View Full Version : first deer with 243, question?

December 27, 2008, 06:35 PM
Just got a 243 at Christmas and shot a doe at about 180 yds slightly quartering away today. I could not tell if I hit or not by the deers reaction and the deer ran about 50-60 yards leaving an easy to follow blood trail before expiring. I was alarmed when I could not find an exit wound. The bullet hit the opposite shoulder and did not exit. 100 grain Core-lokt. Is this typical for a 243? The end result was positive but every deer I have ever shot with my 7mm-08 using 140grain fusion ammo has dropped as if struck dead by God almighty himself. Is this a problem with the bullet or the caliber or should I just stop worrying about it since the end result was meat in the freezer and a relatively clean, quick kill?

December 27, 2008, 07:15 PM
My wife uses a .243 on our small deer and hogs ( hogs can get much bigger than the deer ) here in Fl. Been using the Sierra Gameking 100 grain in it. We've lost not the first aninal she's shot ....20 or so in the last few years. Now as we hunt thick stuff all the shots have been at less than 50 yards, the vast majority less than 25.

I've noted the same thing you mention. Hardly ever a exit wound but with proper placement it does a very good job. Still I do like something that goes through myself. Bigger slower bullet that does less meat damage....... A .243 hitting bone messes up a good bit of meat, more than my .35 Rem.

One of my oldest friends has used a Ruger MD 77 in .243 for almost 20 years. I've seen a bunch of deer and hogs he's taken with it too. He hand-loads Nosler partisions and has better luck getting them to go through. I think you can get Federal Premium factory loads with that bullet. Might try that.

December 27, 2008, 09:14 PM
I have shot 3 deer this year with the 100gr core lokts and 2 were through and through with exits. These were both broadside shots. I shot the third doe at a hard quartering away angle and the bullet stopped against the hide on the far side shoulder. This shot entered behind the ribs and hit a rib and the shoulder and while it did not exit, it did stay together. I have had similar results with other popular deer calibers.

I would say that at 180 yards and hitting a shoulder that you should not expect to get an exit wound.

December 27, 2008, 09:14 PM
Sounds like the perfect round/shot to me. It expended all of its energy in the animal and didn't mess up any more meat (exit wound).

December 27, 2008, 10:10 PM
I shot a buck a few years ago broadside in the ribs at about 50 yards with a .308 caliber 165 grain Sierra Game King going 3000 FPS. I was surprised. The bullet did not go through the animal, but the animal didn't go anywhere either. Two trains of thought. One is, as stated, that all the energy is transfered to the animal if no exit. The other is that a through shot leaves a better blood trail. Maybe if we could get it to barely fall out the other side.:)

December 27, 2008, 10:59 PM
A 12ga slug doesn't pass through either. I hit one last year that was quartered toward me. I actually found the slug (and wadding) in the rear hip, opposite the entry hole.

December 28, 2008, 09:25 PM
I've been hunting deer with a .243 cal/100 grains for years now and what happened to you is typical of every deer I've ever killed with it. The first one I killed was about a 120 yard shot quartered away. It turned on me at the last minute and I shot him in the left ham. The deer took off so fast I thought I missed him. Ran about 30 yds and turned into the woods. Found him about 15 yards in from where he went in. Dead of course. When I hunt deer with my 243 I expect this to happen.

December 28, 2008, 09:32 PM
friend a mine just shot his first deer this yr.... 6 pointer.. with a .243 his dad bought for him a few yrs back... was aprox 70 yards out... ran probably 100 ft and fell sliding down a small bank... his bullet never exited either...

December 29, 2008, 12:35 AM
I suspect bullet construction was a major contributor here. The old standby CoreLokt tends to expand, and lose energy faster than many of the more modern designs. (I don't see that as a problem. It is my favorite bullet in several calibers.)

Another factor could be the weight you were using. 100 grain bullets, although common, typically have trouble stabilizing in many .243s. If the bullet was unstable, it could have been tumbling before hitting the animal; or destabilized when it hit... causing extreme loss of energy.

As for my experience - I have only shot one pronghorn antelope with the .243 Winchester. Serious penetration, major tissue damage, no exit. I was using a 100 grain Winchester Power Point, but it is a similar design to the CoreLokt. (And, a bullet I will never use again; after discovering how inconsistently they are constructed.)

December 29, 2008, 11:32 AM
i shot a doe a week or two ago with my 243 from about 50-60 yards it blew right through her and she still went about 20 yards

December 29, 2008, 02:17 PM
My 6mm rem(.243 bullet size) leaves an exit wound about half the time. It also has been fatal every time.

December 29, 2008, 03:11 PM
Sounds as if you did O.K. to me. I am A 243cal. fan also. You may not get an exit wound from other calibers all the time. But this does not mean they are not efficient. Exits depend on lots of factors such as the angle the bullet hits, the area it hits, the bullet you use and so forth. The main thing is the result and you had A good one.

December 29, 2008, 04:22 PM
A .243 is plenty for deer, as long as you do your part and put the bullet where is needs to go. personally I only take broad side shots and have not had any penetration issues with 100 gr power points, 100 grain corelocts, 95 grain ballistic tips ( the remington accutip or the win premium ). I have never recovered a bullet from any deer shot broadside at any range ( from 10 feet to 250 yards ), all passed through completely.

I would not use it if I was presented with shots that had to plow the length of the deer or break a shoulder to get to the heart/ lungs.

December 29, 2008, 05:19 PM
I deer hunt mainly with sabot slugs and usually go for a heart shot or heart/lung shot. The sabot always passes through as it connect only with hide and soft tissue. This shot will bleed a deer dry in about ten minutes and they rarely can run for more than 30 yards.

With a rifle I usually go for a shoulder shot to drop the deer where it stands as sometimes a rifle shot doesn't bleed well and a slightly off shot can let a deer run a mile or more.

A lot of my friends swear by neck shots and backbone shots, I only shoot trophys and a neck shot might mess up the cape, and I think a backbone shot is too hard. These guys get about 1 in 3 deer they shoot at and I have never failed to harvest a deer that I have shot at, despite some high risk shots (try 150 yards with a sabot and hard sights on a running deer).