Is the 243 the best whitetail deer cartridge?

Starlite

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My friend killed his first deer with a .22 long rifle when he was 7. He never hunted deer or elk with anything bigger than a .243. But, he can shoot. I read once that the Eskimos hunt mostly with a .223. The big gun they bring out when hunting polar bear, is a .243. I know that we Americans have magnumitis. Partly because we can, and partly because we want to. I know the rifle I shoot best offhand is my 7mm TCU. It is a joy to shoot, even in a 5 lb. carbine.

As someone else pointed out, bullets today are so much better than 30 years ago. But, picking the right bullet is important. I shot a javelina with a 10" Contender in 7mm TCU with a rifle bullet, and it went right through and the javelina kept going until I put one through the shoulder. Once I switched to a Speer varmit bullet with a huge hollowpoint, they dropped in their tracks. I believe there is a sweet spot between recoil, b.c., and sectional density. For me, it is a 168 gr. 7mm going around 2850 fps. To each his own.

For knocking over deer, I've never shot a centerfire that drops them like a .45 caliber 340 gr. muzzleloader bullet.
There are several calibres around the north. Inuit near the tundra have to deal with grizzlies which are more aggressive then most polar bears. Some guides carry magnum cartridges for them but hunt with .223/.243. More north you’ll see mostly rim fires and old British rifles of the .303 caliber or older.308. If their in the Canadian rangers ( not necessarily indigenous ) their carrying the new “tikka” arctic 308 (assembled by colt Canada I believe) it’s laminated wood has Canadian red plys. The civilian model is an orangish colour. I think the sights are a bit different too.
 

Sako28

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This might be the dumbest thread I've ever looked at. As a collective unit we should all be embarrassed. Is the 243 the best deer round ever? Ya, sure it is. Have another tug off the bottle.
 

mark slavinski

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i like two holes in a deer, much easier to track with no snow. My vote goes to .338 federal in the woods and 7mm mag for the fields. With that said, it’s really hard to beat the old 30-06!
 

philipbrousseau

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After 55 years hunting in a state with liberal limits on deer and a 4 and one half month deer season, hunting with people, tracking working with track dogs. I have seen more deer lost to the 243 than any other center fire cartridge . My personal observation.
 

Steves1911

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243 is a good cartridge no doubt but I would want a little more when the buck of a lifetime is 400yds away quartering away. Ive only started using the 257wby this year with 101grlrx @3650fps. Mild recoil, flat trajectory, lightning fast kills. My 13yr old is now advocating for his own after taking a whitetail doe @238yds. She dropped on the spot and all my boy could say is " my 30-30 never did that"
 

RevJim

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I feel its a great cartridge for kids/women who shoot deer up close OR an Expert Rifleman who "finesses" the shot, ha. I too bought a tikka T3 Lite SS in .243 a few months ago ( my first Tikka) it is astoundingly accurate! I use the 243 as a combination Coyote round Primarily with deer/antelope a "maybe". I normally use a bigger round though for deer.
 

Northkill

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I think the 243 with the modern monos - 100 Cayuga, 100 Badlands BD-2, or 101 Hammer would do excellent on deer-sized game and give you more shot angle opportunities. If you have enough twist to run them, which many factory rifle barrels do not.
 

JMW67

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I think the 243 with the modern monos - 100 Cayuga, 100 Badlands BD-2, or 101 Hammer would do excellent on deer-sized game and give you more shot angle opportunities. If you have enough twist to run them, which many factory rifle barrels do not.
You should see what it will do with the 69 grain absolute hammer at 3800 fps it is wicked on deer and hogs
 

Northkill

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I have no doubts ;) Can say the same for the little 52 HH in my 223 running @ 3,400.
 

Mayhem 487

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The 243 is definitely a well rounded cartridge. My family has been shooting 243’s for generations. My grandfather dropped bull elk with is Winchester 88 in 243. I my self have taken hogs and whitetail with no issues, however, in 2001 I was in west Texas hunting whitetail with that same Winchester 88 my grandfather passed down. I’m not kidding when I say the biggest whitetail I’ve ever had in my crosshairs walked out at abou 70 yards. I know I had buck fever from hell, I can still remember the lever rattling as I gripped the rifle. I put the crosshairs on the white patch below the chin and squeezed. 💥
I sat there in disbelief as I watched this huge deer stand still, blood streaming from his neck, right where I was aiming. He shook his head like he was brushing off flies, then turned around and trotted off. I tracked the blood trail across 2 separate properties, nothing. Came back the following morning with tracking dogs, still nothing. Since that trip, it has been 308 or my handy 6.5-284.
Don’t get me wrong. I still believe the 243 is a great all around cartridge. It’s just not for me. On the other hand my dad won’t shoot anything but his 243 and takes everything without a hitch. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 
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