View Full Version : Is the .280 Rem ballistically superior to the .270 win?

January 3, 2011, 09:15 PM
I'm speaking in terms of ballistics only...not ammo availability or otherwise.

Jim Watson
January 3, 2011, 09:20 PM
If you want a heavier bullet than 150 grains and if you are willing to load to the same chamber pressure. Standard .280 is a little soft, 60,000 psi vs 65,000; supposedly for use in the Remington 742 auto.

January 3, 2011, 09:26 PM
Yes it is superior to the .270 because the .284 bullets have higher ballistic coefficients.

January 3, 2011, 09:30 PM
Depends, both can achieve similer ballistics at nearly any range reloading. But if you were to load both with a same gr bullet the 280 would be superior however I like the lighter ammo in the .270 for longer flatter shots which makes it superior to me. My .280 is kinda a brush gun for me and my .270 will reach out.

Bird Dog
January 3, 2011, 10:01 PM
The .280's advantage is not in ballistics, but the ability to shoot 160 and 175 grain bullets (something seldom if ever seen in a .270).

.300 Weatherby Mag
January 3, 2011, 10:49 PM
Check out the difference... 130 Grain 270 vs. 140 Grain .280



January 3, 2011, 11:38 PM
Yes it is superior to the .270 because the .284 bullets have higher ballistic coefficients.

Only in the higher weights: a 150 gr. .277 bullet has a higher BC than a 150gr .284 bullet of similar design, because it is longer. The same holds true of any bullet lighter than 150 grains........ and would be true IF there were any .277 bullets available in heavier weights...... yeah, I know there is a 160gr RN out there ....... but even that has a higher BC than a 160 gr .284 RN, if there were such a thing (might be- I've just never seen one).

Zak Smith
January 3, 2011, 11:41 PM
.277" has a terrible selection of high BC bullets, like nothing over about 0.53 or so.

In 7mm, you have 180gr VLDs up to around 0.680.

The other one that needs to be mentioned is the 6.5-06, which can shoot a 0.61 BC 140gr at over 3000 fps.

January 3, 2011, 11:47 PM
For hunting, really, do you need 180 gr bullets (and their added recoil?)? Do you need a .5+ BC bullet? Great for punching paper, but animals move..... how do you get them to hold still for a flight time measured in seconds?

For punching paper, fine. I have a different game in mind.

Zak Smith
January 3, 2011, 11:54 PM
Your call what you need.

I was answering the OP

January 4, 2011, 12:42 AM
There was a long-running war of words in the 1960s between Jack O'Connor and Warren Page about which of these two cartridges was really "the best". Elmer Keith summed it up "the difference between the 270 and the 280 is 7 thousandths of an inch".

The 270 and the 280 both share the same parent case, fire bullets of approximately the same weight and diameter at approximately the same velocity. If you look at a ballistics table, you will notice the difference in drop and velocity at 500 yds to be roughly the same.

IMO, the 280 is slightly better, but others may feel differently.

January 4, 2011, 12:54 AM
If you look at a ballistics table, you will notice the difference in drop and velocity at 500 yds to be roughly the same.
I am looking at a Remington factory ballistics table and the 280 beats the pants off the 270. Am I missing something somewhere?:confused:

150 grain Core-Lokt bullet in both.

500 yards 270 280
Drop -61.2 -48.8
Energy Ft/lb 639 968
Velocity fps 1385 1705

January 4, 2011, 02:09 AM
As has been stated,.007 in in bullet dia is not going to establish ballistic superiority.
And,as has been mentioned,they both have a 30-06 parent case.
The ballistic differences are not so much about the caliber designation.
Typical rifling twist narrows which bullets are workable.
This,in turn,influences what bullets the mfgr's develop and produce.
The .270 has been a fine hunting cartridge for many decades.A factor in its success ;it is a good marriage of what kills game,and what helps a shooter make the shot.Flat trajectory and modest recoil.
If my priority was long range performance with common twist rates,and handloads I could make with common components,the 280 has an advantage.
That takes nothing away from the .270.
Another similar situation exists between the 6mms and the .257s.I'm happy with my .257,and it hunts just fine.No one shoots .257's in long range matches.The 6mm's have way more bullets to choose from,including the 105 to 107 VLDs.Folks do win long range matches with 6mm bullets.
Crosshair,I suspect with the 150 gr .270 bullet,the length of the bullet had to be controlled to stabilize with the .270 twist.This means a blunter ogive,and less BC.If .270's typically had a 1 in 9 twist,as7mms often do,a 150 gr .270 bullet would likely retain velocity better.

January 4, 2011, 06:35 AM
You cant compare 150s to 150s because the .280 has more powder behind it. You need to compromise and compare the 150 to the 140 and they are nearly equal.

January 4, 2011, 07:05 AM
You cant compare 150s to 150s because the .280 has more powder behind it. You need to compromise and compare the 150 to the 140 and they are nearly equal.

Sort of. Right conclusion, wrong reason. It's shaky to compare the same weights of bullet in two different calibers. A .284 150 is more comparable to a .277 140 because they have similar sectional densities.

At any rate the tiny differences in power and trajectory between these particular cartridges are only worth arguing about on the internet. No animal is going to be shot with a 270 and run off thinking "Thank God they didn't shoot me with a 280.". Or vice versa.

January 4, 2011, 08:14 AM
Is the .280 Rem ballistically superior to the .270 win?

Wow, this one does come up from time to time doesn't it. The short answer is "No" if using factory ammunition. The .280 falls a bit short on the .270 if you use factory ammunition. The reason is that the .280 was first introduced in Remington semi auto and pump rifles so they kept the operating pressure down below what the .270 operates at for "safety reasons". I never understood that because the .270 is offered in the same rifles, but operates at full levels it was intended for.

The real answer is the .280 has more bullets than the .270 does to choose from as a hand loader. You are only talking about .007" difference in diameter and there is nothing magical about that. The 7mm just had a head start on the .270 bore and was a widely used military round. If the United States had chose a .277 bore cartridge as a military round then you would see a lot more bullet options for it.

The .270 will do everything a .280 will do in a hunting situation and vice versa. You will not be able to tell the difference in performance on game. If you want to use your hunting rifle in a benchrest competition then the .280 will have better bullet options for match grade bullets. The .270 has the advantage of almost 50 years of being used in the field over the .280, and ammunition availability is much better.

You cant compare 150s to 150s because the .280 has more powder behind it.

I don't know why you think the .280 has much more powder room than the .270? They only moved the shoulder forward enough so you can't chamber it in a .270 or .30-06 rifles. They didn't increase the powder capacity by anything that is going to make a significant difference across a chronograph.

I am looking at a Remington factory ballistics table and the 280 beats the pants off the 270. Am I missing something somewhere?

150 grain Core-Lokt bullet in both.

500 yards 270 280
Drop -61.2 -48.8
Energy Ft/lb 639 968
Velocity fps 1385 1705

Your comparing a .277 caliber bullet with a BC of 0.261 to a .284 bullet with a BC of 0.346. Of course the .280 is going to win that one. If you want a fair comparison of 150 grain bullets go to Federal's web site and pick the 150 grain Nosler Partition which have close to the same BC .465 for the .277, and .434 for the .284 caliber.

500 yards 270 280
drop -44.1 -42.4
energy ft/lb 1238 1279
Velocity fps 1928 1960

So I'd say Scorch was pretty correct in his assesment of ballistic twins. I can't imagine Remington not making its cartridge out perform the Winchester. ;)

January 4, 2011, 08:26 AM
the correct answer to the question of course, is .........not a single dead animal ever knew the difference.

You won't be able to tell any difference either. :D

January 4, 2011, 09:34 AM
Both cartridges kick too much anyway. Neither are used in target shooting because after 22 rounds prone you are punch drunk.

January 4, 2011, 09:53 AM
Seems to me we're comparing which tastes better, a FUJI apple or a RED DELICIOUS apple. Real world, what one will do, the other will do also. Ya pays your money and takes your chances. Neither is a bad choice when things are all said and done. And, indeed, I may be waaaaaay too simplistic.

January 4, 2011, 09:58 AM
Superior. Yes, very much so!!!

Hog Buster
January 4, 2011, 11:44 AM
Having owned and used both I found no discernible performance difference between them in the field. However, if you’re using factory loads .280 are sometimes hard to find. Plus I understand .280 factory loads are loaded to less pressure than the .270 so they wouldn't blow up them wretched 742’s. This appears to be reflected in some of the older reloading manual's data also.

Ballistically it depends on which manufacturer’s table you’re looking at.

I found it redundant to have both for hunting, so for obvious reasons got rid of the .280.

January 4, 2011, 12:25 PM
The answer is no. Loaded to same pressure, toss a coin. They are based on the same cartridge and have the same capacity. I've loaded for both and like the 280 better because of bullet selection and accuracy without max loads.

I'm with Zak on the 6.5-06 - that's why I had one built. I get 2935 with those wonderful 140 pencils. With the 6.5-06, you don't need a 25-06 or a 270.

January 4, 2011, 12:35 PM
It's close to a wash. A similar weight bullet will have a better BC in the 270, but you can push it faster out of the 280 although the loads in the manuals may tell you otherwise.

January 4, 2011, 03:00 PM
Then there's my pick- the 7X64 Brenneke. :)

January 5, 2011, 09:54 AM
Potentially, yes.

IMO the 280 isnt worth doing unless you move the the Improved version. Only then do you start to see any meaningful gains in performance, otherwise you end up with a 270 you probably cant find ammo for.

Same for the 6.5-06. Its a 270 you cant find ammo for. Gun nerds luv em, but in real life 99% of us will be just as well served by a 270 or 25-06.

January 5, 2011, 03:00 PM
Gun nerds luv em,

Is a gun nerd a step up from being a rifle loony? If so, I'm happy for my promotion. :D

January 5, 2011, 03:15 PM
It comes down to these differences:

1) The .270 factory ammo is generally more available and less expensive. The .280 has more options for the handloader.

2) The .270, having a smaller bore, has more ballistically efficient bullets up to 150 grains (I am unaware of heavier bullets in .277, and am uninterested in them if you showed them to me): a 110 gr .277 is more svelte than a 110gr .284, same for 130, 135, 140 ....... above 150, where the .277 BC peaks, the .284 really shines...... but driving heavy bullets really fast makes for pretty stiff recoil: TANSTAAFL.

January 5, 2011, 03:36 PM
I think that its basically a wash, like others have said. If you handload, then the 280 gets the edge. I think however its not worth discussing at any length in terms of energy, or anything else. I've owned four 270s so far and never a 280 and the big reason for me is which cartridge is available for the pre 64 model 70. I prefer that rifle to most anything else, so for me, there is no debate, its the 270. Since the cartridges are so close, it comes down to other factors such as platform/rifle, reloading vs factory ammo, desired game, etc (although I agree that the highest 270 bullet weights will do the job just as well as a higher 280 bullet weights).

The other thing I want to mention is that the 270 WCF is not technically based on the 30-06 while the 280 REM is. The 270 is actually based on (parent case is) the 30-03 which had a different shoulder and a taller case length than the 30-06, IIRC. The 30-03 was intended to replace the 30-40 Krag, but it performed miserably and after cartridge design changes, the 30-06 was born aka 30 caliber of 1906.

January 5, 2011, 04:58 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I don't handload although it's something I've considered getting into at some point. I have a couple of .270's (BAR and Win M70). I like to 'collect' rifles of popular calibers. Popular as defined by me would be those calibers you are likely to find ammo for at most outdoor sporting goods stores. I don't have a .280 at the moment but intend to purchase one in the near future.

January 5, 2011, 05:21 PM
The short answer is yes, it is also better than the 30-06. But the difference is so small that it is offset by the negatives of finding ammo, having to reload, etc.

I've had several over the years and am down to one and it is for sale. Not that there is anything wrong with the round. As good as it is I've decided the 7 mag is just enough better and I'm going that route

Jim Watson
January 5, 2011, 07:02 PM
Col Townsend Whelen once did an article "Just a Little Bit Better."
He said that if you had a good .270 or .30-06 there was no reason to trade for a .280 but if you wanted a new rifle, the .280 (as handloaded for a bolt action) was just a little bit better.

Some years ago, when 1909 Mausers were available cheap enough to sporterize, it was often done to rebarrel in .280 because that did not require magazine and bolt face work like a 7mm magnum would. Heavy loads in the .280 with bullets up to 154 grains were close enough for all practical purposes.
There were even recommendations to reform Winchester .270 brass for extra heavy loads, that being the hardest brass then available.