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Smallest chambering for Whitetail?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Sulaco, May 20, 2003.

  1. Sulaco

    Sulaco Well-Known Member

    I have heard a lot of people talk about how the larger, .30 caliber chamberings were overkill for most Whitetail. The smallest caliber I have taken deer with is .243. Can Whitetail be taken effectively and ethically with less?

    I know some guys who shoot 22-250's and 25-06's and swear by them. I have always been a bit skeptical of the smaller than 100 grain bullets. I would like some learning.

  2. diyj98

    diyj98 Well-Known Member

    22 Magnum in the head, but you need someone to hold the spotlight for you. JUST KIDDING!

    I know guys who hunt farmland with .223's and 22-250's, but they are in fields and shooting the deer in the head. For other than headshots, I consider the .243 to be minimum. Of course some others will feel different.
  3. Sulaco

    Sulaco Well-Known Member

    "22 Magnum in the head, but you need someone to hold the spotlight for you. JUST KIDDING!"

    Lol, sounds like.......nevermind. :D

    That is what I was thinking also. .243 is getting pretty small for a big buck, should he pop out in front of me. I like to shoot my 7mm-08 the most, but was just wondering what else was out there and what people thought.

    Thanks for the reply.
  4. Fatelvis

    Fatelvis Well-Known Member

    I think a faster 6mm is minimum. I would use a 100 grain bullet, too.
  5. gun-fucious

    gun-fucious Well-Known Member

  6. redneck

    redneck Well-Known Member

    I think you'd be hard pressed to stuff one into anything short of the largest mortars, possibly one of the big coastal guns they keep talkin about in the general forum.....and that still depends on the rack and how cooperative he's feelin :D

    NRA4LIFE Well-Known Member

    IMO it depends on the type of deer. I have hunted whitetail and mule deer. I have killed at least a dozen muleys, all but one with a .243, that other one was with my Mini-14 in .223 (a very large doe). One of the bucks was a very heavy bodied 4X4 in Montana. My first and only experience with the .243 on whitetail was not a good one. Hit a nice sized doe real good, so I thought. Never found her. Minimum I use now on whitetail is my .270. Have taken quite a few with it and a .300 mag and 8mm mouser.
  8. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    My great uncle took literally hundreds (probably more) of Tennessee whitetail (and some bear) with the 257 Roberts... the old, low-pressure loads at that! A 25-06 should have no trouble up to 300 pounds within 250 yards from a compotent shooter.

    Art will chime in here with how many he's taken with his lil 243.

    I know some guys like to use the .22-250 and even the .223 down in Texas but personally, if I'm going to use a .22-250, why not just use a .243? I still haven't figured out exactly why the heavy barrel .22-250s are that much popular than the heavy barrel .243s. Varmint-wise, anything one can do, the other can do just as good. When you get to deer and mulies, goats... things like that, the .243 is clearly superior and certainly much more versatile and there's not much difference in noise or recoil. :confused:
  9. Sulaco

    Sulaco Well-Known Member

    Sounds like decent reasoning to me, cratz2. Now, let me ask this, why use .243 over say a .270 or a 7mm-08? I know the bullet is a little smaller, but other than the bullet size and recoil, what is the advantage of a .243?

    Don't get me wrong, I have killed lots of Whitetails with a .243, I just want some opinions. Thanks.

    Also, how do ya'll think a 7mm rem mag compares to a .270 or a 7mm-08 strictly for Whitetail and used from 50 yards on out?
  10. GunNut

    GunNut Well-Known Member

    Simple, versatility.......where a .243 makes a good varmint/coyote/deer/goat/antelope/??? the .270 and 7mm-08 are really only good at game deer size and larger. Sure they will work for varmints and coyotes, but are really overkill.

    Recoil.....if you'll shoot a gun a lot, and I do, you will become a much better shooter. The recoil from a .243 will be minimal, therefore you will shoot it a lot more that something that has considerable recoil. I recently sold a Model 7 in .308 and replaced it with a Tikka .25-06, because the light .308's recoil sucked.

    IMHO, 25-06 is a much more versatile small game cartridge. Load it with 70-80gr bullets for varmints, 90-120 grain for deer and even elk. But why use it for elk, when I can use either a .338 or 45/70?
  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Seems to me that it has more to do with skill level, size of animal, typical distances and "pickiness" about one's shot. Less to do with any specific cartridge.

    I wouldn't take a quartering-away shot on a moving deer at 200 or 300 yards with a .243. I'd readily shoot the white spot on a cooperative and patient standing deer at 20 to 50 yards with most any of the centerfire .22s.

    Most of my hunting in the last 20 years has been in an area where my only shot of the whole season might well be on a running buck at 300 yards. I wouldn't consider anything less than an '06 in those circumstances.

    There ain't no "one size fits all" for all hunters, all deer, all situations.

    :), Art
  12. cratz2

    cratz2 Well-Known Member

    :confused: ???

    "Smallest chambering"... "why not a .270"

    I guess because the .243 is the smallest chambering I think is appropriate for whitetail. .270 is fine, as is the 7mm-08 and the .260, the .25-06, 30-06, 300 Win Mag, 338 Win Mag, 45-70... They're all fine, but you asked about the smallest for whitetail. :confused:

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