243 caliber for deer hunting

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lurohd's picture
lurohd
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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.

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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.

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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.

LOCAL,
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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 Adn

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jtillman,

Sarcasm. It

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If i remember right isnt the .243 acually a .308 necked down? I know theres about 100 ft-lbs energy between the two at 500 yd.s

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Walleyestu said it best. Good gun for the ladies.

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boondocks,
No, bobkat said it best. I challenge all those "macho men" who shoot big magnums to a test. Give their gun and some shells to someone, and tell that person to randomly either load or not load the gun, and hand it back. Then Mr. Magnum should aim and squeeze the trigger and hand the gun back. When they aim and squeeze on an empty chamber notice the reaction, commonly called flinching, or jerking.

I'm serious, try it and see what happens. I've done it with some who say they don't flinch and they were surprised by the results. Very few can shoot a large rifle without flinching, if you think you're one of them take this test and prove me wrong.

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Bowhuntin,

So far as that goes, many flinch on the smaller calibers as well. Only practice and the lack of fear that comes with it cures the twitch.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Allen,
That's very true, there are a lot of people who flinch with smaller guns also. But the thought that a .243 is only a "ladies and kids gun" is so preposterous it hardly warrants discussion.

Regarding the 300 yard shots people talk about, I don't care what kind of gun you shoot, or what caliber, nobody has any business taking offhand shots at running game 300 yards away. I honestly wonder if people who say this realize how far a measured 300 yards is? Very few people could hit a basketball every shot at that distance offhand, heck, most would have trouble hitting a 55 gallon barrel every shot at 300 yards if they were shooting offhand.

But those are the first to criticize someone who uses a smaller caliber and takes only ethical shots. And for the record, I shoot a .270 for most of my big game, but do have a .243 that has killed it's share also.

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Not sure about off hand but I can hold .5 MOA with my .308 at 300 yards with bipods. It takes me about 2 seconds to pop them out and get in the prone. ;)

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And yes, I do know how far 300 yards is. At least I believe what my Lecia tells me. As I do 400, 500, 600....

:)

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My dad has hunted for 32 years with the same .243 and has shot lots of Mule bucks in the badlands up to 300 yards. The .243 caliber is good up to 300 yards as long as the person holding it is good up to 300 yards. And they are completely comfortable with the shot.

NATE

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And those are standing shots at 300 yards. And as far as a shot with a .243 bouncing off of a deer i would sure like to see that.

NATE

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Boy that "bouncing off deer" comment has gotten a lot of attention..... LMFAO! :D

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Not sure about off hand but I can hold .5 MOA with my .308 at 300 yards with bipods. It takes me about 2 seconds to pop them out and get in the prone. ;)

I would have to see that to believe it. Not calling you a liar, just that I would have to see it before I would believe it.

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I have been using a .243 for the last 20 years for the deer season and it has been very successful. Very accurate, fast and more than enough knock down for whitetail deer. Shot 3 deer this season, one at 482 yards, one at 367 yards and on at 286 yards. All shots the deer was standing still and was shotting from a bipod. 2 out of the 3 dropped dead in their tracks, the third one ran about 10 yards and dropped. I do have a 300 Win Mag but use .243 about 80% of the time. No regrets here for using a .243. but there are many calibers out there that perform just as well, my personal choices are the 6mm (.243) or the 30 calibers.

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boondocks where do you live? Fargo area I hope.

0.5 MOA is 1.5" at 300 yards. My SPR A3 G shooting 168 gr SMKs being pushed by 42.5 gr of Varget WILL do that all day long off of a bipod and rear bag. I would love to show you. BUT, you have to come on here and admit it. :) Deal?

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Just because it's fun, here are a few of my A3:

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nxs,
You are the exception to the rule and I have no doubt about your ability to make the shot you explained using a tripod.

I was talking about the majority of the general public who usually shoot their guns a few days before season to make sure they are still "on." Then they go afield with the gun and start taking 300+ yard shots at running deer. As you know 300 yards is a long ways, the bullseye looks pretty small in a 4X scope, and the crosshairs nearly cover the bullseye. But they hammer away at running targets, hoping one will eventually drop.

Those are the guys I'm talking about, I'd like to see them hit a basketball every time at 300 yards, offhand, with a wind, after walking. Most wouldn't be able to do it, like I said, I'd bet most couldn't hit a 55 gallon barrel every shot at 300 yards offhand in hunting conditions.

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Bowhuntin,

I would agree with you on that for sure.

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If you rarely shoot your rifle and do a poke and hope shot at a running deer at 300 yards, it don't matter if you have a 243 or a 300 mag, you got a snowballs chance of even hitting it. That senario is is for a different thread. There are as many slob hunters using 243 as 300 mags. Just a question, am I a "Macho Man" for choosing my extremely accurate 7mm mag (which I have not wounded a deer for over 15yrs) over my 243 (which is my wife's)? What do you consider too big for deer?

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Folks posting that a given caliber works are most generally speaking from experience, sometimes vast experience. Conversely quite often folks poo-pooing the use of a given caliber have limited, 2nd hand, "what I read somewhere", or NO experience with that very same caliber.

To make these threads and this whole site much more useful here's what we should do. Those who have 1st person good results with a caliber, bullet, scope, bincos, etc, post you're results. Thorough, yet appropriate post-mortum data to be included please. Entrance point, exit wound, bullet's path, hide/fur/meat damage, etc.

There are also some things that don't work well, so, those with good 1st hand knowledge of poor performance, please report. Again, accurate post-mortum (or lack thereof) data please. Or, reasoning behind some piece of equipment failure/shortcoming.

Now, there'll be a lot of time left over without the, "my buddy said", or, "I heard/read somewhere that" type of thread responses. My advice for using up that extra time, go to the range and shoot more, go hunting, spend more time fishing, scout, get outside!

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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243Win will whack the snot out of a whitetail LOTS further than 300yds (but don't tell anyone!).

NXS/.5MOA bipod deal, I've seen it, it's true. In fact I've seen him shoot targets @ 400 and 500yds from those same bipods. It was the same day I was making those same shots over my backpack to simulate field positions in preparation for elk hunting.

Funny thing about that practice, I was presented with a coyote this AM @ 425yds. 3MOA of elevation dialing and 1 shot later Mr. Coyote took the Nosler Nap. Not much guessing going on this AM.

This moment is a paradox, it's the oldest you've ever been as well as the youngest you'll ever be.



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nxs, I live in Bismarck. I thought .5 MOA was a 1/2 inch at 300 yards. My bad. Shows how much I know. I can believe 1.5 inches. That is some awsome shooting none the less.

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