View Full Version : experiences with different .243 loads?

January 7, 2007, 09:07 PM
i am going to be shooting some coyote and prairie dogs soon; i was wondering how many grains are optimum for both of these game; i have a savage model 10 in .243 and have been shooting alot of 100 grain soft point but i am wondering if switching to a lighter load will be just as effective; what are the pros and cons of the (a) 100 grain soft point and (b)70 grain nosler ballistic tip; i am wondering about trajectory and speed of both of these; any experiences with .243's and different loads will be appreciated; thank you

January 7, 2007, 11:09 PM
When shooting coyotes and smaller game with a .243 you should switch to a lighter bullet.

The heavy bullets 85 grains and up are generally constructed heavier for larger game such as deer. To get the best performance youll have to find a lighter bullet that your particular gun likes.

I shot some 75 grainers in my .243 but it was an old remington model 742 and wasnt quite accurate enough for really small targets at a couple hundred yards.

Art Eatman
January 8, 2007, 12:35 PM
I started out with my .243 with the intent to limit it to varmints. I did a bit of experimenting with the 70-grain Hornady flat-base and the Sierra 85-grain HPBT. Both were sub-MOA for five-shot groups in my Sako carbine.

The deer at my home place near Austin were smallish; the 85-grain bullet worked just fine. I was generally picky about neck shots, though. But, I quit using the 70-grain bullet and over the last umpteen years have just used the 85-grain bullet for anything I'm gonna shoot. It's definitely ruinacious on coyotes.

I've bought some of these relatively new 55-grain bullets, but haven't tried them yet. The word is that they're devastating.

I'd bet that if you're expecting shots out toward 400 yards, the 85-grain would be preferred. But for 300 and in, the lighter bullets would be great.

Speculating, if you load the 55-grain bullet down a bit, and not shoot very quickly over extended strings of fire, you'd get great barrel life with good results on varmints. Say, 3,500 ft/sec instead of 4,000.


January 8, 2007, 01:34 PM
Art I shoot the CT 55's in my .243 and they are up around 38-3900. say with limited fire while hunting 1 maybe 2 shots hear and there how will barrel life be?

January 9, 2007, 02:26 PM
My dad and I got into some p-dogs in MT 2 seasons ago. We had tagged out and were doing some scouting so the only rfle we had with us was my A-bolt in .243. I had 100 gr soft points and I would say they are WAY overkill. Unless, of course, flying p-dogs is the desired end result.

Jack O'Conner
January 9, 2007, 07:28 PM
Sierra 80 grain bullets are very accurate.

January 10, 2007, 11:36 AM
most 80 grainers have the best balance of explosive damage, trajectory, and wind-bucking ability for varmints.

January 10, 2007, 02:59 PM
Speer 75 gr hollow point( not the TNT one) Rem case, CCI benchrest primer and 48grs ( hodgdon load) of H 4831, sub moa all the time 3300-3400 fps and devastates anything yote size and smaller, I have taken quite few smaller deer with them as well but I prefer a bit more weight for deer sized hunting.:)

Art Eatman
January 12, 2007, 10:28 PM
Everything I've ever read sorta summarizes that while the "hot" cartridges do wear out the throat faster, life is extended quite a bit by hunting-style shooting, avoiding long and rapid strings of fire.

Apparently, downloading by only 200 to 300 ft/sec below max is "salubrious", as well.


January 13, 2007, 06:42 AM
Pick the most accurate in a heavier bullet because of wind deflection and learn your paticular bullet drop in your rifle. It can acutally make you a better shot with that rifle, because you will know and have shot the bullet drop for various distances.

January 13, 2007, 08:12 AM
For commercial loads I use the Federal Premium loads with 85 grain Barnes X (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=517884) bullets.

Another great factory load is the Hornady Custom Ammunition 95 Grain Super Shock Tip (http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=141963)

Either one is great on whitetail deer as well.

Art Eatman
January 13, 2007, 11:27 AM
I've used the Sierra 85-grain HPBT on coyotes and jackrabbits. Ruinacious. :)

On my only prairie dog hunt, back around Memorial Day weekend last year, I used a .223 with 55-grain bullets. I was getting around four inches of wind drift at 300 yards; clean kills, though. I'd think the 55-grain .243 bullet would work well to 400, once you figure the windage. For longer than 400, I think I'd move back up to the 85-grain. Just thinking out loud...