Caliber Battle: .17 HMR Ammo Vs. .270 Ammo

One of the most extensive discussions among the modern-day big game hunters is which cartridge performs better on the battlefield- .17 HMR ammo or .270 Ammo? However, a Winchester .270 ammo is six times bigger than .17 HMR ammo, but the muzzle velocities of both ammunitions are nearly similar. In this writeup, we will evaluate both ammunition based on ballistics, shoot ability, safety and versatility. Moreover, we will talk about their usability with different types of animals during the hunt. 


Introduced in 2002 by Hornady, .17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) was designed for shooters looking for fast and lightweight ammunition. Vermin hunters welcomed this release wholeheartedly and preferred ammunition of instantaneous velocity and flatter trajectory. .17 HMR ammo was famous even before its release because many manufacturers were trying to do what Hornady had done. 

The Winchester Repeating Arms Company developed .270 Ammo in 1923 and released it in 1925 as a cartridge for their Model 54 bolt-action. Soon, Winchester .270 ammo became a popular cartridge worldwide for deer and elk hunting. The cartridge displayed a robust performance during the initial years of its release and was promoted as suitable ammunition for big game hunting. 


The fast velocity and flat trajectory of .17 HMR ammo allow it to effectively cover a more extended range. .17 HMR’s projectile maintains 1090 fps acceleration and 45 ft-lbs of energy. This ammunition is too small to cover a more extensive range, but it performs well within 250 yards.  

On the other hand, Winchester .270 Ammo of 110 grain moves at a velocity of 3450 feet per second, while its 130-grain bullet can generate a speed of 3100 feet per second at a distance of 400 yards. It produces enough energy to take down a deer size game from 300-400 yards.  

Shoot ability 

.17 HMR ammo gives a slighter recoil impulse and sounds a bit louder. But, with a suppressor or proper hearing protection, you wouldn’t recognize it. While hunting squirrels or vermin, .17 HMR has a long reach and delivers a fierce impact. Shoot a common squirrel on the shoulder with a .17 HMR ammunition, and you won’t get shoulder meat on your plate. 

Thousands of hunters have found that if a fast-stepping 130 grain .270 ammo is placed in the heart/lung area, it almost always spells instant death for an animal the size of a red stag or even elk and moose. Many hunters prefer 150-grain bullets for their extra penetration, an advantage on larger animals.

Target Animals 

.17 HMR ammo contains enough velocity and power to take down nearly all small game animals, including squirrels, rabbits, beavers, bobcats, and foxes. However, many game hunters and shooters have reported it can’t offer enough power from beyond 200 yards. Therefore, it would possibly be an ideal caliber to hunt small games like rabbits, hares, and squirrels. It is not a perfect choice to take down the foxes or coyotes until you make a close shot within 50 yards. 

On the other hand, if we talk about Winchester .270 Ammo, it is considered a classic deer hunting ammunition. These cartridges are popular, especially among mule and whitetail deer hunters. Some hunters consider it practical to shoot down more giant animals like moose, elk, and black beer from a shorter range.   

Types of .17 HMR Ammo 

Based on the size, projectile, and shape, a variety of .17 HMR ammunition are available in the market. Some widely used among them are mentioned below. 

V-Max (Polymer Tip)

V-max ammunitions are a popular alternative when it comes to poly-tipped bullets. Hunters use Hornady V-max bullets when they need to do optimum damage to the game’s predators or vermin. These bullets are designed to create a devastating impact on animals during the hunt. 

Jacketed Hollow Point 

Jacketed hollow point bullets have similar characteristics as V-max but are lighter in weight. This un-heeled bullet’s most significant advantage is that it acts like bullets coming from a centerfire rifle and offers reliable consistency. 

Full Metal Jacket 

These traditional bullets are classic ammunitions fully covered with copper .17 HMR ammo with a complete metal jacket witnesses a high demand because there are quite a limited alternatives for full metal jacket bullets. 

Types of .270 Ammo 

Suitable for mid and big-size games, Winchester.270 ammo is also available in different varieties in terms of size, weight, and velocity, such as: 

.270 Weatherby Magnum 

Introduced by Roy Weatherby as a big-game cartridge in 1943, .270 Weatherby Magnum had the slowest-burning powder then, which was improved later. The velocity of the ammunition can be increased with a freeboard chamber. This ammunition is available from manufacturers like Hornady, Nosler, and Weatherby. 

.270 WSM 

Since its introduction, the .270 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) was famous for big game hunters and shooters. When it comes to power, it is pretty average compared to .270 Winchester and .270 Weatherby Magnum. If you need to generate a higher velocity, use heavier bullets up to 150 grain. 


We have discussed the ballistic, shoot ability, target animals, and types of .17 HMR ammo and.270 ammo. The fundamental difference between both ammunitions is the size of the animals they are used for .17 HMR ammo is suitable for shooting down small game animals due to its velocity and lower trajectory from 150 to 200 yards. In contrast, .270 Ammo is one of the ideal choices to take down mid and big-size games. With .270 Ammo, the heavier the ammunition is, the higher the velocity, and it generates enough power to take down big games like black bear and elk. So, when the game hunting is on, consider both ammunition, one for small games and another for big games. 

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