.243 as a "do it all" caliber?


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wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 12:14 PM
Short of charging bears, if care is taken for proper shot placement, is there really anything one couldn't hunt ethically with a .243 in the lower 48?

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bigione
June 11, 2009, 12:34 PM
I believe some states require a biggerm soug then you can get into a 243 when hunting elk. I love my 243. Great caliber.

edelbrock
June 11, 2009, 12:51 PM
I would want something a little bigger for buffalo.

dubbleA
June 11, 2009, 12:59 PM
Nilgai come to mind, nawh I would want something bigger and heavier than the 243 Win.

Art Eatman
June 11, 2009, 01:00 PM
I'd be really, really picky about my shot on an elk, and maybe on larger mule deer, but the .243 would work. I've killed some 20+ whitetail bucks with mine, and it's a great varmint gun.

I guess my deal for elk would be to use a 100-grain premium bullet, and limit my distance to where I was very sure of a brain or neck shot. I dunno; maybe a couple of hundred yards. Last choice would be a cross-body heart shot. I wouldn't take an angling shot into the body. Just a "general principles" sort of thought process, maybe. Being conservative doesn't hurt anything.

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 01:07 PM
Nilgai come to mind, nawh I would want something bigger and heavier than the 243 Win.

I had to google that. I'm pretty sure we don't have those in the USA...

saturno_v
June 11, 2009, 01:32 PM
I think it would be on the light side for the largest animals...the major handicap, I think, more than power level (after all energy wise is on par with the 30-30) is the light bullet weight and the fact that probably do not exist premium tough bullets for it....any partition in 243????

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 01:36 PM
Which largest non-bear animals specifically? My Niece and Nephew took their first Elks last yr with their .243s. Why does Uncle need a bigger rifle? :)

CB900F
June 11, 2009, 02:11 PM
Fella's;

And I'll strongly second the objection to trying to use the .243 on the American bison, or buffalo. Although I've had no personal experience with some of the larger exotics imported into this country, I have heard from sources that I believe to be reliable, that you don't want to use a true lightweight caliber there either.

If it t'were me, and it is, I'd go to the 6.5 Swede as the smallest cartridge that you could ethically hunt all but bears with in the lower 48. And it still wouldn't be my first choice for buffalo. Check the B/C's & S/D's and you'll see why it's such a keeper & kills all out of proportion to it's bullet diameter.

900F

dubbleA
June 11, 2009, 02:13 PM
Quote:
Nilgai come to mind, nawh I would want something bigger and heavier than the 243 Win.

I had to google that. I'm pretty sure we don't have those in the USA...






Here's a hint, try " nilgai hunting in South Texas"

benzy2
June 11, 2009, 02:13 PM
I think from an ethical point of view a .30 caliber allows for less ideal presentations that still result in an ethical shot on the big game. While I don't doubt that the .243 with good placement at a proper angle will be more than enough for most everything I think there is advantage on the larger game to use a larger round. If .243 was the only thing I had I would use it and not feel bad but if there was a more powerful option I would rather take it with me.

Since elk don't live around me I figure I am out on a dedicated elk hunt to have them show up anywhere near the crosshairs. As such I wouldn't have endless time to wait on a perfect shot and would rather a larger caliber to leave me with a larger range of ethical hunting.

The .243 is a great round. If we could hunt deer in Ohio with centerfire rifles it would be about perfect for this state. Drop groundhogs with the light bullets and deer with the heavier. It certainly would put everything legal to hunt here down without question. But I can't hunt deer with it here and at the distances we get to groundhogs it has little practical benefit over a .223 or .22-250.

If I am paying for an elk hunt I want as much advantage as I can get. To me that means stepping up calibers allowing for less optimal angles to still be ethical shots.

ricebasher302
June 11, 2009, 02:25 PM
I shot my first elk with a .243. Granted, she was a cow, but it worked fine. I believe one limitation would be range. That 100 grainer doesn't carry enough authority past 250 yds or so for elk. Also, a good bullet would be worth the money, and good shot presentation and placement would be necessary.

Moose often aren't as tough as elk, but naturally, the same rules would apply.

So to recap, I'd say good bullet, close range and no "shoulder shootin" or any bones larger than ribs would be a no no.

Onmilo
June 11, 2009, 02:29 PM
If you live in the southwest, south, and central midwest, the .243 is an excellent all around cartridge.
I wouldn't choose it for Moose in Maine, bears or Elk the western states, or a Musk Ox in Alaska but from Alligator to Whitetail it does a dandy job.

woof
June 11, 2009, 02:34 PM
If there's no difference between barely adequate and optimal, then the .243 is fine. IMO, it is marginal for whitetails. And in my further O: the whole idea of one round to do everything in north america is silly. Hunting most of the larger game in america mean travel and a large investment. Anyone who can't afford an assortment of correct tools can't afford it period. If there were a thread on which 2 or which 3, that might make sense. But no, we get this thread once or twice every single week.

22-rimfire
June 11, 2009, 02:37 PM
I personally think the .243 is a tad light for a general purpose caliber in the lower 48. The 243 is a great caliber with proven preformance and accuracy from many rifles. I still wish I had kept my 243 (my first centerfire rifle), but the need passed and I didn't see it changing within 10-15 year time period. I would choose something like the 270 win, 30-06, or 308 win. I consider them a bit light for elk and moose, but they work. The true do it all caliber are the 338 and 375 or similar calibers, but what a pain in the shoulder to hunt deer with one. So the better way to think about things is a three or four gun battery that encompasses hunting scenarios you are more likely to particpate in. As woof said, I think the 243 is marginal for large whitetail deer, but they work and are a fantastic varmint gun. I would not hunt black bear with a 243, period. So it doesn't cut a "do it all caliber" consideration.

Onmilo
June 11, 2009, 02:39 PM
Yeah, 'Harry, you got your .375 Mag with ya? We need to drop that hog and we need to drop it now!':D

That .338-.375 all around gun is as big a myth as they get.
If you keep you shots to under 200 yards and reload, I would venture the old, tried and true, .45/70 is a serious contender as an all around caliber.
From shot loads for small game to shoulder bruising 400-550 grain powerball loads that can and have taken the largest species of North American bear, the .45/70 really will do it all.
But like everything else in the one perfect caliber debate, it falls short in many areas of overlap.

22-rimfire
June 11, 2009, 02:49 PM
That's funny! I agree the 45/70 is a reasonable choice. I don't own a 375 as I have no use for it other than to bruise my shoulder a couple times a year.

I basically agree with Elmer Keith on the all around caliber and lean toward 35 caliber.

saturno_v
June 11, 2009, 02:53 PM
I think that the high intensity .30 cal cartridges (the Magnums and the 30-06) are good all around caliber in North America except for coyotes and smaller where they would be an overkill and waste of ammo/brass.

For the little stuff I would use a good .223 which is a capable varmint round even at considerable distance...A 243 would be a bit of an overkill for that....

So I would say, 2 all around North America rifles...a 223 and a 300 Win Mag.

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 03:37 PM
I didn't ask the question in terms of "optimum"..I asked in terms of "ethically" if you can get a proper shot.

I did not have "buffalo" in my thoughts however when initially asking the question. I'm thinking Elk and smaller. My bust.

Does a Bow and Arrow put large game down more ethically than a rifle? Somehow it's still ok to hunt with a Bow...but how is that a more ethical and effective stopper than a .243?

People hunt with handguns and at that point a .44 Mag or .45 Colt is ok..but those pale in comparison to a .243 in terms of pure energy.

Onmilo
June 11, 2009, 03:55 PM
Interesting points wicked spirit and notice your number of posts.

Arrows kill by esanguination, bullets by shock.
A clean hit with an arrow will produce fatal results as will a clean hit with any bullet, .22 LR included.

If you feel your capabilities are up the the challenge of using a smaller than normally recommended cartridge for elk size game, I say take on the task!

If you feel the cartridge coupled with your capabilities may not produce fatal results when hunting the game of choice, everytime, then consider a larger caliber.

My personal feeling is the .243 Winchester can not be considered an ethical selection for elk and larger game animals under all hunting conditions.

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 04:12 PM
My personal feeling is the .243 Winchester can not be considered an ethical selection for elk and larger game animals under all hunting conditions.

What does my post count have to do with anything?

No rifle cartridge under all conditions will be 100% certain of a fatal shot.

Onmilo
June 11, 2009, 04:23 PM
Ok, your post count was at 243 and now I think you want to argue more than you want to gain any insight.

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 04:33 PM
I know the .243 is not "optimum". I just wanted feedback on why would anyone question the ethics of using one if they had the maturity to only take good shots.

If you don't have the maturity to train and wait for good shots and resist the marginal ones, caliber choice will probably not make the difference.

I was running some thoughts through my head on whether I could ethically keep my .243 as my only hunting rifle.

The valued insight I have been getting, both in this thread and others is likely going to lead me to pick up something else to augment it though. I'm kind of looking for an excuse to get something that hits heavier.

Arkel23
June 11, 2009, 04:40 PM
I wouldn't hunt boar or mountain lion with it, even though SC doesn't have mountain lion season. Hey, I really wouldn't hunt deer with one.

natman
June 11, 2009, 05:02 PM
.any partition in 243????

Yes, and I'd highly recommend them for any big game. The 243 has high velocity and tiny bullets, which makes weight retention critical. The 243 is OK for deer although it's not one of my favorites, decidedly suboptimal on elk and out of the question on bison or big bears.

Yes, you can kill lots of things with a bow, but you have to be prepared to hunt like an archer; short range, turn down less than ideal shots, and BE ABLE TO HUNT DURING ARCHERY SEASON. Archers usually get the best weeks of the season, riflemen get the leftovers when game is harder to approach.

There are lots of things that can go wrong on a hunt. Out of these dozens of variables there is one that the hunter has complete control over; using the proper rifle and cartridge to match the game. Use enough gun.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 11, 2009, 05:10 PM
Short of charging bears, if care is taken for proper shot placement, is there really anything one couldn't hunt ethically with a .243 in the lower 48?

No. The Inuits to this day hunt caribou and such with .223 rem, .243 win, and even .22 magnum. It's a little on the light side, and wouldn't be my choice, but with proper bullet selection and proper shot selection, .243 win can absolutely do it all in North America for hunting use, IMO. Now, please note that this means that for certain species, you'd really have to choose head/brain shots, and use heavy bullets (95-107 gr), and possibly bonded and/or partitioned bullets, but even the largest animal's skull cannot defeat a 100 grain .243 travelling at 2000-2800 fps. It's not ideal - something along the lines of .260 rem is a closer ideal to me, for a one-light-round-to-do-it-all-with-head-shots rifle, but .243 will definitely work. Just don't go thinking you're going to consisently punch into the vitals of a quartering toward or away elk, Yukon moose, bison, or coastal brownie and actually find be able to find it dead later. So it's not a standard, go-for-the-vitals-round. But with shots to the base of the ear, straight into the brain, you betcha - just one man's opinion. Mind you, to make this precise shot, you're gonna have to get fairly close, so this rules out long range hunting and even most "mid-range" hunting under certain field conditions.

Gryffydd
June 11, 2009, 05:11 PM
Here's a tip, your post count does not equal your experience or knowledge level. All it signifies is your willingness to ask or answer questions on a specific message board.
Geez, he was just commenting on the fact that your post count was 243, just a funny coincidence. Your response proved him right when he said
Ok, your post count was at 243 and now I think you want to argue more than you want to gain any insight.
...and you still failed to get it.

W L Johnson
June 11, 2009, 05:16 PM
I believe some states require a biggerm soug then you can get into a 243 when hunting elk

Kentucky law says nothing smaller than 270 for elk

In fact here it is copied off the Ky website
A person shall not use or possess while elk hunting:

A modern firearm of less than .270 caliber

A muzzle-loading firearm of less than .50 caliber

A shotgun of less than 20-gauge

A shotgun shell containing more than one (1) projectile

Any arrow without a broadhead point

A handgun with a barrel length of less than six (6) inches, a bore diameter less than .270 inches, and when fired, the bullet shall produce at least 550 ft/lbs of energy at 100 yards.

HoosierQ
June 11, 2009, 05:21 PM
I think the .243 has a "do it all" reputation not because of the high end (elk) but because of the low end (varmints). The .243 is very popular with people who want to hunt all manner of varmints (prairie dogs, ground hogs) and coyotes from long range up to white tail deer.

So for white tail deer on down, you have a pretty decent multi-purpose caliber. Plus there are AR-15 style rifles in .243 which is kind of cool.

In terms of all around Lower-48 caliber with one rifle, your're probably looking at 30-06. I mean you could still shoot coyotes with that and you'd be good all the way up to bison (even though 30-06 might still not be one's optimum bison round).

Plus with 30-06, you have almost universal availability of a wide variety of ammo.

To really cover the entire Lower 48, completely, I think (22lr notwithstanding) you are going to need two calibers. Probably something like a .223 or 22-250 for the varmints and predators, and then skipping up a few notches to a 300 Win Mag or a 7mm Rem Mag or something like that for the big stuff.

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 05:27 PM
Here's a tip, your post count does not equal your experience or knowledge level. All it signifies is your willingness to ask or answer questions on a specific message board.
Geez, he was just commenting on the fact that your post count was 243, just a funny coincidence. Your response proved him right when he said
Quote:
Ok, your post count was at 243 and now I think you want to argue more than you want to gain any insight.
...and you still failed to get it.


Oh My, you are absolutely correct. An apology is definitely in order on my part. I took it as condescending not as him pointing out a coincidence. Sometimes I miss the obvious. My response was absolutely uncalled for. I'm going to remove the comment.

Thanks for pointing it out.

HoosierQ
June 11, 2009, 05:31 PM
There are wild elk in Kentucky? :what:

wickedsprint
June 11, 2009, 05:32 PM
Kentucky law says nothing smaller than 270 for elk

In fact here it is copied off the Ky website

That's interesting. In Colo and WY where we are in Elk country min caliber is .24.

Gryffydd
June 11, 2009, 05:39 PM
Thanks for pointing it out.
Hey, it happens to all of us :o

W L Johnson
June 11, 2009, 07:46 PM
There are wild elk in Kentucky?

Yep, check out this link

http://www.rmefnky.org/kyelkherd.HTML

From the link
By July 2000, Kentucky had the largest free ranging, wild elk herd east of Montana.

22-rimfire
June 11, 2009, 09:06 PM
Yeah, there are Elk in KY. There is a growing herd in TN too. TN is considering a limited hunting season for elk.

Short of charging bears, if care is taken for proper shot placement, is there really anything one couldn't hunt ethically with a .243 in the lower 48?

Back to your original post.... I would not hunt elk, moose, or black bear with a 243 no matter what bullet was chosen. I don't care if some Indian tribe uses 22LR for Polar Bears. Yes, you could kill every one of them with a 243, but it would not be with absolute certainity with a traditional hit and hence would not be ethical in my opinion. I feel the 243 is marginal for whitetail deer except of course small deer such as you see in the Hill Country of Texas. Don't even ask about my opinion using the .223 for deer. Some do it, especially in Texas.

I would consider it an ethical round for whitetail deer and antelope and smaller game animals in North America.

The 243 win is a very flexible caliber. It is a little large for small varmints such as wood chucks and does a real number on Coyotes. My first deer rifle was a 243. It is why I don't recommend them for that purpose. Go slightly larger for a better "all around" caliber for North American game animals short of charging grizzly bears.

Ky Larry
June 11, 2009, 09:21 PM
Ethics is a personal matter. If you can legally use a caliber and feel secure in your ablities, then Yes, you can use the .243 to hunt elk and larger species. Personally,I would prefer a .30-06. The bullet selection, from 110gr to 220gr, would seem to be a better all-around choice. YMMV.

saturno_v
June 11, 2009, 09:26 PM
Ethics is a personal matter. If you can legally use a caliber and feel secure in your ablities, then Yes, you can use the .243 to hunt elk and larger species. Personally,I would prefer a .30-06. The bullet selection, from 110gr to 220gr, would seem to be a better all-around choice. YMMV.


In theory with a 30-06 you can go up to 250 gr, as stated by many reloading data...in practice, at the moment, I only know of the 240 gr. Woodleigh bullets which offer amazing penetration capabilities in a 30-06 package.

diggler1833
June 11, 2009, 09:31 PM
Throw an 85gr Barnes TSX in it and all it takes from there is being able to place your shot.

22-rimfire
June 11, 2009, 09:47 PM
Generally if a caliber is allowable by the state for that game, it is considered an ethical caliber choice.

Runningman
June 11, 2009, 09:57 PM
.243 as a "do it all" caliber?
Owned a 243 for many years and have killed varmints thru Black tail deer with it. While I think it an decent versatile round within its limits. I just don't see it as a do it all caliber even in the lower 48. Especially if Bear or Elk are on the menu and even more so if they are Roosevelt Elk. I just think there are many better choices if you are going through the trouble and spending the money to go after larger game animals.

wrs840
June 11, 2009, 10:17 PM
I'm no expert, but my plans to buy a .243 were ended a while back by a friend who opined that ammo availability may be limited if the SHTF, so it may be smarter to go with NATO calibers and own a .223 for varmints (I do) and go with a .308 for bigger stuff..."

Food for thought.

Les

Redneck with a 40
June 11, 2009, 10:19 PM
.243 is actually the legal minimum in Colorado for Elk, but its certainly not ideal. Inside of 300 yards, the .308 will drop any animal that resides in Colorado and it does it with tolerable recoil.

06
June 11, 2009, 10:27 PM
My buddies wife had rotator cuff surgery and traded her 270 for a 243. She has dropped many deer with it since. I saw pics of poachers dropping bull elephants with guess what----M-16s. I am an avid fan of 30-06s(who would have ever guessed that) and have quite a few. I also have a 220 Swift but it is a "safe queen". I deer hunt with '06s and have for nearly 30 yrs. I use 150 grain original "silver tips" and am very happy with their performance. People seem to forget that the Japaneese used a "25" caliber in their military for generations. There is nothing wrong with a 243 but I just prefer something with a bit more punch. I would not be concerned about using an '06 on any creature on earth. Remember, old 30-30s used to be the king of center fires and dropped everything on the continent. You don't have to have a cannon to stop a heart, sever arteries/spines, or explode a brain. A buddy from Charleston, SC used to hunt deer with a 22 LR. Another hunted black bear in the NC mountains with a single shot 22 LR.
Hunt with what you want as most anything will kill an animal if the round is properly placed. Bad placement will get you killed whether shooting man or beast. Remember last year when a hunter put six 44 Magnums into a bear and the bear ran off. Shot placement shot placement is the key--lol, plus a few extra grains of weight and a bit more velocity always helps. wc

NCsmitty
June 11, 2009, 10:29 PM
Although the 243 Win is a great dual purpose round, I would feel more confident using something like the 7-08 Rem for larger game.
Same basic case but more appropriate bullet weight and sectional density coupled with an outstanding BC will provide a much better "do it all" caliber.


NCsmitty

Floppy_D
June 11, 2009, 10:42 PM
I wish Shawnee was still here, he lived for these threads. :)

woof
June 11, 2009, 10:46 PM
Ethics are relative. Is a .243 ethical for elk? IMO no way. Some will say yes. They might say they are better shooter. I might say I have better ethics. It's all opinion. But if you hunt elk with a .30-06 or .308, and you do it within reasonable ranges at which you are truly competent (another matter of opinion) then few people would call that unethical.

By the way I think there is more unethical behavior in terms of poor shots taken at too long a range than in the caliber used. Most hunters are probably over-gunned.

PS where is Shawnee?

Big_E
June 11, 2009, 10:53 PM
.30-06 is my choice. .260 Remington is probably one of the best rounds IMO. Except I don't think I would use it against moose.

benzy2
June 11, 2009, 11:02 PM
I'm no expert, but my plans to buy a .243 were ended a while back by a friend who opined that ammo availability may be limited if the SHTF, so it may be smarter to go with NATO calibers and own a .223 for varmints (I do) and go with a .308 for bigger stuff...

Isn't the .243 a necked down .308? A good set of dies will form any of that ever so common (yet currently unavailable) .308 down to the .243. If it is SHTF and you are counting on factory ammo good luck.

wrs840
June 11, 2009, 11:28 PM
You make a good point.

Les

Gunther
June 11, 2009, 11:43 PM
Good for Deer, Antelope (both with the correctly constructed bullets) and varmints. Anything bigger get a bigger gun, you owe it to the animal. If SHTF/Hunting double duty go 308/06

Onmilo
June 12, 2009, 01:41 PM
There are huntable Elk in Kentucky? Seriously!

There are actually Elk in Colorado!!??:D

JonB
June 12, 2009, 03:15 PM
Well for one point, .243 is perfectly adequate for all manner of deer - whitetail, mule - doesn't matter. Ask me how I know (hint Savage 99 in .243)

But for elk, I would want something bigger. With a neck shot it wouldn't matter. But something with more punch would be ideal.

I like the thinking of some folks in the above thread of a .223 or .22-250 or similar and then a 7mm mag or a good ol' 30-06 as a good combination that will handle anything.

BornAgainBullseye
June 13, 2009, 08:38 AM
You should be safe to use that .243 on lower 48 game. Bullet choice and placement are your big concerns though. Angle shots on nothing bigger than monster whitetail or mulies. You will need a good bonded bullet or something like the new E tip or TSX for vital shots on elk and moose. You could use CXP2 for neck shots and skull popers. Oh BTW your post count has everything to do with the size of your head and how you know so much more than those with under the 3000 post mark! Actual experience in the field or the bench or on a lathe is no longer the benchmark anymore! Duh!!!

SaxonPig
June 13, 2009, 09:36 AM
Far too light IMO for anything larger than big varmints.

I have a beautiful Ruger #1 in 243 and I was shocked while plinking tin cans at the range to discover that this rifle would not knock over an empty soup can when struck solidly by the 243 bullets. The cans didn't even rock. Shot four times at one and thought I had missed but there were eight holes in the can, four in and four out with zero physical reaction. Meanwhile, the 22 pistol would easily roll them over.

Makes no sense, but the experience left me feeling uneasy about the killing power of the 243. For some reason this caliber demonstrated an utter lack of energy transference.

22-rimfire
June 13, 2009, 11:36 AM
Try that with full soup cans and you may see a difference. But I know the feeling.

As I said before, I feel a slightly larger caliber would be more more reliable for most "big game" animals unless there is a good reason not to own the larger caliber.

Heck, I love the .243 win caliber. I just think there are better "big game" calibers. Frankly, I'd be wondering if my favorite .270 win was large enough for elk and totally dismiss the concept of using a .243 for elk. Ethics come into play after the kill or attempted kill and you ask yourself if that was enough gun for the job with your skill set.

skoro
June 13, 2009, 12:50 PM
I don't own a .243 but have always been intrigued by it. A friend has a Remington Model 7 in .243 that's a real nice rifle and he's taken numerous deer with it over the years.

Seems to me that it would "do it all" on anything from varmints to mule deer. Short action, low recoil, flat ballistics...

What's not to like?

rangerruck
June 13, 2009, 02:07 PM
no, I do think it is a bit light for most things; you need something that is going to leave a blood hole, that won't just close up. plus don't forget, you got elk, moose, attacking cougars, wolves in packs, alligators, and other such thingies that go boo in the night, literally, that you will want something that is fast, like a lever, and makes bigger holes, and provides a bigger ' womp' , on the hit.
Don't get me wrong; I love the 243, and will never lose mine. but it is for a targeted, take my time, animal is not a threat, and maybe doesn't even see me,and I am hidden, or in a blind, or cannot even be gotten to or chased, type of round.

nathan
June 13, 2009, 02:56 PM
Close in really good for a brain and neck shots on an elk. It can be done. Be prepared for quick follow up shots. I would not worry to use it as long Im less than 75 yds on a huge bull.

ElToro
June 14, 2009, 03:54 AM
if i came across one for a really good deal i would add a .243 to my battery, but if i was starting out now and wanted only one gun, i'd go rem 700 in .308

41 Mag
June 14, 2009, 09:52 AM
Short of charging bears, if care is taken for proper shot placement, is there really anything one couldn't hunt ethically with a .243 in the lower 48?

As has been pointed out ethic's is a personal thing. As also has been pointed out there are many ways to kill an animal. Combining the two together in an open ended question will get widely varied results.

Having hunted with all manners of equipment in my short period of experience of around 40 years, I have studied vast amounts of literature on each task I took to hand. Along with this I also performed field test on various mediums and drop test and all sorts of other crazy things I could think of to prove out my loads, before hitting anything living or breathing.

You are correct, handgun velocities and energy levels pale in comparison to rifle levels. Also it is accepted that with archery equipment, all is well to hunt what ever you feel up to the challenge to. Yes they both have a place in their respective arenas, and yes they are both equally capable of dropping even the largest game on earth.

As to your original question, in my opinion, the .243 is a great caliber. What you hunt with it will depend on you. For those who feel like they cannot kill anything with a caliber of less than .308, it will never be up to their standards. However it will deliver a properly placed bullet to the vitals just as good as the next one, with a properly placed shot. The key is the proper placement. I see time and time again folks refer to having to have the magnums or like calibers to get through from this or that angle. They have spent a small fortune to go on this hunt and aren't leaving with out shooting something, even if the shot is not a good shot. Yet they boast about their ethics being better than yours or mine.

To me, and I have been there done it, if I head off to hunt something I will be prepared for it. I will "practice" long and hard before getting there and know that I WILL put the ideal shot on what ever game I am hunting or simply not take it. There are wonderful bullets made today that were not around years ago. The .243 came out and was loaded with two loads, an 80 gr load and a 100gr load. The 80 was too fragile and the 100 was to tough for most deer and such. However there were still tons of game animals dropped with both. Over the years things have gotten much better and bullets for this caliber have gone through several evolutions.

With the .243 you can use any number of bullets and cleanly and effectively take anything up to and including elk. Now this said, yes there are bigger calibers which will blow bigger holes in things. However they are also more expensive to shoot, and may not be as pleasant to "practice" with. If you are good with your rifle, you will make a good shot, if you are a practical hunter you will make an ethical shot. Likewise with a handgun or bow. If you stick to reasonable ranges and pick your shots within your limitations, your WAY more ethical in your activities than anyone who feels they HAVE to take what ever shot they can get with a big bore or magnum or go home empty.

My one and only trip to CO hunting I went after both elk and mule deer. I got the deer, never saw the elk. I took my .25-06 loaded with a 115gr Partition, not because I felt it was any better than most of the other calibers I had, but due to the fact I knew the rifle and the loads intimately and knew that if required I could put the bullet anywhere I chose to at ranges out to 400yds. Now I would never have taken that far a shot on an elk by any means, but on a muley, I had no doubts it would have done the job it needed to if I got the shot I wanted. I would have come home just as happy not getting one as I did getting the one I got. I was not there simply to kill something, the whole trip was for the experience. It is sad that in today's society the kill has taken on much more of a priority than the hunt in of itself.

I also own three .243's along with a varied number of other calibers. I do not feel uncomfortable hunting with any of them. I do however hit the woods with the 25-06 or the Ruger compact in .308 more often than not. Simply due to the fact that with the .308 I am generally after hogs in close tight quarters where the short barrel is a better option than the longer 22 and 24" tubes on the .243's. And with the .25-06, well it's like a well broken in boot. I am very comfortable with it on what ever walks out, but I use it mainly only for open pasture. I hunted with the .243's from the time I was 6 up until I was in my late 20's, and harvested many deer each year with them, and still use them on occasion today. In fact I just recently worked up a load for the newest Sako Forrester I purchased used not too long ago.

Good luck with your decision, but choose what you feel you will enjoy and shoot proficiently, then make the decision on whether or not to pull the trigger on what ever game your after when the time comes.

CaptainCrossman
June 14, 2009, 02:43 PM
Short of charging bears, if care is taken for proper shot placement, is there really anything one couldn't hunt ethically with a .243 in the lower 48?


well that's just it, if you research predator hunters for instance, they are out there calling bobcats and coyotes, and a huge black bear comes to see what's going on- then what ? You're under-gunned with a 243. It's actually happened to some of the best predator hunters in the country.

I'm of the mindset, take into the woods a firearm that can take down any animal that may be in the area, with one well placed shot- and the 243 just won't do that.

anything the 243 can do, the 257 Roberts, 6mm Remington or 7mm-08, 7x57 can do better. I actually would take an old .250 Savage over a .243 Win. if given a choice.

I prefer a minimum of the 308 Win or .300 Savage case capacity, but with a minimum of a 100 grain/25 caliber bullet, that's where I draw the line in the sand. (one has to draw the line somewhere, otherwise we'd all be hunting with a 22 LR) Anything less than 100 grain/25 cal I'd consider being undergunned as a "overall useful" North American caliber. This idea is nothing new or original, it was first pioneered in the early 1900's, but holds true to this day. Reason- the same critters are still out there !;)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 14, 2009, 03:57 PM
Makes no sense, but the experience left me feeling uneasy about the killing power of the 243.

You're right, that doesn't make any sense! :D It's going so fast that it zips right through. All that speed is gonna transfer massive amounts of energy if the target is solid, not empty air. Your experiment is not indicative of real world performance. At all. In fact, if the round was going much much slower, then it would easily knock over the cans. Would that make it more effective? No.

wickedsprint
June 14, 2009, 04:14 PM
I appreciate the continued replies guys, thanks especially to 41 Mag for the time to post that.

41 Mag
June 14, 2009, 07:04 PM
wickedsprint,

Ain't no thing bud. I do however need to make a correction to the above post. I mis-spoke when I said I hit the field with one the two rifles for the most part. Actually for the most part I carry a Redhawk in 41 or 44 magnum, or a Raging Bull in 454 along with my bow.

For the past few months I have been trying hard to get on some hogs at our place in the country with the bow. Well I finally had enough of being out of range and started hauling the revolvers along with me. Either way they are both a hoot to hunt with and the ranges aren't all that far different. Just with the revolvers and that right at dark period, if I do make a shot, I don't have to spend several hours searching for the arrow the next morning.

Com 45acp
June 16, 2009, 08:19 AM
You won't be under gunned with a .243. As long as you stay with whitetail sized game and smaller. Which is what I believe you were asking about. I'm sure your not intending to go after dangerous or African Plains game like some on here are implying. Just pick and choose your shots, and use a good bullet and you will be good out to 350 - 400 yards.

kludge
June 16, 2009, 11:15 AM
If you take that .243 and neck it up to 7mm, then yes, THAT is a do it all caliber. (7mm-08)

bearmgc
June 16, 2009, 11:34 AM
.243 is a little light in caliber for me in Wyoming. An all around gun here is more like the .270 or 30-06. But for the average shooter in a nonGrizz state, the .243 is prolly fine.

chuckscap
June 16, 2009, 11:19 PM
I hunted elk in Montana 30 years ago with a 243, shooting 105g Speer spitzers at 3000 fps. Worked real well. Shot several black bears on problem animal tags as well. All 1 shot kills. Shot placement is more important than ever, but a well placed shot behind the shoulder is devastating. I switched to a 270 when we started finding grizzlies sitting on our gutted elk since we had to pack it out quarter by quarter.

Of course now since I gave my youngest son my 270, I have to hunt elk and deer this year with my 500 Jeffrey ...

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg144/chuckscap/500Jefferyturretcartridgesmaxipadsm.jpg

:)

Chuck

homers
June 16, 2009, 11:32 PM
Using a .243 with premium bullets at high velocities (handloads) hits really hard.

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