Anybody hunt with a .243?

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Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby njonesy_07 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:32 am

I have an opprotunity at a Savage rifle in .243 w/ 4-12x 40mm scope by Bushnell. Looks like a great gun and have heard from a few people they make great deer rifles. I am looking at this to be only a deer gun and possibly for smaller game. What have your experience been with this calibler?? What do you like/hate about it?

Just curious what ya'll think.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby pgquackstacker » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:43 am

I shoot a Ruger M77 Mark II in .243 and I love it. None of the deer I have shot went more than 50 yards before they died. Fun guns to shoot with not a lot of kick. This weekend I'm going pig hunting so hopefully I can get back to you on how they do with pigs.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Sandman3400 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:02 am

My dad bought me a Savage .243 when I was 10 years old. It is still my everyday deer gun 27 years later. I have always used the 100 grain loads, and it performs great. There is simply no reason to use anything bigger unless you just like to abuse your shoulder.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby apexhunter » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:18 am

While I don't personally use a .243 I have seen the results of them on deer and can attest that it is a very capable cartridge. The largest deer I've ever laid my hands on (field dressed weight of 290#) was killed with a .243 at a tad over 300 yards...a true testament of just what the little .243 will do.

One of the good aspects of the round is that with proper shot placement you will typically not get a complete passthrough so the projectile will expend all of its energy within the animal causing as much damage and disruption of the innards it possibly can resulting in a quick and clean kill.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby killerv » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:53 am

I hunted with one for several years and still take it out on occasions but I feel for a whitetail it will not consistently do what you want it to do. A well placed shot will no doubt kill a whitetail within a reasonable yardage with a 243 but I have taken a few deer where I had well place shoulder shots with my 243 and 100gr btsp, not behind the shoulder shots, where recovering the deer took a little tracking. The last deer I took with it I shot in the shoulder, broke the shoulder, through the heart and the bullet ended up just behind the hide of the opposite shoulder, just what you what. I want that energy to be expelled in the deer, not the ground. Deer ran 100 yards. Didn't make a whole lot of sense, I know a deer goes through an adrenaline factor for a few moments but for it to make it that far...wow. even If I wanted to track a deer, I'd shoot my bow. I stepped up to a 270 and that issue has been resolved. Not that a bigger gun is always the answer because its not...but it certainly doesn't hurt. I have also hunted with a 6mm for the past few years and absolutely loved that round but ammo was a little harder to come by unlike its smaller brother the 243 so I got rid of it.

This is just my experiences with a 243, you'll definitely kill deer with it but if you are like me and like crushing those shoulders, you may find yourself every now and then wondering why that deer ran. I don't know if that is a new package you are looking at or something used you found but savage does like making guns in the 260 caliber when is one heck of a round that will you give you performace almost like a 7/08 but with just a tad more recoil than a 243.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Preacher1011 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:59 pm

I don't hunt with one, but it's a really well rounded cartridge. From predators to medium size game, you're covered.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Sandman3400 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:56 am

It does give you a lot of versatility as a varmint gun as well. The Nolser 70 grain ballistic tip shoots fantastic in my Savage.

I have probably shoot 15 to 20 deer with mine. The longest one ran was about 100 yards, and it was a heart shot and left a blood trail about 3 feet wide. The biggest deer I have killed dropped in place. I never take through the shoulder shots, only the heart and lung shot right behind the shoulder. Like I said in my earlier post, I have been using it for 27 years, and see no reason to change. If you do your job, the rifle will do its job.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby ajmorell » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:33 am

243 is a great caliber, may very well be my next rifle purchase. My grandfather has been killing big mulies out in Montana for over 20 years with his 243.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Sandman3400 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 2:04 pm

If you handload, you can load up some pretty hot .243 rounds. There are loads to get that 100 grain bullet well over 3,000fps.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby duckman27 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:08 pm

I killed a buck with one this past season. They don't have as much knock down as a .270 or a 30-06 but it's a great gun for shooting longer distaces
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Kurt » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:23 am

bullet placement and proper projectile trumps caliber. Know guys that shoot the .243/6mm out past 1000yds with ease and kill deer at 500 plus. 2 moose went down in nd this year with the 85 grn tsx through the shoulders both drt at about 100yds.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby duckman27 » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:46 pm

It's a great gun for mullies and pronghorns because of the speed of the bullet and that they don't have the drop that others calibers have. It's one of the flattest if not the flattest trajectory i've seen
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Sagebrush » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:14 pm

I hope you get it, since it is a great rifle for ladys and young hunters , with the light recoil and super light for
most men.

As noted a great round for varmit to large deer or larger with quality bullets and a good shot placement.

One of the best things is this load does not damage a lot of meat, like the 270 or 30-06 with their larger bullets
with all the energys and pass threws , or a shoulder bone shot.

Good hunting.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby GreenHeadHarvest » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:01 pm

love my 243
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby SirPuddleDuck » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:14 am

I have an opprotunity at a Savage rifle in .243 w/ 4-12x 40mm scope by Bushnell. Looks like a great gun and have heard from a few people they make great deer rifles. I am looking at this to be only a deer gun and possibly for smaller game. What have your experience been with this calibler?? What do you like/hate about it?

Just curious what ya'll think.


According to your post you'll be using it as a primary deer gun, secondary varmint. A better caliber suited for reverse use, IMHO. No varmint on this continent can withstand the venerable 243! Do you handload, options are as wide as the sky. Very manageable recoil, flat trajectory,no problem shooting 50+ rounds at the range. You can also have the gun rechambered for 243 Ackely improved, where the case is straightened out a bit giving more room for powder.

Never shot a deer with one, but groundhogs yotes etc just expand a bit and DIE. One 300 yard+ groundhog make the mistake of standing up a bit, and got a free hid cleaning when all the dust flew off.

With shot placement, bullet cartridge selection, I wouldn't hesitate on it as a deer rifle. Most guys want a one-gun for all their hunts which rarely goes over medium sized deer with that as criteria I would hold off for a 270. But, you asked about that 243!
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby joshco84 » Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:51 am

243 is an awesome gun no doubt, and i have shot many deer with an old savage 99E in 243.

It kills just as well as any other rifle with the correct bullet and placement. Sure it wont crash through both shoulders like a 30 06, but i have found that smaller rifles equal deer running not as far for some reason.

I have shot deer with 243, 2506, 7mm rem mag and 3006. With the seven and the thirty it seems to me deer run forever when heart/lung shot, but not near as far as with the 24 and the 25. Its like shooting them with a bolt of lightning.

Also the best thing about the 243/6mm is the bullet selection. You can get absolutely anything you need bullet wise.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby bamaduckhunter » Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:21 pm

I hunted with a single shot New England Arms 243. for the longest time, it was a absolute tack driver with the bull barrel. and it worked great on deer, most recent was a 230lb buck at about 200 hundred yards that dropped in his tracks. Ive seen guys shoot deer with 30/06s 5 or 6 times to kill it or track them a 100yds. it all depends on the shot.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby waterfowlhunter » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:41 pm

I was about to start a simular post and noticed this one. :help: I am considering one for my daughter, She will be hunting with me next year an a 243 with its light recoil would work just fine for her on deer and coyotes. I am also considering starting her out with a 223, I have several scoped AR's with 6 position stocks which would allow her to get a proper LOP. With my Nosler partition loads I have no doubt it will cleanly take a deer and where her blind will be it is only a 15 to 45 yd shot. I have never tried this but know a man that has been using a 222 remington magnum for 30 years on deer and does just fine.

are most of you using the loads over 100gr in the 243's? or will the 85's and 95's (no varmint loads of course) work just as well?

I personally use a 300 WSM (upgraded from my old 30-06) and it does not abuse the shoulder at all even launching a 180gr BT at 2980fps. No where near as hard kicking as a 3.5" mag load of steel. and with only about 38" drop @ 500 yds when sighted in at 200 it is equally as flat shooting as a 243 but has about 1000fp more energy. I use it because I like it and I am comfortable with its capabilities but It is definately not necessary for deer. You should see what the 125gr bt @ 3600fps does to coyote size critters though, :biggrin:
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby rcdinaz » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:29 am

I just went through gun selection for my daughter who is 11. We made about three trips over a few months to the Sportsman's Whse where she shouldered and tried to hold up Rem, Win, Sav, Mossberg, Weahterby, and Tikka rifles in .243. Most of these were youth models except the Tikka T3and Win (featherlight). The Tikka and Win were lighter than any of the youth models, we ended up getting the Tikka for her birthday. 1 MOA guarantee with some great safety features such as a red safety dot showing if a round is chambered and a safety that smaller/weaker hands can easily reach and operate. For $400 neither of us could be happier and the thing flat out shoots, better than she will be able to shoot for quite some time.

We are using 95 gr Win CT bullets which you can both buy and reload and they shoot great. I got very lucky on this one I reload my own most of the time and have had guns that shoot great but with hand loads and not with factory. This time around it looks like it is going to be easy and with only one try and very good results from a factory load.

As for heavier bullets I don't see the need there are less options past 95 gr, velocity starts to drop quickly and there is very little gain in the BC unless you get into the heavy very low drag, very long, match type bullets. The 95 gr through my 6-284 has done a fantastic job with one deer being shot at just under 400 yds.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby TNDuckHunter1 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:50 pm

I own several Savage rifles and love all of them. I have never killed a deer with a 243 because I have always used a 270. My friend has a 12 yr old son and wanted him to use my NEF 243. I was a little concerned but he shot a heavy bullet and has slayed the deer with that gun. He has killed 2 that didn't go 15 yards. I ended up giving him that gun because he killed his first deer with it but I will get another. People seem to think it takes a 270 or 30-06 to kill the deer but one well placed shot out of a 243 will stop them dead.

They are great and you don't get beat to death sighting them in.

Get it if its a good price and you will be very pleased.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby ajmorell » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:04 pm

Can't go wrong with the 243....it is very versatile. Better than a 90% chance it will be the next rifle chambering I buy.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby Sandman3400 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:56 pm

I have always used the 100gr bullet, but lots of people swear by the 85 and 95 grain loads for deer. I would not hesitate to use those. The only reason I use the 100 grain load for deer is because it is what I started with and it has always worked well for me.

I am going to start my daughters with a .223 (they are both very small) and move them up to a .243 a little later. The Nosler partition in 60 grain should more than do the job on whitetails if put in the right place.
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby 2500hdon37s » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:03 pm

ive taken a few deer and coyotes with mine, great gun, but ive up to a 30-06 for deer for the knock down power have yet to see one walk away from my 30-06 but i have rolled some with a 243 as well including my first deer
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby muddydog » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:22 pm

Its my favorite caliber in Texas. Mine is a youth model Rem. 700. With bibs and a heavy coat the gun fits perfect and with a 20"barrel it is easy to tote. Mine is a real tack driver!
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Re: Anybody hunt with a .243?

Postby babesdad » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:45 pm

I have the Rossi 243. Bought at Dunham's on sale as a combo with a 20 gauge barrel.
I added a BSA sweet 243 scope shooting 100gr and have not had a coyote take a step after the hit ranging from 100 to 250 yards.
I plan on going with the 85gr next reloading.
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