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Thread: .243 losing popularity?

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    I disagree. Bullet construction is an important variable and it isn't magic. Some bullets are constructed more sturdily than others. The more sturdy the bullet the less it expands at a given velocity and the deeper it can go. The more weight a bullet retains the deeper it can go. Bullet construction is often tailored to certain velocities.

    For example many 30 caliber bullets meant for use in 30-30 have thin jackets and are meant to open up at relatively lower velocities. Same caliber, same weight, and different application. Few if anybody would think of these as ideal for big game let alone dangerous game. They are however good for deer.

    Hornady is one of the most forthright of the bullet manufactures stating what game it is meant for and appropriate muzzle velocities.

    Hornady lists NO BULLET under 6.5 caliber rated for big game. The 6.5mm 140 grain SST and Interlock, the 143 grain ELD-X, and the 160 grain Interlock are all rated for big game. The 129 grain Interlock, which is a fantastic deer bullet, is not rated for big game.

    Sierra is the same deal. The 6.5mm 140 grain Gameking is rated for "heavy game." No lighter bullet (like the 130 grain Gameking) or smaller caliber is rated for "heavy game."

    Lapua also lists the 6.5 mm 155 grain Mega bullet for big game. Again no caliber smaller than 6.5 is rated for big game by Lapua.

    Speer and Nosler are both more vague, though the 140 grain Hot-Cor is considered a medium game bullet (I've called Speer and asked).

    Many would consider 6.5 under caliber for big game. I say it is a minimum based on the very makers' recommendations, who, after all want you to be satisfied with performance. I certainly wouldn't chance things buy using a bullet not even recommended by the manufacturer for the intended purpose, and to date I have found no maker positively rating the use of .243 caliber or even .257 for anything besides medium game.

    To me this is a decisive disadvantage to .243 Win vs 6.5 Creedmore. Both are based on the same case, the .308 Win, though unlike the 260 Rem, the 6.5 Creed can actually handle the long heavy bullets and has an appropriate twist rate.
    Well that settles it. I can put the 243 away and hunt Elk with a 6.5 Carcano as long as I use a specialty bullet.
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  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    Well that settles it. I can put the 243 away and hunt Elk with a 6.5 Carcano as long as I use a specialty bullet.
    I'd suggest a Barnes solid loaded up pretty close to 'the wild side'.
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  3. #83
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    I never seen the need for a .243.
    .223 works just fine on coyotes and varmints. .243 is to small for deer unless the shot is perfect.
    My two cents worth.
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  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    Well that settles it. I can put the 243 away and hunt Elk with a 6.5 Carcano as long as I use a specialty bullet.
    A 6.5 Carcano shouldn't need a speciality bullet for elk. Any 160 RN will do the job on North American game, but my 1st choice would be FMJ.

    No bad cartridge survives the test of time. None of them are perfect for everything, but many will do the job.

    FWIW. When the brown bears in Siberia are real hungry the natives there carry their SKS's and use standard FMJ mil spec ammo.

    I've also talked to a few natives from Africa and they use mil surplus in AK's for everything from small game to elephants. They seemed insulted when I asked about a bolt action rifles, as that was something old fashioned and used by their dads or granddads years ago.

  5. #85
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    It's nice to see that the 243 still has a following. I bought my first in 1980, a Remington 700 with a 22" barrel. It remains one of the most accurate rifles I have. I have owned at least seven different 243 rifles over the years but the Remington 700 is definitely on the keeper list. The thing I have noticed about the 243 in just about every rifle I have owned is that it shoots all bullet weights to very similar points of impact. It does not seem finicky about powder, primer, bullet weight, it just shoots them all well.

    The latest addition in 243 for me was the Talo edition Ruger No. 1 Varminter. It has a 26" heavy barrel with a 1:7.7" twist rate. CDNN has them for $1200, which isn't cheap but neither is a custom rifle. Ruger No.1 rifles can be hit or miss in the accuracy department but the one I got is very accurate. Because it is a single shot and has the fast twist barrel you can load the very long low drag bullets to any length needed. It is a tack driver with the long Berger VLD bullets. It also shoots the standard Hornady 100 grain BTSP bullet at 1/2 MOA or better, and I have killed quite a few whitetails with that bullet. I have not tried any of the lighter bullets in it yet. I have only had it for a couple of months and wanted to ring out the long bullets that the fast twist barrel was made for. You are also able to easily get top velocities because of the extra case capacity realized when seating the bullets out close to the lands.

    It would work for a lefty just as well as a righty. Would I carry it in the deer woods? Probably not, but it will be a good box blind rifle for looking out over my green fields.

  6. #86
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    Was just looking at rifles at the LGS while waiting for my BGC to clear for my new Henry rifle. Out of the dozens and dozens of bolt-action hunting rifles on the shelf, only a handful were in anything other than 6.5 Creedmoor or 6.5 PRC. Not a single .243 or .30-06 rifle for sale. And the shelves were full. Also, the rifle ammo was completely wiped out except for two calibers; 6mm Remington and .338 Lapua. Even the three lone boxes of .257 Roberts were gone. The .338 Lapua was $99.99 for a box of 20. Crazy.
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  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    Well that settles it. I can put the 243 away and hunt Elk with a 6.5 Carcano as long as I use a specialty bullet.
    Ha, Now that cracks me up! Really, why aren't we talking about the .257, oops! that is so forty years ago! These navel gazing things are too precious.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowwolfe View Post
    .223 works just fine on coyotes and varmints. .243 is to small for deer unless the shot is perfect.
    Can't agree with the latter. I grew up with the .243 in a Model 7. Probably took 10-15 deer with it, never lost a single one. 90 grain loads are great for medium sized game.
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  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowwolfe View Post
    I never seen the need for a .243.
    .223 works just fine on coyotes and varmints. .243 is to small for deer unless the shot is perfect.
    My two cents worth.
    I've killed over 250 medium game animals with a very large variety calibers and I've never found the 243 lacking for deer sized game. Never counted exactly but it's at least 60 with a 243. That includes a 26" and a 28" mule deer. Never came close to losing one with the 243. On yotes it gave me 150 yard over a 223. In the late 70's and early 80's that extra yardage added several thousand of dollars to my pocket.

    A friend raises Buffalo and Elk. He uses a 6mm Rem for his slaughterhouse rifle. He has killed hundreds of Buffalo with head shots. He uses 80 grain bullets too prevent over penetration and meat loss. He uses the same rifle as a loaner for high fence hunts on both Elk and Buffalo with premium bullets. With a double lung shot they rarely require a second shot.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 01-22-2021 at 02:27 AM.
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  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowwolfe View Post
    I never seen the need for a .243.
    .223 works just fine on coyotes and varmints. .243 is to small for deer unless the shot is perfect.
    My two cents worth.
    how many deer did you shoot to come to that conclusion. Ive probably shot a 100 over the years with my 6mm and near that many with my 240 wby (which is about ballisticaly identical to a 2506 and probably my favorite long range crop damage shooting rifle) and my son in law and grandkids have probably shot a combined 20 with there 243s. There shots mostly close but ive shot deer out past 350 with the 6mm and near 500 with the wby and i can honestly say ive never pulled the trigger on one that i didnt put in the freezer the next day. Tell you a little secret. NO rifle is effective unless you make a good shot. You can shoot a deer in the guts with a 300 wby and loose it. What guns like the 243 do is allow people that are small statured, women children ect to shoot it without being afraid. Want to about guarantee someone will make a poor shot. take out my 300 ultra and let them shoot it once of twice at a target then watch them tremble when they have to pull the trigger on a deer. Dont know where you live but THOUSANDS of deer are killed with 243s around here.

    What i tell people is if someone tells me a 243 isnt good enough then likely they are whats lacking not the gun. Bottom line is the 243 always was and always will be a fine deer caliber. Now if we were talking 500 plus lb elk id agree. But even for black bear (ive done it) the 243 works just fine. It always made me shake my head when the 243 is dissed and the 257 roberts (another round i love) is praised for deer hunting. Both shoot a 100 grain bullet to around 2900 fps. Matter of fact factory 243 ammo is more powerful then most factory 257 ammo. you really think .14 difference in diameter makes a differnce. If anything it just make the 243 bullet with a better bc fly flatter. Even more so some will claim the 250 savage is Gods gift to deer hunters and it is LESS powerful.

    Bottom line is if you have a deer standing 300 yards out in front of you and you pull the trigger and dont recover that animal its YOUR fault not the guns. Like i said im not a big 243 cheerleader but ive shot enough deer in my life to know what works and what doesnt and the 243 is a very capable deer cartridge. IF there is one downside to it is it like all the 6mm rounds and the 25s for that matter dont tend to leave good blood trails for those who cant shoot well to follow. THAT is why its bashed and mostly bashed by people that use it once make a poor shot and blame the round for there poor skill in both shooting and tracking.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  11. #91
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    My Remington 788 in 243 isn't going anywhere, purchased it new in 1972, It has killed more deer and elk than I can remember , One of my grand daughters has all ready laid claim to it. I never found it lacking in its ability to put big game down using 100gr. hornady spire point boat tails. As in any caliber bullet placement is the key. If you can't shoot stay out of the woods, I see to many hunters that would be real lucky to hit a 9 inch paper plate at 100 yards. trying to shoot way out past their ability.
    Last edited by tdoor4570; 02-13-2021 at 10:12 AM.

  12. #92
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    About 30 years ago my cousin was drawn for literally a once in a life time ND Elk tag. She used a borrowed 240 Weatherby to take a massive 7x7 Elk. One shot at just over 300 yards.
    2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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  13. #93
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    243 (like many other fine calibers) can fire a wide weight range of bullet. I always wanted a have bbl savage 12fv in 243 but that combo isn’t as easy to find as all the others. Would I rather have a 223 on the smaller side for some varmints sure, is a 308 better if only slinging heavy bullets of course, but the 243 is a cool “in-between” caliber that can cover heavy varmint to big game.

    Disclaimer, I gave more rifles in different calibers than a guy needs, but sometimes it’s just fun to pick guns like golfers pick clubs.

  14. #94
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    My Wife inherited a .243 from her Grandfather. I got to see this rifle before he passed. It was built on a M98 action and was a fine piece of craftsmanship. The 98 Mauser was an arsenal weapon from WWII, brought back still in cosmoline, un fired. Still had the original stock and barrel and all the issue parts. Grandpa died, grandma GAVE AWAY THE ORIGINAL PARTS! So, that .243 lost popularity with me. I told my Wife the original M98 was worth more than the rifle, she could have gotten another M98 action and had both a great shooter and an unfired M98 Grandpa brought home from 'over there.'

    Still, the .243 she has is a fine piece, typical of sporterized deer rifles from a gunsmith in Long Beach, CA in the 1950s (name escapes me at the moment) but were very well made. I have collected brass along the way, still need dies and such, she wants to shoot her Grandpa's rifle, along with others from his collection. The 32-40 is set up for Schutzen competition and probably second on her list. She's a shooter, I think that rifle will be a perfect match for her abilities.
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  15. #95
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    .223 works just fine on coyotes and varmints.
    In fact, .223 is far more than is needed at moderate ranges. I've found 17 HMR to be excellent on both and 22 Hornet I would consider an ideal under 150 yards.

    Varmints are different from medium game and big game. I don't eat varmints and don't really care if I merely wound them or cause them suffering as long as they go away and die (of infection or whatever) I'm fine with that.

    Making a rapid, humane kill on a deer is not only kind to the deer it makes for better eating. Stressed animals can be tougher and taste poorer.

    Big game are basically like medium only bigger, so it becomes more incumbent upon the user to use enough gun. Geometry such as it is means that animals like Elk or Moose can require much deeper penetration (because of the wound track) compared to deer if the shot is not nearly perpendicular.

    Some people talk about killing elk with 220 Swift and stuff like that...I have no doubt they are killing said animals. The question is how long did it take? How much stress did it cause? It seems to me they have the same attitude I do towards varmints and completely forgot they are supposed to eat the critter.

    There is no question that .243 is adequate for deer, though one would probably be unwise to go smaller, though I do know Sierra at least makes a 65 grain game king bullet specifically for .223. Indiana for example places two minimum restrictions on calibers for deer. .243 or greater caliber for rifles. .357 caliber or greater for handguns. I tend to think they are right about this.

    I see 6.5 as a great caliber mainly because it is good for varmints (if a bit overcaliber), great for deer (perhaps ideal), and adequate for big game (generally regarded as minimum). If that is on your menu it is a good fit.

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by curioushooter View Post
    In fact, .223 is far more than is needed at moderate ranges. I've found 17 HMR to be excellent on both and 22 Hornet I would consider an ideal under 150 yards.

    Varmints are different from medium game and big game. I don't eat varmints and don't really care if I merely wound them or cause them suffering as long as they go away and die (of infection or whatever) I'm fine with that.

    Making a rapid, humane kill on a deer is not only kind to the deer it makes for better eating. Stressed animals can be tougher and taste poorer.

    Big game are basically like medium only bigger, so it becomes more incumbent upon the user to use enough gun. Geometry such as it is means that animals like Elk or Moose can require much deeper penetration (because of the wound track) compared to deer if the shot is not nearly perpendicular.

    Some people talk about killing elk with 220 Swift and stuff like that...I have no doubt they are killing said animals. The question is how long did it take? How much stress did it cause? It seems to me they have the same attitude I do towards varmints and completely forgot they are supposed to eat the critter.

    There is no question that .243 is adequate for deer, though one would probably be unwise to go smaller, though I do know Sierra at least makes a 65 grain game king bullet specifically for .223. Indiana for example places two minimum restrictions on calibers for deer. .243 or greater caliber for rifles. .357 caliber or greater for handguns. I tend to think they are right about this.

    I see 6.5 as a great caliber mainly because it is good for varmints (if a bit overcaliber), great for deer (perhaps ideal), and adequate for big game (generally regarded as minimum). If that is on your menu it is a good fit.
    You should care if you just wound something. It may be a game to us, but it's deadly serious to them We owe them better.
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  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    You should care if you just wound something. It may be a game to us, but it's deadly serious to them We owe them better.
    I agree 100 percent , what a foolish thing to post on the web for all to see . Makes all of us gun owners look stupid , no wonder the ant-gun establishment is winning .

  18. #98
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    An observation and a question: it appears to me that the 6.5CM seems to have meaningful advantages only as ranges start to really stretch out. Do most hunters actually ever shoot anything at those extended ranges?

    I ask because shooting offhand, 200 yards seems awfully far away to me...
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    You should care if you just wound something. It may be a game to us, but it's deadly serious to them We owe them better.
    I suspect that you might find your position a bit more flexible if you had a horde of varmints destroying your crops or attacking your livestock.

    Not saying that it's not better for them to be DRT, but you wouldn't lose sleep over it.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  20. #100
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    I am into DRT whether it is a lowly spider or an elephant! I am adverse to coyotes, they eat my baby calves from time to time, but as one of God’s creations they deserve an expeditious dispatch IMO.

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