The .280 is based on the .30-06 necked down to accept 7 mm (.284 in) bullets, with the neck moved forward .050 in (1.27mm). The neck was deliberately moved forward to prevent chambering in a .270 Winchester rifle, as firing a .280 round in a .270 rifle could cause the projectile to get stuck in the barrel or rupture the barrel due to excessive pressure.
The .280 Remington is capable of generating slightly higher velocities in heavier bullet weights (150 grains and above) than the .270 Winchester due to a marginally greater case capacity. However, the ballistic coefficient of equal-weight bullets favors .270 caliber bullets over 7mm (.284) bullets of similar design. In the heavier bullets (150 grains and above) of similar design, the .280 Remington has a slight edge in muzzle energy.