I will keep it short, but I read a lot of these post and it seems that the .243 has little support. I'm a hand gun guy and i understand bigger is better. But every deer i have killed was from a 243 and they all have dropped right in there track. So i was wondering what is the need for the 270 and 30-06 if all you do is hunt for white tail deer?
If you enjoyed reading about ".243" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 8, 2006, 07:57 AM
The .243 is just about as close to perfect as you can get for Texas white tails.
December 8, 2006, 08:51 AM
I am not the hunter in my family, my oldest brother has that title...I prefer to hunt paper mostly. :)
his rifle of choice is a Remington 700 ADL 243...it has filled his deep-freeze and his walls except for one trophy that was a bit too big...
He let me shoot it once while he was checking zero on it and I almost went out and got one right then and there...no recoil at all and a nice smooth action that can only come from usage.
People don't really talk too much about it I guess due to it being one of those "established" calibers...some call it the "perfect first hunting rifle" (IMO that would be a Winchester 94 30 WCF...but I digress) and they wouldn't be far off the mark.
For any critter 250 lbs and below at ranges of up to 300 yards, the 243 can get it done.
December 8, 2006, 09:02 AM
Deer drop right away to .243?
If so, then you are either a heck of a shot (my hat is off to you) or you are hunting pocket-size deer like in Tejas. I remember driving on 83 back in '95 or '96 and seeing my first Texas sized deer, "oh, look, a fawn.":D
Come on up north where the deer have plenty of fruit, veggies and Christmas trees to eat. You may want that '06.:)
December 8, 2006, 09:40 AM
I can tell you from personal experience that the .243 drops Wisconsin whitetails in their tracks as well.
December 8, 2006, 11:07 AM
no arguements from me, i love all the 6mm bullets.
December 8, 2006, 11:45 AM
If you are on a 1 rifle budget, the .270/30-06 is flexible and will allow you to hunt most anything in North America. However, to the posters point, the .243 shoots very flat and is probably a better choice for varmints, turkeys, most exotics, and whitetails. My take is that if you are hunting anything under ~200 lbs. at less than ~350 yards, there really isn't a need to go bigger (assuming you use premium ammo). For whitetails, I just switched from 30-06 to .243 this year and the deer are every bit as dead. The difference is that I have less meat loss now and I don't have to lug around a heavy long-action rifle when hiking. My Kimber Montana was scaled down to fit the shorter .243/.308 case and just weighs 5.5 lbs so now my heavier 30-06 is assigned to elk duty.
December 8, 2006, 12:48 PM
People like the bigger calibers because there is an strong belief that superior firepower compensates for poor shot placement. And in a sense it does.
Sure, I can drop a deer in its tracks with my .243 with a perfectly placed shot. And at the range, I can place almost all of my shots perfectly. But sitting in the woods, sometimes wet, often cold, shooting at deer who are just too damn rude to stop broadside in the clear at 100 yards and wait for me to line up a shot, a perfect shot isn't always in the cards. The extra energy and greater wound channel provided by the .270 or .30-06 can somewhat offest a less than perfect shot.
That said, I carried nothing other than my .243 in the woods this year. Next year I'll let my boy use it and I'll go back to my .270.
December 8, 2006, 01:45 PM
I like the 243 just fine, as the basis for a new chambering. Of the three rifles that came to me chambered in 243 one is now a 260 Remington, one a 7mm 08, and the third is well on its way to becoming a 338 Federal. Nothing wrong with the 243, just that the grass is always greener.
December 8, 2006, 01:47 PM
Hatterasurf--Mr. White has hit the nail on the head (or the whitetail in the CNS, take yr pick)--The larger cartridges simply give you a greater margin for error under less-than-perfect conditions.
Now, I'm not OK'ing shooting at a running deer, nor taking "iffy" shots of 250 yds from offhand, or anything of the sort. Just the usual cold, rainy, sleepy, deer-jumped-just-as-I-pulled-the-trigger, deer-stopped-behind-a-tree, Murphy's Law went into overdrive, sort of things that go into a normal hunting trip.
Also, some hunters--present company excepted, of course--are less than well-practiced shooters. This is not the best situation, but it IS true. They can hit the soccer ball-sized chest of a large whitetail, usually, but certainly not with any precision.
And in all those cases, the larger bullet, and larger wound channel, give you a little leg up.
If you're willing to PRACTICE with it, regularly, and know your deer anatomy well, and are sportsman enough to pass up "iffy" shots, the .243 will work just fine.
December 8, 2006, 04:10 PM
I don't know about support in this forum. But,,,they have plenty of support out in the field.
Here in Montana, almost every family has one.
(I have a 6MM myself,,, but I'm kinda weird anyway).
December 8, 2006, 05:30 PM
Having been a long time 243 shooter for Minnesota Whitetail Deer, I can attest to it working quite well. BUT, as I experienced this season, it is not enough of a cartridge to bring down large deer at a distance. Most of the deer I've shot over the past 12 years have been close range and/or small deer (does, fawns) and the round worked well. This year I had the opportunity of shooting a very nice, larger than average buck. The range was also out there at 320 yards. The round was not up to the task. I deposited two shots into the deer around the kill zone and the deer walked away seemingly unscathed to be shot by a neighbor. This neighbor testified that both of my shots connected and relatively accurately too. But the little 100 grain 6mm bullet just didn't have enough energy left at that range to break through all the tough skin and muscle of an older, larger buck. So, being as I can only afford one rifle at the moment, I am taking an opportunity that I have and selling my rifle and purchasing a new Savage in the trusty old 30-06 caliber. The average 243 Win cartridge has about 1000 ft-lb of energy at 300 yards, an average 30-06 round has 1700+ ft-lb. A significant difference which came into play in my situation.
So basically, if you're figuring on just shooting deer at close range, or just smaller, more tender deer at longer ranges, the .243 Winchester will work just fine. Other situations, it may leave you wishing for more.
Just my 2 cents.
P.S. I am very familiar with my rifle, the shot was a sure thing (even basically had a bench rest to shoot from). If I had been unsure of making the shot, I would not have taken it. But unfortuntely, the cartridge just ran out of steam at long range.
December 8, 2006, 05:38 PM
People like the bigger calibers because there is an strong belief that superior firepower compensates for poor shot placement. And in a sense it does.
A bad hit is a bad hit and bad placement is bad placement regardless of calibre. I tracked more than one deer (yes, Texas white tails) wounded with a .30-06 (and I've seen a whole lot more drop with where they stand with a well-placed .243). When somebody tells me they can rely on a particular calibre (.270, .30-06, .300 Win Mag or whatever) to make up for poor placement, I have my doubts about them as hunters (and no doubt they won't be hunting with me).
December 8, 2006, 05:42 PM
In defense of the .243,
I think the ammo sales in order of highest amount sold annually during hunting season goes something like 30/06, 7mm Rem mag, 270 win, 308 win, 30/30 win, 243 win. So it's in the top 6. I've shot mulies with it, and it made holes on both sides of them.
December 8, 2006, 06:30 PM
I still hunt with a 6mm Rem that I purchased in 1967. It has harvested hundreds of Montana whitetail and mule deer bucks, and a small percentage of them were over 300lbs. For antelope it is my favorite choice.
I always take a heart lung shot when broadside, and ONLY A FEW of those animals HAVE DROPPED IN THEIR TRACKS, but traveled 20-100 yards. The animals that were hit in the spine dropped immediately.
I have harvested 5 of my 40+ elk with the 6mm, but only because I was trophy hunting whitetail late in the season and could get with 200 yards. With a 100 grain Nosler Partition, I do not hesitate to shoot elk. Three of those five elk had the 6mm bullets completely pass thru the lung heart area, and the other two were found just under the skin on the opposite side. I have also taken elk with 270, 30-06 and 300WinMag.
The major advantage of the larger bore, more potent cartridges, is that if the shooter makes a hit thru heavy bone, it will still have a good chance of a clean kill. This is painfully clear at ranges over 250 yards. I know from my own personal shots and watching others shoot elk, that a 300WinMag will put elk down with a much greater authority than the 30-06,
Hunting skills are necessary to consistently get within ethical range of animals. I am still of the opinion that if you have good hunting skills, the shooter’s skill makes more difference than the cartridge used.
December 8, 2006, 08:49 PM
Yeah, .243 is an awesome whitetail round.
It ain't the arrow you have to worry about, it is the In'jin.
December 8, 2006, 09:20 PM
I've tagged some 20+ bucks with my .243. Around the same from my '06.
I was pickier about my shots and I limited my distance with the .243. I much prefer the '06 for mule deer, or for the usually longer shots on whitetail when walking-hunting.
So, most of the .243 deer were neck shots, and inside of around 200 yards. I probably wouldn't take a running shot with the .243. With the '06, I figure on better penetration for an angling shot, and more punch on out around 300 or 400 yards.
I dunno. Situational deal, mostly...
December 9, 2006, 12:10 PM
I dunno... I just never could see the justification for the .243...<flame suit on>
Larger than necessary (and not-so-flat-shooting) for varmints...But marginal for deer (at least up north, here). I'm sure its supporters are right about its usefullness...But, It would be one of the last calibers I would consider in a rifle.
December 11, 2006, 12:34 PM
Larger then necessary for varmints? Perhaps, but dead is dead and the .243 has authority when it comes to predators & varmints. Plus alot of variety 55-115 grain (55-100 factory). Imo if you are hunting for pelts I might agree with you. However I flat out disagree with it not being flat shooting.
Not a flame but in every thread about the .243's ability someone will always point out their negative view on it's ability for deer. Despite endless proof & images abound. My bet is 1/2 of them don't even own one.
I'd like to think we could all agree that where we hunt, or the climate & habitat should determine the choice in what you use to hunt.
Another thing that kills me; guys that argue a 30/30 or 20ga. isn't enough for deer. One word - balistics.
December 11, 2006, 01:01 PM
Since the conversation seems to be focusing on .243 (the challenger) versus .30-06 (the most popular whitetail cartridge in North America) let's do a little comparison, assuming we've chosen our rifle, and now we're deciding on caliber.
1. Weight of the rifle? Usually about the same.
2. Cost of the rifle? Usually about the same.
3. Ammo capacity of the rifle? Usually about the same.
4. Accuracy? .243 shoots a little flatter. In competent hands, both are more accurate than needed at common hunting ranges.
Seems like a pretty simple equation to me. All other things being pretty much equal, I'll tote the gun that hits harder and makes a bigger hole. Nobody is saying the .243 won't get the job done, but most people (including me) seem to feel the .30-06 gets the job done better.
Also, I realize it probably isn't as big of a deal if you're shooting down lanes from a treestand, or across an open field, but I don't normally hunt that way. I'm a stalker, and I often find myself hunting in (and shooting through) some fairly heavy underbrush. I don't have much confidence in a .243's ability to cut through a little vegetation here and there without getting deflected too much for a sure kill. The same thing can happen with a .30-06 of course, but if it does at least I'll have the comfort of knowing the deflection wasn't because I didn't bring enough gun.
December 11, 2006, 01:14 PM
There's poor shot placement and then there's poor shot placement. A gut shot isn't going to do it no matter what you're shooting.
But what about missing by just an inch or two? The wound channel from a more powerful cartridge extends a little bit further from the bullet's track and essentially makes the vitals area you're aiming at that that much larger.
If you can destroy the heart with a hit anywhere in a 5" circle with caliber 1 and a 6" circle with caliber 2, your acceptable target area just got 50% larger.
December 11, 2006, 01:19 PM
I'm not sure what your deffinition of flat shooting is so help me out here. I hand load for both 243 and 22-250 and both rifles are the "heavy barrel" type. According to my chronograph and accuracy tests the best two loads I found for my rifles were a 55 gr. sptzr @ 3600 fps average for the 22-250 and a 70 gr. hpbt @ 3380 fps average for the 243. At 500 yards, which is about as far as I can hit anything on a good day, the 243 more than holds its own.
As for deer hunting I have used an older Sako and 100 gr. round nose soft points for years. 200 yards was about the longest shot I've ever made. For a time I had success with 85 gr. sierra sptzrs too. These are black tails I'm talking about now. I rarely get a chance to hunt mule deer and usually take a 270 but wouldn't hesitate to use a 243 if thats all I had at the time.
December 11, 2006, 01:26 PM
I see a .243 Winchester and the 6mm Remington as an adequate cartridge for deer. I don't know if I would say it is the ideal cartridge, but most deer hunting success doesn't come down to cartridge choice, but rather patience and practice.
I have said before that I wouldn't mind one whit which of the top three dozen deer hunting cartridges was chambered in a rifle to hunt deer. I am more picky about the trigger pull, stock fit, and scope than the cartridge. That being said, I am not blind to the fact that some cartridges shoot flatter than others, buck the wind better, retain more energy, or penetrate better on angling shots.
December 11, 2006, 01:44 PM
I guess i'm the only one that uses 338 win mag for whitetail.:D :cool:
December 11, 2006, 01:49 PM
I'm not a deer hunter, but when I was fool'in with center fire rifles I found
it (and the .25-06) to be too my liking; as its a flat shooting cartridge out
to 'bout the 350 yard range. Plenty enough for Alabama white-tails, I would
December 11, 2006, 02:30 PM
When I bought my Wheatherby Mk 5 a few years back I gave caliber selection a lot of thought. I had everything covered from ,223 to .300 Magnum covered. I chose the .243 because of it's versitility....Essex
December 11, 2006, 02:47 PM
My mother-in-law has killed a buck every year for 9 years with her .243. Some of them very nice ones. Nothing wrong with a .243 at all.
December 11, 2006, 03:34 PM
I thought these pics from the Federal website might illustrate things a bit.
For small game, the .243 w/a 55 gr bullet shoots nearly as flat as a 220 Swift w/a 40 grain bullet and has less wind drift and more energy. Shoot high velocity ammo like Hornaday Light Magnum and the trajectory gets even closer. 22-250 is outperformed by .243 in all categories when comparing the same weight bullet.
For mid to large game, I threw in the ballistics for the 95 grain 243 bullet for comparison. I switched from 30-06 to .243 for mid-size Texas whitetails and the 95 gr bullet has performed flawlessly on the 2 deer I shot this month. Even using the 95 grain bullet instead of a 55 grain, the trajectory is still within +/- 3" of the line of sight out to 300 yards when zeroed at 254. Definately a flat shooter.
Hopefully this will demonstrate the reasons why the .243 is so versatile. Enjoy!
[Red] P243J 243 Win. 95 Nosler Ballistic Tip
[Blue] P220B 220 Swift 40 Nosler Ballistic Tip
[Green] P22250F 22-250 Rem. 55 Nosler Ballistic Tip
[Purple] P243H 243 Win. 55 Nosler Ballistic Tip