So the 270 Winchester was invented early in the 20th century. Then, in 1957, Remington decides it can make an even better 30-06 derivative. They neck a 30-06 case down to 7mm, push the should forward a little so you can’t chamber it in the wrong rifle and create a cartridge that holds slightly more powder and fires better ballistic shaped projectiles that either of its cousins. It was truly a brilliant calibre, touching on the heels of the 7mm Rem Mag in velocity but with a larger magazine capacity, better projectile choice than the 270 Winchester, flatter trajectory and milder to shoot than the 30-06. If they could demonstrate how great this cartridge is they could have had owners of 30-06 and 270 chambered rifles lining up to have their rifles converted to 280 Remington.
Remington released this new cartridge in a weak action, auto loading rifle with an 18.5” barrel which was entirely incapable of developing the velocity this cartridge would have been capable of. The shooting population yawned and went out hunting with their 270 and 30-06 rifles.
The management at Remington then thought it a good idea to re-release the cartridge as the 7mm Remington Express, but the damage was done and the cartridge was killed off.
Or so we all thought. Though it had suffered a terrible wound, the 280 Remington lived on. It was wildcatted by the famous P.O. Ackley and became an incredibly popular medium game cartridge. Federal still continue to manufacture ammunition in their Powershok line in 280 Remington and all the reloading components are still available.
280 Remington was loaded until recently in the Ruger M77 and No. 1 rifles and the 280 Ackley is still loaded in Nosler’s line of custom rifles. Virtually any 30-06 or 270 Winchester can be converted to take this cartridge, but unfortunately the only factory chambered rifle available today is the Remington Mountain 700.
The benefit of the 280 cartridge is the selection of projectiles available for target shooting and hunting. Varmint projectiles 110gr in weight can be used for foxes, 140 to 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips for virtually any medium sized game, 168 grain Custom Competition projectiles for target shooting and 175 grain Accubond LR projectiles for big game at long range. The versatility of this cartridge is unbelievable. The 7mm Rem Mag outperforms the 280 Remington by about 200 fps, which equates to about an inch flatter trajectory out to 300 yards. But the benefit of the 280 is that, in the same gun, you can fit an extra 2 rounds in the magazine.
Federal load a 150 grain soft point in their factory ammunition, which travels at 2890 fps and has 12 inches of drop at 300 yards if sighted in at 100 yards. This is almost identical to the 30-06 round of the same bullet weight and maintains an even comparison out to 500 yards. However, it is when you compare 30-06 Sprg, 280 Remington and 270 Winchester in more premium options when everything goes in the 280’s favour – using a 140 grain Ballistic Tip the 280 Remington shoots flatter and retains more energy than either of the other cartridges, even though the 30-06 has a higher bullet mass and the 270 is travelling faster.
So if you are wanting a high performing, medium game cartridge that pucks a punch but can take 5 rounds in the magazine, the 280 Remington is worth a look.