patents for the 6.5x47mm Laupa and 6.5×284 Norma cases necked up for 0.277″ projectiles.

    The next step will be to kick the 0.277″ projectiles to the curb, and modify the same cases to 0.284″. (I heard that someone joked when seeing the 6.5×284 Norma cases: “Say, wouldn’t it be neat if we necked this up to 7mm?”)

  • the ammo addict

    I hope this cartridge is DOA. I’ll take 7mm-08 thank you very much. And the guy can go piss up a rope regarding his patent application non-sense.

  • JTCoyot√©

    He’s not patenting a design… he’s attempting to patent the entire field of possible .308 based 270 wildcats..!

    Prior art should rule in this case, many have created similar rounds… my little .270 Savage is virtually identical to the cartridge shown here with a slightly shorter neck and longer body… and pre-dates it by several decades…