View Full Version : 30-06 vs .270 win vs. 7mm Mag

April 27, 2010, 11:27 PM
looking at getting a new rifle and cant really decide what caliber i want.
i know 7mm mag is a great round. as well as the .270 win. i know the 30-06 is also great and the most readily available.

any input on the pros and cons of these rounds? mostly for target shooting but still would like to be able to take it into the woods

thanks, Danny

April 28, 2010, 12:59 AM
i have the 30-06 and .270 and like them both, but in my opinion the 30-06 is more versitile. dont know alot about the 7mag. :)

April 28, 2010, 02:00 AM
They are all great rounds but, I went through the same thing as you are now about 18 years ago. I went with the 30.06 because of the many different bullets that you can load for it! Another one to look at is the .308 for the same reasons but, it has a little less recoil compared to the 06.

April 28, 2010, 02:50 AM
30-06. It is the most versatile and, I think it does everything better than the other 2. the only arguement i can see for the other is that the 7mag. shoots a little flatter. I would point out though that when you get to distances where this comes into play you have to know your rifle trajectory with either cartridge so it really doesn't seem to be a factor to me. there is no advantage to the .270. ready for flames:).

April 28, 2010, 03:18 AM
All 3 do the same things pretty equally well. (Yes there are nuances-flatter trajectory with the .270 or 7mmMag, less recoil with the .270, greater ammo options with the 30/06,etc. In the final analysis most of the differences are more theoretical than they are significant in actual practice.)

April 28, 2010, 06:37 AM
I have owned all three cartridges in different rifles at one time or another. The two I still have are the .30-06 and .270 Win, alll three are a wash IMO as far as performance goes. I've killed elk with all of them except the 7mm Rem Mag, and can tell you the elk didn't know the difference between the 150 grain .270 and the 180 grain .30-06. They all died within a few yards of being shot.

The 7mm Rem Mag never really impressed me, the recoil was a little heavier than my .30-06 and it had a nearly identical trajectory as my .270 Win. All rifles have shot with good hunting accuracy with the winner being my .270 with 130 grain bullets. I don't like the 130 grain bullets for elk so my .270 has been relegated to a deer and pronghorn rifle. My .30-06 pretty much stays in the safe but is considered for just about any elk hunt and I took my AK black bear with the .30-06.

My 7mm Rem Mag got rebarreled to a .375 Ruger. Talk about a step up in power and recoil. However it did a number on a wounded pronghorn at 250 yards, and I'm sure it will take down an elk quite handily.

IMO there are far better cartridge choices for the target shooter that will be the occasional hunter with their target rifle.

April 28, 2010, 06:56 AM
to revise my post, yes, all 3 are close in useful performance. taylorace touched on my issue with the .270, and that is the use of 130 gr. bullets. i know, jack o'conner used them, yadda, yadda. think about it, the reason the 6.5's are so great is those long, high sectional density 140 gr. bullets. The 270 is a larger diameter and really needs to be 150 gr. to get the best performance in my opinion.

April 28, 2010, 07:59 AM
.270 and .30'06 are a wash for target shooting. A much bigger selection for the '06 in factory ammo. 7mm has a lot of recoil for target shooting and the ammo expense is prohibitive as well.

You may also want to look at the .308 since your primary purpose will be target shooting and this will be the cheapest to shoot. IMHO.

As far as taking it into the woods, all these calibers will kill game. Dead is dead.

April 28, 2010, 08:20 AM
taylorace touched on my issue with the .270, and that is the use of 130 gr. bullets. i know, jack o'conner used them, yadda, yadda. think about it, the reason the 6.5's are so great is those long, high sectional density 140 gr. bullets. The 270 is a larger diameter and really needs to be 150 gr. to get the best performance in my opinion.

I think there are plenty of good 130 grain bullets out there that will work for elk, and maybe I should have said that I don't like 130's for elk because my .270 is shooting Sierra Game Kings the best. I don't think standard cup and core bullets cut it in the .270 at 130 grains for game larger than deer. The 130 Nosler Partition, Barnes TSX, and so on would be great elk medicne.

The 130 grain .277 diameter bullet is pretty much equal to a 165 grain bullet out of a .308 caliber rifle. Same goes for the .277 150 grain and the .308 180 grain. I wouldn't use a non premium bullet in a .30-06 in 165 grain but I've used 180 grain Winchester power points with great success on elk. However I'll bet you the 130 and 165 grain premium bullets would weigh nearly the same as a standard cup and core bullet 150 and 180 grain after being recoverd by an elk if not more.

Elk as well as any game animal isn't hard to kill as long as you put your bullet through the vitals. O'Conner had the luxury of making his living at writing about the hunts he had been on at a time when hunting season lasted much longer. It was nothing for him to spend two weeks if not more afield looking for the perfect shot on the perfect animal. I'm sure as well that if the .270 Win as well as his Silvertip ammunition didn't work he would have said something about it. He hunted to write about the hunt and not the product review unlike many of today's authors.

April 28, 2010, 08:30 AM
Whatever the 7mm and .270 can do the 30-06 can do better and it can do a lot more. The old trajectory myth is just that, there isn't a whif of difference between the three.
Bullet weights and styles for the 30-06 are very many compared to a few for the others.
For me, a downside to the 7mm mag is meat damage on animals like whitetail deer. The hydraulic blood damage is a huge waste. For deer I download my ought-6 to very moderate loads. That greatly minimizes damage. Another testament to the versatility of the old ought-6. For North American game, IMHO, there is no other choice up to maybe big grizzly bears. Rabbits to moose, it will do the job fine.

April 28, 2010, 09:27 AM
Whatever the 7mm and .270 can do the 30-06 can do better and it can do a lot more.
Not true the 7mm Rem Mag is a step up in performance from the .30-06 and .270 Win. A properly loaded 7mm Mag will hit with more energy than a .30-06 and better the trajectory than the .270 Win. It isn't as big of a step up as it has been marketed by Remington but it is still there.

As far as meat damage goes that could be any caliber if using a light bullet pushed to fast. If you can download your 06 to moderate levels for deer, so can you download a 7mm RM. Not discounting your choice of the 06 as your go to rifle but the 7mm RM will hold its own against .270 and .30-06.

April 28, 2010, 09:42 AM
There was an analysis of the 30-06 and 7 mm Mag as hunting cartridges in actual experience [not on paper] .They were equal out to 300 yds in performance .After that the 7mm had some advantage.
As far as the 270 the favored 130 is not a good bullet within 100 yds as it destroys too much meat .That I found after butchering such deer. Use a 150 or just stick to a 180 30-06 !

April 28, 2010, 09:59 AM
yea i already have a .308 in my 700 sps varmint and love it. great round but im looking to change it up a bit

April 28, 2010, 10:11 AM
My personal opinion.

For hunting I like a light rifle, and I dont like recoil. I know, I'm a wimp. I dont want to pack a heavy rifle all day while hunting. I hunt for pleasure, and geatting beat up by recoil isnt fun.

So, my two main hunting rifles are: For Deer/Antilope is a Winchester Featherweight in 257 Roberts.

I know, Its 270, '06, and 7 RM............ok, my Elk hunting rifle is a 270 in Winchester Featherweight.

I know, you are gonna say that you dont shoot enough hunting where recoil is a problem. True. But if I'm gonna hunt with a rifle I want to shoot it a lot, I want to know everything about it. That means lots of practice. So I do shoot my hunting rifles a lot.

I'll leave the heavy hard kicking guns to you young whipersnapers.

Art Eatman
April 28, 2010, 10:21 AM
Of the three, for hunting: Inside of 300 yards--which is 90% or 95% of all shots--there ain't a nickle's worth of difference in performance.

Of the three, I'd take the '06 and acquire all the stuff for handloading. That gives the overall least cost for target shooting with very good accuracy and for hunting anything in the lower 48 under most any conditions.

Nuthin' wrong with a .270 or a 7mm Maggie; I've used both. As a handloader, I sorta grump at the relative lack of choice for .277 bullets. The 7mm isn't enough better in performance to 500 yards to matter, so long as one has a clue about the trajectory of whatever is being used and the distance to the target.

April 28, 2010, 10:38 AM
Art, you saved me a mess of typing with that.

I'll only add that the old '06 will handle 220 grain bullets quite handily, giving you another gear for heavy game. I've used it for 40 years and reloaded for it for 25. The 270 is a dandy deer/goat rifle and the 7 Mag is sweet to about 450 on the same game, if you'll learn your particular gun. The same can be said of the 30-06 with careful load selection. Neither of them will ever move me off my 30-06.

April 28, 2010, 11:19 AM
I started with the 7 WBY in 1970, and have owned several 7s, 30-06, and 280s. I can't discern any difference in the recoil with 160-165s. The most accurate rifle I've ever owned was a 30-06, and it was the most consistant at the chronograph. With 4064, I could get extreme spreads below 30fps all the live long day. If I could get a 24" barrel, I'd get a 30-06.

Old Grump
April 28, 2010, 11:26 AM
looking at getting a new rifle and cant really decide what caliber i want.
i know 7mm mag is a great round. as well as the .270 win. i know the 30-06 is also great and the most readily available.

any input on the pros and cons of these rounds? mostly for target shooting but still would like to be able to take it into the woods

thanks, Danny Based on that criteria I would strongly suggest the 270 because it is enough gun for everything you want to do. I am basing that assumption on the fact that you said nothing about going after big game that live high in remote mountain areas or who could eat you if you missed. Recoil is on a par with your .308, shoots a smaller bullet faster and straighter and will be a bunch easier to pay for than 7MM Rem Mag. Ask me how I know.

April 28, 2010, 11:57 AM
Since you have the .308, a pro for the '06 (if you reload) would be the use of the same bullets. Plus you can get a bit more velocity with heavy bullets. Con would be they're not very different. You want something different, I take it. Your other choices will be different, a little "flatter" trajectory, but as many have said, not a large difference. Given the choices, go with the .270. I like the 7 mm myself, but with primary use on targets, the .270 will cost a bit less to shoot and be a bit easier on your shoulder. All great hunting rounds, of course. The "youngest" has been popular for 48 years.

April 28, 2010, 11:59 AM
I'm not much in to the meat damage argument. If you shoot a deer or whatever in the good part of the meat it is going to make a mess. Try to miss the meat.

The 270 will do nothing a 30/06 won't do if your rifle will shoot 150 grain OK, and you have the option to buy larger bullet cartridges over the counter.

The 7 Mag will be flatter and hit harder. There is no downside to that if recoil doesn't bother you.

If you have a good shot and good rest at 400 yards plus the 7 Mag will be several inches flatter.

Some often say that a few inches don't matter. But, if your yardage estimate is off a little the flatter round will be more forgiving.

April 28, 2010, 12:30 PM
I own all 3,and my favorite?'06,because my '06 is a M1917.My 270 is a Win m70 that outshoots anything in my safe,and my 7 mm shoots almost as good and has a BIG Pachmyer butt pad so it doesn't kick much more than the '06.My 7mm has dropped 2 elk in their tracks using 175 gr bullets,the 270 killed 1 elk,went 5 yrds and died.Haven't taken the '06 yet,yet.All 3 rds are great big game stoppers,'06 has more bullet choice yes,but how many are you going to actually use?

April 28, 2010, 01:02 PM
yea i already have a .308 in my 700 sps varmint and love it. great round but im looking to change it up a bit

Depending on what you actually plan to hunt, I don't think I'd be looking at any of the three choices you mentioned. You have your target rifle already, a .308 is going to do 90% of what these other cartridges do. The only problem is your rifle being too heavy to carry afield all day, but from a stand or blind weight doesn't affect much.

If largest animal you will hunt in the immediate future is deer then I'd look to the .243 Win or .30-30 Win in a hunting weight rifle. I'm only going with these two because of factory ammunition avaiability, since calibers like .260, 7-08, and .25-06 will be more expensive and have less selection at most places that sell ammo. Plus I figure you haven't started to reload yet.

If you have elk on the menu then I'd probably go with a .308, because you are already familar with that cartridge but again in a lighter rifle. The only reason I would step into the other cartridges if I had a .308 already is because I got a great deal on the rifle. The .308 will handle up to 180 grain bullets, you just run out of magazine room if you go heavier.

Again this is just my opinion but if you really want to improve on the performance on any of cartridges you mentioned in your OP or of the .308, you'll need to go to at least a .30 caliber magnum like the .300 Win/WSM.

April 28, 2010, 06:40 PM
Time and time again I keep hearing how the magnums waste too much meat. From many years of experience (40) of hunting with magnums, there have only been a couple of times that I actually lost a quantity of meat. Both were due to my miscalculation and I contacted the back section of the front sholder. If you hit them in the boiler room and not the sholders, your meat loss will not be much at all. Ribs, afterall do not have much meat. Take your time and pick your shot.

Lloyd Smale
April 29, 2010, 07:38 AM
I kind of chuckle at these posts. Youll get guys that say the 308 is as good as a 3006 and then someone on another posts says a 06 is as good as a 300 win mag then it goes a 300 win mag is as good as a 300 weatherby mag ect. Looking at that id think that a 308 is everything a 300 weatherby is. Its just not so. the 7mag is a more powerfull gun then an o6 its just a matter of whether you need the power or not.

April 29, 2010, 09:43 AM
With the right bullet any will kill anything in North America. The bullet drop at long range is so close it really comes down to the skill of the shooter. We can argue minute differences in numbers on ballistics charts all day, but any animal will never know the difference.

I've settled on the 30-06 and 308 for all my hunting. Not because I think they are really any better than any of about a dozen choices, but because I already had rifles in those calibers I liked. I've sold the rest and am using the money to pay for hunting trips.

If my house burned and I lost everything, and I had to start over from scratch, I'd buy a 7-08 and go hunting.

Art Eatman
April 29, 2010, 09:53 AM
Circumstance and use, Lloyd. Inside of 200 yards on most whitetail, for instance, a .308 is as good as a .300 Wby. Heck, so's a .243. At 500 yards on an elk? Different story.

You can't lump all comparisons together across the board.

I dunno. I've been messin' with this stuff for sixty years now. I've always tried to be specific about why I like or use any particular cartridge. Within the parameters of my own usage, I think it's fair for me to choose some individual cartridge as best for me. But as I've posted many times, I don't imply that the same cartridge is the best for somebody else...

April 29, 2010, 10:01 AM
I have shot the 30/06 and the 7 Rem Mag side by side at 600 yards with my hunting loads which are max for both, not that I would take a hunting shot that far, and the difference is wider than an elks total vitals, regardless of what any chart says.

If you try a heart/lung shot and estimate the range at 350 and it's 400, a few inches inches might be a big deal.

Art Eatman
April 29, 2010, 10:15 AM
ZJ, the weight penalty of toting my Bushell 800 laser dealie is trivial. :)

Not quite forty years ago I spent what seemed like all day--okay, okay, eight shots--before I figured out that Bambi wasn't 400 yards away; he was some 550 yards away. :D Stoopid me.

Unfortunately for him, all that racket didn't seem important. He turned and wandered to within about 450 yards and posed quite prettily. Big mistake. #9 was a DRT deal.

April 29, 2010, 10:22 AM
Yep. Some of this new technology has really made a difference. I don't use them with a rifle because I don't take shots that far. But, I do with a bow. Since an elk doesn't jump the string like a whitetail 40, 50 even 60 yard shots are makeable, but you had better know the exact distance.

April 29, 2010, 11:57 AM

James R. Burke
April 29, 2010, 03:27 PM
I am with the others. I would go with the 30-06. You can do about anything with it. It's pretty good even if you dont reload. But the other two are also very nice rifles, and I am sure you would be happy with any of them. Everyone has there favortie, stylye, cal, etc. I have a 06 now for deer. I am using a 165 grain Nosler Parititon, and I am very happy with it. I tryed the 110 Hornady V-Max just to see what it would do. I was pretty impressed with it from a deer rifle. Five shots all 1"or under at 100 yards, and five shots average 3712 f.p.s. I was still under max and no presure signs, but I figured why push it fast enough for me, and I dont shot them that much. The Nosler were about the same being accurate, but around 3000 f.p.s. atill under max. But any of them will work good for you I am sure. Depends on what you like, and what you mainly want it for. I have owned or shot them all, and they all perfomed great.