In this article, we will take an in-depth look at how the ballistic and other performance characteristics of these two cartridges stack up to each. And as with all of our other cartridge comparisons, we are more interested in teasing apart the differences and similarities, not to try and label one cartridge as better than the other, but to better understand conditions and situations where one cartridge might be a better choice compared to the other.
A Brief History
Remington wanted to maintain the 7×57 Mauser’s high performance while also modernizing by way of caliber and cartridge. Thus, they created the 7mm-08 Remington in the 1980’s. The 7mm-08 was derived from necking down the .308 Win cartridge and allowing it to accept the smaller diameter 7mm bullet.
In the 1980s, the high performance and little felt recoil in 7mm bullets caused their popularity to grow exponentially. Part of the reason for the better ballistic properties, such as the trajectory and wind resistance, is due to their more slender, aerodynamic shape.
For hunting medium and large game, you can do no worse than the 7mm-08. It was intended to provide lighter recoil while maintaining enough bullet weight and velocity to reach and kill game efficiently.
Many people love the 7mm-08, but it still does not have the popularity of other hunting cartridges. Despite its lack in popularity, the 7mm-08 allows for a variety of bullet weights, mostly around 120-150 grain weight; although, there are heavier rounds available closer to the grain weight of its parent casing.
Winchester began making the .270 hunting cartridge in 1925. However, it did not immediately catch on. In fact, for multiple years hardly anyone used it in their firearms. The .270 became more famous once the popular firearms and hunting writer Jack O’Connor pushed for its adoption.
Because of O’Connor’s influence, hunters of any size of prey—from the smallest to the largest—now use .270. In fact, its huge leap forward in bullet technology means that the .270 is much better suited for taking larger game such as elk than other cartridges.
Winchester developed the .270 from the .30-03, a cartridge that saw brief use in the United States in the early 1900’s. The .30-03 case helped in the development of the .30-06 in addition to the .270. Essentially, most people view the .270 as the slightly necked down version of the .30-06.
Bullet weights for the .270 generally fall between 120-160 grains; however, smaller weighted bullets are available. Like the .308, there are a lot of options regarding bullet weight and design with the .270. All of these options are readily available and affordable.
Like the 7mm-08, the .270 is often chosen because of its ability to shoot flat at distances and still maintain the proper terminal ballistics to reliably take down medium to even large size game.
.270 vs 7mm-08 Rem Specs
|Parent Casing||.308 Win||.30-03|
|Max Pressure (SAAMI)||60,000||65,000psi|
Before we jump into the different performance characteristics of these two cartridges, let’s step back and compare the specifications of these two cartridges. Just from this knowledge, we can begin to tell where some differences in performance might pop up and it will also make the results of the proceeding sections make more sense.
There are some similarities in the bullet case dimensions between these two cartridges. The 7mm-08 bullet diameter is only about 7 one-hundredths of an inch wider in diameter with the same difference in the neck diameters, which makes sense. We also see that the two cartridges have the same base diameter, though the .270 Win case is much longer than the 7mm-08 case even though they share the base diameter.
The bullet of the .270 also does not sit down in the casing enough to reduce the cartridge space so with a case length of half an inch longer, and the same difference in overall cartridge length, it can hold more propellant. It is also rated to handle 5,000 more psi of pressure than the 7mm-08 cartridge. Now, cartridges are not loaded with the maximum amount of powder charge, especially from the manufacturer. But, this often means that they can load the cartridge with more capacity with more propellant than the smaller casing.
With these differences in cartridge specifications along with using similar bullet weights, we can already begin to assume that there are going to be some differences in the performances of these two rounds.
So to compare these two cartridges, we have gathered ballistic data from the manufacturer of the individual rounds as well as generated our data using online ballistics calculators.
We have selected five individual rounds for each cartridge type. In our selection criteria, we wanted to use popular rounds that see a lot of use in the field, both hunting and target and rounds that cover a good selection of bullet weights and types. It is quite possible that as you look at our rounds, you might not see your favorite round listed. It’s no slight on our part. We are limited in space, and ten rounds seemed like a nice round number. We would love to look at a couple dozen for each, but with our selection process, we think the results can be extrapolated to other rounds.
To give an even wider look at how these two cartridges compare, we have compiled the data for an additional fifteen rounds for each cartridge and will list the averages for these rounds in several categories. With the ten we will look at, this brings us up to twenty rounds for each cartridge. While all of these rounds will not be graphed and discussed, the averages will back up that our selected rounds still give an accurate reading of how the two cartridges are similar and different from each other. We will present this data in several sections and then present all of it again in the applications section.
We have listed the ten rounds we will be using throughout this article below.
- 7mm-08 Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 140gr
- 7mm-08 Federal Vital Shok Nosler Partition 140gr
- 7mm-08 Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 140gr
- 7mm-08 Federal Power-Shok JSP 150gr
- 7mm-08 Hornady Superformance SST 139gr
- .270 Hornady SST Superperformance 130gr
- .270 Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 130gr
- .270 Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 150gr
- .270 Remington Core-Lokt PSP 115gr
- .270 Federal Sierra GameKing BTSP 150gr
All of the selected rounds are factory loads that are readily available to us consumers. After looking at this data, you might remember coming across forums or blogs where someone is showing much higher velocities or other performance specs for these cartridges, and they are more than likely hand loaded.
In the name of safety most factory loads will not load a large amount of power in the casing. No factory load will have a max charge, even though some highly charged loads are available. Additionally, keep in mind that the data we cite throughout the rest of this article has been generated by a computer—and usually comes from the manufacturer. Where manufacturer data wasn’t available, we used trusted ballistic calculators. When using these ballistic calculators we strived to minimize the differences between the variables of similar cartridge rounds. We also did not take weather elements into account. In the cases where we cite calculations, we will make our variables—like zero range, gun weight, powder charge—clear.
Keep in mind, comparing cartridges on paper is one thing, but you should know that any data can vary slightly in a real-world shooting context. Every rifle is slightly unique, which will account for occasional slight differences in your ballistic output.
When comparing two cartridges, computer-generated data definitely offers advantages, since all variables can be controlled in that environment and the differences between this data and real-world results are not statistically significant.
Remember, we are not looking at what’s the best round. As we stated earlier, each gun can have a particular brand that seems to work better for it. We are taking a broader approach, and computer-generated data gives us the most uniform data sets for comparing two cartridges.
With all of that out of the way, let’s look at our first performance category.
A lot of readers are probably as concerned with the differences in recoil between two cartridges as anything else, especially if you have never had much experience with high-powered centerfire rifles. For more experienced shooters, the difference in recoil might not be as large a concern unless it is a dramatic difference. For most centerfire rifles used for the same game or competitions, as these two rifles often are, the differences in recoil is not going to be very noticeable.
Even so, recoil is a topic to think about as it can influence shot placement. Whether it is while trying to line up the crosshairs on a trophy buck when the adrenaline is pumping, or it can increase fatigue from a day on the range and make those last few shots seem to miss by a few centimeters.
Here we will look at the actual energy that is generated from firing these rounds. Energy output does not directly translate into felt recoil, however, increased recoil energy does correlate with increased felt recoil. Many other factors like gun design contribute to felt recoil, so your real-world experience shooting the rifle is much less quantifiable.
To calculate the recoil energy, we used the bullet weight, muzzle velocity, propellant load, and gun weight. So obviously, the actual numbers might change based on your rifle weight, but the difference between the numbers should remain the same since we kept the gun weight constant for each round at 7lbs. The amount of powder used by the manufacturers was not available, so we used load data from Nosler to determine a conservative powder charge for each cartridge. We kept this powder charge constant for each round of their respective cartridge type.
So, let’s take a look at the ten selected rounds and see how the recoil energy stacks up to each other (Graph1).
From first look, we can see that the .270 Win rounds all show slightly more recoil energy than the 7mm-08 rounds. Even with a few more ft.lbs of recoil on some of the rounds, all ten fall below the 21ft.lb mark with our set variables. As we have stated several times, these numbers can fluctuate given your shooting platform, and they might vary depending on the powder type and amount the manufacturers are using. But, we are more interested in the differences between cartridge types rather than individual rounds, so that small fluctuation isn’t going to be something we will get too concerned about.
A sort of guideline that you will often come across when it comes to recoil affecting shooting is anything above 20ft.lb can impact a shot. Of course, it’s just a guideline and it just depends on who is holding the rifle. If we do look at these two cartridges, the 7mm-08 rounds all fall below the 20ft.lb mark but the .270 rounds are not too far off. Unless you are very in tune and experienced shooting these two rounds, you probably are not going to feel much of a difference.
Of course, most of us will put up with a sore shoulder if the cartridge excels in other categories. So with recoil in mind, let’s take a look at several ballistic characteristics of the 7mm-08 vs the .270.
For a more extensive look at more rounds, here are the averages for all forty rounds that we have compiled. As you can see, the trend is very similar to what we saw above.
7mm-08 Rem vs .270 Win Average Recoil (ft.lb)
In this next section, we investigate a number of different categories, all can be considered in the area of ballistic specs. First, we compare the rounds by examining bullet velocity and trajectory over a range followed by comparing ballistic coefficients. Understanding these factors will help prove one cartridge’s strengths over another in certain situations.
All of these categories taken together should be considered when determining the rankings of specific cartridges. All of the specs, even those not concerning ballistics, help determine the performance and accuracy of a rifle. Thus, in our application section, we look at the cartridges holistically instead by category.
We just think that it is important to consider if you are deciding between two cartridges to not focus on one individual performance specs as the basis of your decision. We hope that articles such as this one help you take more broad look at how two cartridges compare to one another.
The velocity of the bullet plays a critical role in just about every ballistic and other performance categories we will look at. Not only for other ballistic properties but also in terminal performance on impact.
You will often find a lot of people fixated on the velocity of the bullet, and while velocity is important, they often lose sight of why it is. It’s not just about the speed of the bullet. As we said, it’s how that speed effects other components of a bullets flight and reaction on impact. There is a fine line with the velocity of the bullet. Too little and you might not get the penetration or expansion you need. Too much velocity with an incorrect twist rate or a certain bullet design and you can get an unstable flight which leads to inaccuracy.
The velocity is also important because the quicker a bullet can reach the target, it minimizes the amount of time outside influences have to alter its path and stability.
We gathered the velocity data for each of the ten rounds we have selected from the manufacturer’s website which were generated using a 24″ test barrel. So, these numbers might change a bit given the length of your rifle’s barrel, but that change should be similar to any round you put through the weapon of that same cartridge and caliber.
The graph below (Graph 2) shows the velocities of the ten rounds from the muzzle out to 500 yards.
If we just look at the averages, we see that from the muzzle out to 500 yards, the .270 Win round carries about 200 more fps than the 7mm-08 rounds. We would expect this given the increased recoil, and increased case capacity of the .270 cartridge probably means they have a larger amount of propellant than the 7mm-08 rounds. And with similar bullet weights, it’s going to mean increased velocity.
While averages give the advantage in bullet velocity to the .270, we do see rounds from each cartridge type interspersed in the graph. We see the 139gr Hornady SST 7mm-08 cartridge performs nearly as well as the two fastest .270 rounds and better than some of the other ones. We also have a .270 round that has the slowest velocity besides one 7mm-08 round.
We also want to note that the velocity data is also important for hunters who want a certain amount of penetration and expansion. For penetration, we will discuss in a later section, but the manufacturer should have the needed information on bullet expansion and velocity level so you can know how well each bullet will expand at certain ranges.
So while on average the .270 cartridge is going to give you a few hundred more fps of velocity, there are better performing rounds of each cartridge type, and we will need to take into account more performance specs to make the picture more clear.
Below are the averages for all forty rounds that we compiled for this article. As you can see, even with the increase in sample size, the general trend we saw with the previous rounds remains the same.
7mm-08 Rem vs .270 Win Average Velocity (ft/s)
Ballistic Coefficient (BC)
The ballistic coefficient (BC) is either a term you pay a lot of attention to or it’s something you have never given a moment’s thought. More often, the BC plays a bigger role in selection for long-range target shooting and some hunting scenarios where 400-500 yard shots are the norm.
A round’s ballistic coefficient (BC) indicates the way drag and wind drift affect the bullet. A larger coefficient calls attention to the bullet’s effectiveness at resisting these factors. Thus, a large ballistic coefficient will help you group long range shots. BCs could also have several articles written on the variables that go into its calculation, but for now, we will stick with the basics. We do recommend digging into the BC and how it is derived. But, we don’t have the time to go into the specifics in this article.
We have compiled all of the BCs for the ten rounds we are comparing and listed them in the bar graph below (Graph 3).
What should jump out to you is that both of these cartridges feature bullets that have excellent ballistic coefficients. Especially for rounds used for hunting purposes. Sure, there are going to be rounds out there for other cartridge types that might have more BCs in the .5-.6 range, but these are not too shabby.
If we look at the averages of these rounds for each cartridge, there are almost exactly identical. In fact, the average BC of the 7mm-08 is .4418 while the average BC of the .270 Win rounds are .441. Of course, the bullet type and design are big factors in the BC of the bullet, more so than the actual cartridge type. Both of these cartridges can be fitted with similar weight bullets, and both have slender profiles and similar velocities. All are factors in determining the BC, and it comes out to rounds for both that have similar numbers.
There are several rounds of both cartridges that have BC’s above the .45 mark and also rounds for each cartridge at above the .48 mark. Depending on your hunting or shooting situation, there are going to be rounds available for both cartridges that will give you the wind resistance that you need.
The trajectory is one of the most discussed ballistic properties when it comes to discussing the performance between different rounds as well as between two different cartridges. This is especially true for cartridges popular among long-range marksmen and hunters. When we talk about trajectory, we are only referring to how much a bullet will drop as it moves downrange. A bullet’s flight path has a characteristic arc with the bullet dropping in elevation over time. A lot goes into a bullet’s trajectory including bullet specs as well as environmental characteristics. The velocity and BC both affect the trajectory of the bullet as does gravity and wind resistance.
Most hunters/marksmen want a flat shooting round. And by flat we mean there is a less pronounced drop in elevation over time. This flatter trajectory makes it easier to adjust for shots over longer ranges and in theory, should make accuracy and precision more attainable.
We are going to take a look at both the short and long-range trajectories of these two cartridge types. Before we do, we want to step back and take a look at the trajectories of these two cartridges. It can get a little cluttered when we start looking at ten different rounds in one graph, and we are also looking at a wide range of weights and bullet types.
In the following graph (Graph 4) we are only going to look at two rounds, one from each cartridge type.
We have selected rounds for each cartridge that are made from the same manufacturer, have similar bullet weights, and have similar ballistic coefficients. With this, it gives a good representation of how these trajectories compare between the two cartridge types.
Both of these cartridges have pretty flat trajectories with less than 20 inches of bullet drop out to 350 yards. There is no noticeable difference between the two rounds until you get out to the 200-yard mark. From there we start to see the .270 show a flatter trajectory than the 7mm-08 round. The difference still is not too drastic with a 10-inch difference between the two at the 500-yard mark. We should note that the 7mm-08 round is slightly heavier than the .270 Win round. The difference in trajectory might shrink with a lighter 7mm-08 bullet.
Let’s take a look at some more rounds and see if we see this similar trend.
Short Range Trajectory
When comparing two cartridges that are often used in the hunting world, we like to look at short range trajectories with the optics sited in at 100 yards. We like to look at the trajectory at these ranges because it is most often the distance hunters in most applications sight in their optics. We will take a look at the long-range trajectories shortly.
We gathered the short range trajectory data from the manufacturers when available and generated the bullet drop from an online ballistics calculator when the manufacturer data was not available. The data shows the bullet drop in inches from 50 yards out to 300 yards with the rifles zeroed in at 100 yards (Graph 5). The data was also generated using a 24” test barrel.
At the 50 yard mark, there is no difference in the trajectory of the two rounds. At 200 yards, all of the rounds are still clustering pretty tightly, but we do see the rounds from both cartridge types begin to cluster with each other with the .270 Win rounds having a slightly less pronounced bullet drop. And we do mean slightly. The averages for these two cartridge types at the 200-yard mark have the .270 Win rounds showing less than 1 inch of bullet drop than the 7mm-08 rounds at 2.8″ while the 7mm-08 rounds show 3.58″ of drop.
The gap only widens slightly as the rounds move out to the 300-yard mark with the .270 Win rounds showing an average bullet drop of 11.16 inches and the 7mm-08 Rem rounds showing 13.3 inches of bullet drop. We do see the rounds for each cartridge group together for the most part, though like the velocity, there are rounds for each cartridge that give you better performance regarding trajectory though the three steepest dropping rounds are 7mm-08 rounds.
In the table below, we have listed the averages of the forty rounds we compiled and their short range trajectory numbers. Again, even with more cartridges in play, we see the same trend pop up between these two cartridges.
7mm-08 Rem vs .270 Win Average Short Range Trajectory (Bullet Drop in Inches)
Long Range Trajectory
One of the major reasons these cartridges came about and what drew people to their use was that they could provide a flat trajectory without the increased recoil and without sacrificing knock down power.
We gathered data and used ballistic calculators to generated this data. The “rifles” were sighted in at 200 yards and data points generated from the muzzle out to 700 yards (Graph 6).
Like the short range trajectory, we see a lot of the same trends between the two cartridges in the long range trajectory. We see that both cartridges rounds group more tightly together, though there is a little overlap, with the .270 Win rounds showing a less pronounced bullet drop than the selected 7mm-08 rounds.
Out to 400 yards, there is no difference between these two cartridges. There is less than two inches of difference between the averages for these two cartridge types with the .270 Win having a slight advantage.
As the cartridges move out to the 500, 600, and 700-yard range, the difference between the averages continue to increase with 18 inches of difference between the .270 and 7mm-08 rounds. Again, there are are several 7mm-08 rounds that have nearly as flat or flatter trajectory than some of the .270 rounds, but we see the majority of the .270 Win rounds provide a flatter trajectory.
In the table below, we have listed the averages of the forty rounds we compiled and their long range trajectory numbers.
7mm-08 Rem vs .270 Win Average Long Range Trajectory (Bullet Drop in Inches)
Here, we take ten rounds and investigate how much kinetic energy they carry through a distance of 500 yards. We also compare the sectional densities for each round in order to determine the amount of potential penetration. Finally, we analyze bullet momentum for each round. Both of these cartridges were designed to be able to reach increased distances with enough kinetic energy and punching power to kill the target on impact.
In general, hunters will likely gravitate towards this section more than competition shooters. Yet, knowledge is power when it comes to choosing cartridges. No matter your shooting aim, the more you know, the better decision you can make.
There is a lot of debate out there as to how we can accurately estimate the stopping power of a round. Some argue that kinetic energy is the most important, some argue for momentum, and some argue that neither give you useful information. We are in the party that all of this points of comparison play a role in stopping power. While we will look at each separate from the others, they should all be taken into account when determining which cartridge would be more advantageous in a certain situation.
A lot of aspects—such as design and expansion capability—go into a bullet’s ability to kill animals cleanly. We cannot account for all factors in our comparison of the .270 Win vs 7mm-08 Rem. Consequently, we primarily focus our analysis on the amount of energy transferred from the bullet to the target. We will also examine how much penetration you receive once the bullet hits the target.
The combination of ignited gunpowder and the weight of a bullet impact the amount of kinetic energy a round produces. Damage is caused when the bullet’s kinetic energy gets transferred to the target upon impact.
In order to create the most damage to large game, a bullet should produce a minimum of 1,000 ft.lb of force. Even more force may be required to kill the bear, elk, and moose advertised as the largest game these cartridges can bring down. While knowing a bullet’s energy is important for accurate hunting, we believe that the guidelines used to measure force are rather arbitrary. The placement of your shot will be equally if not more important than the amount of energy the bullet carries.
We gathered the kinetic energy data from the round’s manufacturer and graphed the numbers from the muzzle out to the 500-yard mark (Graph 7). We are not going to look at anything out beyond this range because there are very few times you will be making a 500+ yard shot with these cartridges for hunting purposes.
What we see from this graph is that there is a lot of intermingling between the various rounds of each cartridge. There is no one cartridge that stands out as a more energetic cartridge. Of the top two performing rounds of these cartridges includes a .270 and 7mm-08 round.
Averages give about 200 more ft.lb of energy to the .270 Win rounds out to the 300-yard mark, and that number drops closer to 100 more ft.lb at the 400 and 500-yard mark. Perhaps more important to a lot of potential users is not the difference between these two cartridges but that all of the rounds are above the 950ft.lb mark at 500 yards with all but two above the 1,000ft.lb mark.
If we take it back a few hundred yards where the yardage is more common to hunting scenarios, we see that all of these rounds except one .270 and one 7mm-08 cartridge carries well over 1,500ft.lb of energy.
Below, we have listed the average bullet kinetic energy for the 20 rounds of each cartridge that we compiled.
7mm-08 Rem vs .270 Win Average Kinetic Energy (ft.lb)
When hunting larger game, you often need your round to be able to penetrate through thick skin and tissue to reach vital organs. One way to determine the amount of penetration two cartridges will have is to compare the sectional density (SD) of the bullets used.
The SD is derived from a calculation using the bullet’s diameter and weight. A bullet with a higher sectional density should have greater penetration than a bullet with a lower SD. To illustrate, let’s look at a quick example. We have two bullets with bullet A at 100grains with a diameter of .3″ and bullet B at 150grains with a diameter of .3″. The sectional density of bullet B will be higher and given the bullet is the same, other than the weight, it should penetrate deeper. This is because there is a greater amount of force localized to the same area, driving the bullet deeper.
We can look at it another way. Bullet A has a weight of 100gr with a diameter of .3” while bullet B also has a weight of 100gr but a diameter of .4”. In this case, bullet A is going to have a higher sectional density and will penetrate further. While the weights are the same, the smaller diameter localizes this force to a smaller area with less resistance allowing the bullet to drive deeper.
Momentum also goes along with sectional density, and both play a major role in how far a bullet will penetrate a target.
The sectional density alone does not indicate penetration. The velocity (which is a variable in momentum) as well as the design of the bullet factor in as well. Higher velocities increase penetration as does highly bonded bullets that will not fragment on impact.
Deeper penetration is not always an indicator of a better cartridge. Like everything we have covered, it all depends on what you’re shooting at, and we will discuss this more when we get to the applications of these cartridges.
We are not stating here that penetration depends solely on the sectional density of the bullet. As penetration is only a piece of the puzzle for stopping power, the sectional density is only a piece of the larger picture when it comes to penetration.
We have calculated the sectional density for each of the ten rounds used in this comparison and graphed them here (Graph 8).
For the most part, all of the rounds have very similar sectional densities. The bullet diameters are only .007 inches different, and they have bullets with similar weights. All of the rounds fall between .242 and .279 regarding sectional density with two of the .270 Win rounds coming in at .279, the highest of the ten selected rounds. Both of these rounds use 150gr bullets, and with the slightly smaller diameter, they have a slight advantage over the 7mm-08’s top performing round which comes in at .266.
Again, sectional density is only a part of much larger equation that goes into stopping power. While the .270 Win rounds might have the slightest advantage in sectional density over the 7mm-08 rounds when looking at their averages, we don’t think it means you should conclude that the .270 is going to be a better cartridge for killing game.
Newton’s first law of physics claims that an object in motion will stay in motion until influenced by an uneven force. In the firearm world, this law applies by indicating that the greater the momentum, the more force it will take to stop a bullet. When you hunt large game, the more momentum to the bullet the better, for it will help penetration of the thick hide and bones on your prey. However, for home and self-defense, a lesser amount of momentum will be acceptable. Bullet design (including sectional density) in addition to momentum also greatly influence a round’s ability to penetrate.
Sectional density plays a role in momentum as more momentum is conserved when the projectile, a bullet in our case, is striking a smaller area.
We have calculated the momentum numbers for all ten of our selected rounds from the muzzle out to 500 yards and graphed them below (Graph 9).
We don’t see any clear trends between cartridges when looking at the graph which is similar to what we saw with the sectional densities. Throughout the range, rounds of both cartridge types are interspersed among each other. We are looking at two cartridges that use similar bullet weights as well as similar velocities.
On average, the .270 Win rounds have around 2 lb/f.s more momentum than the 7mm-08 rounds, but there are 7mm-08 rounds that have very similar momentum to the higher performing .270 rounds and better than the .270 rounds with less momentum. Like a lot of the categories we have looked at, it’s more about the difference between rounds rather than the cartridges.
In the table below, we have listed the average bullet momentum numbers over a 500 yard range for the forty compiled rounds.
7mm-08 Rem vs .270 Win Average Bullet Momentum (lb.f/s)
Accuracy is always a topic that seems to come up on any shooting forum or between friends discussing their favorite rounds. And it almost always ends up in an argument with both or multiple parties championing their round of choice. And there is almost always no data to back it up. Honestly, even when someone does show a picture of their groupings, the results can change from day to day depending on a myriad of factors.
And we are not arguing that measuring MOA or inches between shots is a poor method for determining accuracy; it’s just that its tough for so many rounds and between cartridges. There are people out there we might trust, but the best way to test which round is the most accurate with your rifle is to shoot it yourself.
So, how we are going to look at accuracy is to reexamine several of the ballistic and performance characteristics that we have already taken a look at. It’s a kind of roundabout way, but we can make some inferences with the previously examined data.
For recoil, we do not think there is enough of a difference between these two to give an advantage in accuracy to either one. The 7mm-08 does have slightly less recoil energy, and perhaps that could be helpful if you’re shooting a lot in a single day. Overall, we don’t think either of these cartridges are going to throw off a shot.
Let’s take some of the ballistic information and see if we can make any assumptions about accuracy. We did see that both the 7mm-08 and .270 Win cartridges had very similar BC’s. The averages were almost identical, and both had rounds available with BCs over .48. We also saw that the .270 rounds had around from 100-200 fps more velocity on average than the 7mm-08 rounds which might be significant for long range shooting, but again, there are 7mm-08 rounds that performed very similar to the .270 rounds.
For trajectory, we saw the same trends for the short and long-range data. The .270 Win rounds tended to show a less pronounced bullet drop than the 7mm-08 rounds. At shorter ranges, the difference in the averages was pretty minuscule, but as the bullets moved out to the 500+ range, we saw the difference increase to as much as 18 inches between the two cartridges. Of course, that is just averages, and you’re not going to be shooting averages in the field. All of these rounds show less than 16 inches of bullet drop at 300 yards when zeroed at 100 yards and less than 100 inches of bullet drop at 600 yards when the rifle was zeroed at 200 yards. For factory loads, that’s a pretty flat trajectory. The best performing rounds were all .270 Win, but there were a couple 7mm-08 rounds that competed.
Does any of this give the nod to either cartridge regarding accuracy? Personally, we don’t think any of it translates to one cartridge being more accurate than the other. Both have the characteristics to be deadly accurate, and it is going to depend on your rifle and your willingness to get shots in at the range.
Price and Availability
Another factor to consider when deciding on a cartridge is how easy is it to get your hands on a box of rounds. Both of these rounds are out there and can be found at most major retail stores, but you are going to run across a lot more .270 Win rounds and a lot more options. The .270 is just in higher demand currently than the 7mm-08, and that means more companies are making more of that ammo.
Because there are more options when it comes to the .270 Win, you have a better selection when it comes to prices. I think it’s true for most of us that if a round has proven itself to us, we won’t mind shelling out a few more dollars. On average, a box of 20 7mm-08 rounds are going to cost a few more dollars, but the difference between the two rounds is not too drastic.
We have listed the average prices of each of our ten selected rounds from several of the major retail sites and listed them in the table below. Note that the prices are subject to change.
|7mm-08 Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 140gr||$44.99 (20 Rounds)|
|7mm-08 Federal Vital Shok Nosler Partition 140gr||$35.99 (20 Rounds)|
|7mm-08 Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 140gr||$31.99 (20 Rounds)|
|7mm-08 Federal Power-Shok JSP 150gr||$25.49 (20 Rounds)|
|7mm-08 Hornady Superformance SST 139gr||$25.99 (20 Rounds)|
|270 Winchester SST Superformance 130gr||$41.21 (20 Rounds)|
|270 Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 150gr||$20.49 (20 Rounds)|
|270 Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 130gr||$31.99 (20 Rounds)|
|270 Remington Core-Lokt PSP 115gr.||$23.49 (20 Rounds)|
|270 Federal Sierra GameKing BTSP 150gr||$30.99 (20 Rounds)|
We have taken a look at a lot of information on these two cartridges. When looking at the 7mm-08 vs .270, we are looking at two rounds that can be used for a lot of the same applications including hunting as well as long-range shooting.
With the long-range trajectories of these cartridges, both can be used for long-range shooting. The .270 Win rounds did show a less pronounced bullet drop on average than the 7mm-08. The top two flattest shooting rounds were from the .270 Win cartridge. For factory loads, around 100 to 120 inches of bullet drop at 700 yards is pretty impressive. All have muzzle velocities well over 2,500ft.s, and they have very manageable recoil. If you’re serious about long-distance shooting, hand loading these cartridges can give you pretty impressive results. We think going out with either a .270 Win or a 7mm-08 chambered rifle can prove fruitful.
As far as hunting goes, both of these rounds have the stopping power for medium to even larger size game within range and with a well-placed shot. All of these rounds had over 1,500ft.lb of energy at two hundred yards with several still carrying over 2,000ft.lb. Energy wise, that is more than enough for most game animals in North America. And barring the bullet design, both cartridges have the sectional density and momentum to penetrate the hide and bone of medium-sized and even larger game in North America with a shot in the vitals. Both cartridges also have excellent trajectories within normal hunting ranges which help when making quick estimates on range when lining up a shot.
We will end our discussion of the .270 versus 7mm-08 in a moment, but first we will indicate our favorites from the ten rounds we have discussed in details Feel free to add your favorites in the comments below.
Top Hunting Round
Our top choice for the best 7mm-08 round is the 140gr Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond. The 140gr Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond bullet provides deep penetration for medium to large game. This round provides over 1,000ft.lb of energy up to 500 yards. Thus, you will always have enough energy to kill your target from a reasonable distance. Additionally, for a hunting specific round, the AccuBond bullet has an excellent BC (.421) and provides limited bullet drop (12 inches at 300 yards when zeroed in at 100 yards).
Our favorite hunting round for the .270 cartridge is the Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 150gr. With almost 2,000ft.s velocity at 500 yards, the round does not struggle to provide correct terminal ballistics. In addition to its velocity, the round has a bullet energy of more than 1,500ft.lbs at 400 yards, which delivers more than enough stopping power. The heavier grain of this bullet increases the penetration on larger game. Finally, the long-range trajectory is quite good; although, not as flat as other .270 rounds. Still, it is manageable enough at 400 yards, and to be honest, we are not concerned with any range after that when hunting.
Top Range Round
In general, hand loaded rounds are more popular for competition shooting. But, out of the five factory loads analyzed in this article, our top pick is the 139gr Hornady Superformance SST round. Not only is this an affordable 7mm-08 round, but it also has a large velocity and a high BC of .486. Despite its power, the trajectory will remain quite flat. For example, a factory load will create just 39 inches of bullet drop at 500 yards and only 105 inches at 700 yards. Finally, the round only makes 18ft.lb of recoil energy, which will allow you to shoot it all day at the range—with gun support of course—without getting tired.
Another top choice for the .270 cartridge is the 130gr Winchester SST Superperformance. The largest plus for this round is in its high velocity. It makes over 2,200ft.sec at 500 yards, and will even remain supersonic several hundred yards after the 500 yard mark. Unlike its velocity, the BC of this round is lower than other rounds, especially for long range shooters. The flat trajectory—only 33 inches at 500 yards—may help compensate you for the loss of BC. For a factory load, all of these statistics are quite impressive. But, that quality comes at a price, as this round generally costs more than other .270 factory loads we discuss here. Still, of all the rounds we have examined, this one provides the best long-range performance.
From the data we have looked at in the 7mm-08 vs .270 comparison, we feel pretty confident in stating that these cartridges can do what they were designed for.
Both of these cartridges can be used for the same shooting applications and we think that whichever you go with, maybe even both, you are going to be happy with your choice. More than anything, it’s important that you become confident with your chosen cartridge. Whether it’s the 7mm-08 or the .270, with some time on the range and the right round, you’re going to get the performance you want.
Full List of Ammunition used for averages:
7mm-08 Remington Rounds
Nosler Trophy Grade AccuBond 140gr
Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 140gr
Federal Power-Shok JSP 150gr
Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 140gr
Hornady Superformance SST 139gr
Barnes VOR-TX TTSX Polymer Spitzer Boattail 120gr
Hornady American Whitetail InterLock SP 139gr
Nosler Ballistic Tip 140gr
Federal JSP Power-Shok 150gr
Norma Tipstrike 160gr
Hornady GMX Full Boar 139gr
Federal Fusion Soft Point 120gr
Winchester Super-X 140gr
Remington Core-Lokt PSP 140gr
PPU GPSP Boattail 140gr
Browning BXR Matrix Tip 144gr
Norma Oryx Protected Point 156gr
Winchester Deer Season XP Extreme Point Polymer Tip 140gr
HSM Trophy Gold VLD Berger HPBT 140gr
Hornady Custom Lite SST 120gr
.270 Winchester Rounds
Hornady SST Superformance 130gr
Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 130gr
Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 150gr
Remington Core-Lokt 130gr
Federal Sierra GameKing BTSP 150gr
Barnes VOR-TX TTSX 130gr
Winchester Super-X 150gr
Browning BXC Controlled Expansion 145gr
Nosler Trophy Grade 130gr
Hornady Custom Lite SST 120gr
Federal JSP Power-Shok 130gr
Norma Oryx 150gr
Hornady Full Boar GMX 130gr
Nosler Ballistic Tip 140gr
Hornady American Whitetail 130gr
Browning BXR Controlled Expansion 134gr
Winchester Expedition Big Game 140gr
Remington Core-Lokt 150gr
PPU Soft Point 150gr
Remington Premier AccuTip BT 130gr