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The .243 Winchester

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The .243 Winchester

Old 04-19-2011, 09:34 AM
  #21  
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This comment responds to one of the questions above. From what I've been able to deduce, the statement that 95% of hunters cannot hit an elk in the vitals at 450 yards would be entirely true. I would be willing to bet that I could NOT put a first shot into a vital sized target at 450 yards, even if some other shooter got my rifle sighted in for 450 yards. I have read that seasoned guides say things like 80% of their hunters can hit vitals at 100 yards; 30% can hit vitals at 200 yards; maybe 10% can hit vitals at 300 yards. Actually, it might be even worse than this. Any guides out there willing to make any generalizations on the marksmanship of your clients?

My guess is that many hunters only shoot their guns at game animals during the hunting season -- no pre-season shooting range work. Of those who shoot their guns at paper, how many of these shoot more than enought to deem their rifles sighted in? How many shoot a box of cartridges a year? How many shoot five boxes of cartridges a year? How many shoot at paper located more than 100 yards away?

I live in a suburb north of Dallas. I know of two shooting ranges. Both are about 50 miles away. I don't go there to shoot very often. I'll go out probably in June or July to see how my .30-06 rifles are shooting. If they are sighted in, I probably won't make the 50 mile drive again until late September to see if they are still shooting where they are supposed to and to confirm the rifles are still OK. Sure, low probability of any mechanical difficulties, but I'ld rather know a couple or three weeks before elk season rather than when sighting in two days before the season opens out in Colorado.

I'm not a trophy hunter. My usual shooting takes places at moderate distances. I took my 2009 elk at well under 100 yards, maybe at about 50 yards. I've shot deer at 15 yards, 25 yards, 140 yards. I shot a pronghorn antelope at 240 yards from a prone shooting position. Under these circumstances I do not feel the need to practice shooting at extended ranges. If the animal is too far away, I don't shoot, I try to move closer, or I wait to encounter another animal. When you aren't hunting for trophies you can afford to pass on an out-of-range animal.

I think a .243 ought to be used for deer and pronghorn antelope and varmints. If you are going after elk or bear you probably are wise to use a bigger gun. But that is only my opinion. Also, if all you have is a .243, that might change the picture a bit. For example, when I'm shooting a cow elk at 40 yards in October, probably a .243 would work . . . but I've got a couple of .30-06 rifles so I'll use one of those instead. I'll take my .243 Winchester featherweight and/or my .25-06 -- both of which I love dearly -- when I'm out pronghorn hunting or deer hunting and then leave the .30-06 at home.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:02 AM
  #22  
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There is a range right outside of Meeker Colorado. I go there every year before our elk hunt and sometimes I just stop in during the hunt. I have made friends with a guy up there I call Preacher.(some of you guys may know him) He is just a good old dude and has been giving me advice on hunting elk since my very first hunt some upteen years ago.

At the range they have a gong at 300 yards. I have yet to see someone set out to ring that gong and not hit it. The guys at the range recommend every hunter to be able to hit it before they leave the range. I have never witnessed anyone having a problem doing so. I'm sure there are some that have a problem but most don't. I have been going there for more than 15 years.

450 yards is a lot different than 300. We all know 300 is the magic mark where most bullets start to drop like rocks. But there are a lot of guys that can make a 450 yard shot. I wouldn't condone anyone taking a shot that far if they haven't practiced that far and they sure as hell shouldn't take that shot with a .243.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:04 PM
  #23  
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Alastain...

I'm not a guide but I have seen a ton of deer killed in my lifetime...We have 3 family farms so I keep the .243 in the truck...It's used to kill coyotes, foxes, crows, groundhogs, feral dogs, feral pigs, deer, bears and other varmints...

We kill 40-50 deer a year and have done so for 30 years off these farms...In a season we will have somewhere between 12 -18 hunters...As you mentioned, somewhere around 125 yards the boys start missing...I'd say for the average shot as you mentioned that deer is pretty safe out at 300 yards...

That's one reason I stick with the .243, I've used it since 1980 and only lost one deer to it...I've killed plenty between 250-350 yards and simply don't like to take them much past that...Killing a deer at 300 yards is a snap when you can kill crows and groundhogs at that distance...

Doping bullet drop is one thing, doping the wind is another, especially with 100 gr bullets...

If I lived in elk country I'd probably have a 300 Mag, but I don't and a .243 will do for the bears I have to dispatch...
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:38 PM
  #24  
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Here's my .243 (improved version), still has 1300 lbs of energy at this distance. Sure, its not ideal for elk/moose/bear and if you have a bigger gun then use it. But if all you have is a .243 and know how to shoot it then use it and be patient.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X54ySM10Pc
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:19 AM
  #25  
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That's pretty good shooting Jeepkid !!!

I love my .243, but it's just a win not an ackley.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:19 PM
  #26  
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My goodness there are alot of people on here that think black bears are hard to kill. I wouldn't hesitate to use any "deer caliber" including a .243 on a black bear. Of course I've never killed or even seen a 400-500 pounder but the ones I've seen from PA and Maine sure were not wearing Kevlar. Can't comment on Elk as Ive never hunted them but if I did and only had a .243 I would load it up with a heavy, premium bullet and go get em.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:28 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Camosteel View Post
My goodness there are alot of people on here that think black bears are hard to kill. I wouldn't hesitate to use any "deer caliber" including a .243 on a black bear. Of course I've never killed or even seen a 400-500 pounder but the ones I've seen from PA and Maine sure were not wearing Kevlar. Can't comment on Elk as Ive never hunted them but if I did and only had a .243 I would load it up with a heavy, premium bullet and go get em.
Nobody here said you couldn't kill a bear with a .243. Just that it wouldn't be our weapon of choice.

All the elk in Colorado do wear kevlar. They are sneaky like that.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:27 AM
  #28  
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Going back to my post on page 1 I feel i need to clear up 1 or 2 things, First, i never said that the .243 is the best gun to do the job, i said it is a great gun for taking big game. Second point is, i'm not trying to convince or convert anyone that it is the best caliber for elk, moose, or bear, but it will do the job, plan and simple.

I have a few decades of hunting and guiding for big game here in Montana, and I can say with 100% certainty, that the big shoulder howitzers that a lot of young hunters take into the woods are also not the best, i.e. 300win mag, 338 magetc, etc.... All those big guns do is give a hunter a chance to be successful on a less then optimum shot. i have tracked elk for over a 1/4 mile for clients after being shot with one of these big guns so don't try to tell me that they rae the be all, end all answers to this debate either.
Most of the time we would get these fella's in from back east that have never hunted anything other then whitetails and they run out to their local gun store and buy one of these big guns from some guy that chances are has never been out west to hunt either, but he's interested in amking a sale. I've asked hundreds of clients what the normal hunt with at home, then ask them why they thought they needed to buy a gun that they have zero real field experience with to come hunt out here. Their answer is, " well i'm not real sure, thought maybe my 06, or 270 or whatever was too small to do the job."

If you hunt with a 300 win mag, then good for you. I hope you like it, and i hope it works for you, but believe me it is more gun then needed to take down the biggest muley, elk, moose, or black bear here in the lower 48. As i posted earlier, i hunted with the 30'06 for over 30 years, it was only in the last year that i switched to the 243, the reasons for the switch are varied, but i enjoy hunting with the smaller caliber and the cheaper cost of ammo too. If i'm going out bear hunting is the 243 the first gun out of my safe, no. The 06 is, but if i'm out chasing deer and i see a black bear will i take it with the 243, absolutely will if the right shot presents it's self.

Have read many comments on these posts about taking long shots and want to say this about that, If you have hunted out west or live out west then you know the difference between what we consider a long shot and what others consider long shots. 350-500yrds on an antelope hunt is not what i would consider a long shot, in fact on and elk or muley hunt those distances are not long shots. We have miles upon miles of wide open spaces, whether it's shooting across the plains at a speed goat or shooting across a canyon for a muley, shots in those ranges are not uncommon. What is uncommon is someone from other then out west that can consistantly make those shots. Every center fire gun i own is zero for 500, but if you don't shoot it regularly, don't try it regardless of the caliber you shoot.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:33 AM
  #29  
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Scottb3472, I like your signature line.
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Old 04-21-2011, 02:02 PM
  #30  
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Alsatian and Scott.........that's some very good and informative input thank-you
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