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Old 05-06-2012, 06:59 PM   #1
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Default Savage .243 devastation

I took my son out for his first deer hunt and I put a Savage .243 in his hands with reloads I worked out with Sierra 85 gr. HPBT. So this button buck walked out at between 60 and 80 yds. standing broadside he hit the deer just in front of the front legs both shoulder were shattered. I could have put my fist in the hole this bullet left. I have shot a few deer in my time and I have never seen damage like this from my other rifles. I have used ballistic tips and SP in my .270, 30-06, and 7mm with less than spectacular results.

Last edited by bigge_al; 05-06-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 05-06-2012, 07:39 PM   #2
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I hunted a farm many years ago. The farmer's son used a Remington 700 in .243 caliber. I saw where his stand was, and later that week the farmer told me where the kid shot the deer he'd taken, at. It had to be close to 300 yards. And he said that .243 planted that buck right there. I "think" he shot factory ammo.

Congratulations to your son. Its nice when a rifle does what they should.
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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I've taken a couple with the .243, never had any issues. Lots of deer go to the .243 every year! Congrats to your son, sounds like good shooting.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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I would completely expect that kind of damage from a hollow point boat tail (HPBT) at that close of range, especially if the bullet struck the shoulder on impact. That's just about the worst bullet for deer in my opinion. I have hunted with a .243 many a time and my daughter now hunts with one...I have always used 100g Nosler Partition for deer...and have never experienced that type of damage.


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Old 05-12-2012, 12:48 PM   #5
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As a reloader, I suspect that you know that this particular Sierra bullet is specifically designed for extremely rapid expansion, which is more suitable for smaller game such as varmints where penetration is not at a premium. No doubt, as you experienced, this bullet at close range on a smallish deer can be a killer for sure. I suspect that it more or less exploded upon impact.

Don't get me wrong, I am not knocking the kill ... and for sure I congradulate your young hunter on making a good shot. However if you'll take some advice from personal experience, I think over the long run you will be better served using a 100 gr. hunting bullet that is specifically designed for medium sized game such as white tailed deer .... such as Sierra's Game King, a Hornady SST, a Nosler Partion, etc. This will give your son a superb deer rifle set up for distances out to 200-300 yards ... and still be very effective at close distances. The added 15 gr. of bullet weight will not result in any appreciable increase in recoil.

Good luck and keep that son in the woods !! It'll do him good.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:58 PM   #6
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I have read some posts by people who speak as it the Sierra 85 grain hollow point boat tail bullet is a super bullet. I personally don't know, but I've read a pretty long series of posts on this somewhere, and it convinced me. I've got a number of boxes of this factory load -- maybe it is Federal, I don't remember -- using that bullet. It shoots well in my .243. I haven't ever shot anything with it, however. All my hunting for the last 5 years has been elk hunting, and I use a .30-06 180 grain bullet for that.

Has anyone else heard any amazing success stories floated around about the Sierra 85 grain HPBT -- I think it may also be referred to as a "game king."
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Old 05-14-2012, 06:10 PM   #7
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There's no disputing that the Sierra 85 grain HPBT "Game King" will kill deer in a .243. Having used a .243 on mule deer, whitetails, and pronghorns for over 30 years though, I generally find that 80-ish grain bullets cause far more tissue damage than their 100 grain counterparts than is necessary to kill the animal. As a consequence of that, I normally reserve the 75-85 grain .243s I load for longer-range varmint hunting and target shooting, particularly if they're HPBTs.

Not my first choice, but whatever works for you...
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:54 AM   #8
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I also used the .243 for years on deer. My rifle's favorite load was 40.5 gr of IMR4350 under a Hornady 100 gr SP. I would really have to sit down and count the number of deer taken with that load as well as a few antelope. And every animal but one dropped where it stood. The one that didn't was a large old buck (164 lb dressed) that required a second shot as he was running away. The second bullet broke both shoulders like the originator's post and caused him to actually flip over as his front fell to the ground and his butt coming over his head. Later after skinning the deer it appears the first bullet must have had a flaw in it which caused it to literally explode on impact and disintegrated between the hide and rib cage - never entering the body cavity. One of those freak things I guess.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:22 PM   #9
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My uncle uses the 85 grain Sierra game king in his .243. I would agree, that if anything this bullet causes TOO much destruction on deer-sized game. I actually think that it is a great bullet for anchoring deer quickly, but personally prefer something that causes less meat damage....
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:15 PM   #10
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Default Great Deer Bullet

I have a 243 and hand load the 85 Sierra. Between my son and I have shot six deer with this load. All but one was DRT, one went about 40 yards that was hit just behind the last rib. Yes lots of damaged but that is what I want a bullet to do, kill it DRT. I live in central piedmont on the NC/VA state line and we are surrounded by cut-over where you can not see 10' and property lines are lined with POSTED signs. This is a great deer load accurate, light recoil and kills deer DRT. What more could one ask for?
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