.243 Winchester vs .270 Winchester: Best Deer Hunting Calibers?

Is a 243 Good For Hunting Compared to 270?

Everyone may benefit from American rifle calibers. A caliber that meets both the needs of the shooter and the demands of their targets may be found with ease by shooters of all skill levels and demands. Today, we’ll examine two cartridges, the .243 Winchester and .270 Winchester, that were specifically created with deer hunting in mind.

Since there are many different types of lever action rifles available, these rounds have been around for several decades and are still in production. Although both rounds have been profitable enough to support ongoing production, none has become a household brand. However, both continue to be well-liked among experienced riflemen and ladies.

Brief History

.243 Winchester

The .243 is frequently described as the .308 Win’s little brother. The .243 Win, a necked-down variation of the .308 Win, was first made available to shooters in 1955. What this rifle cartridge provided was a long-range hunting round that could handle rounds that were lighter and more suited for varmint and target shooting.

The .243 hunting round gained popularity in the United States and continues to do so today. It provided hunters with a very adaptable round that could be utilized in a number of hunting circumstances. The 243 Win may use a variety of ammo weights. These can weigh 55 to 115gr, however the majority of deer hunting cartridges have a weight limit of 100gr.

In the field of long-range shooting, the .243 Winchester caliber has a rich history as well. There was a period when it was winning matches all over the US, albeit it may not be as popular as it once was.

.270 Winchester

The .270 Winchester was first introduced in 1925, spending some years in relative obscurity. The.30-03 casing, from which several well-known cartridges have been created, served as the basis for the .270 Win.

Also among the first few cartridges made accessible to the general public that could surpass 3,000 fps was this one. Jack O’Connor, a well-known firearms and outdoor writer, promoted and pushed this caliber and its capabilities in the field, elevating it to the forefront of deer hunting calibers where it is still used today.

Hunting for everything from little varmints and predators to larger game like sheep and deer, the .270 has been immensely popular. The .270 is far more suited for killing large animals, including elk and large game deer, than the .243 thanks to advances in ammo technology.

The majority of .270 ammunition will have bullet weights that range from 120 to 160 grains. For small games, there are lighter weights available.Similar to the .243, there are several alternatives for bullet weight and design that are both easily accessible and reasonably priced.

Why Compare .243 and .270 caliber?

Why compare these two cartridges in the first place? They do, in fact, have a lot in common. Comparing a 50 BMG to a .243 Win makes no sense, yet a hunter may have to choose between the .270 and .243. Both rounds are suitable for many different North American games.

Without being excessive, both cartridges are effective against predators and varmints in small game. Both cartridges can easily handle the majority of medium games and beyond. Winchester finally manufactured both rounds first.

Both rounds gained widespread acceptance among rifle shooters and high acclaim from experienced riflemen and the editors of well-known hunting publications.

Specification Difference Between .243 vs .270

To learn what both cartridges are capable of, it’s always a good idea to look at the rifle cartridge specs. We can immediately notice that there are some significant dfference between the 243 and 270.

The first thing you should be aware of is the significant difference in caliber between the two rifle cartridges. The 270 fires an ammo with a diameter of 0.277″, whereas the 243 fires a projectile with a bullet diameter of 0 .243″. The case length of the 270 is the next obvious distinction, being almost 0.5″ greater than that of the 243. As a result, the 270’s case capacity is increased.

To bring the heavier rounds fired by the 270 up to speed for long-range shooting, more case capacity will be required. The 270 is simply a larger cartridge than the 243 since it is larger overall. But does bigger really mean better in this case?

.243 vs. .270 Ballistics Comparison

The large case of the .270 Winchester gives ample of room for a lot of powder, ensuring that the heavier calibers fly just as quickly as the .243.

The 130-grain projectile is the most often used weight for the .270 Winchester. A 130-grain ammo travels at a speed of 3,060 feet per second and has an impact energy of 2,702 foot pounds. That much force guarantees that a wide range of animals may be properly penetrated. For large animals like elk, lighter projectiles with weights around 150 grains will be even more effective.

Lighter projectiles of 80 grain round may be fired from a lighter 243 cartridge up to 3,350 feet per second. That is practically lightning quick, and the 80-grain rounds are excellent at dispatching animals with thin skin. There are several different .243 caliber rounds available.

Whitetail deer and pigs are the ideal targets for the larger 95 and 100-grain rounds. It is simple to kill little varmint without entirely harming them because to the lighter 58-grain V-Max loading.

What’s particularly intriguing is how similar the ballistic drop is between the two rounds. I looked at a few different loads using the GunData tables and made an effort to compare like with like. I utilized a similar series of rounds that would be used for deer.

The .243 cartridge in this instance fires a 95-grain projectile, whereas the .270 fires a 130-grain projectile. The Winchester Silvertip series of cartridges is the source of both loads.

The .243 has a ballistic drop of around 10.5 inches at 300 yards, whereas the .270 has a drop of approximately 11 inches. The drop doesn’t change significantly, and to be quite honest, the range doesn’t have much drop. These two cartridges are renowned for having flat shooting characteristics.

There is no feasible drop at 100 yards. Both measure a drop of.004 inches. However, there is a noticeable change in energy. The energy of the .243 is little over 1200 foot-pounds, whereas that of the 270 Winchester is nearly 1,500 ft-lbs of energy.

The .270 performs somewhat better at 300 yards than the .243 when wind drift is taken into account. This is supposing a crosswind of 10 mph. At 300 yards, half an inch difference may not seem like much, but it might make a significant difference between a swift kill and a drawn-out pursuit.

In most ballistic areas, the .243 Winchester is arguably beaten by the bigger, longer, and more potent 270 Winchester. On whitetail deer, the .243 Winchester truly achieves its maximum potential. Any bigger, and it isn’t a humanitarian choice. Whitetail deer and other animals considerably larger than them may be readily taken down with the .270 Winchester.

Recoil And Muzzle Rise

When looking at the .243 vs .270 rounds, the .270 Winchester has fantastic ballistics at greater distances, but it costs money. It costs you in recoil. The recoil force of a typical .270 Winchester rifle that weighs 8 pounds and fires a typical 130-grain hunting round is 18.7 ft-lbs of energy. The recoil of a 243 in a 7.5-pound bolt action rifle is just approximately nine foot pounds.

That’s a big variation in recoil. The .270 Winchester is not a bare-knuckled shoulder thumper. With a .270 Winchester, any adult shooter will be entirely safe. Perhaps you won’t be a big admirer if you have a tendency to be recoil sensitive.

The .243 Winchester has a reputation for being a universal caliber. It has less recoil and is typically regarded as a gentle shooting cartridge. In my family, the .243 Winchester cartridge has always been the kid’s round. We passed down a Remington 700 in .243 Winchester from child to child until we outgrew the weapon and upgraded to more potent calibers.

The bolt action rifle size of the .243 Winchester is another advantage. The velocity needed to send the cartridge spinning and tearing is ensured in part by barrel length. There are several cartridges that require a specific barrel length and minimum speed in order to achieve optimal expansion.

The lighter rounds used in the .243 Winchester require a shorter barrel. With the .243 Winchester, you can get away with a very good 20-inch barrel. You’re probably looking at large barrel lengths for the .270, perhaps 24 to 26 inches. These gradually grow less portable, heavier, and more cumbersome.


We measure a bullet’s trajectory, or the distance it travels before hitting its target, in inches of bullet drop. How does it look like for the .243 vs .270?

A round is continually being drawn back towards the ground by gravity as it moves downrange. Additionally, a flatter trajectory is desired for shooting great distances.

Gravity will have less of an impact on lighter rounds moving at higher speeds since they will reach their target sooner than heavy rounds going slower. In light of this, it is simple to understand why the 243 is thought of as the flatter shooting cartrudge when compared to the 270. It’s not as much as you may believe, though!

You can observe that both cartridges have relatively similar bullet drop out to 400 yards by looking at the ballistics charts later in the post. The 243 has, however, generally fallen around 2-3″ less than the 270. These values are outstanding since they are comparable to those of the 300 Winchester Mag and 6.5 Creedmoor, two rifle cartridges that are known for their very flat shooting.

Even though the two rounds’ trajectories are identical at 400 yards, the 270 begins to outperform the 243 at distances more than 700 yards. This occurs as a result of the 243 Win’s lightweight rounds losing FPS at longer ranges and approaching subsonic speeds, while the 270 simply carries on trucking.

In terms of trajectory, the 243 Winchester will be the flatter shooting cartridge for shots under 700 yards, while the 270 is the superior option for shots above 700 yards.

.243 vs. .270 – Ballistics Coefficient

The ballistic coefficient (BC), which is expressed numerically, measures how effectively a cartridge can withstand wind and air resistance. A high BC is preferable since it indicates that a round will be more aerodynamic and can more easily buck the wind.

Although the method for calculating a ballistic coefficient is fairly convoluted and unimportant for this subject, heavier rounds often have higher BCs. You would be true in your supposition that the 270 would give a greater BC when compared to the 243 because it shoots bigger rounds.

The 270 typically has a BC of 0.44, whereas the 243 typically has a BC of 0.34. That is a really striking difference. However, that makes a lot of sense when you consider the lightweight rounds that the 243 fires.

Compared to a hefty 150 grain 270 projectile, a 55 to 85 grain bullet shot by a 243 will be far less affected by wind. In comparison to the 243 Win, the 270 will often have greater BCs and be less influenced by wind drift.

Sectional Density

When comparing the .243 vs .270, what determines how successfully ammo enters a target is called sectional density (SD). This is crucial when going for larger game animals since you need a cartridge that can pierce tough hide, bone, and muscle.

By comparing the weight and diameter of the ammo, sectional density may be computed; the greater the value, the more successful the cartridge will be at piercing a target. The round will pierce the target more deeply the greater the SD.

Outside of the bullet’s shape, there are other aspects of SD to take into account, like the bullet’s velocity and design. When two rounds of equivalent weight travel at different speeds, the round with the greater speed will pierce the ground farther.

A non-expanding cartridge will penetrate deeper but not leave a wide wound path, therefore cartridge design also matters. An expanding amm, such as a Hornady SST or Nosler Ballistic Tip, on the other hand, will expand on impact and create a wide wound channel but may not pierce deeply enough to harm internal organs.

This implies that when ammunition producers design hunting cartridges, they must strike a precise balance between penetration and expansion. It’s crucial to take round choices into account when comparing the SD of the 243 Win and 270 Win, as lighter varmint rounds (55-70 gr for 243) often have lower SD than heavier 80-100 gr deer loads (0.14 vs 0.24, respectively).

The average SD for 130 grain 270mm rounds, including the Hornady Superformance and Remington Core-Lokt, is roughly 0.24. This is roughly the same as the 100 grain rounds that the 243 Winchester fires.

Where 270 differs from 243 Winchester in terms of SD is with the 150 grain ammo. Many deer hunters who want to take larger animals, including elk, choose rounds like the 150 gr Nosler Partition or the Sierra GameKing for 270 since they frequently have SDs that are closer to 0.28.

Application Differences Between .270 vs .243

Comparing .243 and .270, a lot of the same territory is covered. However, both of these rounds are really devoted hunting rounds in their core. These two rounds perform admirably at typical deer hunting distances of under 300 yards. The added power of the 270 Winchester will be useful if you want to target bigger animals, such as elk or moose.

On the other hand, 243 Winchester is ideal for small game species like predators, deer, sheep/goats, and pigs and will offer you considerably less recoil, making it perfect for those who are recoil sensitive.

Most deer hunters lack the expertise necessary to make ethical shots at distances more than 300 yards, but if you do, the 270 Winchester delivers less drop. The majority of hunters lack the expertise necessary to make ethical shots at distances above 300 yards, but if you are one of them, the 270 Winchester delivers less drop, more energy, and a cleaner kill.

Both cartridges aren’t very impressive for long-range precision shooting. Due to the fact that neither the 243 Winchester or the .270 are actually made for longer ranges accuracy, and it is very hard to locate factory ammunition that is match-grade, the comparison between the two is about a wash.

Both can fire accurately out to a distance much over 500 yards, but they are unquestionably hunting cartridges. You can still make hits if you want to try your hand at 1,000 yards or farther, but continuous success is improbable.


Reloading could be the solution to your prayers if you’re trying to keep a regular practice program while cutting back on your ammo budget. When comparing the .270 vs .243, both are simple to reload for, and you have a wide variety of cartridge and powder choices to optimize your handloads.

There are several round alternatives available for both calibers from all of the main round producers, including Hornady, Barnes, Sierra, and Nosler. The possibilities for reloading and creating the ideal handloads for your favorite 270 or 243 Winchester rifle are virtually endless.

The absence of cross-compatibility between 243 and 270 WInchester reloadable rounds is the only drawback. For instance, if you prefer handloading for the 300 Win Mag and 30-06 Springfield, you may simply stockpile 30-caliber bullets that can also be used in the 308 Winchester.

There are a few possibilities for rounds with a bullet diameter of 0 .243″ (6mm), including the 6mm Remington, 6mm PPC, 6mm Creedmoor (a necked-down 6.5 Creedmoor), and 240 Weatherby Magnum. However, compared to the 243 Winchester, these cartridges are not as widely used.

The 0.277″ (6.8mm) diameter bullets fired by the 270 have the same characteristics. Both the 6.8 Remington SPC and the 270 Winchester Short Magnum (270 WSM) are choices that fire 6.8mm rounds, but, once more, neither of them has enjoyed the same level of widespread commercial success as the 270 Winchester.

.270 vs. .243 – Rifle Selection

What sort of firearm do you desire? Bolt action rifles are the most fundamental and popular kind of hunting guns. These two rounds are both widely used enough to merit chamberings in virtually all major bolt action rifle systems.

Both calibers are available in semi-auto rifles. The BAR, which is included in both cartridges, is the major focus of these. The Browning BLR lever action rifle is no different. One significant benefit of the .243 Winchester’s low action case length is that it frequently appears in AR rifles, notably AR-10s.

I’m not aware of the .270 ever making an appearance in a contemporary tactical platform. Due to its tendency to be a little more prevalent, the .243 Winchester has a tiny advantage over the .270 in terms of rifle selection. The majority of .243 Winchester lever action rifles come in juvenile versions, shorter single shots, and other variations.

Price Comparison Between .270 vs .243

Like the majority of high-grade hunting ammunition, each cartridge costs an average of $1 or more. Looking through several stores reveals that the costs of the two rounds are quite similar. Both of these are expensive rounds made for shooting competitions with a large number of rounds.

Conclusion: Is The .243 Win Better Than The .270?

The two cartridges have a few notable variances from one another. The most glaring difference is that the .243 Winchester allows you to have a quick action whereas the .270 Winchester forces you to have a lengthy action. Compared to extensive actions, short actions are frequently lighter and quicker to execute. Long action calibers are less common in semi-auto rifles than shorter action calibers.

Although it’s not really the main distinction between the two cartridges, it does indicate where the majority of variances originate. In terms of projectile diameter, there is a whole millimeter difference. The .270 Winchester is equivalent to a 7mm cartridge, whereas the .243 Winchester is equivalent to a 6mm cartridge.

Compared to the heavier .270, the smaller projectile may travel at higher speeds with less powder and a smaller casing. The heavier, though. The 270 can kill large game animals more humanely by hitting harder and penetrating deeper. If you’re looking for pelts, it’s crucial to note that the smaller 6mm is less disruptive and damaging to tiny animals.

Examining the animal you are hunting or the animals you want to hunt is the finest thing you can do when deciding between the .243 Winchester and the .270 Winchester. The .270 Winchester is the best pick if you want to hunt whitetail deer, pigs, and then elk. The .243 Winchester is the weapon of choice for hunting coyotes, pigs, deer, and even prairie dogs.

It might be a little more difficult if all you want to do is hunt whitetail deer. How far are you planning to hunt? The .270 Winchester is the best caliber to use for hunting over plains. It provides more energy over greater distances to assist in killing whitetail deer. The .243 Winchester is the caliber to choose from if you are a shooter who is recoil sensitive or perhaps you need a youth rifle.

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