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.243 versus 7mm-08

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jacksdaddy, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. jacksdaddy

    jacksdaddy Member

    I know this has been dished out before... but which round would be the most versitile for a lightweight bolt gun. I do intend to get into reloading, and shootability and cost are factors, but mostly I want versitility in available bullet weights and the ability to take small game up through whitetail (max weight 200lbs around here) out to 400m. It will be out of a shorter barrel, in the 16-18" range. Thanks!
  2. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    In my opinion only the 7mm08 meets your critera. IMO The 243 neither has the power to cleanly take large deer much past 300 doubly so in a carbine.

    I've owned 243's and never could get this cartridges appeal. It recoils too much, burns too much powder and is too hard on barrels to be a first rate varmint gun and is flat out too light to be a top notch medium game rifle

    flame me if you will but that's my opinion
  3. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Well-Known Member

    Oh, you're going to get flamed krochus, you can count on that. However it will not be by me. I have never been on the .243/6mm bandwagon, and won't ever be. So I'll join you and take some of the heat too. Give me a choice of .243, or just about anything else, and I'll take just about anything else. Just my opinion.
  4. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Well-Known Member

    get a 260 remington.
  5. berettashotgun

    berettashotgun Well-Known Member

    I think a .308 would be a better choice to meet some of your criteria......but a .308 isn't part of your criteria:banghead:

    A carbine length barrel usually works best with the heaviest bullets - key word is "usually".....
    Is it possible your stumbling over the (just) about perfect combo in a 6.5 swede or a .260 ?
    From the 2 choices listed - a "NORMAL" twist rate shows you would be better off with a 7mm bullet, but with a tight twist on the 6mm bullets opens up a whole new world.
    115gr DTAC or 105 Nosler custom comp., are very nice on the target - and in a 6mm, bullet weights are getting up there for the consumer.
    Short and sweet - 7-08 fits your criteria.
  6. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    I've said it before and I will again: when Winchester makes the new Model 70 Featherweight in .260, I will put in my order.:)
  7. heeler

    heeler Well-Known Member

    I never really warmed up to the Rem model 7 i owned in 7mm-08.
    It had really bad barrel whip and over the counter ammo was never that easy to find at Ned's Bait N Beer.
    Sold it.
    I much preferred my Remington 600's in 308,243,and 6mm.
    Except for the 6mm ammo was always readily available.
    Fwiw my 18.5 inch barrel 600's in 243 and 308 will hold dime size groups with over the counter ammo in 150 gr.(308) and 100 gr in 243.
  8. jacksdaddy

    jacksdaddy Member

    How light a bullet can you go in the 7mm? Thinking for smaller game, targét shooting and recoil control purposes.
  9. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    around 110grs all the way up to 175
  10. williamd

    williamd Active Member

    Krochus -- right on. Though I have 243s I consider them too heavy for varmints and too light for real game! A 7/308 is on my to get list. The 7mm bullets are great, a good range of wirhts, The 7/308 is a short action. Good round. 243 and 7/308 are both based on the 308 cases that has proven itself.
  11. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Well-Known Member

    +1, I'll take a couple Win M70 FWs too...both in cartridges that they don't offer...a .375H&H and .260Rem. Do they have plans for the .260?

  12. skidooman603

    skidooman603 Well-Known Member

    7MM-08 I agree with all the above. Sold my .243
  13. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    The .243 Handi Rifle I had made more noise and recoil than my featherweight .257 Mauser, not to mention being less accurate. Apples to oranges, I know, but I was real disappointed in the .243 and I too fail to see what really makes it the 'better mousetrap' so many say it is...
  14. Rokman

    Rokman Well-Known Member

    Since you stated that you plan to reload, I say go with the 7mm-08. I have never shopped for 7mm-08 ammo, but I woud think that .243 ammo would be easier to find. I think the thought of the .260 and the .308 mentioned previously might be worth looking into before you make your decision.
  15. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Well-Known Member

    I second this statement! But I had an old Dodge P/U i thought was the truck to have, got 6 quarts to the mile...was pretty easy on gas though. As I look back...what a turd!

    Point is, people have many different and argumentative opinions on a question such as this.

    The .243 is small for deer hunting, I know people will disagree and some will point to the fact many deer have been taken with even lesser calibers but the fact remains the same.

    The 243 is small, low powered and doesn't carry much authority downrange. Yea, it's flat and fast, but that's about it.

    You'll have to be a disciplined hunter to use one successfully as the shot your presented with has to be somewhat optimum...you can't plow with a 243. lol

    Again...ditto. But with practice, it can be successfully used as a good varminter...there is are many better cartridges out there for this feat though.

    IMHO, I nominate the 7mm-08 for your round of choice.

    It has the power to make imperfect shot, excellent downrange numbers, shoots flat and expresses mild recoil. Using Hornady Light Magnum 139gr ammo, this round will hang with the 30-06.

    And accurate...oh yea, accurate!
  16. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    Ditto Krochus and others....

    I've had several .243's. I've got two .257Roberts, and a .257wby. Also, .22-250, .223's, 7-30Waters and 7mm08, not to mention .30/30,.30/06, .338/06, .35Rem, .45/70 and others.

    If I could only keep one, it'd be the 7mm08. It's light, reasonably accurate, and effective out of proportion.... just like it's senior sibling ,the 7x57 Mauser.

    The .243 is an "in-between" and dosn't do the job of either a dedicated varmint rifle, nor big-game rifle. I've had more bullet "failures" due to blow-ups in big-game (deer) with the .243 than any others. Also saw more "lost" deer due to such in my 25yr career as a Conservation Enforcement officer than with anyother cartridge except maybe buckshot.

    I too have a Rem Mod-7 in 7mm08. It's taken pigs, deer, and elk. It's got a 20"bbl and is fully the equal of the .30/06 which I consider the base of comparison for any big-game rifle. I get 3,100fps with 120gr and RL15; 2,900fps with a 140gr bullet, 2,800fps with a 150gr, and 2,650fps with a 162gr (w/IMR4350 ......). No real difference in energy, and a slightly flatter trajectory than the '06. Bullet performance is essentially identical.

    I consider the 7mm08 to be the equal of .270win .308wcf and .30/06 due to excellent b.c. of the 7mm bullets. Ballistic tables bear this out. My favorite bullet is the 139gr Hornady BTSP, followed closely by the 140gr Sierra BTSP and 140gr Rem CorLokt- a much better bullet than it "looks" to be.

    I've used the 100gr HP Hornady bullets in the 7mm08 as well as the 7-30Waters. They would do nicely on any varmint duties. Both of my rifles shoot them accurately (sub moa), though I prefer the Speer 115gr HP due to it's superior accuracy.
  17. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Well-Known Member

    I think for larger whitetail, the 7mm-08 is a better choice. BUT, the .243 is a great deer caliber with good bullets. Don't underestimate it. I've killed a lot of deer with one when I was young.

    This past weekend my dad killed an antelope with one shot at over 400 yards (rangefinder measured) with a .243 shooting 87 grain handloads.

    I personally would go with a .308 over a 7mm-08 if you are mainly hunting deer and won't be shooting over 300 yards. More and cheaper ammo selection. Can be loaded up to near 30-06 performance and can be loaded down with 125-130 grain ammo for recoil sensitive shooters. The 7mm-08 doesn't really offer any real trajectory advantages over a .308 until past 300 yards and the recoil is basically identical.
  18. rangerruck

    rangerruck Well-Known Member

    as much as I love the 243, your conditions say take the 7.08. Though not good for small vamints, you can proly get 100 grainers in 7mm, and up to 160 grainers, for the big stuff at distance.
  19. R.W.Dale

    R.W.Dale Well-Known Member

    While true that in the varmint role the same marks I apply against the 243 apply to the 7mm08 as well. Unlike the way too inbetween 243 I'd much much rather overkill small game such as marmots, woodchucks, crows, sloths, chu and meercats that underkill medium game hogs,whitetail, antelope, mulies and aardvark
  20. Depends

    Really it depends upon what you mean by "versatile".

    If you mean "versatile to take a variety of large game, from small large game to very large large game", then the answer is the bigger'n.

    If you mean "versatile to take varmints, medium, and large game", then the answer is the littler'n.

    But I do *get* the appeal of the .243 Win, and would have to vote that without more info. I love it. I figured if the Inuit kill everything up to and including polar bears with the .223, the .243 win, as a couple of steps up in power, is pretty much overkill for anything I'd run into. :D

    The .243 is a bit flatter shooting out to around 300 yards... past that, the 7mm-08 is superior both in terms of trajectory AND energy. Since the vast vast majority of hunting shots occur under 300 yards, you gotta like the extended PBR of the .243 (assuming it has the oomph for what you're going after). With an 85-100 grain "hunting-construction" bullet and a brain shot, there ain't an animal on the North American continent that will have it bounce off or deflect - ain't a skull that thick! So therefore it also depends on how good and precise you're gonna place your shots, and how close you get, and how well you know your anatomy. Shooting game in the head at 30 yards with a "underpowered rifle" that you shoot well will result in meat on the table infinitely more often than a hail mary at 400 yards (i.e. a miss) with a 7mm-08 or any other loudenboomer you want to choose. Not to mention be more humane/ethical.

    Having said all that, with the shorter barrel you mention, that fact favors the 7mm08, since the larger bores LOSE less performance from a barrel reduction.

    But heck, why not split the difference and get a .260 Rem? :p

    FWIW, Not counting muzzleloaders, my 3 huntin' rifle chamberings for the lower 48 are: .243 win with 90s (little deer, goats, sheep, antelope, etc.), .260 Rem with 120s-129s (big deer, little hogs, little black bear), and .280 Rem with 139s-150s (elk & Shira moose, big boar hogs, big black bear).

    Of these three, recently, my go-to rifle is the .243 Win. While I do plan to make the .260 my primary rifle when I transition to it, as of now the .243 will get the call for big game - having said that, the only big game I'll be going after for the foreseeable future is whitetails.

    My 3 huntin rifle chamberings, not counting muzzleloaders, for Canada/Alaska & Africa (so far) are: .30-'06 (big elk, moose, & caribou, small African plains game), 9.3x62mm (Yak, Bison, Brown bear, polar bear, leopard, lion, and large African plains game like Eland), and .45-70 gov't with buffalo bore ammo (large mean dangerous African stuff). Plan to add a .416 Rigby or similar at some point.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2009

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