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First Gun - All Purpose Caliber: .308 or .270?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Will_Power, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    Hi guys,

    Got a couple dollars in my pocket from working overtime and some freelance client jobs (I do design and web strategy work), so I'm finally at a point from where I can start to seriously look at picking up a used bolt gun. I'm in no hurry and am happy to wait to buy the exact gun I want, rather than compromising on something I might not be happy with a couple months down the line.

    At this point, I've narrowed down my options to a stainless/synthetic setup. I'd prefer a Ruger M77 MkII, but would consider a Remington 700, too.

    But the big question for me now is caliber: .308 Win and .270 Win? The .30-06 has a huge, huge following for good reason, and the 7mm Mag seems pretty damn appealing (seems like a damn canon), but those aren't in the running for the time being. I'm a big guy, so the recoil isn't an issue, but the cost and possible overkill is what is steering me away from the 7mm Mag.

    I'd like to find something that I can use as something of a general purpose rifle as I get into hunting around Oregon. Deer and elk, I'd figure mostly, if not the occasional coyote varmitting, but I'd like my caliber to handle bear and mt. lion if I choose. Being so late to hunting / guns in general, I feel it'd probably be smart for me to get a single gun and get really comfortable with it.

    I'm not reloading, and cost is a factor. How much more expensive is the .270 cartridges? Prohibitively? I like the idea of it shooting flatter...

    So. .270 Win or .308 Win? They seem to be pretty similar, so I'm having a hard time sorting out which to go with.
     
  2. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    I think any of the calibers that you listed are fine. I was after a Rem 270 but since I need a left hand rifle I bought the only one in the shop at the time which was a Rem 700 in 30-06. Its a all black SPS model and I love it.

    Heck for Deer/Cougar a 25-06 or 243 will work just fine. Both are easier to shoot. There are hunters that will use these even for Bear and Elk.

    For black bear and Elk you might want more power. The 270 is just fine and is a nice long range caliber also. The 30-06 and 308 are a step up and will have more recoil.

    I know its real hip to have the big magnums like the 7mm or 300, but its not really necessary unless you are shooting at very long ranges. I don't find them that much fun to shoot.

    Everyone has their favorite caliber rifle. You would be surprised how many in Oregon still like their old 30-30 and 35 rem lever rifles.
     
  3. shoggoth80

    shoggoth80 Greater Seattle Area Member

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    I'll plug in a vote for .308. It isn't the best at anything, but is a fine cartridge for just about anything. A solid all arounder.
     
  4. sweetbeard

    sweetbeard Beavertown OreGUN! New Member

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    .308!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. CJ1089

    CJ1089 Aloha, Oregon Marveling at the world.

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    ..if you are looking for a strict purpose rifle for hunting big game (as big as it gets in oregon:laugh:) locally then the 270 is a better pick IMHO. Before the flaming starts this is MY opinion.

    For these reasons:
    1. Ammo cost is a wash, the local Bi-mart prices these the same for similar quality ammo.
    2. The 270Win has a flatter trajectory given similar weighted bullets, this is a real plus to a novice hunter allowing more error in range estimation without missing the shot/wounding the animal.
    3. The 270Win is more appropriate for longer range shots in general conditions by the average/novice shooter than the 308Win. BOTH are adequate/equal in the hands of an expert marksman.
    4. The 270Win retains more power over its flight path when identical weight bullets are compared, due to ballistic coef's of the rounds.
    5. You can throw antelope in to game mix easily, the 308 can take easy enough but the usual ranges extend into the 'difficult' zone (see #2-#4 above).

    Obviously the 2 cartridges are so closely related that very fine distinctions are being made. As a general rule they are near the same from 0-200 yards, with the 308 winning that battle due to greated range of bullet weights. But those extra loadings are arguably (by me anyway) unimportant when used within the Oregon Big game category.

    Disclaimer, I use have used a 270Win to hunt everything from coyotes to Montana elk without issue. 150 grain bullets for the heavies and 120 for the lightweights. I have and shoot the 308 and have no issues with it, just like my 270 better.

    Anyway you go is a win, one of the few "you can't lose!" scenarios.
    Good luck,
    CJ
     
  6. kenno

    kenno eastern WA Active Member

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    I have both and have killed elk with each, If I was going for moose I would pick a 30-06 or 300mag, otherwise either the 270 or 308 is a excelent choice
     
  7. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    From what you've said, you're new to hunting/guns. Why would other members recommend using something as low powered as a .270 for hunting elk? I guess if you've been doing it for quiet a while, and are confident in your ability towards shot placement, and are rolling your own so you are confident in your ammo, the .270 is an outstanding caliber! But for a novice, wouldn't something as all-around as the 30-06 be a better fit? You have the same bullet choices as the .308, but a little extra powder behind them. The increased recoil from an 06 is negligible compared to the .270. I'm sorry, but I sorely believe that a .270 is underpowered for anything bigger than mule deer. 150 gr bullets (of any caliber) for ELK? Why take JUST enough, when you're new, you want to bring enough that you are confident in putting your game down. As far as loading your own; I love reloading, and if you were to save your brass, and get the components, I would load whatever you want. I can reload .270, .280 Rem, .308, 30.06 and 7mm Rem Mag, I can't afford to buy everything for you, but I'd be happy to help you out. The versatility of reloaded .30 cal ammo is beyond amazing. 110 gr for little things like chipmunks (hahahahaha) up to 220 gr for Elk/Water buffalo/M1 Abrams tanks. For your poll, I'd have to say .308, just for the cheap ammo options
     
  8. Quackerbacker

    Quackerbacker Springfield, OR Active Member

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    I think the latest generation bullets turn .270 and .308 into extremely well suited elk & even moose rounds.

    My .02
     
  9. CJ1089

    CJ1089 Aloha, Oregon Marveling at the world.

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    Two columns from Conley's Precision Cartridges, website selling ammo picked at random after an extensive 5 second search.
    270 Winchester Ballistic Table
    30/06 Springfield Ballistic Table
    30-06 Sprfld
    220 Gr. Nosler Partition 2470 / 2980 =100yd=+2.76 / 2226 / 2420=200yd= +0.00 / 2000 / 1953=300yd= -11.51 / 1790 / 1564=400yd= -33.93 / 1599 / 1249=500yd= -70.00 / 1429 / 998
    270 Win
    150 Gr. Nosler Partition 2900 / 2801 =100yd=+1.65 / 2694 / 2416=200yd= +0.00 / 2496 / 2075 =300yd=-7.24 / 2309 / 1776=400yd= -20.97 / 2132 / 1514 =500yd=-42.40 / 1965 / 1285
    The numbers are ==inches from lline of sight/velocity in ft per second/energy in ft lnbs.
    The zero is at 200 yds.
    Selected as these are both Nosler Partition bullets, suggested by someone as necessary for Elk (220gr 30-06) and somehow marginal for large game (150gr 270Win). Leaving aside the obvious point that the 270 is simply a necked down 30-06 and maintains the same case dimensions and powder capacity, lets examine exterior ballistics.
    Note that the 30-06 produces 179ftlbs more at the muzzle, matches at 100yds and bleeds off to trail the 270 by 287ftlbs at 500yds. So yes the 30-06 delivers more energy from 0-100 yds but trails the 270 at all further distances.

    That being said, the 30-06 is a fine cartridge worthy of its reputation but don't let the uninformed lead you to conclude that the 270 is in anyway second rate.
    Good luck,
    CJ
     
  10. terrylf72

    terrylf72 Portland, Oregon, United States Member

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    I went with my favorite, 308/7.62x51..
     
  11. dario541

    dario541 medford, or 97504 Member

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    I believe that the .308 is adequate for anything found in Oregon. It is economical and plentiful. It is a military caliber which means that you should always be able to find ammo for it. I like the .270 but if I could only have one rifle it would be the .308.
     
  12. BulkAmmo

    BulkAmmo Knoxville New Member

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    You can't go wrong with either caliber. I'd vote for .308 for the simple reason that it's a little more versatile than the .270. That and if you ever decided to get into a semi-auto you can stay with the same caliber.
     
  13. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    Thanks a ton for the replies so far, guys. I'm really leaning towards the .308 as that seems to be the most rational, common sense choice. But I'll be damned if that 7Mag doesn't fire up something in the ole lizard brain. Are there no commercially available lower grain loads that wouldn't make it completely and utter overkill for smaller game?

    I see that it's gotten a few votes. I'd appreciate hearing some people's input on that.
     
  14. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Since 30-06 isn't one of your choices, I voted for 308. The availability of quality factory ammo for 308 is far better then 270. In reality there are tons of calibers that will kill game just as dead as another.
     
  15. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    For your original stated purposes, and your continued stated desire to occasionally hunt smaller game, the .270 is the better choice. Loaded with 100 grain bullets, it is a fine coyote cartridge. For larger game at long ranges in open country it will do slightly better than the .308 for trajectory.

    Had you stated that you would hunt deer and elk only, and rarely in open-country cross-canyon shot areas, I'd go with the .308, as it makes for a slightly more compact gun, and the option of very heavy bullets exists.

    As for the 7mm, a fine cartridge as well, but here you will give up all the pleasantness if you find yourself in a prairie dog town with a box of shells. The .270 (given a 24" barrel, as most 7mm's are) will chase right behind the 7 for ballistics, and with noticeably less recoil.

    As for the gentleman who implied that cartridge power can somehow make up for lack of experience and lack of confidence for shot placement, with the contention that novices should choose more powerful guns, I will do the only civil thing and allow his statements to rest on their own relative merit.

    Finally, I would like to express my admiration, that you (all on your own, albeit with some requested help) researched and explored and came to narrowing your choices to these two (three?) fine cartridges. You will never regret choosing either one, and the fact that you came to this array of choices places you above many shooters with perhaps much more experience than yourself that still have not paid attention and seen the light that you so easily found.
     
  16. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    @Spit: (Gotta make this quick - ready to head home for the holiday weekend) It's not that I want to hunt smaller game, it's just that I want a caliber that will handle everything in the area as a general purpose caliber. It seems like the .308 will do that in spades.
     
  17. iusmc2002

    iusmc2002 Colville, WA Active Member

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    Put and elk down at 500 yards with a .270. Gimme a break. I advocated for the .30 cal because whether you believe it or not, a larger bullet is harder to stop. A .30 cal is going to do more damage if you hit an animal in the shoulder bone, because you misjudged the wind on your 500 yard elk shot, than a .270 is. Simple fact. Let your "civil" comment rest on it's laurels.
     
  18. CJ1089

    CJ1089 Aloha, Oregon Marveling at the world.

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    First off, 308 is a fine catridge that will fill the original posters stated needs.

    Then,
    1. Yes, as demonstrated in a previous post with references to something called physics (that can be explained later if necessary) an appropriately loaded and launched 270 bullet will kill any elk found in this state at 500 yards.
    This is also true of all the calibers yet named in this thread. The only difference is the inherent difficulty of an appropriate launch. (i.e. adjustments for elevation/windage/temperature/altitude)

    2. If " believe it or not, a larger bullet is harder to stop." then a 45-70 firing a 300 gr bullet would make a better selection than the 270 firing a 150 grainer at 500 yards. Science says no. The 300gr would have approx. 45% of the 150gr energy. Less energy means less damage, less damage means less likely to kill.

    3. If "A .30 cal is going to do more damage if you hit an animal in the shoulder bone", then the slug from a 30-30 is more effective on a bone strike than the smaller bullet from say a 7mmRem Mag.:laugh: Damn I crack myself up sometimes.

    4. and lastly, "because you misjudged the wind on your 500 yard elk shot, than a .270 is.".
    Lesson, the longer a bullet resides in the airstream the more wind affects it (time).
    The larger the sectional area of the bullet the more force the wind exerts on it (area).
    If two rounds are compared and one displays both more time and area, it will experience more wind displacement (drift).
    The more drift a bullet sees the harder it will be to accurately place the bullet on a target due to the great skill required to accurately quantify and compensate for wind.

    Sorry to hijack your thread but a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

    Hace fun,
    CJ
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  19. hendrixfan

    hendrixfan Clackamas County Member

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    Unless you are seriously going to be taking long range shots at game I would say .308, if for no other reason than the amount of information out there to help you as you progress in shooting. From hunting forums to sniper forums the .308 is so well researched that you can find out a lot of info for free. The .270 is a flatter shooting cartridge for sure, but unless you are shooting longer than 300 yards, and a new shooter shouldn't be doing that, I don't see that being a big factor. If you are going to shoot an elk at 500 yards I would say the 7mm, but realistically its a few years of practice down the road for you, and you can always get another gun when you are ready. If you decide to get into reloading at some point, a 7mm-08 is a great cartridge.
     
  20. CJ1089

    CJ1089 Aloha, Oregon Marveling at the world.

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    Good point on the 308 database availability,
    +1 on the 7mm-08.