Looking at a new budget deer rifle, is .243 ok


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kd7nqb
May 27, 2009, 09:09 PM
Alright so let me first say I know the .243 for deer question has been a answered a million times but I actually could not find any THR threads on it so if somebody has a link let me know.

Also let me explain that I have a fascination with "budget guns" one of the coolest ones I have come across is actually my girl friends. She has one of the Rossi matched pairs in .22lr and .410 shotgun. I love that gun always fun at the range and it shoots really well.

So I realize that Rossi makes the Trifecta with a .243win/20gauge/ and 22lr. This seems like one of those guns that I just have to have. I am pretty new to deer hunting and last year took my M44 mosin its a good gun but WAY heavier than I need.

So this is my question,

1. Is a .243 a suitable deer round with a max range of 150-200yds. Where I hunt shots over 100yds are anyway but I want to be prepared.
2. To me loading the break action on the rossi is just as quick if not faster than the bolt on a mosin so I am ok with that.
3. These barrels come pre-tapped for scopes so I could put a cheap scope on there and really make it a nice gun.

Am I missing something?

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homers
May 27, 2009, 09:11 PM
Nope, you aren't missing anything. The .243 will drop deer as well as anything else, up to about 300 yards. Use 95 or 100 gr bullets.

Get a decent scope, about $200 is the minimum.

kd7nqb
May 27, 2009, 09:14 PM
so totally off topic is that you Joe? Or do you just link to the podcast? Love the show and it was so great to hear my letter on it 2 episodes back.

Loyalist Dave
May 27, 2009, 09:16 PM
Sure, the .243 will work on whitetails. It's a necked down .308 case, and shoots hard and pretty flat beyond 100 yards. It was a varmint round in the mid 1960's, but now is popular in England as the lightest legal deer cartridge. It's also popular in some parts of Europe as it's different enough from military cartriges prohibited for sporting use.

LD

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 27, 2009, 09:23 PM
1. Is a .243 a suitable deer round with a max range of 150-200yds. Where I hunt shots over 100yds are anyway but I want to be prepared.

Absolutely, yes, for even farther than that (300 yards or so), PROVIDED that you use an appropriate bullet (85 grains or heavier, ballistic tip or soft point - just not a varmint bullet)


2. To me loading the break action on the rossi is just as quick if not faster than the bolt on a mosin so I am ok with that.

Yes, they can be very fast to reload - the drawback is that they're a bit of a pain to use on the bench, because you have to take them out of the rest to load the next round. Fine for hunting and occasional range sighting-in, however.

3. These barrels come pre-tapped for scopes so I could put a cheap scope on there and really make it a nice gun.

I believe you just use the Thompson/Center Encore/Contender mounts for the Rossis - about $7 each for the aluminum ones.

Am I missing something?

Yes, if you put a "cheap scope", you're not gonna end up with a "nice" rig. You may end up with a workhorse/workable rig, but not a "nice" one - and *possibly* a bad one, depending upon your definition of "cheap scope".

I had a Rossi in .243, but I kept flying open by itself with every shot. Made for *very* fast reloads, but a little disconcerting. It was accurate enough and a good light deer rifle - cheaper AND lighter AND better features than the NEF (save the self-opening thing). Gave it to my half-brother - says he wants to hunt.

MCgunner
May 27, 2009, 09:43 PM
Okay, haven't read others, but that never stopped me from giving an opinion, before. :D


1. Is a .243 a suitable deer round with a max range of 150-200yds. Where I hunt shots over 100yds are anyway but I want to be prepared.

Of course it's plenty....next question.


2. To me loading the break action on the rossi is just as quick if not faster than the bolt on a mosin so I am ok with that.

I hunt with a TC Contender pistol a lot. It has an extractor. I keep spare rounds in a butt cuff worn on my off side wrist, can reload rather quickly with that system. But, so far, I've only needed one.



3. These barrels come pre-tapped for scopes so I could put a cheap scope on there and really make it a nice gun.

"Cheap" as in 40 dollar walmart? Well, fixed power, maybe. I mean, the .243 ain't gonna pound it. However, no matter the cost of the gun, my bottom line is Bushnell Trophy/Weaver/Leupold VX1 price range, Bushnell being the most affordable. I really like my Weaver on my .308, was just shy of 200 bucks.

I'm a little touchy as I've missed a deer because of a POS Simmons variable that broke. My 7 mag had pounded that scope to crap. Now, it wasn't all THAT cheap, either, a "Whitetail". NO, I don't even look at Simmons anymore. I've had really good luck with Bushnell, Weaver (old and new), and Weatherby Supreme (replaced that Simmons, talk about improvement!) Nikon makes some great under 200 dollar scopes, lots of good reviews. There are plenty of other quality brands in that range. It don't need to be a Schmidt and Bender, but I don't care much for 40 dollar scopes. Even a budget single shot deserves more'n that.

Thing that bothers me about the little budget single shots like the Rossi and H&R is that the trigger is what you get. You might have it lightened up by a smith, but it's not adjustable and I'm a bit of a trigger stickler. My old Savage 110 and both my Remingtons are set for a crisp 3 lbs. For me, that's zen in hunting triggers. I do not put up with creep in a hunting rifle's trigger and I like the let off to be enough to feel through a set of gloves, but not excessive. 3 lbs is about as light as I like to go. But, a 12 or 15 lb trigger, even if crisp, is a pain to shoot well. I've heard the H&R handy rifles are pretty accurate. I got a 20 gauge H&R, though, for my daughter back when and had to have the trigger worked over so the kid could pull it. It was so stiff, she didn't have the strength! My recently purchased H&R 10 gauge has a decent trigger, not so much for a rifle, but at least it don't take two fingers, seems shotgun normal. But, I'm more picky about a rifle's trigger quality.

homers
May 27, 2009, 10:58 PM
so totally off topic is that you Joe? Or do you just link to the podcast? Love the show and it was so great to hear my letter on it 2 episodes back.

No, not Joe but a fan of Joe's Huntcast podcast and forum.

chas08
May 27, 2009, 11:30 PM
In the part of Texas I hunt in, the .243 is plenty adequate for Whitetail. It's my wifes caliber of choice. She's taken several deer and even more hogs with hers. The only part I disagree with is the part about a good cheap scope. I've seen so many folks put a cheap POS scope on a good rifle and blame the rifle for not shooting well. It don't have to be a Zeiss or Swarovsky but buy the best you can afford. An old gunsmith told me long ago to spend more on your optics than your rifle. It took a long while for that to sink in but I firmly believe it now. :)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 27, 2009, 11:56 PM
McGunner, the Rossi's trigger is *outstanding* - crisp, light, no creep. At least the one I had. Certainly better than my NEFs and better than MOST of my rifles even - it's one of the strengths of that rifle.

But I'm in agreement with all of your advice - it pays to get at least a decent scope, preferably in the $150-$200 price range or better, so it will hold a zero and not break. The scope is much more important than the rifle, because nowadays ALL rifles are at least decent, but you cannot say that for scopes. I don't trust any BSAs anymore, and I don't trust any Simmons anymore, except the Master Series Aetec, and even it's not all that great - but the Master Series Aetec 2.8-10x44 is coincidentally the scope I had on the Rossi in .243. Worked fine, other than the rifle opening itself upon firing.

flipajig
May 28, 2009, 12:50 AM
+1 for good scope (you get what you pay for) as for a 243 plenty of gun for deer or hogs. I shoot a pro hunter and a contender G2. 4 different barrels I dont know what the price for a rossie is but look at the contender or pro hunter.

juk
May 28, 2009, 02:58 AM
243 is a most effective cartridge for anything from target shooting to deer hunting. Just use the right bullet for the job. Also, check out ebay or Natchez for scopes. Many folks say to only buy leupold, but I would suggest a nikon prostaff at the least. Mine has been excellent and adequate for general duty on a 308 bolt gun. Burris FFII and Nikko Stirling (sp?) scopes are also gaining a good rep too. Go ahead and spend the money on a decent scope now and you will save money and headaches over the long run.

natman
May 28, 2009, 04:21 AM
So I realize that Rossi makes the Trifecta with a .243win/20gauge/ and 22lr. This seems like one of those guns that I just have to have. I am pretty new to deer hunting and last year took my M44 mosin its a good gun but WAY heavier than I need.

So this is my question,

1. Is a .243 a suitable deer round with a max range of 150-200yds. Where I hunt shots over 100yds are anyway but I want to be prepared.
2. To me loading the break action on the rossi is just as quick if not faster than the bolt on a mosin so I am ok with that.
3. These barrels come pre-tapped for scopes so I could put a cheap scope on there and really make it a nice gun.

Am I missing something?

IMO, you have done well to ask.

The Rossi is OK, but you would do FAR better with a Marlin XL7 or XS7. They are a LOT better made. The Rossi is a cheap gun. The Marlin is a bargain.

243 is adequate for deer, but the 260 Remington or 7mm-08 would be much better.

DON'T put a "cheap" scope on a hunting rifle. I have lots of cheap scopes - on my "range toys". Hunting rifles deserve good RELIABLE scopes. If a scope goes belly up on a range toy, I'll shoot something else. After all the effort that goes into a hunting trip you need a scope that will put the shots where it looks EVERY TIME.

Get a Marlin XL7 in 270 or an XS7 in 7mm-08 and put on a Leupold VX2, Pentax or Nikon. You should be out the door for around $600 and you will have a reliable, accurate WELL MADE rig that you can hand down to your kids.

kd7nqb
May 28, 2009, 04:30 AM
sounds pretty good, glad to know I can go with the less expensive rifle which gives me some extra cash for a nice scope.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 28, 2009, 01:28 PM
DON'T put a "cheap" scope on a hunting rifle. I have lots of cheap scopes - on my "range toys". Hunting rifles deserve good RELIABLE scopes. If a scope goes belly up on a range toy, I'll shoot something else. After all the effort that goes into a hunting trip you need a scope that will put the shots where it looks EVERY TIME.
^
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Dem's very wise words. :)

TehK1w1
May 28, 2009, 03:29 PM
The Rossi is a good gun, I would also recommend the NEF Handi-rifle series.
The 243 is good to 300+ yards if you do your part.

The only scope I have tried and liked in the sub-$200 range is the Bushnell Banner series. Simmons and BSA tend to be garbage from what I have seen.

kanook
May 28, 2009, 03:46 PM
I bought a cheap $60 scope once. It was close to $60 (3 boxes)in ammo trying to get it to work right. tried to return it with no avail and spent another $200 on a low end leupold and had it going in 8 shots. so $320 for a $200 scope. Learn from our mistakes, It'll save you money. :D

dullh
May 29, 2009, 12:06 AM
OP said:

"...so I could put a cheap scope on there and really make it a nice gun."

Putting a cheap scope on it is not going to make it a "nice" gun.

usmc1371
May 29, 2009, 12:48 AM
I would rather have a decent scope and a cheap rifle than a decent rifle and cheap scope.
For western oregon deer the 243 is fine and getting more than one shot at one well ain't likely in the thick brush.

kd7nqb
May 29, 2009, 05:47 AM
So I definitely got the theme of spend some money on the scope. Sounds good to me, now I just need to learn a bunch about scopes.

chas08
May 29, 2009, 10:41 AM
I just need to learn a bunch about scopes.

Leupold, Burris, Pentax, Nikon they all offer scopes with lifetime warranties. Leupold and Burris's definition of lifetime means the scopes life, not yours. I had to use Burris's customer service a few years back on a Fullfield II and it was outstanding. They even sent my scope back in a neoprene scope cover to offset my shipping charges to send the scope to them, great folks. :)

ArmedBear
May 29, 2009, 10:49 AM
Is .243 "enough for deer"?

I think that may depend on what you call "deer" where you hunt.:D

dullh
May 29, 2009, 11:14 AM
"Is .243 "enough for deer"?

I think that may depend on what you call "deer" where you hunt."

Around here the favorite caliber for deer is .270 - of course the deer around here top out at 110 pounds or so, that's top out - the average is about 90 pounds. A .243 would work fine.

"So I definitely got the theme of spend some money on the scope. Sounds good to me, now I just need to learn a bunch about scopes."

Based on replies to other threads it's easy to see I am a huge fan of Nikon. ~$200 will get you a new 3-9 x 40mm Buckmasters scope that will last forever. Nothing against the other brands (except maybe Leupold!) I just don't have any experience with any of them. My problem with Leupold has nothing to do with their scopes - they're excellent, but more money than a comparable Nikon. You can't go wrong with a Nikon Buckmasters.

ArmedBear
May 29, 2009, 11:33 AM
We have some 300 pound bucks in the area (muleys). Does are pretty big, too. When I'm hiking around and stumble on a herd, I still can't believe how big they are.

Where I used to go, near the Mexican border, we sometimes mistook a big jackrabbit diving into the brush for a running doe, when scouting around. Seriously.:)

Art Eatman
May 29, 2009, 01:02 PM
I've killed some 20+ bucks via my .243. They all were one-shot DRTs, but for a couple of that were dead yet didn't quite know it; they hadn't gone anywhere.

Scopes? I've always been sort of a fanboy for a good used Weaver K4. They don't cost a lot, and they've always worked. I had one which survived a few thousand rounds of Mini-14 cycling and a few hundred miles of jeep trail in a 4x4 PU. And others...

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
May 29, 2009, 01:30 PM
So I realize that Rossi makes the Trifecta with a .243win/20gauge/ and 22lr.

I started both of my boys out on the Rossi Tripple Play. .243win/20gauge/ and 22lr.

Both have taken Mule and Whitetail deer here in Washington with them. One son has sold his Rossi to move to a Marlin XL7 in .270win. An excellent value for the price point. The Marlin is a tack driver with fluted bolt, and adjustable trigger for only $50 more! No matter what I did handloading for the Rossi's, -they were accurate enough for hunting, but nothing to write home about.

-Steve

usmc1371
May 29, 2009, 02:18 PM
I have and do hunt all over oregon and my meat gun has a bushnell 4200 4x16 on it and in all weather conditions it has been outstanding. My next one will be the 4200 2.5x10, my brother has this scope on 3 rifles and swears by it. If you hunt the coast range you will love the rain guard coating.

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