With its flat trajectory, inherent accuracy, tolerable recoil, and long-range potential, it isn’t surprising that the .270 Winchester cartridge has maintained popularity for almost a century. When shot from a good rifle held in the hands of a capable marksman, this cartridge is capable of harvesting bear, deer, elk, pronghorn, and even moose at ranges out to 500 yards.
In order to milk the most out of this cartridge’s long-range performance, you’ll definitely need a quality optic.
But what is the best scope for .270 Winchester? While there is no perfect, one-size-fits-all optic for .270 Win, there are plenty of quality scopes to choose from.
We’ve gathered some of our favorites, and detailed exactly what makes them perfect partners for rifles chambered in .270 Winchester.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated scopes for .270 Winchester:
- Vortex Optics Diamondback 3-9×40
- Trijicon Credo 3-9×40
- Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44
- Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42
- Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 3-9×40
- Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44
- Monstrum Alpha Series 4-16×44
- Steiner GS3 2x-10×42
Table of Contents
- What’s the Difference Between .270 Winchester and .270 WSM?
- Finding the Best .270 Win Scope
- Best Scope for 270 Win on the Market Reviews
- Final Thoughts
What’s the Difference Between .270 Winchester and .270 WSM?
Although both shoot the same caliber projectile, .270 Winchester and .270 Win Short Mag (or .270 WSM for short) are two different cartridges. These cartridges are not interchangeable, so be sure of your rifle’s chambering before you shoot. For your own safety, as well as the safety of your rifle, only load your firearm with the specific cartridge for which it is chambered.
If you’re trying to decide between the two cartridges, .270 WSM has about a 150-200 fps velocity advantage over .270 Win. The increase in speed is achieved via a roomier case with more powder capacity.
That extra velocity comes at a price, however. The .270 WSM has much heftier recoil than the .270 Win.
Finding the Best .270 Win Scope
Flat-shooting .270 Winchester rifles are versatile weapons. Because they can be used for a variety of shooting applications, from hunting elk-size game to benchrest shooting, it is impossible to crown a single optic as king of the .270 scopes.
The goal of this article isn’t to pick a single winner, but to point you in the direction of some awesome optics. Our list includes options for every price range and shooting endeavor.
With that in mind, there are a few key things you should look for in a .270 scope, no matter what you’ll be lining up in the crosshairs.
Magnification is how much larger or closer your target appears when you look through the scope. As magnification increases, the apparent distance to your target decreases. For example, a target viewed through a 4x scope will appear 4 times closer than it does when viewed with the naked eye.
Low power scopes do not offer as much magnification. However, they usually have a wider field of view (FOV), which can be a major asset for hunters. That wide FOV makes it easier to get on target quickly and to track moving game.
It’s also much easier to hold crosshairs steady on a deer’s breadbasket with 4x magnification than it is with 25x. The higher magnification not only magnifies the target, it also enhances the tiniest body movements. That means all of your fidgeting movements will be magnified, including body movement from breathing. Even your heartbeat can move your crosshairs slightly off target.
A scope with a 3-9x magnification range works well for most of the hunting situations you’ll encounter with .270 Win.
If you need to ping steel or punch paper targets at ranges beyond 300 yards, you may want to invest in a scope with more powerful magnification.
Most shooters put magnification at the top of their list of requirements when choosing a new scope. However, there are other features that have a bigger impact on performance. One of those is the scope’s lens coatings.
Lens coatings help protect the scope’s glass surfaces. They also reduce glare and help transmit light for a bright, clear sight picture. Image clarity is extremely important, because it is difficult to hit what you can’t see. Blurry images are hard to see.
For hunting deer or other ungulates, a scope with fully multi-coated lenses is an absolute must. Because whitetails are crepuscular (meaning they are more active during twilight periods), most of your shot opportunities will be near dawn or dusk. Thus, low light visibility is extremely important in a hunting optic.
There are almost as many reticle designs as there are riflescopes. Many hunters prefer the simplicity of a basic duplex crosshair. However, BDC (bullet drop compensating) and MOA (minute of angle) reticles can be a godsend when shooting long-distances. These more complicated reticles have hash marks you can use to compensate for bullet drop and wind drift.
SFP Vs FFP
Variable power scopes have reticles located on either the second focal plane (SFP) or the first focal plane (FFP).
FFP reticles change size as you zoom in or out on the target. The main advantage of an FFP scope is that the reticle’s BDC or MOA marks have the same value, no matter where you are in the scope’s magnification range.
When you change the magnification on an SFP scope, the reticle stays the same size. The marks on an SFP scope are only true at one magnification level.
Best Scope for 270 Win on the Market Reviews
1 Vortex Optics Diamondback 3-9×40
The Vortex Diamondback makes a great all around optic for your .270 rifle. It works just as well for target shooting as it does for hunting big game. It also comes in at a refreshingly affordable price point. Priced just under $200, the Diamondback is a budget-friendly scope that is jam-packed with practical features.
Featuring fully multi-coated lenses and quality glass, the Diamondback offers bright, crystal clear images, even in low light.
The Diamondback has an SFP Dead Hold BDC reticle that makes making holdover and windage adjustments a piece of cake. Shooters will also appreciate the fast focus eyepiece. This one feature lets you quickly and easily focus the reticle, no matter what magnification you have dialed in.
Built to endure tough conditions and hard use, the Diamondback is made from a single piece of sturdy aluminum. The exterior of the scope features a hard anodized finish that adds to the optic’s durability. The exterior coating also prevents reflection from giving away your position in the field. The main housing is argon purged and o-ring sealed to prevent internal fogging and protect delicate internal components.
2 Trijicon Credo 3-9×40
Trijicon is a major player in the field of tactical optics. Best known for their battle-proven ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), Trijicon makes top-notch optics for a variety of shooting applications.
We think the company’s Credo 3-9×40 riflescope makes a nice partner for .270 Winchester rifles. Although this is technically a “tactical riflescope”, it works just as well on a bolt action Remington 700 as it does in a semi-auto sporting rifle.
The Credo is insanely durable. It also has fully multi-coated broadband, anti-reflective glass that offers brilliant edge-to-edge clarity.
What we love most about this scope is the illuminated reticle. The reticle is designed to draw your eye right to the center aiming point. The design allows you to get on target quickly and shoot with both eyes open to preserve precious peripheral vision.
3 Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44
Leupold & Stevens has been designing and manufacturing high-quality hunting scopes for more than a century. Although Leupold’s line-up is chock-full of serious riflescopes, we love to pair their VX-5HD with a .270 rifle.
The VX-5HD has a generous 5-15x magnification range, which makes it well-suited for shooting big bucks in the eastern Blue Ridge, as well as dropping antelope across acres of open prairie. This is one highly versatile optic.
Notable features include a side focus parallax adjustment, a motion-activated illuminated reticle, and windage and holdover adjustments customized to match your favorite hunting loads.
It may seem hard to top these top-notch features, but our favorite is Leupold’s Twilight Max Light Management System. Combining unique lens treatments and premium glass, Twilight Max reduces glare and maximizes light transmission. The system can add up to 20 extra minutes of shooting light at dawn and dusk, when whitetails and other big game animals are more likely to be on the move.
4 Burris Fullfield E1 4.5-14×42
The Burris FullField E1 is a modest riflescope with a modest price tag. This practical scope features low-profile, finger adjustable turrets, and a power ring that is easy to adjust, even when you’re wearing gloves.
What really makes the Burris E1 stand out from the competition is the Ballistic Plex E1 reticle. A sort of modified Christmas tree design, the Ballistic Plex E1 uses a series of cascading dots to help shooters compensate for windrift. The reticle also has standard BDC hash marks for quick, easy holdover adjustments.
5 Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 3-9×40
Although designed specifically for hunters, the Bushnell Trophy Xtreme is also a nice performer on the shooting range. The scope features fully multi-coated lenses and Rainguard HD treatments for excellent image clarity and brightness in any weather.
The Trophy Xtreme features a fast focus eyepiece, side parallax adjustment, and capped, low-profile turrets. While Bushnell offers this model with six different SFP reticle options, we are partial to their basic, uncluttered Multi X.
6 Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 3-15×44
Vortex Optics has several riflescopes that pair well with .270 Win rifles. That means we had to add more than one to our list. The Viper PST Gen II is one of our favorites, particularly the version with an etched-glass, illuminated FFP reticle. You can choose either MRAD or MOA Christmas-tree configurations. Both are awesome.
We also love the Viper’s tactical zero-reset turrets. The exposed dials offer crisp, audible adjustments and feature a fiber optic rotation indicator to help you keep track of your rotations, no matter how many adjustments you dial in.
7 Monstrum Alpha Series 4-16×44
Monstrum never ceases to impress us. Somehow, this company turns out high-quality optics that are priced well below the competition. If you want a premium quality optic, but aren’t willing to pay premium prices, Monstrum riflescopes should definitely be on your radar.
The Monstrum Alpha Series offers a 4-16x magnification range, an adjustable objective, and impeccable image clarity. This scope also features an FFP MOA reticle, which is a rarity in an optic at this price point.
The Alpha Series is made from 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum. The 30mm tube is nitrogen charged and o-ring sealed, making it reliably water and fog resistant.
8 Steiner GS3 2x-10×42
Steiner produces some of the best riflescopes in the world, and their GS3 is definitely one of the company’s finest. With jaw-dropping brightness and clarity, the Steiner GS3 is a fine choice for low-light hunting scenarios.
Built to withstand rugged hunting conditions, the GS3 features a 30mm main tube milled from solid aluminum stock. There are no seams or welds in the construction, which reduces weak points, improving the strength and durability of the scope.
As hunters, we’re really excited about Steiner’s “game sensing” technology. Using exclusive CAT (color adjusted transmission) lens coatings, the GS3 intensifies color contrast in the portion of the light spectrum humans see best. The enhanced contrast helps the human eye separate the brown fur of game animals from leafy, shadowed backgrounds, which makes proper shot placement easier to achieve.
The .270 Winchester cartridge is known for its flat trajectory and long-range capabilities. To get the most out of this legendary cartridge, you must use a quality riflescope. Each of the scope’s on our list will serve you well.
However, even the best scope for .270 Winchester can’t work miracles. No matter which scope you choose to top your rifle, you’ll need to carefully find your zero and spend time practicing. Focused practice is the best way to familiarize yourself with your new optic/rifle combo.