30-06 vs 270. What’s the Difference? Which Rifle is Better?

There are many calibers in the long range rifle world and it can be hard to know which rifle and rifle caliber to choose. In this article, we’ll go over the difference between two rather popular hunting rounds: the 30-06 vs .270 debate.

This debate may sound familiar to the one between the .308 Winchester and .270 Winchester and that is because the 30-06 and the .308 are fairly similar. Nonetheless, there are differences and the .270 vs 30-06 battle is one that needs to be heard.


Both of these cartridges have a fairly long history, both of them mainly being used for purposes of hunting and target shooting. The background between the two may help you in deciding between the two, so we’ll break that down first.

30-06 Springfield

The 30-06 has also seen military use while the .270 caliber has not. The 30-06 was introduced to the United States armed forces and put into use around 1906, this being the reason for the “-06” in its name, with the caliber of the bullet, .30 as the first part of the name.

The well known 30-06 was used for over 70 years in the U.S. military until it was largely replaced by what was commercially produced as the .308 Winchester, but that replacement was only in the military.

The 30-06 was and is still widely used for target shooting and hunting. This replacement also did not completely remove use of the 30-06 in the military, as it was still used as it was phased out.

It saw war-time conflict in WWI and WWII, more so in WWII as a sniper and long range cartridge.

.270 Winchester

Something important to realize when we compare the .270 vs 30-06 is that they both come from the same parent cartridge, the 30-03. The .270 is a necked down case from the 30-03 casing to accommodate the smaller diameter bullet.

The .270 was brought to the public in 1925 by Winchester for use in their Model 54 rifle. Honestly, this cartridge has been mainly used for hunting.

While the .270 wasn’t used in the military, it has seen some great success in the hunting realm. It is great for taking down smaller game like Coyotes and other varmints, but has also been popular for taking down larger game.

Wondering Which Caliber is Better Between 30-06 vs 270?

When we look at the 30-06 vs .270, the main differences include things like the diameter of the projectiles themselves and how hard they hit as they reach their intended target.

Projectile Differences

Because the 30-06 has a bigger bullet, it hits a little bit harder. This could be an argument in behalf of the 30-06 when hunting for really big game like Elk.

Although the 30-06 with it’s .30 caliber bullet is bigger than the .270, the .270 remains a very viable option, including for bigger game. Don’t completely discount what the .270 could be able to do for you just because it is a smaller bullet. Size matters, but it’s not always the deciding factor.


You can very easily find different types of bullets for each of these rifle calibers based on your purpose and intended target. They are both popular enough that it won’t be hard at all. You will generally find bullets with a weight of 150 to around 180 grains for the 30-06. For the .270, anywhere from 100 to 170 grains are common. Each can be found in hollow-point as well as other bullet types.

Case Size and Recoil

These two are nearly identical when it comes to overall size of the casing. Again, the main difference is that the .270 has been necked down. They are both around 3.3 inches long and the case size is around 2.5 inches for both.

The 30-06 generally has a bit more recoil. Now, this is obviously going to vary pretty widely depending on the rifle and also other factors including bullet weight.

If you are trying to avoid the bigger kick between the .270 vs 30-06, the .270 generally has less recoil, but honestly not by much.

Reaching Out to Distance

Both of these calibers can stretch to pretty great distances. Both can arguably reach out to distances greater than 1,000 yards, but let’s talk about the realistic distance for purposes such as hunting.

The .270 Winchester is probably best used in the distances up to somewhere between 300 and 500 yards.

Obviously when it comes to hunting, this is definitely up to the shooter. Shooting at distances greater than around 300 yards is risky for a clean shot, depending on what you have practiced.

The 30-06 is definitely accurate at the same types of distances for hunting.

It is nice to know that whichever caliber you choose with these two, you are definitely going to be able to stretch your rifle out to distances greater than 1,000 yards if that is what you desire.


Seen as both of these cartridges are used primarily for hunting, the most common platforms for both the 30-06 and .270 are definitely the bolt-action and lever-action rifle platforms. Both of these calibers are readily available from multiple manufacturers in both of these platforms.

Remember to get a Scope!

To be a better shooter, it’s always suggest to get a rifle scope. See what the best scope for 30-06 is and for a .270 caliber.

Which One Should You Choose?

If we’re being completely honest here, we have no business telling you which rifle to choose, so we won’t! The choice is definitely up to you. Hopefully we have provided you some insights here in this article that make that decision a bit easier for you.

Remember, when it comes to choosing, the 30-06 vs .270 debate is a commonly held one. Both are great calibers that offer a variety of options for your variety of purposes and game that you may want to take down this hunting season.

If you’re asking me, there really isn’t a winner or a loser between these two. See if you can find a rifle in each of these calibers to shoot a couple times and see which feels best to you.

In the end, you’re gonna be the one shooting it, so it’s important that you get what you want and need for you.