The case for the .243 as a deer cartridge.

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

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  1. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    That is a really cool bull. Congratulations!
     
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  2. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Couldn’t agree more. Shot placement is the top priority. I have passed on deer when I couldn’t get the angle I wanted. I NEVER shoot through brush...all the stuff about “brush busting” rounds IMO is a poor excuse for attempting a low percentage shot. Sure, it produces the desired result on occasion but it can also deflect the round and wound a deer only to have it die a slow and lingering death. I owe the sport and the animal better than that.
     
  3. whatnickname

    whatnickname Member

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    Quite a few people trash talk the round, which is why I started this thread. I’ve never lost a single deer I’ve shot with a .243. I’ve always used 100 grain bullets. You don’t need a cannon to take deer. But, you do need the right bullet and spot on shot placement. Just my .02 cents on the subject.
     
  4. stillquietvoice
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    stillquietvoice Contributing Member

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    That leaves more for the test of us.

    I would have had to a 5" Napoleon to clear the path on the one I let walk this season just to clear the brush for a shot.
     
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  5. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    Thanks!
     
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  6. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    You're certainly welcome to them but I cannot unsee what I have seen.
     
  7. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I have to say that my experience with the .243 more aligns with Craig and Earl.
    I’ve lost more deer with the .243 than any other cartridge. But for some reason I keep trying it. I enjoy shooting it. Modest recoil, less expensive bullets. Impeccable accuracy. Modest costs to reload.

    This year I shot the 2nd largest racked deer I’ve ever taken, using the .243. A single shot. But it wasn’t clean. I broke the animals neck at the base of the shoulder. It writhed on the ground for several minutes, but expired before I could get to it. I really like the rifle, however. (Marlin X7S).

    My theory is that I’m over driving the bullets. Most here reporting good results are running 100’s @2,700-2,850mv and impact speeds of 2,200-2,500fps. I’m running them in excess of 3,000fps to 3,100. Most of my failures have been well hit deer running off, with minimal blood trails. Close shots, to heart-lungs. (25-50yds).
    The buck I shot this year stopped the slug and left practically no blood. (Lased 147yds).(Though internal hemorrhaging was substantial.) recovered, the 100gr Sierra ProHunter weighed 51.5gr. Small, balled up mushroom, just under The far hide.

    Furthermore, myself and others have observed deer shot beyond 250yds where the bullets fail to expand adequately and likewise little blood trail results in loss. (Depredation/population control on airports).
    I’ve taken over 100 deer with a .257Roberts. With 115-120gr bullets, it’s noticeably better than the .243, but I concede that the 7mm08 is better yet. I’ve lost enough deer with a 6.5 (Creed and .260Rem, all over 300yds) to have a negative opinion of it. -SD isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.- bullet integrity and controlled expansion are critical. Seems a man named Nosler designed a bullet around that notion...as well as others.
    I concur...
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2021
  8. shootbrownelk

    shootbrownelk Member

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    I watched a guy put four .30 caliber "Cor-lokts" out of a .300 Win Mag into a raghorn bull elk and had to reload to finish it. When we skinned it, it rained copper jackets. Remington CL's suck. Using a proper bullet is good advice.
     
  9. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Yes but in this thread I've referenced failures with Remington, Federal and Hornady bullets.
     
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  10. shootbrownelk

    shootbrownelk Member

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    I personally like the Nosler Partition, the Nosler E-Tip, the Hornady GMX and my favorite the Barnes TTSX, for hunting purposes in any caliber I shoot. I use a .308, 30/06, .375 H&H, .243 and .223. But due to arthritic shoulders and recent back surgery I'm limited to the .223 or the .243. and that why I use premium (expensive) bullets.
     
  11. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I do like premium bullets as well but in my universe, there is no replacement for displacement. I tend to use premium bullets and heavier bullets and larger diameters.

    I’m not here to trash the 243. I merely gave an anecdote as to why I don’t use one. That anecdote, is a very common occurrence with the 243. It is acceptable for many but not me.

    Also, I would lump the 243 in with the 410 shotgun. It is not a beginners gun just because it has low recoil. It is an experienced hunters gun. One who has the nerve and patience to wait for the right shot which is, even if many choose not to believe it, more important with the 243 than even its next bigger brothers, the 6.5mm 308 based cartridges.
     
  12. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    I didn't start hunting deer until after I retired and had the time. In the last 4 years my buddy and I have killed 7 deer; one with my .270 and 6 with my .243s. My brother has lost count of how many whitetails he has killed with his Ruger #1 .243. I originally bought a Remington 700 VLS .243 with a 26" heavy barrel to shoot long distance prairie dogs using 60gr HP bullets. Didn't really use it that much so it sat in the closet for awhile. Brought it out because my friend didn't have a rifle to hunt deer so he used the VLS. He killed 3 deer with it, all head and neck shots with 100 gr bullets. In the meantime, I bought another .243, a Remington 700 CDL. Had lots of the 60gr loaded, so used them and to date have killed 3 deer, all head and neck shots and all dropped in their tracks. My hand loads are very accurate and I shoot out of a blind with a BOG Death Grip tripod, so have been able to place the shot precisely where I want it. The .243 it more than adequate. It is fun to shoot with soft recoil and easy to reload. What's not to recommend?
     
  13. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

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    I believe we can agree the .243 Winchester is a perfectly adequate whitetail deer cartridge ; I also believe that some of us can agree the .243 is adequate for game larger/tougher than whitetail deer.
     
  14. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    When did we agree on that?
     
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  15. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I think he ment to say .270 :D:p
     
  16. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Member

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    I also had to give up my beloved .338 and .30-06 and others after my shoulder replacement and have had to substitute .223 and .243 for my hunting.
    Consequently, I’ve been doing some bullet testing and have found that generally the Partition and Gold Dot/Fusion bullets perform well in both calibers. Accuracy, expansion, penetration and weight retention is excellent.

    In .243, I’ve settled on using 100 gr Partitions and 95 gr Fusions.
    In .223, I found the 55 and 62 gr Gold Dots and 60 gr Partitions work very well for me. Most other bullets I tested fragmented.

    I feel that bullet construction is paramount in light fast calibers, especially with close shots. I think many of the failures noted may have come from using bullets that were too lightly constructed. It pays to hunt with premium bullets. They aren't that expensive in the long run, especially if you are a handloader.

    The .243 is a relatively new cartridge to me, having started using it about a year ago. So far I like it and I feel it will do what I need it to with the right bullet and proper shot placement.
     
  17. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

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    When we agreed the .308 Winchester is an adequate whitetail deer cartridge.
     
  18. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    While I do agree that the .243 is completely acceptable for deer, as is the .223 or a pointy stick when properly applied, the .243 doth not a .308 make.......
    Equally, a .308 ain't a .30-06, close tho they are.
    While a hole thru the guts a dead dear (usually) doth make, it doth not make them quickly. A big hole thru the guts is a poor second..."choice"....but its better than a small hole when it does happen.

    Even with a good hit, a big hole makes stuff quite working faster so does smashing up more of the internal bits. That's my opinion based on my experience.....
     
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  19. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope.....

    .243 and the .308 are worlds apart.
     
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  20. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    I think we need to specify the deer and the rifle. Are we talking the 300 or even 400 pound bucks in some northern states, or the little 80 pound variety in some southern states? And, are we talking the rifles with 22-24 inch barrels cranking out nearly 3000 fps with 100 grain slugs, or my 18.5 inch barrel that cranks out 2925 with and 85 grain slug?? There is a difference.

    I wouldn't hesitate to shoot a little white tail down in southern Louisiana with a 223 or a 22-250. If I had a 350 lb muley in my sights, I might want a 260 or a 7mm/08 or a 270/308/30-06.
     
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  21. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    18.5" barrels are still capable of slinging heavier bullets, i.e. the aforementioned prohunters will still run 2700ish, and that is enough velocity/momentum/expansion/penetration for big deer. If you feel more confident in a larger chambering, there's nothing wrong with it, I'll simply add that the .243 can successfully take critters heavier than the muleys referenced. If the 85 gr is a mono or a frame, and it shoots great, I'd not worry much.
     
  22. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    Cup and core bullets can only do so much. A core lockt and most others at 3400 is going to blow up but perform admirably at 2700 and likewise blow up at 50 yds. but penetrate at 300. Any high velocity round deserves a premium bullet if close-in shots are possible. That includes .243 and many others. I like Partitions but I'm sure there are others that are up to the task.

    A local sports writer touted the .243 as an ideal deer cartridge because he once killed a nice buck at 350 yds. with an 87 gr. bullet. My thoughts were try that shot at 50 yds. and the outcome might not have been the same.
     
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  23. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Seriously???

    Most the touting I see/hear for the .243 as the world's most ideal deer cartridge make no stipulations whatsoever. Not regarding bullets, range or shot placement. Those who disagree are usually accused of not being able to shoot. At least those espousing the .223 always stipulate good controlled expansion bullets.
     
  24. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

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    Yes, the only difference that affects terminal performance between the .243 Winchester 100 grain and .308 Winchester 150 grain is projectile diameter and Sectional Density. Diameter favors the .308 and S.D. favors the .243. Which do you think contributes more to the terminal effectiveness of a load ?
     
  25. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I didn't know the .308 maxed out at 150gr.

    It's impossible to separate sectional density, diameter, weight and construction.
     
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