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Old January 15, 2013, 09:51 AM   #1
bazookajeff89
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Reccomendations?

I'm looking to buy my first rifle bigger than a 17hmr. The things that i want it for are mainly just to go plinking around....target shooting, prairie dog hunting, just having fun. So i would like something affordable to shoot a lot(probably will not be reloading ammo). However I don't want to have something completely useless at hunting things on the smaller end (deer, antelope etc.) until i will eventually probably get a .30-06. I was reccomended a bolt action .223 because it's cheap to shoot and the general consensus is I could take something down with a decently placed shot. I still would like to hear opinions though.

*Yes I am aware of the ammo shortages but it doesn't seem to be a terrible problem here.

*If hunting I wouldn't need to shoot anything passed 200 yards

any advice you fine gentlemen have got would be appreciated
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Old January 15, 2013, 10:12 AM   #2
bobn
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my first rifle was a 243. if I only had only one rifle it would still be my choice. I don't live in grizz or elk territory though. bobn
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Old January 15, 2013, 10:18 AM   #3
bazookajeff89
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thanks for the advice bobn

forgot to mention one thing, if you would say something else is better can you guys please say why you prefer one over the other, I don't have much experience with guns and I'd just like to know why one is better than the other
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Old January 15, 2013, 11:47 AM   #4
shrewd
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maybe a lever gun in 30-30?
Nice recoil, can reach out to 200, and cheaper than the bigger 30 cals?
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Old January 15, 2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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I would not go with a .30-30 for prairie dog hunting. Even out to 200 yards, the round has quite the sloped trajectory.

I would recommend a bolt-action .223. It is a great prairie dog rifle, it is fun to shoot, it (used to be) easy to find (formerly cheap) ammo, and with the right ammo (Barnes TSX, Nosler Partition) it is also capable of taking deer sized game.
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Old January 15, 2013, 06:31 PM   #6
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The .223 being notably cheaper is kinda a myth unless you are willing to feed it poor performing ammo. When it comes to hunting grade ammo it's not much if any cheaper than the other .224 caliber centerfires. Personally when it comes to .224 centerfires my favorite is the .22-250.

You'll find all sorts of arguments about the ethics of using .224 centerfires on deer. Some will even argue against the 6mm's for that matter. I'd just as soon not visit all that again so I'll just say for varmints, predators and deer I'll take a .243. As a matter of fact after handfuls of centerfires the one bolt action I currently have is in that cartridge.

You don't mention where you live but I'll agree with all the post, both for and against, concerning the .30-30. It's far from a great prairie dog gun but a good .30-30 lever gun will kill anything in the lower 48 and has a big fun factor at the range.

Good luck
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Old January 15, 2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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.243 would be a good choice if you want to shoot deer. If not, .223 or 22-250.
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Old January 15, 2013, 06:47 PM   #8
alex0535
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.17 Hornet
.22 Hornet
.22-250
.223
.243

I would go with the .243 if you plan to hunt something larger than a prairie dog. All of the suggestions before are better for smaller game although all of them other than the .17 hornet are deer legal in my state. The .22-250 will shoot like a laser beam out past 250 yards although all of them will shoot level enough out to your 200 yard requirement. The .22-250 will tear prairie dogs into pieces.
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Old January 15, 2013, 11:37 PM   #9
big al hunter
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I prefer the 243 for what you are asking about. Here are my reasons why.

My state has a min caliber for all big game (243/6 mm). Check your state's regulations before purchasing.

I can get factory ammo with 54 gr varmint bullets at close to 4,000 fps.

I can get factory 100 gr big game bullets.

I can handload anything from 54 gr to 105 gr at a very reasonable price.

The bullets for 243 are heavier than 224 and buck the wind better on long shots.
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Old January 22, 2013, 04:32 PM   #10
bazookajeff89
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hey all thanks for the ideas, i ended up getting a .243 Tikka T3 lite stainless, i've only had the chance to break it in and haven't even sighted it yet, but oh boy does it feel great!
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Old January 22, 2013, 04:49 PM   #11
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As these fine gentlemen stated first, the .243 winchester is a dreamboat I think. It's good for deer and antelope, coyotes and whistlepigs, and wild hogs, crows, targets,,,,,, etc.
And long range??? Check out Dan Newberry's OCW website! He runs a school for long range shooting and they do a lot of it with the .243!!
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Old January 22, 2013, 04:59 PM   #12
Saltydog235
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.243 Win hands down. You can find loads from 55grn to 100grn easily and do everything you want with it. Recoil is minimal, trajectory is flat, accuracy is usually superb. Hands down a great varmint round to medium sized thin skinned game like whitetail deer.
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Old January 22, 2013, 06:45 PM   #13
PatientWolf
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+1 on the .243.

It is a nice cartridge; relatively flat shooting and big enough to take medium game. You also have a wide selection of rifles chambered for it.

When I go to look at the bare shelves it is also one of the cartridges that seems to show up in stock more than others also.
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Old January 24, 2013, 10:51 AM   #14
bazookajeff89
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differences in grain

so now that i have this .243 and i go to buy rounds for it. there are all kinds of different grain measurements like you guys are saying, possibly a huge beginner question but why wouldn't you just want the highest grain to make it go the fastest, as long as kick isn't an issue?
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:15 AM   #15
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazookajeff89 View Post
so now that i have this .243 and i go to buy rounds for it. there are all kinds of different grain measurements like you guys are saying, possibly a huge beginner question but why wouldn't you just want the highest grain to make it go the fastest, as long as kick isn't an issue?
The grain refers to the mass of the projectile, not the powder charge. The higher grain will actually have a lower muzzle velocity.

Typically, the lighter factory rounds you will find are varmint rounds and should not be used on medium-large game. The heavier rounds will be constructed to hold together better and are better suited to deer sized game.

For just target shooting, use different types and see what your gun likes, but remember, contrary to what you are currently thinking, faster is not always better (and rarely is it 'best').

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Last edited by allaroundhunter; January 24, 2013 at 02:03 PM. Reason: typo
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Old January 24, 2013, 11:54 AM   #16
warbirdlover
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You picked a super rifle and caliber! The Tikka T3 is going to be a tackhammer!
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Old January 24, 2013, 12:00 PM   #17
tjh
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If long range isn't a consern what a bout a C-Z carbine in 7.62x39 , Cheap to shoot and can take deer and hogs . 223 may not be legal for deer in your state . 243 is getting pricey as all ammo is going up .
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:27 PM   #18
bazookajeff89
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ha, so i guess it really was a rookie question. and thanks for the endorsement warbird. so is the bullet grain just a personal preference for shooting, not hunting since you mentioned using a bigger grain, but just target shooting?
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Old January 24, 2013, 04:41 PM   #19
allaroundhunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazookajeff89 View Post
ha, so i guess it really was a rookie question. and thanks for the endorsement warbird. so is the bullet grain just a personal preference for shooting, not hunting since you mentioned using a bigger grain, but just target shooting?
It depends on how far you will be shooting. As you start to shoot at extended range, the ballistic coefficient and the sectional density become more important factors, and they are related to the mass of the projectile. However, if you are just shooting out to like 200 or 300 yards then yes, it is just preference...

But not your preference, it is your gun's preference. Which round does it shoot better? You can only find that out by testing different rounds.

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Old January 24, 2013, 05:14 PM   #20
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Lighter weight .243 bullets are normally constructed to work best on stuff up to Coyote size. The heavier weight bullets are normally constructed for deer and antelope sized game. Look on the ammunition manufacturer's websites for what their recommended uses are. There are always exceptions to general rules.
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Old January 28, 2013, 10:25 AM   #21
bazookajeff89
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so what grain sizes are good for which game?

for example the boxes i got were 100 grain, which would work best for what?
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Old January 28, 2013, 10:33 AM   #22
Brian Pfleuger
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100gr in 243 is meant for deer and similar, unless its specifically a target bullet.

If you're buying commercial ammo, you'll need to stick to probably close to that to get a big game bullet.

If you "roll your own", there are big ge bullets down to 80gr (Barnes TSX) that are phenomenal. They're available in factory ammo too but have a defibrillator nearby before you look at the price.

For shooting varmints, find something light and fast... 55gr or so. Heavier bullets work fine and buck the wind better at long range but 200 yards isnt long range. I like light/fast.
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Old January 28, 2013, 10:44 AM   #23
Geo_Erudite
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I would recommend the 257 Roberts, does everything you are looking for. If you reloaded and if you could find a rifle in 6mm Remington, I would also suggest that.

I love my 6.5 Creedmoor, but it is somewhat of an over kill for varmint hunting.

Sorry, just realized you had made your choice.

Last edited by Geo_Erudite; January 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM.
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