270 Winchester Ammo

.270 Win Bullets: In Depth

The .270 Winchester is a time-tested and highly respected cartridge in the world of hunting and long-range shooting. Known for its flat trajectory, manageable recoil, and excellent downrange energy, the .270 Winchester has been a favorite among hunters and shooters for nearly a century. Its versatility in taking a wide range of game animals and its effectiveness at long distances have cemented its place as one of the most popular hunting cartridges in North America.

History and Development

The .270 Winchester boasts a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Introduced by Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1925, it was developed under the direction of gun designer John Olin. The cartridge was created by necking down the .30-03 case (parent of the .30-06 Springfield) to accept a .277" diameter bullet.

Initially, the .270 Winchester was met with skepticism due to its unconventional bullet diameter. At the time, the shooting world was dominated by .30 caliber cartridges, and many doubted the effectiveness of this new, smaller caliber. However, the cartridge's exceptional ballistic performance would soon win over even the most skeptical shooters.

The development of the .270 Winchester was driven by several factors. There was a desire for a flatter-shooting cartridge than the .30-06 Springfield, which was the standard for American hunters at the time. Additionally, there was a need for a versatile round capable of taking a wide range of game animals, from deer to elk. The goal was to create a cartridge with high velocity and manageable recoil, allowing for accurate shots at longer ranges without punishing the shooter.

One of the key figures in popularizing the .270 Winchester was the renowned gun writer Jack O'Connor. Through his articles in outdoor magazines, O'Connor championed the virtues of the .270 Winchester for decades. His vivid accounts of successful hunts and the cartridge's flat trajectory helped to overcome initial skepticism and contributed significantly to its widespread adoption.

Despite its rocky start, the .270 Winchester quickly gained popularity among hunters. Its performance in the field spoke for itself, and it soon became known as an excellent choice for long-range shooting and versatile hunting applications. The cartridge's ability to deliver high energy on target with relatively mild recoil made it accessible to a wide range of shooters.

Over the years, advancements in bullet design and loading techniques have only served to enhance the performance of the .270 Winchester. Modern loads with high ballistic coefficient bullets have further improved its already impressive long-range capabilities, ensuring its continued relevance in an era of specialized long-range cartridges.

Today, nearly a century after its introduction, the .270 Winchester remains a staple in the hunting world, testament to the forward-thinking design that went into its development. Its enduring popularity is a clear indication of its effectiveness and versatility, qualities that continue to win over new generations of hunters and shooters.


The .270 Winchester is renowned for its excellent ballistic performance. Key characteristics include:

  • Velocity: Typical factory loads drive 130-grain bullets at velocities between 3,000 and 3,150 feet per second (fps)
  • Energy: Muzzle energy often exceeds 2,700 ft-lbs, with 1,500 ft-lbs or more at 300 yards
  • Trajectory: Known for its flat trajectory, aiding in accuracy at varying distances
  • Accuracy: Generally offers excellent accuracy potential, capable of MOA or better performance in quality rifles
  • Recoil: Moderate and manageable for most shooters, especially compared to larger magnum cartridges
  • Wind Drift: Good resistance to wind drift, thanks to relatively high ballistic coefficients and velocities


The .270 Winchester's performance characteristics make it suitable for a wide range of applications:

  • Big Game Hunting: Excellent for deer, elk, moose, and similar-sized game
  • Varmint and Predator Hunting: With lighter bullets, effective for coyotes and other small to medium-sized predators
  • Long-Range Shooting: Popular among long-range hunters and target shooters
  • Target Shooting: Used in various long-range target shooting disciplines
  • African Plains Game: Suitable for many species of African plains game

Available Firearms

The .270 Winchester is offered in a wide variety of rifles from numerous manufacturers:

  • Bolt-Action Rifles:
    • Remington Model 700
    • Winchester Model 70
    • Ruger American
    • Tikka T3x
    • Browning X-Bolt
    • Savage 110
  • Lever-Action Rifles:
    • Browning BLR
  • Semi-Automatic Rifles:
    • Browning BAR
  • Single-Shot Rifles:
    • Ruger No. 1
  • Combination Guns:
    • Various European manufacturers offer combination guns with a .270 Win rifle barrel

Available Ammunition

The .270 Winchester offers a wide variety of ammunition options:

  • Bullet Weights: Common bullet weights range from 90 to 150 grains, with 130 and 150 grain being particularly popular for hunting
  • Bullet Types:
    • Soft Point (SP) for traditional hunting
    • Ballistic Tip for long-range accuracy and controlled expansion
    • Bonded core bullets for deep penetration on larger game
    • Monolithic copper bullets for lead-free hunting
    • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) for target practice
  • Brands and Types: Major manufacturers offering .270 Winchester ammunition include:
    • Federal Premium Terminal Ascent: 136 gr, 3000 fps
    • Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X: 145 gr, 2970 fps
    • Nosler Trophy Grade Accubond: 140 gr, 3000 fps
    • Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range: 150 gr, 2850 fps
    • Remington Core-Lokt: 130 gr, 3060 fps
  • Reloading: The .270 Winchester is a popular choice among handloaders, offering a wide range of bullet options and the ability to fine-tune loads for specific rifles and applications


To better understand the .270 Winchester's capabilities, it's helpful to compare it with other popular rifle cartridges:

  • vs. .30-06 Springfield:
    • Advantages: Flatter trajectory, less recoil
    • Disadvantages: Smaller bullet diameter, fewer heavy bullet options
  • vs. .308 Winchester:
    • Advantages: Higher velocity, flatter trajectory, potentially better long-range performance
    • Disadvantages: More recoil, fewer tactical rifle options
  • vs. 6.5 Creedmoor:
    • Advantages: More energy, especially at closer ranges; wider availability of hunting loads
    • Disadvantages: More recoil, less efficient ballistic coefficients for long-range shooting
  • vs. .243 Winchester:
    • Advantages: More energy, better for larger game, potentially better wind performance
    • Disadvantages: More recoil, overkill for smaller game and varmints

.270 Win Ammunition FAQs:

Yes, with proper bullet selection and shot placement, the .270 Winchester is capable of ethically taking elk at reasonable hunting distances.

The effective range depends on the shooter's skill, the specific load, and the target. For most big game hunting situations, it's considered effective to 400 yards or more in capable hands.

While not as popular as some newer cartridges in long-range competitions, the .270 Winchester is certainly capable of excellent long-range performance.

The .270 Winchester generally produces less felt recoil than the .30-06 Springfield, making it more comfortable for many shooters.

Yes, it's suitable for many species of African plains game, though it's generally not recommended for dangerous game.