Which has more recoil: .308 or.270


March 29, 2011, 07:25 AM
Im having a friendly debate with a buddy of mine on which has more recoil; the .308 or the .270. Considering it's the same model gun and both are identical in weight, which would it be?


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March 29, 2011, 07:35 AM
I shoot the 308 Win with 165 Gr bullet reloads and the 270 with 130 Gr bullet reloads. No doubt there would be some differences in recoil but I dont notice it.

March 29, 2011, 07:39 AM
my buddy and i have similar rifles- my savage is a 308 and his howa is a 270. almost the same weight and setup. with similar loads, his 270 has noticeably more recoil. enough so that i dont think i could enjoy shooting it on a regular basis.
my 308 i can shoot all day though.

March 29, 2011, 07:56 AM
These 2 are very close. The 308 will probably work out to have the most recoil if you do the math, but differences in loads could change that.

There is a difference in real recoil, and felt recoil. The stock shape and weight of individual guns can make some guns with well designed stocks feel as if they have less recoil than they really do.

For all practical purposes I'd call this a tie. If I were handed two rifles in both calibers and asked to shoot them without knowing which was in which caliber, I'd probably have a hard time telling.

March 29, 2011, 07:57 AM
Recoil depends a lot on stock design. A good stock will make recoil go away. A bad one will be painful.
I learned this recently. I had an M1 Garand. After 20 rounds I was done. The gun kicks like heck.
I boight a Ruger #1 in 30-06. Smaller lighter gun should kick more, right?
Nope. Gun has no kick hardly. I can shoot 30 rounds and keep going.

March 29, 2011, 08:22 AM
I dont know if your looking for opinions or facts but you can google -accuratereloading recoil- and look for yourself if you want:)

March 29, 2011, 08:36 AM
This recoil table shows them to be pretty similar.


March 29, 2011, 09:11 AM
According to the above noted chart, both identical rifles shooting factory 150 grain loadings,,,the .308 would develop less recoil energy.

Remember though that felt recoil is a perception in each shooters mind.
Because the .270 would produce a louder report, one shooter may also perceive the recoil to be greater while another shooter, not affected by muzzle blast, may perceive the .308 to develop greater recoil forces because the shorter case ejects the blast faster than the longer case of the .270 resulting in a sharper, faster recoil impulse, even though the .308 actually produces less recoil energy mathmatically.

This is one of those tavern arguements that can never be adequately resolved because perception is a concept of the mind.

March 29, 2011, 09:19 AM
From experience they feel pretty similar. .308 may be a touch sharper when using heavier bullets.

Sav .250
March 29, 2011, 09:31 AM
All things being equal.............the .308. But if a shooter is a wimp, then both will do him/her in. :)

March 29, 2011, 09:43 AM
Well, for .308 I shoot 175 gr, for .270 I shoot 130 gr, so I feel significantly less with the .270.

Art Eatman
March 29, 2011, 11:06 AM
Add the bullet weight to the powder weight and multiply by the muzzle velocity. Then compare the numbers.

E.g: For common loadings for the .308, 150 + 45 x 2,800 and for the .270, 130 + 53 x 3,000.

The math is left as an exercise for the student. :D

Dr T
March 29, 2011, 11:11 AM
Given the same weight, stock design, bullet weight, powder type, and velocity, the 308 will kick less.

It is simple physics. Without going into the equations, recoil is a function of bullet weight, powder weight, velocity, and gun weight. Recoil increases with bullet weight, powder weight, and velocity, and decreases with gun weight.

In the same case design (say 270 and 30-06), the larger diameter bullet will take less powder to accelerate it to the given velocity. The smaller case (308) will take even less powder than the 30-06.

That is why, for 150 gr bullets and the same powder, the 270 will kick more than the 30-06, which will kick more than the 308.

As a side note: This also explains why, up to about 165 gr bullets, the 308 will tend to outperform the 30-06. Above 165 gr bullets, the 308 performance is limited by pressure considerations.

Pete D.
March 29, 2011, 01:21 PM
In the same case design (say 270 and 30-06), the larger diameter bullet will take less powder to accelerate it to the given velocity.

Wow. Learn something new every day. I did not know that. I knew the formulae and all but not that. My first reaction was "not true" . I just looked up a number of different loads and, well, it is true. How about that. Education continues.

March 29, 2011, 02:36 PM
An easy way is to compare muzzle energy.

March 29, 2011, 02:39 PM
get some 100 grain 270 bullets and shooting the 270 will be a breeze
i have a Ruger M77 MKII with the super light canoe paddle stock and while 150s would be tiresome in a hurry, the 100s are nothin

Cop Bob
March 29, 2011, 03:12 PM
I don't even notice it.. to me about the same... >308 with a 168gr, and 270 with 130's... moot point... Both 700 rems...

March 29, 2011, 05:01 PM
Seems like we both may be right. I think it really comes down to the individual. The reason this all came up, was because a friend and I went to the range together. I had got a Marlin XS7 in .308 for Christmas and he happened to stumble upon a XL7 in .270. He shot 10rds out of his and was complaining about his shoulder hurting because the recoil was so bad. I had shot 40rds out of my .308 and my shoulder was a bit tender but really didn't hurt. He claimed that his .270 has WAY more recoil than the .308. I had trouble believing it.

March 29, 2011, 05:28 PM
As others have noted, felt recoil is not identical to actual force. I find that my perception of recoil is far higher when there's a lot of muzzle blast and a really sharp report, even when I'm wearing the best hearing protection.

An easy way is to compare muzzle energy.

Actually no, you would compare momentum of the projectile.

March 29, 2011, 05:39 PM
With both identical models and stocks, the difference is going to be the in the loads. A 130 gr. with a MV of 3150 fps from the .270 v.s. the .308 shooting a 165 gr. @ 2800 fps is probably going to make that .270 the higher recoiling combination. I don't have my books in front of me right now, so that is only my best guess and opinion.
I used to shoot a lot of hand loaded .270 and .308 and always got beat up worse by the .270. Now I work mostly with the 7mm rem. mag. which has taken recoil to a much different level.

March 29, 2011, 06:30 PM
Another guy must have slept through his physics classes. According to Newtons law, all else being equal, the one with the most energy has the most recoil. Of course this is measurement of the cartridges. It is just a rule of thumb because there are many more factors in actual recoil, but it gives a very good idea how cartridges directly compare.

March 29, 2011, 06:39 PM
Im gonna say differently, Ive shot my share of .308s w/ no issue, as well as old bolt guns etc, and the .270 I shot was downright nasty, Ive yet to shoot one since

March 29, 2011, 07:24 PM
On paper,they are close.But,in real life the 270 seems to have more recoil.Guess I'm a wimp!:)

March 29, 2011, 08:07 PM
Read Art's post, #12 and do the math. With the example Art gave the 270 will have SLIGHTLY more recoil. Use another load combination and the 308 would have slighty more recoil.

Even though you and your friend have identical rifles the 308 is on a short action and a .308 caliber hole in the barrel vs a long action 270 with a .277 hole in the barrell. The 270 would weigh 4-5 oz more. That does not take into account the differences in scopes and mounts. Depending on your optics one rifle could weigh a pound more than the other. Even though both are identical Marlin's

March 29, 2011, 08:08 PM
The accurate answer is: both. It depends merely on which load you use in each. Load a .270 Win with 160 grain projectiles to max, and a .308 Win with 55 grain sabots. Conversely, load the .308 Win with 180 grain projectiles at max, and the .270 Win with 90 grain HPs, and see. It depends on the load.


March 29, 2011, 08:09 PM

March 29, 2011, 08:36 PM
Thanks guys.

March 29, 2011, 11:21 PM
Having owned several hunting rifles in several calibers I rank them in the following order. Most to least

300 win mag-ouch
7mm Rem mag-have scope scars
270WSM-stout but liveable in limited doses
30-06-not too bad
7.62x54-uncomfortable but I can live with it
270win-Not painful untill the 3rd box
308win-Very slightly less then the 270 with 150gr bullets, 165s are identical
6.5x55- only hits hard downrange, easy to shoot all day.
243win-did it go off? True sissy kicker.

I doubt you could feel much difference between them, and even a small shooter like myself can fire 2 boxes of ammo out of either one of them no problem even in my featherweight rifles. If recoil is a real issue for you get a 6.5x55 you will never regret it, especaly if you reload. Still filling freezers after 120 years :)

March 30, 2011, 01:19 AM
I have also owned several hunting rifles. Here's how I rank them.

.500 Jeffery 535 gr soft point @ 2450 FPS kind of hurts after 5 rounds

Everything else below that not to bad.;)

Carne Frio
March 30, 2011, 01:38 AM
This links to a recoil calculator; just plug in your numbers:


March 30, 2011, 09:40 AM
Another guy must have slept through his physics classes.

Actually I got a 4.0 in physics and tested out of several college classes with my AP score. Thanks for asking though. It's been a while, so if you can cite an authoritative reference that energy, rather than momentum, is the guideline to recoil, please do so.

March 30, 2011, 12:34 PM
You caught me full of it. All else being equal I thought it would be a shortcut.

March 30, 2011, 04:20 PM
The .270Win. has noticeably, but not significantly, greater recoil with all else being equal (including average loads), but as others have said the loads can make all the difference in the world.


March 30, 2011, 04:30 PM
You caught me full of it. All else being equal I thought it would be a shortcut.

No problem. Conceding when you misstated something is very much "High Road."

March 30, 2011, 09:19 PM
it's not even close....the 308 has more recoil.

March 30, 2011, 10:54 PM
it's not even close....the 308 has more recoil.Huh...not even close? :uhoh: You must be shooting some mighty light loads in a .270Win.

March 31, 2011, 01:08 AM
it's not even close....the 308 has more recoil.

Kind of depends on the load, the weight of the rifle, stock dimension and fit because amongst other things the two are almost identical in recoil energy. I thought we'd already established that?..No?

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