Trying to decide between the 7mm Remington Magnum and 270 Winchester cartridges? Here’s what you need to know about them.
I think most hunters would agree the 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum are both excellent cartridges for certain situations. While the cartridges offer certain advantages to hunters, and while there is definitely overlap in their capabilities, there are some major differences between the 270 vs 7mm Rem Mag cartridges you should be aware of.
Both the 270 and the 7mm Mag are effective and useful cartridges with dedicated fan bases, but important details about their performance unfortunately are misunderstood, overlooked, or simply lost in the shuffle. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how many people get confused about the strengths and weaknesses of the 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum, particularly when discussing which cartridge is best for hunting particular animals under specific conditions.
In this article, I’m going to investigate the 270 vs 7mm Rem Mag debate in detail and provide some insight into which cartridge is better suited for common hunting situations so you can make an informed decision on which one will work best for your individual needs.
Before we get started, I have an administrative note for you.
Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase. This helps support the blog and allows me to continue to create free content that’s useful to hunters like yourself. Thanks for your support.
Additionally, I recorded an entire podcast episode on this exact subject. If you’d rather listen than read, click the appropriate link below to listen to this episode on your preferred podcasting service.
7mm Rem Mag vs 270 Winchester Podcast
History Of The 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum
The story of the .270 Winchester and the 7mm Remington Magnum both start with the .30-06 Springfield.
The United States Army started looking for a new infantry service rifle and cartridge after receiving a deadly demonstration of the capabilities of the revolutionary new Mauser rifle and 7mm Mauser cartridge in the hands of Spanish troops in Cuba during 1898.
They eventually selected the bolt action 1903 Springfield rifle chambered in the new .30-06 Springfield cartridge to replace the Springfield Model 1892 (better known as the Krag–Jørgensen Rifle) in 30-40 Krag.
The new .30-06 Springfield was dimensionally similar to the 7x57mm Mauser and it’s highly likely that the designers of the 30-06 based their cartridge design heavily on the revolutionary 7mm Mauser rifle cartridge.
Some have even gone so far as to say that the 7mm Mauser is the parent to the less well known 30-03 Springfield, from which the legendary 30-06 Springfield is descended.
Anyway, initial loadings for that cartridge used smokeless powder to fire a 150 grain spitzer bullet at 2,700 feet per second (2,428 ft-lbs of energy). Believe it or not, that was a massive leap forward in performance compared to other popular American cartridges used during that era like the .45-70 Government and (to a lesser extent the 30-40 Krag (which fired 220 grain bullet at about 2,000fps).
Not only was the 30-06 a big hit with the military, but it was an almost instant success in the civilian market as well.
As is often the case with any well designed centerfire rifle cartridge (like the 7mm Mauser .30-30 Winchester, or 308 Winchester for instance), wildcatters almost immediately started modifying the .30-06 Springfield to accomplish a variety of different tasks.
Some designers opted to neck down the .30-06 case to use smaller diameter bullets (like the .25-06 Remington and 280 Remington). This is what the folks at Winchester did when they modified the case to use smaller .277″ instead of .308″ bullets.
The result was the .270 Winchester cartridge, which they released in 1925 with their new Winchester Model 54 rifle.
The original .270 Winchester offering shot a 130 grain bullet at a velocity of 3,140 feet per second (2,846 ft-lbs of energy). This was an incredibly high velocity for the 1920s and was a tremendous speed improvement over the .30-06 Springfield, which was itself a high velocity cartridge at the time.
If you’d like to learn how the .270 Winchester compares to its parent case in the .30-06, read the article below:
Subsequent factory loadings for the cartridge have dropped the typical velocity with 130gr bullets down to about 3,060fps, which is still a pretty high velocity loading.
American hunters appreciated the flat shooting characteristics of the round as well as the fact that it was so effective on thin skinned game. The cartridge gradually became more and more popular, which was helped by Jack O’Connor and his famous affinity for the cartridge that he expressed in countless Outdoor Life articles over the years.
While O’Connor did indeed love the .270 Winchester and used it extensively on hunts all over the world, it was far from the only cartridge he used. Indeed, the .270 Winchester was also a good enough cartridge and filled a big enough niche that it probably would have been successful even without any help from Jack O’Connor.
The .270 Winchester is a bit of an oddity when it comes to bullet diameter though.
Unlike all the other popular 7mm cartridges like the 7mm Mauser, 7mm-08, 7 mm Remington Magnum, the .280 Remington, and the 28 Nosler that use .284″ bullets, the .270 Winchester uses slightly smaller diameter .277″ bullets.
It’s unclear exactly why designers at Winchester decided to go with .277″ instead of .284″ bullets with the .270 Winchester. One theory is they selected that particular bullet size based on the obscure 6.8x57mm Chinese Mauser cartridge.
It’s also possible the folks at Winchester wanted to create a distinctly American bullet size and avoid the 6.5mm and 7mm bullets popular in Europe by building a new brand new bullet diameter 10% smaller than the one used in the .30-06 (.9 multiplied by .308 is .277).
Regardless of their exact reasons, the design team at Winchester went with a .277″ bullet diameter and the rest is history. Interestingly enough, while the .270 Winchester cartridge turned out to be a smashing commercial success for the company, .277″ bullets haven’t really caught on themselves.
The 270 Winchester Short Magnum (270 WSM) and the .270 Weatherby Magnum along with the newer 6.8 Remington SPC, 27 Nosler, and 6.8 Western are the only other mass produced cartridges that utilize bullets of that size.
Even so, the 270 Winchester remains an incredibly popular and effective big game hunting cartridge all over the world.
Now let’s talk about the 7mm Remington Magnum.
The years following World War II were a true renaissance of civilian firearm and cartridge development in the United States. That time period saw a flood of new centerfire rifle cartridges like the .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, and .308 Winchester.
That same general time period also saw the start of the modern “Magnum Era” when Winchester introduced a line of new belted magnum cartridges that utilized a modified .375 H&H case.
They introduced the .458 Winchester Magnum first in 1956 and then subsequently released the .264 Winchester Magnum and the .338 Winchester Magnum during the next couple of years.
All of those cartridges utilized a .375 H&H Magnum case necked down (or up, in the case of the .458 Win Mag) and shortened from 2.85″ to 2.5″ long.
The designers used those shortened cases so all three new cartridges would fit in a standard length rifle action (same as the .270 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield) instead of the longer magnum length action required by the original .375 Holland & Holland Magnum cartridge.
Remington took a page out of Winchester’s playbook and rolled out their own belted magnum cartridge in 1962 based on the .375 H&H Magnum: the 7mm Remington Magnum.
Often referred to as the 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm RM, or 7mm Mag, the new Remington cartridge also used a necked down and shortened .375 H&H Magnum case.
Instead of using .264″, .338″, .458″, and later .308″ bullets like Winchester did with their magnums, Remington loaded their new cartridge with .284″ bullets.
The .30-06 Springfield was (and remains) the gold standard by which most similar cartridges are judged. Well, the use of the larger case based on the .375 H&H along with the use of smaller diameter 7mm/.284″ bullets by the 7mm Remington Magnum resulted in a significant ballistic improvement over the .30-06.
Indeed, the 7mm Mag will shoot the same weight bullet faster than the .30-06.
Additionally, the narrower .284″ bullets the 7mm Mag uses have a higher ballistic coefficient and more sectional density than .30 caliber bullets of the same weight used by the .30-06 Springfield.
For those reasons, typical 7mm Rem Mag loads have a flatter trajectory, have more energy remaining downrange, and (all other things equal) will penetrate better than .30-06 Springfield loads using the same weight bullets.
The new 7mm Remington Magnum cartridge also fit in a standard length rifle action. And to top it all off, the 7mm Remington Magnum was rolled out at the same time as the now legendary Remington Model 700 rifle.
So, American hunters and shooters were immediately offered the chance to use a new high performance cartridge that was available in a well built, reasonably priced, and very accurate new rifle.
With all that in mind, it’s not surprising at all that the flat shooting and hard hitting 7mm Rem Mag quickly caught on with hunters and shooters in North America.
The 7mm Rem Mag remains extremely popular among hunters to this day.
270 vs 7mm Rem Mag Cartridge Sizes
You can see differences between the 270 Winchester and the 7mm Remington Magnum in the photos below.
First, the 7mm Rem Mag is physically a little larger than the 270 Winchester
While the 270 has a slightly greater maximum authorized overall length (3.34″ vs 3.29″) and a lightly longer case (2.54″ vs 2.5″), they are close enough in size that both cartridges are used in standard/long-action rifles.
However, the 7mm Remington Magnum has a larger .532″ rim diameter while the 270 has a slightly smaller .473″ rim diameter.
The 7mm Rem Mag also has a steeper 25 degree shoulder (the 270 has a 17.5 degree shoulder) that also sits a tiny bit further forward than the shoulder of the 270 Winchester.
The end result is that the 7mm Rem Mag has a significantly larger case capacity than the 270 Win.
Bullet size and bullet weight are other important differences between the 270 vs 7mm Rem Mag. The .270 Winchester uses .277″ diameter bullets while the 7mm Remington Magnum uses larger .284″ bullets.
The vast majority of 270 factory loads shoot bullets in the 130-160 grain range, with 130gr and 150gr grain bullets easily being the most popular.
On the other hand, most 7mm Rem Mag factory loads shoot bullets in the 139-175 grain range. 140 grain, 150 grain, 160 grain, and 175 grain loads are by far the most common.
Finally, the 270 Winchester is loaded to a higher SAAMI maximum average pressure of 65,000psi vs just 61,000psi for the 7mm Remington Magnum.
Note: while the powder capacity figures listed below do give a good indication of the differences between the two cartridges, exact case capacities vary slightly according to the brand of brass used.
270 vs 7mm Rem Mag Ballistics
The differences in the external dimensions of these cartridges also translate into some stark differences in their ballistic performance. This is illustrated in the table below comparing Hornady Precision Hunter, Nosler Trophy Grade, and Winchester Deer Season XP factory ammunition.
The 270 Winchester loads use 130gr Extreme Point (.450 BC), 145gr ELD-X (.536 BC), and 150gr Partition (.465 BC) bullets.
The 7mm Remington Magnum loads use 140gr Extreme Point (.484 BC), 162gr ELD-X (.631 BC), and 160gr Partition (.475 BC) bullets.
The Winchester loads use light for caliber deer hunting bullets, the Hornady loads use heavier for caliber and exceptionally aerodynamic bullets with a very high BC, and the Nosler loads use some of the heaviest for caliber bullets that are commonly available for each cartridge in factory loads.
Before going into the details of comparing the ballistics of those cartridges, I want to point out that the various bullets used in those 7mm loads all have a higher BC than those used in the comparable 270 Winchester loads.
All six loads used a 200 yard zero.
As you can see, the 7mm Remington Magnum has a flatter trajectory and more kinetic energy than comparable 270 Winchester loads at all ranges.
This is due to either the fact that the 7mm Remington Magnum has an either similar or slightly higher muzzle velocity than the 270 Winchester when firing heavier bullets.
Additionally, since it uses more aerodynamic bullets with a higher ballistic coefficient, that gap in performance grows in favor of the 7mm Mag as range increases.
The details matter here though and there’s a bit of overlap with their performance.
Every 7mm Remington Magnum load has a little more muzzle energy and a little bit flatter trajectory than the comparable 270 Winchester load with the same bullet. However, the 270 Winchester load firing the really high BC 145gr ELD-X bullet actually has a flatter trajectory and more retained energy than the 7mm Rem Mag load with the 160gr Partition.
While the 7mm Rem Mag Deer Season XP load shoots a tiny bit flatter, that 145gr ELD-X does also have more retained energy at 200-500 yards as well.
Here’s how each 7mm Rem Mag load compares individually to the comparable 270 Winchester load in terms of muzzle energy, retained energy at 500 yards, and bullet drop at 500 yards:
Deer Season XP: the 7mm Rem Mag has 10% more muzzle energy, 17.6% more kinetic energy at 500 yards, and .7″ (1.8%) less bullet drop at 500 yards.
Hornady Precision Hunter: the 7mm Rem Mag has 9.5% more muzzle energy, 21% more kinetic energy at 500 yards, and 1.1″ (3%) less bullet drop at 500 yards.
Nosler Trophy Grade: the 7mm Rem Mag has 18.4% more muzzle energy, 22.6% more kinetic energy at 500 yards, and 5.4″ (13.5%) less bullet drop at 500 yards.
With all that in mind, it’s pretty clear the 7mm Rem Mag is both more powerful and flatter shooting than the 270 Winchester. That’s not surprising because we’re comparing a more modern magnum rifle cartridge in the 7mm Rem Mag to an older, “standard” class centerfire rifle cartridge.
The details do vary too and the Deer Season XP and Hornady Precision Hunter 270 loads all perform closer to the comparable 7mm Rem Mag loads than the Nosler load.
Additionally, all the loads in this comparison easily maintain at least 1,000 ft-lbs of energy out past 500 yards.
The 162gr ELD-X load still has well in excess of 1,500 ft-lbs of energy out past 500 yards (and still has over 2,000 ft-lbs at 400 yards) while the 140gr and 160gr 7mm Rem Mag loads maintain at least 1,500 ft-lbs of kinetic energy out to 400 yards (and drop below 1,500 ft-lbs of energy just shy of 500 yards.
Likewise, the 145gr 270 Winchester load still carries 1,500ft-lbs of kinetic energy out past 400 yards while the other two loads dip below that threshold just shy of 400 yards.
So, the big takeaways so far are that the 7mm Remington Magnum has a flatter trajectory and more kinetic energy at all ranges and that advantage increases as range increases.
The chart below compares how much a 10 mile per hour crosswind impacts those same 27o Winchester and 7mm Rem Mag loads out to 500 yards.
Once again, the 7mm Remington Magnum also has an advantage in this area as well. That makes sense since the cartridge is shooting more aerodynamic bullets at a higher velocity.
The exact details vary by load of course.
Overall the 7mm Rem Mag has an advantage ranging from 16% to 53% less wind deflection at 500 yards.
Here’s the breakdown by loading for wind drift at 300 yards and 500 yards:
Deer Season XP: the 270 Winchester has .6″ (10.7%) more wind deflection at 300 yards and 1.8″ (10.8%) more wind deflection at 500 yards.
Hornady Precision Hunter: the 270 Winchester has .8″ (17.7%) more wind deflection at 300 yards and 2.4″ (18.1%) more wind deflection at 500 yards.
Nosler Trophy Grade: the 270 Winchester has .7″ (11.4%) more wind deflection at 300 yards and 2.0″ (10.9%) more wind deflection at 500 yards.
Now let’s talk about recoil.
The table below compares the recoil produced by handloads that approximate the performance of the Hornady factory loads above firing 145gr and 162gr ELD-X bullets for the 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum respectively when fired from identical 7 pound rifles.
Felt recoil will vary from shooter to shooter and rifle to rifle, but free recoil energy is still a useful way to compare cartridges.
As you can see, the 7mm Rem Mag has about 29% more recoil than the 270 Winchester.
This is where 7mm Rem Mag users “pay the piper” for the benefits the cartridge offers in terms of trajectory, kinetic energy, and wind deflection.
All things considered, the 7mm Rem Mag isn’t that hard of a recoiling cartridge. Indeed, it’s known as one of the lighter recoiling “magnum” cartridges and most hunters should be able to handle that recoil without serious trouble.
The 270 Winchester just has even less recoil though and has a big advantage in this respect, especially for smaller or recoil shy hunters.
Don’t underestimate the impact that recoil has on the ability of a person to shoot accurately either.
Some people do handle recoil better than others, but all other things being equal, they will absolutely shoot more accurately with a milder recoiling cartridge.
What about 270 vs 7mm Rem Mag accuracy?
The 270 Winchester and the 7mm Remington Magnum are definitely capable of outstanding accuracy (often sub-MOA) in the right hands and when used in a quality rifle.
At shorter range, the cartridges are very evenly matched.
The 270 Winchester might has a small advantage due to the fact that the mild recoil of the cartridge no doubt helps hunters place their shots in the right spot to a greater extent than the 7mm Remington Magnum
The situation changes a little bit when shooting at long distances though.
While the 270 Winchester isn’t exactly well suited for using exceptionally high BC bullets, that’s not the case for the 7mm Remington Magnum, so it has an edge there.
This factor, combined with the higher velocities it can sometimes obtain, gives the 7mm Remington Magnum an edge at longer range where battling environmental conditions (like resistance to wind drift in particular) becomes more important.
That’s not to say the 270 Winchester isn’t accurate or that there aren’t a bunch of good quality bullets available for it. It’s just that the overall design of the 7mm Remington Magnum gives that cartridge an (admittedly small) edge over the 270 Winchester in potential accuracy at extended range.
Additionally, there are a couple of other factors that are also worth discussing.
First, the 7mm Remington Magnum uses larger diameter bullets than the 270 Winchester.
Specifically, the larger diameter .284″/7 mm bullets used by the cartridge have about 5% more frontal surface area (also known as cross sectional area) than the .277″ bullets used by the 270 Winchester (.0633 vs .0603 square inches). All other things being equal, a bigger bullet will make a bigger hole, cause more tissue damage, and result in more blood loss.
This is a small advantage in favor of the 7mm Remington Magnum, especially on bigger game.
Especially when combined with the fact that the 7mm Rem Mag carries more kinetic energy downrange, those larger diameter bullets can also be helpful when hunting big game, especially on really big game like elk.
At the same time, the 7mm Remington Magnum also has a slight edge over the 270 Winchester in bullet sectional density.
Sectional density (SD) is a measure of the ratio of the diameter of a projectile to its mass.
All other things equal, a heavier bullet of a given caliber will be longer and therefore have a higher sectional density and consequently penetrate deeper than projectiles with a lower mass and sectional density.
As an example, 130 grain, 140 grain, and 150 grain .277″ bullets have sectional densities of .242, .261 and .279 respectively.
Compare that to 140 grain, 150 grain, and 160 grain .284″ bullets which have sectional densities of .248, .266, and .283 respectively.
The differences are small across the board, but when comparing the most popular bullet weights for each cartridge (a 140gr bullet from the 7mm Rem Mag and a 130gr bullet from the 270, etc.), the 7mm Rem Mag has a tiny edge.
This also applies to ballistic coefficient.
The bullets used in this comparison illustrate those differences well with the 7mm Remington Magnum using 140gr (.484 BC), 162gr (.631 BC), and 160gr (.475 BC) bullets outclassing the 130gr (.450 BC), 145gr (.536 BC), and 150gr (.465 BC) bullets used by the .270.
So where do we stand with each cartridge?
270 vs 7mm Rem Mag
The 7mm Rem Mag fires a larger diameter, often heavier, and usually more aerodynamic bullet at a slightly faster velocity than the 270 Winchester. The 7mm Rem Mag usually has a flatter trajectory and more retained kinetic energy, but more recoil than the 270.
7mm Rem Mag vs 270 Ammo
Both the 270 and 7mm Remington Magnum cartridges are extremely popular among hunters and shooters all over the world. Indeed, both (though certainly the 270) are also likely in the Top 10 most popular centerfire rifle cartridges in the United States. While the 7mm Remington is a very popular cartridge itself, the 270 Winchester is probably the most widely used of the two.
The big ammunition manufacturers like Barnes, Berger, Black Hills, Browning, Federal Premium, Hornady, HSM, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Sig Sauer, Swift, and Winchester all produce a large variety of quality 7mm Rem Mag and 270 factory ammunition suitable for hunting most species of big game. In each case, there is normally a good selection of bullet types and weights for each cartridge suitable for big game hunting.
Both cartridges are offered in most of the really popular hunting ammo lines: Barnes VOR-TX, Federal Terminal Ascent, Federal Power Shok, Hornady Precision Hunter, Nosler Trophy Grade, Nosler Trophy Grade Long Range, Remington Core Lokt, Winchester Deer Season XP, Winchester Super X (just to name a few).
While it’s often very easy to find a variety of ammo for both cartridges during normal times, ammo is usually a little easier to find and there will be a larger selection to choose from for the 270 Winchester. In general, 270 Winchester ammo is often a little less expensive.
During the 2020-2022 ammo shortage, the difference between the two cartridges has become even more apparent and (at least where I live and shop) 270 Winchester ammo is usually easier to find and usually more reasonably priced than ammo for the 7mm Remington Magnum.
Ammo availability is also usually decent online and the bigger retailers typically have a good selection of quality factory ammo for both cartridges as well (but the 270 Winchester will likely still be easier to find and less expensive, even online).
Bottom line: the average hunter will likely have easier access to ammo for the 270 Winchester than the 7 mm Rem Mag.
If you’d like to learn more about some of the various hunting ammunition choices for the 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum, read these articles:
Handloaders will appreciate the fact that reloading components for both cartridges are widely available and there’s an excellent variety of bullet choices for each cartridge. So, you should not have any trouble working up a good custom load for either one if you like to handload.
The 270 Winchester uses the same .277″ bullet size as the 6.8 Remington SPC, 270 Winchester Short Magnum, 270 Weatherby Magnum, 27 Nosler, and the 6.8 Western.
The 7mm Remington Magnum uses the same 7mm/.284″ bullet size as other 7 mm cartridges like the 7mm Mauser, 7mm-08 Remington, 280 Remington, 280 Ackley Improved, and 28 Nosler.
7mm Rem Mag vs 270 Rifles
Once again, the 270 Winchester is usually more common than the 7mm Remington Magnum when it comes to rifle selection. However, there’s a good selection of rifles chambered in both cartridges.
Both cartridges are really common in bolt-action rifles. In fact, just about every really popular bolt-action hunting rifle in current production is available in both cartridges.
For instance, both the 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum are available in several different versions of the Remington Model 700 and Winchester Model 70. The same goes for the Browning X-Bolt, Christensen Arms Mesa, Kimber Hunter, Mossberg Patriot, Ruger American, Ruger Hawkeye, Savage Axis, Savage 110, Tikka T3x, Weatherby Vanguard, and Winchester XPR.
While both rifles are most common in bolt-action rifles, they’re also available in a few lever-action and semi-automatic models as well.
Both cartridges are available from Browning in their Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR) and Browning Lever Action Rifles (BLR).
So, you can probably find a good deer rifle available in either cartridge regardless of the action type you prefer.
Additionally, magazine capacity varies as well..
Since the 270 has a smaller case diameter, most rifle magazines will hold more .270 Winchester cartridges. Typically, a rifle magazine that can hold 4-5 .270 cartridges will only hold 3 (or possibly even only 2) 7mm Remington Magnum cartridges.
Finally, barrel lengths do vary for both cartridges depending on the manufacturer and exact model.
The 270 Winchester is most common in rifles with 22″ barrels, but it’s also not unusual to see that cartridge in rifles with longer 24″ barrels.
On the other hand, gun manufacturers tend to put longer barrels on rifles chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum (and other magnum cartridges in general). This is because those cartridges need a longer barrel to effectively and efficiently burn that larger powder charge.
For this reason, 24″ and even 26″ barrels are typical for 7mm Rem Mag rifles.
For instance, the Winchester Model 70 Super Grade is available in both 270 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum.
The 270 Winchester version has a 24″ long barrel, is 44.75″ long overall, and weighs 8 pounds 4 ounces.
The 7mm Rem Mag version of that rifle has a 26″ long barrel, is 46.75″ long overall, and weighs 8 pounds 8 ounces.
Like I said, details vary depending on the exact manufacturer and rifle model in question. However, all things considered, rifles chambered in 270 Winchester (especially those with a 22″ barrel) tend to be a little shorter, lighter, and easier to maneuver than rifles chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum.
Having a shorter and lighter rifle is more important on some hunts than on others. So, just keep that in mind.
If you’d like to learn more about some of the various hunting rifle choices for the 270 Winchester cartridge, read this article:
7mm Rem Mag vs 270 Winchester: Which Is Right For You?
Do you primarily hunt medium sized game like whitetail deer and feral hogs at ranges within 200 yards? Both the 270 Winchester and the 7mm Remington Magnum are outstanding deer hunting cartridges and will work on great deer sized game with good shot placement.
The 270 in particular is nothing if not a great deer hunting cartridge and remains one of the most popular North American hunting cartridges. There’s nothing wrong with using the 7mm Rem Mag on deer inside of 200 yards, but it’s really more gun than you need for that sort of work though (and it’s also a little rougher on both the shoulder and wallet).
Additionally, if you’re going to be hunting in the tight confines of a deer stand or in thick brush, remember what I just mentioned about the size difference with 270 vs 7mm Rem Mag rifles. That extra couple of inches in overall length of a rifle can be a real headache to deal with when trying to quickly and quietly maneuver for a shot. So, definitely consider the 270 if you’d prefer a more compact rifle.
In general, I’d recommend the 270 Winchester for someone who was primarily interested in hunting deer.
Are you looking for the cartridge better suited for long range hunting for game like mule deer or pronghorn antelope in open country where you might need to take a shot at longer ranges? Once again, both will work really well here overall.
The flat shooting 270 Winchester shines in this area compared to a lot of other cartridges, but the 7mm Rem Mag is one of the few that outclasses the 270 in this area.
There’s not a darn thing wrong with using the 270 on an open country hunt, but those open country mule deer and pronghorn hunts often have very windy conditions. Well, the 7mm Rem Mag definitely has the edge here, especially when using high BC, wind bucking bullets.
Do you want a hunting cartridge that’s well suited for black bear, caribou, moose, elk, eland, kudu, or red stag hunting? The 270 Winchester is a fantastic choice for use on bigger game and there’s not a darn thing wrong with using it on one of those hunts. In fact, I think the 270 is probably the smallest “serious” elk cartridge.
Of the two cartridges though, I personally lean towards the 7mm Rem Mag because it uses larger diameter and heavier bullets with a bigger sectional density that tend to penetrate a little better.
Loaded with something like a quality 160gr Partition or A-Frame, a 168gr AccuBond Long Range, or a 150-160gr lead free bullet (like the Barnes TSX/TTSX), the 7mm Rem Mag is a fantastic choice for use on really big game at reasonable ranges.
While not often counted among the real “heavy hitters”, the 270 Winchester can also be darn effective in this role at shorter range when using heavy for caliber, controlled expansion bullets (like a 150gr Nosler Partition).
After all, lots of hunters have killed untold numbers of those animals with a .270 over the years. If anything, the .270 Winchester is even more effective on really large game now than it was even 20 years ago because hunters have access to much better quality bullets these days.
For instance, the 150gr Nosler Partition below really did a number on a big kudu bull in South Africa. The same hunter also used that particular rifle and loading to achieve one shot kills on blue wildebeest, zebra, and impala.
While I think the 270 Winchester is the better choice for someone who exclusively (or even primarily) hunts for deer, I think the 7mm Remington Magnum is a better option for someone primarily hunting elk or moose.
Are you specifically hunting brown or grizzly bear? What if you hunt in Canada or Alaska and need a heavy hitting cartridge just in case you find yourself on the wrong end of a grizzly/brown bear attack? Neither would be my first choice for use on those hunts. That said, they will definitely work in a pinch. Of the two, I’d go with the 7mm Remington Magnum since it uses larger diameter and heavier bullets. Make sure you use premium, heavy for caliber 160gr or heavier bullets if you go that route.
Are you sensitive to recoil and in need of a lower recoil cartridge? Neither has terrible recoil, but the 270 Winchester has an advantage over the 7mm Rem Mag here.
That said, I probably wouldn’t recommend the 270 for a very recoil shy hunter. Instead, I’d point them to something like a 6.5 Creedmoor or a 7mm-08 Remington.
Are you looking for a great cartridge for sheep, mountain goat, or tahr hunting where you need an effective cartridge with manageable recoil in a lightweight and easy to carry rifle? Both will certainly work to one degree or another. Thanks to Jack O’Connor, the .270 Winchester is considered a classic sheep hunting cartridge if there ever was one.
I’d give the 7mm Rem Mag the edge here since it has the flattest trajectory, most resistance to wind drift, and the most retained energy at extended range when using ideal bullets. However, the 270 Winchester isn’t a bad choice here either.
As I’ve stated before: the 7mm Remington Magnum and 270 Winchester are both solid rifle cartridges. However, while there’s a lot of overlap in their performance and ideal uses, there are some significant differences between them (270 vs 7mm Rem Mag) in certain respects and each cartridge is better suited to specific situations than the other.
Carefully evaluate your needs as a hunter based upon the circumstances you foresee using the cartridge in, get a good hunting rifle chambered in the cartridge you select, learn to shoot it well, use quality bullets, and it should serve you well afield.
NEXT: BEST GIFTS FOR HUNTERS
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The Lyman 50th Edition (p197-198 and p214-216) and Hornady 10th Edition (p351-355 and p406-411) reloading manuals were used as references for the history of the 270 vs 7mm Rem Mag cartridges. I obtained the data used to compare the trajectory of the cartridges from Hornady (here and here), Nosler (here and here), and Winchester (here and here). Data used to calculate recoil was obtained from the Hornady 10th reloading manual (p354 & p410). Case capacity information for the 7mm Remington Magnum and 270 Winchester were obtained from Chuck Hawks (here). Maximum pressure and data to compare cartridge sizes for the 7mm Remington Magnum and 270 Winchester were obtained from SAAMI (p23 and p28). I used ShootersCalculator.com to compare trajectory and recoil for the cartridges.