View Full Version : Shot placement on deer w/ .243?

November 25, 2000, 06:15 PM
I'm going hunting for the first time soon, so I'm obviously not experienced. Where should I place the shot with a .243 on a whitetail? Above pit of the forelimb? Thanks.

Hot Core
November 25, 2000, 06:52 PM
Hey BTR, Let me recommend you purchase a couple of life size archery Deer targets. Some of them have the internal anatomy drawn onto the target with light dashed lines. Just getting the "reality check" that a Whitetail is really only 3 feet tall (36"-40") helps understand a whole lot.

Also, it helps to imagine the heart about the size of a softball located between the front legs and an inch or two up from the bottom of the chest.

My favorite shot with a 243Win is "low" just behind the near shoulder so the bullet is headed directly at the off-side shoulder. It takes patience to wait for the correct shot opportunity, but it is worth it.

Another good shot is "low" directly into the chest, but the Deer tends to run a bit more when using this shot than the previous one. No gurantee though, it might just drop in it's tracks with either shot.

If you are using factory ammo, you would do well to use one of the 100gr Spire Point loads offered by all the manufactures.

Another good idea is to keep all your shots in the forward 1/3 of the Deer. When you get further back than that, you are either "Gut Shooting" or shooting at the "Wrong End".

Good hunting and clean 1-shot kills, Hot Core

November 25, 2000, 07:01 PM
Thanks, Hot Core.

The ammo we have is 100 grain Winchester Supreme. Good enough?

Nevada Fitch
November 25, 2000, 11:38 PM
Good advice was given by all on shot placement.I just wanted to say since you haven't hunted that much,It has been my experience that many times a deer will run off with practically no sign of being hit,acually an old hand at shooting deer can usually tell but for the less experienced it will appear that you missed sometimes when in fact you made a fatal shot.The deer may not go far but it quite often gets out of sight before going down.And depending on several different things can go a fair distance with even 75 to 100yds not being unusual, so be sure and check out every shot even if you don't find blood follow the way the deer went for a ways and look close.More times than not you will find it lying dead within 30 to 50yds.

November 26, 2000, 02:09 AM
True what fitch said. For beginer big game hunters alot of people recommend shoulder shots. Any deer shot in the shoulder will drop instantly, it's breaks the front legs and goes through the lungs/heart area. They may get up and stumble a few yards after that, but they will not make the yardage that a lung or hear shot deer can make. Alot of times a deer won't even flinch when shot right thru the lungs, and they may not bleed alot or leave sign on the ground, but if you shoot their legs out from under them they're garunteed to fall, and until you get alot of hunting, and with your gun, I'd recommend shoulder shots.
And yes, 100gr. are good for deer, that's what I use in my .243. What model are you shooting? Good luck, Bad.

November 26, 2000, 09:04 AM
Thanks, everybody.

It's a Browning 1885 replica, single shot, with leopold scope. Frankly, I'm a little nervous about using a caliber seemingly this small, any thoughts?

Also, is there a site where the shots you mentioned, like the shoulder, are shown on a deer?

Art Eatman
November 26, 2000, 09:35 AM
I've eaten about 20 deer that I killed with a .243; I'd just suggest that you quit worrying about it. They fell just as dead as the 20+ I've killed with an '06.

You lay the crosshairs right behind the front leg, low on the chest, and you'll do just fine. Bad Medicine's notion about breaking the front legs isn't bad, either.

For sure, there's no rule against shooting them in the head, either. The ear-hole is a good target; makes for a one-time event.

Mainest, don't go to worrying about it. You'll make yourself your own worst problem. Just shoot the silly thing and go gut it. :)


By-bye; heading out for camp.

November 26, 2000, 02:52 PM
if you but lead in the works (heart, lungs) it will drop them.

Hot Core
November 26, 2000, 05:42 PM
Hey BTR, Yes, those 100gr Winchesters should do just fine for you. It sounds as if you do not "load your own" (nothing at all wrong with that), just let your rifle determine which factory load it likes the best and use that one. Sometimes you can change brands of ammo and cut the groups in half, or have the opposite happen.

I've shot a 243Win for many years and the only complaint I have with them is the size of the "Exit Hole" is not quite as large as I like. Doesn't matter if they drop in their tracks, but sometimes they run a little. Due to that, pay close attention to "Nevada Fitch's" post about making sure you follow-up when you get to take a shot.

You are getting good advice from all these folks.

Good hunting and clean 1-shot kills, Hot Core

November 27, 2000, 06:36 PM
I'd say that Art pretty much got it right. I sure wouldn't worry about the "little" .243's ability to drop a deer. Only suggestion I would make regarding shot placement that has not already been mentioned would be this... If the deer is looking directly at you, aim for the white patch on the throat directly under the chin. It makes a great target and any hit slightly high or low will drop the animal like a bad habit. (If the animal is facing you but not looking up, just give a little whistle or grunt, it will look up.)

Hope you have a great hunt!

November 28, 2000, 04:54 PM
With any rifle, if you have the opportunity to line up on the neck, the deer will go down. White throat patch, or the base of the skull are my preference. Saves all that tracking mess, too.

November 29, 2000, 04:13 PM
Since I've never shot at a living thing before, I don't know that I should try and get that fancy.

November 29, 2000, 06:27 PM
Are you pretty familiar with your gun? I sugest spending a few hours at the range, trying different positions and ranges. Standing, sitting, kneeling, standing with a rest, etc.
Just try to imagine there is a basketball in the deers ribcage between his front legs, slightly further towards the rear, and try to shoot there. That is the easiest kill area (maybe not the quickest, but easiest to hit.) and try to take out one of the legs with the shot too, either on the way in, or the way out. Don't worry about the caliber either, you've got plenty of punch. I expect to see a picture of whatever you get up here soon;)

Art Eatman
November 29, 2000, 07:43 PM
Yeah, practicing shooting from various positions is definitely a Good Thing. Dry firing is a Good Thing, as well. The better you can coordinate the sight-picture and your movement of your trigger-ginger, the better.

I don't care what the store charges, ammo is cheap. Look at it this way: You have umpteen hundred dollars in the rifle, scope and hunting license/lease, whatever. There are the trip expenses. Add it all up, and compare it to a couple or three boxes of ammo at even $20/box. Ammo's cheap.

And don't psych yourself up about Bambi. A datgummed deer ain't nothin' but a goat's cousin, with funny horns. Goats smell bad. Just focus on that basketball, and forget the rest of it. You can "Ooh!" and "Aahhh!" after you gut him out.

:), Art