.243 100 grain vs 80 grain


November 22, 2010, 08:35 PM
Hi all,

So I bought several boxes of Remington ammo the other day. I was going for 100 grain core lokt for hunting deer here in NC. I picked up a few boxes of 80 grain as well by accident and I was wondering if that would still work on our tiny deer down here. What do you guys think?
Just to be clear, I have boxes of 100 grain Remington Core Lokt Express ammo and a few boxes of 80 grain Remington Express ammo. I know the 100 grain would work, but the 80 grain is smaller and not the Core Lokt variety. It still has a lead core. Thoughts?

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November 22, 2010, 08:45 PM
Depending on the twist of your barrel, the 80's might be more accurate than 100gr; or at least fly faster and thereby have less opportunity to get pushed off course by wind or gravity.

If it is FMJ; no. You need soft point or those "premium" hunting rounds; otherwise it'll just zip right through and he'll trot off to die slowly and painfully a few counties over.

Since the 100gr Corelokt .243s are proven, and work very well...and you have them...why would you not use them?

November 22, 2010, 09:00 PM
Check what the manufacturer says the load was intended for - in years past, an 80 grain .243 was generally a varmint load designed for rapid expansion and as such likely to expand too quickly on deer and not penetrate to the vitals. I suspect this is still the case...

November 22, 2010, 09:05 PM
+1 on ETXhiker. The 80 gr bullet is pretty much for varmint hunting. See what the manufacturer says about it before using it.

November 22, 2010, 09:34 PM
The 100gr Core-Lokt is designed for controlled expansion on deer size game.

The 80gr PSP and Powr-Lokt bullets are designed with thin frangible jackets made to explode on small game and varmints. They should not be used on deer size game, if you plan to eat them, although they would work on head/neck shots.


November 23, 2010, 01:34 AM
I've seen the 80gr Remington soft points used on deer and they will work.

They will have a lack of penetration when fired at close range, but will perform well at impact ranges of 150yds and beyond. On the closer range shots, go for either a heart shot or head shot.

I accompanied a co-worker on a deer-depredation control permit hunt one night back in the mid-80's. He used a .243 exclusively with the Remington 80gr loads. Most of his shots were in the 150-300yd range and he was an excellent shot, Most deer were shot in the head/neck, but the longer range ones were heart/lung shot and all animals hit were killed with one shot. Few even took a step after being hit.

That said, you will be hard pressed to improve over the Remington 100gr Corlokt for the .243. I've had poor performance from the Hornady 100gr BTSpt and others, but have not seen a 100gr Remington fail.

November 23, 2010, 01:47 AM
I believe the expression is "It's hard to argue with success". Use what has worked in the past.


November 23, 2010, 04:43 AM
100 grainers are in a whole different class when it comes to thick boddied deer, they have even been used with great success on elk! 80 might get you by well enough on smaller deer, but the only 80-85gr bullets that I trust on larger deer are the Game King and TSX.

November 23, 2010, 05:47 AM
While with perfect shots the .243 will indeed drop elk, I'd be loathe to recommend it as a elk rifle. There are far better choices out there, and just because somone HAS done something....even repeatedly...with a certain rifle or bullet weight, it doesn't make it a good idea. The .243 is a great varmit round...a pretty good deer rifle in the right hands.... but is far too small to be considered an elk caliber by most people. You can kill deer with a .22 short too....but that doesn't make it the best tool for the job under average conditions. In that same vein, the .243 can kill grizzly bears, but its not the particular tool I'd reach for for that job.

November 23, 2010, 06:09 AM
A pal used the 87(?) gr. bullets on a Whitetail buck two yrs. ago (because he didn't know better).
A good hit in vitals at 70-80 yds and the buck ran off. We found it two days later, over a mile away, partially consumed by coyotes. It had a massive superficial wound with a few inches of penetration. Looked like a close range 20 ga. with 7 1/2 "birdshot" had been used.
I would NOT use the 80 whatever gr. bullets.

November 23, 2010, 08:15 AM
Alright, thanks for the advice. You've potentially spared a deer a slow death and I would have felt horrible about that. Also, not that it matters a whole lot, but I meant to post this in the hunting section and I did it here by mistake. I must have been tired.

November 23, 2010, 08:32 AM
I agree with desidog post#2.. 100gr pills can sometimes not be stabilized enough for 1:10 twist brrls. There are always exceptions but 90gr is considered by many to be the upper limit for 1:10 twist. Some rifle manufacturers have increased rate of twist to 1:9 to stabilize the 100gr pills beyond 200yds. It is the LENGTH of the projectile that creates the need for a faster bullet rotation. I own both 1:10 and 1:9 twist rifles in .243 and the difference is clear on the 100gr pills

November 23, 2010, 08:54 AM
I've limited experience with my Savage .243 and 100gr bullets. Not sure of my twist but they never grouped well. With plain old silver box winchester 80gr bullets, it is a sight to behold at the range. I use it mainly for coyotes, and go to the .308 for deer. Never hunted NC deer, but I imagine they're not much bigger than our GA deer. Even so, I think using 80gr bullets would be a severe handicap and a tracking nightmare when the bullet doesn't exit.

November 23, 2010, 08:56 AM
I'm not sure what my barrel twist is. It's a savage 111 from the pawn shop. I don't recall ever seeing twist written on the side of the barrel.
I have to check the zero anyway after one of the barn cats knocked it over and it fell right onto the scope. Since I'm already pissing off the neighbors, I'll just shoot a few more rounds to compare accuracy. I'm really bummed about that because I'm getting off of work early today in time to get home before the sun goes down. But I just can't take a shot if I don't know exactly where it's going. The scope could be unchanged or it could be 10 inches off at 100 yards. At least, that's what I think I should do.

November 23, 2010, 10:14 AM
My .243 is a savage 111 also. My experience with the 100gr bullets is limited to one range session, so don't take it as gospel. It could have been the round, the scope, me or a host of other factors. Give it a shot and see. And I whole-heartedly endorse confirming your zero before hunting. I think all would agree we owe it to the animal.

Art Eatman
November 23, 2010, 10:46 AM
I've killed twenty-some bucks with the Sierra 85-grain HPBT. I was picky about my shots. Neck, or cross-body heart/lung shot. No angling shots where penetration through meat to reach the heart/lung area. That bullet creates a double-handful of mush in the heart/lung mass. Seriously ruinacious. :)

I imagine the 80-grain load would work within those restrictions.

I'd probably have gone with the 100 grain bullets as a general purpose deer load, but my particular rifle won't stabilize them for tight groups.

November 23, 2010, 11:29 AM

I've had poor performance from the Hornady 100gr BTSpt and others

Just to clarify, this is just with the 100gr .243 Hornady BTSP? I know you've shot a lot of deer and/or been present while others shot a lot of deer. Have you used the Hornady BTSP in calibers other than .243? Reason I'm asking is I bought a bunch of 117gr Hornady BTSP for my .257 Roberts. I've killed one small deer with it and it worked well. Thanks! BPL

November 23, 2010, 04:08 PM
My Savage 110 in .243 likes cheapie Federal 100 grain soft points. 1 - 1.25 " at 100 yards. IMO .243 requires careful shot selection and placement. Given that, the 100 grainer is a killer IME.

November 23, 2010, 04:40 PM
My 11 yr old now 13 yr old son on his first deer hunt 2 years ago. Shot a huge 260lb buck with Winchester Power Points 80gr., perfect behind the shoulder shot. He only went about 50 yards before piling up.

November 23, 2010, 06:52 PM
The two best bullets for the .243 and deer are the 100gr Partition and the 95gr SST. I've taken about 120 NC deer with the .243. The Core-Locs usually turn to dust if they hit bone, (I like them in other calibers) and the Winchester Ballistic Silvertips do not expand and preform like a FMJ. I usually shoot the Partitions, as I have several hundred loaded up. I usually find the bullet just under the skin on the far side. Not good for tracking, but good for maximizing shock value. The SST's I usually shoot at the base of the neck on does in the 100-120lb range. They never move, just fall where they stand. The SST is alot like the Nosler BT, but a heavier jacket. They fragment into 5 to 10gr pieces.


November 23, 2010, 07:03 PM

Use the 87's and not to worry, they'll put your deer down. My brother and Pop used the .243 for years, that 87 grain will knock 'em down plenty fast, the 100 gr will also, but don't be afraid to use the 87.

November 23, 2010, 08:42 PM
Here's the 260lb(on the hoof) Buck my son shot with a 243 80gr Power Pointhttp://i203.photobucket.com/albums/aa250/surjimmy/IMG_0673.jpg

November 23, 2010, 09:15 PM

I've taken a few animals with the 80 grain Pro Hunter spitzer by Sierra. No problems with expansion or penetration.

But BEST ammo I've ever used for long range accuracy and deadly expansion is Black Hills Ammo featuring Nosler 95 grain Ballistic Tip. In my opinion, this superb Premium bullet elevates the .243 to same lethal long distance status as 25-06. Anyone is allowed to disagree.


November 23, 2010, 09:25 PM
.243 is a bit small.

I'd use a 150 gr Reminton Core-Lokt in 7mm Mag or a .270 at a push.

November 23, 2010, 09:40 PM
.243 is a bit small.

I'd use a 150 gr Reminton Core-Lokt in 7mm Mag or a .270 at a push.


Art Eatman
November 24, 2010, 11:38 AM
Hey, Alex! We're talking deer and such, not Cape Buffalo in Africa! Or Big Brown Bear in Alaska...

Really, it's best to read the thread before wandering off-topic...

November 26, 2010, 05:49 AM
Hey guys, a .243 is more than adequate for deer sized game. I reload for my .243 and use Speer Hot Core 80 grain bullets and they work great on whitetail deer here in southeast Oklahoma. If you have good shot placement they'll take down any deer. However, if your going to shoot them in the rear, you'll need a cannon.

November 26, 2010, 09:18 PM
Well, I checked the zero and it was ever so slightly to the left. Other than that, we're back in business. I'm using the 100 grain for now (I have those, too), and we'll do the 80 grain when I'm sitting out there for coyotes or just plinking. I'm a decent shot (I know we've heard that a million times from everyone and their brother, but really I am) and I was planning to take neck shots if the deer was within 120 yards or so, since I'll probably have a good rest. So it probably wouldn't have mattered much anyway, but now I'll know for next time.

Art Eatman
November 26, 2010, 09:28 PM
Let us know how you make out...

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