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.243 ballistic advantages vs .223 cost?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by srawl, Nov 30, 2012.

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  1. srawl

    srawl Member

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    I like to shoot steel at ranges from 300-500 yrds when I can and I have a mosin nagant and an ar15 (16.5") that are both capible but while I am in the midst of a debate with myself over whether to get the 243 or 260 (1st) I want to know if I buy a cheap rifle like a handi rifle or something to have as a backup hunter/long range plinker.

    The .223 is cheap and an good hunter out to 250-300, targets out to 500...

    The .243 is more expensive but better at both...

    What to you think? Both have several pros and random opinions help with decisions...
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    If I wanted to buy a 500 yard rifle in any caliber?

    It sure would not be a "cheap rifle like a handi rifle" or something.

    While the single-shot break-open rifles are certainly handy?
    They are not, and will never be 500 yard accurate rifles.

    One comes along every once and a while that shoots like a house afire.

    But they are few & far between in my experience.

    For strictly target shooting?
    I'd go with the .260 or something similiar in a bolt-action myself.

    .243's are great at burning varmints and small hoofed game at long range.

    But the bigger caliber bullets with higher BC will handle long range wind better.


    rc
     
  3. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    I agree

    You would be better off with a bolt rifle. There are quite a few that cost around the same price as the handi rifle but alas on a better platform

    steven, savage, marlin, mossberg as examples. more accurate etc.


    steve
     
  4. chad1043

    chad1043 Member

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    I would listen to thee guys on here. I have had a handi rifle in .243... I think you'd be better off with a savage or a stevens... Whatever ammo you go with, get a lee hand loader and start loading slowly. You'll save money and develop another skill.
     
  5. srawl

    srawl Member

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    i was also looking at a used stevens 200

    i already reload, though only for 9mm currently
     
  6. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Member

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    If the cost of 243 isn't going to keep you from shooting then it isn't really that big of a detractor. As you said, you've already got an AR so if you want to go cheap you can just use that.

    On the handi rifle, I picked up a used Rossi 223 heavy barrel for cheap. Good rifle, 1.5moa without even trying to work up a load for it. But if you are paying new I'd recommend spending a few extra $$$ and getting something like a Savage Axis. I think they are more gun for the price, you can load more than one round at a time and it will probably be more accurate. Both are good though.
     
  7. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    Look for a Remington 788 in 6mm Remington. .243 bullet with a larger case.
     
  8. Ar180shooter

    Ar180shooter Member

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    What do I think? For 500 yard target shooting, get a .308 bolt action.
     
  9. chaser_2332

    chaser_2332 Member

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    why 308? the 243 beats it in every aspect of targert shooting
     
  10. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    260 or any good 6.5mm romps the 243 at range easily. The only advantage the 243 has is slinging super light bullets at 4000 fps for small furry critters.
    I would invest in a quality bolt gun over a cheap break action ANYDAY! Savage, Tikka, Weatherby/Howa, Ruger, and T/C all make a very highly quality rifle that can be had under $500.
    6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmore, and 260 are all fantastic but I would not pass up a deal on a 25-06 either it is a real performer despite not carrying a "magnum" name on it, 100gr bulets @ 3200fps (3400+fps if you handload) makes a great dual purpose cartrage.
     
  11. Ar180shooter

    Ar180shooter Member

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    Except for bullet selection and availability of factory ammo, plus there's surplus/Russian 7.62 NATO that is far cheaper than .243. Really, the .243 Winchester is not a great target cartridge. Varminting and small deer, yes, serious target shooting, no. Many of the fancier 6mm/6.5mm suggestions are fantastic long range suggestions, but remember, OP wants to shoot cheaply.

    But I digress, what aspects does it beat the .308 in?
     
  12. chaser_2332

    chaser_2332 Member

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    the 243 will smoke a 308 at any distance in wind drift and drop. Drop has little to nothing to do with it but the ability to have some leadway in a wind call is worth its weight in gold. There is a reason why the 308 isnt seen much in precision field matches. I shoot a 260 for matches but take a look at the PRS series final shooter list. There is more 6mm shooters than all the rest, and they can shoot whatever they want. My 260 barrel is about shot out for the year and im seriously concidering going to .243
     
  13. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    That thread title is a great question. I'll hold back my opinion for a bit while others post.
     
  14. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    If you want to shoot cheap RELOAD your brass, that is the best way to shoot on the cheap and get the best performance. As far as performance goes the 308 150gr and 243 100gr can both be loaded to about 3000fps and both can get around .430BC with regular over the counter bullets so the performance is darn near a even. The 7mm-08 and 260 rem both can out perform their larger and smaller counterparts with .450-.480BC bullets at the same 3000fps range. I load 120gr Ballistic Tips (.458BC) in the 6.5x55 (the 260s ballistic twin) to just over 3000fps with good accuracy and devastating deer thumping results. If you use match bullets the 123gr LS (.552BC) gives the 6.5mm a large advantage over all others at range.
    The 223 is great and cheap to shoot inside 300yd but it's lackluster BC bullets limit it's potential. How far do you really want to shoot?
     
  15. chaser_2332

    chaser_2332 Member

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    what about the 105 hybrids and the 115 bergers and dtacs? arnt those BC's around 545-550 and can be pushed faster than the 6.5 rounds
     
  16. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    They require custom barrels with 1:7 twist. Yes the 243 can push 2900fps with those custom 30" tubes but give the 6.5x55 the same length barrel and it can push .614BC 140gr VLDs to 2950fps (some even claim 3000+). No contest the 6.5s trump the 6mm on an even playing field.
    BTW for those of you who can use a ballistics calculator .600+BC at those speeds is every bit as good as a 300 Win mag can do.
     
  17. chaser_2332

    chaser_2332 Member

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    a 30" barrel isnt even close to required to push the bullets that fast. I shoot 140 berger hybrids that have been pointed out of a bartlein 26" barrel about fast i as you can push with a temp stable powder and i have been to many matches seeing guys with 243's make the same hits with less wind calls and flatter elevations. Im not knocking the 6.5 i love the caliber, but im just saying
     
  18. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    .260 Remington. Great long range cartridge.
     
  19. heavydluxe

    heavydluxe Member

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    Ugh... As an over-analytical nerd, I can see how this decision (or, decisions) is fraught with complications.

    First off, as the OP notes, the straight our ballistics questions is clear. For longer range applications, the .243 is ballistically superior. It's unclear whether the OP reloads or is interested in starting, so there is a substantial potential cost delta between .243 and .223

    I guess at the bottom is a question of priorities... If the real goal is to extend effective range and terminal ballistics at that range, then buying the .243 is a clear choice. For comparison, you could consider the cost of very special purpose, long range loads for the .223 (things tipped with heavy Sierra MatchKings or Berger VLD bullets) and you'd notice that the cost difference between the two calibers - when you're focused on performance - is not that different.

    If you handload, you can certainly manage the cost of the .243 quite well. But, if you don't, adding the up-front cost to start might make you just decide to stick with .223 for a while.

    As far as the .260 goes, I'm not as familiar with that cartridge. But, the fundamental argument would seem to be the same.

    And, I agree with other posters that it seems a bolt gun might be a better choice based on what your intended application seems to be. But, you didn't actually ask, so forget I said it. ;-)
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Get the 243 (or bigger) and reloading equipment. You'll hunt deer successfully for a lifetime and shoot cheaper than .223 with better ammo and be legal in all states that allow rifles (I think). Some states don't allow pop guns....22 caliber. Personally, I prefer my .308 or my 7mm Remington Magnum or my .257 Roberts.

    That said, I got a 9 pointer yesterday with my SKS.....:D
     
  21. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Try RL-22 sometime, I don't have a 30+ inch tube on mine, but I have several friends who do a few of which shoot benchrest, trust me the Sweed can be pushed that fast with the VLD and the 142gr SMK
    I'll PM you a load sent to me by one of my benchrest buddies, the Sweed is a hot little round in a modern action.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  22. chaser_2332

    chaser_2332 Member

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    Rl-22 is a temp sensitive powder and not worth it for me to reload with.
     
  23. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Funny I have used it plenty with no issues, as have my friends who shoot benchrest. You can also use H1000 for some high power 6.5x55 if temp sensitivity is an issue. 123gr LS and 140gr VLD trump any 243 load I can dream up, and can be shot through normal factory barrels where as the 243 needs a custom 1:7" that nobody puts on their rifles.
    Clear winner there, throw the 6.5-284 in the mix and you beat any 243 AI setup.
     
  24. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    The 6mm is and has always been a superior caliber, no matter the cartridge its chambered for. Its my opinion that the .243 should have been in military service for the last 50 years. Would have solved the armed forces problems with .308 recoil and still maintain hard hitting, long range accuracy.

    Is it worth the cost though? No, no its not. Not when .308 is actually less expensive.
     
  25. chaser_2332

    chaser_2332 Member

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    Benchrest can used temp sensitive power because they don't have to hit what they aim at, only shoot small groups. It doesn't matter if there 1000 dope is off .2-.3 mils they can adjust with sighters and shoot a group. All it has to be is on paper doesnt matter where u hit.
     
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