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243 for elk

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Old 09-13-2013, 06:59 PM
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Default 243 for elk

I've read a 1000 posts in last ten yrs about how using the 243 for elk is wrong on so many levels. I've even advised against it myself many times. However given that many many Colorado elk are killed annually with 243s my question is... how many of you have actually killed an elk with the 243 and how did that work out??? What are your experiences? And please, no opinions. Just the facts please, just the facts. Thanks.
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:10 PM
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I seen it 2 years ago on a cow. My friend dropped her at 150 yards with a 100 gr bullet in the back of the head. I wouldn't do it but if your abilities allow it well go for it.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:42 PM
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I've killed three elk with a .243 using 100-gr factory Core-Lokts. Each fell to a single shot in the boiler room. No tracking was involved. It's been awhile, but seems like two of them dropped like rocks and one took a few steps before collapsing. Ranges weren't extreme, by any means - certainly less than 150 yards.

Although it wouldn't be my first choice for elk today, it wouldn't be my last choice, either. Whether it's been elk, deer, or pronghorn, there's just something about this chambering that works very well. I've had more DRT animals with a .243 than with any other chambering I've used. The particular rifle I used on those elk had also been used extensively on prairie dogs during the summer with the same ammo, so I was quite comfortable with it back then.

I'd suggest that what it boils down to is your comfort level with whatever rifle you want to take elk hunting.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:18 PM
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If you've read a thousand post on it, you already know my opinion.

Last edited by Colorado Luckydog; 09-14-2013 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 06:03 AM
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If a 243 was all I had I'd get the strongest bullets I could lay hands on and go with it.

But I'd still rather have my 7 mag or 35 Whelen.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SILVERTIP-CO View Post
I've read a 1000 posts in last ten yrs about how using the 243 for elk is wrong on so many levels. I've even advised against it myself many times.
Sorry, But I have to ask.....After reading a thousand post and even posting against it yourself, you still don't know what's up?

The 243 is a legal round for anyone who can't handle recoil. There are numerous better options for elk.

I don't know what your definition of "many many" is but I only know of a couple of people that use 243's.

In 20 years of hunting elk, I can't remember one time when someone was in our camp with a 243.

Go back and read your own advice against it and you will find your own answer.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:57 AM
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On my 8 trips to the West, I never was with anyone who hunted elk with anything less than a .270. Most people who live here in the east use a 243 as a varmint gun and a few use them on deer especially women and youth who can’t tolerate recoil. I think it is an impressive caliber with many uses but if I owned one I wouldn’t be hunting elk with it.
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Old 09-15-2013, 05:13 AM
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I think that someone who lives in elk country takes a more relaxed approach to the subject of elk rifles because that person sees elk frequently throughout the year and has the attitude during hunting season that if he doesn't get an ideal shot today there is always tomorrow.

The guy who gets to spend maybe a couple of weeks a year in elk country and spends a good bit of money on the trip wants to make the most of whatever opportunity he gets so he opts for a rifle with serious power.

Nothing wrong with either school of thought, just a different perspective on the situation.
Myself, I think the 7mm magnums are as close to perfect for elk as a person can get but I also know a couple people who get their elk every year with 243s. I also know a guy who got his elk, and very effectively, with a .222 for many years. But then that guy probably could have done it with just about anything. That's the difference.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:18 AM
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Always just a matter of time before someone will chime in that the .243 is for people who "can't handle" or "can't tolerate" recoil.

There are two very distinct camps when it comes to the lowly .243. Those who fill their freezers with it, and those who don't.

Which is more sad, the guy who hunts elk with a .243 because it's all he has? Or the guy with the .243 who wishes he were elk hunting but instead is wandering the aisles of the sporting goods store during elk season wishing he had a bigger rifle so that people on some internet forum wouldn't judge him as being "recoil sensitive?" As far as it being a "womens" or "girls" gun, if your wife or daughter is using one to hunt deer and you need something bigger, .....

We need fewer assumptions and less judging around here and more hunting.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:35 AM
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Shot placement is more critical with the smaller calibers. There are many better choices with low recoil than the 243 for elk. Many things are legal in the world, but doesn't mean it's correct, or right. 7mm-08 and 308 would be better choices for larger game with better bullets for the job, and still little recoil. If you hunt deer and varmints/small game and want one rifle to do it all, the 243 is great. If you want to hunt bigger critters, give them a little more respect and get a rifle more suited to the job.
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