Thank you Art. You are right about the .243 for deer.


January 12, 2003, 03:44 PM
Thank you Art. My non-sore shoulder thanks you and my full freezer thanks you. The little Savage .243 will retain a place of honor at my house.

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Art Eatman
January 12, 2003, 06:10 PM
Ah, yup...

:), Art

Nero Steptoe
January 13, 2003, 02:38 PM
Double-yup! When I'm at the local range and see those guys suffering through sighting-in their thunderboomers, knowing that they RARELY take shots over 100 yds., I just laugh out loud.

Plenty of large bucks taken around here with .243's!

January 13, 2003, 04:19 PM
I have a whole freezer full of sausage courtesy of my .243

I keep telling myself I am going to buy a .30-'06 but when those deer keep dropping in their tracks it's hard to justify messing with a good thing.

January 13, 2003, 06:26 PM
.243 is a wonderful caliber:)

actually it was my 1st centerfire rifle(700 ADL)

still have that one:D


January 13, 2003, 11:27 PM
Yes it is hard to believe it can have a much larger wound cavity than a bullet twice its weight, but it is true as compared to the .35 Rem.

My only previous experiance with the effects of smallbore centerfire rifles on deer sized animals was at the infamous Fort Sam Houston goat lab. I would estimate the wound as being several times the diameter of those I saw on the goats inflicted with standard 5.56mm Nato rounds. (Yes I understand the effect of solid versus lead pointed projectiles.)

I suspect that many people might be prejudiced against the .243 because they unknowingly compare it with solid .223 projectiles or because they might, as Art mentioned on The Firing Range, be shooting the center of a brown blob instead of aiming for specific parts of the deer??

Art Eatman
January 14, 2003, 07:59 AM
I guess field-dressing and butchering is sorta doing a post-mortem, right? :)

In comparing damage from a cross-body shot to a deer's chest, it seems to me that my '06 hits had the serious tissue damage beginning about 1/3 to 1/2 of the animal's width, and then blowing on out with a fairly large exit wound.

With the .243, it started at maybe 1/4 of the width. No exit wound, but a (roughly) six-inch sphere of destruction.

Now, these were mostly smallish bucks, field-dressing at 90 to 110 pounds, and I'm not saying it was this way on every shot.

I'm guessing the 85-grain .243 bullets opened up more quickly and/or "blew up" inside the animal. Well inside.

I note that Charles Whitman had a one-shot kill at 420 yards with his 6mm Remington, from an upper-right hit to the chest. The bullet hit a rib on the way in, deflected downward through the lung and into the abdominal cavity.


January 16, 2003, 11:07 PM
Interesting the way that works. You'd think a bullet would deflect away from a rib bone but sometimes it deflects toward it, especially as thin and delicate as a deer's/goat's ribs are.

If I recall correctly the Army considered the zone of destruction in goats to be 30 times the diameter of the projectile. But they include an area of tissue disruption which surrounds the area of (sorry) mush which may be about 20-25 times the diameter. 25x.243 is about 6 inches.

Thus IMHO with a neck shot one can hit below the deer's spine but still have hydraulic shock effect immediately killing them, wasting no meat except the neck.

Speaking of shock, lest the more delicate reader be offended by such graphic discussion the Army fully anesthetised their goats so they felt no pain at all. :( (Having been an Air Force weenie on loan to them for the goat-shoot I feel little sympathy for Army goats anyway.)

Art Eatman
January 17, 2003, 12:58 AM
Looking at a deer's neck from the side, the spine is above the center. I've mostly hit the center of the neck. Never--repeat, never--did any of those CenTex whitetails hit that way do more than fall down DRT.

I did have an '06 bullet blow up in a mule deer's neck. He was completely paralyzed and didn't move after the shot, but I had to deliver a coup de grace. Regrettable.


January 17, 2003, 01:29 AM
I have an old model 70 in .243 that has killed a few deer and a few more antelope. Mine does best with a 100gr bullet. I never could get a decent group out of it with a lighter pill. My wife now claims it as her own and has smacked 2 pronghorn with it. I agree, it seems to kill much better than one would expect.

January 18, 2003, 12:01 AM
Well, my Savage was a new rifle I got after 6 months of misery with an arthritic shoulder. I got it once I found I couldn't shoot my old Marlin 336 without excruciating pain.

It has a 9.25 inch rate of twist and I have tested it with 85, 100 and 110 grain bullets. It seems to do best with the 100 but both 85 and 110 give patterns better than the Marlin does. The Marlin is good for deer, drilling holes right through them, but the Savage is much better on the shoulder and apparantly equally good for deer.


I'm going to have to harvest a few more whitetail does before I'll be able to give any certain feedback as to how their neck target zones consistantly differ from the bucks. But from the few I've seen they seem to have a good area in the line 1/3 the way from the bottom where the muscle bulge smooths out, where the arteries lie. This is still close enough to the spine to shock it if the muscle is hit as their necks are skinnier than bucks'.

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