.243 Loads??


February 15, 2013, 07:44 PM
I have a Remington 700 VLS .243, which is equipped with a heavy 26" barrel and a Leupold VX III 4.5-14X scope. With that set up, I should be shooting <1" groups at 100 yards, right? I've tried 58 gr moly (not sure of the brand...brother gave them to me), 60 gr HP by Sierra and some Hornady 58 grain V-Max. These all shoot 1.5-2.0" groups, which is not stellar. Good enough for coyotes, but not 300+ yd p-dogs, which is what I set it up for. A 2" group at 100 will be 6" at 300. Had my trigger adjusted to a crisp 2 lbs and use Varget for my loads. I have some 100 gr Hornady V-Max factory loads that shoot about the same. Any suggestions out there? I have generally had great luck with Sierra Blitzkings in .204 and .223. I've been looking at Sierra's chart and might try the 70 gr Blitzking, thinking maybe my gun will like something in between the 58 gr and the 100 gr. What do you think??

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February 15, 2013, 08:04 PM
I sold my M700 243 eons ago. But IIRR I was using Dupont (told you it was a long time ago) I4064 and Sierra 70 & 85 gr bullets. Easily sub-MOA.

February 15, 2013, 09:33 PM
Check the obvious things first, is the bore clean, no copper? are the action screws tightened correctly? are your scope mounts and rings tight? Bedding? have a gunsmith look at your bore and crown, I hade a Remington 700 that would not shoot, my smith found it had a gnarf in the rifling 1" from the crown. Cut it off there and recrowned....shoots lights out now. Good luck, mine drove me nuts, I tried everything and was ready to rebarrel it even though it was new (2009)

Ky Larry
February 15, 2013, 09:36 PM
Have you tried eliminating the usual accuracy bugs? (Torque bedding and scope screws, free float barrel, clean copper from barrel,etc.)
I have a Marlin XS7 and a Savage Model 12BVSS in .243. They both like IMR-3031 for bullets up to 70gr and one of the -4350s for larger bullets.

I had beautiful Ruger 77 in .243 that wouldn't shoot. I freefloated the barrel, had it glass bedded, installed a Timney trigger, tried every factory and hand load I could find, tried 3 different Nikon scopes, took it to a witch doctor for an exorcism, and it still wouldn't shoot. Finally gave up and got rid of it. Some rifles are just dogs. Hope you find the cure to your problem. Good luck.

February 15, 2013, 09:44 PM
One of my old standby loads for the .243 Win was 38.5 gr of IMR-4064 with a 75 gr HP bullet, either Hornady or Sierra. Also the 70 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip with 40 gr of MR-4064. All used CCI-200 primer, Remington cases. Not super high velocity, but very consistent in several rifles. My current Sako A-7 and Stevens 200 both like the 70 gr Ballistic Tip with 47.0 gr of Accurate Data 86 (very similar to the old Accurate 3100 powder, which is very similar to IMR-4831) Sometimes the slower burning powders give good results even with the light bullets. I think the bullets under 70 gr in weight are tougher to get real good groups with, particularly at longer ranges. (For closer ranges, though, those 55 gr certainly are spectacular on impact!) For 300 yard prairie dogs, I would probably use the 70 gr bullet (Nosler or Sierra) in the .243, but my preferred rifle and load for that would be my Remington SPS Varmint in .223 with the 40 gr V-Max at 3700 fps. You can see the bullet impact in the scope.

February 16, 2013, 05:51 PM
Armed with all your suggestions, I went to a Gun Show in Kansas City, followed but a trip to Cabela's. Neither place had any bullets!!! Crap!! I have one more source to try and will have my gunsmith check the assorted concerns you all suggested. Thanks for the help. Tom

February 16, 2013, 06:06 PM
Out of different .243's that I've owned and of different friends the load that was usually the most accurate was 38.0 (+ or - .5) grs. of IMR 4064 with either a Sierra 85 gr HPBT or a Hornady 87 gr. V- Max bullet. Out of a M700 Varmint I had I shot 5 round groups with all rounds touching and out of a Savage 110 that I currently have a 5 round group will be under an inch.

41 Mag
February 16, 2013, 07:34 PM
To be honest with you I have never had much luck with the lighter bullets in any .243 I have loaded for. THe lightest I have gotten to shoot were the 60gr Sierra Blitz Kings. I used H-380 for that load and it was a tack driver.

Just out of curiosity have you tried changing any seating depths with your loads? Sometimes with the shorter bullets just a touch one way or the other can make a pretty significant difference in group size. Also you might try a different primer as well, IF you have something different to try. Just be sure to back off the load a touch.

If I were working on something to reach out like you I would look harder at something like the Berger or Nosler BT in the 80-95gr range. Your not going to give up much to gain a lot downrange. You should easily be able to get them up into the 3100-3300fps range and the heavier bullet will hold the wind better as well as really put the smack down on the doggies.

February 16, 2013, 08:08 PM
That 87 gr. VMAX is the bullet for my Tikka T3 in 243 as well, 50.0 gr. of N560 and it is one hole with all 5 overlapping.
Sniper 66 if you can find the 87's you will find they shoot flatter out at 300 and any of the 55-70 gr bullets. I used to load the 55 Blitzkings till I started toying around with this 87, past 150 yards the 87 VMAX reigns supreme over the 55's.

February 17, 2013, 08:46 AM
You might want to clean the bore with some JB bore paste, you mentioned that you shot some moly coated bullets. I have two rifles that when moly coated bullets have been fired in them to groups spread all over the place. Just cleaning with a bore solvent doesn't fix it either. I have to polish the barrel with JB to get the accuracy back.

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