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Old August 30, 2009, 11:45 PM   #1
Todd R
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.243 Winchester for Deer

Hello,
New to the board and I was searching some of the old forums relating to my favorite deer cartridge the .243 Winchester.. A lot of the posts seem to think the 243 is not a good choice for deer size game, I must disagree with this. I have hunted for many years and taken quite a few whitetail and mule deer in my time and almost all have been harvested with the 243 winchester in a Savage 110 rifle using factory loads I do not reload any longer...

Here is a brief story of my last hunt which took place in West Texas last hunting season (2008 year). I have a hunt lease out there. Anyway I was hunting in an area that had a control burn a few years earlier to get rid of a lot of the scrub brush and such. I had scouted this area extensively and knew it held a few number of good size bucks...I was hunting with my brother-n-law who lives in Wyoming and hunts Mule Deer and Antelope mostly and he swears by his 270 winchester. He and I have been hunting together for a lot of years in Texas, Wyoming Arkansas and New Mexico.. We always seem to get in this discussion about my "Prairie Dog Shooter" as he likes to call it. Anyway we were riding out to our stands around 2:00 pm for our evening hunt... when we came to the top of the hill looking down into the Valley we were hunting, my stand about 200 yards away... We normally park the 4 wheelers and walk the rest of the distance to our stands so not to spook the deer, My brother-n-law was hunting the on the other side of the valley. This valley had a ridge that ran right through the middle of it so we decided that we would each hunt one side of the ridge because of the large amount of game sign in the area... As we were walking and he was getting ready to take the lower trail to his stand I spotted this very large buck standing in the fire break quit a ways off.. I said to my brother-n-law check this out... He looked at the deer and being that it was on my side of the ridge we agreed I would take it and he would help me stalk. We began our stalk and because of the fire burn there was little cover for us... I stopped after a little bit because I did not want to get closer because I thought it would spook... So I grabbed my shooting sticks and mounted my rifle and got ready to shoot. My brother-n-law said hey maybe you should use my 270 winchester because that deer is still a ways off... He reached down and grabbed the range finder binoculers around his neck and ranged the animal. This deer stood 367 yards away... I told him no, my .243 is just fine... He kinda laughed and said you'll never hit it and if you do we will be tracking it all night... I just looked at him and kinda of smiled, the whole time keeping the deer in my scope. I was using Reming 100 grain Core-Loc factory rounds. I took a deep breath, let it out and touched off a round that hit this deer squarely behind the shoulders. The deer bucked and ran less than 40 yards before expiring... The whole thing played out through the binoculars my brother-n-law had up to his eyes.. The first thing he said was 'You hit him, you hit him good" he is down..." We walked to the deer and both were shocked at actually how big he was... This deer had 8 good points with 1 brow tine facing down with an inside spread of 19" and a Field dressed weight of 191 pounds. The 100 grain Remington Core-loc did it's job perfectly. This was one of my best deer ever and the longest kill I have made with my .243 Winchester.. Oh my brother-n-law did quit well too, a few days later he took a nice buck at about 200 yards with My .243 Winchester rifle. You see he dropped his rifle from his stand and broke the scope, but that is a story for another time...
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Old August 31, 2009, 12:23 AM   #2
fast-eddie
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243

A very good deer round. Seen many large Mules taken with them, as always shot placement is key.
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Old August 31, 2009, 12:41 AM   #3
wyobohunter
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Nice shooting... Although I'd choose the 270 for a dedicated long range large deer cartridge, the 243 is plenty sufficient in most cases (as you well know).

.270 Win, 135 gr Sie SPBT (BC = .436, SD = .242) at 3056 fps
300 yd drop = -3.4", 10 mph windage at 300 yds = 6.3", 300 yd energy = 1772 ft pounds

.243 Win, 100 gr Sie SPBT (BC = .430, SD = .242) at 3046 fps
300 yd drop = -3.4", 10 mph windage at 300 yds = 6.4", 300 yd energy = 1304 ft pounds

As you can see, external ballistics are nearly identical, terminal performance will be better with the .270 if you are after bigger game, but for medium to small deer the .243 win is juuuust fine.
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Old August 31, 2009, 06:04 AM   #4
taylorce1
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The .243 was my first big game rifle, I took my first mule deer and pronghorn with it. I've never had a problem using that rifle and in a pinch I would even use it on an elk. As long as the hunter uses an appropriate bullet for the game he/she is hunting then the .243 is a great killer of game IMO.

I don't use it much anymore, not because I've lost faith in it, just there are other rifles that I want to try now. Plus my .270 Win is by far my favorite big game rifle as well!
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Old August 31, 2009, 06:12 AM   #5
TheNatureBoy
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Anyone who tells you that a .243 isn't a good deer rifle never harvested a deer with one. It is by far my favorite rifle to hunt with. I have a friend who goes to Colorado to hunt elk and he brought back pictures of one killed with a .243. l
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Old August 31, 2009, 06:12 AM   #6
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+3 for the 270: Mulies, Elk, Speed Goats, oh yes, and a moose once.

TaylorCE that moose was taken in North Park - the Canadian River drainage - I am sure you know where that is.
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Old August 31, 2009, 06:45 AM   #7
taylorce1
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Quote:
TaylorCE that moose was taken in North Park - the Canadian River drainage - I am sure you know where that is.
Waterengineer you are one lucky SOB! I have been applying for 7 years now and I have a buddy that has been going on 18 years, and still no moose. I'm afraid I'll have to go to AK or Canada to get my first moose as it seems like the chances of getting drawn are never going to get better than 10%.

Got any pictures to share?
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Old August 31, 2009, 06:52 AM   #8
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I think I will kill a couple of deer this year with a 17 HMR which I can easily ,and there is nothing illegal about it in this state. Then using the logic of this thread I can start a new one saying that if anyone says a 17 HMR isn't sufficient for deer they have just never killed deer with a 17 HMR.

I don't think I have ever seen anybody on this or any other forum say that a 243 wouldn't kill a deer, just that some non forum shooters who don't make perfect shots every time might get a little more meat in the freezer with something like a 270 or 30/06 .


And, I love those threads about the game warden saying that lost game found were because of poorly placed shots.
That's a keen grasp of the obvious don't you think? Now, if he said the Elk was shot right through the heart and ran three miles, that would be news.
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Old August 31, 2009, 07:18 AM   #9
Waterengineer
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Taylor:

Lucky? Well maybe. I lived in FC for over 20 years, after chasing a woman there, going to CSU. I drew a tag after applying to the lottery for 12, maybe 13 seasons. I have hunted and fished North Park extensively for very close to 30 years. I know it very well. Lots of flyfishing and snowmobiling showed me where the moose were (are.)

I drew once but have not drawn again. But that doesn't stop me from trying.

I suggest trying the draw in the Upper Greybull Valley, in WY or Teton County or Sublette County. I use to work this area a lot and there is moose. Unfortunately, green license plates are required to help the Wyo employment base by hiring a guide. Still it would be cheaper than an AK or BC trip. And, Wyo people are great. I work Wyo for six years - great folks - the best on the planet.

Pics? yes, I'll work this evening at trying to dis some out. Then you will get to see a young me.

Speaking of North Park and on a totally different note. I know the elk herd at Hayden is good, same with the herd at Craig. But, if I were looking for a nice bull, I'd be looking in the country between the front side of the Zirkel and north to the state line (GMU 14, 16 and 161)..........I'm just sayin'.........

Oh, yes, or just this side of the stateline in the Laramie drainage.....again, I'm just sayin'.........
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Old August 31, 2009, 08:09 AM   #10
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Not sure why the OP has a chip on his shoulder about his pet cartridge, since I haven't really seen much of anything on this site of anyone suggesting the .243 wouldn't work just fine on whitetails and such. Fact is, the typical whitetail isn't a terribly difficult animal to take down at moderate distances, as has been proven many times over by folks who poach them with cartridges as low in power as a .22 LR.
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Old August 31, 2009, 08:14 AM   #11
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Like the 243

If there wasn't a 260, I'd own a 243.
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Old August 31, 2009, 08:28 AM   #12
skydiver3346
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.243 for deer:

If there wasn't a 6.5x55, then I might own a .243 for deer hunting.
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Old August 31, 2009, 08:31 AM   #13
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I killed a good 15 inch 6 point buck with my Rem. 788 at 75 yards using 100 gr. Hornady Interlocks. It shoots three into 1/2" at 100, but will shoot factory Federal Premium 85 gr. BTHP's (Sierra) into 3/8" at 100. My best friend has used nothing much else since we were in high school many moons ago. He shoots through the ribs with either 75 or 85 gr. hp's in his M700 or Handi Rifle. While I most often choose another rifle for most of my "meat work", I always set out to kill at least one with every centerfire I own. I see nothing wrong with that.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...8&d=1235789912

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Old August 31, 2009, 12:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
I think I will kill a couple of deer this year with a 17 HMR which I can easily ,and there is nothing illegal about it in this state. Then using the logic of this thread I can start a new one saying that if anyone says a 17 HMR isn't sufficient for deer they have just never killed deer with a 17 HMR.
My goodness, why do you guys need so much power? Are you trying to compensate for something else that's small? .243 for a deer? Seriously, that's overkill. Personally, I prefer a .22 short for deer and elk, and a .22 mag for moose.

Instead of blasting away at deer with a .243, maybe you guys ought to work on developing hunting and shooting skills.
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Old August 31, 2009, 12:23 PM   #15
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Sorry for this ignorant question...but is that the .243 winchester short magnum you are all talking about?

I was at the range two days ago with my wife, and the gentleman next to me was shooting that round, he noticed me staring at his strange cartridge and we struck up a conversation.....

After seeing that cartridge first hand, I'm amazed that anybody is implying the lack of deer hunting ability of that odd looking beast of a round.
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Old August 31, 2009, 12:36 PM   #16
SteelJM1
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Nope, just the regular .243 Winchester round.





What you saw was the .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum

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Old August 31, 2009, 12:48 PM   #17
GONIF
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the .243 is a Great round for deer ,but I have found that a 6.5x55 is my first choice for Deer . I do find the .243 does the job,but there is more meat distruction under 200 yards with the .243 on Deer.
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Old August 31, 2009, 02:20 PM   #18
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The 6mm Rem. packs a little more punch, but the rounds are not near as available as the .243, which is a very acceptable cartridge. Of course, placement is important.
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Old September 1, 2009, 03:05 AM   #19
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I tend to use my .243 on pigs and feral goats. Its a great pig stopper using my 85gr nosler partition and 100gr hornady interlock loads..

As for deer in Victoria you are only allowed to shoot Fallow and Hog deer with a .243 using a minimum weight bullet of 80gr.

Sambar and Red deer are far too big for the .243. A .277 cal bullet and minimum weight of 130gr is required for these deer.

.243 Great caliber for Chital deer too.
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Old September 1, 2009, 07:40 AM   #20
sc928porsche
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Unfortunately I cant understand why anyone opts for the 243 when there are so many superior cartridges available.
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Old September 1, 2009, 07:59 AM   #21
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There was a thread, not to long ago, in which a member asked if he should get rifle chambered in XX or ZZ for hunting deer. If I remember correctly, there was a bit of discussion on that thread pertaining to the .243 and being a good deer round... (Too early, too tired and too lazy to look it up right now.)

As usual we got the standard replies that for deer you need to use at least a 30-30, because of shot placement, distances and a myriad of other detail.

I have used, almost exclusively, the .243 for deer hunting (and coyotes and varmints). My Step-dad used to use a .222. It all comes down to range and the shots you take, as well as the type of ethical hunter you are.

The OP was simply stating his observations.



PS - To the .17 guy: Why do you want to waste so much good meat, I am going to use an air-soft this fall for my deer. (When he walks past my stand, I am gonna reach down and brain him with it.)
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Old September 1, 2009, 08:01 AM   #22
Waterengineer
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Porsche says: "Unfortunately I cant understand why anyone opts for the 243 when there are so many superior cartridges available."


Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner. A superiour cartridge in the 25 caliber range, you mean like the 257 Roberts.
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Old September 1, 2009, 08:29 AM   #23
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Years ago I was against the 243 as a deer round. I saw so many failures with it. I noted that these faiures seemed to be on shots under 150 yards with more of them as the range got closer. That added up to bullet failure, they simply didn't stay together at the velocities they were being fired at.

My buddies wife uses a 243 Winchester Featherweight for West Virginia deer. She was getting the failures, yet she really could shoot. I loaded up some speer hot core 90gr bullets for her. She now gets consistant bang flops and pass threws. I loaded 300 rounds for her years ago, she's still useing them.
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Old September 1, 2009, 09:11 AM   #24
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Quote:
PS - To the .17 guy: Why do you want to waste so much good meat, I am going to use an air-soft this fall for my deer. (When he walks past my stand, I am gonna reach down and brain him with it.)

I hear you. Point is that I will bet you my house I can kill one with a pellet gun. My argument is more with the logic used than whether or not deer can be successfully killed with this or that.

If a 243 is all you have then I would use it. If you are going to buy a new rifle I would probably suggest a 270. IMO if you can't shoot a 270 or 30/06 then you can't shoot a 243.

There are a lot of deer lost every year. It is a reality. Bigger higher energy bullets tear up more and although the difference may be small there will be an occassional deer that will be found when using them.

If somebody wants to use the 243 that's fine. It is a good choice. It's just not the best. In my just like butthole opinion anyway.
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Old September 1, 2009, 09:49 AM   #25
Dallas Jack
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Wounded or lost animals generally come from poor shot placement and or poor bullet choice. Yea I know, I stated the obvious but some tend to forget a gut shot deer is no closer to dead if you use a .300 mag instead of a ___ (fill in the blank) Caliber choice is more a personal thing, no caliber will gaurantee sucess.

I've used a .270 on deer and it didn'y kill any deader than my .243. And it didn't give me any extra margin for error in my shot placement. It did however blow a big hole on the off side.

Nowadays if I want to shoot something larger than .243 I go to the 25-06. It's more than enough for the biggest whitetail or mulie and really more than I need but I like to use it now and then.
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