View Full Version : .243 50% better than 30-30?!

May 2, 2005, 11:02 PM
Bit of a newbie here, would like your input.

I have a 30-30 and just bought a .243. I was under the general impression that the 30-30 is an excellent deer rifle and the .243 a little better than marginal (I was going to use it for paper and varmints).

Then I saw this website that seems to indicate that the 100 grain .243 has 55% more energy at 200 yards than the 30-30! Does that mean it it is much more effective on deer at 200 yards?



Tom Matiska
May 3, 2005, 03:53 AM
30-30 is adequate to 150, 243 is excellent to 300++ yards, nothing marginal about it.

May 3, 2005, 07:32 AM
I would say the distance and what your hunting are just as important in picking what one to take hunting. I have taken a few medium sized Michigan Whitetail Deer with a 30-30. I would say 90% of those shots were less than 100 yards. I agree with Tom on a general rule of thumb (general) I would be comfortable out to 150 with that 30-30. The 243 is a much better choice for the longer shot. I think 300 is a good generalization on that rifle too. You must also remember your ammunition choice is very important as well. Most all the manufactures of ammunition have very well detailed ballistic data on their websites. Take the time and research a bunch and you will be happy you did. Here are just some ideas.

Reminington, Federal, Sellier&Bellot, Winchester, Hornady, Cor-Bon, just to name a few.......

Good luck.......and good shooting :D

Regards.... Rojoe67

*Both of the cartridges you noted are still in the lower end of the price listings too. That is a big plus because you can practice a little more and be that much more confident. In my area 10.99-14.99 will get both ammunitions we have talked about. (20 round box)

May 3, 2005, 09:44 AM
A .243 will work just fine for deer.

I have seen a few dropped in their tracks by a .243.

May 3, 2005, 01:33 PM
A 30-30 is a large, slow bullet, while the .243 is a small, fast bullet (comparatively speaking). They start out with about the same energy, but the .243 keeps its power longer than the 30-30 due to its higher velocity.

May 3, 2005, 05:17 PM
It may have 50% more energy, true enough, but that does not make it 50% better. I think that overall, for an all-purpose deer gun, it's *slightly* better than the .30-30, but I think the .30-30 is actually a slightly better deer gun over the .243 at *shorter ranges* (a brush gun), because it's a heavier bullet; then the .243 surpasses it at longer ranges; NOT because the .243 has more energy, even though it does, but only because it's slightly easier to succesfully make hits, due to the longer point blank range, and thus easier for the less-well-trained to make a hit (because holdover does not need to be calculated), than the .30-30 - for say ranges to 200-250 yards. I'd say that the .243 is NOT marginal for deer, but just beyond marginal, to simply "adequate", even for large deer, *IF* properly constructed bullets are used - and heavy 100-105s are used for big deer, and at least 80 grainers for smaller deer. So it all comes down to, are there, or are there not going to be open fields where you hunt, where you might end up taking a longer shot? In many areas in the east and south, such as the ozark forest in eastern OK and Ark, it's so thick that you'd never shoot beyond 40 or 50 yards in all liklihood, even if shooting across a stream - the .30-30 is perfect for that type of flora. Farmland is a different story - open fields & pastures abound.

Geoff Timm
May 3, 2005, 06:15 PM
From the comparison chart at the Remington.com site:

With what are the best bullet weights for both round (my opinion)

Index No. Cartridge Type Wt. (grs) Bullet Style Primer No. Ballistic Coefficient
R30302 Remington Express 170 Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 0.254
R243W3 Remington Express 100 Pointed Soft Point Core-Lokt® 9 1/2 0.356
VELOCITY (ft/sec)
Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
Remington Express 170 SP CL 2200 1895 1619 1381 1191 1061
Remington Express 100 PSP CL 2960 2697 2449 2215 1993 1786
ENERGY (ft-lbs)
Cartridge Type Bullet Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
Remington Express 170 SP CL 1827 1355 989 720 535 425
Remington Express 100 PSP CL 1945 1615 1332 1089 882 708
Cartridge Type Bullet 50 100 150 200 250 300
Remington Express 170 SP CL 0.3 zero -2.7 -8.3 -17.1 -29.9
Remington Express 100 PSP CL 0.1 0.7 zero -2.0 -5.4 -10.4
Cartridge Type Bullet 100 150 200 250 300 400 500
Remington Express 170 SP CL 1.8 zero -4.6 -12.6 -24.5 -62.6 -125.3
Remington Express 100 PSP CL 1.6 1.5 zero -2.9 -7.5 -22.1 -45.4

Who will see how that looks on the Firing Line. :cool:

John Y Cannuck
May 3, 2005, 08:27 PM
Handloaded in good bolt guns, with bullets of similar designs to those used by the 243, the 30-30 is capable of 300 yard shots too.
If you want to compare the cartridges, without specifying factory loadings, they should be given a level playing field.
The 30-30 loaded to 2200 fps with a 165 BT spire point, is still drifting along at 1684fps at 300 yards, with 1039 ft lbs energy.
If sighted at 200 yards, it's 13.8" low at 300.

That's pretty competative for an old cartridge don't you think? :p

May 3, 2005, 09:58 PM
My 2 cents worth is that between 200 and 300 yards there is significant bullet drop so effectiveness on a deer is dependant not so much upon terminal energy but upon the ability of the hunter to judge range and elevation. A deer heart is the size of your fist and its lungs the size of a pie plate. Can you hit a pie plate 10 out of 10 shots at varying ranges between 200 and 300 yards with your 243 or 30-30?

May 5, 2005, 02:03 AM
I bagged a deer at 176 yds with a .243 and looked far and wide for him for about 2 hours. Turns out he only stepped several yards and dropped.

Better than .30-30? I don't know. But good for hunting? Yes!!!

Johnny Guest
May 5, 2005, 08:10 AM
Geoff Timm did pretty much what I was about to do, copying some of the excellent data from the Remington ammo tables. With great respect to Mr. Timm, I must submit that many think that the best bullet weight for the .30-30 is actually the 150 gr. The 170 is, without question, better at short ranges, but the reduced velocity DOES result in a more arced trajectory. The 150 does a good deal better at longer ranges. I suggest you might want to go to - -
and play with the comparison tables, plugging in all three - - the .30-30 in both 150 and 170 and the .243 in 100.

Please note, too - - All three of these loads are calculated for use in 24-inch barrels. Velocities will be significantly lower in the more commonly seen, shorter length barrels. The vast majority of .30-30s, at least for the last 60 years, have been made with 20 inch barrels.

Another factor is the sights. The vast majority of .243 rifles are outfitted with 'scope sights, making precise aiming a lot easier. And, typically, the .30-30 is seen in the form of a lever action arm, used with the factory buckhorn or semi-buckhorn open sight. The utility of the .30-30 may be vastly improved by installation of a good aperture rear sight. Marlins and later model Winchesters are easily mounted with scope sights.

If the .30-30 cartridge is used in a bolt action or single shot action with a scope, it indeed becomes a solid 200-yard proposition. If the shooter is skilled at range estimation, there is sufficient energy to stretch that a bit.

The above comments about proper choice of bullets in the .243 are crucial. I submit that while the trajectory is plenty flat enough to allow HITS at 300 yards+, the ENERGY remaining at the longer ranges has greatly diminished, and bullet performance is problematic.

MeekAndMild's post is directly on point. The ability of the shooter, using a particular rifle/sight/ammo combination, to consistently hit a 10" circle is more what dictates maximum range than a bunch of numbers on paper. Oh, and, let's stipulate, from field positions, not just from a bench rest. My only .30-30 is a early-1950s vintage Model '94 with a 16" barrel and aperture sights. I handload and have fired some hundreds of rounds through it. It is an excellent thick cover arm, but MY max range for sporting use is about 100 yards.


May 5, 2005, 09:29 AM
The 30-30 loaded to 2200 fps with a 165 BT spire point, is still drifting along at 1684fps at 300 yards, with 1039 ft lbs energy.
If sighted at 200 yards, it's 13.8" low at 300.

That's pretty competative for an old cartridge don't you think

Yes. And for the newbie handloader with a tube mag levergun, it may also get them killed. IOW, don't try this at home unless you have a single shot or gun with a box type magazine, kiddos. But good point, to compare apples to apples. It's just that probably 90% of the .30-30s out there are in leverguns with tube mags.

May 5, 2005, 11:03 AM
If you want to compare apples to apples we will assume that both rifles will have good scopes. With that in mind, I am plenty comfortable shooting out to 220 yards with my 30-30. Zeroed out to 190 yds. I don't have to play with any holdover.

As far as energy is concerned...I am reluctant to rely on energy figures by themselves...in addition, I like to use the Taylor Knockout Value for caliber/cartridge comparison since, although not perfect, it seems to offer a more accurate comparison of calibers/cartridges in how "hard" they hit at similar distances.

.243 Winchester zeroed at 200 yds.:

.243 * velocity * bullet weight = TKO value
.243 * 2590 * 95 = 8.54 TKO (@ 200 yds.) 0" flat
.243 * 2347 * 95 = 7.74 TKO (@ 300 yds.) -6.6" drop

30-30 Winchester zeroed at 190 yds.:

.308 * velocity * bullet weight = TKO value
.308 * 1605 * 150 = 10.59 TKO (@ 200 yds.) -1" drop
.308 * 1303 * 150 = 8.59 TKO (@ 300 yds.) -18" drop

As you can see, the primary advantage of the .243 is that it has significantly flatter trajectory and, hence, range. These are due to the combination of its bullet design and velocity. Having said that, I wouldn't advise my son to shoot a deer past 300 yds. with his .243 since I question the cartridge's ability to fully penetrate much beyond that distance..especially with a full broadside shot through both shoulders.

The 30-30 drops like a rock once you get out past 220 yds. but still hits harder than the faster moving .243. Since 95% of all deer are taken within 200 yds. I feel better using the 30-30 since, in my experience, penetration is more consistent due to its much larger and heavier bullet. I have yet to recover a 150gr. bullet from a deer at 200 yds. with the 30-30. Additionally, the .243 can do some pretty wicked damage to the meat depending on how close you shoot the deer...I like to save as much meat as I can.

I love the .243 cartridge but am equally fond of the 30-30 (nostalgia I guess). My two boys are small fellas and love to shoot the .243 due to the lighter recoil. I love the 30-30 because of what I've mentioned up to this point AND due to the fact that it is my first and only deer gun. If I find myself in a situation where I will need to shoot across a 250-500 yd. field then I will have to seriously consider getting my hands on a .270 Winchester or maybe (possibly) a 7mm Rem. mag. We'll see.

Just my thoughts.


May 5, 2005, 11:08 AM
The correct formula for calculating the Taylor Knockout Value is:

.243 * velocity * bullet weight/7000 = TKO value
.243 * 2590 * 95/7000 = 8.54 TKO (@ 200 yds.) 0" flat
.243 * 2347 * 95/7000 = 7.74 TKO (@ 300 yds.) -6.6" drop

30-30 Winchester zeroed at 190 yds.:

.308 * velocity * bullet weight/7000 = TKO value
.308 * 1605 * 150/7000 = 10.59 TKO (@ 200 yds.) -1" drop
.308 * 1303 * 150/7000 = 8.59 TKO (@ 300 yds.) -18" drop

May 5, 2005, 09:04 PM
Interesting - now I know the rest of the story. I knew there had to be more to it than strictly energy figures. It makes intuitive sense to me.

Using the Taylor Knockout Scale a .223 comes in just under a 9mm (6 vs 7 respectively using the numbers from this web site (http://matrix.dumpshock.com/raygun/downloads/taylor.html).)

Art Eatman
May 5, 2005, 09:56 PM
I've thoroughly enjoyed my own .243. I've killed some 20+ cenTex whitetail, mostly inside of 200 yards and mostly field-dressing at around 120 and less. I mostly took neck shots. But, Mr. Sierra's 85-grain HPBT does create a double-handfull of mush if you take a heart/lung shot. I wouldn't use the .243 on a west Texas mule deer, nor would I use it on a running deer--generally. I did kill a couple of running whitetail, but they were only forty or fifty yards off and in the open; shots like that are no big deal.

But I've always been a bolt-guy; anybody who is happy with a lever gun and knows its and his limitations oughta do just fine.


May 6, 2005, 07:40 PM
say what??
the only time that a .30-30 is better than .243 for deer hunting is in close cover where the heavier bullets and faster handling rifles come into their own.

May 19, 2005, 03:58 PM
It's bullet performance in my opinion. A given bullet, within it's given range of speed, equals a mushroomed bullet out the other side of the lungs.

May 22, 2005, 03:33 AM
A 243 is a great cartridge, that said, for big deer, minnesota and into manitoba where they grow a bit bigger to stay alive duringhte winter months a 243 is the bottom line. At closer ranges in the woods a 3030 with 170 noslers is pretty darn hard to beat. For southern deer on the been field or on the scrub. a 243 is nearly perfect