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Cartridge Comparison: 270 Winchester vs 308 Winchester

07.17.2023 | By Remington Contributor

Remington Core-Lokt 308 Win and 270 Win boxes and cartridges
(Pictured: Core-Lokt 308 Win, Core-Lokt 270 Win)

270 and 308 Win are two of the most popular rifle cartridges to ever down a deer or ring steel. While the right answer is always “get both,” if you had to pick between these two classic cartridges, which round is right for you?

In this article, we'll provide a comparison of these cartridges, focusing on their ballistic performance, recoil, versatility, and long-range potential.


  • 270 Winchester: Jack O’Connor’s beloved 270 Win has been highly regarded for its exceptional long-range accuracy and flat trajectory. Launching a .277/6.8mm diameter bullet, typically weighing 130-150 grains, muzzle velocities hover 2,800 to 3,000 feet per second. This cartridge can be loaded with as light as a 100gr. bullet. Now ballistically surpassed by modern descendent cartridges like 270 WSM, 27 Nosler or 6.8 Western, 270 Win’s ballistics were a game changer for its era and still a great choice today. 270’s higher velocity than 308 gives the cartridge an edge ballistically.
  • 308 Winchester: Known for its versatility, the 308 Winchester has been widely used since the 1950’s in military, law enforcement, and hunting and shooting applications. Firing a .308 diameter bullet, ranging 150-185 grains, 308 Win launches at velocities between 2,600 and 3,000 feet per second. The slightly larger bullet diameter means 308 is generally loaded with heavier bullets than 270, enhancing the cartridge’s terminal performance. The .308 Winchester performs admirably at moderate to long ranges, making it a versatile hunting and competitive option.


  • 270 Winchester: With manageable recoil, the 270 Win is suitable for most shooters, and is certainly easier on the shoulder than its parent cartridge, the hard hitting 30-06 Springfield. While recoil varies depending on your rifle weight, specific ammunition, and individual technique, the 270 Winchester generally produces less felt recoil compared to larger cartridges. This makes it a favorable choice for shooters who prefer lighter shooting experiences or may be sensitive to recoil.
  • 308 Winchester: Due to its larger and heavier bullets fired in usually shorter and lighter rifles, the 308 Winchester can generate more recoil than 270 Win. Experienced shooters can effectively manage this recoil, but those who are sensitive or less experienced may find it slightly more challenging. Again, recoil depends on your specific firearm and ammo.
270 Winchester 308 Winchester
Year Introduced 1923 1952
Parent Case 30-06 Springfield 300 Savage
Bullet Diameter .277 .308
Overall Length 3.34 2.8
Action Type Long/Standard Short
Case Capacity 67 gr. 56 gr.
Max Pressure 65,000 62,000
Muzzle Velocity 2,800 – 3,000 FPS+ 2,600 – 3,000 FPS
Bullet Grain Weight 100 – 150 gr. 150-185 gr.


  • 270 Winchester: The 270 is primarily a big game hunting cartridge, suitable for medium to large game such as deer and elk. A long action cartridge, you’ll usually be toting a slightly longer and heavier bolt action rifle than most 308 Win rifles. The increased propellant case capacity gives the 270 options, you can load it light for coyotes and varmints, or load it heavy for hunting a big critter. You won’t find AR style rifles available for 270 Win, the cartridge is too long to feed through even an AR10 magazine well.
  • 308 Winchester: 308’s portable, short action and heavy bullets have made the cartridge popular since its inception into scout style and generally shorter rifles. This has made the 308 Win a tried-and-true choice of military, LE, and competitive shooting applications in AR style rifles in a way that 270 has not. A good choice for hunting medium game like deer, hogs and bear, the cartridge’s wide selection of bullets also makes the 308 a good choice for elk and moose. You’ll still find plenty of competitive shooters in today’s NRL or PRS matches toting a portable rifle chambered in 308.

Long Range Application

  • 270 Winchester: When paired with efficient, high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets, 270’s quick muzzle velocity makes this cartridge accurate to long distances. With less drop at longer ranges, you can be confident that your bullet will arrive where you intended. As compared to 308’s heavier bullet options, the 270’s lighter or smaller grain weight bullets will arrive with less retained energy when they get to your target.
  • 308 Winchester: While typically slower than the 270, 308 Win’s drop remains comparable across common hunting and shooting yardages. 308 especially shines with the larger, heavier-for-caliber, high BC bullets now popular among long range competitive shooters and hunters.


End of the day, neither the 270 Winchester nor the 308 Winchester will let you down on your next hunt. With the right bullet selection and shot placement, you’ll be successful at any reasonable distance. While competitive shooters might choose the short action 308 Win for engaging targets, the 270 remains a great choice for hunting now 100 years after the cartridge’s introduction to the world.

shooter looking down a rifle scope with a box of Core-Lokt Tipped box and cartridges

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