View Full Version : Help pick a 20" .243

February 26, 2002, 03:34 PM
I am wanting to get a .243 for an all-around bolt rifle. Currently my only rifles are a 10/22 and a SAR-1 (VEPR II on order).

Wanting a handy size without giving up too much velocity so I have settled on a 20" barrel.

Also wanting something light and easy to carry.

In my price range...

Ruger All Weather Ultra-Light, stainless, synthetic stock, 6.5 lbs
Ruger Ultra-Light, blued, walnut stock, 6.0 lbs
Savage Sierra 10FM, blued, synthetic stock, 6.25 lbs

There are only two real reasons I am considering the Ruger over the Savage...

1) I've read the Savage synthetic stock is real crap, is the Ruger synthetic or walnut a better choice?

2) The Ruger being available in stainless is a plus as I sometime neglect to give my firearms a high level of care. Tarnish happens :D Not always, but it has.

Understand the trigger on either of them will probably need attention. Which will need it the most?

Would appreciate opinions on the above choices or any maybe better obvious choices I may have overlooked.

Thanks, Monty

February 26, 2002, 04:07 PM
How about a stainless Remington Model 7 or a Browning Stainless Stalker short action.

February 26, 2002, 04:16 PM
Probably both good choices but I don't know that I need to spend that much extra to really get what I want. Are the Rem M7 and the Browning worth the extra money?

Looks like the A-Bolt Micro Hunter is the only Browning available 20"

Commander Fan
February 26, 2002, 05:07 PM
Don't discount the Ruger Compacts. I got one of the stainless models with the laminated stocks in .243. The barrel is only 16.5", but it deliveres VERY impressive accuracy. I will drop you a personal message about the group sizes I've recorded. They are unbelieveable.

I credit this to the stiffness of the shorter barrel creating less barrel frequency. With a longer barrel the vibration effect at the muzzle covers a larger area, allowing groups to open up farther. A barrel of the same diameter, only shorter, will cover less area. Think of it like an expandable baton. If you move it in a circular motion when it's closed, the area of movement at the tip is much less than when it's fully extended.

My laminated version weighs in at 5 3/4 lbs makng it very comfortable to carry. Being fairly anal when it comes to scope mounting systems, I acra-welded the area between the rings and the integral bases. It will take a hammer to remove them, should I ever require them off, but I perform these measures on all my scope mounting systems. Lapping of the rings follow this step.

This is the vital link between rifle and it's optics. When the mouting is finished there's no sign of any work performed. I use a similar process when mounting Remington/Winchester/Savage rings and bases. Turning the base and rings into a one-piece unit.

The Ruger Trigger-
You will be warned about this. I'm so glad Ruger's lawyers install these.:) These help keep the prices of the rifles down, making them less expensive for me, since nobody wants to buy them. It is the simplist disign there is(2 parts and a spring), but produces an excellant trigger when worked. This will usually cost around $30-$40 at the 'smith. I have reworked all my triggers myself, following diagrams at this very helpfull link.RUGER 77 TRIGGER JOB (http://www.centerfirecentral.com/77trigger.html )

In the 80's the only bolt-actions I would buy were Remingtons. Then around ten years ago I started experimenting with different brands, including Winchester & Savage. Now I'm stuck on the Rugers and won't ever change back. The Mauser-style bolts and simplicity of the entire design is what hooked me. And the .243 cartridge is probably my favorite.

I'm sure Art will comment on your choice of rifle and caliber. He has a history with this settup also.

Art Eatman
February 26, 2002, 09:53 PM
Well, ya got me sorta betwixt and between. My .243 is an old Sako Forester, 19" barrel, from some 30 years back. Luvvit! I've killed around 20 Bambis with it, and a fair number of coyotes. Ruinacious on feral housecats, too.

My only Ruger rifle (besides a 10/22) at the moment is a plain-vanilla 77 Mk II in .223. I will say that I'm happy with the wood stock and the factory bedding. 1/2 MOA, even when the factory trigger was still in it. (I went the Timney route.)

I'm opinionated against stainless and plastic. Just aesthetics, nothing more. My 700Ti is in spite of the stainles and black plastic, not because of. I wanted the light weight and 22" barrel.

Maybeso you need to do some feeling and fondling--of the rifles--and see which puts that little "Take me home!" voice in your ear...

:), Art

February 27, 2002, 09:38 AM
Commander, thanks for the info on the compact. Had looked at it and concluded that was too much barrel to give up. Glad to hear about the accuracy. Know how much velocity that short barrel gives up over a 20"? Look forward to a message about those group sizes. And the laminated stock is a real plus. My 10/22 is a laminated stock/stainless version.

Thanks, Monty

Art Eatman
February 27, 2002, 11:07 AM
Monty, for years the standard factory deal for information about muzzle velocities for most cartridges was the 26" barrel.

This has changed, somewhat, with the advent of the numerous reloading manuals and the various rifles they use for chronographing loads. And fewer 26" rifles, in general.

Anyhow, the rule of thumb for most cartridges of the .308-type of case is about 50 ft/sec per inch reduction in barrel length from whatever datum you start with. For the '06 and Magnums and overbore cartridges, it's more like 70 ft/sec/inch.

Mr. Hodgdon sez an 85-grain bullet in a 26" barrel can be pushed to 3,300 ft/sec. A 20" barrel should give you some 3,000 ft/sec; a 16-1/2" barrel, 2,850. Roughly. Good enough for guesstimation.

:), Art

February 27, 2002, 12:07 PM
The .243's too big for a 20" barrel - I'd go with a 6BR, or something like a 7/08...

February 27, 2002, 12:18 PM
The .243's too big for a 20" barrel

What does this mean????


Commander Fan
February 27, 2002, 05:36 PM
Yea, and the 7mm/08 is the EXACT same case, only it's necked down to .243.

Monty, I sent you that message. It was alot longer when I started, but the system only allows 2,000 charactors. You missed out on a lot of good BS.:)

February 28, 2002, 03:32 AM
I'd go with a CZ 550 FS, 20.5 inch barrel, fine old world craftsmanship, Mauser 98 action, hammer forged barrel CONTROL FEED mauser type extractor, . About $500. at J&G sales. I have 3 CZs in 416 Rigby, 243 win and 7mm Mauser. They caN'T BE BEAT! they are the only new bolt action sporting rifles I buy now.


Commander Fan
February 28, 2002, 04:31 AM
Well, you just described the Ruger.

"Mauser 98 action, hammer-forged barrel, CONTROL FEED Mauser type extractor, around $500.":)

And guess what? It says 'USA' on the barrel(I work Union).

But I'm sure the CZ is a fine rifle also.

February 28, 2002, 07:08 AM
I used to buy Ruger, but since he volunteraly caved in on the magazine size issue, among others, I don't any more. Another thing I don't like is the investment cast action, I prefer one machined out of a solid piece. I try to buy American, (just ordered a M1A), but will make exceptions.

February 28, 2002, 11:54 AM
My "too large" I mean that the case holds more powder than the 20" barrel will deal with well... A case like a 6BR would be more efficient on powder, with the same, or better, velocity profile. The 7/08 case is roughly the same size as the .243, but lets you use a heavier bullet...

Art Eatman
February 28, 2002, 12:19 PM
Stepping into this "too big" thing: From my 19" .243, 37.5 grains of 3031 gives a much larger muzzle flash than 52.5 grains of 4064 in my 26" 30-'06. In other words, not as high a percentage of the full charge is burned inside the barrel, with the .243. (Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

However, it's never seemed to matter to Wiley or Bambi. Or me. :)


February 28, 2002, 09:15 PM
I agree with Art concerning the stainless and plastic. The only plastic I want on any gun is a AR or a FAL.

I got a CZ 550 FS in 9.3x62mm for Christmas a great shooter and workmanship is also great.

My 243 is a Browning pump great shooter and what wood it has.

I too buy American if I want but as an American I buy what I want from where I want.


March 2, 2002, 02:04 PM
Well the talk of the compact has got my attention. What do you all think of .243 with 16 1/2" vs 20" vs 22"? I know I don't care for the recoil of the .308 in a 6lb to 6 1/2lb rifle so is there a better choice than .243 with less recoil than the .308, especially in the shorter barrel lenghts?

Thanks, Monty

Art Eatman
March 2, 2002, 05:12 PM
One thing for sure: The flash and noise of a 16-1/2" .243 is gonna be somewhere in the neighborhood of "annoying". My 19" critter is bad enough.

I don't see any .243 as having enough recoil to talk about. My Sako, all dressed to shoot, weighs seven pounds.

Of the choices, I'd go the 20" or 22", depending on the weight of the rifle.

Lightweight is good, but I've walked many a ten-mile day in rough country with 9-1/4 pounds of long-barrelled '06. However, knowing your only shot could be at 400 or so yards you want all the help you can get.

:), Art

March 2, 2002, 10:13 PM
You really should get your hands on a Thompson Encore Carbine.

You can have a 26" barrel and it will still be shorter and lighter than a 20" bbl bolt rifle.

April 3, 2002, 09:10 AM

That's exactly what I did. T/C is kown for amazing accuracy and the ability to change barrles for $200 makes the Encore a good choice in my book.