View Full Version : Is the .243 Winchester adequate for my hunting situations?
November 8, 2007, 07:57 PM
The rifles main purpose is for deer hunting and I can't choose between the .243 Winchester or the .270 Winchester. I live in Canada Alberta so the deer up here can get pretty big, the range are usually from 100-300 yards. I do handload for the .243 but its not a problem for me to start handloading for a new cartridge. Is the .243 adequate or should I step up to the .270?
November 8, 2007, 08:22 PM
The .243 is exactly that - adequate. So, I'd step up to .270, to go from adequate to "extra insurance" - or more precisely, extra range.
November 8, 2007, 08:51 PM
Big Northern deer? Go with the .270. Heavier round that'll penetrate better when it hits bone.
November 8, 2007, 08:59 PM
As much of a fan I am of .243 Win, I have to agree with the other fellows. On big northern whitetails I'd go .270, or it's daddy, the .30-06 :).
November 8, 2007, 09:58 PM
7mm08, and .308 will do as well.
November 8, 2007, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the help. I have to order some 270 Winchester Redding dies now and components. What is a good bullet for deer? I would like to keep the bullet range in 130-140 grains. If the deer is within 100-150 yards I usually go for neck shots so if the bullet likes to explode at really close range that's not to much of a problem, I would like good expansion at the 300 yard mark. What is a good scope for the 270 Winchester? I would like the zoom to be from 4-14 or close to and, I also want a scope with good ER.
November 8, 2007, 11:27 PM
I'll offer a different opinion as long as you are using the proper bullet for the .243 it is more than an adequate round for deer. Hell an 85 grain bullet in a .243 is all that is required to hunt elk with in Colorado legally but I would call it a marginal caliber on elk. I like 95 grain bullets and heavier for all deer sized game with the .243. The reason for the 95 is that I can get Nosler Partitions in that weight but I've used plain PSP and CoreLokt bullets in 100 grain to bring down deer as well.
The .243 carries enough energy as well to kill deer at the ranges you are talking about shooting. At 300 yards the average 130 grain bullet out of a .270 will only have about 350 more pounds of energy over a 100 grain .243 bullet. Both are still over 1000 pounds of energy as well at that range so that is plenty to penetrate clear through a deer.
Granted I don't hunt big northern white tails but I do hunt big mule deer. I've shot a few that would probably tip the scales at 350+/- and for a lot of years all I had to hunt with was the .243 Win. Never once did I feel under gunned or that the cartridge was just adequate. I've never recovered a bullet as well with my longest shot on deer with the .243 being about 250 yards on deer.
I love the .270 and it is my favorite cartridge right now to hunt with. Any 130 grain bullet will do for deer there isn't any need to go heavier or lighter as this is probably the best bullet weight for the .270 period. I hunt elk as well with the .270 but this is where I prefer a premium bullet like the Partition in a 150 grain. I wouldn't be afraid to take moose or elk with this bullet and cartridge combo.
Don't get me wrong the .270 is a better all around rifle second only to the .30-06 hoofed animals from pronghorn to moose. But if you already have a rifle to cover the larger deer species (elk and moose), the .243 will be a more pleasant rifle to shoot for white tail and mule deer. With the lesser amount of felt and perceived recoil it will amaze you how much better you can shoot the .243.
Scope suggestions I'll probably stir up a whole new pot with this one. Since you want one with decent eye relief I'll suggest the Leupold VX lines of scopes. VX-I, VX-II, and VX-III will all have close to 4" of eye relief, but I don't know what kind of budget you are working on.
November 9, 2007, 12:41 AM
I have seen several big mulies harvested cleanly with a 243. I have also seen small blacktails maimed with a 300 WinMag. But even though a 243 will kill the big deer under the right conditions, I like a bit more bullet just to be sure. I would second the vote for the 270, or 30-06.
November 9, 2007, 08:59 PM
I'e killed a fair number of deer with my .243. I wouldn't want to take a quartering shot at 250 or 300 yards on a big deer with it, though. I'd prefer the .270.
I never worried about such shots with my '06...
November 10, 2007, 07:36 AM
There are several choices that fall in between the two you listed. If recoil is a factor I'd opt for the 260, 6.5x55, 7x57 or 7-08. I'd also buy several boxes off ammo once you find the round that produces the desired results, since these might be less available (unlike the .243 or 270). If you think you might handload in the future the 280 is a great round that is very similar to the 270 that can be loaded to a recoil tailored round, and it has plenty of options in bullets (thanks to the 7mm mag crowd).
If none of the issues I addressed bother you, I think the 270 is the way to go.
November 10, 2007, 08:12 AM
I prefer the 30-06. Shot placement is too critical with a .243. .270, .308, 7mm-08 will all work much better than a .243. JMO.
November 12, 2007, 01:26 PM
I've never owned a 270 but have guided many hunters who favor this cartridge. One shot stops are quite common. My wife hunts with a 6.5mm Swede, my sister in law has a 7mm-08, my brother swears by his 30-06, and I'm a fan of many cartridges including .308, 243 and 30-30. My point is that many cartridges have what it takes to topple a big buck.
I'm a huge fan of the .243 and 95 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet. I practise nearly year round and know the cartridge's trajectory by heart. It's always done the job for me.
A high dollar hunt deserves above average ammo and practise time. Compare ammo costs and make your choice based upon the amount of time and money you're willing to spend becoming a master of your chosen rifle.
Good hunting to you.
November 12, 2007, 07:32 PM
Alot off topic, but do you know how weird it is to hear a man named Jack O'Conner to say he has never owned a .270?
November 12, 2007, 10:12 PM
Alot off topic, but do you know how weird it is to hear a man named Jack O'Conner to say he has never owned a .270?
It would be if his forum name was Jack O'Connor and not Jack O'Conner.
November 13, 2007, 01:18 AM
For big northern deer at 200+ yards I love the 7mm Remington Magnum, I've shot it bunches and I love it, I like to load it up with 140/150 grain to take advantage of it's high velocity and flat shooting, it's by far my favorite round because it shoot's as flat as a 270 with as much power as a 30-06, the other day I shot a 3 yr old (estimate) 6 point buck at 200 yards with a 25-06, I hit dead center on it's mass, center between legs and center between back and brisk, that deer kick around for an hour before it died, i woulda put it out of it's misery but other circumstances prevented it.
November 13, 2007, 01:19 PM
the other day I shot a 3 yr old (estimate) 6 point buck at 200 yards with a 25-06, I hit dead center on it's mass, center between legs and center between back and brisk, that deer kick around for an hour before it diedYes, that happens when you gut-shoot them.
November 13, 2007, 03:16 PM
that deer kick around for an hour before it died, i woulda put it out of it's misery but other circumstances prevented it.
What circumstances would have prevented you from finishing off this deer? I agree with Scorch if you had shot in the vital area Heart/Lung, instead of to far back then this animal wouldn't have suffered for an hour. Please think about what you are posting before you do it, or at least explain the situation better about your post.
Right now as your post stands you did something very distasteful to the rest of us who enjoy the sport of hunting. Before I start making any judgments against your ethics and ability to responsibly hunt, please explain this further. I've made bad shots on animals before but I've made every possible effort to put them down as quickly as possible after my mistakes, none have ever had to wait an hour to die.
November 13, 2007, 06:08 PM
Thanks for saying that.
.270, definitely. I'd go with a 1-4X or 2-7X variable, or some range in between. That's plenty of magnification for all ethical hunting distances.
November 13, 2007, 07:36 PM
I hit dead center on it's mass, center between legs and center between back and brisk
Don't they cover shot placement anymore in hunter's ed?????????:barf:
Embarrassing to everyone. Please do explain that whole post
November 14, 2007, 02:36 PM
Well first off, let me break this down into 2 different sub-topics:
1.) Ideally yes, well all want our bullets to strike through the heart so they die shortly thereafter, however we are all human and we all can't be "Bob Lee Swaggers (from the movie Shooter), it was also a 200 yard shot from someone elses rifle, the situation was my hunting partner and I pulled up and the hunting partner's friend said he saw the young buck and he gave me his rifle, I didn't ask questions because we didn't have time. I had never shot the rifle before, nor did I know if he had 100 grain .25-06 or 120 grain .25-06 bullets loaded up, I also didn't know what yardage his scope was zeroed to. So that was the hand I was dealt with 1 hour of shooting light left on a cold and extremely rainy afternoon, I unfolded the bi-pod, laid it on the hood of a car, and put the crosshairs 3 inches or so below it's back line and squeezed off a round from a foreign gun at 200 yards away.
2.) The second order of bussiness, why I didn't finish the deer off was a complex matter. I shot the deer on a friend's land, after the deer was shot it then ran and hopped a fence and laid down and rolled around on someone's else's property. The owner of that property, my luck, pulled up on his land right after I shot it and it crossed his fenceline. I knew the land-owner, good friend of my uncle, however he doesn't allow hunting on any of his properties. So I grinned and beared it so-to-speak and waited patiently for him to leave, then me and another person ran 200 something yards to the deer like rainbow six operatives and drug him back 200 something yards. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place, I shot the deer legally on a consenting land owner's property but my luck the deer decided to go onto someone elses land. Believe me, the day before a shot a deer and walked to it instantly and put a round in it's head and he died right then. To show my ethics, about 3 weeks ago I was walking back to my house, a silver pontiac sunfire passed me, right after that I noticed 2 deer running perpendicular to the car about 50 yards away, I thought to myself surely the driver will see the deer and slow down or stop. The deer following the first collided, it rolled off the top of the car and landed with a thud on the pavement. I asked the 2 people if they were okay. Then I put my hand on the deer's flank to check it. It kicked around and then attempted to stand up but it couldn't, I determined on the spot that the deer had broken either both of it's back legs or it's hips. I walked to the house which the collision happened literally right infront of, got my Masin-Nagent M38, put two 203 grain JSP 7.62x54R in the gun. Walked down and put 1 round into it's heart, and then the second into it's head. The deer spasmed for about 3-5 seconds and died. Me and the driver rolled the deer off the road. Then I went into the house and called the Judge of the town I live in (small town) which he is a family friend. The following morning a truck pulled up and 2 men from the county put the deer into the truck and drove away. I hope by this reply I have cleared myself so-to-speak and being a new member to this website I don't want to get off on the wrong foot.
November 14, 2007, 03:30 PM
kyrifleman0714, first off thanks for coming back and clearing some things up. I realize that you are new to TFL and didn't want to jump on you too hard. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt before the bashing started.
First off you should have never taken the shot at the deer with out knowing how the rifle shoots. I've made this mistake as well when I first started hunting so I've been there, just don't repeat this mistake. The way you described the shot it sounded as though you had made a perfect one for the kill and was surprised that the deer got away. That is what made most of us believe that you didn't properly understand the vital area on deer.
Second if you know the landowner and he is such a good family friend why didn't you ask for permission to go get the deer? If he understood that the deer wasn't shot on his property but had crossed the fence line would he have not let you go get it? Why was there a need to do the "Rainbow Six maneuvers" to get your deer? I would have called my Uncle for help in getting access to get the deer, not waited patiently. I honestly feel that you didn't do everything possible to recover this deer, because you were trying to avoid a conflict with a landowner.
I've met very few landowners who would let an animal suffer on their property if it was wounded regardless of their views on hunting. In fact in all my years of hunting I can say that I only met one, and she almost killed my with her stare when I asked if I could hunt their property. I've even had landowners accompany me when I went to recover an animal that had crossed over to where I didn't have permission to hunt.
There my butt chewing is over take from it what you can.
November 14, 2007, 03:42 PM
Thanks for posting the explaination. I also thought you had hit where you wanted to.
November 14, 2007, 07:44 PM
If you think you might handload in the future the 280 is a great round that is very similar to the 270 that can be loaded to a recoil tailored round, and it has plenty of options in bullets (thanks to the 7mm mag crowd).
November 14, 2007, 10:34 PM
The .243 will do the trick quite nicely. I used to have one and I hunt just to the East of you in SK. Between my brother and I we took down some big deer between 50 and a couple hundred yards.
My pill of choice was a 100 grain Nosler Partition and it worked like a charm. I only ever recovered one bullet and only one deer needed more than one shot out of close to ten.
I do believe that the .270 is the round that God wants us to shoot deer with though but dont go out and buy one because you think the .243 is inadequate, it is not.
November 18, 2007, 10:32 AM
Another vote for the .270 win.
The initital post was for the choice between the .243 and the .270.
While the .243 will do the job quite nicely, for the longer ranges and the possibility of taking something larger than northern whitetail or big mulies, the .270 would be (and is) my choice.
December 12, 2007, 09:46 AM
"kyrifleman0714" this sounds like you shot the deer from the road.
the situation was my hunting partner and I pulled up and the hunting partner's friend said he saw the young buck and he gave me his
rainy afternoon, I unfolded the bi-pod, laid it on the hood of a car, and put the crosshairs 3 inches or so below it's back line and squeezed off
a round from a foreign gun at 200 yards away.
December 12, 2007, 11:36 AM
Oh yeah, haven't ya heard - by his own admissions, kyrifleman:
1. is a Road hunter (illegal)
2. is an Out of season poacher (illegal) (though he claims an unwritten depredation permit is fine in KY)
3. Aims for the middle of the brown (unethical)
4. Uses FMJ ball ammo on deer from a 7.62x39 (probably illegal and definitely unethical)
5. Takes 300 yard shots with an iron-sighted SKS (unethical)
6. Uses a 30 round mag in said SKS (illegal)
7. Likes to "tap off" multiple rounds at RUNNING deer (unethical)
He's more fun than a barrel of monkeys - i.e. a menace to society. :barf: :mad:
Any KY hunters here (as opposed to a guy in the woods with a gun like kyrifleman) who can verify the law there?
December 12, 2007, 11:57 AM
Thank god, i thought i was alone on this.
December 12, 2007, 12:09 PM
From the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife:
Deer Hunting Seasons and Restrictions (http://www.kdfwr.state.ky.us/hunt0708deer.asp?lid=1911&NavPath=C151C540C158C624C627)
2007-08 Hunting and Trapping Guide (http://www.kdfwr.state.ky.us/pdf/hunt0708.pdf?lid=1900&NavPath=C151C540C158C624) (PDF File)
He is not only full of it, he's a bit of an embarrassment to us Kentucky hunters who do follow the law.
kyrifleman0714, although unfortunately there are plenty more like you all through the state, I do hope you aren't in Western KY.
December 12, 2007, 12:30 PM
kyrifleman0714 what part of KY are you from?
Everything you said on here so far is either illegal or just unethical for a hunter to do.
December 12, 2007, 12:55 PM
If you ask Uncle Ted (Ted Nugent), he'd call it mighty .243.:D
December 12, 2007, 01:08 PM
to paraphrase another long time poster on this board ( I can't remember which one )
' The .243 kills bigger than is ought to '
It is one of my favorite cartridges for varmints and deer.
Still I would take a .270 for big northern deer if I was forced to choose between the two.
KY, learn the law and be more responsible/ ethical in the future. for everyone : Every word you post reflects on the entire shooting community, make sure that they are carefully chosen words.
December 12, 2007, 02:24 PM
KYrifleman0714, you need to read up on your hunting statutes. My wife has prosecuted a number of idiots like him in Western Kentucky and I thank her everytime. You are breaking the law, if indeed what you say is true.
I hope you get arrested soon.
December 12, 2007, 02:35 PM
Folks, the other thread is gone as is the thread starter.
It is normally not the policy at TFL to make this information public. In this case, I am using this post as a means to say to one and all that unethical and/or unlawful hunting and use of arms is not tolerated at TFL.
It does not serve the purpose or goals of TFL, to further the responsible ownership of guns, to post such things. This is something that normally does not need to be said.
Now, having written this, let's move on and let's hear no more about the, um, gentleman in question. That's not what this thread is about.
December 12, 2007, 06:51 PM
Nothing to see here people, keep moving.
Anyways, I would vote for the .270 as well. But I would not be opposed to trying a bullet with a high BC in the .243. You can make a world of difference with a good bullet such as SSB or Nosler Accutip. Just my thoughts and opinions.
December 12, 2007, 09:53 PM
I'd go with the .243
It will do the job, you already have the reloading set up
The .270 is a great round and you'll be happy with it. But don't be concerned that you'll be under gunned with the .243.
I also glad that you haven't fallen in love with a cannon as so many people seem to do.
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