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.243 vs .25-06 vs 6.5x55

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by bigsplash1, May 7, 2004.

  1. bigsplash1

    bigsplash1 Well-Known Member

    Which of these rifles would do the best job on whitetail deer? Or does the deer care? I also want a cartridge which will be fun to shoot all day long and not be punishing. Which do you prefer and why?
  2. bratch

    bratch Well-Known Member

    I was looking at a 243 and 25-06 and went with the 06. of course the main reason was I found the rifle wanted in 06 and not in 243.

    Both will work fine on deer. The 25-06 might offer a slightly larger bullet selection for reloading.

    I have no experience with the 6.5.
  3. scotjute

    scotjute Well-Known Member

    My experience is only with the 6.5x55. Have taken 2 deer with it. One deer went down so fast I didn't see it fall, the other went 60 yds (lung shot). It is deadly on white-tail and have heard good reports when using it on even bigger animals.
    This caliber is easy to shoot. I don't experience the winceing when I pull the trigger. 6.5x55 has high sectional density and supposedly has penetration ability beyond what one would normally think of this caliber. It maintains energy well in long yardage shots.
    I'm shooting sporterized Mauser with scope and Swedish Mauser with iron sights. I get sub moa out of the sporterized gun(barrell floated, action bedded, scoped). There are also several good commerical rifles with this caliber.
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Well-Known Member

    the 6.5x55 is a solid performer. nothing dramatic - it just does what it is supposed to do. the 6.5's are blessed w/ outstanding bc's, and good sd's. i personally would not select this caliber because if i wanted a 6.5, i would go w/ a 264 win mag or a 6.5-284 and really get all the potential out of that bullet size. ammo can be tough to find, depending on your locale. i've only ever seen factory loads for it at cabela's.

    the 25-06 is another good all around performer, but it has the sex appeal going for it... high-velocity, flat shooting round... mild recoil, and it really 'brings it' when you are hunting. ammo is available everywhere. this cartridge is at its best in the hands of a handloader, but factory ammo is pretty good.

    the 243... hmm... this is the one centerfire bolt gun that i have that i really don't care for... in fact, i have nothing positive to say about this cartridge except that ammo is easy to come by.

    on deer... they will all kill a deer just fine. if it was my choice of those 3, i would go w/ the 25-06 w/o debate. i really enjoy mine.
  5. atek3

    atek3 Well-Known Member

    If you like handloading, give 6.5-06 a try.

  6. riddleofsteel

    riddleofsteel Well-Known Member

    I have, or have had, all three. I use the 25-06 in a Remington Sendero for long distance. I use the 6.5 x 55 in a Remington Classic for a walking around rifle. The .243 in a Remington Model Seven I shot for one season and converted to 6.5-.284. Today it sits and waits for my son to grow into it.

    I do not think the deer will know the difference if fairly hit by any of the three.
  7. AZRickD

    AZRickD Well-Known Member

    My brother uses his .243 as his "walkin' around" coyote rifle. With proper bullet selection (one with controlled expandion such as a Nosler Partition) that will penetrate and retain its weight in the deer would be just fine.

  8. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    :) Dakotasin and I are not in accord about the .243. I will say that I wouldn't use it if the deer I'm hunting would tend to dress out above some 140 pounds, give or take, unless the typical shooting distance is expected to be fairly close.

    With that in mind, then, I've had much success on central Texas whitetail, having done in somewhere over 20. Most were neck shots, and most were inside 100 yards.

    I've found the 85-grain Sierra HPBT to be effective on smaller deer. It does really terrible things to coyotes and feral dogs and cats.

    Recoil is negligible, even with 100-grain bullets. My little Sako weighs seven pounds, with scope, sling and ammo.

    How big are the deer in the area where you hunt? What distances are common for the shots?

  9. bigsplash1

    bigsplash1 Well-Known Member

    Thats a good question, I have never hunted. I was invited to go hunting in the fall at a friends camp. I am just trying to decide on a rifle.
  10. artherd

    artherd member

    The deer won't care. .25-06 is a cool round.
  11. Jaywalker

    Jaywalker Well-Known Member

    If you've never hunted and have never (or rarely) fired a rifle, then you might want to consider minimizing recoil and muzzle effects. To do that in a "deer rifle," while still maintaining acceptable accuracy and deer-killing power, I'd go with the lower-powered 25's and 26's, the .257 Roberts, the 250 Savage, the .260 Remington, and the 6.5X55. In that range you have all the deer capability you need while minimizing muzzle blast and recoil. The higher power cartridges are fine performers, but aren't any more accurate than the ones I mentioned, won't kill deer any deader, and aren't quite as pleasant to shoot.

    The .243 (and 6 MM Remington) are usually fine performers - accurate, low recoil. People whom I trust, however, speak of occasional failures that might be attributable to insufficent bullet weight or jacket thickness, when shooting deer. OTOH, others, such as Art Eatman, have had no such failures. Buying a new rifle, however, allows you to avoid this potential pitfall.

    Writer John Barsness speaks of the 6.5X55 as the best-balanced, all around cartridge available, easily capable of taking elk, as well as being ideal for deer. I bought one (an inexpensive Ruger M77 MkII) and find that I enjoy shooting it very much, and do so 25 - 50 times at each range session, a much higher number than I was capable of shooting with previous cartridges. As this is an extremely poular cartridge in Europe, you run no appreciable risk of ending up with an orphan.

    This is really a fine cartridge when handloaded, but is very adequate for deer in its (extremely) mild factory loading. The cartridge isn't rare and can be found at most large gun stores, but you wouldn't necessarily find it at smaller stores and gas stations where you'd find only 30-30, .270, and .30-06. Just buy enough when you find it and don't leave it on the kitchen table when you go hunting and you'll be fine.

    Last edited: May 8, 2004
  12. Ronin1

    Ronin1 New Member

    Any of the three cartridges you mention will work with whitetail sized game, but if you use a 6mm do yourself a favor and stay away from the 70 gr varmint bullets people insist on using on deer and then wondering why the animal gets away.

    If you ever intend to hunt larger game than whitetail the 6mms would not offer as much flexibility. You did not mention if you reload or intend to shoot only factory ammo. That would have a bearing on which cartridge to choose as there are some fine cartridges which have a limited choices of factory loads. The 260 Remington is such a cartridge. It is very close to the same as the 6.5x55 performance wise when hand loaded, but has fewer factory loads to choose from.

    I do not know what you mean by "shoot all day", but if you mean shooting many rounds in a day the 25-06 will be fine to shoot, but the barrel will not last as long as a 6.5x55 or 260 Rem (or 257 Roberts for that matter) if you do this on anything like a regular basis.

    Remington has a long action titanium action rifle in 270 Win if you are interested in a light rifle to carry which will not beat you up, but (like the 25-06) barrel life will depend upon how much you intend to shoot it.

    Perhaps you might explain your intended use of the rifle somewhat more.

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