243 AI Custom LRH Rig Thoughts

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Jeff W., Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Jeff W.

    Jeff W. Active Member

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    I've been shooting and hunting for a very long time. I shoot competitive (NBRSA) 100/200/300 benchrest with a 6PPC. My longest hunting shot to date was on a nice mule deer at 325 yards with a 30x338. In the past, when I've been faced with a long shot (300+) I've simply made an educated guess were to hold.

    I want to get serious about building a custom LRH rig and learning the techniques needed to become proficient hunting at longer distances. I've set 600 yards as my maximum limit. In AZ, I would really need to work at getting a shot in excess of 600. Accordingly, I'm thinking of going with a 243 AI with the following goodies.
    • Berger 6mm 105 Grain Match Target VLD
    • Lapua Brass
    • Accurized M700 Action
    • Krieger Fluted Barrel
    • McMillan A-3 Stock
    • Jewel Trigger
    • Nightforce 3.5-15 x 56 NXS Mil-Rad Zerostop
    Some may think I'm undergunned for elk with the 243 AI; however, I've believe that a well placed 105 pill will anchor an elk very adequately out to 600 yards. Let me know what you think and your opinions.

    Thanks.
     
  2. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    I think 600 yards is pushing it for elk at 600 yds. It's been said that you need a minimum of 1000 foot pounds of energy for elk and that is just about what you would have at that range. Don't be TOO surprised if this doesn't raise a few eyebrows:D:D.Rich
     

  3. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

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    For shots under 600 yds, I would think that your 6mm PPC would do the trick. No need to move up to a 243 AI unless you planned on shooting out to 1000 yds.

    As for elk, I would only use a 243 on cow elk at 300 yds or less. A 243 AI might do for Bull elk at short distances, but it is always less than ideal to do so. In most hunting situations, the circumstances are usually less than ideal. That is why hunters choose the larger calibers for elk - more margin for error. When a trophy bull finally shows himself to you on the tenth hard day of your hunt and presents you with a quartering-towards-you shot at 823 yds for just a few seconds - do you want to try to smash through that front shoulder at 800 yds with a 105 gr. bullet or a 210 grain bullet?

    Different tools for different jobs. Choose a 243 for deer, antelope, sheep and cow elk. For most situations with elk, especially bull elk, choose a fast heavy bullet in 7mm or higher.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2010
  4. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    243 sure why not. The sweeds have been using the 6mm on moose for a long time. I would pick a diffrent bullet though and keep my shots inside 300 yds with the 243. I would also wait until its broadside.

    Dont get me wrong here Im sure it can be done and has been done many times just not by me and I would not risk my time, money or tag trying it any further than 300 yards.

    Build something with more BANG!!!!!
     
  5. Fitch

    Fitch Well-Known Member

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    OK, I've got to say it. IMO: The .243AI is a poor choice for a 600 yard big game hunting rig. Coyotes, and ground hogs it's just fine, kill them DRT, but not big game.

    If I was going to go to the trouble and expense build myself a rifle for 600 yard (max) Elk hunt, I'd build a .300 Win Mag a bit on the heavy side (10.5lb + scope) because it's the heaviest caliber rifle I can shoot well enough without a muzzle brake (I already have tinitus)..

    Just musing here, because it's so much fun, I'd probably go for the .300 Win-mag throated for the 190g Berger, Stiller Predator repeater action (or if doing it on a budget I'd true up a Remington 700 long action since I can do the machine work myself), Shilen #5 or #5-1/2 contour select match stainless barrel or better, 26" finished length, Jewell HVR trigger with safety, limbsaver or kickezz recoil pad, and a good quality hunting scope with enough elevation range that I didn't need a tilted base to get to 600 yards with travel left. I'd have the rifle finish at around 10.5 to 11 lbs + scope and sling.

    For other game like mule deer, antelope, whitetail (which taken together are really a completely different class of big game than elk), I'd build a .30-06Spr or a .338-06. .30-06Spr is a great cartridge for that sort of game - easy to load for, lots of bullets to choose from, reasonable recoil - no razzle dazzle, no hype, no magic required, just gets it done. I'd build essentially the same rifle as above but chambered in .30-06Spr or .338-06 with a lighter 24" barrel to come in at 9lbs including scope. I'd make sure it would chamber 150 to 180 g bullets well.

    That's my opinion. Yours may vary.

    Fitch
     
  6. fireroad

    fireroad Well-Known Member

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    I say if you want to take an elk with 6mm bullet go for it....but with a slightly different setup. You are going to need a different bullet as the match berger's are a target bullet, not a hunting one, and would perform very poorly on elk (or any game species for that matter). If you are set on a Berger you'll have to go with their hunting grade bullet. If you are willing to try a something different a 95 or 100 gr Nosler Partion would be a much better choice.

    As for the case, I would pass on the 243 AI and go with a 6mm Rem instead. Nothing against the 243 AI* but you can get at least the same, probably better, performance out of the 6mm rem without the pain of fire forming cases, paying double for special dies, limited reloading data, etc. that's involved with the 243 AI. The only benefit to the AI would be if you were trying to squeak a little more out of an existing 243 rifle...but you are building from scratch so it's a non-issue.

    *243 AI was one of the last of PO Ackley's "improved" cartridges. He held off developing it despite numerous requests because he felt that the 243 was already a very efficient cartridge with little room for improvement.
     
  7. Kiwi Nate

    Kiwi Nate Well-Known Member

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    Its fairly simple really. A fully expanded 6mm projectile will bore a .75" wound channel through the lungs of your intended game while a 180 to 200 grain 7mm/30 cal VLD will create a widely diffused wound through vitals, up to 3" in diameter. The speed of killing with the 6mm at 600 yards can be measured in minutes, the 7mm ansd .30 caliber, in seconds.

    Empathy for your quarry must be paramount and in this regard, you have to ask, if you were the Elk, how would you want to die- minutes or seconds.

    As for well placed shots. As you know, Its hard to talk absolutes with long range shooting when the wind is at play. Sometimes I find myself thinking, OK, this wind is hard to read so I am going to dial it but I am also going to aim for the liver and allow some drift to the forwards vitals. If the shot does infact fall too far back, I always have enough gun to get the job done cleany and quickly.

    Regarding the Swedish Mauser, the caliber is 6.5mm, not 6mm. The Swedes use 140 to 156 grain bullets and it was mostly used by farmers on a limited budget. Moose usually run atleast 300 meters after being hit with this combo. During the early 1980's, those who could afford it moved into the .30-06 as the number one choice, followed by the .308 and .358 Norma Magnums. It is also rare for Moose to be taken beyond ranges of 200 yards in Sweden. Some gun writers have pushed the 6.5 versus Moose buzz out of context.

    If light recoil is your game, perhaps have a look at either the .284 Winchester on a heavy platform or the .280/ .280 AI.

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. Fitch

    Fitch Well-Known Member

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    Kiwi Nate,

    Well said.

    Fitch
     
  9. hammertyme

    hammertyme Well-Known Member

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    When I was a young man there was virtually no competition when I was out deer and elk hunting. I could make my stalk to within any range I wanted. Wait for the right presentation and drop the unmolested animal on the spot using my 6mm Remington, 270 Winchester of 7 X08. Then one year the herd got spooked and ran past me at 50 yards. I hit a cow hard enough to leave bone chips on the ground using my 270 and 130 grain Remingtons. One mile later I tagged that very sick cow!

    300 Magnum with 180 grain partition from then on until I grew up into the 338/375 arena. Bigger removed all doubt regarding target presentation. These days one may see one legal animal and like already stated, if the shot presentation is but a moment I would hate to be in your shoes when you did not have the tool to get the job done./

    Neal
     
  10. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

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    I am a huge 243Ai fan. I do not think there is much better for small thin skinned game like deer and antelope. Under the right conditions I would not hesitate to take a whitetail to 1000 yards with my 243AI running 115 D-tacs. But, for an elk I would want a little more ummph. If your wanting to stick with a short action without the hassels of changing your bolt face maybe you could look at a .284 Win. I do agree that placement trumps bullet performance, but stuff does happen.
     
  11. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    This is why in my first post on the subject I mentioned "this might raise a few eyebrows". Even though its "capable" of killing at 600 yards, there is a difference in that and practical and ethical. I think most would agree that the 6mm is light for elk in most circumstances........Rich
     
  12. Jeff W.

    Jeff W. Active Member

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    Kiwi Nate:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I certainly won't argue that elk are at the upper limits of a 243 AI. When it comes to the 243 AI, I like the notion of being very precise and surgical with my shots.

    At age 54, I have watched the evolution in big game rifles over the years. It seems that many hunters have convinced themselves that the larger caliber rifles are more effective killing tools. Some even suggest that a shot with a 338 win mag that hits somewhere other than the boiler room will still drop an elk nearly DRT. I don't concur with that thinking. A miss-placed shot is a miss-placed shot; or in other words, a gut shot elk is a gut shot elk regardless of caliber. Back when I was a young man here in AZ, most elk were taken with the 30-06 or 270. Niether of these rifles are considered to be "big medicine" today; however, they killed plenty of big game then and still do now.

    Again, I agree that a 243 AI is a light elk rifle. I also appreciate your recommendation on a 284. In fact, I have also been considering a 6x284 along with the 243 AI.

    Take care.
     
  13. Jeff W.

    Jeff W. Active Member

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    Fitch:

    Thanks for the feed back. It is funny the perspective we hunters take on such subjects. Most predator hunters think a 243 AI is too much gun for coyotes and such. To each his own.

    Regarding your suggestion on the 300 win mag, I already have a 30x338 my father had custom built on a pre64 M70 in 1951. He had the gun built before the 300 win mag was introduced. the 30x338 gives you a little more neck to work with and slightly out performs the 300 - otherwise they are very similar.

    It has already taken several elk with 165 grain Nosler BT's. It is a tremendous rifle and will take anything I could hunt in North America. It is getting old and I was thinking about replacing it in a custom rig. While I was contemplating such a build, I got on my 243 AI jag.

    As you say, it is a blast to muse on such things.

    Take care.
     
  14. elkaholic

    elkaholic Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jeff.....have you considered a 6.5 rather than a 6mm? If you like the idea of going light but still have some thump, it is hard to beat a good 6.5. The .260 rem would be a good choice if you want to stay with the short action or you could step up to the 6.5-284 or even a 6.5WSM. Bullet choice is far superior to the 6mm. I have personally killed a lot of big game animals with a 6.5 including 25 or so bull elk out to 600 yds. with no problems. In fact, I am still shooting a 6.5 Sherman with great results! I'm not trying to talk you in to what I like but just throwing out some thoughts. Whatever you decide on, have a ball! It's all great fun isn't it........Rich:D