243 caliber for deer hunting


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lurohd's picture
Joined: Friday, December 15, 2006 - 6:34pm
243 caliber for deer hunting

Thought i should start this topic to defend the 243 caliber rifles for deer hunting. My dad has used a 243 to shoot deer since he started hunting. He has knocked down many deer with one shot. I have also used it to shoot deer with no problem. Dont know why people criticize it so much. If you are good enough at shooting you dont need a big caliber. Just my thoughts.

Joined: Saturday, February 14, 2004 - 12:00am

My wife has been using a 223 to get her does the last 3 years without any trouble. Just have to make sure she has a good shot and her and the gun take care of the rest. I am looking at getting a 243 or a 22-250 for her cause she wants to get a buck tag next year and I don't want her to have to deal with a lot of recoil.

Joined: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 12:00am

I couldn't agree more. The problem is there are yahoo's who figure you need a super dooper ultra magnum big caliber gun to hunt deer mainly because they lack the shooting or hunting skills they should have.

Their thought is you need a big gun in case of a bad hit on a deer running across the prairie, tongue hanging out, 30 miles an hour, 300 yards away. Go figure.

I'd go with the .243 in case she ever decides to hunt caribou. A .22 - 250 isn't legal for caribou, but a .243 works just fine.

outdoor's picture
Joined: Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 12:00am

My thought is shoot the biggest caliber you are comfotable shooting. If that is a 243, fine. A good shot is better than a wounded animal from a big caliber. But, I disagree with Bowhunting's thinking as many standing deer have been missed or wounded. I use a 7mm mag most of the time. I don't like to give an animal the chance to get into the thick stuff, I like quick recoveries. Even a lung shot deer can travel a ways.

Joined: Monday, March 14, 2005 - 1:08pm

i have never used larger than a .243 and my father has only used a .222...no need to use anything bigger

Joined: Monday, December 24, 2001 - 12:00am

A .243 is a fine "youth" or ladies gun and I have shot many, many deer with a .243. However, if you are hunting trophy deer and need to put a big buck down at 300 plus yards. You certainly don't want to be plinking at the possible buck of a lifetime with a 100 grain bullet that is pretty much "out of gas" at distances greater than 300 yards.

bobkat's picture
Joined: Sunday, December 16, 2001 - 12:00am

The .243 kills very well because it is shot well! The ballistics are the same as the bigger magnums but because they are shot more frequently (prairie dogs and targets) than the bigger magnums (people flinch much more than they are aware) they do a better job on deer or antelope sized animals.
Thinking back on deer/antelope kills with my .243, I'm trying to remember a non-one-shot-kill with it, (must have been one or two but honestly can't think of any offhand) which is sure NOT the case with my .300mag and others shots by buddies I've hunted with who have used various magnums.
.243 is a great round! Perfectly adequate, even preferable, for deer and antelope sized stuff. I agree with bowhuntin.

Joined: Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 6:49am

A .243 will just bounce off of deer. Seen it many times. That's why I shoot a 460 Weatherby. ;) That and I enjoy emergency visits to the clinic to have my shoulder sewn back on.

jtillman's picture
Joined: Monday, October 27, 2003 - 12:00am

From NXS on a different thread:

Rem. model 600 in .222 with a fixed 4x Weaver (fine plex) To date I have killed more deer with that rifle than any other I own.
nxs | Dec 9, 2007 8:47AM

????but the .243 will just 'bounce' off a deer?....please explain.

KurtR's picture
Joined: Monday, April 16, 2007 - 6:32pm

I think that nxs was joking. All i have ever shot is a 6mm and it has taken a few whitetails and mule deer with no problem


Joined: Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - 6:49am


Sarcasm. It