Couple of questions on long range with 243 Winchester

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by joeycoates, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. joeycoates

    joeycoates Well-Known Member

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    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.
     

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  2. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    which whitetail? whitetail vary. the ones here are 60-80 pounds ; the one in sask/alberta are 350 and cost 5k to hunt.
     

  3. joeycoates

    joeycoates Well-Known Member

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    This would be in East Texas, so they are really not very large... A good size buck will not be over 150lbs at the outside. You may get a monster at around 175 every now and then, but not very often at all. A very mature doe may hit 110 on a good day. They just are not huge around here...
     
  4. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    John Burns has videos of a 1017 yard coyote and a 688 yard elk, with a .243. it is an accurate and deadly round. my experience is much closer ranges with the 95 partition. i have killed an elk with it.
     
  5. joeycoates

    joeycoates Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and the longest distance that I would really be shooting is about 660 yards in one of our hay fields. Calculates to about 800 ft/lbs of energy at that distance, just do not know if that amount of energy is good for 150lbs whitetail.
     
  6. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    Joey- i don't have any experience with the amax bullets. if you go to those youtube vids. the .243 really drops them. sorry can't give you a link. you have your loads for your vls dialed in . you should do awesome.
     
  7. dogbuster0006

    dogbuster0006 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't have a hesitation shooting to that distance with the combo you are using. I still do most of my deer and coyote hunting with a 243, I've take deer out to 400yd with a 95gr hornady sst, and a couple with a 100gr interlock without any issue. It was strange to me the deer dropped at 400 with the "Girly" 243 my buddies always gave me a hard time for. The bullet entered just behind the shoulder juiced the left lung, and cut a golf ball sized hole in the right. Hit a rib and exited leaving about a quarter size wound. Most of the deer I've killed have been from 25-400yd with similar results on all of them, my deer have been 140lb class doe in KY. I killed a heavy bodied buck that field dressed was 190lb bullet stopped just under the skin on the far side and he ran about two steps. Your combo is more than capable and from your shot grouping you've got a winner. Watch the wind calls and you'll be fine brother.
     
  8. sscoyote

    sscoyote Well-Known Member

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    Certainly the 243 with your load should be fine to those distances--assuming you test your dope to that range--don't rely on the ballistics programs calcs. for your data. Mine matches most of the time pretty well to those ranges, but often enough I have to make changes to either the BC of the bullet or MV to get the best true trajectory fit. You've really done your homework well so far--don't drop the ball with this last test.
     
  9. duckaholic

    duckaholic Well-Known Member

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    Always heard it was 500ft lbs or more
     
  10. IDSUMI

    IDSUMI New Member

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    So I am shooting a pretty similar set up as yours. but I am using a berger 105. with 43g of h4831, wlr, lapua brass. It is also an amazing shooter as it sounds like yours is. When I first built the gun I shot 2 times a week for an entire summer. I had no doubt in the accuracy of the rifle. I was ringing 10 inch plates at 1000 yards the first day taking it to distance. anyways over a crono, and the ballistic program and matching them to what im actually shooting, the gun is pushing about 2825. So real close to what you have going. What had me nervous was the talk my buddies gave me with that caliber of 243 win. So numbers speaking the first year hunting with it for mule deer in the high country of Idaho (not small bodied by any means) I set my cut off at 650 yards. That year I shot a buck scoring 172, with pry a low 200lb body at 480 yards. I felt this was a longer shot for the 243 so did not go with the shoulder shot. I went in the crease at the back of the shoulder for penetration. needless to say the buck ran 50 yards and was done. I was amazed how well the bullet performed, (amax should be close). So this year I still had my limit at 650. I killed a old mature mulie with a huge body. Pry over 250lb.I put one in the crease, the buck jumped, stood there, looked around just long enough for me to put another one in the shoulder. And it was a done deal! It crumpled him. It was a 650 yard shot. and skinning the buck I was still amazed at how well both penetrated and caused damage through bone and the vitals. So with my particular setup, what I have seen, and the numbers I have, I will shoot a mule deer to 750yards with this gun. It is very accurate past that, and capable of killing, but feel for myself that's my limit. I did shoot a coyote with it at 780 yards. But that is a much smaller critter obviously. This is very similar to what you should experience with your setup and that amax. However it takes practice!!! I would not have taken any of these shots had I not practiced so much and truthed every distance from 100 yards to 1150 on my chart! As far as your concern with the wind and rain, these are real life conditions, cant always have first light hero conditions while out hunting, I take notes every time I shoot, especially in rain or wind, so when faced with these shots, you have something to look back on, and know how it really effected your shooting. Which is why more practice is good again.
     
  11. Wachsmann

    Wachsmann Well-Known Member

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    So I'm curious, what twist rate on the barrels do each one of your guns have? My wife has a 243 and I'm going to start working up some loads this year instead of having her shooting the over the counter stuff.
     
  12. CWPINST

    CWPINST Member

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    You probably know this but good groups at 100 yards do not always translate into good groups at 4-500 yards and beyond. I have a couple of rifles that shoot many loads near half MOA at 100 but only a few loads that will do the deed at long distance.
     
  13. IDSUMI

    IDSUMI New Member

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    I have a kreiger 26 inch, contour 5, 1 in 8. I have also let my girlfriend use this gun to shoot a decent sized mulie. it was 90 yards and bullet did pretty good. She loves shooting this gun, it is a tad heavy so after carrying for a bit its not that great. She has always shot a 270, and after letting her shoot this 243 she was like WOW what have I been doing haha why didn't you let me shoot this sooner! So im sure it will be good enjoyable gun for your wife as well. Guess that means her 270 will the next project!