Hello, this is my first post on here and I was hoping that some of you could give me some information on long range hunting using a 243 Winchester cartridge.
I am using a Remington 700 VLS with a Nikon Monarch 6-24x50 scope. I have worked up a load using a 105gr Hornady A-Max over 43.5gr RL-22 using WLR primers, sitting .020" off of the lands per Hornady Comparator. The cases were weighed dropping the 10% heaviest and 10% lightest cases. All cases were trimmed, deburred, and primer pockets reemed for uniformity. The powder was individually weighed with a RCBS Chargemaster. Once the bullets were seated the rounds were trued using a Hornady Lock-N-Load Ammunition Concentricity Gage to less than 0.002 run out.
The shots averaged 2899 fps over a Shooting Chrony with an extreme deviation of 18.72fps.
Here are some pictures of the grouping. The first one is at 100 yards. It measured .16" for three rounds. After the shot group I adjusted the scope right 8 clicks (1/8" scope) and hit just to the right in the red. I then went back left 1 click and up 11 clicks to get 1.4" high to zero at 200yards. The bullet went right where it was supposed to go. Please ignore the .45 holes that my father punched in the target as I was driving the 4-wheeler back to the target before I could ask him not to put any more holes in it...
The next group was at 350 yards. The wind was starting to pick up at about 5 mph from right to left nearly 90 degrees as a storm was rolling in. I shot twice and then it started to get gusty and a light rain started falling. The third shot was affected by this I think, it was at the very edge of the paper but in line height wise. The picture is rotated 90 degree's left.
Here are my questions though. Number one, when the information was loaded into JBMBallistics it indicated a 12.8" drop when the actual drop looks to be closer to 11.8 as the rounds were uniformly about 1" high at 350 yards (scope adjusted for range based off of calculator). When I change the fps in the calculator to 3000 fps from 2900 fps it falls into place. Due to the rain I did not have the opportunity to go out further to check drop at longer ranges. Should I just plug 3000 fps into the calculator to get the numbers to fall in place?
The other question is, at what distance will a 105gr bullet be marginal against a whitetail deer? What energy number do I need to be at to have a safe reliable kill? I do not want to attempt a marginal shot when the energy is not there just because I can hit the target.
I know that the rifle/load combination is capable, it will surely outshoot my abilities. At this point I see no good reason to keep messing with loads, the accuracy is certainly there. This factory rifle with these loads simply drives tacks... It is most certainly a 1/2 MOA combination if not a 1/4 MOA.
Any advice or help is appreciated, I am thoroughly enjoying this site. I just picked up some Berger 168gr Classic Hunter bullets to start loading for my Remington 700 SPS stainless in 7mm Rem Mag this evening and am looking forward to working it up. If I can get it to shoot anywhere near to what the 700 VLS will shoot then I will be very, very happy.
Thanks for your help.