Best 270 Ammo For Hunting Deer, Elk, & Other Game

Many people use the flat shooting .270 Winchester for hunting deer, elk, and many other species of big game with excellent results. Here are a few great .270 ammo options that will serve you very well on your next hunt.

While it wasn’t an immediate commercial success, the high velocity .270 Winchester cartridge got the attention of many hunters when first introduced in 1925 with the legendary Winchester Model 54 bolt action rifle. With early .270 ammo loadings pushing a 130 grain bullet at velocities in excess of 3,000 fps, many hunters appreciated the flat shooting characteristics of the round and the fact that it was so effective on thin skinned game.

The .270 Winchester cartridge gradually became extremely popular among North American hunters. Indeed, the renowned gun writer Jack O’Connor was known for his affinity for the .270 and he’ll be forever linked to the cartridge due to his columns featuring it in Outdoor Life.

The century-old .270 Winchester cartridge remains one of the Top 10 most popular centerfire rifle cartridges in the United States to this day. Not surprisingly, virtually every single ammunition manufacturer of note like Barnes, Browning, Fiocchi, Federal Premium, Hornady, HSM, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Swift, and Winchester produces several different variants of .270 ammo for hunting deer, elk, moose, bear, and many other big game animals.

Known for being a high velocity, relatively flat shooting, really accurate, and moderately recoiling cartridge (compared to the bigger magnums), the .270 Winchester is a classic deer hunting cartridge if there ever was one. Not surprisingly, it’s especially popular among mule deer and whitetail deer hunters as well as those pursuing game like pronghorn. Jack O’Connor also helped cement the reputation of the cartridge as an effective bighorn sheep cartridge.

Make no mistake though: the .270 Winchester can be an effective cartridge for hunting bigger game like black bear, elk, and moose as well.

However, different situations (like deer or pronghorn at long range vs moose at short range) necessitate the use of different kinds of .270 ammo for best performance.

As is the case with other higher velocity cartridges like the 7mm Remington Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum, using the wrong kind of .270 Winchester ammunition can lead to disastrous results, especially on bigger game.

Many of the most popular .270 ammo loadings use lightweight, rapidly expanding bullets that are specifically designed for use on thin-skinned game like deer. Those lightweight, thin jacketed bullets tend to perform very well on deer-sized game.

Unfortunately, those bullets are more likely to expand far too rapidly, sometimes explosively, upon impact when used on much bigger game like elk and moose. Bullet penetration is often terrible in those cases. Sometimes the bullet will “grenade” upon impact and fail to reach the vitals when striking a bone or a heavily muscled shoulder of a big bull elk.

This can result in some horrific flesh wounds that are often not immediately fatal to the elk.

Fortunately, the .270 Winchester can be very effective on game like elk and moose when loaded with controlled expansion .270 bullets.

In general, lightweight 130 grain bullets are great for deer hunting, but hunters who use those lighter bullets on larger game may still experience issues with poor penetration, especially on steeply quartering shots. However, the .270 Winchester is absolutely deadly on really big game like moose and elk when using premium quality 150 grain bullets..

Keep this in mind when you select .270 ammo for an upcoming hunt.

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of .270 Winchester factory loads specifically designed for just almost any big game hunting situation from Colorado to New Zealand. So, regardless of whether you’re using a bolt action Remington Model 700, a Winchester Model 70, or some other hunting rifle, there is pretty much guaranteed to be something for everyone on the list below of the best .270 ammunition for hunting.

In this article, I’m going to show you the best .270 ammo for hunting deer, elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, feral hogs, black bear and all sorts of other big game. I’ll also go over the pros and cons of each individual load and help you select the right ammunition for your specific hunting situation.

Note: 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 of rifle, handgun, rimfire, or shotgun ammunition through those links. 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.

Update July 2021: Ammo supplies finally look like they’re starting to recover. We still have a long way to go and selection is still nowhere near where it was back in 2019, but things are a lot better now than they were even 6 months ago.

Click the link below if you just want to quickly check what ammo is in-stock and ready to ship so you can hit the range and get ready for hunting season.

IN-STOCK 270 WINCHESTER AMMO

SEE MORE IN-STOCK 270 WINCHESTER AMMO

Hornady Precision Hunter

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk hornady precision hunter

The high velocity and flat shooting .270 Winchester is an excellent long range cartridge and Hornady’s Precision Hunter line contains an outstanding .270 ammo option for hunters looking to squeeze every bit of long range performance out of the cartridge. Loaded with the extremely aerodynamic Extremely Low Drag eXpanding (ELD-X) bullet, this ammo is perfect for western hunters going after game like mule deer or pronghorn who need the very best .270 ammo for a long range hunting situation.

Hornady advertises that the ELD-X bullet has the best-in-class ballistic coefficients over their entire trajectory and that their Precision Hunter ammunition also offers match grade accuracy (usually sub-MOA).

Though the ELD-X does not have a bonded core like the Hornady InterBond, the ELD-X is similar to the Hornady InterLock in that it does feature a thicker jacket and an InterLock ring to help control expansion, increase weight retention, and minimize the chances of core-jacket separation. For this reason, the ELD-X is still devastating on deer and pronghorn sized game, but it’s also a decent choice for use on larger game.

Even so, I don’t think the ELD-X is tough enough for use on game like elk or moose though and I recommend the Nosler AccuBond or Partition instead.

All things considered, this is a great example of some .270 Winchester ammunition that’s capable of delivering great terminal performance on a wide range of big game for shots at 400+ yards.

  • Bullet Type: Hornady Extremely Low Drag eXpanding
  • Bullet Weight: 145 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .536
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,970 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownell’s, Optics Planet, and Palmetto State Armory

Remington Core Lokt

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk remington core lokt

If you’re a “meat and potatoes” kind of hunter who wants some reasonably priced and dependable .270 ammo for hunting elk, deer, feral hogs, and black bear, then Remington’s 150 grain Core-Lokt soft point will probably work really well for you. It’s also available with a 130 grain bullet as well, which is great for deer hunting.

Heavier bullets with a higher sectional density (like this 150 grain bullet), tend to penetrate pretty well, even if they don’t have a cutting edge design. This .270 grain ammunition has been around for a long time and countless hunters have successfully used Core-Lokt ammo in various chamberings to take pretty much every species of big game in North America.

They don’t call the Core-Lokt the “deadliest mushroom in the woods” for nothing and a Core-Lokt bullet through the vitals of an elk, black bear, deer, or feral hog will make for a very short tracking job.

Even so, this would not be my first choice for use on bigger game like elk or moose. That said, it will absolutely work in that role and lots of elk and moose hunters use this ammunition each year with good results, especially on cow elk or immature bulls.

However, this ammunition is very reasonably priced and has one of the lowest costs per round out of all the .270 ammo on this list. If you’re on a strict budget and can’t afford premium ammunition, then I’d suggest using the 150 grain and 130 grain Remington Core-Lokt loads above any other “budget” .270 ammo for elk and deer respectively.

  • Bullet Type: Core-Lokt Pointed Soft Point (PSP)
  • Bullet Weight: 130 grains or 150 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .336 (130 grains) or .261 (150 grains)
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,060 feet per second (130 grains) or 2,850 feet per second (150 grains)

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Also Available at: Brownells, Cabela’s, Optics Planet, and Palmetto State Armory

Hornady American Whitetail

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk hornady american whitetail

This .270 Winchester is a fantastic deer hunting cartridge and hunters have taken a lot of deer with it over the years. So, lots of companies design and market various ammunition lines specifically for whitetail deer hunting. Hornady’s American Whitetail line is a notable example.

Loaded with Hornady’s InterLock lead core bullet, this ammunition is extremely effective on deer-sized game. The bullet features what Hornady calls an “InterLock ring” that mechanically attaches the jacket to the lead core. So, it’s not technically a bonded bullet, but this feature helps with weight retention and penetration while reducing the odds of core-jacket separation.

The end result is a bullet that’s more robustly constructed than other popular whitetail bullets (like the Hornady SST), but still expands very well, will deliver devastating results on impact, and is more likely to produce exit wounds, even on on bigger bodied deer (especially on a broadside shot).

Oh by the way, Hornady American Whitetail ammunition is also very reasonably priced. With all that in mind, this is great .270 deer hunting ammo, especially at ranges inside of 200 yards. Feel free to use these Hornady InterLock soft points on feral hogs as well, especially if one happens to walk by your deer stand.

  • Bullet Type: Hornady InterLock
  • Bullet Weight: 130 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .409
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,060 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownells, Cabela’s, Optics Planet, and Palmetto State Armory

Federal Premium Nosler Partition

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk nosler partition

Federal Premium’s line featuring the legendary Nosler Partition will very likely fit the bill for those looking for some .270 ammo for elk, moose, or bear hunting. Loaded with a 150 grain Nosler Partition bullet, this load is perfect for hunting really big game where it’s really important to use a heavy, well constructed bullet.

If this ammo shoots accurately in your rifle, then it’s hard to go wrong with a 150 grain Nosler Partition for elk hunting and one of these bullets through the vitals will almost certainly result in a dead elk.

The .270 Winchester isn’t usually considered a great cartridge for hunting Africa. However, this is the ammunition I’d recommend if you wanted to take your .270 deer rifle to Africa to hunt plains game, especially if really large or tough game like eland, blue wildebeest, or kudu are on the menu.

This ammunition is not limited to really big, tough game either. Indeed, it’s also great for game like whitetail and mule deer, even if they don’t necessarily require that sort of performance.

Unfortunately, this load doesn’t have the flattest trajectory out there, but it still retains energy fairly well and is deadly on all manner of big game at reasonable hunting ranges. So this is some outstanding .270 ammo for shots out to a couple hundred yards. Go with one of the other .270 ammunition recommendations in this article if you need better extended range performance though.

The Nosler Partition is a very old bullet design. Even so, it’s still one of the most widely used premium bullets in use today and has a proven track record over the course of many decades and won’t let you down at the moment of truth. There’s a reason why it’s so darn popular with those who prefer to use handloaded ammunition as well as factory ammo.

With proper shot placement, this ammunition will deliver excellent performance if it hits bone or soft tissue at short range as well as at several hundred yards. Just aim for the vitals, do your part as a shooter, and the Nosler Partition bullet will do the rest.

  • Bullet Type: Nosler Partition
  • Bullet Weight: 150 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .466
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,830 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownell’s, Cabela’s, Optics Planet, and Palmetto State Armory

Barnes VOR-TX

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk barnes vor tx

Fans of Barnes bullets are in luck because Barnes produces some great .270 ammo as part of their VOR-TX line. Featuring their legendary copper Tipped Triple Shock X (TTSX) bullets, this ammunition is designed for rapid expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration. Loaded with 130 grain bullets, this ammunition perfect for whitetail and mule deer as well as pronghorn and black bears.

Since it’s loaded with 130 grain bullets, this stuff wouldn’t be my first choice for .270 elk hunting ammo, but those bullets retain weight and penetrate so well that they’ll also work in a pinch. So, it’s certainly worth looking into, especially if you just prefer to use lead free ammo or hunt in an area where doing so is required.

This ammunition is also 100% copper, which makes it an ideal choice of .270 hunting ammunition for use in states like California that that don’t permit the use of lead bullets.

I’m a big fan of the Barnes VOR-TX line in general and I’ve used this ammunition with a lot of success on both deer and pronghorn over the past few years. This ammo is also a favorite among many North America, New Zealand, and Africa hunting outfitters.

  • Bullet Type: Barnes TTSX Boat Tail
  • Bullet Weight: 130 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .392
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,060 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownells and Palmetto State Armory

Federal Premium Nosler Ballistic Tip

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk nosler ballistic tip

Federal Premium also offers a loading for the .270 Winchester loaded with Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets. This bullet is also an outstanding choice for hunting thin-skinned game like deer and pronghorn. This is also great .270 ammo for hunting feral hogs.

Ballistic Tip bullets are designed to deliver devastating terminal effects to game upon impact. Nothing is guaranteed, but these bullets often deliver instant, knock down results on deer-sized game.

All things considered, Nosler Ballistic Tip .270 ammo is better suited for longer range shots on game like mule deer or pronghorn than the Hornady American Whitetail or Winchester Deer Season XP loadings. This ammunition will also work extremely well on that same sort of game at closer range.

I do NOT recommend using Nosler Ballistic Tips for bigger game like elk or moose. This is because I think the Ballistic Tip bullet expands far too rapidly for use on big game like that.

Instead, stick to game like whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, and feral hogs with the 130 grain Ballistic Tip. It’s a really good bullet for game like that and you’ll probably be very happy with the results.

  • Bullet Type: Nosler Ballistic Tip
  • Bullet Weight: 130 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .432
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,060 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownell’s and Optics Planet

Winchester Ballistic Silvertip

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk winchester ballistic silver tip

Winchester’s Ballistic Silvertip line is extremely similar to the Nosler Ballistic Tip line. In fact, these two loadings use almost identical bullets. The Winchester Ballistic Silvertip is basically a Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet with a silver colored tip and a black, Winchester®Lubalox® coating on the exterior of the bullet.

According to Winchester, that coating reduces fouling and allows for more firings between barrel cleanings (in addition to just looking cool). As you can see, the published ballistics for these loadings are almost identical as well.

So, use this .270 ammunition for the same sort of hunting that you’d use Nosler Ballistic Tip ammo for: whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, and feral hogs out to several hundred yards. Once again, I don’t recommend using this ammunition for hunting elk or moose.

Since they’re so similar, it’s really just a matter of what your gun likes more (or which one is easier to find in stores). So, just pick the load that shoots better in your rifle and/or the one that’s easier for you to obtain. They’re both great .270 ammo options within their limitations.

  • Bullet Type: Rapid Controlled Expansion Polymer Tip
  • Bullet Weight: 130 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .433
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,050 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownell’s, Cabela’s, Optics Planet, and Palmetto State Armory

Nosler Trophy Grade Long Range

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk nosler accubond

Nosler Trophy Grade line of ammo will fit the bill for those looking for some .270 ammo for deer, black bear and even elk hunting, but who also want a little bit better performance at longer range than the 150gr Nosler Partition discussed earlier.

This ammunition uses 150 grain AccuBond Long Range bullet. It’s not quite as robustly constructed as the Nosler Partition, but the lead core is chemically bonded to the jacket, so it’s a pretty tough bullet and you don’t have to worry about the bullet “grenading” or expanding too rapidly upon impact. I personally prefer the 150 grain Partition bullets for really big game in the .270, but those features do lead to increased weight retention and deeper penetration.

So, while it’s not quite as good as the Partition in that area (in my opinion) I’d say the AccuBond Long Range is still a very good elk bullet and it’s definitely a better choice for hunting elk or moose than the Nosler Ballistic Tip.

At the same time, AccuBond Long Range bullets are much more aerodynamic than the Partition and will reliably expand at lower impact velocities. So, this ammunition provides delivers nice extended range performance without being too fragile for close range shots on big game.

All things considered, the 150 grain Nosler AccuBond Long Range will work great on deer sized game (to include antelope), but is also a really good choice for larger and tougher game like black bear and elk.

If you’ll be hunting in thicker conditions, go with the Nosler Partition. If your deer or elk hunt takes place in more open country, then the AccuBond Long Range is the better choice.

  • Bullet Type: Nosler AccuBond Long Range
  • Bullet Weight: 150 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .591
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,850 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownells and Palmetto State Armory

Nosler Trophy Grade ammo also made cut for my holiday gift recommendations. To see what other stuff is on the list, check out the following article:

101 Best Gifts For Hunters

Federal Premium Berger Hybrid

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk berger hybrid hunter

Various design aspects of the .270 Winchester have resulted in a smaller selection of very high BC hunting bullets for the cartridge compared to the various 6.5mm, 7mm, and .30 caliber cartridges. Among other things, the .277″ bullet diameter is just not very common (aside from the .270, the 270 WSM and .270 Weatherby Magnum are the most notable cartridges that use that bullet diameter).

Fortunately, Federal Premium offers .270 hunting ammunition loaded with the Berger Hybrid Hunter bullet as a factory load. These bullets are known for exceptional accuracy and for being extremely aerodynamic. In fact, this is right up there with the 145gr Hornady ELD-X and 150gr Nosler AccuBond Long Range as one of the most aerodynamic .277 caliber hunting bullets currently available.

This particular load is often the most accurate .270 ammo for many hunters. Though they do quite often deliver match grade accuracy, the Berger Hybrid Hunter is not a run of the mill match bullet. Instead, it’s designed to provide devastating terminal performance on big game.

While most hunting bullets start to expand immediately upon impact, Berger bullets are designed to penetrate several inches before expanding. Then, according to Berger, the bullet will shed 40-90% of its weight (depending on impact velocity) and send countless tiny fragments off into surrounding tissue.

This produces a massive wound cavity and dumps most, if not all, of the bullet’s energy into the animal.

Those features make this load an excellent choice of .270 ammo for longer range hunting situations, especially if you’re a proponent of the “energy dump” school of thought when it comes to selecting a hunting bullet. However, I’d personally recommend using this ammunition for hunting game like deer and pronghorn. Use it on elk at your own risk.

  • Bullet Type: Berger Hybrid Hunter
  • Bullet Weight: 140 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .528
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,950 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownell’s, Cabela’s, and Palmetto State Armory

Winchester Deer Season XP

picture of best 270 ammo for deer and elk winchester deer season xp

Winchester’s Deer Season XP line of ammunition is another outstanding option if you’re planning on taking your .270 deer hunting. The Extreme Point bullet this rifle ammo uses is similar to Winchester’s Power Point bullet, but the Extreme Point has a large diameter polymer tip that’s specifically designed to produce a gigantic wound channel along with massive impact trauma. One shot kills on deer are not uncommon with this ammunition.

This normally results in very short tracking jobs and very easy to follow blood trails. Even so, Deer Season XP ammo is designed specifically to compete with popular whitetail deer hunting ammo like the Hornady American Whitetail, Winchester Super-X, Federal Fusion, and Federal Power-Shok in terms of accuracy, reliability, and terminal performance.

The Winchester Deer Season XP line is also competitively priced and has one of the lowest costs per round out of all the .270 Win ammo on this list.

So, not only is this some very reasonably priced .270 ammo, but it also has a very good reputation for producing a giant wound channel and minimizing the distance deer run after being hit. In fact, this Winchester ammo is one of my top recommended brands of .270 ammo for whitetail deer hunting and will work great to tag the big buck of your dreams.

That being said, I would NOT recommend using it for bigger game like elk or moose. If you need a budget option for ammo suitable for hunting really big game, go with the 150 grain Remington Core-Lokt I previously recommended.

Note: Winchester also makes a lead free version of their Deer Season XP line using copper bullets for hunters in areas where lead free bullets are required.

  • Bullet Type: Extreme Point
  • Bullet Weight: 130 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .450
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,060 feet per second

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Also Available at: Brownell’s, Cabela’s, Optics Planet, and Palmetto State Armory

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NEXT: BEST 6.5 CREEDMOOR AMMO FOR HUNTING ELK, DEER, & OTHER BIG GAME

7 thoughts on “Best 270 Ammo For Hunting Deer, Elk, & Other Game”

  1. great article
    do you think hornady superproformance ammo using 130 grain interbond or gmx is a good elk bullet
    I also liked you article on the 6.5 prc but can’t see an advantage over the 270 win

    Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it Doug! I think the 130gr GMX is indeed a very good elk bullet and it should deliver performance similar to the Barnes 130gr TTSX.

      Reply
  2. Great article.
    Please summarize for me. What is the best ammo for whitetail. Hunting close range out to 500 yards. Price does not matter.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • If you can find it, try out the Hornady Precision Hunter Ammo. I haven’t seen any in-stock lately though. However, the 130gr Remington Core Lokt IS available last time I checked. That stuff will also work REALLY well for whitetail at almost any practical range. Click the “in-stock 270 Winchester ammo” button at the beginning of the article to purchase some.
      Hope this helps!
      John

      Reply

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