243 WIN for elk?


July 21, 2009, 06:50 PM
Obviously this will get a few laughs but I am limited , due to recent neck surgery, to a caliber with modest recoil for my deer and elk hunting. Anybody use this round for cow or bull elk. I will be using the 243 Win with 100 grain Nosler Partition. Normally with a healthy neck my minimum for cow elk is a 270 Win (150gr Nosler partitions) and for bull elk here in Idaho I use a 300 Win mag with 200gr high energy Federal Nosler Partition loads or a 338 Win mag with 250gr high energy Federal loads.

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July 21, 2009, 07:01 PM

Big Daddy Grim
July 21, 2009, 07:05 PM
I would say no the smallest I have used on an elk was a .308 shootin 150's but you don't want the animal to suffer so I say no.

July 21, 2009, 07:26 PM
41' & BIG' thanks for the input.

July 21, 2009, 08:23 PM
If you think you could stand just a few more pounds of recoil, then you might consider the 7mm-08.

Its a good performer...with relatively mild recoil.

July 21, 2009, 08:59 PM
I have a 7mm-08 but I am not sure what the recoil in ft lbs is compared to the 243 @ 12ft lbs. When I shot the 7mm-08 last year it seemed closer; but not quite at my 270 Win. level of recoil.

July 21, 2009, 10:11 PM
Stupid thoughts... put a really good recoil pad on the gun?

Trade up to a semi-auto that will eat some recoil?

July 21, 2009, 10:22 PM
According to Chuck Hawks http://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm the 7mm-08 has about 50 percent more recoil than the .243. Exactly how that would translate into reality, I have no clue.

July 21, 2009, 10:42 PM
You might try a 270wsm or any larger wsm's. I have a bad back and neck and I can hunt with a 300wsm alot less recoil, but it does cost more for ammo.

July 21, 2009, 10:59 PM
I think if you pick your shots, you should be fine. I killed a cow with my .243, if I was forced to use a low recoil round it wouldn't stop me from going elk hunting.

the lone gunman
July 21, 2009, 11:07 PM
Heck Yeah, I would use 243 for Elk.

July 21, 2009, 11:37 PM
My brother hunts elk using his 6MM. Swears by it. I work with a fellow that uses a 243 for everthing including elk. I would recommend more power, however, if you are a good shot with a cool head the 243 will kill elk.

July 21, 2009, 11:54 PM
Personally, I'd go with the 7mm-08! Its a pretty gentle round. I find it to have only a very slight bit more recoil than my .243. According to Chuck Hawkes table (link given above): 7mm-08 140gr@2860fps, 8lb rifle = 12.6ft/lbs recoil energy while the .270 150gr@2900fps, 8lb rifle = 17ft/lbs recoil energy. So, 7mm-08 should be noticably gentler than .270 and closer to the .243 unless the rifle is significantly lighter, and in my own experience it definitely is! My 7mm-08 is a M700 just like yours, and I find it to be a pretty gentle rifle. I'd think it would be a much better choice for an elk, and your really not talking all that much more recoil over a .243. Heck, a 100gr .243 bullet and a 140gr 7mm-08 bullet have almost exactly the same trajectory, so you could practice with your M700ADL pre-season and take the M700 7mm-08 on the hunt!

July 21, 2009, 11:55 PM

I have a 7mm-08 but I am not sure what the recoil in ft lbs is compared to the 243 @ 12ft lbs.
Depends on the weight of your rifle and the particular load, but a 100gr bullet in a .243 (7-8lb rifle) will yield about 8.8 lb. ft recoil.

The 7mm-08 ...140gr about 12.5 lb. ft.

When I shot the 7mm-08 last year it seemed closer; but not quite at my 270 Win. level of recoil.
When I moved my daughter up from a .243 to the 7mm-08 I put a Pachmayr Decelerator Recoil Pad on her rifle.



I was absolutely amazed at the difference it made. Both of us agreed it felt basically like the shooting the .243, I just couldn't get over the difference it made.

Neither of us are recoil sensitive (I shot a .338 win mag for 20 yrs.)....but I really fell in love with the 7mm-08 and she wouldn't trade it for anything.

You could have someone check your rifle for zero before hunting with it. Then you would only need to take the one shot when the opportunity was right.

Anyway...just a suggestion.


July 22, 2009, 08:57 AM
To all of you,

I believe you have convinced me to go the Pachmayr rout on my 7mm-08. Thanks for the advice;I don't why I didn't think of that already.DUH!:)

July 22, 2009, 09:45 AM
.243 is quite adequate. Just don't take ify shots. If you're into risky shots, there's really not a caliber that's going to help you out. Toolset is the last variable in the equation.

We hunt elk every year with .25-06, .270, and .30-30 rifles. I've taken elk with my .270 and a .30-30 without any problems.

July 22, 2009, 09:59 AM

What bullets do you use?

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 22, 2009, 11:35 AM
Boy, I'm no expert, but I dunno. I personally wouldn't try a vital organs shot with a .243 on a full grown elk - they have a layer of fat and skin that tends to quickly seal and not leave you any blood trail, even if you do have an exit hole. I'd want a BIG exit hole for a trophy (to me) game animals that's in dense cover and can run a long ways very quickly in steep terrain. The .243 may not even give you any exit hole, let alone a big one. But I'd still try it in a pinch, but of course limit my shots ONLY to neck shots or brain shots, with a 95-107 gr bullet. If you're not gonna limit yourself to neck/brain shots, then I'd try to move up at least to a .260 rem or 6.5x55 with 140 gr or heavier loadings.

But CoRoMo sounds like the expert, so I'd listen to him.

July 22, 2009, 11:37 AM
I would not use a .243 for elk however if that is what you are limited to due to injury than use it and make your shots count.

July 22, 2009, 10:51 PM
+1 on the 7mm08 you already own with the decelerator pad. I have that pad on my 300 WSM sporter and it recoils softer than my Savage heavy barrel 308 with basically no pad. I highly recommed TSX bullets in your 7mm08 loads and you'll do just fine with Elk.

.38 Special
July 23, 2009, 12:07 AM
IMO, small calibers can be effective on large game if very heavy bullets are used at moderate velocity. The old 6.5x53 was used in Africa early in the 20th century on some very large game -- but with 160 grain bullets at 2200 FPS. And of course the same can be said for the 7x57 with 175 grain bullets.

Small calibers with light bullets are good varmint guns, IMO, and not much more. Yes, they can be used to kill big game, but so can a .22.

July 23, 2009, 12:19 AM
A stout 140gr 7mm-08 will get the job done for sure. I've done it a few times.

A 243 will get it done but I'd limit to 100-150y shots so you can get surgical with shot placement. If Swift makes the A Frame in the .243, use that and ditch the Nosler. The A Frame will take out a tank. It's a pretty tough bullet that keeps on trucking.

July 23, 2009, 12:24 AM
recoil pad.... muzzle break... semi-auto is an option, but not one I would favor...

July 23, 2009, 12:24 AM
id say inside of 150 yeah go for it

just pick the shot carefully and practice with it. elk were hunted to near extinction wiht the .30-30 so heck yeah the .243 can do it just prepare for the shot

jim in Anchorage
July 23, 2009, 12:29 AM
I can't believe no one mentioned a muzzle break. I one on a light 700 Rem .300 WBY and can barely feel it go off wearing heavy hunting cloths.

July 23, 2009, 12:34 AM
Muzzle brakes increase noise to the point that it isn't worth the recoil reduction. I'd rather get pounded by the gun than increase the noise.

jim in Anchorage
July 23, 2009, 01:11 AM
I can't argue with the noise,but the OP has a bad neck so you gotta do what you gotta do. I don't like it myself[it came with the gun] but with double ear protection its tolerable

July 23, 2009, 09:47 AM

What bullets do you use?

We'll handload a few different types depending on the rifle. My .270 likes Hornady 130gr. SP. The .25-06 is usually handloaded with 120gr Nosler AccuBonds or Ballistic Tips, and the .30-30 shoots LeverEvolution ammo.

These rifles have taken elk handily and cleanly.
I like the Core-Lokt Ultras in the .270, but they don't group as well as the Hornadys.

July 23, 2009, 04:30 PM
He should do what ever he has to not to use a 243 for Elk hunting.

July 24, 2009, 01:19 AM
worried about noise in a hunting rifle? I guess a bang a few decibles lower wouldnt scare the creatures away as promptly...

I know i know.. my poor ears...

Capt. NW
July 24, 2009, 11:53 AM
My brother killed a nice 6x6 with his 270 win 130gr. hornady ammo. he has also kill some nice mule deer out to 450 years with the same gun. I was with him on his hunts all the game that he hit was in the hart and the game when maybe 20 yeards after being hit. My brother is big on hitting the bullseye and dosen't like a lot of kick that might throw his shot.

July 24, 2009, 12:56 PM
I gather the OP has a few elk hunts under his belt so I think as long as he keeps a cool head and makes a good shot eathier rifle will work. I wouldn't recomend a rifle that light for a brand new first year elk hunter under most circumstances just for the fact that a bad shot on an elk with any rifle makes for a long track but a bad shot with a much lighter round could mean a long track with no blood to fallow. I like the Pachmayr Decelerator Recoil Pad I have one on my 375 and it is great. I have seen a cow elk killed with a 243 with remy corlocks with a behind the sholder shot maybe 100yds, elk ran about 100yds and fell over, pretty much like they do when you hit the same spot with 300 win mag.

August 2, 2009, 07:58 PM
I think no

Faster Daddy!
August 5, 2009, 11:35 PM
I have taken several Elk (cows and bulls) with the following calibers 243, 30-06, 270 WSM and 300 WSM. The first cow was with a 243. The shot was about 100 yds. I fired the first shot and the cow appeared as if it had not been hit. I fired a second and the cow dropped in it's tracks. Upon closer inspection the first shot was right on target and the second shot was less than 2 inches from the first. Shot placement is everything and the 243 worked for me on my first Elk. However, Elk are extremely strong animals and I now would recomend nothing less than a 270 cal bullet (160gr Nosler Partition) or preferably LARGER. The only time the larger calibers are going to be felt are at the range. During the hunt, in the heat of the moment, you are going to tell your buddies you thought you were shooting a 22. I don't care if your shooting a 338 or 416 you will not remember the recoil. The most painful part of Elk hunting is drawing the tag!

August 5, 2009, 11:38 PM
The most painful part of Elk hunting is drawing the tag!
At least in AZ anyway:mad:

Faster Daddy!
August 6, 2009, 12:19 AM
Agree with you wankerjake. :mad:

August 6, 2009, 12:50 AM
I agree with the others about adding accessories to help dampen the recoil, such as a butt pad, or shooting a heavier rifle/add weight. I would also recommend talking to your doctor about neck strengthening exercises.

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