.243 will it destroy coyotes/ bobcats?


September 2, 2008, 11:03 PM
Simply put, will a .243 really destroy the pelts of coyotes/ bobcats? Would I be better off with a .223 or 22-250 or should I just go with a .243? I have to admit, that a .243 is an attractive caliber as it can easily double as a deer rifle in a pinch if I needed a back up rifle. The main issue though is a good varmint gun. Thoughts?

If you enjoyed reading about ".243 will it destroy coyotes/ bobcats?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
September 2, 2008, 11:12 PM
Pick your bullet carefully or you will have more damage than you might like. The Barnes Varmint Grendade should work well on coyotes/cats without blowing huge exit holes in the far side.


September 2, 2008, 11:14 PM
Hey There;
Nothing wrong with the .243 on those critters. Bullet choice will be an issue.

Bullet choice is an issue with all 3 calibers if you want small holes in the hides.

The .243 will work very well and is a good flat shooter. Bob cats are kind of thin shinned as are coyotees. Well palced shots are going to be the ticket .

Heavy rounds will do a lot of damage to the hides. But unless you are shooting at extended ranges , down loading a little and using smaller bullets will help. The new Varmint genades are said to be very good for this type of work. They blow up on impact . Most should not exit, giving you only one hole to fix. The other choice would be a harder round that would pass thru and poke very small holes.

I have been plying with the .17HMR and found it to be just the right pill.
No exit holes , but very dead critters. These are extremely accurate and seem for some reason to just drop every thing they hit . The range is very good. The farther out the less bullet blow up and more penetration.

But back to the .243. It should be fine. You will have to find the right loads.

Art Eatman
September 3, 2008, 12:08 PM
Some of the guys at Varminter.com have reported that the 55-grain bullets blow up inside a coyote's body and do not exit. Me, I don't know, first hand.

A down-loaded heavy-construction 100-grain bullet would be the least likely to make a large exit wound.

September 3, 2008, 01:09 PM
As others have said - the key with any of the calibers you mention is going to be the choice of bullet.

I've shot a couple deer with the .243 Hornady 58-gr. V-max. Small entry hole and no exit hole but lots of internal damage and the deer either dropped or took only a few steps and dropped. The Hornady V-max is also very, very accurate in my rifle.

Good luck !


September 3, 2008, 02:29 PM
On TUE, I shot a large adult male coyote o/a 80 yards with a .243; 80 gr FED PowerShok. The shot was taken with the animal at a trot and my lead was a little off; entered right behind rib cage; exited the same; entry the size of a nickel; exit the size of a quarter. I've shot several animals with this rifle as I carry it in my truck on the farm. Larger holes occur only when bullet hits a bone; then the effects are devastating.

If you are looking to sell said pelts, any hole will drop the value, handily. When trapped, I always dispatched with another means. When shot, the hole in a pelt not intended for sale makes a nice talking point about the hunt. As a varminter, the .243 is highly effective as it packs quite a punch along with it's flat trajectory and kind recoil. As a deer rifle, I've shot several as well; never lost one. Most dropped; others within 30 yards or so.

Enjoy that great little gun and consider what you wanna do with those pelts.


September 6, 2008, 12:35 AM
would I be better served with a .223? Do still like the idea of a dual purpose gun in the hunting battery though.

September 6, 2008, 01:01 AM
Hey again:
Why ? That .243 is fine. if you are hide hunting only "Maybe".
At that point I (myself) have gone to the .17s. No exit holes.
But if you wish to end up with a dual purpose gun that .243 should be just fine.
If you do not reload , things may be more dificult for you on bullet choice.

I use the .223 a lot. They are more then capable. But not on the deer end of things. (As a rule). Some do it , but maybe should not. Only a full blown expert should deer hunt with .22s...... And then just the mention starts a war of sorts.

I have now seen the value in the .17 calibers for Varmint hunting. While they really suck for game they do very well on other critters.
They can be messy. The 17 grain bullets are extremely explosive. We have found that even on skunks at 50 to 60 yards there are no exit holes.
Red squirrels just seem to vaporize.

My first shot with that rifle was a coon at 180 yards out in a field. One shot from that .17 HMR and it was all over.

Just look at it this way , 2 guns are better then one.
We will be using these on Coyotee and fox this fall. The .223 is still kind of hard on the hides. When coyotee hunting we do not always get to pick the shot and many times just have to shoot. (Night Hunting) . We like the .17s because , noise is down and zero recoil, light weight guns, and very accurate.
We have also seen and heard of more and more 200 yard one shot drops on coyotees now.

Art Eatman
September 6, 2008, 10:14 AM
Off the cuff, it seems to me that a handloader has one big advantage: A heavy-construction bullet can be down-loaded so that it doesn't expand more than just a very little. Small exit hole.

Also, the odds are that loading the little 55-grain down to around 3,000 instead of the more-common 3,800 or 4,000 would be some guarantee against any exit at all.

As far as deer, I've killed 20+ bucks with the Sierra 85-grain HPBT, although mostly neck shots or 90-degree cross-body heart/lung shots. Don't use that bullet on coyotes, though, if you want the hide. It'll blow goop across half an acre.

Most folks, however, use 100-grain bullets for deer.

September 6, 2008, 10:27 AM
Whatever you do...

BE VERY CAREFUL when trying to "down load" the 243 Winchester...it can be very dangerous. Consult a reloading manual and DO NOT go under the listed minimums

Just thought I'd throw that in there before somebody blew up their gun...the 243 is quite "finicky" with light loads of slow burning powders.

The 22 Hornet makes a fine "pelt saver"...

Art Eatman
September 6, 2008, 08:20 PM
The story in the American Rifleman about the .243 blowup said something about a probable light load with 3031.

My advice would be to use a slow-burning pistol powder. I used to load plinkers in my '06 with 2400. 20 grains behind a 160-grain lead gas-check. It works okay with 150-grain jacketed, as well.

Anything with a burn rate about like 2400, and I'm purely guessing for a starter load of maybe 15 grains. Might use some inert wadding to stuff the case, although I never bothered. I just tilted the rifle up before each shot--like the cowboys with their pistols in the Hollywood B Westerns. :)

September 6, 2008, 09:26 PM
I use Hornady V-Max in both my .204 & .223 with excellent results and minimal pelt damage. Worked well on a cougar, too.

September 6, 2008, 10:23 PM
For deer and hog hunting. Usually it's massive overkill on Coyote-sized varmints. The 62 grain Barnes Varmint Grenades may prove me WRONG, but I doubt it. Stick to a .223 Remington with 55 grain bullets for Coyote. A .243 90 grain Swift Scirocco II will slice and dice any coyote, if you don't care what's left. I've experimented with .243 70 grain Speer TNT/HPs but find them a bit harsh regarding saving Coyote pelts. My main stay for coyote fare relates to 55 grain Nosler Ballistic-Tips in .223 Remington loads. Sometimes even those are a BIT mighty, but generally practical. I'm partial to the new Barnes .223 50 grain Varmint Grenade currently, even though they recommend a 1-in-10" twist minimum. I find great results from my 1-in-12" twist rifling out to 100 yards thus far. cliffy

September 6, 2008, 11:54 PM
H4350, IMR 4831, Reloder 19, H 450, Reloder 22, H 4831, AA 3100, N-165, IMR 7828, H380, W 760...Do not go below listed minimums with these powders.

Light loads with those powders will blow more than primers...it will open up your gun....in a BAD way.

That said...2400 just might work, so would other slow burning pistol powders...but still be careful.

September 7, 2008, 03:07 AM
Hey there:
Why down load that far ? Not really what I meant when saying down load.

The .223s that I hunt with /55 Nosler Balistic tips and or the V-max's both toss the exact same groups for me. Well they are very hard on Fox hides and I have blown pretty decent sized holes out the back sides of Coyote's too.
Mine run at 3129 Fps. Not 4000.....
Don't know of any .223s that will.
Mine are 1-14" twist and shoot the 40s best but still put 55s in under 1/4" groups at 100. Some where in here one of my post shows those targets. Can't remember where it is though.
The Varmint Gernades sound very cool and I would love to try them. Not sure my 1-14s will agree with them . My AR is a 1-9" and I may try them in that.
That will shoot under an inch.
Anywhere from 2900 to 3100 Fps with the .223 should be good on Coyote.
The 40 grain Balistic tips might not exit....

September 7, 2008, 03:31 AM
I don't know why...I was just trying to warn him against it. I have seen first hand what it can do to a nice Remington 700 when the wrong powders are used.

If you want to down load a 243...do it with light bullets...its MUCH safer.

The 243 is a GREAT round for all round hunting (see that Shawnee)...but it is unpredictable with long bullets and slow powders...sometimes just switching brands of brass will lock the bolt up tighter than a tick, on an otherwise safe load.

September 7, 2008, 06:26 PM
I have NOT reviewed the recommendations for Hodgdon (H4895) for downloadinhg 243.

HODGDON recommends downlaods with their H4895 ONLY--to 60%(percent) of ANY PUBLISHED load. Check their website to verify.

As stated I dont know if they recommend H4895 for 243 or not. Good for younger/lady/ beginning hunters/shooters where recommended.

September 7, 2008, 11:50 PM
Hey there:
My manuals show reduced loads with IMR 4198 But thats about it.
They also warn of using hot loads in and above the 100 grain bullet class also.
I have tuned some very fine shooting .243s. Never saw a need for getting that reduced. My idea of reduced was more like 1 or 200 FPS. not 1000.

I don't think this is really the kind of info the guy is looking for anyway.

Oh well have fun with it.

Harley Quinn
September 8, 2008, 12:34 AM
I would use a bullet that was light, but fully wrapped, and at high speed...Bullet placement is very improtant when worring about the hide...

Full metal jacket is the right one imho...Speed kills they say:D


If you enjoyed reading about ".243 will it destroy coyotes/ bobcats?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!