View Full Version : Have you shot a .243 and a 7mm-08

March 8, 2006, 12:39 AM
I've been doing way too much research on these two calibers. Situation - looking for a deer gun for my 9 year old. He is large for his age and seems ok with recoil on other guns. He has shot a lot of larger pistols (9mm, 40 s&w). My research shows that everyone likes the .243, but their is a small group that say the 7mm-08 is the best long-term cartrige. It can be purchased off the shelf with lighter loads and then move up. Also, I am hearing that the 7mm-08 is more forgiving with slightly off shots at deer. He is new (actually we are both new) to deer hunting. So my question.... have you shot both? If so what is the recoil difference?

Now I keep thinking that I should buy us both 7mm-08 rifles (I was leaning at a 30-06).


March 8, 2006, 01:17 AM
The 7-08 would be fine for a youth. The 7mm would be good for you. The 7mm wsm would be even better. net rifle .com Forget the 243.

March 8, 2006, 01:28 AM
I wouldn't discount the 243. I know a lot of folks who swear by the cartidge. If he's 9, get a 243 now and then a 30-06 or 308 later. The recoil on the 243 is light enough to keep him from developing a flinch but the impact is plenty for deer. And as far as recoil goes, you might find this interesting: http://www.chuckhawks.com/recoil_table.htm

March 8, 2006, 08:33 AM
Get the kid a .243, he can shoot it for as long as he likes. Its a very effective deer rifle. Get yourself the 30-06, you can't go wrong, wide range of readily available ammo and will take anything on the North American continent.

March 8, 2006, 09:26 AM
Bigredhuskers, huh? I'll guess that you're from Nebraska! :)

The .243 will be fine; just make sure you drill into him that he must pick his shot carefully. A deer that is gut-shot with any caliber can run a long way, and a deer that is gut-shot with a .243 can run a really long way.

Patience with the shootin' is the key -- with any caliber.

March 8, 2006, 10:06 AM
+ 5 (or what ever the current count is on the 243.) take care that the stock fits well. A thicker recoil pad can add length of pull as he grows.

If you don't have a 22lr I'd suggest you make that a high priority. Make sure he understands where the heart and lungs reside in a deer. You can draw pictures of deer at different angles and have him practice "finding" the vitals with his 22lr.

Teach the breathing technique of: Take a medium deep breath, hold for a moment. Then release half of the breath. Squeeze the trigger with even and consistent pressure until a surprise break occurs. The snap shot can be learned latter. Practice in all the positions he could encounter in the field. Use a premium bullet regardless of the caliber.

Jack O'Conner
March 8, 2006, 10:28 AM
You should look at the Reduced Recoil ammo offerings from Remington. To find their website simply type Remington Arms+firearms. Many popular cartridges are now offered this way.

I started my kids on .223, then .243 and 30-30. But 44 Special ammo fired in a 44 magnum carbine is also a good approach. This is a technique we use at our Gun Club for new shooters.

Good hunting to you.

Art Eatman
March 8, 2006, 11:51 AM
Walking-hunting, where I'm likely to get a quartering shot on a running buck, I carry my .30-'06. Mostly-sitting for my hunting, I commonly use my .243 and mostly take neck shots.

I've killed over 20 bucks with each rifle.

Were it my kid, I'd get a .243 and cut the stock down to fit. A thicker recoil pad can be added with age, to keep the correct length of pull.

My legs went and got old, so I've gone to a 700Ti in 7mm08. I figure it's a good 300-yard do-it-all critter, or, say 200 yards on a running mulie.


March 8, 2006, 04:31 PM
get him a .234 I am 19 and I still hunt with one I also stand 6'1"and weigh in about 270 I love it. I do have many calibers of Firearms but when I "start huntin" the big deer that's what I pick up. For your self my first choice would be a .270 that's preference for most people here in Texas but a lot also shoot the .30-06 just a matter of choice.:D :D :D

March 8, 2006, 07:53 PM
I know one hunter that has probably taken more than 50 deer with his .243. He swears by it. Never owned one myself, I prefer the 30.06.

March 8, 2006, 08:36 PM
I have owned both, tho' the 7-08 was a TC Encore so it recoils a bit differently due to stock shape. I sold the 7-08 recently and replaced it with a .308 for personal reasons. The .243 I will not part with willingly. I love it! It is a M70 Win heavy barrel and it is a tackdriver! Not the ideal rifle to haul around a field hunting, but for still-hunting from a stand it is fine. It is soft recoiling and has plenty of power to do the job--all you have to do is put the bullet in the vitals, and that is something you would want to do anyway.

The 7-08 recoiled a lot more than the .243, and the TC stock directed it up into my cheek more than my shoulder. That's one of the reasons I sold it--it was not a 'fun' rifle to shoot.

I'll suggest an oddball caliber for you to investigate should you decide to consider something else than 243. Try the 6.5x55 Swede. Soft recoiling, far reaching, and with excellent knockdown power. You can load up to 160gr RNs in it if you want, but most folk use a 129 or 140 gr. It is very accurate and everyone I've ever met who owned a 6.5x55, loved it!

BUT--if your short list is 243 vs 7-08, I vote 243. Make your child & yourself practice shooting not only from a bench, but offhand if at all possible. If you can find some, get some paper targets with deer photos on them so as to condition yourself to shoot the animal and to practice looking for the vitals area, rather than a black or red target circle.

March 8, 2006, 08:38 PM
ive owned a savage 243 i bought when i was sixteen to hunt deer with and im now 26 it has been the best gun and extremely accurate.now the wife shoots it cause i just bought a new weatherby in 30.06

March 8, 2006, 09:14 PM
now which one.. I'm looking at the savage youth package (I'm assuming I can always add recoil pads or get a new stock), the vangard 243, would love to find a 7600 pump 243... anyway.. if its a 243 which one gets your vote? P.s. time to hit the pawn shops to find one unless you have one you want to part with? send me a pm.. thanks

john in jax
March 8, 2006, 10:02 PM
The .243 is a good whitetail round, but as Art says the 7mm-08 is more of a "do-it-all" cartridge. If you choose a .243 I think you'll want to "upgrade" sooner than if you went with the 7mm-08.

Get yourself a .30-06 and him a 7mm-08. When he's ready to "upgrade" you might just be ready for something with a less kick and yall could just trade.

March 9, 2006, 12:13 AM
I think the 7mm-08 is a lot more versatile for big game, but you have to be able to handload to get the most flexibility for a youngster, because factory offerings are generally stuck in the 140 grain range. I made reduced 7mm-08 loads with 120's for my son to keep recoil below factory .243 levels. He was big for his age and started when he was 10. He now is shooting 140's and this year (at 13) he probably will be up to full house 140's. We went with the 7mm-08 so it could take him from antelope to elk, and I didn't want to go there with a .243, although some do.

March 9, 2006, 02:28 AM

March 9, 2006, 08:55 AM
The savage 110 is what i have and it is very durable.:D :D :D

March 9, 2006, 09:51 AM
I have had a .243 for years, love it but I've never deer hunted with it. Just sold a 30-06 to buy a M70 in 7mm-08. I love it. (incidentally I own 2 other 06's best all around round) Off the bench there is very very little recoil to the 7mm-08. My 5 year old son has rattled off 5 rounds off the bench and never flinched. Recoil is just not an issue and the caliber will fit your child longer than the .243 IMHO.

March 9, 2006, 01:52 PM

As I have stated before IMHO its hard to beat the single shot Handi-Rifle in 243 youth model for a starter rifle. It has 12 1/2" LOP which is great for youth. I prefer not to worry about more than one shot at a time, also it helps the kids become better shots. Its stops the spray and pray mode of hunting.

As the kids grow the rifle can be fitted with additional barrels from .223 to 45-70 and now the S&W .500 mag. The additional barrels cost between $82.00 - $100.00

Again Just my $.02 worth

March 9, 2006, 02:08 PM
Have you thought about splitting the difference with the .260?

Almost right smack in between the 7mm-08 and the 243 in the same parent case. Recoil is a little closer to the .243 than the -08. Energy is improved...what's not to like in a deer starter rifle.

March 9, 2006, 02:17 PM
How about just getting him a .308, it recoils like a baby, and is more powerful than the latter two, otherwise go for the 7mm-08.

March 9, 2006, 03:02 PM
How about just getting him a .308, it recoils like a baby

I disagree. The .308 ain't no 300 mag, but it doesn't recoil like a baby, either -- especially for a 9 year old kid.

The .243 has a very soft recoil, with plenty of power to kill a deer. Which is why it is a great caliber for a 9 year old (or older!).

March 9, 2006, 04:35 PM
I really like my 243's and have killed a fair share of white tails with them. I also like the 7MM 08 and have killed a few white tails with them also. I would really buy a Remington Model 7 in 260 for my son if he were 9 again. A bit beefer in bullet weights can be had than with the 243 and can handle many of the same bullet weights as the 7mm 08. The recoil is an in between thing. Might add a tiny bit of weight in the stock to help with the recoil also. If you have the bucks Mag in port it andf it will feel like a 22LR.

:D Al

H&R Hunter
March 12, 2006, 12:53 AM
H&R makes a grate little 243 that is only $250 you could cut off the stock and replace it later when he gets older plus you can get a secound barrle in a differnt caliber.

I have one and it makes a good varmet and deer rifle, after lapping the barrle it makes .5" groops at 100 yards.

Have a look they come in a lot of differnt cartrages:D

ps. H&R is made by New England Firearms who also own Savage

March 12, 2006, 10:50 AM
Bigred: I have a 243 in the "handi rifle" that I have been needing to get rid of now for 5 years. Laminate stock, blue barrel. The thing I like about the handi rifle is that you can look over at your kid and immediately tell if the rifle is on safe. (Exposed hammer) When I was being taught how to handle firearms, I can't tell you how many times my dad would ask "Is that gun on safe?" Another benifit of the single shot is teaching shot placement. When you've only got one shot, you learn to place the shots. (This still is true for me quail hunting, if I have a pump or a semi, I never seem to hit on the first shot!?)

If your intrested, leave me a PM and we'll cuss and discus it.

Later tatter

March 12, 2006, 03:20 PM
I have two boys, 14 (85lbs) and 13 (130lbs) they both have .22s and shotguns, and they have both fired my 30-30, SKS and .243. We are buying their first deer rifles and I let them select the round. The 13 yr. old selected the 30-06 because he believes he could grow into it and use it to hunt almost anything in North America, the 14 yr. old selected the 270 with much the same reasoning but he felt because he is smaller that the lighter recoil was a big plus. This is with the underrstanding that we will use reduced loads (Hodgdon Youth Loads) at first and pick up the power as they grow into it. My big fear with them is inducing a flinch that will be hard to grow out of. They made their selections after spending a lot of time looking in the ballistic tables and recoil charts mentioned earlier.

March 25, 2006, 02:24 AM
Got my kid a hk 770 2nd hand 308 .Its well ballanced and light for a semi ,semi's have way less kick,308 is lethal and if he happens to wound the beast well....... once the smoke clears there's not a long walk to find it.

March 26, 2006, 10:44 PM
Split the difference some people think the 243 to small for deer although many a deer have fallen to this round. The 7mm might be a little to much recoil. I recommend a 260 to my buddy for his son and he loves it. It fires bullets in 120 to 140 gr with less recoil than the 7mm.

March 27, 2006, 06:07 PM
NEF makes a youth model with a short stock and a 20" barrel in 243 i got one for my kids about 2 yrs ago they have not taken a deer with it but i have i love it it's a great truck gun. I wouldn't be scared to let him use a 243 just make sure to give him alot of range time talk about shot placement that is the key. Mine likes the 85 gr. hollow point better.

Lawyer Daggit
March 27, 2006, 10:44 PM
IMHO .7mm 08 seems to kick a bit more but has less blast than the .243.

I must say I have never been a fan of the .243- although a lot of people whose judgement I respect do. I am however a big fan of the 7 mil.

March 28, 2006, 12:40 AM
This would do, but I think but lenght of pull may be a issue. It would be ideal to find a good rifle your son can grow into and enjoy for a life time. Maybe this rifle would have a cheap replacement stock that can be cut to fit. And like Art said add thicker pad to adjust for length, then when he's grown he has a original new stock.

March 31, 2006, 04:23 PM
Both of those cartridges will work for your intended purpose. However, to help cut down on possible flinching, have your kid wear a magnum thickness wearable recoil shield on the shooting shoulder. Firing from the bench for practice will be when recoil is the worst due to how the body is in relation to the firearm. Using the recoil shield will prevent flinching during practice. During hunting season, when wearing heavier clothing, the mounted feel will be almost identical and the hold will be virtually the same. Once the deer is in sight, the trigger pulled, the recoil won't be noticed.

I use both of these rounds, but all I can say is, they kick less than a steel buttplated 1903 Springfield and M1 Garand. I've gotten to the point where I can rapid fire a bolt action .243 Winchester in case I need to have a quick follow up shot while standing. The 7mm-08 is just a tad more potent in the shoulder, but still acceptable for recoil shy shooters.

April 1, 2006, 02:10 AM
A lot of youngsters and ladies shoot the 243 for deer here in Utah. Light recoil is their reason for liking it. It is a good round for deer.

My own preference for a deer rifle is a 270. This is fast shooting, with a flat trajectory. If you sight in 2 inches high at 100 yards you can shoot point blank up to 300 yards and hit a deer. Ammo is available most places as this is a popular caliber and has been around a long time. Ammo is also reasonably priced. Recoil is noticible and may be uncomfortable for a beginner.

April 1, 2006, 01:31 PM
I have used a 6.5x.257 roberts - the ballistic equivalent to the 260 - for years and have been very pleased. There is not much recoil, accuracy is outstanding and performance has been great on deer, hogs, and coyotes.

The 260 comes in the same short action as the 243 and 7/08. This is a good cartridge for anyone.

April 1, 2006, 11:35 PM
Buy the youth ADL 700 Rem in 7mm-08. when he grows up you can buy from remington a new stock that will make it the gun of a lifetime.

243 is a great cartridge, but your margin for error with it is really reduced. in My mind it becomes more of an experts or experienced shooters round because you loose that leeway. JUST MY OPINION.

The reduced recoil rounds from remington for the 7-08 are wonderful. They kick less than a 6 ppc in a 9 pound sporter. And you get a bigger hole.

I would not let him use a hammer gun. i have seen to many times where kids get excited while pulling that hammer back and get a AD.

April 2, 2006, 10:10 AM
Just a little tid bit of information.
A brand new weatherby vanguard in youth 7mm-08 with a 20 inch barrel comes free with an adult stock.

Yes that is correct free. The total cost is less than $350.
Weatherby stainless barrell, Composite youth and adult stocks. Easily interchangable without removing the scope.

Check this option out. I am sure they make the same rifle in different calibers.

April 2, 2006, 12:51 PM

April 2, 2006, 04:18 PM
My 2 cents: It really depends on what you expect your children to do in the future in terms of shooting. IF they are very accuracy conscious and will shoot the 243 and learn to shoot it well, I would go with the 243. It is more comfortable to shoot than larger calibers and is okay for deer.

If they are going to sight in their rifle and shoot it just prior to hunting season and not be interested in any kind of varmint hunting, I would bounce them up to the 270>30-06>308 power area. The 30 30 would be a fair choice also. They can learn to adapt to a little more recoil in exchange for a more reliable whitetail round. I would not go with 7mm or 300 win mag.

I started out with a 243. Reason was I wanted a combination caliber for varmints and whitetails and I suppose something with a little less recoil. I lost a deer shot in the front shoulder and I purchased a 270 for the following season. I have never regretted that choice.

April 2, 2006, 11:59 PM
I'm not sure if they carry the Vanguard, but they seem to have some of the best prices that I've seen. They also have a large manufacturer base too.

April 5, 2006, 10:15 AM
.243 is what I would get your boy. Light recoil and plenty of power for deer. He's gonna have to make a "good" shot no matter what cartridge he uses. Might as well get him one that will allow him to do so (low recoil = less flinch).

April 15, 2006, 09:48 PM
i have owned a .243. im just 19 so my budget has always limited me to just one deer rifle (thatll change next year when im done college).

my first rifle was a remington model 742 in .243 i loved it but decided i wanted a left handed bolt

i bought a used left handed savage in.270 and kept wishing i had the .243 back

after this school year ends (April 25th) ill be buying a new left handed stainless, synthetic savage in 7mm-08 it comes highly recommended from my older half brother whose other brother has one and routinely takes down moose and elk with it with barely any recoil

April 15, 2006, 09:56 PM
I've never shot a 7mm-08, but I agree with those who say, just split the difference and get a .260 rem - the goldilocks cartridge. You cannot go wrong however - all good cartridges. Just make sure that if you *do* pick .243 or 6mm Rem, explain to the kiddos that it's important not to use the light varmint bullets (55 - 75/80 grains) on deer; use 85s-107s, which are constructed to hold together better and penetrate.