243. win for whitetail and mule!

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by matt_3479, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. matt_3479

    matt_3479 Well-Known Member

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    i own a remington model 700 SPS varmint topped off with a vortex viper 6.5-20x44mm and right now its shooting just smaller then 1/2" groups at 100 yards and have made shots successfully out too 589 yards. I will be going down to Montana this year and will be hunting Elk and Deer either whitetail or mule, which ever one is bigger and steps out in front of me :).

    I will be taking my 300. wsm for the elk but wouldn't mind taking the 243. win for the deer! i love this little cartridge and WOW can my rifle shoot!! My neighbor took a 320 lbs 170" mule deer at 387 yards a few years back and another 240 lbs 170 3/8" buck at 110 yards and both deer never went further then 25 yards. I know it can take them im just unsure on which bullet to use.

    right now my rifle is shooting 7/16" groups at 100 yards with the Federal Premium 80 grain soft points at 3300fps and would like to stick with it but im unsure if the bullet is big enough. Like obviously with a well placed shot the bullet will do its job but which bullet would you suggest?
     
  2. CogburnR

    CogburnR Well-Known Member

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    I'd use a Sierra 85gHPBT. The Nosler partition is good also.
     
  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Well-Known Member

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    My 2 cents would be to leave the both tasks to the 300. The 243 will do the job but. . .

    It's like the elk shooter who lost a few animals with a 7mm Mag and lost none when after switching to a 338 cartridge.

    Just my thoughts.....
     
  4. ntg

    ntg Well-Known Member

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    I'm w/ Roy. I'd take something that will hit harder. In a perfect world it would be a heart/lung shot under 100yds...and a 243 will do just fine for that. I've seen/had lots of problems w/ a 243 (hunting friend's not mine) hitting a muley and not taking it down quick. They were not ideal shot placement, but I've seen more powerful cartridges fair better when shot placement wasn't ideal. I'd take a 243 if it was all I had, otherwise I'd take something bigger for muley. I can say a 243 is a great long range coyote round. Don't have any experience using it on anything else.
     
  5. CogburnR

    CogburnR Well-Known Member

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    I tend to agree with Roy and a 300, big game calibers start with 270's with the right bullets. Not to say the smaller calibers don't kill.

    I have shot a lot of deer with a 243, 270,various 30's and 35's and 45's and the bigger the bullet with good construction the shorter distance to the dead deer on average.

    I personally would not use a 243 on big game where the game can get out of sight easily. Great on antelope and plains deer but not on forested areas or places with a property boundary.

    Be prepared for a 300 yard or longer blood trail for a lung hit on a big muley when using a 243. Of course they could just tip over with the same shot. An 85g HPBT Sierra kills faster than about any other 243 bullet I have seen. I have used it to poke 50c piece holes in very large deer at 300 yards.

    The 270,30-06, 300mag, 45/70 or numerous others will make a hole bigger than your fist in the ribcage with the right bullet at the same distance. You will not poke a fist sized hole in a deer ribcage with a 243.
     
  6. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    The 243 is about the most common deer rifle around here, never had a problem killing deer with it or a 22-250 or 250-3000. It's all about the guy on the trigger!!! Bring it, you'll want a back up for the 300 anyway if something happens to it.
     
  7. Outlaw6.0

    Outlaw6.0 Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with bigngreen, VERY common in WY as well, no one ever told me the .243 was too small for the first half dozen years of hunting (only rifle I had). :D I shot every time I had the chance... several mulies were sent to the big alfalfa field in the sky with that 'lil pipsqueak.

    Take it along with your 300, its always nice to have a backup.
     
  8. Hobo

    Hobo Active Member

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    MATT 3479

    ..... I am delighted to hear all these positive comments regarding the .243 Winchester being used as a deer rifle,,,,,,, especially from so many western shooters/hunters.....

    I'm from Georgia where our deer are usually much smaller that their western cousins..... The .243 has been my favorite "go-to" deer rifle since the mid '60's.....

    My current favorite is a Remington 700 CDL with a factory stainless steel bbl that has been floated and the action pillow-block bedded.... I also added a Jewell trigger set at a crisp one-pound... Every season I usually catch a lot of grief and lip-service from fellow hunting club members about me and my little .243 being too little to deer hunt with.... I just ignore them and let the .243 speak for itself!!!

    Just this past season with this rifle I harvested five whitetails,,,, all one shot kills,,,, all over 100 yards with three being 300+ yards and one of those being 445 yards (Leica Rangefinder)..... And Oh Yes,,,,,,,, like several of the others have posted before me,,,, the Seirra 85 gr BTHP has always been my preferred bullet..... My loads chronograph right at 3200 fps.... The deer shot at 445 yds (lung shot) traveled maybe 100 feet leaving a well defined crimson trail originating from the golf-ball size exit hole......

    Yes,,,,, I concur that the bigger 7mm, 30+ calibers make bigger holes and most likely will more often result in shorter distances traveled after a lung or shoulder shot.....

    Granted an "off the shelf" .243 purchased by a beginning hunter wouldn't be my recommended set-up for hunting western deer and elk.....

    Confidence and familiarity with ones personal hunting rifles and hand-loaded ammunition goes a mighty long way in my book toward assuring a successful and enjoyable hunt.....

    Being just a little apprehensive about the lack of retained energy of the .243 Winchester beyond 300+ yards I have just ordered a new custom built long range deer rifle in the 6.5x47 Lapua..... Shooting a 140 gr Berger VLD these loads will still have over a thousand foot pounds of energy all the way out past 600 yards..... They are supposed to also be very accurate.... Like the .243 the 6.5x47 is based on a necked down and modified .308 cartridge.....


    Best of luck with your decision.... It appears that you are getting some mighty good advice based on personal experience....

    ------------<" ){{{{><
     
  9. matt_3479

    matt_3479 Well-Known Member

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    Well I think i will probably be taking the little 243. Win. I know it's a little on the light side, but the way that rifle shoots, it's hard to say I won't put her to use. Everything about it is factory and it's shooting less then 1/2". Its fast, flat and has some pretty good knock down power for a small little cartridge. My 300. WSM will be my elk rifle and if I come across a nice mulie, or whitetail then the 300 will let him have it. If I finish my elk hunt early and decide on going for deer, then the 243. Win might come in handy and I'll step up and try the 85 grain seirra all you guys are telling me about. Let's hope my rifle holds 1/2" with them too and the deer will have no chance within 300 yards
     
  10. Beached Whale

    Beached Whale Member

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    Howdy, care to let a new guy chime in?

    I hunted all last year with a 243 and shot a few deer with it. Southern Alberta deer are big, but I didn't find the 243 to be underpowered at all. I shoot the 105 grain Berger Hunting VLD, not because it was my first choise as a hunting bullet but because it is what my gun shoots best. I know people have wildy varying oppinions of Berger Bullets for hunting, but i found them to be just as lethal as anything else I have ever shot. I would recomend going with a hevier bullet than the 85 grain if you think you might possibly have a longer range shot at a big bodied mulie. Sure you will probably loose 250 FPS and on paper you will have less KE, but in real life you will most likely get far better penetration, especialy if you hit a sholder joint. Or, If you aren't fond of Bergers, jump up to the 107 grain Sierra BTHP.

    If you take your time and place your shot EXACTLY where you want it, you should have no trouble on a big buck. But, as others have said, bigger guns with bigger bullets and more energy are better if your shot is not spot on. It all really depends on the shooter, and the amount of confidence.
     
  11. Code4

    Code4 Well-Known Member

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    My son shot a number of feral camels with his .243W and 100 Sierra SptBt's two weeks ago. Nothing fancy, just neck and head shots off a bipod out to 250 yards.

    ... something about the right bullet in the right place ...

    This shows the exit hole.

    http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm217/Tophet1/Boulia032.jpg
     
  12. CRNA

    CRNA Well-Known Member

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    Holy crap!!! Never thought of going camel hunting!!!
     
  13. MHO

    MHO Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the earlier posts. Choose the 300. Mule deer are a lot tougher than most people give them credit for.
     
  14. Vermonter

    Vermonter Member

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    The .243 is a good powerful round for its size. I think you could get the muleies out at that distance.