Re: Where does the .243 win fit in?
If an animal is shot and the bullet leaves that little bitty hole going out, the problem isn't the gun or caliber, it is the design of the bullet. That bullet likely went between 2 ribs going in, hit nothing solid inside and didn't hit a rib going out. And it wasn't designed to expand on soft tissue.
The 243 bullets would typically be designed to open sooner, and with less frontal restriction, than a "heavier" caliber. So, if the 243 didn't open up, then a heavier caliber wouldn't either.
That is the reason they don't allow FMJ bullets for hunting. They won't expand and leave itty bitty holes going in and out.
My hunting rifles of the past 40 years have been either the 30-06 or the 243. I never felt inadequate, or over-gunned with either one hunting deer or antelope. Usually took the 30-06 for elk.
BUT the bullet of choice in either was ALWAYS the Nosler Partition because it would open up on a soft hit but could be counted on the hold together on a hard, bone, hit.
I have never had a bullet from the 243 fail to exit, EVER. We took 33 deer and antelope in 3 days hunting one year. Most were shot with the 243 and all bullets exited. If a bullet expands and exits, then it did its job. Any other failure is the responsiblity of the shooter. If it didn't expand, then it is still the responsiblity of the shooter to have not selected a proper bullet and of not hitting in an area that would expand the bullet.
The difference between a 243 and a 7mm is 1MM diameter. Expanded to 2X its size is still only 2MM difference. If it exits, then it did all of the damage it could.
One of the hunters in the Black Hills of SD shot at a cow elk, standing broadside, at about 150 yards. Shot her 5 TIMES and she just stood there. She finally took two steps forward and collapsed. He had hit her right behind the shoulder and you could have covered all 5 shots with your hand. He shot her with a 7mm Mag.
Shot placement and bullet selection. If the bullet hits, expands, and exits, then, pray tell, what difference can 1MM of diameter mean?
Usually, the 243 can be shot more accurately, which gives some advantage there to the 243 over the magnums.
So, where does the 243 fit in? Anywhere up to elk, and marginaly for elk given prudent limitations.