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243 vs 308 for deer, coyotes, & black bear

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243 vs 308 for deer, coyotes, & black bear

Old 11-10-2020, 02:57 PM
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Default 243 vs 308 for deer, coyotes, & black bear

Ok. Let's here everyone's thoughts on these 2 calibers. For arguments sake let's have the rifles loaded with these 2 rounds:
243: 100 grain soft point (winchester super x)
308: 150 grain soft point (winchester super x)
Which do you think would win? 243 with well placed shot or 308 with harder hitting ammo?
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:18 PM
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With the two loads you listed the .308 will be "harder hitting". That being said however, I've had several experiences with both these cartridges and I can tell you in my honest opinion, on a behind the shoulder shot I would take the .243 every time. On identical shot placement using both these loads (I used Hornady Interlock 100 gr in my reloads) and Remington 150 gr CorLokts the deer I've shot always ran when hit with the .308. Some as far as 50+ yards. With the .243 all but one dropped where it stood.
So you can't always go by what's on paper. Now I'm talking hunting in NE and NC PA where shots rarely exceed 100 yards. You get into areas where you can shoot long distance then I would say the 308 would have the upper hand.
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Old 11-10-2020, 04:04 PM
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6 of one and a half a dozen of another, a well placed shot of either will kill just as well
there are no magic calibers or bullets, they all have to hit vitals
killed and seen enough deer killed with about every caliber out there from .50 BMG down and see deer drop right there and RUN with same like shots and bullets/calibers
condition and IMO< mind set of animal matter, seen things run dead on there feet and seen things fall over hunt with arrows/broadheads?
IMO< Hunt with what you have confidence in and you can shoot well and on PAPER is up to the task, and put things where they need be, and your all good

NOW< since you mentioned coyotes here, I don't consider either of your choices good for coyotes if your looking at saving any hide! and IMO< are better calibers and bullet selections out there
But if JUST killing a coyote is goal, again, both bullets in the same spot will have about the same results, IMO< a dead coyote! a big hole too!

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Old 11-15-2020, 10:46 AM
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have killed many deer with 243 i think they have a greater shock power and there is greater potental accuracy. the trajectory matches that of a 270 out to almost 400 yds.
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:19 PM
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having used both over the years
I HAVE TO FAVOR THE 308, the slightly higher velocity of the 243 at about 2900 fps at the muzzle helps rapid expansion
the marginally slower 150 grain 308 at about 2800 obviously hits harder has more mass and depending on bullet construction, generally penetrates a bit better,
deer and even black bear those bullets , don,t have difficulty reaching the vitals and those animals are not that large or strongly muscled, nor are their bones that difficult to penetrate,
ranges tend to be well under 300 yards
many people make a mistake in selecting bullets that don,t expand reliably, you don,t need exotic, bullets common designs like a 150 grain, speer, sierra or Hornady bullet
like this picture properly placed is lethal
YES theres a noticeable difference in bullet expansion characteristics between brands, do some testing and youll see the differences
I generally find SPEER bullets to expand faster than HORNADY , and NOSLER ballistic tips somewhere closer to the speers on rapid expansion
but still penetrate well.

while either caliber works you can,t ignore pure physics the 308 hits about 45% harder

aim for area (B) on the link/diagram and you'll seldom have and difficulty

btw bullet weight in grains x velocity x velocity /450240= energy

so a 100 grain x 2900 x 2900/ 450240=1868 ft lbs at the muzzle for 243

so a 150 grain x 2800 x 2800/ 450240=2612 ft lbs at the muzzle for 308
not a huge difference but its well worth having in my experience

cross sectional area before expansion,

243 .046 sq inches

308 . .074 sq inches

Last edited by hardcastonly; 11-17-2020 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 11-17-2020, 07:54 AM
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just as an example on bullet expansion characteristics
my buddy used a 358 win BLR and rarely had a 250 speer exit an elk, or mule deer,
when the local dealer ran out of speer 250 grain, he tried the 250 hornadys
while either bullet was and are consistently lethal,
he swapped to HORNADY 250 grain bullets(briefly)
both were lethal, both accurate, but he got more exits on mule deer,
using the hornady 250 grain, he preferred the speers
btw if you soak old magazines in water , over a few hours ,
and stack them in a large box as a backstop,
to use as a test medium, you'll see the difference

Last edited by hardcastonly; 11-17-2020 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 11-17-2020, 08:50 AM
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Hardcast I too have had experience with both cartridges and Having shot both deer and bear with both (many deer) I've had all but one deer be DRT with the .243. Every deer shot with the .308 ran. Also a bear I shot with the 308 ran far enough to get killed by another hunter. And each and every shot I put into it, 4 in total, were lethal hits. I know this for a fact because it rained heavily the night before and I could see the water splashing from him on impact.
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Old 11-17-2020, 09:19 AM
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bullet construction has a great deal to do with results
either rifle caliber we are discussing here,
will work if the proper anatomy and organs are destroyed
both bullet placement and bullet construction effect results
if the 243 was getting a better and more rapid initial expansion,
then the bullet you used in a 308 ,
it could easily produce faster-resulting lethality,
but that's most likely due to the bullet used ,
you can,t ignore physics,
a larger mass impacting at a similar velocity imparts more energy
I'm just stating that is been my experience that most guys using a 308 use bullets that do not expand as rapidly,
I see most guys use a 165-180 grasin bullet like a hornady, Remington core lock , with controlled expansion,
thus on less robust game like deer, the results tend to be less dramatic or rapid
swapping to a faster expending bullet has a very noticeable effect.
personally I see the SPEER 150 grain as about ideal, for deer

notice how the 70 grain 243 causes much more rapid impact results than a 168 grain 308 even if the 308 hits harder
no question the 308 would be less rapidly lethal on a perfectly placed lung/heart shot, but thats at the expense of much less penetration
if the 308 bullet is properly selected, especially if bones need to be busted,
keep in mind you don,t always get the ideal angle on the game or ranges you prefer to shoot at game,
having a bit of extra penetration potential in the rifle you carry is beneficial at times



Last edited by hardcastonly; 11-17-2020 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:52 PM
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I've never had a penetration issue with the 243. I always used Hornady 100 gr Interlock bullets
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Old 01-15-2021, 10:11 AM
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On deer I have honestly had much better results with one shot kills with the .243. It's a very under rated round. I'm not a big fan of the .308. For years I used a .300 Win Mag. and no one ever put their tag on my deer. But I like carrying the lighter .243 now that I'm old and falling apart.
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