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.243 for whitetail (only)?

Discussion in 'Guns & Hunting' started by pro2amendment, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:10 AM
    #1
    pro2amendment

    pro2amendment [OP] Member

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    I've hunted many years in OH and IN where rifles were not allowed until recently. So I really never got into larger centerfires. I still use my TC inline muzzleloader during firearms just because I want to... considering a dedicated whitetail gun, 100yd max likely given my hunting spots.

    I have access to an older model 270 savage so I was thinking I could buy something smaller if still works for me.

    .243 seems really popular

    Thoughts?

    I hunt small parcels so I dont want them running off after a clean shot. I've seen comments about this being a watchout.
     
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  2. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:12 AM
    #2
    Fiesta346

    Fiesta346 New Member

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    I have had good shots with a 243 run pretty far..
     
  3. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:19 AM
    #3
    pro2amendment

    pro2amendment [OP] Member

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    Thx. Maybe instead I invest in good optics to fit the 270
     
  4. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:21 AM
    #4
    Bucks04

    Bucks04 New Member

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    If you hunt small areas ,and fairly close shots ,why not go to 12 or 20 ga. shotgun . With new slugs you can reach out quite a ways , and knock down power is very good. I also hunt small acreage, and keep shots within 75 yards , and usually drops quickly.
     
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  5. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:14 AM
    #5
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    The smaller the caliber, the more critical your shot placement.

    It also depends on how you define "running off". I have had deer run short distances after a perfect heart-lung shot with 30-06, and had to track the blood trail into the brush. I have a 243 that I bought as a training rifle for my son. But, for deer hunting, I would chose my Remington 700BDL 30-06 over the 243 simply because I have confidence it's going to put the shot where I want. But, frankly, for smaller Texas white tail, a 30-06 is overkill.

    IIRC, you don't give up much ballistically comparing 270 to 30-06. For a dedicated deer rifle, with no intention of ever hunting elk or other big game, I would choose 270 over 243. If you ever plan to hunt other big game, 30-06 has more power and flexibility than the 270, with a range of bullet weights.
     
  6. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:20 AM
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    Hurricane

    Hurricane New Member

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    7mm-08 is another wonderful choice if you want something a bit more powerful that won’t break your shoulder or the bank.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:27 AM
    #7
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ O'Keefe Music Foundation Staff Member

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    I used a .243 for many years. Never lost an animal (whitetail and mule deer).
     
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  8. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:32 AM
    #8
    duece292

    duece292 Appalachian American

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    I killed my first buck 36 years ago with a Ruger M77 .243 and have killed several white tails with it since. It's not my go-to rifle but I do take it on occasion. That said, while the .243 is adequate for deer I think the. 270 would be the better choice.
     
  9. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:33 AM
    #9
    sotex

    sotex Sic 'em Bears!

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    I've hunted with .243, .270, 30-06, and 7mm mag. For whitetail I can honestly say that .243 is my absolute FAVORITE and it's not even close. Had a deer run on me after I hit him in the leg with my 7mm mag and I hate that feeling. With the bigger caliber, I tend to get cocky and try to take shots that may not be accurate. There's also the "flinch" factor even if you're used to shooting a magnum like my 7mm mag. You may not know it, but you're waiting for that big kick (audible as well as impact) - I think that's what happened in my case. I've probably downed 30+ deer in my life and I've only missed or not killed two - the one I mentioned above and one I just missed altogether. Both were with the 7mm mag. Of the others, the majority were with a .243. My current setup is a Remington with Leupold scope. Optics are an area where I suggest not skimping as well.

    With a .243, it's super accurate especially at 150 yards or so. I typically like to shoot 75-150 yards.

    Here's an article that goes into more detail: https://www.wideopenspaces.com/why-the-243-is-hands-down-the-best-deer-rifle/#:~:text=However, there's one bolt-action,packs a punch on whitetail.&text=As far as deer hunting,perfect for beginning deer hunters.
     
  10. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:34 AM
    #10
    sotex

    sotex Sic 'em Bears!

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    .270 (or 30-06) would be my second choice behind a .243 for whitetail. It's REALLY close though. Of course, I absolutely love my .243 Remington. Best rifle I've ever fired.
     
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  11. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:38 AM
    #11
    Rgross2112

    Rgross2112 New Member

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    In Pa I use a 270 or 308, both have great stopping power. Both are flat shooters but the 308 carries a bigger punch. I also have my dads 30-06 but that thing has a steel plate on the end so it is not very forgiving, can only shot 6 shots at the range until it feels the shoulder is dislocated. May need to invest in a recoil pad. I do know a few friends who shoot the .243 but just like JohnLakeMan says your shot placement will be critical. Keep us informed on what you’re going with.
     
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  12. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:41 AM
    #12
    sotex

    sotex Sic 'em Bears!

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    Try a few shots sighting in a 7mm mag and that 30-06 will feel like a pea-shooter!
     
  13. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:42 AM
    #13
    AzureNightmare

    AzureNightmare Geek in a Tundra

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    .243 is plenty for a deer if your shot placement is good. As others stated even with a larger caliber these are tough animals that may still run after a fatal shot. If it has you worried and you are thinking about upsizing, the .270 is a pretty minimal upgrade. I'd go to my favorite round, the .308 (7.62x51). It's a solid step up, doesn't kick terribly, has ample ammo available (when not in a shortage), and if you ever decide to shoot something bigger than a deer it will tackle anything that naturally occurs on this continent.

    I'd go with a .308 over a 30-06 because the performance gains of the 30-06 are pretty minimal for the additional recoil. They shoot the same projectile. The 30-06 will out perform at longer ranges, but at your stated 100 yard, or even out to 300 yards, it won't be enough to fret over. Just my two cents, and 99% of gun stuff is opinion anyway.
     
  14. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:43 AM
    #14
    sotex

    sotex Sic 'em Bears!

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    And, for many, the smaller the caliber, the more accurate the shot as there's less of a recoil factor - both real and imagined. Here in Texas, whitetail and Axis are perfect targets for .243.
     
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  15. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:46 AM
    #15
    JohnLakeman

    JohnLakeman Burning Internet Daylight

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    Making great firearms since 1816. Better pass it on to your kids, and let's hope Remington survives Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
     
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  16. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:49 AM
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    MKKnuds

    MKKnuds God, Truck, Guns, Beer

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    243 is a fine round for whitetail. Seen many guys bring down good-sized game with it. Shot placement is critical though. If you have something standing still its perfect, if they are on the move you might wound more than put down.

    Personally I hunt with a .308 tons of stopping power and very little recoil.

    Also, I follow the "rule" of common calibers for hunting. If you forget ammo you know at the small town gun shop or sporting goods store you can always find 30-06, .308 , 30-30 or 270Win. Not necessarily the 7mmWSM or 300Blackout (just other calibers my buddies have used)

    Just opinions, not facts here from me. Good luck hunting and we want pictures when you bag that white tail!
     
  17. Sep 15, 2020 at 10:10 AM
    #17
    Hbjeff

    Hbjeff New Member

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    .243 is one of the best shooting rifle cartridges. I sold one years ago and i still miss it
     
  18. Sep 15, 2020 at 10:16 AM
    #18
    19crewmaxTRD

    19crewmaxTRD Tundra Enthusiast

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    Every deer I’ve killed has been with a 243. That probably won’t be the case any more because I’ve set up a light weight 308 now. I’ve been using 308 for hog hunting because of their very thick skin and longer range shots that 100-200yard shots you have to take.
     
  19. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:56 PM
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    Bucks04

    Bucks04 New Member

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    Agree above , it's all in placement , not power, don't depend on the caliper to bring him down , If your unsure , it's in your head , and you need to practice more. It's kind of like bow hunting, you don't need to pull 70-80 lbs , pull what you can seated, and hold for 1 minute , then shoot and hit target . As I got older , I understood this more ,and practiced more with lighter poundage , and became more accurate. Shoot what feels best , and you can hit bulls at your range. Alot of guys that shoot really well , will do neck shots every time , and they drop on the spot.
     
  20. Sep 15, 2020 at 5:58 PM
    #20
    Black Wolf

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    Head shots even better....instant drop. No damaged meat.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  21. Sep 15, 2020 at 6:09 PM
    #21
    jewsNbrews

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    .243 is a great deer rifle. Good shot placement can take them down no problem. They will not just drop though.

    6.5 creedmore seems like another good caliber but I have never shot one.

    30-06 is what I mainly use. It's a great rifle. I use it for deer and elk. I use a 125 gr for deer and 180 for elk. 125gr won't drop them either but it doesn't leave big holes in it either. I have used 150 and 180 gr on deer when I was younger. You'll get more instant drop with higher grain but potentially losing more meat.
     
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  22. Sep 15, 2020 at 6:11 PM
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    Cummins3500

    Cummins3500 Never finishes.....

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    Another vote for .308 here. I know guys that have great luck with a .243

    I’d also look at some of the 6.5’s that are out. I’ve got an old 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser my papaw (marine corps gunsmith) cut the barrel on, custom stock, and trigger work. That is one nasty tack driver. The gun out shoots me. The downside is ammo for any of the 6.5 platform may not be readily available at any mom and pop gun shop
     
  23. Sep 15, 2020 at 6:41 PM
    #23
    bsktball55

    bsktball55 New Member

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    My cousin has a .243 that he bought for his daughters to hunt with. One dropped a 165 in buck and the other probably 130 in buck. No tracking needed on either one. I helped him sight it in and it is a very nice gun to shoot. Compared to my .270 there is no recoil. Shoot them through the shoulder and they won't go anywhere.
     
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  24. Sep 15, 2020 at 6:45 PM
    #24
    shawn.roe24

    shawn.roe24 New Member

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    My uncle has hunted with a .243 for years here in NY. It’s his go to gun. Mine is a .270 but you can’t go wrong with a .243
     
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  25. Sep 15, 2020 at 7:36 PM
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    sotex

    sotex Sic 'em Bears!

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    Rarely have a kill not drop on the spot with my .243.
     
  26. Sep 15, 2020 at 8:01 PM
    #26
    ShreveportTSS

    ShreveportTSS Huh?

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    The .243 is a great cartridge as it shoots pretty flat and I also have dropped many deer in their tracks. That being said, it mostly depends on the environment. If you have clear brush free shooting, no worries. Here in Louisiana, a .30-30 is more popular.
     
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  27. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:03 PM
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    Noodle

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    If you can do your part a .243 is more than sufficient
     
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  28. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:13 PM
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    JLS in WA

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    I’ve tipped over a few elk, a number of deer and a few antelope with a .243. It’s not the headstamp, it’s where you put the bullet.
     
  29. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:16 PM
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    jewsNbrews

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    I have heart shot with mine and they still run 25+ yards:notsure:
     
  30. Sep 15, 2020 at 9:28 PM
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    JLS in WA

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    Somewhere in the basalt rocks with my dog
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    I’ve had this happen with a 30-06 too. It’s no big deal. I’ve also had them take two steps and fall over. It just means they died 23 yards further away.
     

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