Which Caliber to use this Weekend?

scsims

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I can't decide on which gun I should use for the gun opener here in KY this weekend.

.308 with 175gr SMKs
or
.243 with 95gr Berger Hunting VLDs

Shots will be from 25 to 350 yards.
 

SBruce

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The 243 with a 95 Berger is plenty bullet for any deer in America out to 350 yds (even further) providing you're only taking mostly or fully broadside shots. I wouldnt try a "Texas Heart Shot" or sharply quartering away at 350 with one however.

Your answer really depends on how you hunt and what you want to use. Which gun are you most confident with? Which one do you have the most trigger time with? Which one do you have the most ammo for? Which one do you enjoy shooting the most?

If there's LR running shot possibilities, or if you don't usually have or take the time to wait for standing broadside shots, or if you're likely to only get a brief glimpse of the deer before the shot and can't afford to be picky about body position of the deer, I'd say use the 308. If you sit and wait overlooking openings or fields or can realistically expect broadside shots, then the 243 is plenty and then some.

Good Luck on the hunt.
 

scsims

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I'm going to say it's a wash with which one I've had more time with or like better. I do feel more comfortable with a 308 for deer over the 243.

I guess I'm just a little hesitant to use the SMK.
 

SBruce

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Cant comment on the effectiveness of the 308/175 SMK. Unfortunately I've got no experience with that bullet.

I did however see a friend of mine make a LR shot with a 300 grn 338 version on an antelope and the lope never knew what hit him. Fell over dead instantly. Sharply quartering toward body position but bedded. Bullet went in in front of the shoulder and didn't come out. Thinking it was around 700 yds, but don't remember for sure.

Maybe someone else that's got experience with the 308/SMK on game can give some insight.?
 

436

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I'm kinda in the .243 Win corner on this one.. If I had the time I think I'd run a Berger 87gr VLD in it. I have a friend that shot a nice buck this year using this combo, it was devastating good. In fact I'm witching my 6XC deer rifle to the Berger 87gr VLD's

Obviously were talking about something the .308 Win would have no problem doing as well.

Good luck on your hunt.
436
 

scsims

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Weekend is over and the 175 SMKs worked just fine. My son made a less than perfect shot on this buck. 50 yard shot in the gut. Didn't matter though the SMK made soup of his inards and exited with a golf ball size hole.

 

scsims

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Got try out the 95gr bergers out my 243 this morning. The fox was DRT but the buck took a 80 yard shot just behind the shoulder slightly high. He ran about 100 yards and piled up. It took a while to find him because of no blood trail. The bullet did not exit but destroyed his lungs.

 

SBruce

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I am kinda suprised that bullet didn't exit. My son's 243 has been shooting 85 grn Barnes on big muleys and some whitetail for quite a few years now, they almost always pass completely through on a broadside lung/heart shot.

Curious, did it hit the shoulder bone on either side?

What did the bullet look like on recovery, was it well mushroomed but still all in one piece, or had it fragmented and blown apart inside the carcass?

Do you know the muzzle velocity of the round?

Nice Buck and beautiful Fox!
 

scsims

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The 95 grain berger didn't hit anything on the way in. It went between two ribs and stopped on the skin on the off side shoulder. Lungs were destroyed and I could find anything but fragments.

We've taken maybe 10 deer with the 243 using mostly the 85 gr Sierra HPBT. It does kill them, but I always feel a little under gunned when using it.

It leaves me a blood trail about half the time.

I think I'm going back to the larger calibers for big game.
 

SBruce

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At only 80 yds, I would guess that bullet was still going pretty darn fast. Which would probably explain you finding nothin but fragments. Would also maybe explain why I see more pass throughs (generally, our close shots are twice that far). IME, alot of bullets can be going "too fast" to do what they're supposed to do. They've gotta expand, but they've also gotta stay together in order to penetrate and give an exit wound that will bleed.

A bigger bullet surely does give us more room to play with though. Cant argue with that logic.
 

SBruce

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IMO, 3000'/sec shouldn't have been too fast. I was thinking more along the lines of 3200 possibly being too fast.

I'd be curious what Bergers reply would be to the bullet coming apart at that speed. Seems it should've held together better than that.?

EDIT:

Seems after reading this thread http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/berger-no-expansion-99727/
It appears alot of people have witnessed fragmenting. Sounds like they're more prone to fragment than I've seen and come to expect. Probably even designed to do that by the sounds of it.

Just passin on some info.
 
Last edited:

sendero72

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I think the 243 is a fun round and easy to load for. You may want to try the 105 Amax if you have the correct twist rate. It as worked well for me out to 300yds with complete pass thru's.
 
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