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Old February 10, 2013, 08:14 PM   #26
steveNChunter
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As you can see, starting a "best caliber for deer thread" is about like asking if Ford or Chevy makes a better pickup truck. You're going to get all kinds of different suggestions and opinions and probably end up more confused than when you started. Look at some ballistics charts.

Hornady has a good one on their site. Compare the velocity, energy, and trajectory of the three calibers.

Remember that using the right bullet for the job is even more important than choosing a caliber. That will also open a whole other can of opinionated worms.

To be honest, a case has probably been made by someone for every caliber between a .223 and a .375 h&h being the "best deer caliber ever." There is no such thing as a best caliber because everyone hunts different terrain for different size deer. Everyone is not the same size and therefore the same rifle will not be best for everyone. Everyone has a different level of tolerance to recoil. With all these variables it's a good thing we have all these wonderful commercial calibers to choose from.

Maybe one day one of these best caliber threads will end in total agreement by everyone and we can all hunt with the same caliber. Wouldn't that be nice?

Just kidding
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Old February 10, 2013, 08:56 PM   #27
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I bought a 7mm-08 for my daughter to deer hunt with. It's about as good of a compromise round as you will ever find.
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:31 PM   #28
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In response to Nathan, I'll be hunting mostly tree stands in woods or overlooking fields.
Thanks for all of your replies.
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Old February 10, 2013, 09:58 PM   #29
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I only have limited experience with hunting, but i'd go with the 7mm-08 for versatility.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:49 AM   #30
tahoe2
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Of the choices you provide, I would select the 7-08, but the 7mm bullets are my favorite choice;

two-7x57 mausers,

one-280 Rem, and

one-284 Winchester,

they are all great killers
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Old February 11, 2013, 01:33 AM   #31
Baylorattorney
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Range of shots under 200 yards .243/308
Range of shots to 300+ 270 Winchester.
I hunt in South Texas brush.
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Old February 11, 2013, 02:54 AM   #32
Ghost1958
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Put a 243 in the engine room of a white tail and its not going anyplace.
My six year old son got his first buck with a Savage 243 bolt action at 350 yrds with a 70 grain bullet. Ive take countless with it one at 600 yards. None went more than 10 yards before dropping and most fell in their tracks.

I did find heavier grain deer loads dont do as well as the lighter grain.
For a first deer rifle for a kid or for an old deer hunter you cant go wrong with it.

Gut shoot a buck with a 243 or a cannon and youll likely track it for a good good while.
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Old February 11, 2013, 09:45 AM   #33
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One of the reasons the 243 is not on my list of ideal medium game rifles is the range of factory ammo thats found on the shelfs in most big box stores.

You can grab yourself a box of 50 grain accutips and head out to the deer woods. But you should know better, right?

Is the 243 a great deer rifle? It can be about perfect with the right choice of ammo and the ability to make good shots.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:02 AM   #34
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldermike
You can grab yourself a box of 50 grain accutips and head out to the deer woods. But you should know better, right?
I thought I knew better, but now I've seen it and what I thought I knew isn't as true as I thought it was....


A video, for those that think a 243 is marginal for deer and for close range only...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY0w1c-gf18
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:10 AM   #35
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DRT and through and through at 688 yards. I wonder how some people arrive at their opinion of the .243. Sometimes I think it is to make up for certain inadequacies.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:12 AM   #36
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Like I said, I have been using the .243 for at least 10 years as my main deer rifle using 100gr Remington Core Lokt. Every deer I shot at with it went in the freezer. My brother in law killed two this past season with his .223 shot in the vitals with Hornady 55gr Vmax and I know a few people who are known to use a .22 WMR for head shots which is very effective but the question was which cartridge would you recommend as a first deer rifle. I still say the 7mm-08 is likely the best all round "deer cartridge".
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:41 AM   #37
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Recoil, price of ammo, versatility for white tails and similar sized animals--these are the factors I'm considering.
All the cartridges you listed kill deer, and do a good job of it when the bullet is put in the right spot but using your critera I'd go with the 270 Winchester. You can find some great deals on ammo if you watch sales and recoil is not bad.
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Old February 11, 2013, 10:43 AM   #38
Brian Pfleuger
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I think the 7-08 is the best (or equal any number of other) all-around big game cartridge for North American hunting but for deer it's got nothing on the 243. The 243 is more than enough and any more just ends up in the tree on the other side.
The 7-08 has more recoil and, for deer, its just more recoil. It's no more effective.
If someone had a 7-08 I wouldn't tell them to buy a 243 instead and if they wanted to hunt moose too, I wouldn't recommend a 243 but, for deer, its unbeatable.
The 243 also has a distinct advantage if you add "and smaller" on the "deer" equation. A 7-08 will certainly kill "and smaller" but certainly with more recoil fatigue than a 243.
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:01 AM   #39
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I could be wrong on this and I agree that for someone who is a decent shot and knows how to control their breathing and contain the "buck fever" .243 is all the gun needed. Where I believe the 7mm round (.284) would shine is with the new hunter who gets excited and doesn't make the perfect shot. The larger round would seemingly to my way of thinking not only have more retained energy and be more likely to put the deer down if the shot wasn't properly placed but, would also create a larger wound channel creating a better blood trail if you did have to trail it up after the shot. I have killed many deer and more with the .243 than any other cartridge but, I have also noticed that the exit wound wasn't much larger than the entrance wound and would have been rough to trail had they not dropped right there or within 15 to 20 feet of where they were shot.
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:05 AM   #40
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I have a 7-08 in a model 7, at 6lbs it has more felt recoil than my 10lb winchester 300 win mag when shot from a bench rest position. Given a 9 lb sporter rifle, then add a scope a sling and a winter coat none of the subject three are producing much felt recoil. IMHO
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:33 AM   #41
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The 243 also has a distinct advantage if you add "and smaller" on the "deer" equation. A 7-08 will certainly kill "and smaller" but certainly with more recoil fatigue than a 243.
Bingo. When I was putting together a combo gun, predators and deer, I went with the .243. If it was for deer on up than a 7mm-08 would of been my choice.

Quote:
Where I believe the 7mm round (.284) would shine is with the new hunter who gets excited and doesn't make the perfect shot.
Does a little bit bigger bullet going a little bit slower enough to correct for this? Nope. But then again, either does a .300 mag.
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:34 AM   #42
CTS
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Given a 9 lb sporter rifle, then add a scope a sling and a winter coat none of the subject three are producing much felt recoil. IMHO
Only problem is, were not talking about a 9lb sporter here. The Ruger American is 6.25 or 6.38 lbs depending on caliber and while I don't think the felt recoil would be that much different between a .243 and a 7mm-08 I used to own a Ruger M77RL in .270 that weighed 6lbs and that thing was uncomfortable to shoot very much. Of course I lived in Florida at the time so you were generally in a t-shirt or light jacket at best.
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:36 AM   #43
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Bingo. When I was putting together a combo gun, predators and deer, I went with the .243. If it was for deer on up than a 7mm-08 would of been my choice.
Agree fully but, once again, I didn't see anything in the OP about other predators. The man asked about a deer cartridge.


Quote:
Does a little bit bigger bullet going a little bit slower enough to correct for this? Nope. But then again, either does a .300 mag.
So you honestly believe that a .244 would make as large a wound channel as a .284 or .308 projectile which would leave a better blood trail? Sorry, not buying. If your going to quote what I said, quote the whole sentence and not just a little snippet to serve your point of view if you don't mind.

Last edited by CTS; February 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM.
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Old February 11, 2013, 11:41 AM   #44
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See what happens when you ask this kind of question? Any of the cartridges listed are superb deer killers. I'd find the rifle I like in any of those chamberings and buy that. When you're talking about any of the 'deer hunting' rounds I think the choice of rifle is more important than the caliber.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:04 PM   #45
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While many "experienced" hunters will tell their tails of lots of deer droping at the mere mention of a 243, nobody will post of their experince of game animals being lost to a faulty shot.
Just like the bigger hole, heavier bullet, larger wound, and lots of blood.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:06 PM   #46
CTS
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Ok. I will attempt to make one more point then I am done. It seems that several on here are trying to make arguments as to why the caliber they hunt with is best. The OP didn't ask what caliber anyone thought was best. He asked which caliber you would recommend to someone as a "first deer rifle". While I personally like the .243 best for some of the same reasons mentioned, it is also the round considered by at least 80%, if not more, of all hunters to be the absolute minimum cartridge adequate for deer sized game. I don't necessarily agree with that either but, at the same time, I feel like it is nothing less than irresponsible to recommend to someone for a first deer rifle the very cartridge that most would consider to be the very minimum adequate to do the job. This is not a contest about whose favorite caliber is better. It should be an attempt to give someone the advise that he asked for without consideration to what you feel is good enough or what your favorite is. There, now I am done.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:07 PM   #47
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So you honestly believe that a .244 would make as large a wound channel as a .284 or .308 projectile which would leave a better blood trail?
Did I say that? I must have missed it.

I'm not one to argue against using enough gun when hunting. I like to use plenty for while I'm not one to worry too much about the critter, I hate losing em and chasing them all over God's green earth trying to finish em off. But once you've got "enough" for the job, not much is gonna make up for a deer shot in the gut or a leg or any other non vital spot. Does equal penetration and 1mm difference to start mean that much? Not in my book.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:12 PM   #48
CTS
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Does a little bit bigger bullet going a little bit slower enough to correct for this? Nope. But then again, either does a .300 mag.
And did I say that? Nope!

Besides, you need to pull out your loading manual and study a little. 7mm-08 in the 100gr range travels a good bit faster than a .243 in that same weight. 100gr .243 and 120gr 7mm-08 travel about the same speed.

Last edited by CTS; February 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM.
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Old February 11, 2013, 12:46 PM   #49
savage10fp308reborn
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wow!

if thread hijacking were a crime, many of you would be going to jail!lol id go with the 243 personally out of the rounds you listed. its flat, its fast, and its PLENTY of power to drop a deer with, especially at 250yds and in as you stated in your first post. My favorite deer cartridge at 250 and in is 223 remington. i have a 308 and a 6.5 creedmoor but i consider those overkill considering most shots taken are between 50yds and 175yds. ive killed maybe25 deer with my 223, all doe. ive personally never had one run, id say 18 to 20 of those deer dropped where they stood (mostly bread basket shots and a few head shots) and the rest dropped where they stood and required a follow up shot for a quick and humane kill. i have a bull barreled ar-15 with an a3 flat top reciever and a leupold vx-1 4-12x scope, and also a remington 700 sps tactical in 223 with a nikon m223 4-16x scope with the 600bdc reticle. 69gr sierra hpbt out of the ar and 55gr nosler ballistic tip out of the remington. i also load the 55gr blitz from sierra for my remington. the scope is calibrated for a 55gr at 3240fps so i like to stick primarily to the 55gr for that gun. i would choose the 223, but of the cartridges listed im a fan of the 243.
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Old February 11, 2013, 01:10 PM   #50
L_Killkenny
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7mm-08 in the 100gr range travels a good bit faster than a .243 in that same weight. 100gr .243 and 120gr 7mm-08 travel about the same speed.
For various reasons you are correct, a 100gr 7mm is about 100fps faster than a 100gr .243. But that's neither here nor there for you are throwing out about every other ballistic principle. There are lot's of good reasons no one makes light for caliber "big game" bullets and you can't compare them against standard/heavier for caliber bullets. BC, SD, bullet integrity are all thrown out the window if you do that. For the record, when you do that the 100gr .243 would pretty well smoke the 100gr 7mm in performance on big game despite the 100fps at the muzzle.

- 100gr .243 Nosler Partition, approx FPS (muzzle) = 3000, SD = .242
- 140 gr 7mm Nosler Partition, approx FPS = 2750, SD = .248

Similar bullet design, similar SD, 250 fps advantage to the .243. That's a comparison that means something. Given equal expansion that .243 should penetrate more than the 7mm, wound channel should be very compable.

(For the record approx SD for 100gr 7mm is .177 and approx for the 120's is .213. Worse potential penetration given equal expansion)
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