Date: Mar 01 2008
While the .280 Remington is reasonably popular, it is not one of the “standard” cartridges that almost every rifle manufacturer chambers, such as the .243 Winchester or 7mm Remington Magnum. Nevertheless, it is an excellent cartridge. So why does it merely hold on, while others that are no better stay wildly popular?
There are three reasons: timing, intent and marketing. The .270 Winchester appeared in 1925, over 30 years before the .280, and by the 1950s had firmly established itself. The .280 was not originally intended to rival the .270, but as a slightly lower pressure round, providing .270 ballistics for Remington’s autoloading and pump-action rifles. (This it did, but apparently few people cared – especially after Remington started chambering the .270 in the same rifles.) And then, five years after the .280 appeared in 1957, Remington brought out the 7mm Remington Magnum, one of the most popular general big-game rounds of all time – and just about killed the .280.
Now, if the .280 had been introduced before either the .270 Winchester or 7mm Remington Magnum, as a full-pressure cartridge for bolt-action rifles, it very well might have become one of the most popular cartridges of all time. But that is not the way things happened, and so the .280’s excellence is almost irrelevant.
With lighter bullets the .280 shoots just as flat as the .270, and with heavier bullets it essentially matches the 165- to 180-grain loads of the .30-06. Potential accuracy is excellent, and it isn’t hard to obtain this accuracy with handloads.