I load mine with a 105 A-max and Superformance. Had a chance last month to test the load on a small buck at 297yds. The amax past thru both shoulders and lights for him. Going to try again this weekend and push it out to 400 yds or so. Hard part is getting a deer to sacrifice for the cause at the desired range. This is my second season with the 243 and it's a fun little round to play with. Kill 2 last year with the 95 gr SST and it's a nasty little bullet too!
BILL- you do not say where you are. deer are not really equal . the whitetails here are small. avg 75 , the buck in sasketchewan cost $7,500 to hunt and are 300#. i have killed over 250 coyotes many with the .243. it is accurate and deadly in the right hands with the right loads. guided two guy who took elk with it. it was less than satisfactory in their hands for elk.
Depending on the size of the deer would dictate the range I would feel comfortable shooting with the .243. I live and hunt in north western Oklahoma for Whitetail and it not unheard of to have shots at Bucks that range from 200 lbs - 250+ lbs on the hoof during the rut, which is usually during our rifle season. That being said, I would be leery of a 400 - 500 yard shot on a deer in this weight class. I use to shoot the 243 when I was a bit younger and killed a many of deer weighing 150 - 180 lbs on the hoof out to 350 - 400 yards. Had to track them a little ways but the 243 did the job. The 243 did do the job on the heavier bucks but they were under 200 yards also. Hope this helps you out. Good luck on what ever direction you decide to go, I am sure you will be happy either way.
I use an 87gn berger VLD, my cut off is 650. This year a complete pass trough the meat on the front shoulder than both lungs leaving a 50ct piece size exit at 550yds.
Shattered the spine on another at 400. This one was butt twards me, facing away, head up a steep slope. I hit him a little lower than I wanted to. strait on in the spine just in front of the hind quarters. It took very little trimming. Had I shot him with my 7RM I'd have lost half the HQ's and back straps.
through the skull at 320
These are all antelope, haven't shot a dear with it this year. I would probably bring in the yardage a little for muleys.
Antelope and deer are small so I don't like giving up any meat
If you go by the recomended energy 1000ftlbs my load runs out at 400yds.
Hope my limited experience with the round helps. No it's not just a women's or kid's gun.