.243 for deer: what bullet type/construction?


February 8, 2011, 10:47 PM
I'm considering going with a .243 for an all around hunting rifle, inluding deer. I know when hunting deer I will be better served with 90-100 grainers. However, what type of bullet construction would you recommend for deer hunting out to around 250 yards? Specific factory ammo recommendations would be helpful as well, as I don't plan to do any reloading anytime soon. Thanks.

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February 8, 2011, 10:54 PM
go with he proven standard for hunting bullets

100 grain Remington Core-Lokts

my sister killed 2 deer with one shot out of her 18in youth Rem 700 243...through and through on both of em DRT

February 8, 2011, 11:03 PM
my wife slays them yearly with federal soft points. about the same construction as a core lokt or power point. i guess you could use a bonded bullet but i dont see the need.

February 9, 2011, 12:07 AM
There are also some premium bullets in the 80-85 gr. range. I use an 80 gr. Barnes bullet (TTSX) and will use it for everything this year, including bear in a couple months. It dropped a mule deer in one shot a couple months ago. .243 ammo has many choices, explore whatever you can afford to from 80-100 gr. :) Premium bullets will always stand you in better stead, but if you love the cheap ammo and it's accurate, just try not to hit the shoulder.

35 Whelen
February 9, 2011, 01:48 AM
I've been shooting a 6mm (same caliber and nearly a ballistic twin to a 243) since for 30+ years now. It's the rifle my wife and kids shoot now. Low recoil and accurate. For many years now I've been using a 100 gr. Hornady Interlock SP @ 3005 fps with great success. I ran out of the newer Interlock bullets but dug up an old box of standard 100 gr. Hornady bullets. This year my 17 year old daughter killed her first buck with these old bullets and my wife killed a big ol' boar as well as a buck with this rifle and load:

The .24 calibers will do more than most people realize! I'm sure the Nosler Partitions or Barnes TSX might be better, but who can argue with success?


February 9, 2011, 10:02 AM
Had pretty good luck here loading the nosler 96 grain BTs. Running around 2900 fps or so. Longest shot has been just about 225 yard, closest about 10 yards.

Those 100g core lokts have worked for me too.

I think you would be fine either way.

Art Eatman
February 9, 2011, 11:22 AM
"In general": Bullets around 100 grains oughta be more reliable for an angling shot, as well as the more preferred 90 cross-body.

I've used the 85-grain Sierra HPBT, but I always have limited myself to cross-body or to neck shots. I wouldn't fully trust that particular bullet on an angling shot; it definitely blows up fairly quickly.

February 9, 2011, 12:38 PM
the factory federal sp's work fine for me and I also load up the TSX from barnes and they are devastating on whitetails and muleys and a few hogs...

February 9, 2011, 09:20 PM
What bullet weight would you consider to be the max that a .243 with a 1 in 9.25 twist rate could stabilize?

February 10, 2011, 12:16 PM
105 to 115 , but then you get into OAL that is an issue for some throats ... some chambers are cut with longer throats for the longer/heavier bullets

I have one in .243 AI that krieger did for me with a longer throat that allows me to load to longer OAL for the heavier/longer bullets

here is an interesting article from the 6mm BR folks on the .243 win and .243 AI bullet offerings (the ackley improved allows you to still shoot .243 win and fireforms the cases)


February 10, 2011, 04:51 PM
Std. 100 grain cup/core bullets do work fine, just as long as you put them in the boiler room and you stay close to rip shots.

I haven't always had those perfect shots, so i switched to 100NP's and it made my .243 Win. MUCH better big game cartridge! I only use 100NP's now, as i much prefer the deeper penetration they give.


February 10, 2011, 08:55 PM
Hey 35W.....I really like that Ruger 77 Flatbolt. As you probably know those early guns all came with Douglas barrels and were very accurate. I've had a number of them in various calibers....are were lights out shooters!

February 11, 2011, 09:49 AM

Black Hills Ammo makes a 95 grain load featuring Nosler Ballistic Tip. Accuracy and "knock down power" is outstanding.

We've had very good luck with plain Winchester Power Point ammo for typical forest and foothill shooting where distances rarely exceed 175 yards.

PMP is a S. African company that makes good quality ammo for a good price. We shoot it it a lot for practice and have taken a few mulies as well with this "exotic" ammo.


February 11, 2011, 02:41 PM
many good bullets here! but if you run the 85 gr Barnes tsx you'll never look back. the 70 gr tsx in 223 has anchored everything we've shot to the ground. and my 243 with the 85 gr tsx is even better. I ran a tsx through a small buck this year and it never took another step at about 200 yrds and I dropped a running 8 pointer at full sprint dead in it's tracks at about 100 yrds. both easy shot's I know but the bullets are awesome. and I'm getting easy one inch groups with them at 200yrds so accuracy is great. a 1:9.25 is just fine.

February 11, 2011, 07:08 PM
100 grain Remington Core-Lokts

That's what I've used in the past, and it worked very well.

February 12, 2011, 09:07 AM
Had great luck with the Hornady 95g SST. A few years ago my son hit a doe in the hind quarters with one, unfortunately, and I couldn't believe the devastation.

February 12, 2011, 10:45 PM
We have had great luck with Hornady 95 grain SST. The custom line of ammo fires awsome groups for factory ammo. The below target is 6 rounds fired from 150 yards one round the lower was fired first then I adjusted the scope a couple clicks up. Even after the adjustment the other 5 rounds are under 1". Grids are 1x1" the results a couple days later is this fine whitetail my 10 year old son took.http://i724.photobucket.com/albums/ww241/jbkebert/keigansdeer016.jpg

February 12, 2011, 11:12 PM
Great photos!
That's where I want to be!
In the field with my 243!

Hey, I made a poem! :D

Kurt S.
February 17, 2011, 04:31 AM
I've killed deer in both FL and S. TX with your basic .243 100 gr. Rem core-lokt. I also killed my first Rio Grande turkey, my first TX hog, and my first javelina with the same round.

My nephews up in KY have killed plenty of deer with my old Savage 99 in .243 with 100 grain rounds. Compared to the deer I've shot in south Texas and back in FL, those looked like horses with racks!

I switched to a .25-06 for west Texas deer/hogs and 45-70 for east Texas woods.

Far as I can see, aint nothing wrong with using the .243 with a good commercial looad for deer anywhere.

February 18, 2011, 02:52 PM
100 grain Remington Core-Lokts. My kids who hunt have all taken their first deer with these, and I've used them to take a couple, too (although I usually hunt with a .308).

February 18, 2011, 04:43 PM
100 grain nosler partions would be my 1st choice or maybe some Speer 100 grain grand slams for close work and for distance shots I like the 100 grain Sierra gameking. I have used the Sierra GK with 45 grains of IMR 7828 to take several whitetails out past 250 yards with excellent results. And that load also shoots 1/4 moa @ 100yards in my Savage model 11. There's a bunch of good pills to try. I'm a little leary of bullets lighter than 95 grains out past 200 yards for larger deer, but if it groups good go with it. shot placement is where its at. what ever you use!

February 19, 2011, 04:56 AM
this has been one of our favourites over the years!

here is my two penneth worth.

it really depends on the deer you are shooting, your rifles twist rate, the length of your barrel (and so the velocity of your bullet)

I have shot lots and lots of deer with 243 7mm08 308 win and .30-06sprg.

the .243 i have used is a ruger m77 mk2 with a short barrell (19 inches i think) the same rifle with a 25 inch krieger barrel and a remmy 700 adl with a 22 inch barrel.

i found the shortest barrel would not really spin the speer 105s very well and i could only get a 3 inch group with them... however terminal effect was very good. full penetration, limited damage. i would think that the muzzle velocity was pretty low maybe 2700 fps.
i achieved good accuracy with some 80 gr federal soft points. they were very fast. i found them very damaging, they did not penetrate well and fragmented. I soon left them alone.
i loaded up some hornady interlock (2450) with some N140 (quite a fast burner for .243) the thought process based around getting most efficiency from the short barrel. i think the velocity would have been about 2800 fps. They were very accurate. very very deadly. an excellant load.
I then changed the barrel. this was a deer hunting blind alley and a mistake that a guy with my experience shouldn't have made. the barrel had a 1 in 14 (i think it was) twist rate and the highest bullet wieght i could spin was just 62 grains.....:uhoh:
I then moved onto the remmy and just transferred the hornady load straight over. the remmy loved it. the deer didnt. I would not load anything else for deer now.

ok if your delivery method gives a relatively low velocity.. 2600 fps etc i would consider a hunting ballistic tip, a ballistic silver tip or a barnes bullet. all of these are designed to expand at a lower velocity.
for mid or standard type velocity 2800-2900fps i would go for a gameking, hornady interlock (my favourite) or a speer hot cor. also barnes bullets remain good.
for high velocity delivery i would choose something bonded and tough swift A frame, nosler partition or barnes (they keep thier integrity over a wide range of velocities).

it is all in sliding scales. one size does not fit all. there are plenty of factors to be considered. what ever the OP decides i would say that practise with your hunting load makes perfect.

interlock (for a reason)

Lloyd Smale
February 23, 2011, 07:56 AM
another vote for 100 grain corelocks. Ive used them in factory ammo and hanloading the 243 and 6mm for years and have lost a deer shot to them yet. Might be fancier bullets out there now but ive never seen a need to try them.

February 23, 2011, 09:16 AM
I've seen other threads where people claims the .243 is marginal for deer. I've never had an issue and have been using mine since I was 15. I would just pick the factory hollow point or soft point that shoots most accurately. 100 grain bullets are probably better for angled shots, but inside 100-150 yards or so I suspect you won't see much difference.

Personally, mine shoots the Win. XX rounds more accurately than the Federal or Remington rounds. Other guns will be different though. The nice thing is all three are pretty inexpensive.

I guess this is a long way of saying, try some different factory ammo with a hunting bullet (not varmint) to see what shoots best and call it good.

February 23, 2011, 09:36 AM
2 words: Nosler. Partition.

February 23, 2011, 01:35 PM
My wifes .243 likes the Hornady 95 gr SST. It seems to be plenty of bullet for both deer and hog.

March 1, 2011, 12:18 AM
100 grain remingtons...another vote. A .243 will kill pretty much anything that isn't trying to kill me! In other words, I don't think I would take one on a grizzly hunt, but it's my dream to shoot one with a bow. I think I would trust the .243 a little more, to be honest!

March 17, 2011, 02:57 PM
243 is a great bullet the kids and wife will enjoy it every time.
Put the crosshairs in the correct spot and it's done.
Remington 700 243
Savage 99f 243.

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