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First hunting rifle: .243 or .308?

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View Poll Results: First Hunting Rifle Cartridge:
.243 Win
.308 Win
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First hunting rifle: .243 or .308?

Old 11-03-2011, 07:28 PM
Nontypical Buck
sconnyhunter's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Wherever liberalism must be eradicated.
Posts: 2,727

Having taken deer with both calibers. I would buy one of each. But forget about the 750. Its a clunker of a rifle. Go with a solid bolt action. You'll get better accuracy, as well as lighter weight all around. Coupled with easier cleaning afterward.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:09 PM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Huntin' In Colorado
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Originally Posted by warbirdlover View Post
I've killed deer with both. Surprisingly the .243 dropped them quicker.
I'm sorry but that just cracks me up!!! LMFAO!!

For deer and varmints, the .243.

For deer and larger, the .308.

Both are great for southern deer. If I were going to hunt mulies are some big old northerners, I'd go .308 for sure. Have you thought about a 30.06?

I would also consider a bolt gun but that is just my prefrence.

Finding quality hunting property to hunt will be a much bigger factor in your success than the caliber you choose.

Good luck hunting and welcome to the forum!!!!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:57 PM
Giant Nontypical
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,130

I recommended the .243.

You did say your first, right.

Shoots varmints/predators, deer size game & can hold it's own from the bench - all with very managable recoil.

Learn to shoot it well, then you can shoot just about anything !
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:56 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,425

Dropping a deer in it's tracks is a product of bullet placement and bullet construction...Any modern centerfire rifle is capable of doing this...My niece does
it quite well with a 22-250 and 60gr Nosler partitions...I do it whenever needed with
my .243 and 100gr CoreLokts...I've done it with my brother's .270 and 130gr Sierra GameKings...

Nothing to do with the diameter of the bullet being put into the deer...

As far as those big tough deer that a .243 won't handle...How in the heck do you guys eat those things??? Parboil them???

One of my brothers takes a trip to Canada every other year, his guide uses a .243...

I've killed 6 black bears with my .243, the largest weighed over 350...Are your big deer tougher than bears???
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Old 11-04-2011, 04:44 AM
Fork Horn
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Farmville, NC
Posts: 109
Default Rifle

I shoot a .243, .308 and a 30.06 and I prefer the .308
It has not much more recoil than the .243 and more knock down power. My 30.06 has killed a lot of deer but has significantly more recoil.
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Old 11-04-2011, 05:04 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Lindley NY
Posts: 74

For those saying a .243 isn't enough for bigger game I beg to differ, I have seen first hand a 6mm (.243) take down a 300lbs. mule deer in 1 shot dropped in its tracks at 550yards. They guy (cousin in law) shot it right through the neck and there was no tracking so don't be scared of using a .243 on larger game just make a well placed shot and it will go down. This was also with a run of the mill marlin with Rem corelok factory ammo.

I always get a kick out of some people that have never used a .243 on a deer or vise versa for a .308 but can say one is better than another.

On the other hand I bought a .270 Win which is the best of both worlds...
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Old 11-04-2011, 09:23 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Southern TN
Posts: 1,018

Of the two, I'd recommend the .308. Recoils may be a bit more, but is manageable. A better caliber in my opinion, though, is the 7mm-08. Fantastic little round there. Recoil is much like the .243 and has greater game-getting performance than the .243. Hard to beat a 7-08 for deer. I mean hard to beat.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:02 PM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,174

If this is to be your first hunting rifle, why not get a .30-06 and get it over with? This rifle is good for coyotes, pronghorn, deer, sheep, goats, elk, moose, black bear, and probably grizzly bear and brown bear too. Even if you later want to get specialized rifles -- a .25-06 for pronghorn antelope, a .338 winchester magnum for elk or big bears -- the .30-06 can continue to have a role in your hunts as a back-up rifle. Thus, when you go on your pronghorn hunt, you take your .243 as your go-to rifle, but carry your .30-06 along as a back-up in case you drop your .243 on the concrete when unloading your truck at the hotel. Same deal with going on an elk hunt using a .338 winchester magnum as the go-to rifle. The .30-06 will also be a rifle that you can lend to anyone who ever may be inclined to join you on a hunt -- friend, wife, child -- that otherwise may not have a suitable rifle to use. You can always lend them your .30-06 and they will be well provided. That is my thought.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 47

Originally Posted by gator59 View Post
If your rifle of choice comes in 7mm-08? do your research and you will find that the 7-08 is the perfect blend of the 243 and 308.

I personally love the 308 it is an amazing deer caliber. But the 7-08 is an even better alternative NOWadays.

X2. My 12 year old shoots a 7mm08 and loves it. The ballistics are very similar to the 308
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Alabama
Posts: 23
Default Size doesnt matter

I shoot a 7mm mag. It punches through every time and makes a crater in the ground. The deer always run and bleed out. The shock rarely kills them. I did however switch to a different, lighter, better mushrooming round and started to get consistent shock kills. The lesson is, more than caliber, the bullet is what makes the difference. The idea is to put as much energy into the deer at once. A punch through doesnt accomplish this as well. A punch through does damage less meat if you hit edible muscles. So there are pros and cons either way. If you own land that you will be riding around on frequently, a lighter round is more versatile. You can shoot varmits and coyotes in the off season. It would be much better a gun to have beside you all the time. You could carry a high grain mushrooming round for deer and a lighter grain round for varmits. You would be very versatile. If you plan on buying a lot of guns get one of each but like I said you are gonna want something you can carry around constantly. -Jeff
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