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Old February 19, 2010, 02:08 PM   #1
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.243 Loads for Deer

I know some folks think that a .243 is too small for Deer but I know a guy who has taken dozens of Deer, big and small, all with a 22-250. With that said, I'm trying to figure out what my best choice of grain of bullet to use. Biggest is not always the best and they make quite a few bullets from 55 grain to 100 grain. What do you folks use if you shoot a .243. I have thought about getting the 75 grain vmax Hornady load. Any thoughts? I shoot a Marlin XS7 with a Twist rate of 1:10.

Last edited by heymax; February 19, 2010 at 02:17 PM.
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Old February 19, 2010, 02:11 PM   #2
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It depends on where you shoot them.If it was me I would use the 100gr bullet of your rifles choice.
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Old February 19, 2010, 02:14 PM   #3
Mike Irwin
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Sorry about the double jump. I thought you were asking about reloading for the .243. I don't think you were.

That said, as the .243 is considered a dual purpose caliber, equally well thought of for both varmints AND deer sized game, you need to match bullet construction to the size of your critter.

Using a varmint bullet on a deer might well result in a wounded, but lost, critter.
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Old February 19, 2010, 02:38 PM   #4
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I have had good results with 100 grain win power points and 100 grain rem corelocts, but switched to 95 win supreme NBT and have found that they seem to drop them a bit quicker, and they turn their lungs into jello. My dad likes the 95 rem accutip which is a similar bulet to the win NBT. Most of our deer here are farm fed and run between 125lbs - 150 for the does and 150 + for a mature buck. Bigger deer might call for a larger cartridge and heavier bullet.

With any cartridge shot placement is critical and with the .243 it is even more important to take a good broadside shot and put the bullet in the lungs and heart. Don't expect it to plow the length of a deer to reach the vital areas and don't expect it to break both shoulders if you hit them there.
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Old February 19, 2010, 03:23 PM   #5
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I would NOT load the V-Max in the 243 for deer. You really need a 'big game' bullet in the 85-100 grn range. I took a deer last Fall with a 95 grn partition over a charge of H. 4350. It worked as well as anything. If you are buying factory ammo I'd go with 100 grns or so. My gunsmith is a great fan of Hornady 100 grn bullets in the 243.
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Old February 19, 2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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I have shot low end Remington factory 100gr ammo in my 6mm/.243's for over 25 years. 3 shot 100yd groups that look like 1 ragged hole, and deer that are dead before they hit the ground. Some of these new fangled super duper bullets may perform better, but I have never felt the need to experiment with bullets or caliber. Your .243 will more than likely out shoot you, more than enough gun for deer.
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Old February 19, 2010, 04:27 PM   #7
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I've never shot a deer with anything other than a .243 win. and never lost one. You need to use a bullet with controlled expansion, killed many with factory rem. corelokt but reload the hornady 100gr. round nose interlock and they work great too.
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Old February 19, 2010, 04:45 PM   #8
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90-100 grain controlled expansion. Cor-lokt is perfect.
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Old February 19, 2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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105Gr. speer BTSP
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Old February 19, 2010, 06:56 PM   #10
Ga Warlock
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I shoot a XS7 .243 also . I have killed deer with both the 95gr federal fusion and Winchester super X 100gr. Very accurate and droped them in their tracks
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Old February 19, 2010, 07:19 PM   #11
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I've got one friend that uses the Winchester Super X 100 grain Power Points from Walmart with great luck. Another friend used these Winchesters the season before last and also liked them. Last season he switched to Hornady 95 Grain SST's and really likes them. He says it does the most damage of the bullets he has tried and he really likes them. I wouldn't have a problem using either of these as they have great luck with them. I also have a few friends that hunt but not really with us much and they use the Federal Power Shok soft points in 100 grain and like them. I think really any bullet in the 95-100 grain range that's either a soft point or ballistic tip will probably do just fine if the shot placement is good.

I see a guy above mentioned Federal Fusions. I've never known anyone that's shot them in a .243 but I like them in my 30-06. In that they seem to be a good bullet.
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Old February 19, 2010, 07:34 PM   #12
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I come down on the side of a premimum bullet.

NOT because the lessor bullets won't kill, but because in the case of a poor shot, which over the years most of us will make at some point in time, the quality bullets cause less damage to good eating flesh.

I have used the Nosler Partition since the days they were made on screw machines, in .243s, 7mms and 30calibers, and they, or bullets of that quality level are truely the best value.

Again, not because the others won't kill, but because of all the plus points found in that quality of bullet.

The most damage I have ever seen on a deer was caused by a 30/30 with an old cup and core bullet and it only gets worse as speed of the cartridge gets higher.

In the 60s, my first deer with a 243 was with a cup an core bullet and I was hunting with the Nosler by the next season.

Keep em coming!

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Old February 19, 2010, 07:59 PM   #13
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85gr Sierra Gameking to the center brisket of a nice buck a couple years ago and it was all over. About a 80yd shot I'd say. I think the .243Win is plenty adequate for whitetail after I did that.
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Old February 19, 2010, 08:02 PM   #14
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I have used 100gr Hornady BTSP with 37 gr of H380 and have nothing but good results. I have only shot one deer with another bullet and it was an 80gr. It was factory load (can't remember the manufacturer) and did its job but didn't exit.

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Old February 19, 2010, 09:29 PM   #15
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I've killed most of my Western Oregon blacktails with Rem Core-lokt 100 gr.
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Old February 19, 2010, 10:14 PM   #16
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I like Rem. core-lokt but really like Partitions in the small calibers.
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Old February 19, 2010, 10:20 PM   #17
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.243 @ 212 yards.......

Blessed beyond measure thanks to Jesus!
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Old February 20, 2010, 12:01 PM   #18
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And it's a beauty.
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Old February 20, 2010, 12:08 PM   #19
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100gr Remington Core-Lokt.
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Old February 20, 2010, 12:24 PM   #20
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I know some folks think that a .243 is too small for Deer
But they're wrong.

Pick a 90-100 grain bullet that shoots goood from your rifle and you should be fine.

I used Sierra bullets back in the 80's, and now use Speer. All were 100 grain, and all worked fine.

When you get below 80-85 grain bullets in .243 caliber, many are constructed for varmint shooting. Those won't work well on deer. Stick with the heavier bullets and you'll be fine.

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Old February 20, 2010, 04:29 PM   #21
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I reload for my wifes .243. I am using a Nosler 100 grain Partition with Rl-22. The bigger bullet in the .243 likes the slower burning powder, there are a few good choices bullet and powder wise. Shot placement is the key, and it is with any rifle. So far she has taken every deer she shot at with it. She let a few biggger ones go because she was worried about a bad shot, so she left them walk. That made me as proud has getting one. The .243 is about min for deer but it will work just fine, and also will work for a varmint rifle. I am working up a load now for her for that, but not quite there yet. If you do not reload you can buy that same bullet but it does cost alot. There are also a few other good ones in the 100 grain you can buy, and figure out which one will work the best in that rifle. Good luck!
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Old February 21, 2010, 01:23 AM   #22
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I am now using a sierra gamking 100 grain bullet for deer in my .243, but i shoot two deer a year ago with Federals, powershok 80 grains. Both deer died on contact. What was most amazing was the one deer, a big old buck, i shot about 3 inches behind his lungs at 150 yards and i did not hit a single vital. THe buck just dropped like he got hit by a train, and when i went out to get it there was no life left in him. That shot showed me that the .243 is big enough for deer becuase the deer was very big and he must have died just from trama, and i think it shook up its spine, because the shot was a couple inches low of the spin.
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Old February 21, 2010, 08:13 AM   #23
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In 1969, Dad bought this Remington 760 GameMaster for my brother and I to use for mulies and 'lopes. Over the decades, we've tried just about every ammo available. These are a few suggestions:

- 95 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip as loaded by Black Hills Ammo

- 100 grain Winchester Power Point

- 100 grain Hornady Interlock

- 100 grain PMP ammo (South African)

I replaced the stocks in the late 1970's after a bad tumble while hunting in Sweet Water County, Wyoming.

Good hunting to you.

Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old February 21, 2010, 10:44 AM   #24
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When it comes to a smaller gun, why does everyone preach "shot placement, shot placement"...
You have to have good shot placement with a 243. I call [email protected]#$
I dont care if you shoot a 416 Rigby or a 223 rem, the kill zone on a deer is the same size. It dont matter what gun your shooting, the vital area is about 9" and you have to hit it.
I am not jumping on anyone here cause shot placement IS important, but its funny how when people start talking about using a smaller gun, shot placement is so critical all of a sudden. I guess its not with a 300 mag.
A heart shot is a heart shot.
A gut shot is a gut shot.
It dont matter what gun you gut shoot a deer with, its walking for miles.
A deer wont drop any faster from a 500 S&W thru the heart than it will from a 223.
Personally ,I've seen more screwed up animals with the over-gunned big boys than with the under-gunned boys.

I shoot mainly 30/06 ,but I think for deer and antalope it doesnt get anymore perfect than 95gr or 100gr 243 or the identical twin 6mm.
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Old February 21, 2010, 06:27 PM   #25
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Just guessing but it's probably for a first time deer hunter, or women using it because of the recoil so shot placement is talked about. But you are correct it dont matter what your shooting caliber wise it is important with any of them. There are also a few differnt areas, besides broadside, for good shot placement. I myself use a 30-06 and my wife a .243 both identical rifles down to the scope. She has hunted three years now, and has taken two deer with two shots. We still talk about good aiming spots, safety, etc. What is so bad about that?
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