This is a tough question for me. My .280 is my "honey", my oldest rifle, a 700 Mountain Rifle, light, slim accurate, and because I've had it for 20+, I've killed just about everything our here in Montana with it. My newest rifle is the Tikka T3 Lite. Just as light as the Mountain Rifle, but in 270WSM, it shoots flatter, and is just about as accurate as you'd ever want, expect or need! It's guaranteed to shoot a 3 shot group and almost always does - unless it's my fault. This gun is NOT fussy about what you put through it. Comes with scope rings and, in my opinion, is really the best gun for the money out there right now. As for barrel life, I haven't had mine long enough to answer that one, but I sort of "baby" my rifles. Thing is, the magnums are always going to show the results of all that burning powder a lot more than the "standard" calibers. It's just their nature. By the way, I think the Kimber Montana would be an excellent choice - wish I could afford one, but I honestly don't think the difference in price buys any more gun than that Tikka. As for loads, I've worked up a 110grain Barnes TTSX with Hunter powder that exits at 3500 fps!