Is .243 enough for mule deer???


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WTBguns10kOK
November 17, 2012, 11:41 PM
Yes!


http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8195389338_5b3401667a_b.jpg


4 mile pack out, halfway up the mountain. One shot kill, 85 gr. TSX. 75 yards offhand.

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MCgunner
November 18, 2012, 12:09 AM
Not a problem out to 300 yards or so. Use a good bullet and you see the results. :D

Nice buck! :D

natman
November 18, 2012, 05:08 AM
Can a 243 cleanly kill a muley?

Absolutely.

Nevertheless it's not my favorite cartridge for the task. I'd prefer a bit more frontal area and bullet weight and am more than willing to put up with the increased recoil of a 7mm-08 or 30-06 to get it.

If you do use a 243, then definitely use a premium bullet.

Art Eatman
November 18, 2012, 11:46 AM
I reckon I'd likely be even more careful about sight picture and shot placement than when using a .243 on a smaller whitetail.

JohnM
November 18, 2012, 11:55 AM
Sure. I know a few guys who use it for elk, a little light to my thinking, but a lot of elk are taken with it.
When our G&F was deciding on minimum calibers for big game years ago they went with 24 caliber because the 243 had such a loyal following.

interlock
November 18, 2012, 01:05 PM
Absolutely.

Nevertheless it's not my favorite cartridge for the task. I'd prefer a bit more frontal area and bullet weight and am more than willing to put up with the increased recoil of a 7mm-08 or 30-06 to get it.

+1

ApacheCoTodd
November 18, 2012, 01:43 PM
Load right - shoot well and know your/the round's limitations... you betcha! Just don't be "that guy" launching indirect fire at the poor creature from ridiculous ranges.

courtgreene
November 18, 2012, 01:58 PM
You shouldn't do that with any load though, so be responsible and take that .243 into the woods!

22-rimfire
November 18, 2012, 02:25 PM
I started out using a 243 for deer hunting. Lost one deer. That bothered me. Been using 270 win ever since. So, yes it is enough for deer, but I would be careful about your shot placement. That goes doubly for the infamous threads on 223 for deer.

wankerjake
November 18, 2012, 02:28 PM
Nice buck. I really wanted to shoot one this year with mine, using 85gr TSX. It was not to be.

jmr40
November 18, 2012, 02:35 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY0w1c-gf18

I've posted this before. Bullet technology has improved so much lately that smaller rounds are far more effective then much larger rounds with old school bullets.

A 243, even 223 is more than enough gun for deer.

JohnM
November 18, 2012, 02:48 PM
I ran across a thing in the paper recently about our G&F thinking about the 22 calibers for deer and I think antelope. It would have to be a centerfire and have a certain minimum OAL.


Don't know how far it will get. It's been many years since there were any changes to what's legal for different hunting.

H&Hhunter
November 18, 2012, 03:08 PM
That is a an impressive old buck. GOOD JOB.

WYOMan
November 18, 2012, 03:35 PM
Is it enough.....Definately. Do you need a bigger cartridge?.....If thats what tickles you go for it. But don't tell others that using the .243 isn't enough. John WG&F is considering allowing .22 centerfires as long as the COAL isn't under the 2 inch threshold already in place.

JohnM
November 18, 2012, 03:49 PM
Couldn't remember if it was 2 or 2 1/4 and didn't have any orders laying around handy.

Ankeny
November 18, 2012, 07:55 PM
Is a .243 enough gun? Yeah, I imagine so. However, I hunt some wide open country that holds some really big deer. I don't think I would want a .243 on a 400 yard shot on a 200 inch buck weighing over 300 pounds.

H&Hhunter
November 18, 2012, 09:31 PM
I don't think I would want a .243 on a 400 yard shot on a 200 inch buck weighing over 300 pounds.

That is where the light rounds start to have issues.

4895
November 18, 2012, 09:41 PM
You can kill a mulie with a .22 hornet.

H&Hhunter
November 18, 2012, 09:53 PM
You CAN kill a mulie with a .22 short or a sharp stick for that matter. What's your point?

Sniper66
November 18, 2012, 10:42 PM
I do not hunt deer, but my brother is an avid deer shooter. He has killed lots of white tails and mule deer...almost all of them with his favorite Ruger #1. His confidence in the .243 is reflected in his choice of his single shot when he has a cabinet full of repeaters of every caliber. You too can shoot with confidence.

WYcoyote
November 19, 2012, 01:53 AM
Yup. And at 350 yds. 95gr Nosler Ballistic Tip.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL1275/13541916/24237949/404689146.jpg

Dr.Rob
November 19, 2012, 02:47 AM
Nice deer!

Andrew Leigh
November 19, 2012, 06:01 AM
I have little dilemma here.

We often read reports of people successfully taking game with what to my mind are "marginal" calibre's for the application. A good marksman, with the right conditions and right bullet and load, along with the animal presenting well can achieve miracles.

I wonder how many times animals have been wounded, escaped to die later as a result of using marginal calibre's. Or having to take numerous shots to despatch the animal. I doubt if we would ever find that out as folks won't be screaming to post on poor shooting and or losing game to poor shot.

The problem is that that the less skilled with a marginal calibre, marginal skill, poorer bullet may well be less fortunate.

So we mainly report success and forget the failures, a natural human trait for most.

Now while I take no issue with those who wish to shoot the lighter calibre's and who do so successfully I personally like slightly heavier calibre's. As Robert Ruark said "Use enough gun", not too much or too little.

Anyway to the OP, that is a great buck, well done on the shot. Where were the entrance and exit (if there was) holes located.

HOWARD J
November 19, 2012, 10:08 AM
Stay sober & you will be fine.
I always loved my Remington 700 in 6 MM Rem until it started shooting by itself
Never a problem taking a deer.
I could not find a 6 MM Rem so I purchased a 243 Win

T.R.
November 19, 2012, 10:28 AM
Magazines have convince many hunters they need a magnum to kill mule deer. Not so. To kill any animal the bullet must penetrate the chest wall, expand, and punch through the chest organs. The chest wall thickness of a big mountain muley is not much thicker than an average sized eastern whitetail. Certainly no match for a modern rifle bullet.

.243 is a keeper!



TR

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c146/rushmoreman/muleyingrasslands.jpg

Ankeny
November 19, 2012, 11:07 AM
I doubt if we would ever find that out as folks won't be screaming to post on poor shooting and or losing game to poor shot.
Yeah, but the argument will come back to.. it doesn't matter if you use a .243 or a .338 Lapua, a poor shot is a poor shot.

I guide for an outfitter in Wyoming. This year our clients put 40+ mule deer on the ground. Several deer were very heavy, and I believe the largest scored 208 points. From personal experience, I can say precious few people will let the trophy of a lifetime walk away just because the critter doesn't present a broadside shot. Ask any guide or outfitter that has seen hundreds of big game animals shot how they feel about "marginal" calibers...

FWIW, my brother passed on a shot at an elk at 405 yards because he had his 7mm-08 in his hands and his 7mm Rem Mag was in the rack in the back of my jeep. The elk is in the freezer thanks to a larger caliber rifle set up for longer range shooting that I had in my hands. I doubt that will ever happen to him again.:D

Andrew Leigh
November 19, 2012, 02:22 PM
Yeah, but the argument will come back to.. it doesn't matter if you use a .243 or a .338 Lapua, a poor shot is a poor shot.

I guide for an outfitter in Wyoming. This year our clients put 40+ mule deer on the ground. Several deer were very heavy, and I believe the largest scored 208 points. From personal experience, I can say precious few people will let the trophy of a lifetime walk away just because the critter doesn't present a broadside shot. Ask any guide or outfitter that has seen hundreds of big game animals shot how they feel about "marginal" calibers...

FWIW, my brother passed on a shot at an elk at 405 yards because he had his 7mm-08 in his hands and his 7mm Rem Mag was in the rack in the back of my jeep. The elk is in the freezer thanks to a larger caliber rifle set up for longer range shooting that I had in my hands. I doubt that will ever happen to him again.:D
Agree fully,

perhaps the only thing I would like to add is about poor shots are poor shots indeed but if the poor shot required passage through heavy bone to reach the vitals then that is where the heavier calibre's come into their own.

Sav .250
November 19, 2012, 02:25 PM
Nice going..........

I`d have used the 100 gr. but that`s just me.

Ankeny
November 19, 2012, 03:20 PM
...if the poor shot required passage through heavy bone to reach the vitals then that is where the heavier calibre's come into their own. Absolutely true. I have seen too many trophy animals shot either quartering towards the shooter, or quartering away, where the light caliber failed to make the trip to the boiler room. On the flip side, a heavier caliber (not even talking a magnum) would have shot the animal full length. One solution offered up by many hunters is to simply pop the critter in the head or in the neck. Problem is, head and/or neck shots are one of the most failed shots made. Too many animals shot in the snout, jaw blown off, hit in the throat, etc.

Yeah, I know the solution is to take only the best and most "ethical" shot. It seems ethics and decision making become clouded when that monster buck or bull appears in the scope.

22-rimfire
November 19, 2012, 03:44 PM
I guide for an outfitter in Wyoming. This year our clients put 40+ mule deer on the ground. Several deer were very heavy, and I believe the largest scored 208 points. From personal experience, I can say precious few people will let the trophy of a lifetime walk away just because the critter doesn't present a broadside shot. Ask any guide or outfitter that has seen hundreds of big game animals shot how they feel about "marginal" calibers...

This is an important point about hunting. One man's trophy is another man's pass by hoping for something larger. But few will pass up the shot if they are going to shoot.

I passed on a handgun shot on a buck at about 60 yds on a buck larger than I have ever taken simply because I couldn't get a clear shot. Most would have blasted away hoping to land a good hit.

You can take a deer with just about any caliber. I suspect you could take one with a good air rifle if you shot it in the eye. I think you need to choose your calibers wisely for deer hunting based on the kind of hunting terrain you are hunting in.

A 243 is the smallest caliber I will recommend for deer hunting at normal ranges (under 200 yds, but preferrably under 100 yds).

smkummer
November 19, 2012, 04:16 PM
20 years ago my only choice of a rifle was a .243 that was sighted in, so that was better than one that was not checked. Dropped a large whitetail buck (biggest deer out of 11 that were at the butcher shop that day) that was trotting away broadside at about 75 yards dead as dead with one lung/heart shot. This was in North Dakota where the deer can get big. I would have prefered a bigger gun but it worked fine that day. Factory 100 grain bullet.

WTBguns10kOK
November 19, 2012, 11:12 PM
Where were the entrance and exit (if there was) holes located.

Quartering towards, entered inside of the left shoulder, exited just behind the right.

Andrew Leigh
November 20, 2012, 12:07 AM
Cool, thanks.

Taurus 617 CCW
November 20, 2012, 09:24 AM
Sure it is! My hunting partner has hunted deer and elk for years with one. He swears by it. I use a 30-06 across the board but don't discount the effectiveness of the .243.

matt 7mm
November 20, 2012, 10:26 AM
I have seen two spectactular kills on whitetails this year with a 243 loaded with 95gr ssts both heart lung shots both deer a 100+lb doe and a 160lb 9point buck went down within 20 yards of were they were shot.the only thing i dont like is that the bullet didnt exit it was just under the hide on the far side of each animal.so it killed quick and clean but if we had to track em very far it would have been tough because there wasnt hardly any blood trail to speak of

cougar1717
November 20, 2012, 07:08 PM
but if we had to track em very far it would have been tough because there wasnt hardly any blood trail to speak of

This is the biggest detriment in my mind about using a .243/6mm. Out west, where there is more open land, if your game runs a little before dropping it's no big deal. Hunting in the east or midwest where there is thicker forest, it can be very difficult to track (and possibly lose) game because the entrance and exit holes are small. 6mm caliber will take your game with a well-placed shot, no doubt. Finding it may be more difficult than using a larger caliber.

MCgunner
November 20, 2012, 07:55 PM
This is the biggest detriment in my mind about using a .243/6mm. Out west, where there is more open land, if your game runs a little before dropping it's no big deal. Hunting in the east or midwest where there is thicker forest, it can be very difficult to track (and possibly lose) game because the entrance and exit holes are small. 6mm caliber will take your game with a well-placed shot, no doubt. Finding it may be more difficult than using a larger caliber.

Would those be desert or Rocky Mountain mulies you're hunting back east?

I don't think a whitetail is a problem with a .243, especially at woods ranges. Even .22-250 is a popular choice here, .243 being acknowledged as the low end of serious deer calibers. A Barnes or a Partition WILL exit. I don't think one needs a magic bullet on whitetail, though. Near 400 lb Rocky Mountain mulies, yeah, I'd want a Barnes. The problem with the gun on mulies is distance. Don't wanna shoot over 300 out there because the little booger is runnin' a little low on juice past that for big mulies. If you use a decent controlled expansion premium bullet, you won't need to sweat the penetration, though inside 300 yards.

I'll admit I don't have a .243. I inherited my grandpa's .257 Roberts when I was in high school in the 60s and it's killed the most deer for me over the years. I've shot 'em with .50 cal minie, 7mm Rem Mag, .308, among others and the little Roberts (not much more gun than .243 with factory loads) had killed 'em just as dead, some biggish ones, too. I hand load it pretty hot, now, but just use a 100 grain Sierra Game King bullet. It's a good penetrator. Only thing that'll keep it from exiting a whitetail is LOTS of bone. I had ONE shot enter the on side shoulder through the scapula, bounced up and shattered a vertebra, bounced down and went through an off side rib before stopping under the skin, only one that didn't penetrate completely. That vertebra made a loud, audible "CRACK" when it shattered, was wondering what did that until I started butchering. :D It also explained why he seemed to almost flop before I banged. I have used 117grain bullets that didn't open up well at 3050 fps, Hornady interlock. It went straight through a 160 lb buck like a pencil. That one went 75 yards before piling up at a fence it didn't have juice enough to get over. I was lucky to find it. Only deer in a few dozen that gun has killed in MY hands that didn't die DRT.

I like the 100 grain game king in that gun, 1/2 MOA accurate. It's like surgical precision. :D I know it will expand, too. I quit using the interlock. With small calibers, a good bullet is important. The newer premiums from such as Barnes are more guaranteed to penetrate AND expand EVERY time.

All that said, the only Rocky Mountain mulie I've ever taken was with a 7mm Rem Mag across a canyon about 360 yards.

josiewales
November 21, 2012, 11:23 AM
Saw a movie of a girl taking a elk at 658 yards with a .243, so yes, absolutely!

RevGeo
November 21, 2012, 12:20 PM
The original question was about the cartridge, not the shooters. A .243 with a good bullet is entirely adequate for mule deer. Is the shooter adequate? That's a different question.
If one is shooting a muzzle loader, a bow or a single-shot cartridge gun (regardless of the chambering) one must take the limitations of the weapon used into account, no?
Once again, to answer the OPs question - Yes, the .243 is enough gun. But you must be enough shooter.

Mauser lover
November 21, 2012, 12:45 PM
For mulies, it wouldn't be my first choice, and it wouldn't be my second, but it isn't too far down the list. Excellent all around cartridge though.

Kachok
November 22, 2012, 01:32 AM
No doubt about it, shot placement rules all, but having some hands on experience with the 243 I have to say not my first choice for the larger CXP2 game. It is hella good on Texas sized whitetail though :D

Elkins45
November 22, 2012, 09:20 AM
I wouldn't choose a 243 as my hunting rifle if I had a choice...but if a 243 was the only rifle I had access to I wouldn't stay home.

I would try very hard to find or make ammo loaded with a premium bullet of some sort. Smaller calibers don't give you much margin of error in terms of bullet performance. Cup/core separation in a .24 projectile has a greater chance of resulting in a slow kill than the same failure in a larger, heavier bullet.

Davek1977
November 22, 2012, 10:07 AM
Saw a movie of a girl taking a elk at 658 yards with a .243, so yes, absolutely!

*shaking head* Just because you saw a YouTube video of it being done doesn't make it a smart, prudent, or even ethical thing to do. I can also find YouTube videos instructing me how to shoot heroin, but that doesn't mean its a good idea! I have absolutely no issues with the .243 as a deer rifle. I don't even mind it being used for elk in limited circumstances.....but I doubt you'll find anyone knowledgeable about ballistics and bullet performance that will recommend taking 600 yard shots on elk with the .243. Its a good enough deer round, but even as a medium game round, its best performance is within 300 yards......

bad_aim_billy
December 10, 2012, 11:08 PM
I would've gone for the neck shot on that one.

Pat4x4
December 11, 2012, 12:20 AM
You can lose a dear with any size cartridge.. 243 is a wonderful round, Make sure shot placement is where it should be with any round IMO Nice Rudolf!!

Pat4x4
December 11, 2012, 12:22 AM
Does not look like he asked any questions really.. He answered it when he shot it..:D

DurangoKid
December 11, 2012, 12:36 AM
JonM Wyoming law pre dates the advent of the .243 WCF by many years. The rule for a .230 caliber or larger bullet was established to ban the .22 caliber rifles of the day. Savage chambered the Mdl. 99 in .22 Hy Power [.228] bullet. Savage did this to get around the .224 bullet ban. The .257 Roberts was the Sub 30 cal for years. The 6MM rifles did not become popular until the late 1950s.

788Ham
December 11, 2012, 02:06 AM
The .257 Roberts is still a sub .30 cal, even that many years later.

Sav .250
December 11, 2012, 09:14 AM
If your a naturally lousy shot it`s not............

Other than that it`s will get the job done!

gk2410
December 11, 2012, 09:23 AM
Yes - as long as you are responsible and match the bullet to the game, the terrain, and your ability. When my son was stationed in West Texas he used my 30/06 or .270 due to larger game and longer, more open shots. Now he's stationed in SC where the deer are smaller and the distances shorter, and the .243 is ideal. You can kill anything with anything under the right circumstances, but it's up to us to be responsible.

Husker_Fan
December 11, 2012, 10:06 AM
I've spent the better part of an afternoon trying to help a friend find a deer he shot. We never found it. That wasn't because of his cartridge. He gut shot the whitetail with a .300 Win Mag. Poor shot placement isn't always overcome by using a big bad gun.

I've taken a few deer with my .243. It's a 60's vintage Winchester model 670 and I use it when if I have to loan out my 7mm. .243 is one of the best cartridges to have if you want to hunt anything from prairie dogs to mulies.

DM~
December 11, 2012, 12:25 PM
Yes "IF" you pick your shots AND use decent bullets in it.

DM

Ankeny
December 11, 2012, 12:38 PM
Apparantly the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission feels a .222 Rem. is entirely adequate for mule deer. Anyhow, that's the unofficial word at a recent public meeting. By those standards, the .243 Win is the Hammer of Thor. :scrutiny:

hq
December 11, 2012, 01:42 PM
I checked both boxes and clicked vote (was choosing check boxes instead of radio buttons intentional?), to illustrate the point that adequacy of a caliber depends on far more factors and it definitely isn't a matter of vote.

In most situations it "Clearly" is, in some it's "Not even close".

Kachok
December 11, 2012, 03:58 PM
As with all small calibers being enough gun depends completly on what bullet you use, would not want a 70gr anything on a thick boddied deer, but a heavy Partition is a totaly differnt animal.

ssyoumans
December 11, 2012, 05:02 PM
I shot a GA Whitetail buck this year using a Marlin 243 with a 95gr SST. As others mentioned, no exit, it was a near head on shot with just a slight turn. Shot took out part of the heart, it stumbled about 20 yards before expiring. Didn't find but tiny pieces of the bullet, it blew apart but did its job. I think next time I will try a Hdy 100gr SP or Barnes 85gr TSX.
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=174270&d=1352133923

Kachok
December 11, 2012, 05:09 PM
^ Nosler Acubond/Partition are good choices for small calibers as well. TSX and TTSX are supposed to be good but I have never used one yet. I REALLY want to try some of those new Speer Deep Curl bullets but dang near everybody is sold out, they have some crazy expansion and weight retention, never seen a .30 cal expand to over in inch before!

pbrktrt
December 11, 2012, 09:15 PM
It appears to have worked just fine. But he does look pissed off at you for using it. Nice buck.

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