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Old October 23, 2011, 03:48 PM   #26
Paul B.
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I'm not a big fan of the .243 for deer, let alone elk. It'll do the job if the hunter does his. This goes for the .257 Robt. too. My late friend jerry gave me his Mauser 30-06 custom after a bad accident ruined his right shoulder. He hunted with a little Mexican Mauser Mannlicher custom in .257 Robt. until the cancer finally force him to stop. Jerry was a hunter from the get go and one of the best rifle shots I've ever seen. Dunno what his powder charge was but he use 100 gr. Nosler Partitions exclusively in that neat little rifle.
For elk, I might start with a .270 but my preference in my .35 Whelen with the 225 gr. Barnes TSX. That one flat puts elk down hard. If I have to hunt where shots will be onthe very long side, I'll go with my .300 Win. Mag. and 200 gr. Nosler partitions or the 200 gr. Speer Hot Core.
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Old October 23, 2011, 10:02 PM   #27
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last two elk ive killed were with a 243 and a 270. shot placement is key though. both critters piled up where they were standing.
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Old October 23, 2011, 11:40 PM   #28
Major Dave (retired)
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Where was your bullet placement?
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Old October 24, 2011, 10:22 AM   #29
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Major, I don't know if you have ever hunted in Wyoming, but if you have, you will understand that other hunters downrange was not a concern.

As for the bullet weight, it appeard to have hit the spine and then fragmented. I found the base that apeared to be aproximatly 1/3 of the original 100 grs., but I did not weigh it. The bullet traveled aproximatly 16" in the elk's neck (from the "adams apple" to the base of the neck) but did not exit.
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Old October 24, 2011, 10:33 AM   #30
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so he's taking shots at a tiny, bone covered target, when an error in placement of a couple of inches can leave the animal to die slowly ..... he got lucky once......
Jimbo- I would like to think that luck had nothing to do with it! Well, maybe it was lucky to find the elk that day, but the shooting...not luck! I am confident in my abilities, even though I did pull the first shot (breathing hard, excitement, wind, or any other real life factors... I don't know?)

I would like to hear some other real life stories of the hunt and especially the kill with some detail on the the cartidge used and it's performance. Include any other info that might be relevent.
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Old October 24, 2011, 11:47 AM   #31
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Major, I don't know if you have ever hunted in Wyoming, but if you have, you will understand that other hunters downrange was not a concern.
He is dead on right,most hunters here even the out of state folks,you see orange, you or the other will back out and leave the area to who was there first.I've seen this happen many many times,I oblige likewise.
More people are killed in hunting accidents in the trees or falling out of a tree stand than in the wide open WY prarie.
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Old October 24, 2011, 12:18 PM   #32
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but the shooting...not luck!
1 for 2..... 50/50 ..... flip a coin.... missing completely 1/2 the time, I'd sure not have had the confidence to try a head shot ..... which was apparently missed (low) when attempted the second time.

I'll reiterate- head shots are difficult because he target is small and surrounded by bone, much of it angled such that a bullet glancing off instead of penetrating is likely.... particularly with a light bullet..... It's a fool idea, and unethical in my book. YMMV.
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Old October 24, 2011, 12:42 PM   #33
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Point taken, but it did work out. Good hunting!
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Old October 24, 2011, 03:02 PM   #34
Daryl
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Elmer Keith said the most common shot at elk he had seen was a going away quartering shot .
Even Lord Elmer was just one man, with one man's experience and opinions. I hate it when someone starts quoting well known "experts" as the end-all opinion when they themselves lack the experience.

I've shot a few elk, and seen several more shot, and have yet to see one shot at a quartering away angle. Most common shot I've seen and experiences is the typical broadside shot. Perhaps myself and the hunters I hunt with are more patient? I dunno.

I would not recommend the .243 as an elk cartridge for the average elk hunter. In the hands of a capable hunter and rifleman, the .243 can and has taken elk. I'd use it myself as a "minimum" cartridge, but I'd be almighty careful about what shots I took.

It's been my unfortunate experience that a lot of hunters aren't that choosy when it comes to the shots they'll take.

BTW-I also wouldn 't recommend any of the new wonder mags and ultra mags for the average hunter. I believe that their proper use is specialized, and from what I've seen the average hunter can't shoot well enough to utilize their potential. The fact that they're using such a cartridge seems to lead to long shot temption, even though the shooter may not be up to the task.

A 30-06, 7mm mag, or a .300 mag is about aptimal for the average elk hunter.

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Old October 24, 2011, 09:55 PM   #35
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Why are so many modern men determined to undergun themselves in a hunt? Would these same men who want to hunt elk with a 223 carry a .32 acp into a gunfight at a biker bar?
I dont know about taking a 223 for elk but I would definitely take that to a bar fight. I'd settle for a 22lr. humans are much more frail than wild game and the only thing that makes a wild animal tough is adrenaline. if you cut the body off from either A) the brain, B) the heart or C) the spine, then no ammount of adrenaline that it pumps out will be enough to make it get back up and run to safety. I think you proved the opposite point that you were trying to make with your long winded rant about how the OP was an inferior hunter using an inferior round. if the 243 is so underpowered and unforgiving of poor shot placement how was it an instant and very humane kill despite missing the intended area?

I would not pack my 243 for an elk myself, I've been dragged on one to many search parties looking for an elk that a relative had only succeeded in wounding. however this kill is just a simple man explaining the simple fact that although crude, a 243 can be an effective choice if your caliber options are limited.

finally, I read this thread and enjoyed listening to a proud hunter tell his campfire story free of exaggeration. you, apparently being a hunter who has never missed a shot in his life, read it and decided you were going to belittle him for taking the actions that he did despite the final conclusion that there are better suited rounds for the task.

I am simply going to close by asking if you can post a link to the threads about guys hunting elk with 223? sounds like they may be some interesting reads aswell
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Old October 25, 2011, 01:12 AM   #36
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I've never missed anything bigger than a squirrel. I turn away from doubtful shots. I've never fired at a deer at anything near 300 yards, and probably wouldn't, even though I know I'm capable of making that shot. That's how determined I am to make only clean kills.

I'm figuring that there's a real good chance that a twig deflected his bullet. What he showed here was that a .243 will kill an elk, at nearly 300 yards if you drive it right into a lethal zone, and that is all that a lot of people will take away from his post. they will leave the page believing that a .243 is a perfectly adequate rifle for long range shooting at elk, and it isn't.

If you want to read about people hunting elk with a .223, look no further than this post, as we have a story about someone hunting them with a .22 hornet. Even the OP has admitted that he never plans on taking his .243 out again, and will take his .300 magnum, and I applaud that. Good hunting to him. he went in knowing limitations, and did what he intended to do. I doubt that my dentist could.

As I said, there is a segment of hunters that believe that carrying minimal weaponry on a big game hunt is part of the sport. I know a guy who used a .22 rimfire and would only take head shots; if it got away, whatever. This type of hunting should never be condoned.

My post was to point out that sure, he got a great shot and dropped it like a rock, but that first shot could have gone anywhere, and where his 300 magnum would have caused immense damage in a gut or extremity shot and been pretty quickly disabling, out at that distance, that .243 may not have even penetrated the gut completely and that cow may have disappeared and fed scavengers when the peritonitus or blood loss finally killed it.

I want people to recognize the limitations of small projectiles with low energy at extreme ranges, and this was a great example of what happens when it goes right. It's only right that it should come with a disclaimer that it doesn't always go perfectly as planned.

If you don't like my long winded rants feel free to block my posts.
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Old October 25, 2011, 01:24 AM   #37
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Elmer keith was quite a guy. I used to enjoy reading his stuff. Him and his "use a howitzer" and then shooting at elk with a .45 colt or .44 magnum at outlandish ranges is the sort of contradiction that makes my head spin. Then you have the weatherby train of thought that a fast enough bullet will "strike like lightning." Don't forget Jack o connor, who believed in the .270 as the best overall hunting caliber, and felt fine using it on anything.

Every shooter is a little nuts, they run on beliefs gathered by years of experience, and focus pretty tightly on them. I especially liked reading work by the south african hunter whose name I can't really recall now.

You can kill an elk with an arrow, a .45 caliber round ball, a shotgun slug, and now, in missouri, you can even legally use a spear on deer. Just for the love of god, don't deliberately take something underpowered into the field, and if you see some bonehead carrying a good old so carbine into the woods after elk, and he sights in using the lid to a trash can, ask him to take up cross stitch.

I think the OP is alright.
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Old October 25, 2011, 09:18 AM   #38
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Good discussion! Briandg and Jimbob make good points. Thanks every one. How about some .243 win vs. deer (white tail or muley) stories?
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Old October 25, 2011, 09:28 AM   #39
Daryl
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I am simply going to close by asking if you can post a link to the threads about guys hunting elk with 223? sounds like they may be some interesting reads aswell
I actually know of some fellas (friends of an uncle) who hunt elk with 22-250 chambered "handguns". They take neck shots only, and apparently do pretty well with 'em.

Not my cup o' tea, for sure, but as long as they get the job done cleanly it's all good.

Just the same, it's not something I'd recommend.

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Old October 25, 2011, 10:13 AM   #40
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By the sounds of some of you we'd all be lead to believe the a .243 is a weak sister. It does use the same case as the .308,7mm-08 and 260 and with the right controled expansion bullet it will pentrate just as well any of it bigger brothers. Now to say bullet weight doesn't play a part would also be misleading and bigger is better on larger game. But everyone wants to talk about potential of wounding an animal but the fact remains that a wounding shot is a wounding shot. Doesn't make a difference if it's a 7mm mag, a 30-30 or a .243. In reality the difference between the .243 and it's bigger brothers using correct bullets is less than some here would leave you to beleive. Difference? Yes. Night and day? No.

Still, I'll take something bigger for Elk. I need a little margin for error.

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Old October 25, 2011, 11:18 AM   #41
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I actually like the .243 in a rifle for small whitetail. You will get a through and through shot with a chest shot and controlled expansion bullets. Shooting a 30-06 with factory bullets will do a lot of damage, and still probably blow through on a rib cage shot.

The 6mm and light 25 caliber rounds will definitely drop a deer with a rib shot, and with a partition or other controlled expansion round, will probably blow through. That's what I'm looking for, is penetration deep enough to mortally wound, and if it will get full penetration on the ribs, it probably will through most other angles.

Some people I've heard of use the nosler or other solid base polymer, for a bigger temp cavity and bigger initial wound. I don't see it that way. Sure, it will collapse the lungs.

Around here, even though we have mostly modest sized deer, I don't know very many people who actually take a 6mm or 25 caliber weapon for deer. I've carried my 30-06 the last few times I went after deer, mostly for sentimental reasons, though. I think that using the 180 grain that my dad used to use is unnecessary, but whatever. it will do the job well. There is no such thing as overkill, all you got is dead and not dead.
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Old October 25, 2011, 11:41 AM   #42
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I dont have any good muley stories. I always missed those impossible 500 yard shots with my new shooter flinching in the montana bad lands and ever since moving to idaho I only hunt whitetail since the muleys are few and far between(and I prefer the taste of whitetail to mule).

my first year seriously hunting on my own hadn't turned up a whole lot. my best friend had managed to get himself a nice 200 pound buck opening weekend with his dads 30-30 at about 200 yards but he knew the area better than I did so he played guide the rest of the season.

the very last night of hunting season we had been hunting in a small canyon that was normally used as cattle pasture and it was crawling with deer but they were incredibly skiddish and had a lot of brush to run off into. about an hour from sundown I finally saw a doe uphill at about 275-300 yards walk out of the brush. I normally wont take shots at that range but being the last hour of the last night of hunting season and still had no kills to my name I was desperate. I dropped down in the mud and cow turds with my 243 that I inherited from my dad and took what my buddy describes as the longest time time he's ever seen someone line up a shot. I took the shot and she made about 2 steps towards cover when he front legs buckled and she slid downhill about 100 feet.

once I got up to her I felt kind of bad. she probable weighed 100 pounds dripping wet and after we gutted her out I probably could had tossed her over my shoulder with one arm(may be a slight exaggeration). field dressing showed that I had completely blown her heart into two pieces but that federal 100gr also shattered both front quarters. still I was pleased. I took a shot that was beyond my normal level of experience and took my first deer.

dragging her back to my truck my buddy couldn't resist the temptation to add insult to injury by saying that we could stuff my deer inside his and keep hunting haha
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Old October 25, 2011, 02:00 PM   #43
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Another great story. I love the fact that the .243 win broke down both shoulders on that deer and also got the heart. Did it exit? 275 to 300 yards isn't that far to shoot out west. I think a bunch of folks out here shoot that far and don't realize it!

Don't be sorry for the size of that doe, she was most likely last years fawn (1 1/2), dry and very good eating. Besides that, I have noticed that the body size of our western WT's is smaller than those from the midwest.

I, too, prefer WT's to muley's as far as taste, but i like hunting the muley more.
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Old October 25, 2011, 02:30 PM   #44
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I am confident in my abilities, even though I did pull the first shot (breathing hard, excitement, wind, or any other real life factors... I don't know?)
That is a contradictory statement. There are alot of conditions in the field that can make even an excellent marksman miss. The notion that a marginal shot with a small bullet will always have the same result as a larger bullet at a similar velocity is just nuts. I have never seen the downside of taking the most powerful, flattest shooting cartridge you can stand to shoot
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Old October 25, 2011, 02:40 PM   #45
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yes that shot was a through and through. I wasn't that upset about the front quarters just because with her size all we would have gotten would have been a few pounds of hamburger meat. as long as we can save the rear quarters for roast, jerky and hamburger and the backstraps and tenderloins for steak I call it a successful hunt. my first buck wasn't nearly as interesting, I was helping a friend herd his cattle to lower ground as the snow started to fall and we spooked a 5x6 on the 4 wheeler, I shot him with the same 100gr bullet at about 50 yards and it also went through a front quarter and reduced the lungs to shreds before lodging in a perfect mushroom in the opposite front shoulderblade. he was a 250 pound buck(they breed for size instead of antlers out here) and we were able to salvage almost everything from him. I love the 243 for deer round. it has more than enough stopping power and range. out here is rolling hills and woods hunting so your average deer range shot is between 100 and 300 yards. I used to be amazed back in montana watching my older brother make those 700 yard kill shots on antelope...
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Old October 25, 2011, 07:07 PM   #46
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Winchester intended the 243 as a deer and varmint cartridge. Within this arena 243 is very popular both stateside and abroad as well.

Your precise shot placement got he job done quite well indeed. Congrats to you.

Thank you for sharing.

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Old October 26, 2011, 04:20 PM   #47
270
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One thing that's helped with accuracy, with any caliber in recent years, is the recoil pads like Limbsaver, etc. Helped stop a lot of flinching.

These pads plus scopes have helped make a lot of hunters more accurate and that's helped make longer shots more humane and more successful--with any caliber.

The downside is the scope can make a hunter feel more accurate than he really is and then he tries shots too far out.

Lots of time at the range on windy and non-windy days should be a must.

Bullet placement with the correct bullet for the game and within the range you KNOW you can place the bullet accurately--UNDER FIELD CONDITIONS, and not from a shooting bench.

From 243 on up cartridge choice is not nearly as important as the above. It's light recoil is a definite aid to accurate shooting.

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Old October 26, 2011, 05:08 PM   #48
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Lot of good thinking there. In retrospect, I wonder if the new (20-30 years past) generation of inexpensive (finally) top quality optics that have reached all the way up to 12X and amazing clarity have caused a whole lot of shooters to be way overconfident with their shooting?

I didn't even own a variable until I was in my 30s. Old guys like me grew up with 2 and 4 power, and there were no illusions about how far away 400 yards was.

Only varmint hunters got great scopes.
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Old October 26, 2011, 05:19 PM   #49
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I guess I should mention the rifle and scope used on the elk this thread was started about. It is a Remington 700 SPS topped with a Burris Fullfield II 3x-9x-40mm with the Ballistic Plex reticle. The ammo was Winchester Super-X 100 gr. Power Point.
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Old October 26, 2011, 05:20 PM   #50
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I think there have also been improvements in bullets if we use the premiums.
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