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Old November 17, 2011, 10:11 AM   #1
Yankee Doodle
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Perhaps a stupid question

Over the years, I have hunted whitetail deer with numerous calibers. Mostly in a revolver. I have taken deer out to 75 yards (most were much closer)with the following;
.44 Spl.
.44 Mag
.45 Colt
.45 ACP
.454 Casull
.357 Mag.
.38 Spl. (one time only)
I have just acquired a .243 rifle that I am going to be using this year. I have been reading that the .243 is "barely adequate" for deer, and a more powerful caliber should be used.
Am I missing something here? None of the calibers I have used in the past are even close to the energy and penetration of the .243. What gives?
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Old November 17, 2011, 10:24 AM   #2
yosemiddysam
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I grew up using a 222 which is the smallest legal caliber in WVa and I never had any problems killing white tail. I do not think a 243 would have any issues. I have also planted a few with a 223....... I think it is just people that like having exit wounds big enough to put your fist in that say those things.
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Old November 17, 2011, 10:36 AM   #3
oneshotOG
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Ya, I'd definitely say a .243 is adequate. Just make a good clean heart or other vital shot and if you can, I recommend a larger grain hollow point. Though I have never done it, I'd say even a .22 magnum HP could do the job.
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Old November 17, 2011, 11:28 AM   #4
Wyoredman
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I shot an elk with mine this year. 100 gr Win PP. I posted the story and got alot of differing opinions about the ethics of useing the .243 on elk.

Even though it killed the elk, I most likely won't be using it on elk again. With that said, the .243 is about the perfect gun for deer! Don't hesitate to use it and enjoy it on your deer hunts. It has taken many a big buck in its' history!

Good hunting!
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Old November 17, 2011, 11:53 AM   #5
kraigwy
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Quote:
I have just acquired a .243 rifle that I am going to be using this year. I have been reading that the .243 is "barely adequate" for deer
Somebody is blowing smoke up some where. Sounds like a statement from someone trying to sell some super duper magnum.

The 243 is an excellent deer round. Thousands upon thousands of deer have been taken with a 243. One of the most popular deer rounds in the west where we tend to shoot a little further the those back east.

Personnally I don't use one, I shoot a 257 Roberts, dern near the same thing. My wife uses a 243, and its never failed her. We use the same size bullets. Her 243 is a bit more accurate then my 257, but both are more then capable rounds.

If I didn't have a 257,(I really like my Model 70 Featherweight) the 243 would be my number one choice for deer and antilope size animals.

If I was to start over and replace my rifles, the first one I'd get would be a new FN Model 70 Featherweight in 243. Followed by the same thing in 270 Win for elk size animals.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:00 PM   #6
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My aunt used a .243 till she was in her 80's and could no longer climb into her tree stand. The only deer she didn't put down and eat were deer she missed which fortunately wasn't very often. If a little 4'11" gray haired Polish lady can take a deer with a .243 there is no reason why you can't do the same. You are obviously a better than average marksman and know where to shoot your prey just based on your past performance with handguns. Enjoy your hunt and don't listen to the drug store cowboys.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:00 PM   #7
Wild Bill Bucks
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I think words like adequate,humane,and ethical, all have to do with the ability of the hunter to make an accurate shot, more than they do with caliber size.
I hunt with 30 caliber myself, but know several hunters that hunt with smaller and larger calibers, that all have one thing in common. They can all shoot 1/2" groups with their rifles at 100 yards, all day long.
When they have hunted with me, almost every thing they shoot is DRT, due to the placement of the shot.
I have had to put down cattle and horses with a .22 LR, and there is no caliber out there that will dispose of them any faster, so I would imagine about any legal caliber would work for game. The key is shooting the rifle until the accuracy is achieved by the hunter to make that adequate,humane,and ethical shot.
Just my 2 cents
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:01 PM   #8
AllenJ
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I have read the same thing about the 243 and it's hogwash! It is a wonderful cartridge for deer sized game. With that said I would be sure to pick a stout bullet (Partitions are a great choice) and as you already know from your pistol experience bullet placement is way more important than the size of the wound.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:29 PM   #9
Daekar
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I agree - just a bunch of macho hogwash. I know many people who take whitetail with 243 rifles ever year. I think as others have noted the important thing is shot placement and bullet construction. If you hit the right with a good bullet of practically any power and caliber, they're going down. I think the sentiment you're hearing is partially a result of the absurd power inflation we've seen in the past 50 years, and derived from the myth that a bad shot with a more powerful round will be worlds more effective. If you shoot a rifle as well as you shoot a handgun, you wouldn't have to worry even if you were using a 22mag.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:31 PM   #10
4runnerman
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I collect brass and i can tell you this for sure.Around here during deer season the 243 cases are the most numerous ones i find. That has to say something as to if people are using them.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:40 PM   #11
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The 3 deer, 1 yote and 2 hogs I have shot this season with a .243 and 90grn BT's would seriously argue the adequacy of the round, but the deer are in the freezer and can't talk. The others I could care less about, they're real dead. Heart shot, neck, in the ear for pigs or high shoulder, every one of them has dropped where it stood.
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Old November 17, 2011, 12:55 PM   #12
ZeroJunk
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In the real world there aren't as many perfect shots as there are on forums. But, if you can kill a deer reliably with a pistol surely you can kill one reliably with a 243.
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Old November 17, 2011, 01:40 PM   #13
tahunua001
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my family regularly hunted deer with 22lrs when we lived in montana where there is no ammo restriction on big game. my brother steals my AR15(223/5.56) every year for deer season. I started hunting with my fathers 243 and with a federal 100gr powershok I completely blew the heart in half on my first deer at 300 yards. you show me a deer that survive with half a heart and I'll show you a zombie deer. there is no such thing as a round that is not capable of taking a deers life, plain and simple.
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Old November 17, 2011, 09:19 PM   #14
WWWJD
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Kraigwy,
My cousin swears by his .257 Roberts. Last year, he shot his buck at a shade over 500 yards; incredible shot, dropped him right there. Longer shot than I'd ever want to take on something that's walking around, but him and my uncle seem to do it flawlessly every time.



Maybe someday...
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Old November 17, 2011, 11:23 PM   #15
FrankenMauser
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Part of the reason for .243 having a bad name, is due to poor bullet choices (by stupid people) and the additional velocity of the cartridge.
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Old November 18, 2011, 12:16 AM   #16
Art Eatman
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I've tagged some two dozen bucks with my .243. Being lazy, I've used the same bullet for deer as for coyotes: The Sierra 85-grain HPBT. I was very picky about my shots, though, and only went for neck shots or cross-body heart/lung shots. I would never take an angling shot with that blow-up bullet.

However, a typical 100-grain bullet would penetrate at an angle, such that proper placement would provide a clean kill.
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Old November 18, 2011, 11:20 AM   #17
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.243 is plenty adequate for deer. My kids who hunt all took their first deer with a .243, shooting 100 grain Remington Core-Lokts. All one-shot kills.
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Old November 20, 2011, 10:23 AM   #18
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I'm loading Barnes TSX bullets for my .243 and they do the job, but wish they were closer to 100 grains!

We're into copper or gilding metal Hornady GMX bullets for high-velocity game ammo these days. I don't want to worry about grandkids or anyone else I know, even scavengers like eagles, eating lead dust/small particles from gut piles.

It's a scientific (x-ray) verified problem for most rounds with frangible jackets exceeding about 2,000 fps, but not for shotgun slugs, buckshot, many handgun rounds, muzzleloaders, and other lower-velocity rounds.

I wonder whether varmint hunters ever think about what happens to all the lead dust from their hundreds of kills with frangible bullets. I never thought about it until seeing X-ray pictures of venison given to the Hunters for the Hungry program.
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Old November 20, 2011, 01:05 PM   #19
bamaranger
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plenty

I grew up around .243 bashers, and became one myself. For some odd reason, my Dad, who was an ardent basher, bought a .243 and strated killing deer with it (he was flinching with bigger cals) I started re thinking things.

Dads .243 came to me on his passing, and both bamaboy and myself had shot deer with it. We initially used 100 gr Corelokts, and now reload 100 gr partitions.

The only people who can't kill deer cleanly with a .243 are those that haven't tried. Just watch your bullet choice
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Old November 20, 2011, 06:16 PM   #20
Yankee Doodle
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Found my own answer

Sat. morning. on stand at 0600.
Between 0700 and 0945 saw 6 does. Do not have a doe tag, so they all went on their merry way.
1015: Saw 6 point buck approaching my stand from about 175 yard. Watched him till he closed to about 85 yards, when he stopped to munch a bit. Turned sideways, and that's all she wrote.
Gun: Stevens 200
Scope: Weaver K4
Ammo: Hornady 95 gr. Superformance.
Buck took exactly 2 steps, and fell over.
I guess, after my experience, that the .243 is actually enough gun for deer.
Thanks to all
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Old November 21, 2011, 03:25 AM   #21
jgcoastie
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.243 Win + Nosler Ballistic Tips + Neck Shot = Dead deer, never taking another step.
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Old November 21, 2011, 03:47 AM   #22
Dr. Strangelove
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Quote:
Sat. morning. on stand at 0600.
Between 0700 and 0945 saw 6 does. Do not have a doe tag, so they all went on their merry way.
1015: Saw 6 point buck approaching my stand from about 175 yard. Watched him till he closed to about 85 yards, when he stopped to munch a bit. Turned sideways, and that's all she wrote.
Gun: Stevens 200
Scope: Weaver K4
Ammo: Hornady 95 gr. Superformance.
Buck took exactly 2 steps, and fell over.
I guess, after my experience, that the .243 is actually enough gun for deer.
Thanks to all
Nice shot, congratulations!

(It would have been more dead with a magnum....)
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