When it comes to hunting cartridges, there are a lot of options available. The 30-06 has probably shot more deer than anything else, but one of the modern favorites is the 6.5 Creedmoor. However, two of the most popular cartridges among hunters that have spanned decades are the .25-06 and .270.
Both cartridges are excellent choices for deer hunting and other game, but one may perform better than the other depending on what you shoot and how you shoot.
We break down the two rounds and decide which one is better for hunting.
|SPECIFICATION||.25-06 REMINGTON||.270 WINCHESTER|
|Bullet Diameter||0.257 in (6.53 mm)||0.277 in (7.04 mm)|
|Bullet Weight||Ranges from 75 to 120 grains (4.9 to 7.8 g)||Ranges from 90 to 150 grains (5.8 to 9.7 g)|
|Case Design||Designed by Remington Arms Company||Designed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company|
|Typical Muzzle Velocity||Around 2600 fps||Around 3,060 fps|
|Maximum Muzzle Velocity||Can push an 85-grain bullet up to 3,600 fps||Can push a 130-grain bullet up to 3,140 fps|
|Long Range Capability||Suitable for precision long range flat shooting||Ideal for long range hunting and target shooting|
|Recoil||Less recoil, suitable for young adults||Moderate recoil, manageable for most shooters|
|Typical Use||Small to medium game hunting such as whitetail deer||Big game hunting such as deer and elk|
The .25-06 Remington has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century.
Originally a wildcat cartridge developed by necking down the .30-06 Springfield cartridge to accept a .257 caliber bullet, its performance caught the attention of hunters and shooters alike.
Remington formally adopted and began manufacturing the .25-06 in 1969. Known for its flat trajectory and high velocity, the .25-06 has become a preferred choice for hunting medium-sized game like deer and pronghorn.
Its light recoil makes it a comfortable option for shooters of all skill levels.
The .270 Winchester, introduced in 1925, has a similar history to the .25-06.
It, too, started as a wildcat cartridge by necking down the .30-03 Springfield cartridge to accept a .277 caliber bullet.
The round quickly gained popularity for its accuracy and effectiveness on big game such as elk and moose.
Like the 25-06, its manageable recoil also makes it a favorable choice for long days of hunting.
Comparing the two cartridges.
Armed with a bit of knowledge on the background of both cartridges, let’s dive into a comparison of the two.
When looking at the ballistics of each cartridge, the 25-06 has a smaller bullet size, typically 100-120 grains, while the .270 typically has a bullet size of 130-150 grains.
However, bullet weights can be deceiving as there is more to a bullet’s performance than just its weight.
The smaller bullet allows for a lower recoil and higher velocity, whereas the larger bullet has a higher mass and retains energy better at longer distances. You’ll also get a better trajectory out of lighter bullets as there is less bullet drop.
So, if you’re hunting elk or other big game at longer ranges, the .270 is the better choice. That’s not to say the 25-06 can’t effectively take down bigger game, but it may lack the stopping power of the .270. You’ll just have to have proper shot placement if you’re going with the smaller bullet.
In terms of accuracy, both cartridges are extremely accurate.
However, the 25-06 is considered by most hunters to be a little more accurate at longer ranges due to its flatter trajectory and lower recoil.
This makes it an excellent choice for varmint hunting and long-range target shooting.
However, if your form is solid and you can handle the recoil, the .270 can also achieve excellent accuracy at extended ranges.
All in all, most shooters can place a 25-06 where they want it, while the .270 may require a bit more practice and skill.
We’ve shot just about every caliber out there, and we can say with confidence that the 25-06 has one of the lightest recoils you’ll find.
This makes it a great option for younger or smaller shooters, as well as those who may be sensitive to recoil, like kids transitioning to larger calibers.
The .270 also has manageable recoil, but it may be a bit more powerful for some shooters. If you put the right stock on a .270, recoil shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Availability of ammo.
When choosing a hunting cartridge, it’s essential to consider the availability of ammo. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that ammo can get scarce from time to time. Prices sometimes skyrocket and the sporting goods shelves are empty.
So, which one is easier to find? Well, the 25-06 has gained quite a following over the years and can now be found in most sporting goods stores. However, the .270 Winchester is still the more popular round and tends to have a larger availability and variety of ammunition.
You’ll typically end up paying around $0.90 – $1.10/round for the .270 Win. AmmoSeek has thousands of listings for the .270 as well. However, for the 25-06, you’re looking closer to $1.10/round, and AmmoSeek only has a few hundred listings on their site.
We’re giving the .270 the edge on this. This might change over the next few years, but we’ll see.
As with any comparison, there are pros and cons to both cartridges.
We recommend the .270 for most adult hunters. The rounds perform similarly, but the .270 has a slight edge in terms of big-game performance and availability.
If you’re looking for a lighter recoil or plan on hunting small to medium-sized game at longer ranges, then the 25-06 is an excellent choice. This is a solid cartridge for kids or teens looking to get into the sport.
Despite their differences, both rounds are good for big game hunting if your shot placement is accurate.
Is the 25-06 Remington or the .270 Winchester Best for you?
Who’s to say you can’t have both? Whether deer hunting or or going after something a bit bigger like an elk, you can’t go wrong with either.
Since both cartridges are similar in performance, it ultimately comes down to personal preference.
If you’re new to hunting and want a lighter recoil or prefer long-range shooting, the 25-06 may be your best bet.
But if you’re an experienced hunter looking for a reliable big game round with plenty of ammo options, the .270 Winchester is a clear winner.
We like to take our .270 with us for larger game such as mule deer but keep the 25-06 around to take care of smaller game and varmints.