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.243 win

Old 08-08-2006, 09:41 AM
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Join Date: May 2006
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Default .243 win

Does anyone have any bad experiences using the .243 win while hunting whitetail? I know they can be used extremely effectively, I know people have harvested deer with much smaller bullets, but I also feel like the .243 is getting awfully close to the lower range of responsible deerhunting calibers.

So I guess I'm wondering, have you had personal instances of the .243 not doing the job well when you think a larger caliber would have done the trick? Additionally, how do you quantitatively determine the effective range of a given caliber (i.e. .243) on a certain animal?

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:51 AM
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Default RE: .243 win

You are right in my opinon you are right on the edge with that gun. You had only better take very high percentage shots with it. I would rather see people use a .270 instead wounding game does no good for the animal or the sport.
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:43 AM
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Default RE: .243 win

I used a weatherby .243, 100gr serria game king and it knocked'um down everytime. Now Im hunting Texas deer so thats cool. If I was shooting a 200lb + deer I may not use it.
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:58 AM
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Default RE: .243 win

I have used one since 1980...Have killed 130-140 deer with...I have never had any problems...I have killed deer with out to 280 yards or so...

The first 75 deer or so were killed with 100 gr CoreLokts...I started trying other brands, so far have killed deer with:
Remington 100gr CoreLokts
Remington Premium 100gr SPBT (discontinued)
Winchester 100g PowerPoints, both the Supreme and Standard loading
Speer Nitrex...100 gr
Hornady 100 gr SPBT Custom
Federal Premium 100 gr Nosler Partition
Federal Premium 100 gr SPBT Sierra GameKing
Federal Premium 85 gr HPBT Sierra GameKing

Thats all I can remember off the top of my head...Funny thing, my rifle doesn't care for the Winchester Ballistic tip loading or the new Federal Fusion...

The Winchester and Federal 100gr Sierra GameKings are very similiar on how they preform when they hit a deer...massive internal destruction and usually no exit wound...Never a problem because I don't believe I ever had a deer go 50 yards when hit with one of these bullets...They were hard enough to penetrate the shoulder blade on high lung shots, but usually didn't exit on broadside lung shots....

The Speer Nitrex and Federal Nosler Partition as a rule would always exit...Deer went farther than with other rounds because of this...but none over 100 yards...

The Hornady Custom, CoreLokt and the Federal 85 gr HPBT did what I want a bullet to do....Give consistant exit wounds on broadside lung shots...But not with high shoulder shots...Deer drop with a bullet through the near side shoulder blade and run 20-75 yards with a center lung shot...

When field hunting I use the Federal 85 gr loading...When I am hunting in the woods, I switch to a Corelokt....My gun prints both 2 to 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards...One advantage to the 85 gr is at 300 yards it is only about 3 inches low, whereas the CoreLokt is 8-10 inches low (I know the ballistics say different...Don't believe them)..

You can wound a deer with any caliber...I have seen hunters shooting much bigger calibers wound deer, because of flinching...If I hunted where we had 300 pound deer and gusty, windy conditions with shots over 300 yards the rule rather than the exception, I might have to go to a bigger gun...Until then I guess I'll keep what I have.

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Old 08-08-2006, 01:01 PM
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Default RE: .243 win

Not sure where you hunt,but, .243 is plenty where I am. Mature bucks average around 150 pounds, so a .243 is more than enough. I've used both .30-06 and .243 on this ranch, and the .243 kills them just as dead, just as fast. I've never needed two shots with either. I use 100 gr. Core-Lokt's in the .243 and 150 gr. Power Points in the .30-06, and get complete pass-throughs with both. Maybe if you're hunting where the bucksgrow to 400 lbs., you might need a .270, but, on average, bucks weigh 250 lbs or less and a .243 is plenty for humane kills. And, it seems to me that arguing for a minimum of .270 so you don't risk wounding a deer with a puny .243 is just an excuse to make up for poor marksmanship.

Just wanted to argue about this statement a bit:

You had only better take very high percentage shots with it.
Seems to me that's all anyone should take. If you're taking marginal shots, then you risk losing the deer regardless of what caliber you're using. Just doesn't compute for me if somebody thinks, "Hey, I've got a new whiz bang super-mag with the equivalent knockdown power of a howitzer, I'm gonna make that 'Texas Heart Shot'." Everyone who goes into the field should know the limits of their ability, and the limits of the caliber they are using, and limit their shots accordingly. If everyone didthat, the deer, the hunters, and the sport would all be well served.

As far as determining effective range, what I've heard is that 1000 ft lbs is a good rule of thumb. So, the effective range for a .243 would be a little past 300 yards.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:31 PM
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Default RE: .243 win

I did a lot of hunting with a 243 and never lost a deer that a larger caliber would have killed.
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:40 PM
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Default RE: .243 win

You are right in my opinon you are right on the edge with that gun. You had only better take very high percentage shots with it.
"Right on the edge" is what I have read, but how does one determine what caliber or load is "on the edge"?

Thanks for the replies thus far folks. A lot of your experiences and opinions are what I would have guessed... I'm still wondering about "the one that got away" because the .243 wasn't strong enough... Has the notion that the .243 is not powerful enough been developed alongside all of these new magnum-type rounds?
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Old 08-08-2006, 03:50 PM
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Location: Pennsylvania
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Default RE: .243 win

Saying that a .243 is on the edge is nonsense. As someone who has hunted for 20 years, I use a .243 for everything. I have other guns, but I love the way it shoots. Use it for whitetail in PA and WV and shot 3 bear with it. Shot all my game in WY with it which included 2 mullies, 2 antelope, and a cow elk. When I was younger I used my grandpa' s.222 and dropped everydeer I shot with it. ..22 Hornet wil do the same job. .243 is plenty.
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:01 PM
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Default RE: .243 win

I've used the 6MM Rem. for years with absolutely no problems!
I do consider the .243/6MM the minimum for deer size game, but a great minimum! Not just something that "might" get you by!
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:11 PM
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Location: WC FL
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Default RE: .243 win

I use too years back and switched to .270 and after a few years switched to 6.5mmSwede.

In FL, the minimum for center fire is .243 and no more than 5rds in any center fire.
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