Any 243 fans left?

243 is quite a bit flatter than 6.5 out to 500 or more yards with similar heavy or light for caliber bullets. 6.5 hits a bit harder and recoils more but for deer sized game, I think the 243 is a better hunting cartridge out to about 300. For smaller game, I’d stretch that to 500.

Most of these shifts in popularity aren’t grounded in ballistic realities. If you target shoot past 500, that’s a different story. I own rifles in both calibers

I've mentioned this before.

Despite the advent of high BC bullets, laser range finders and ballistic software on our phones, the older high speed cartridges still have their place for hunting.

The average shot on game is still under 300yds. Flatter shooting cartridges still help when we don't have time to lase things and our wind reading might not be exact. A lot of the high BC bullets don't even begin to show their advantage until way past the average shot on game is taken anyway. I remember reading articles years ago about spitzer bullets VS round nose. Most of he conclusions at that time were close to the same. At the average game shot distance.. not a lot of difference.

Still.. IF tag sales are correct and the number of hunters is dwindling, then getting a TGT rifle in a TGT caliber that subs as a deer rifle makes a whole lot of sense.
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Definitely a .243 fan here or I should say my wife is. She's taken many a varmint and deer with it. I'd hunt with her rifle but the stock was shortened to fit her and I don't deal with it very well.

One of the things we've used over the years to calibrate our decisions for a hunting cartridge is general availability. If we think we could buy it in a hardware store in rural Montana then it's a "good" cartridge and .243 fits that bill or at least it did.
I bought my (now) 14 year old a 243 wby vanguard compact for her first deer rifle a year or two ago. Before that I had rifle up to 223, then started at 257 and went to 338 Lapua. Didn't need another cartridge until daughters wanted to hunt.

I like the round. Best at nothing but a pretty good round.
.243, 6.5 X 55, 7 X 57 and 30-06 stack up well against more modern offerings intended to replace them. Typically they are more versatile too, handling a wider range of bullet weights at the expense of a little more powder.
I don't feel like the "more modern" cartridges have been released to replace the old ones. Typically, the new cartridge is introduced to fit in the short actions, or because of the need for a faster twist.

The 243 that I own is about a 10 year old rifle and has a 1:9.25 twist. It will not stabilize the heavier bullets, 90+ grain, that I like to shoot at longer ranges.

The other thing to look at is efficiency. Take the newer 6GT. The pressure is a touch higher than a 243, but will send the 105 grain bullets at 2900 FPS with 34 grains of powder. You need almost 20% more powder in a 243 to do the same. More powder equals more heat which reduces barrel life.