There are very few hunting calibers that get us as excited as the .270 Winchester. Its legendary status among hunters and shooters is well deserved, with a perfect balance of power, accuracy, and versatility.
But with so many manufacturers offering .270 rifles on the market, it can be challenging to determine who makes the best one. That’s why we’ve found four of the best.
Some background on the .270 powerhouse.
The .270 Winchester is known for its superior performance in the field. Introduced by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company in 1925, this cartridge quickly gained popularity among hunters and shooting enthusiasts. It’s particularly favored for its flat trajectory, long-range capabilities, and impressive energy output.
Often loaded with a 130-grain bullet, the .270 Winchester can achieve a muzzle velocity of approximately 3,060fps. This high velocity, combined with the cartridge’s design, allows for exceptional accuracy over long distances. When sighted to be 3 inches above the line of sight at 100 yards (90 meters), the bullet retains its flight path with minimal drop.
Now you see why it’s a favorite.
In comparison to other popular hunting cartridges, such as the .30-06 Springfield, the .270 Winchester tends to shoot flatter and deliver more energy. This is especially true when loaded with 140- and 150-grain bullets.
This is largely due to the velocity gap between these cartridges.
The .270 Winchester’s versatility and effectiveness have led to ongoing debates among hunting and shooting communities over its superiority to other cartridges. Despite these debates, the .270 Winchester remains a favorite and continues to be one of the most widely used centerfire rifle cartridges today.
|Bullet Diameter||0.277 in (7.04 mm)|
|Bullet Weight||Ranges from 90 to 150 grains (5.8 to 9.7 g)|
|Case Design||Designed by Winchester Repeating Arms Company|
|Typical Muzzle Velocity||Around 3,060 fps|
|Maximum Muzzle Velocity||Can push a 130-grain bullet up to 3,140 fps|
|Long Range Capability||Ideal for long range hunting and target shooting|
|Recoil||Moderate recoil, manageable for most shooters|
|Typical Use||Hunting, especially for game like deer and elk|
What makes a good .270 for hunting?
When we looked at 15 of the most popular .270 rifles, we considered several factors that make a rifle suitable for hunting. These are our go-to criteria when it comes to finding the best hunting rifle.
Of course, we have to start with the most crucial factor — accuracy.
A good hunting rifle should be able to consistently hit targets at various distances, which is especially important for long-range shooting. Once you sight that buck, you don’t want your gun to be in question.
So we look for rifles with a quality barrel and a well-built action.
Another major factor is reliability.
Hunting trips can be long and unpredictable, so you need a rifle that won’t disappoint when it counts. Sometimes, that buck only comes around once while you’re in the stand.
Very few brands stand out when it comes to reliability, but we’ve found a few that meet our standards. You might be surprised by who we’ve picked with this in mind.
Weight and balance.
Not all rifles weigh the same, and this can make a significant impact on your hunting experience.
A lightweight rifle is easier to carry around, but it may have more recoil and affect accuracy.
On the other hand, a heavier rifle may be steadier when shooting, but it can also be tiring to carry for long periods.
Brand and design can also impact the balance of a rifle, so we carefully consider these factors when evaluating .270 rifles.
Price and value.
Let’s face it: hunting rifles can be expensive. It’s a costly sport altogether, but we can’t live without it.
We want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth with our top picks. We could easily pick the most expensive that check all the blocks. However, you wouldn’t be able to afford them.
We’ve found some excellent options at various price points that offer a good balance of quality and value.
Get the right ammunition.
Before we jump in and reveal our top picks for the best .270 hunting rifles, we should touch on ammunition.
The .270 Winchester can fire a wide variety of bullet weights and types, so it’s essential to choose the right one for whatever you’re hunting.
The .270 ranges from about 90 grains to 150 grains in bullet weight, with the most popular being between 130 and 150 grains.
For deer hunting, we typically recommend a lighter bullet for their smaller size, while heavier bullets are better suited for elk or bear. You trade off a bit of trajectory for a heavier bullet, but the larger animal is more likely to be stopped by it.
As for price, it’s an excellent middle-of-the-road ammo that costs right around $1.00 a round. We’ve seen them as low as $0.90 and upwards of $1.25 per round for the spire points.
Want a quality .270 hunting rifle? These are the best.
We’ve fired hundreds of rounds through dozens of .270s to find the best rifles on the market.
After careful consideration, here are our top picks for the best .270 hunting rifles.
Remington Model 700 .270
Known for its extreme accuracy and durability, the Remington Model 700 has been touted as one of the best .270 rifles by hunters for decades. And we tend to agree.
Chances are, if you don’t have a Model 700, then your grandaddy sure did.
It features a synthetic stock, an adjustable trigger, and a three-position safety. The Model 700 also has an impressive track record in the field, with countless successful hunts to its name.
We’re picking this classic because it’s tried and true, making it a reliable choice for any hunting situation.
Savage Axis II XP .270
The Savage Axis II XP is another highly recommended .270 rifle, praised for its balance of quality and affordability.
We think Savage is often underrated in the rifle market, but this bolt-action rifle proves they are a force to be reckoned with.
It boasts an adjustable AccuTrigger and a comfortable synthetic stock, making it easy to handle and shoot accurately.
The best part? It’s an affordable .270 that won’t break the bank, making it an excellent choice for hunters on a budget.
Winchester Model 70 Featherweight
This model is repeatedly mentioned as a top pick when it comes to .270 rifles. It’s known for its lightweight design without sacrificing performance.
The Winchester Model 70 Featherweight has a classic design, with a satin finish on the stock and deeply blued barrel and action. It also features an adjustable trigger for improved accuracy and a three-position safety.
We had to put the Model 70 on the list because it’s a timeless choice that has stood the test of time.
The Ruger American is a great option for those seeking a high-quality .270 rifle on a budget. It’s lightweight and leaves enough room in the budget for a decent optic.
Ruger is a name that’s well known in the firearm industry, and their American series has gained a good reputation for accuracy and reliability.
We’ve shot dozens of rounds through this rifle and can attest to its outstanding performance. It not only shoots true, but it feels good in your hands like a quality rifle should.
Grab your .270 and bag a buck!
As one of our favorite rifles for whitetail hunting, the .270 Winchester is a powerhouse that’s perfect for any hunter looking to take on big game.
With the right rifle and ammunition, you’ll be ready to tackle your next hunting adventure with confidence.
There are dozens of other .270 rifles on the market, and I’m sure we’ll get some flak for our picks, but these are the ones we’ve found to be consistently reliable and accurate.
If you have a .270 that should be on the list, let us know in the comments or drop us a line on our subreddit. We’ll keep this list updated over time with new models.