View Full Version : How far can a .270 drop a deer?

June 11, 2009, 04:25 AM
I recently bought a browning bar safari .270 win with a leupold scope and the boss system. I want to know how far I can take a shot at a deer and know if shot in the right place that deer will drop? Your wisdom will be greatly appreciated.

June 11, 2009, 05:15 AM
If hit in the right place I would say at least 1,000 yards, probably even 2,000 but if you are looking for practicallity then 300 yards would be your limit.

June 11, 2009, 05:17 AM
The .270 - and any similar centerfire rifle - can "drop" a deer at VERY long distances, certainly in excess of 1000 yards if the bullet is properly placed.
That last is the issue - the energy is there (you can "drop" a deer with a .22rf) - as always. Shot placement is the key element.

June 11, 2009, 06:40 AM
How far can you accurately shoot a .270? In the real world, I'd agree that 300 yards is a good practical distance for both you and the gun.

June 11, 2009, 07:55 AM
I took my buck at 325 last season with a .270

The key is handloading your ammo to find the optimum load, and practice practice practice. You have to know where that bullet is going to impact at all of the various distances you may shoot a deer. Merely wounding an animal is unacceptable.

June 11, 2009, 08:20 AM
How far can a .270 drop a deer?

As far as your skill will allow it, out to about a max of 1200 yards.

Given the skill level of most people, I think large game harvests with most center-fire rifles should remain within the 300-400 yard mark. If have the skill to go beyond that, then you can push it. There's much more to having the skill to do that than merely being able to pull a trigger though. Going beyond 500 you will need to estimate the range within 25 yards to harvest humanely.

As for the effective distance that the bullet has enough energy, I stopped at 1200 because you're bleeding energy very fast at that point. A .380 pistol has more energy at the muzzle than a .270 has at that distance. I don't see many people trying to hunt deer with a .380.

June 11, 2009, 08:21 AM
I've been beyond the 500 yard mark with the .270 on a mule deer buck. I wouldn't recommend using it that far, at that range you are going to be around 48" of drop from a 100 yard zero. If you zero at 310 yards for point blank range with a 130 grain bullet at 3060 fps you are looking at a 360 yard maximum range with a target of 5" radius without making any adjustments to your scope or hold over.

I have no problems with shots on game out to 400 yards with my .270 as long as there isn't a heavy cross wind and I can get a good solid rest (day pack, sticks, bipod, ....). Plus a 400 yard shot is one that I've never feel the need to rush as the animal usually doesn't know I'm there. My shots are usually inside of 200 yards as that seems to be a reasonable distance I can close to even on the open plains without getting busted by mule deer and pronghorn.

You are just going to have to find your comfort zone on where you are capable of making a shot. Beyond 500 is a out of my comfort zone even though conditions pretty much fell into place for me to make that shot, it isn't one I'll try with any regularity. I practice a lot at 100 yards from the bench to hone my mechanics and hand loads, but the real test for you and your rifle begins at 200 yards and beyond off the bench.

June 11, 2009, 09:20 AM
I don't claim to be an expert shot with my 270 win. I would be hard pressed to hit a deer in the front shoulders without a good rest at 300 yds with one shot. For me, 300 yds is about as far as I would try to make a shot. I can do paper plate precision at 300 yds with that rifle from a rest and I can do the same with my 480 Ruger SRH at 100 yds.

The caliber is good to at least 500 yds and probably 800 yds with a deer, but the real question is how far can you make the shot the first time? I would not be able to make a 1000 yd shot unless it was just luck and I don't accept luck as a rationale for trying to take a shot at that range unless your life depends on it. I could probably make an acceptable 500 yd shot, but I doubt I would try.

Art Eatman
June 11, 2009, 09:42 AM
Another voice yowling and hollering, "Skill level! Skill level! Skill level!"

Not that I've always exercised the restraint, but for any rifle or any field position from which to shoot, my pragmatic limit for distance has always been one's ability to 90%-always hit the end of a beer can.

Doesn't matter if it's a .25-20 WCF or a .300 RUM. Clean-kill shots are good. Wounding is bad. Restrain yourself to shots within your skill level. The range gets longer with experience over the years--and then the wind is your enemy.

Illustration: Back in my young, dumb and optimistic days, I saw a nice buck out at what I figured was about 400 yards. A light breeze from the left. I "flang lead" at him several times before I figured out my problem: Holding on his nose for the wind was nowhere near enough; the bullets were hitting near his hind feet. My range guesstimation was short by about 150 yards.

It turned out okay; he was as dumb as I. He turned and came down the hillside toward me for some 150 yards and then stopped to pose. That put him out of the wind. I held on the top of his antlers and center-punched him in the chest. He folded up his little legs and sez, "I'm dead." I"ll take luck over skill, any day.

The limit for rifles is generally a lot farther out than the limit for the user.

Mike Irwin
June 11, 2009, 09:43 AM
How far can YOU shoot accurately enough to make a clean kill on a critter?

That's the true arbiter of the .270's, or any round's, effective lethal range.

Northslope Nimrod
June 11, 2009, 12:12 PM
As said .270 CAN take a deer at over 1000 yards....humanely IF placed.
Beyond my skills.

My dad has seen a buddy take an elk at 750 yards with a .338.

Everyone needs to know that hunting in the West is not hunting in the East. In the West, 300 to 400 shots are common. There are occassional shots longer than that. Right or wrong. 400 yard shot, to me, is within an acceptable range.

June 11, 2009, 01:38 PM
There's a big difference between "hunting" and just slinging lead around. I have seen some new hunters (and some old ones too) that take pride in telling people about their 500 yard shots. Most cases though, those shots are more lucky than good. Most hunters take more pride in being able to stalk that same elk to where they can close to 200 yards. In my mind, that takes a lot more skill than throwing some lead out to 500+ yards and "hoping for the best". No doubt a 270 would kill a deer way out there if it gets hit in the right spot. Or maybe it will be a clean miss. Or maybe it will be a gutshot. To be honest, I am terrible at estimating distances past 300-350 yards or so. I figure if my honest estimate is 300 yards, I will take the shot if there is no way to sneak closer. It might be 350 yards though, but that shot will most likely still work out. But if I was to estimate the distance to be 500 yards and it is really 575 yards (that would be easy to do), then my estimated holdover will be way off. That extra 50 or 75 yards is a big deal when you're talking about a 500 yard range.

For me personally, I limit my shots to what I believe to be 300 yards or so, no matter if using a 308 or 7 mm mag. If I have a 30-30 or 45-70 in my hand I limit the shots to 200 yards, even though they have the energy to kill at twice those distances.

June 11, 2009, 02:08 PM
It can drop a deer about three feet from to the standing postion to the dead on the ground postion:D

but really 300 yards or so it what most people feel is there max distant. And also will you be able to shoot greater than 300 yards where you hunt? If so really you can go long range. but as always Practice makes Perfect

June 11, 2009, 03:46 PM
For most hunters, anything beyond 300 isnt a good idea. It takes a lot of practice at that range to become proficient. If you can put them in a 3" ring, 20 out of 20 then I would say go for it. If not, get closer! Have respect for yourself and your game. And practice, practice, practice!

June 11, 2009, 04:35 PM
I do a lot of target shooting, shooting high power & 1000 yard matches for over 30 years.

I have and love my Model 70 Featherweight in 270 Win. Its plenty accurate for hunting.

Now having said all that, I really doubt I'll ever attemt a shot at a deer size animal over 300 yards with my model 70 270 or any other rifle I have.

June 11, 2009, 06:04 PM
double post

June 11, 2009, 06:05 PM
As little as a couple millimeters is enough distance. I've got no idea what your max would be, but a good MPBR for the 270 is almost at 300 yards with a +/- 3 inches. You might want to practice a little (from field positions).

A CNS shot will usually drop a deer right in it's tracks (DRT). A double lung hit will keep tracking to a minimum (50 yards or less usually).

June 11, 2009, 07:55 PM
last year I shot a deer with a .270WBmag from 40 yards.It was serious overkill.Dropped and a slight back leg twitch instantly,I shot it in the lower neck front on from a hilltop,so it went into the neck and exploded the heart

James R. Burke
June 11, 2009, 08:14 PM
There is no doubt the .270 can make very long shots. How good of a shot are you? What do you feel comfortable with? Will you be using a rest? How good are you at estimating distance to target, and bullet drop etc? For me 300 yards would be pushing it with a rest. For someone with a better skill level maybe 1,000 plus. Where I hunt most are close shots fast, and off hand. So in that situation a 100 yards is out there thru dense woods off hand.

June 11, 2009, 08:26 PM
And I don't give a tinker's da** who you are.


June 11, 2009, 10:06 PM
Any of us who have shot high powered rifles very much would probably agree that most of them including the 270 will kill a deer out to a half mile or more.

Many of us in the right conditions can or have killed deer at 500+ yards.--BUT...

Say that you shoot at a deer 500 yards away, and he runs off, out of your sight. You now must go out to where he stood or ran and determine if you hit him or not. You will be doing this in wild country where this and other deer have stood, walked, and left tracks all over the place. Finding your buck's tracks will be VERY difficult, maybe more difficult than the actual shot.

I speak from experience, having shot a few deer and elk at what I now consider too far. I've been fortunate -- and lucky, and don't believe that I have lost any animals that I have shot. This is something that should be thought out each time you drop the hammer an an animal that is "out there". jd

June 11, 2009, 10:16 PM
I have been hunting whitetails with 270 Win for 30 years in the Minnesota north woods and more recently the more open coulee country of the Dakotas.
My skill level reaches out to well over 600 yards under optimum conditions, but
I still don't feel comfortable with shots on deer over 300 yards - due to all the variables involved.
My personal long shot is 340 yards on a windless evening from a rock solid rest.
It really does boil down to making an ethical call.
If the right shot isn't there don't take it.

June 11, 2009, 10:46 PM
Farther than you can probably ever want to shoot or ever even see for that matter (most of the time). But that is not the real answer now is it?

Me personally, I hunt with a .270 and a 6.5x55 Swede. I don't think I would really take a shot past 400 yards with my .270 when deer hunting and probably not much beyond 300 yards with my Swede. Of course they will both shoot much farther than that and take a deer easily, (but those are just my requirements). Believe it or not, 400+ yards is a very long way out there and things happen when hunting. For example: A lot of things factor into a long shot. First of all your skill, then your movement, game movement, wind, temp, etc. (all play into making the perfect shot you are talking about). The question of "how far can you shoot a deer and it drops" is hard to answer for most folks. Depends on all of the above factors mentioned, but mainly your personal skills count the most, (along with your rifle, ammo, scope).

The .270 will do the job if you do yours. Oh yes, one other thing... Don't ever count on a deer dropping (no matter how good a shot you make, or the caliber you are shooting for that matter). Hopefully that happens, but a lot of times, they run and you have to still look for animal. Good luck..

June 11, 2009, 11:10 PM
The answer is how far away can you hit a 9 inch paper plate from a hunting appropriate shooting position.

The target area of a deer is about the size of a standard paper plate. I do not know what you are doing as far as stand hunting, still hunting, flushing, or what, so if you are stand hunting and your shots are going to be from a semi braced sitting position, then figure out by SHOOTING at paper plates a lot until you do not miss. Then that is how far away you are able to shoot a deer. Try to be the ethical hunter who never shoots at what he KNOWS he can cleanly bag.

If you are drive hunting or still hunting, then do not shoot further than what you can hit from a snap standing position. if you can only hit that paper plate at 40 yards from the standing position, then thats your limit. if you shoot further than your limit, do not come hunting on my land.