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Best varmint load in .243?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Craiger12, Mar 24, 2011.

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  1. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    What would you consider to be the best factory load for varmints in .243? Looking for an all around varmint round for ground squirrels up to yotes sized critters. Distances likely to be within 300 yards. Also, what would you take if reaching out to 500 yards?
     
  2. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    I don't know what you consider "best"... as far as accuracy I've had great luck with sierras, barnes, and hornady's. As far as effectice on yotes and deer, the tsx works like magic. I have a lot of barnes varmint grenades but have only shot targets with them, no critters..
     
  3. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Factory loads. Hmmm. If there is a 55-grain load on the market, the varminter crowd on several websites has been enthusiastic about that weight of bullet in handloads.

    Prior to the 55s coming onto the market for reloaders, the 70-grain class was the common coyote load. The 85-grain Sierra HPBT, now sold by Federal as a factory load, does horrible things to coyotes and has provided me with a couple of dozen tagged bucks.

    If I were going to try for coyotes (or targets) out around 500 yards, I'd go with that Federal load.

    But 99% of my .243 work has been with handloads...
     
  4. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    What twist are you using? This will make somewhat of a difference...the longer the range the heavier the bullet you want....as a general rule. They will maintain velocity better and shed wind
     
  5. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    Twist is 1:9.25 - I realize different loads will be accurate out of different barrels and I need to find the load my rifle likes, just looking for some opinions. Anyone use the Hornady 95gr SST for long range varmint hunting?
     
  6. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    Hornady does put out a 58gr V-Max, but I wasn't sure if it would make a good long range round due to lower weight and BC.
     
  7. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    The 95s should shoot well out of that twist...I run a 1:9 and 85 and 100 shoot well
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...Twist is 1:9.25..." 85's and up. However, if you're not reloading, you'll have to try a box of as many brands and bullet weights as you can to find the ammo your rifle shoots best.
    "...out to 500 yards..." Any .243 drops like a brick past 300. A Remington 95 grain Accutip, for example, sighted in at 200, drops 12.9" between 300 and 400. A further 20.7" at 500. Energy is low as well.
     
  9. Shurshot

    Shurshot Member

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    Hornady does put out a 58gr V-Max, but I wasn't sure if it would make a good long range round due to lower weight and BC.
    I will let you know... I bought 100 rounds of 58g Hornady .243 along with some other grain sizes and brands to try. Just getting started with my .243 now. I have it bore sighted and need to get it zeroed. I think I will end up loading a heavier bullet though from what everyone says, but I wanted to give the 58g a chance.
     
  10. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    Sunray- "drops like a brick" .... 20 inches is a brick? That is pretty flat, and energy is low compared to what?
     
  11. burninfuel

    burninfuel Member

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    243

    I believe the 243 is easily good to 400 yds, like the previous post , 20" drop is good. My son's second deer, here in Nevada, on his own took a 200# mulie at 425, missed offhand and then sat down and braced the shot on his knee and held at the back line and bullet dropped into the heart.
    He was a little excited because he was shooting a buck freight train, all shooter bucks, all single file and moving to the right across the canyon
     
  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  13. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    Thanks. I'm curious to hear about your findings.
     
  14. Shurshot

    Shurshot Member

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    Craiger12 - I fired some of that 58g Hornady yesterday, and my gun didn't like it too well. I was able to get a much tighter group with 80g ammo. Your gun may like it better, but for me it wasn't all that great.
     
  15. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    shurshot.. have you tried any of the 70-75gr sierras? they shoot great in my 1:9.. I like the 75gr varminters..
     
  16. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    The reviews on the 85gr Sierra GameKing BTHP look pretty good all around. Does anyone else have any experience with this round? What about for whitetail?
     
  17. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    craiger- I can tell you the 85gr tsx from experience is devastating. I dropped two this year with it. They will blow through bone with no thought.. the 70's in 223 have given very similar results... I practice with the 75gr varminter, and hunt with 85gr tsx... one I load w/ varget and one w/ hybrid 100.. they give the same POI at 300
     
  18. Shurshot

    Shurshot Member

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    suzukisam - the only thing I have tried so far is factory ammo in 58g, 80g and 100g. Out of the 3, the Remington Express PSP 80g shot the best group. I haven't shot it past 200 where I zeroed.
     
  19. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Craiger, as I said in Post #3, I've tagged a couple of dozen bucks via that bullet. Mostly neck shots, though, and cross-body heart/lung shots. I wouldn't take an angling shot on a really large buck, though. Given the way the bullet blows up, I'd be concerned about a fatal but non-stopping wound. Hate to lose a good buck.

    My .243 is a little Sako Forester carbine with a 19" barrel. Five-shot groups with that load have always--repeat, always--been around 3/4 MOA.
     
  20. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    Art- have you tried the tsx in your 243? I hate to admit that a thoroughly messed a shot on a buck a couple years ago, it's a long story that doesn't enhance this topic, so I'll skip the story but I managed to blow threw both hips and the pelvic bones, or whatever it's called.... I never found the bullet it was a devastating wound dropped the animal to the ground and I quickly followed up with a heart shot.... the point in all this isn't to admit a screw up, but the fact that a 6mm tsx at 243 speeds would need something pretty serious to prevent penetration... try them if you haven't they work pretty good
     
  21. stork

    stork Member

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    243xb, "Sierra 85gr hpbt #1530. Works on small critters to deer to 400yds"
    You can bump that 400 to 511.

    Normally wouldn't have tried that extreme but it was my last day of hunting and I use this load a lot for everything including long range prairie dogs out to 800 in a custom 26" 243 with a bunch of 4831sc.

    Prone shot, ranged it, clicked it in, moved the trigger, tagged it...tasty venison tenderloins.

    FWIW
     
  22. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    It seems that many of those using the 85gr bullets for whitetail prefer neck shots. Would I be better served with 100gr loads if primarily going for the vitals?
     
  23. suzukisam

    suzukisam Member

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    craiger_ read post #20 I blew through both hip sockets and still exited the animal. a good 85 will go through and through no problem.. the bullet selection has way more to do with it than weight
     
  24. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    In recent years, my .243 has been mostly a coyote and prairie dog gun. Here in Terlingua with mule deer, I've stayed with the '06 and now a 7mm08. So, still with the Sierra 85 for coyotes, and 55-grain for prairie dogs...

    I've always gone for a neck shot whenever possible. It started out as, "My daddy tole me to," and since they quit right there when you hit the white spot...
     
  25. Craiger12

    Craiger12 Member

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    Art - How do you like that 7mm-08 for deer? This is another round that is very intriguing to me. I'm thinking it would make a better deer round than .243, and then I could go with a 26" heavy barrel rifle in .243 specifically for varmints.
     
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