The case for the .243 as a deer cartridge.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by whatnickname, Dec 28, 2020.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jeff Flannery

    Jeff Flannery Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    205
    I've hunted with a rem.700bdl .243 since the early 70's. I now have a ruger American .243 and also 7mm/08. Now I've semi retired the 700, use the ruger .243 for coyotes and woodchucks and the ruger 7mm/08 for deer. I've shot tons of deer with the Remington and more recently the ruger .243's. All used 100 gr Hornady bullets with imr 3031 powder. The coyote and woodchuck loads are with same powder and 85 gr hp's. I bought the 7mm/08 with idea that there may eventually be hogs to hunt here I Pa!!
     
    bummer7, stillquietvoice and LoonWulf like this.
  2. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    13,616
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I bet those things weren't easy to put down, ours weren't once riled. I shot one 5 or 6 times with my STW after a buddy of mine wounded it. Took smashing its pelvis to get it to stop running.
     
  3. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2019
    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    South-Central Texas
    I believe the .243 Winchester is a better deer cartridge than the .308 Winchester when comparing the .243 100 grain to the 150 grain .308 Winchester.
    Explanation:

    A 100 grain .243 caliber bullet has an S.D. of .242
    A 150 grain .308 caliber bullet has an S.D. of .226

    Federal Power Shok loads below

    .243 Winchester Power Shok (100 grain offering) .308 Winchester Power Shok (150 grain offering)
    Velocity - 2960 (more likely 2850 or so) Velocity - 2820
    Weight - 100 grains Weight - 150 grains
    B.C. - .355 B.C. - .313

    (This will look wonky if you're using a portable telephone)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  4. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Messages:
    2,511
    Location:
    Deep East Texas
    Well that was exactly the trouble. IF you didn't 'break it down' or use enough 'rifle' they would make it back into the Canes and be lost to the river or simply be in an area too rough to access. So some of the guys hunting them (also having been to Africa) had heavy rifles....and in some instances very NICE double rifles in the classic hard hitting calibers. It all got to be a big deal down there for a few years.

    But we are straying considerably from the topic of this thread. My apologies.
     
  5. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    13,616
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I don't believe the .243 is a bad deer cartridge, and plenty capable of dispatching much larger game. If that's the largest round that can be employed well its a much better choice than a poorly employed .308
    Equally, if something ABSOLUTELY must die, then a larger round is almost always a more assured way to make that happen efficiently and quickly.
     
    bummer7, Yarddog, WisBorn and 3 others like this.
  6. Shooterbob

    Shooterbob Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2016
    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    South West PA
    Jeff flannery i sincerely hope that PA never has a wild hog population.
     
  7. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2019
    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    South-Central Texas
    [QUOTE="whatnickname, post: 11762052, member:

    My issue with the .243 the other side of 300 yards, is the residual energy of the bullet at that distance and what is considered adequate energy needed to reliably harvest a deer. What’s your opinion? [/QUOTE]

    My opinion is that energy is meaningless, my opinion is based in fact because it is hydrostatic shock, penetration, and bullet action that determine if a cartridge is adequate for the game at hand, not a singular mathematical figure.
     
    bummer7 and sixgunner455 like this.
  8. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    8,787
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    I tried a couple of factory loadings and wasn't impressed.

    I now handload 100 grain Nosler Partitions with 39 grains of IMR4350 and have been very pleased.
     
    bummer7, WisBorn and LoonWulf like this.
  9. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2019
    Messages:
    1,185
    I've purchased two .243 Winchester rifles mainly with thoughts for nieces & nephews to use. The nephew I thought was interested in marksmanship and hunting dropped his interest (most likely influenced by his mother, my sister), and one niece is quite interested but with COVID-19 we haven't seen each other since February. She's stayed busy with her college studies including the summer this year which was great in its own right. She graduated with her Associates Degree a few weeks ago and will be attending University of Houston full time in a few more weeks.

    Still time available for both as 2021 appears to have promise for more opportunities to get together with them.
     
  10. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Messages:
    3,366
    Location:
    People's Republic of Maryland
    I think that the .243 Winchester suffers a lot from tradition and rumor, based on anecdotal evidence, plus lack of understanding of modernization.

    "That's a kid's cartridge"
    "That's a cartridge for women"
    "That's a varmint round, not a deer round"


    These are the three basic mantras that one hears, I think the most...perhaps with slight variations.

    The cartridge was introduced in 1955 with less than 100 grain bullets. It was very good at taking varmints, but as pointed out, sometimes had real problems with taking deer. Most likely from the behavior upon impact of varmint bullets or..., poor marksmanship at a distance (past 200 yards). Because it had low recoil compared to its parent the .308, women and young hunters often used the .243 with pretty good success. BUT the sometimes poor results on deer meant that young hunters after a time would "up gun" to something like a 7mm Mauser, .308 Winchester, .270 Winchester or .30-06 because any of those had a reputation of being more "reliable" when launched from a bolt action. (In fact it is likely those cartridges were more "forgiving" of a average marksman ;)) So the reputation was born, and it stuck. The .243 was loaded, soon after it was introduced, with a heavier bullet to mitigate any problems on deer, but the rep was already established in some parts of the country.

    I get similar opinions about my .530 patched round ball from a muzzleloader vs. deer. I'm often told by those who "know" that it isn't accurate past 50 yards and IF I did manage to hit a deer at around 100 yards, it wouldn't humanely harvest the animal (one clown told me the ball would bounce off a deer, broadside at 150 yards.) So once a rep is established, it gets repeated generation to generation, and it can be tough to change. The .243 was soon loaded with a heavier bullet to mitigate any problems on deer, but the rep was already established in some parts of the country.

    Bullets for all modern cartridges haven't remained static for the past half century; neither have optic sights. Varmint bullets are better, and large game bullets are much better (imho). In fact one can find bullets tailored to the game and the circumstances. IF the hunter is using a cartridge of moderate speed, say something like the old .30 Remington, or a .30-30 Winchester, or even hand-loading a .308 toward the minimum level to mitigate recoil a bit..., there are bullets designed to perform at those lesser impact speeds at a moderate range. If there is a need for a bullet to be light and reach out far, and still deliver very quick results on a varmint, those bullets are there. If the hunter needs a round that will deform but reliably remain intact at high speeds there are those too, as well as if the hunter needs that heavy bullet that will penetrate at long range on dangerous game. Couple with that the improvement in scopes, pretty much all of the cartridge stereotypes from the 1950's and 1960's really no longer apply.

    But for some reason..., the improvements in bullets and optics have only slowly started to change the rep of the .243.

    NOW though, it's being "rediscovered". Many of us are aging to a point where that veteran rifle that we've been using for decades with a shoulder jarring .300 WinMag, or even a .30-06 isn't fun to shoot especially in a light rifle, and we find an all day schlep in the woods with an average weight rifle a bit much. Some of these folks have opted to go to a lighter rifle with the .243 and have found it works just fine on whitetail and mule deer. They find that the cartridge is accurate, and with handloads can be remarkably accurate, and the rifle is easy to carry all day and kicks very little. They are often heard (in my area at least) saying, "Gee I wonder why I stopped using the .243 all those years ago?"

    ADD to that this COVID stuff, where the "popular" calibers were quickly sold out both in rifles and ammunition, and you have folks often defaulting into the purchase of a .243 rifle... and you hear a lot of them say, "I don't know why folks told me this was a kid's rifle..., works great for me on deer. I think this is now my go-to rifle."

    LD
     
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    17,171
    I think there are worse choices for deer, that people also use with success like the .223.

    I have shot great groups with .224 & 6mm rifles but generally hunt medium game with 7mm and up bullets. Not really much of a diameter gain going say from a 243 to 7-08 but bullet weight gain.

    Not that I am right or anyone is wrong, just like water, I have ran the path that works for me.
     
    bummer7 and troy fairweather like this.
  12. shootbrownelk

    shootbrownelk Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2020
    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Wyoming
    I use Barnes TTSX bullets in my .243, no problems killing antelope, deer or elk. Mono bullets like the Hornady GMX, the Nosler E-Tip or the Barnes TTSX were made for the .243 to shine on big game.
     
  13. Jeff Flannery

    Jeff Flannery Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    205
    I sure do! They are a blast to hunt!!
     
  14. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2019
    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    South-Central Texas
    That's fantastic, I'll never understand people who claim a .243 100 grain Nosler partition is a poodle shooter, but a 308 150 grain Nosler partition is big medicine. I guess they've never heard of sectional density.
     
  15. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    7,847
    Location:
    SE GA
    Maybe research sectional density and other factors a bit more.

    You seem to be putting all your eggs into one basket.

    For the sake of this thread, that being the 243 as a deer round, sure the 243 and 308 are not far apart apart. Deer are weak as heck and will die when holes are put into them. Will they make it over the property line first though?
     
    WisBorn likes this.
  16. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Leavenworth, KS
    Also I'm one of "those" guys that feel SD has been mitigated some by modern bullet construction. IE a standard cup/core bullet may have a higher SD that a bonded, controlled expansion. The same modernization in bullet construction was also applied to the larger calibers......

    Never shot a deer with a .243, but did with a 6mm Rem. It worked.
     
    shootbrownelk likes this.
  17. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    Messages:
    954
    Location:
    Michigan
    I shot my first deer with a 243 last season. When I cleaned it the bullet passed right between the heart and lungs damaging both and a pass through. That deer ran 40 yards and piled up. The shot was about 85 yards, a 100 gr Sierra Pro-Hunter over 38.5 gr of H414. I don’t see how a bigger rifle could do a better job. Did the deer run ? Yes, but that happens sometimes. I’ve used a 30-06 for over 20 years and seen similar results with 165gr and 150gr bullets. I think out to 200 or so yards the .243 is a fine rifle for deer and other medium game.

    I think years ago the cartridge was advertised as a varmint round and that image has stuck through the years. Now heavier bullet options and faster twist barrels make it a better medium game round than in years past. As far as what people think, I’m at the point I don’t care what others think. I’ve been asked why I was carrying the wife’s rifle, but I just laughed with them. I do not feel under-gunned.

    Jeff
     
    shootbrownelk and horsey300 like this.
  18. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2018
    Messages:
    9,556
    Location:
    Up State New York
    Years ago we used bowhunt Javelina on a Ranch in South Texas (right on the Rio Grande River). All along the river bank was a thicket of 'Giant Cane'. Some of the Bulls on the ranches (both sides of the river) would use that cane as cover so as NOT to be rounded up by the Ranch Hands and they basically became 'wild'. And some of them quite ornery too....especially if one of the Vaqueros would come too near on horseback.

    So.....the answer to that 'problem' was for the Ranchers to offer rifle hunts for certain of these known/identified rouge bulls. Sort of a poor man's Cape Buffalo hunt. They would use dogs to go in and run the animals out (you might also get hogs) and then the hunter (accompanied by a guide) would attempt to shoot the bull. These 'hunts' didn't always turn out well and sometimes the bull was never recovered. Large caliber, powerful rifles were recommended. Typically the 'bull' would be donated to needy folks in the area.

    I never participated in one of those forays, but know of folks who did. That was back in the 70's....I imagine it's too dangerous to be along the Rio Grande anywhere these days.

    Even back then.....being armed only with a longbow and a sidearm, we were careful not to venture too close to the river or the cane thickets.[/QUOTE]
    But aren't they still considered to be the owners property, would I count as cattle resulting if you shot them without the owners permission.
     
    bummer7 and LoonWulf like this.
  19. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2019
    Messages:
    2,092
    Location:
    Libby Mt
    D
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
  20. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2019
    Messages:
    498
    Location:
    South-Central Texas
    I've studied "Game Loads And Practical Ballistics For The American Hunter" by Bob Hagel. In my findings from the information provided to me in said book, I have developed the opinion that when comparing different cartridges of similar velocity and bullet construction, the cartridge that utilizes a higher S.D bullet is superior.
     
  21. stillquietvoice
    • Contributing Member

    stillquietvoice Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2016
    Messages:
    1,895
    Location:
    Upstate ny
    I just this year got my second 243 win. Bought it for my granddaughter to hunt with, due to covid, she couldn't get her safety course done or come to the range to practice.

    I've been working up loads for this rifle and took it hunting once this season. I didn't get a deer with it, but not because of any limitations of the cartridge. The only shot I would have taken was questionable due to terrain, brush, and his moving enough to only present his rear half.

    My first 243 was responsible for 4 feet all drt. I have no complaints with the cartridge or in its ability to take game out to 375 yds.
     
  22. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    8,572
    ^^^Same here. Plenty of 'em used around here. Like any of the popular deer calibers. it comes down to using the correct bullet and puttin' that bullet where it needs to go. While it may have a slightly smaller margin of error than the venerable Ought-Six, it ain't by much. I think the fact it is used by so many young and inexperienced hunters could be part of the issue.
     
    shootbrownelk likes this.
  23. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2006
    Messages:
    2,511
    Location:
    Deep East Texas
    But aren't they still considered to be the owners property, would I count as cattle resulting if you shot them without the owners permission.[/QUOTE]

    ^^^^

    Yes, the fact that they were considered 'feral' (really just unmanageable) did not change the 'ownership'. On the ranch we hunted (for hogs and javelina) we were always WARNED not to go too close to the canebrakes and to avoid any solitary cattle encountered especially bulls.

    The 'hunts' (if you want to call them that) for the Feral Bulls would be conducted with several ranch hands (Vaqueros and dog handlers) present. The idea being to flush the bull out of the canes (his attention turned to the dogs) allowing for a shot opportunity.

    But often... I am told, this resulted in the bull going in and out of the Canes for some quite some distance along the river. The animals themselves were not being 'sold' per se, you would just pay a 'trespass fee' to the land owner who probably was more than happy to be rid of the animal as some of them posed a very real threat.

    If you've ever been around a Bull (or cow for that matter) that is ill tempered....they will leave NO doubt in your mind that things can go sideways for you in a hurry. If you are 'on foot' this is not a good thing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
    bummer7, LoonWulf, JeffG and 4 others like this.
  24. JeffG

    JeffG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,759
    Location:
    NE Wisconsin
    Never a problem with .243 here. 100 gr Sierra BT is one of my favorites.

    193480_320709354700853_559907786_o.png
     
  25. JeffG

    JeffG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,759
    Location:
    NE Wisconsin
    The feral cattle side story: I had no problem getting permission after this one knocked over the owner's four wheeler, and gave him unscheduled practice on his 50 yard dash. :rofl:
    The .458 was more appropriate...

    23472049_1570027096389639_5756829782953663433_n.jpg
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice