Hunting Cartridge External Ballistics

A comparison of popular hunting cartridge external ballistics might surprise you. At close ranges, it may matter very little to you, but as ranges increase less drop (and most importantly, less wind drift) becomes important. I've found the easiest way to compare is the drop from 200-300 yards, assuming a 200 yard zero. These are all factory published Remington loads, assuming a 24 inch barrel length.

270 Winchester

7mm-08 Remington

7mm Remington Magnum

.308 Winchester

.30-06 Springfield

.300 Winchester Magnum

.338 Winchester Magnum

In terms of trajectory, there is scant little difference between the 270 Winchester, 7mm RemMag, and .300 WinMag. What the 270 Winchester does with a 130 grain bullet, the 7mm RemMag does with a 140 grain bullet, the .300 WinMag does with a 150 grain bullet as an approximation. What the 7mm-08 offers in terms of trajectory with a 140 grain bullet isn't much different than what the .30-06 does with a 150 grain bullet. The differences become closer yet when shorter than industry standard 24 inch barrels are used.

Further, the latest loads blur the traditional notions of trajectory even more. Consider the 270 Winchester Hornady Superformance 130 grain Interbond.

Another fairly recent factory load of interest is the Federal 270 Winchester Trophy Bonded Tip.

At less than six inches of drop from 200 - 300 yards (5.7 inches for the Hornady and 5.8 for the Federal), this pair of 270 Winchester factory loads might rightly make you wonder just what exactly is so fundamentally "magnumy" about the 7mm RemMag, .300 WinMag, and .338 WinMag?


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