Author Topic: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?  (Read 2172 times)

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Offline Snareman

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.243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« on: October 04, 2007, 02:51:35 am »
 I know a .243 can cover some ground in a hurry and is rather flat.  11.5" drop at 300 yards if zeroed at 100 yards.  Flatter than my 30-30 anyway.  ;)

I killed a few deer with a .243 and originally got it to be flatter than my 30-30 on whitetails, but am wondering what is the longest realistic shots I should be taking on whitetails?

Assume these situations:

-  Will only shoot at a broadside deer in the lungs behind the shoulder
-  Possibly shoot a slightly quartering "away" broadside relaxed deer
-  Will have a steady rest
-  Have the shooting skills to place bullet where it needs to be
-  Shots won't be rushed

I guess more specifically is that I'm wondering about it's ability to cleanly kill a whitetail at longer ranges.  How far realistically do you feel I should hold my shots to?

Thanks,

Snareman

Graybeard Outdoors

.243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« on: October 04, 2007, 02:51:35 am »
 

Online flintlock

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2007, 07:36:07 am »
I have killed them out to 300 yards...The best setup in this situation is to go with the Federal Premium 85gr Sierra GameKing HPBT...It leaves the muzzle at 3320fps...I sight it in 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards, I'm dead on at 250 and about 3 inches low at 300, groups at 300 are about 3 inches...I have killed deer as close as 20 steps with this bullet, but its moving so fast that when you are that close you will get fragmentation and not an exit on lung shots, move out to 75 yards or so and it will exit on lung shots...Deer hit with this bullet at such close range in the lungs don't go but 15-30 yards, so in my experience blood trails aren't needed...I have also shot several at 50 yards or so and hit them in the shoulder blade, they drop, so they are hard enough to get the job done....If your gun doesn't like the 85gr, go to the Federal Premium 100gr SPBT Sierra GameKing, it doesn't shoot as flat as the 85gr...If I'm remembering right, sighted in 2 1/2 high at 100, my gun put these about 5 inches low at 300....

In my gun I can sight in with the 85gr 2 1/2 high at 100 and a 100gr CoreLokt is 2 inches high at 100, so when I hunt the woods, I use the CoreLokts...

Offline SingleShotShorty

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2007, 02:41:06 pm »
year before last I shot a nice 8 pointer opening day with my 243 Ruger tangsafety hvy barrel shooting a 100 grain Nosler Partition at 420 yards and he went 30 yards and fell.
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Offline Selmer

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2007, 08:52:21 am »
Ditto both posts, my experience as well. 
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Offline beemanbeme

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2007, 08:42:44 am »
I had a local tell me yesterday that he had killed a deer last year at 622 yards with a .243.  He and his Grandpaw had looked at the distance and agreed that it was 622 yards. --you ain't gonna dispute Grandpaw are you?  When I asked how he had his rifle sighted in, he said, "2" high at 100 yards but I held over." You just gotta love these .243 shooters don't you.  ;D

Offline tutti confuso

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2007, 09:39:12 am »
ya gotta love the hold over story as well as the .243

here is a comp'chart .[ inever get it to line up ] for a 243 85gr spt , muzzle vel 3200fps, site over barrel 1.5", sited in a 200yrds

at 600yrds the bullet drops almost 70"s with only 500+pounds of energy.. 

Range Velocity Impact Drop ToF Energy Drift
0 3200 -1.5 0 0 1933 0
100 2899 1.34 2.01 0.1 1586 1.26
200 2624 0 8.19 0.21 1300 3.81
300 2367 -6.41 19.45 0.33 1057 8.34
400 2126 -19.08 36.96 0.46 853 15.14
500 1899 -39.49 62.22 0.61 681 24.59
600 1689 -69.6 97.17 0.78 538 37.14
700 1499 -111.94 144.36 0.97 424 53.28
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Offline Thebear_78

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2007, 10:24:24 am »
I have shot deer from 70-280 yards with the 243 and have never been dissapointed with its performance given decent bullet placement.  I wouldn't think twice on shots out to 300 yards,  after that it would depend on situation, I'm sure the bullet would be enough to get the job done but my ability to connect drops way down on the far side of 300 yards.   Given a rock solid rest, dependable range estimation(range finder), and the right weather conditions I would take it.

Offline buck460XVR

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2007, 11:05:09 am »
Quote
-  Will have a steady rest
-  Have the shooting skills to place bullet where it needs to be

I always wonder about the average hunters ability to make consistent shots out beyond the 300 yard mark. Even with one 'ell of a lot of practice, high quality optics, a good rangefinder  and premium ammo, it's hard for me to believe most can do it. Punchin' paper from a known distance with the gun in a gun vise at long ranges is one thing but, guessing distance and just holding high on a animal that is up and capable of movement is a recipe for failure. Sure, lots of folk get deer doing just that every year...thanks to luck. You, yourself are the best judge of your own capabilities. That is part of being a hunter and knowing your own limitations. To be fair to your quarry in a sporting way, you have to have enough  respect for the animal to pass up on shots you are not confident with. Shooting at a animal and hoping you hit it is something most do when they first start hunting when their only priority is to kill something. If you have matured enough as a hunter you will know the answer to your own question. Even tho most here do not consider themselves to be mearly "average" hunters..........most of us are.
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Offline gdolby

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2007, 05:50:09 pm »
good day to all, have used my m700 .243 on deer from 20 to 376 yards. all one shot kills with less than 30 feet after the shot of movement. A hunters proficiency with the weapon dictates more what a rifle is capable of than ballistics as stated above. With lots of "real" practice I dont see a reason that 500 yards for a .243 would be a problem. By real practice I mean get out and pick a rock, tree , post and etc. not down at the local range where you know that from the bench to point A is 100yds and to point B is 200 and so forth. Good hunting.....Bill.

Offline beemanbeme

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2007, 07:40:17 am »
While I don't agree with the numbers posted, gdolby, I do strongly agree with the sentiment of the post: practice, practice, practice.  Under field conditions, using field positions. But how many folks today can find the time, can make the time, hell, can even find the open space to roam around shooting at rocks and stumps or guessing at distances and pacing them off. So the real debate is not the possibilities of the rifle but the possibilities of the shooters.  And there is the problem.
I am gonna opine that shooting from a field position( kneeling, braced against a tree, sitting) and hitting, with assurance, a 6" pie plate at 300 yards is beyond your average hunter. Is probably beyond many of the hunters in this room.
   

Offline Don Fischer

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2007, 08:03:59 am »
Good post beeman. Tell me something tho. Why is it the question is always how far away can I do it and what do I need to do it farther and never how close can I get?
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Offline ~Ace~

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2007, 08:22:44 am »
Good post beeman. Tell me something tho. Why is it the question is always how far away can I do it and what do I need to do it farther and never how close can I get?

200 years ago we had Muskets that IF you hit a deer at 50 yards... you done Great, but it was not the norm to hunt from such Long Distances
50 years ago almost all rifles had Iron sites and 100 yard shots were the effecient maximum
25 years ago we had Optics on many rifles, better materials for said weapons, and because of the 2, Much better inherant accuracy.

Today we have Much better optics, Much better Out of the box accuracy, And Much better Projectiles... it all adds up to distances much further than "Your Daddy's hunting rifle"  We have younger shooters with Better equipment. and Good Eyes. The older generations are not used to the advances, and can't see their full potential due to aging eyes.

With all that said, The .243 with the Best Bullets is not going to take a shot on a deer past 300 yards, and I would prefer inside of 200, they are a Good Flat shootong round with high BC, but they simply don't have the Energy on the long shots for Deer size critters.

Offline beemanbeme

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2007, 12:20:31 pm »
Ace, a fellow can have all the whistles and bells on the market and they aren't gonna do him a bit of good if the dumba$$ don't know how to use them. OR thinks they are gonna compensate for the fact that he's a lousy shot. OR thinks they excuse him from having to practice, practice, practice.  When I read a post where a fellow tells me he has a drop chart taped on the stock of his rifle, that doesn't tell me he's the sharpest knife in the drawer.  It just tells me he has some sort of computer program.  
Not to start a peeing contest betwixt the young guys and us old farts,(Who me, no never)  but when I see them labouring into the woods draped with wind gizzies and distance thingies, and scent blocker clothes and politically correct camo (that's been washed in UV soap and then soaked in doe pee) and scopes that you could use to see foot prints on Mars with that has so many lights and dots and spots and grids and adjustments that you have to have you cell phone with you so you can call tech support if you need to adjust it and 6 different kinds of ammo with magic bullets, I have to wonder if modern technology is doing them a favor or merely filling someone's pocketbook?  

Offline LEO

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2007, 07:05:05 pm »
The 243 is capable of taking deer sized game under perfect conditions at 400 plus yards but the kicker is the shooter.  At one time I would have thought nothing of shooting at a deer at 500 plus yards and that deer would have in all likelyhood have been meat in the freezer.  But at that time I was shooting a lot a long range.  Those days are gone and I wouldn't attempt a shot at past 300  yards.  The problem with long range shooting is not trajectory, that is the same each shot at a given range.  The problem is windage and if you are not shooting at long range regularly in a wide variety of conditions you don't develop the ability to effectively gauge the wind.  Also this is a skill that perishes fairly quickly without constant refreshing.  Only you can determine how far you can effectively harvest a deer based on a true evaluation of your skills under realistic conditons with the set up of your choice.  Hope this helps

Offline Brithunter

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2007, 04:11:56 am »
Good post beeman. Tell me something tho. Why is it the question is always how far away can I do it and what do I need to do it farther and never how close can I get?

200 years ago we had Muskets that IF you hit a deer at 50 yards... you done Great, but it was not the norm to hunt from such Long Distances
50 years ago almost all rifles had Iron sites and 100 yard shots were the effecient maximum
25 years ago we had Optics on many rifles, better materials for said weapons, and because of the 2, Much better inherant accuracy.

Today we have Much better optics, Much better Out of the box accuracy, And Much better Projectiles... it all adds up to distances much further than "Your Daddy's hunting rifle"  We have younger shooters with Better equipment. and Good Eyes. The older generations are not used to the advances, and can't see their full potential due to aging eyes.

With all that said, The .243 with the Best Bullets is not going to take a shot on a deer past 300 yards, and I would prefer inside of 200, they are a Good Flat shootong round with high BC, but they simply don't have the Energy on the long shots for Deer size critters.

   Hmmm how very strange. Quality in modern production guns is not what it once was, the demand for cheap guns has driven quality down as well. Now whilst the shooters and especially the hunter wants to pay little for his gun it seems he will happily pay premium prices for bullets hence we now have better bullets that in the past in most cases. I suppose whare Ace is until  the past 25 years or so all the hunting folks used lever actions which of course in most cases are not the best to fit scopes too. Where bolt actions have been more common scopes have been popular and normal hunting fitment since at least the 1960's and serious hunters used then back in the 30's. May I suggest you acquire and read "The Hunting Rifle" by Townsend Wheelan! After all 25 years ago is only 1982 and not exactly the stone ages!

    As for shooting with irons beyone 100 yards well it's all to do with the "nut behind the Butt" and of course the correct type of sights. Wheelan lamented the poor Iron sights fitted to most American rifles as factory standard and I can see his point. When compared to a good set of express sights or a Hunting aperture sight they are indeed poor. I was startled the first tiem I tried the No3 Vee express sights on just how clear they were to use and some older club members who thought using open irons were beyond them also were surprised to find out that they too could see the sights and shoot with them. The rifle in question was made proir to WW1 and has not been altered since and is what Rigby's termed a Best Sporting Rifle. I acquired some old Kynoch factory ammo for it and found out that desipte the years the sights were still in regulation for the factory load.

   As for long range shooting .................... well it's not for me but I know some for which it's the norm and in fact a buddy from MO uses a custom rifle in .243AI with 95 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips to shoot Whitetails out to 400 yards. He is a far finer shot than I am and is a regular competitor at 600 yards with the same rifle.  It all comes down to the shooters level of skill in accurately placing the bullet in the right spot and due to low recoil and the cartridges apparant inherent accuracy the .243 helps in this.

Offline ~Ace~

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2007, 07:52:30 am »
Quote
Hmmm how very strange. Quality in modern production guns is not what it once was, the demand for cheap guns has driven quality down as well. Now whilst the shooters and especially the hunter wants to pay little for his gun it seems he will happily pay premium prices for bullets hence we now have better bullets that in the past in most cases. I suppose whare Ace is until  the past 25 years or so all the hunting folks used lever actions which of course in most cases are not the best to fit scopes too.

Lol, You can twist that into nay shape you want... but with CNC Machining, Computer controlled cutting and modern alloys, the Guns of today are Better Quality than they were even 20 years ago.. Mechanically ! They might take that precision barreled action and put it in a Tupperware stock with poorly fit accessories, but the fact can't be denied they tolerances are better, they are stronger, and the chance of getting a Good shooter is Much Higher.

25 years ago the guns Looked Better (to someone that likes that look) with the hand fitting and such, but talk to any older Precision Shooters, getting a GOOD Accurate barrel was hit and miss, Remington's Hammer forged were the best chance at the time of getting a good one, and the 700 action was second to none.

This is 2007, and we have better steel, and equipment. We also have the Savage floating bolt head.. a design change made to Cheapen the rifle, but turned out to be a Fantastic design for many reasons. Most manufacturers (Remington is Sleeping) are using Faster Twist barrels, that shoot longer heavier bullets with a higher BC... that means MORE ACCURATE DOWN RANGE. Even Powders have come a long way in consistency, and the newer ones that are Much less sensitive to tempature, it all adds up to being Easier TODAY to buy a gun off the shelf and shoot it Very Well. Competitive shooting has come to the point they are shooting eggs past 600 yards.... Nuff Said

Offline rickt300

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2007, 10:49:15 am »
I like somewhat bigger cartridges for the longer range shooting. I have used various 243's and 6MM's on deer and antelope out to almost 300 yards.  I have yet to need to shoot further than that at a whitetail and my longest shot at a mule deer was right at 300 yards using a 30-06. I took a nice antelope out at 450 yards using the same rifle but these are not what I consider commonly encountered shooting situations. To me the standard 6mm's should be limited to 300 yards or less. Just my opinion.
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Offline Brithunter

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2007, 05:02:49 am »
Hmmm well let's de-bug the CNC myth. CNC is more repeatable providing :-

1) The basic machine is capable of such accuracy, not all CNC'S are!

1) special tooling and tool holders are required for  better than normal accuracy. Normal carbide inserts are now only guaranteed to index and remain on size to 0.1 (0.004") where as when I first started using Sandvik inserts they guaranteed sizes to 0.001" now that tolerance requires "Qualified" Tooling which costs a lot more than normal tooling and needs to be special ordered.

3) Not all control systems have the same accuracy and repeatability, the more accurate the more expensive and with today's cost cutting ? Firms buy what they can get away with.

4) It requires programmers who know what they are doing ........................... not all do and a lot I have come across are pretty darned useless.

5) It still requires skilled operators or minders and skilled setters to keep accuracy. A lot of places skimp on the minders and operators believing that the CNC will compensate for the lack of skill.

6) Just because a CNC was not used does it mean that it's not accurately made, The Pattern 39 Enfield Musket had interchangable parts made to fit by using difference guages developed by Joseph Whitworth. Interchangabilty of course required accuracy and this was achieved over 150 years ago.

7) Hammer forging was developed as I understand in in Europe, Parker-Hale of Birmingham was one firm which designed and built their own Hammer Forging machine, BSA also used this method of manufacture of barrels but still had cut rifling facilities. The Germans in WW2 used the hammer forging method in production especially for the MG42 barrels. Mauser at Obendorf used the cut rifling method at least before WW2 and Walter Gehman used a prototype rifle and sight to shoot a world record 300 meters score just prior WW2 using a cut rifled barrel. The Lee Enfield barrels were cut rifled as  far as I am aware.

    Oh were you aware that Tikka still use the human eye to set barrels despite all the laser stuff it seems a trained humane still does a better job!

8) With modern cost cutting in production something has to give and it's quality so the production rifles of today are not equal to those of 20 years ago despite modern alloys cost rules and quality takes a back seat to costs.

    Stainless or Rust-Less steel as it was first called was developed for Naval guns to resist salt corrosion and the effects of the corrosive actions of the primers and propellents used at the time.

    Yes I HAVE worked with CNC machinery as well as the older Peg Board controlled stuff. Was even learning programming before I left to help look after my parents.


Offline SHOOTALL

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2007, 05:23:38 am »
Many feel you need 1000 ft lbs of energy to kill a deer or other critter , so look at a chart of what ever round you hunt with and see at what yardage you fall below 1000 and restrict your shots accordingly ! that is if you agree with the idea .
If ya can see it ya can hit it !

Offline ~Ace~

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2007, 07:35:36 am »
Thats always been a Good method, Shootall and you can also tailer your bullet to one that works well at your expected Down range velocity.

Offline SHOOTALL

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2007, 09:55:41 am »
The only thing is a small deer vs. a large Elk !
If ya can see it ya can hit it !

Offline Brithunter

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2007, 10:23:56 am »
Well small and large are both relative expressions. I don't think the US any really small Deer, yeah I know that some claim that they have White tail's that only weigh about 100lbs and then there is the Cous (Spelling?) Deer. However we have Muntjac or more properly Reeves Muntjac these little deer only stand about 24" to the shoulder and weigh about 20-28lbs. They have just changed the law to allow .22 center-fires to be used on Muntjac and the Chinese Water Deer which is a bit larger than the Muntjac. CWD stand about 40" and weigh about 40lbs I understand but I have never seen one close ( except fleetingly in the headlights once whilst frivign a recovery truck)  although there are some a few miles from here on the Bird reserve. Hmmm must go up there some time with the Binos to see if I can spot them!

Roe deer still require a minimum cailbre of .240" by law even though a good Buck will only weigh about 50 lbs Does are lighter and are more often in the 40lb region. Most shots on Our small deer are under 150 yards and as with any quarry bullet placement is the key. I shot my last Muntjac with a .270 and 130 grain Nosler Solid base bullet at about 90 yards On that estate there were Fallow, Roe and Muntjac, I messed up and didn't get teh shot a a nice Roe Buck, spent too long watching him witht eh binos instead of getting the rifle on aim. The rifle was sighted in  about  1 1/4" high and I didn't take that into account and broke it's spine so lost a little back strap, was  aiming for a lung shot, but on small beasts like this there is not a lot of lea way.

   Now as for 1,000 ft lbs required ..................................................... Hmmm not so sure as bullet placement is the key. But hey if it makes you feel good!

Offline ~Ace~

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2007, 10:31:41 am »
The 1000 lbs applied to Whitetail deer,,, the deer that 99.87% of the people on this forum would be hunting. Varmint / Coyote size deer would obviously not require near that.

Offline SHOOTALL

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2007, 10:34:36 am »
I agree ,
If ya can see it ya can hit it !

Offline beemanbeme

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2007, 10:40:44 am »
My question is: "Who comes up with these numbers?? And how are they arrived at??"  Do they take into consideration the animals mental state? Alert? alarmed? at rest? in flight?  I kinda think the guys that dream these numbers up are full of organic fertilizer myself.  'cause I've seen some pretty small deer take some pretty hard hits and not give up without a struggle.  By the same token, I think a white tail is much more tenacious than a mulie.  I'm not trying to start a peeing contest but that just seems to be my experience.

Offline SHOOTALL

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2007, 10:49:18 am »
Over the years i have seen it in magazine articles and in books as a min. as you state alot has to be considered and many address such including angle of shot . I guess that's why the 1000 as we have said in most cases a 90 lb doe wouldn't take as much . but then if she was excited etc. it could take as much . No two animals or shots are the same but a bench mark gives one a place to begin ! in Va. one can hunt deer with a 30 carbine but not a 22-250 , no one said a bench mark had to be realistic !
If ya can see it ya can hit it !

Offline ~Ace~

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2007, 10:50:40 am »
Obviously the "1000 Lb" term is relative ! Come On ! It's a basic Guideline thats been accepted for Many years for killing WhiteTail Deer. If you hit them with at least 1000 lbs in a good spot, you have a Very good chance of harvesting the animal, as you drop below 1000 lbs the % goes down. Nothing is set in stone... it's a Basic Guidline !

Offline SHOOTALL

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2007, 10:53:33 am »
That's right ! I would venture most deer are shot with in ranges where much more energy is still in the bullet !
If ya can see it ya can hit it !

Offline victorcharlie

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2007, 05:04:49 pm »
While in the army, I fired many rounds at man sized silhouettes at ranges to 300 meters while using "iron" sites with a high percentage of hits.   While it's doubtful I could shoot the front teeth out of a groundhog at that range with iron sites it was not a problem using a Remington 788 and  Weaver K10 in .243 back in the day.  That .243 was capable of fine accuracy at extended ranges and many days of my youth I found such pleasure while shooting groundhogs across bean fields.  I didn't miss many.......

Without a doubt the .243 is capable of killing deer at over 300 yards.  The real question should be is the marksman capable at such ranges?
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Barry Goldwater

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Re: .243: The Longest "Realistic" Shot For Whitetails?
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2007, 06:03:25 am »
the longest shot I have taken was about 300 yards, with a good rest from a blind, winchester 100g sp through the vitals, dropped in it's tracks
touched off the round, didn't see it drop in the scope like I like to do.. and it was in some tall grass, when we got down there it was right laying on the ground dead

this particular gun (old Sako) is a tack driver and I have NEVER lost a deer to it
this year my son will be using it

 

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