Classic Caliber Comparison: .270 vs .30-06

The caliber wars were old long before tactical enthusiasts left angry comments on blogs via their cell phones whilst patrolling their local mart store for Isis, and indeed among the oldest debates is 270 vs 30-06. Essentially, 270 vs 30-06 comes down to the same idea of 9mm vs .45 ACP, namely easier to shoot with vs MORE POWAHHHH! Or something along those lines.

Both are great cartridges, and both have been used to do some very fine shooting. Both have put plenty of meat in plenty of freezers…and for other uses. What’s the difference between the two?

.270 Winchester vs. .30-06 Springfield

.270 Winchester rounds courtesy wikipedia.org

The .270 Winchester was introduced in 1925 with Winchester’s Model 54 rifle, a Mauser-derived bolt-action (the Model 70 is an improved version, with a better trigger) which was totally on purpose. Even then, the 6mm and 7mm family enjoyed a certain popularity for having a balance of velocity and “oomph,” making them suitable for hunting deer-sized game at longer range than the .30-30. Winchester necked the .30-03 down to accept a .277-inch (6.5mm) bullet and presto!

.30-06 Springfield cartridge vs. .270 Winchester

.30-06 Springfield courtesy wikia.com

The .30-06 was devised a bit earlier. The US armed forces cooked up the .30-03, a .30 caliber round which seated a 220-grain round-nose bullet. Then they heard about the new 8mm Mauser round. Since the Mauser was said to have pretty good reach with a 153-grain spitzer bullet, they wanted to have a bullet like it to keep up. So, they trimmed a bit of brass off the case and crimped a 150-grain bullet in instead.

Well, it worked, and in 1906 the round was dubbed the official bullet of the US armed forces – .30 caliber bullet, model of 1906. Thus, .30-06.

So, the first difference is the .270 uses a smaller bullet, namely a .277-in diameter bullet vs the .308-in diameter bullet of the ’06. What other differences are there?

One is bullet weight. The standard .270 load is a 130-grain bullet, whereas the standard .30-06 is 150 grains.

However another difference is the range of what grain bullets are available. As you decline in bullet size, you decline in the difference between the smallest and largest bullet that can be employed. The .270 starts at about 90 grains and tops out at 150 grains, so about a 60 grain weight swing.

By comparison, the .30-06 is arguably the most versatile cartridge in existence. Light loads are available in the 110- and 125-grain range, all the way up to 220-grain round-nose bullets. The .30-06 can hunt every species in North America and most in Africa, and is routinely used for both.

It shares the same bullet as the .308 Winchester, which is more commonly used in long-range target shooting. However, the shorter case of the .308 Win prevents the same breadth of projectiles.

When it comes to larger game such as elk, moose and similar animals, the .30-06 is better suited and especially the 180-grain bullet. However, the .270 has been used on every game animal up to and including grizzly bear.

In fact, Jack O’Connor – whose favorite cartridge was the .270 – took two grizzly bears with a .270 as well as many elk, moose and much more. It’s a capable round, but requires careful placement for greatest effect. This isn’t to say the .30-06 doesn’t, but it does pack a little more wallop.

Jack O'Connor Gun Digest

Jack O’Connor courtesy Gun Digest

That said, consensus is the .30-06 is better suited to all game short of dangerous game, and that .270 is effective on big game in expert hands…but you probably shouldn’t unless you have no other choice.

Remember, there’s a big difference between what can kill a grizzly and what can stop a grizzly. The .270 Winchester will do the latter; the .30-06, even in the stoutest of handloads, is no more than adequate for the latter in expert hands.

Ballistically, the smaller bullet gives the .270 the advantage in muzzle velocity. Standard loads range from around 3,000 fps to 3,600 fps, depending on the powder charge and bullet weight. The .30-06 can generate velocities of 3,500 fps with 110-gr loadings, but the typical 150-gr to 180-gr loads are more commonly in the 2,700 fps to 3,100 fps range.

Flatter trajectory is also a benefit of the .270. Federal Ammunition ballistics for a 130-grain Nosler Partition in .270 Winchester attests that with a 100-yard zero, the bullet drops 2.9 inches at 200 yards and 10.8 inches at 300 yards. With a 200-yard zero, the .270 drops by 6.5 inches at 300 yards and 19.1 inches at 400 yards. By contrast, the 165-grain Partition in .30-06 drops by 3.6 inches at 200 yards and by 13.3 inches at 300 yards with a 100-yard zero. With a 200-yard zero, expected drop is 7.9 inches at 300 yards and 23 inches at 400 yards.

Clearly, the .270 is a bit better for long range work. In fact, innate accuracy at long range has always been one of its chief virtues, both for target work and for western game hunts.

Mule deer, pronghorn, western whitetails and black bear are routinely harvested with .270 rifles.

Another difference, of course, is recoil. Granted, recoil energy is highly relative; recoil force depends on grain weight and muzzle velocity as well as the weight of the rifle. Most people attest that .270 vs .30-06 favors the lighter round. By the numbers, according to the Chuck Hawks recoil table, an 8-lb. rifle in .270 generates 16.5 ft-lbs of recoil with a 130-grain load at 3,140 fps.

A rifle of the same weight in .30-06 generates 20.1 ft-lbs of recoil firing a 165-grain load at 2,900 fps. Remember also that the .30-06 was devised to deliver the most amount of power with the upper limit of what most shooters could tolerate.

By contrast, a .30-30 generates 9.4 lbs of recoil in an 8-lb rifle firing a 150-grain bullet at 2,364 fps. Almost any load of .223 produces less than 5 lbs of recoil. Does this mean a bolt-action rifle is a man’s gun and that black rifle you got is a gussied up plinker?

Actually, yeah. Ha! Just kidding. Besides, you can get an AR-10 in .308 and that’ll punch paper at long range and hunt everything short of dangerous game.

Additionally, very few .270 and .30-06 rifles that are made these days are anything other than a bolt-action. Some semi-autos are made – at this point it’s basically the Browning BAR hunting rifle – but they’re not common at all. There are, of course, a number of surplus military rifles in .30-06…but even those are starting to dwindle.

So, the .270 hurts a little less, has a flatter trajectory and goes a little faster, which makes it suitable for many hunters. It’s also a very capable target round. The .30-06 hits harder with bigger bullets and with the diversity of loadings available, is suited to a broader class of game.

Which is better for you? Well, that depends on what you’ll use it for. Do you prefer one or the other? Let us know!

comments

  1. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    The .270 vs. .30-06 argument has been going on now for generations. Just like
    the 9mm Luger vs. .45 Auto, M-14 vs. M-16 rifle, .300 Savage vs. .35 Remington,
    or perhaps even .30-30 Winchester vs. .32 Winchester Special. Again, no substituent
    exists for proper bullet placement.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “The .270 vs. .30-06 argument has been going on now for generations. ”

      OK, I’ll be first – 6.5 Creedmagic puts the conversation to rest.

      1. avatar Bearpaw says:

        30-06 vs is a .270 is not an argument. The 06 rules. Period.

        Only argument is by how much.

        1. avatar ropingdown says:

          And along the “30,.-06 rules” line, I think the article has the following backward:

          “Remember, there’s a big difference between what can kill a grizzly and what can stop a grizzly. The .270 Winchester will do the latter; the .30-06, even in the stoutest of handloads, is no more than adequate for the latter in expert hands.”

        2. avatar GS650G says:

          Have fun determining the drop over 400 yards with the 30-06 while the .270 simplifies things a bit.

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      probably a good idea to have both….

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    I can’t wait for the comparison between the .257 Roberts and the S425 High Explosive Dual Purpose Self-Destruct Enhanced Blast 40mm.

    True, the former has an edge in speed and will kill a grizzly, but the latter will kill a grizzly, turn his den into a pile of rubble and denude a fair section of forest. But it’s murder on the pelt.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

      “But it’s murder on the pelt.”

      Time has been murder on my pelt…

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Time and lifestyle……. 🙂

    2. avatar rosignol says:

      I’d go with the phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range. It’s a classic for a reason.

      1. avatar SoBe says:

        Or better yet, a small tactical nuke, just in case there are other bears in the area.

  3. avatar anonymoose says:

    .270 is simply better overall. .30-06 is for people who have not yet grasped the greatness of .270. If you’re worried about grizzlies, get a .338 WinMag.

    1. avatar Bearpaw says:

      If you’re worried about grizzly, get a Ruger Alaskan. Any griz you can aim (likely a scoped) rifle is too far away to be an absolute threat.

      The real concern is one appearing out of the bush bad breath distance away. At that point a hip-shot .338 is about as accurate as swing in the dark.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        I dunno, my M1 is pretty shootable without a scope at reasonably close ranges

        Of course it does get a bit heavy…

    2. avatar Bill Hutchison says:

      Back in 1965 I got a running jack rabbit with my first shot out of my new .338 WinMag Model 70. Pure luck, for sure. My hunting partner for many years preferred the .270. Bob Pereira was his name, long gone.

  4. avatar Jim B says:

    Jack O’Connor did kill a couple of grizzlies with a .270 but he had to shoot them several times. Even Jack O’Conner said the .270 was not the best for hunting elk in the rain forests of the PNW. He gave the nod to the .375 H&H for that. This was at time there wasn’t a .338 WM or really any of the common magnums of today. However, even today the .375 isn’t a bad choice and I have shot two bull elk with it the PNW heavy cover both dropping on the spot.

    Of course it’s a whole different world now with the introduction of all the premium bullets we have today. Whereas in O’Connor’s day his nemesis Elmer Keith may have had a point calling the .270 marginal for elk I don’t think that could be said today so long as it’s loaded with proper bullets.

  5. avatar koolaidguzzler says:

    There is no “vs” in calibers. They do not compete with each other, nor oppose each other, nor fight against each other. Arguing a caliber vs caliber debate is a rookie move. Preferring a 270 over a 3006 has nothing to do with negating the other. It’s JUST AN EQUIPMENT CHOICE, not a personal statement nor a character revelation or a lifestyle choice.

    Using the “vs” meme is a tired clickbait paradigm, and social media vendors should stop using it if they want to continue being considered responsible.

    1. avatar Rad Man says:

      I disagree. Arguing about calibers, guns, loads, carry methods, etc is fun. It’s what POTG do that other folks can’t. Nobody is right in such discussions as so much is personal preference and usage. It’s simply enjoyable talking guns with like-minded folks.

    2. avatar SouthAl says:

      Every choice a personal statement, and most, if not all, are also character revelations or a lifestyle choice.

  6. avatar James W Crawford says:

    After having an embaressing FUBAR during my first Cow Elk hunt utilizing a .270 in which successive failures to drop an animal and subsequent misidentification resulted in three running animals being shot through the lungs in thirty seconds, I went out and bought a .338 Winchester Magnum. I have not had any difficulty recognizing that I have hit my target ever since.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      had the same problem with mule deer (130 grain)…took more than one shot…

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      The .338 isn’t a pleasant rifle to shoot, but damn, it works like a lightening bolt on large game. Matter of fact, I’d say that the lighter rifles in .338 WM are downright vicious in recoil. Light .338’s don’t have as much recoil energy as the big African rifles, but the .338 has a very sharp recoil impulse.

      If someone were asking me for a recommendation for “I want ONE rifle to shoot literally anything on the North American continent, from coyotes to bison, what do you recommend?” my immediate reply would be the .338 WM. Elk. moose, caribou, bears (black and grizz), bison, musk ox, you name it – the .338 can drop all of them cleanly.

      1. avatar James W Crawford says:

        Funny how. 338 Mag seemd to knovk em down even better than .300 Win Mag or 7mm Mag.

        1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          From my observations, it also damages less meat that either of those two rounds. I’ve seen elk shoulders shot with the 140 grain 7mm’s that were completely destroyed – just pulverized and blood-shot on both sides.

          The 210’s I like to shoot in the .338? Clean entry wound, only about 1.5″ annular damage on the off-side.

          Edit: I should also add that I spent about a month closely reviewing and analyzing reloading and ballistics tables before buying the .338. I had no other hunting rifle when I bought it other than an old .270.

          When I looked at the ballistics tables and reloading manuals, I came away with this conclusion: If you’re seeking to do better than the .30-06, the first “step up” that is worth your time and trouble (in terms of more kinetic energy, in terms of throwing significantly heavier pills, etc) is the .338. Going from .30-06 to .300 WM? Waste of time. Same for a 7mm today. New powders have removed most of the improvements that these hotter cartridges used to offer.

          But at the .338 – now you’re able to hurl 250 or 300 grain pills downrange – and that’s a substantial improvement over what you can do in .30 and under.

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          DG, the 300WM is rapidly becoming obsolete. With the advent and successful development of the 300 Norma Magnum, there are no applications for it that aren’t practically achieved with the 30-06, or are well surpassed with the 300NM.

          I much enjoy the 338WM, purely because of what that 250gr bullet doesn’t do in flight. That is, get moved by the wind. As well as for what it does do when it hits its target.

  7. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I believe Sam Hoober wrote an accurate article.

    I like both calibers for different applications.

  8. avatar Richardcorposant says:

    When putting meat on the table is the mission I have been doing so with my 270. While in Alaska I never felt that shooting the largest animal was required and the meat was usually of better eating quality with a smaller animal be it a moose, caribou, or sheep. The 270 also makes for a fun and destructive varmit gun. My vote is its a great all around weapon!

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Calling the .270 a great varmint gun is like calling a Kenworth semi-tractor a great bass boat puller.

      Yeah, it will get the job done, but not very efficiently.

      1. avatar James W Crawford says:

        If one were concerned about effeciency, one would not be shooting varmits. I havr been known to shoot sage rats with .50 BMG just for the Halibut.

  9. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    I remember the 270 vs 30-06 debates in the 1960s. After considering the options I bought a 30-06 and have never looked back. The 270 is a good round and does have some advantages but I couldn’t get it in the M1 Garand.

  10. avatar RCC says:

    Why stop at 220 grains? I have found 240 grain Woodliegh (Australian made) work really well on buffalo up close. 20 metres or less. I wouldn’t mind some distance but big bulls don’t get that way by standing in the open.

    For small game like pigs a 110 grain Sierra Game King works nicely.

  11. avatar Keith says:

    270 all day long

  12. avatar Rick says:

    06! Nough said.

  13. avatar RGP says:

    I see your .270 and .30/06, and raise you a .35 Whelen.

  14. avatar D. Herbel says:

    Shoot what you like and like what you shoot……me it’s the .270, just sayin’!

  15. avatar Calibre Worr says:

    My 650 Laurel and Hardy beats ’em all!!!

    1. avatar jwm says:

      You saying I was wrong getting the 725 Burns and Allen?

  16. avatar John Kucza says:

    06 hands down the better cartridge.

  17. avatar Bryan Busch says:

    .277 is 7mm. 6.5mm is .256. The author got that completely wrong.

    1. avatar Mister Furious says:

      Uh, no. 7mm is .284, 6.5 is .264.

      1. avatar A. Daniels says:

        Correct. .277 is 6.8mm.

        1. avatar A. Daniels says:

          Also, .308 x 90% = .277 🤔💡

  18. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Hmmm. A couple of things I’d like to point out:

    1. Jack O’Connor was a big advocate of the .270, but most commonly with his pet load: the 130gr Partition crammed on top of 60 grains of 4831.

    With that load, the .270 just should not be used for dangerous game – it’s even irresponsible to shoot elk, moose, bighorn, moose, or any species of bear with a 130 grain Partition. I’ve used O’Connor’s load on pronghorn, shot the pronghorn in the right shoulder, then watched the Partition come apart into several pieces, the pronghorn ran in a 60 yard semi-circle to its left and finally died from bleeding out from the base of the Partition bisecting the liver. The jacket from the Partition bounced upwards, hit the spine, and then zipped down the spine on the back of the animal, stripping off all the hair on the way.

    This was a complete ballistic failure, IMO, and the second failure of a Partition (the other being on a .250 Savage). After that, I quit using Partitions in any bullet weight under 200 grains. But that’s another story.

    I’ve talked to other gunsmiths (who are older than I) who built guns or did work for O’Connor. They said that he wounded several animals with the 130gr load. It wasn’t a load that was a “one and done” result. Go the other way – above .30 cal bullets (eg, the .35 Whelen, .338 WinMag, etc) and you have a one-and-done result. Small, low-mass bullets are a crapshoot.

    I should NB that people should remember the era and what was going on during that time: The post-WWI era in ballistic and rifle development was obsessed with sending pills downrange at 3,000+ fps. The .250 Savage had a load known as the “.250-87-3000” – an 87 grain pill, send downrange at a little over 3,000 fps. The .257 Roberts, the .25-06, and the 130grain .270 – all were obsessed with sending their pills downrange at 3,000 or faster. This was a big marketing point with rifle companies in the inter-war years. The mule deer I shot with a 120 grain Partition out of a .250 Savage was lost into the trees after my pumping four rounds into him.

    After two bullet failures with small/fast bullets, I went back to my .338 with 210 grain pills moving downrange at about 2950+ fps. Nothing has ever gotten up and gone for a walk after being hit with that load.

    2. In 150gr loads, the .270 is only slightly better in exterior ballistics – ie, only slightly flatter in trajectory, than the ’06. And I do mean slightly.

    No less a gun crank than Townsend Whelen introduced his pet idea, what became the .280 Remington, with the lead-in “If you have a .30-06 or .270 Winchester with which you already shoot well, you need not read further.” Today’s gun rag editors would likely hit the roof if one of their writers were that honest, but Townie went on to describe out the .280 (or 7mm-06) could be about 10% better than either the .270 or ’06. Hence the title of the article “Just a Little Bit Better.”

    3. The .270 hasn’t been used much for match work, because until recently, there weren’t match-grade bullets available for it. Besides, the ’06 was winning matches with heavier, higher Bc pills. What were you going to gain by going to to the .270? Nothing.

    4. If you want to shoot elk-class animals with the .270, look at the Barnes and Berger bullet choices, and look in 150 or 170 grain bullets. They group better, and act better in terminal ballistics. They work. I put a 150 grain Berger TSX into a factory post-64 Model 70 .270 Winchester. This was a “nothing special” rifle, with a factory barrel. The groups went from 2″ to about 3/4″ on the first load I tried. I quit playing with loads right at that point – it was more than good enough for hunting. 110 grain V-Max bullets in the same Model 70 and it grouped about 3/8th of an inch at 100 yards. .270 owners really should try the new bullets available.

    5. Lastly, in terms of hunting ammo availability when you need it (ie, when you forgot your ammo at home, and you now need to buy ammo in some small town in the Rocky Mountain west): your three best choices for a hunting load are, from my experience/observation, the .30-06 (in 150, 165 and 180 grain loads), .270 Winchester (in 130 and 150 grain loads) and 7mm Remington Mag (140 and 165 grains).

    You can find the first two in just about any gas station, hardware store, quick-mart, etc in the rural west. The 7mm Mag is not quite as available. Your boo-teek magnums? Good luck until you get to a bigger town with a sporting goods store.

    There’s nothing wrong with the .270 for hunting. If you have one, then get some modern bullets, work up a load, and go hunting. If you have a .30-06, do the same thing. Either way, you can take down game up to elk if you choose a quality bullet with a high enough sectional density to penetrate deeply – that means 150 grain pills or more.

    If you don’t have a hunting rifle at all, then here’s the advice I give all newbies who don’t know what to choose: You can’t go wrong with a .30-06. You can do better, but you’re not ever making a stupid choice if you get a hunting rifle chambered in .30-06.

    1. avatar Paul says:

      Very well said Dyspeptic Gunsmith

      How can the author compare the drop on a 130 grain bullet v. 165 grain bullet. Of course a 130 gr drops less.

      I have done BC calculations on Hornady website and a .308 shoots just as flat and with more energy than a .270 when you get up to 150 and 160 gr bullets for the .270.

      Not much mentioned about Ft-lbs of energy. You can adjust for bullet drop when shooting but not energy. With bullet companies making better flying bullets the .308 gets way more energy and shoots flat enough to be accurate.

  19. avatar Gapharmd says:

    Neither.

    I’ll stick with my custom Remington 260. McMillan A-5 stock with a defiance action and a proof research barrel topped with a sig Tango 6 3×18. If I need bigger or further I’ll dolly out the 338 Lapua and let the big dog eat.

    But on a serious note. Shoot whatever suits ya and within your ability!

    1. avatar tim says:

      Yeah, like you will take that to anywhere but the range, I had to use my Ruger .338 win mag as a club to knock down the devils club in Alaska. If you have ever been caught in that shit you will realize that your McMillan stock and test barrel is not much more than something to beat down the scrub!

      1. avatar Ga PharmD says:

        I take it everywhere I hunt. Here in the South it will drop everything we can shoot. And I def wouldn’t use it as a club no matter how bad the plants were attacking. Better planning next time perhaps?

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Weird, I used a machete, not my rifle.
        Sounds like you took the wrong tool for the job.

  20. avatar Widdler says:

    Being a reloader i choose the 06, but i’d never give up my .270 either. Like them both for different reasons. Honestly my .308 sees more rounds than both combined. Sorry guys, just haven’t been bit by the creedmor bug yet but sooner or later it’ll happen maybe

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Being a reloader I pick .280AI.
      Throws a 162gr faster than a 30-06, and with better BC to boot.

  21. avatar Texican says:

    We really need to get into the projectile wars now! Every cartridge benefits from the newer bullets available. I like the Lehigh Defense projectiles for a lot of cartridges. What say you TTAG?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      California at some point will be all no-lead hunting. It started in SoCal and is set to migrate north. If any other state follows their lead, it will become a pretty big issue. The downside of copper is availability of raw materials (all or mostly all imported as I recall) and price.
      The solids for Lehigh appear to be excellent hunting rounds with excellent penetration, but at this point I’d be leery of the ones they sell that fragment, particularly for larger game. Penetration suffers greatly.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Mark. All public land hunting in CA, regardless of location, is lead free. There was a phase in for private lands, also. And if I’m not mistaken they are all non lead now.

        I use steel shot for most of my birding and Barnes coppers in my .243.

  22. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I personally think anything from a 6.5 to a .35 will do the job with good placement AND a good bullet.

    The .308 should be a good choice. Ballistically it is 90% of a 30-06. But good bullet selection is important. One person I hunted with a few times used 155g Palma Match bullets in his .308 Ruger M77. Some mushroomed nicely but most didn’t. Target projectiles are often not good hunting projectiles.

  23. avatar Bob VanDyk says:

    We use both for deer. Nothing over 150 yds. I like the 30-06 for the big Florida Hogs and I like to use the 180 grain RNSP for hogs.The 270 gets 130 bthp for deer. The .06 gets 168 gamemaker seirra and the deer are dying standing where we hit them, however it’s not the Rifle but bullet placement the is the ticket.And that’s with any rifle

  24. avatar Steve says:

    I have both and fields verses timber determines which one to use.

  25. avatar GS650G says:

    I had a .270 for a long time and sold it not because it didn’t perform well but rather I wanted to standardize on .308 for all my rifles. The .308 is a fine round that does everything I need it to do and comes in more flavors than .270 for less money.
    My old model 700 in .270 was a joy to shoot and very accurate, now it’s appreciated by someone very much.

  26. avatar Sidney says:

    Noticed most of the comparisons you made were 270 130 gr vs 06 165 gr, seems like 130 vs 150 would be better. I shoot 140 gr in my 270 which more comparable to 06 in 165. Another thing a about recoil it becomes more noticeable in a light weight mountain rifle like my model 70 featherweight.

  27. avatar jwtaylor says:

    There used to be a lot of value in the “flatter shooting” cartridges like the 270. If you are using a scoped rifle, there isn’t one anymore.

    With the advent of better ballistic reticles (assuming you learn to use them) or the quality of compact laser range finders (which are fast and easy to use), combined with the accurate phone based ballistic aps, ranges are now precisely determined, and drop easily calculated and accounted for.

    With that, it’s wise to shoot the longest, heaviest round you can shoot and still achieve the terminal ballistic result you need for a particular bullet at a particular range. I’ve had a lot of success keeping bullets moving around 2500-2600fps and loading as heavy as I can. Determining range is no longer an issue, but wind drift will ALWAYS be our inconstant nemesis. A high BC and bullet weight help mitigate errors in wind estimation better than anything else.

    The advantages the 270 had are now obsolete. Load up your 06 heavy, dial for your drop, and don’t worry nearly as much about wind.

    1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      What you said was mostly true except in real hunting situations. Fancy range finding scopes and laser rang finders take time to use even if you practice. In most real hunting situations you may only have a split second to snap up the gun and shoot, that is why Jack O’Connors advice to shoot a flat shooting rifle sighted in for 3 inches high at 100 yards simply lets you old dead on and quickly pull the trigger. Lets face facts most hunters are once a year hunters and even people who compete on a regular basis in high power rifle shooting have a tough time often judging distances and shooting in the wind. Wind is not constant but twists and turns and may be blowing in several directions as the bullet makes its way to the target. The faster the bullet gets there the less wind drift assuming your ballistic coefficient is high as well.

  28. avatar Kap says:

    funny how the Garand was first chambered in .276 and Army put the Ky-bosh on that idea! we could have fielded a 6.8 instead of a 7.62

  29. avatar Falcon642 says:

    Your bullets should be flat and your women should be curvy, not the other way around. That’s why I’ll always prefer the .270 to the 30-06. Even a .50 BMG is useless if you can’t put all that power where you want it, and I find it easier to hit where I want with the flatter shooting .270.

    One little quibble with this article is it didn’t mention the higher sectional density of the .270. A 130 gr .270 bullet is more dense than a 130 gr 30-06, so the .270 bullet would penetrate better.

    Gotta say I don’t understand people bashing the .270 as an elk. My uncle takes an elk every year with his Sako .243 that he is an absolute crack shot with. He shoots them in the neck and I’ve never seen an elk he’s shot go further than 10 yards before it died.

    Now I’m not as good as my uncle is, but none of the elk I’ve hit with my .270 have gotten away. I probably wouldn’t take my .270 after moose, but for elk its a lethal gun. But I live in Idaho and 500 yard shots on elk are not uncommon so I’ll always take the flattest shooting gun I can.

  30. avatar Bgood says:

    I have both. My 06 has put down everything from coyotes. Made a big mess of them. To a 1000lbs 6×6 bill elk. Enter the .270. I have only had this rifle for about 18years. So far it’s put down two cow elk both only out around 350 yrds. A lady I was dating took a nice 5×5 bill elk at about 400 yards with it. Earlier that year she wounded a Antelope. Shot it through the left hind leg. Buck fever she was on her first hunt. But I had to use my .270 to finish it off. He had run out to over 500 yards. 519 from the range finder. I just like what I can get from both calibers. All shots were one shot kills with both 06 and .270. I have seen bad shots made with quite a few calibers and wounded game get away or take a follow up shot. Also a lot of meat wasted. I’m a gun but so I have a rifle so far in 06 .270 300wm .243 6.5×55 22-250, 223. But the two that get the most hunting are the 06 and .270. But the custom 6.5×55 I have my grandfather built will take the place of the .270 and most of the 06s duties. Less recoil and bullet selection is my reason for moving away from the bigger calibers. Also the biggest animal on my dinner menu is a elk. I don’t hunt Grizz not planning on going to Africa as for Alaska I like my 45-70 guide gun and 454. I have walked away from some big trophy bulls. Being 8 or 10 miles from the truck. I’m too lazy and I have a grocery store less than a mile from my house. Yes when someone asks my opinion on what they should get for a first hunting rifle in Wyoming I suggest either the .270 or 30-06 maybe not the best for everything. But the best to start with.

  31. avatar Jackass Jim says:

    I almost read this article . . . but then I noticed it was written by Hoober.

    Jackass Jim
    [email protected]

  32. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    Use what you like best

  33. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    I wish the .270 would have been available in a 1-8 twist and with available 175 grain bullets but since it is not I use my 7×57 more and more and my .270 only for deer. The 30-06 can be used with the .220 grain bullets for really big game. The 6.5 Swedish is also an excellent big game caliber with the 160 grain bullet. I like it the best.

  34. avatar rdsii64 says:

    .277 is not 6.5mm its 6.8mm

    1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      I never said it was. Go back again and read my post.

  35. avatar TommyJay says:

    I looked up the Federal 30-06 Nosler Partition 165 gr and it has a 23.1″ of wind drift at 500 yds in a 10 mph cross wind. It doesn’t look like a particularly good bullet as it has no boat tail, but it is the one mentioned in the article.

    On the same Federal page there is the Nosler Accubond Big Game 165 gr. round that has a wind drift of 19.6″ at 500 yds. A better shaped bullet. Interestingly, it looks to be quite hot at a muzzle vel. of 2800 ft/sec.

    The author seems to be correct that 270Win does not get the respect and interest from the long range community, but … Winchester Corp. has a newer ammo line (I think) called the Expedition Big Game. Their 150 grain 270Win drifts only 13.6″ at 500 yds. Based on ballistic calculator, using a G7 BC of 0.305.

    So in this limited comparison, 270Win beats 30-06 handily.
    ______

    The name of the game is ballistic coefficient, and a larger caliber is better only if the bullet gets a LOT heavier as the caliber moves up. And it does help a great deal to have a bullet shaped as well as a G7 shape or better.

  36. avatar Tennbud says:

    I think the author meant 6.8 mm case neck, not 6.5

  37. avatar VieteranGunsmith says:

    These caliber discussions are the equivalent of trying to answer the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin… academic BS. What matters when selecting a caliber the most is how accuractely the shooter can place the bullet into the vitals and how much recoil can the shooter endure in the process in case multiple hits are required to kill said bear. Considering how tough the game is and how tough the shooter has to be to deliver the kinetic force accurately are the only really significant things in caliber selection. If you ‘re going to debate theoretical situations such as a bear suddenly appearing at close quarters then a 12 gauge rifled slug will settle the matter but more than a hundred yards isn’t congruent with most bear encounters because the animal will avoid you if at all possible. If you shoot at a bear further away than that, you need hydrostatic shock, maximum trauma wound channels and still need accuracy of shot placement. Rifles are not magic boom sticks that knock bears down at great distance, so any 6.5mm through 12.5 mm projectile will do the job if you can be precise at delivering it with sufficient force and muzzle velocity to do the damage.

    If you need bear protection, a .308 Winchester will work just fine if you are good enough with it when it counts. Instead of pointless arguments on the subject that have gone on since the invention of cartridge ammunition, it would serve the purpose and the hunter/shooter much better if people were educated on the vital areas to shoot at when in peril. I would wager that the subject of ursine anatomy is not an area of high level knowledge – people other than hunters have no idea where to aim for an incapacitating effect on a bear, or most dangerous wild animals. That knowledge is much more important than whether 30.06 is better than .270 Winchester in my opinion.

  38. the 30/06 will do anything the 270 does and more. put a 130 grain in the /06 and you have the same vel same recoil. yes at further ranges the 270 will edge out the /06 with a flatter flight path, but a good /06 shooter can compensate. just as WW2 snipers did. the /06 can still handle heavier bullets and is therefore more versatile .

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