.243 ammo report


July 8, 2008, 12:38 AM
Hi Y'All...

Made a nice high-neck shot on a beanfield doe this evening with my .243 at a range of approximately 270yds.... or at least it was about 30 paces beyond a landmark I know to be 250yds. per a rangefinder. I'm pleased with the shot, of course, but the really notable thing is the ammo was the Hornady 58-gr. V-max, and it literally severed the spine about 4 inches below the juncture of the neck with the head. She hit the ground DRT.
That makes the third deer in three weeks I've gotten with one shot (on legal crop damage permits) with that ammo - although one of them was less than 100yds. away. Am still not too anxious to try a body shot with it but - for head/neck shots - it seems to be quite effective, and at goodly ranges.


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July 8, 2008, 07:51 AM

Thanks for the report...very interesting to read about the performance of your load.

Ever used the .243 on deer between 40-100 yards? If so, what bullet did you use and what was the terminal performance like?

I'm thinking about hunting with a 243 this year, but I could have some very close-in shots (sub 40 yards even) and I'm a little concerned that my Hornady 100gr BTSP won't properly expand.

Thanks for the info!

July 8, 2008, 08:42 AM
Hi Boiler...

About three weeks ago I shot a doe at about 50yds. with the 58-gr. V-max that hit the neck but also clipped the shoulder. She was dead on her feet - no exit wound - shoulder and spine destroyed. But I had intended to break the neck ahead of the shoulder. Either the doe or I must have wobbled just as I shot. :D

But more to your question..... I have shot scads of deer with full-power reloads using the Hornady 87-gr. BTHP - which is designed as a varmint bullet. That bullet has been dynamite on deer from 30yds. to over 300yds. I would expect the Hornady 85-gr. factory loads to perform similarly. I've reloaded the 87-grainer simply because it has proven to be incredibly accurate in many rifles.

Re: the 100-grainers. I tried them on a couple deer years ago and felt they were actually built too tough for deer - especially within 150yds. or so. I shot a very small buck straight through the lungs (broadside) on timber company land near Lufkin, Texas with a 100-gr. Core-Lokt and he ran about 50yds. before piling up.
It's possible the 100-grainers have been improved for better all-around performance but I just haven't used any for years so can't say. With that said... I did just order some of the Hornady 95-gr. factory ammo to try as an experiment because it is billed as more of a "larger game" bullet.

For what it's worth... I don't like the "through-the-lung" shots much and will always try for a shot that will demolish some segment of the spine - usually a lower neck shot on nice bucks or head/neck shots on does and small bucks. With those shots the 100-grainers should work fine at any distance.

Hope this helps.

uk roe hunter
July 8, 2008, 10:17 AM
I have used hornady 100gr bullets 2450 on deer. They are fine. they expand nicely and are far better on deer than vmax


July 8, 2008, 03:44 PM
That's excellent shooting!

Smallest bullet we've used for antelope is the 80 grain Sierra Pro Hunter. It is quite accurate and hits very hard way out beyond the 300 yard mark. The bullet always stays inside the 'lopes.

I bought some South African ammo named PMP for our .243 rifle that features a 100 grain bullet. Price was quite affordable at the time: $8.99 per box of 20. This bullet hits hard like a Winchester Power Point. Accuracy is quite good. If you find this ammo, buy it!



July 8, 2008, 05:28 PM
You're obviously a skilled hunter and have been lucky enough to get away with that varmint load on deer. You know a body hit will crater a chunk and scatter fragments with that load but will probably kill too. Your decision to get the 95 gr. Hornady load was a wise one and will save a lot of meat because you're not always gonna get that perfect shot situation. It will get the job done. Let us know how they shoot.


July 8, 2008, 05:45 PM
Great shot.

July 8, 2008, 06:06 PM
Hi T.R....

Good Pronghorn, .R. !!!

I haven't used the 80-gr. Sierra bullet on any game but they are the "go-to" bullet for an antelope-hunting friend of mine who lives Ft. Collins.


July 8, 2008, 11:35 PM
T.R., is that a 760 or a 7600 that you're holding? They are about as accurate as a bolt most of the time.


Art Eatman
July 9, 2008, 10:12 AM
I've killed 20-some bucks with the Sierra 85-grain HPBT. Mostly neck shots. I wouldn't take an angling shot with that bullet, but on the few smaller deer and cross-body shots, the heart/lungs were mostly mush.

July 9, 2008, 11:31 AM
Do you reload? I'd love to see some test results with Berger 95g and 105g VLDs.

July 9, 2008, 02:22 PM
"Do you reload?"

Not sure who you're asking that question of.

If it's me - right now my son (San Antonio) has a lot of my reloading stuff (incl. my .243 and 30/30) dies so I've been using Hornady factory fodder. That may change later this year though. Have never used the Berger - yet, so I have no idea how they will do. Maybe Art has. ????


July 10, 2008, 11:21 AM
This older Remington slide action rifle is the model 760. Remington upgraded a few minor parts in early 1980's and re-named it model 7600. Current 7600 is offered in a wide variety of chamberings, finishes, and barrel lengths

Here are a couple amazing facts:

- This is a bolt action rifle operated by a slide action. No kidding! If you disbelieve me, remove the magazine and operate the action in upside down position. Take note of the rotating bolt.
- The barrel is fully free floating.
- The trigger breaks at 3.7 lbs. Many writers describe the trigger as mushy. Frankly, I find this trigger easy to master.

This .243 has been knocking down 'lopes and mulies for us since 1968. The rifle would've been traded off long ago if it was a wounder or inaccurate.

The scope on my rifle is Simmons AETEC 2.8X - 10X. Optics have exceptional clarity and brightness. Toughness & durability have been proven many times in blizzard conditions on the open prairies of Butte County, S. Dakota.



Art Eatman
July 10, 2008, 11:59 AM
I tried some Noslers, way back. 100? 105? Disremember. Anyhow, I didn't get good groups. I suspect the barrel twist on my old Sako might be slow, set up for varmint loads. It's tight for 55-grain through 85-grain. Three, hidden behind a dime, is common.

July 10, 2008, 03:17 PM
Hi T.R.

I hear Ya about the Remmie pump rifle, T.R. It's a sleeper, fersure !!

People have always seemed to mentally connect the Remmie semi-auto rifle (742 etc.) and its' stablemate, the 760, I guess because of similar appearance. The semi-auto is a good enough deer rifle but not often accurate enough to please the bench princes. I'm certain some of the semi-auto's reputation for mediocre accuracy has long spilled over onto the pump rifle when, in fact, the pump rifle - especially in 6mm and .243 - often proves to be every bit as accurate as many common bolt actions. People who use a pump shotgun, in particular, are missing a good thing by skipping over the Remmie pump rifles - they handle pretty darned well and, as you've mentioned, they're very reliable too.


July 11, 2008, 12:05 PM
Gotta love that 243!

I've killed 20-some bucks with the Sierra 85-grain HPBT. Mostly neck shots. I wouldn't take an angling shot with that bullet, but on the few smaller deer and cross-body shots, the heart/lungs were mostly mush.

I used the Sierra HPBT two years ago. The results were quite explosive with a quartering shot from about 50 yards, the entrance hole had to be about 2" wide. I was getting dime sized groups from my Savage with it, but I saw a bit of copper frags on bone so I was a bit concerned with how much weight it was retaining.

Decided to switch to Fed's 85gr Barnes Triple Shock last year and that is one devastating round! I took two deer on the run with one shot drops. The last big bodied doe was taken from about 180 yards, she did a somersault, and DRT.

I've tried the heavier bullets like 95 and 100 grains, but couldn't ever get them to group well out of my Savage. So, I'm still gonna stick with the TSX; but good golly that ammo happens to be one of the most expensive 243's to shoot at $35 a box! :what:

July 11, 2008, 08:05 PM
nothing wrong with using varmint loads on deer.i'ved 50 grain 22-250 rounds on white tail and killed them 3 out of 3 times.the shock puts them down immediately with the shock no matter where i hit them,usually with massive shock and blood clotting of the brain.best to hit the head or neck though.my 30-06 puts them down faster with 125 grain varmint loads 2

July 11, 2008, 10:23 PM
"nothing wrong with using varmint loads on deer."

Agreed. It's the shot placement that counts. My neighbor took 22 deer last year (crop damage permits) with 23 shots using a .22/250 and the 55-gr V-max ammo. He took 3 deer with 3 shots (head shots) using a .17hmr (ranges within 80yds. or so.).


July 12, 2008, 10:26 AM
Shot placement is the greatest factor in lethality. But hunting with a good bullet can not be ignored either.

.243 is widely critisized by guys who are over-concerned about bullet diameter as it flies through the air. I never quite understood this mindset since bullet size is greatly increased upon impact with mushrooming effect.



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