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Both of my sons started hunting with the .243 for Whitetail deer in south MS thirty or so years ago. I started them out with the .243 and loaded 100gr. Nosler partitions which performed just so-so in my opinion. They did kill the deer but very seldom without a tracking experience that left little or no blood trail.
Now my grandsons are old enough to join the hunt and I would like some experienced info on the the newer bullets available for this caliber. I am interested in a bullet that will usually give a pass thru because the .243 is not known for DRT and a good trail is my desire.
Our doe deer are usually under120 lbs. and bucks seldom exceed 185 lbs. with an occasional 200 lb. exception.
I know the bullet industry has come a long way since I last loaded the .243 and would appreciate your expertise.

Thanks, Ken
 

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Simple. Barnes tsx or tttsx, 85 or 80gr. A buddy kills deer like it's going out of style.

I use Sierra 85gr hpbt. They kill like lightening and 95% pass thrus. I killed a 195# buck this year with a 25yd quartering to shot, broke the onside shoulder, busted ribs in and out, and left the mushroom in the back hip. He only went about 30yd. Barnes would have exited, but I have over 500 of these to use, and they shoot straight.
 
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now i may get arugments over this but stay away from premium bullets in the 24 and 25s. there made to allow you to kill game larger then what is appropriate for those calibers. the real premium bullets for the 24s and 25s are plain old cup and core bullets. They expand and do alot of internal damage. My choices for those calibers are bulllets like siearra game kings, nos ballistic tips speer hot cores and hornady interlocks in that order. All will work. Id start with 100 grain versions of all four of those bullets and see which your gun shoots the best. Only thing the premium bullets will give you in those calibers is a lighter wallet and some wounded game tracking skills.
 

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My favorite bullet for the 243 and 6mm Rem always was the Sierra 100gr Pro Hunter, but with that said I have come to believe the Sierra 85HPBT is better. I shot some deer with the Hornady 100gr Interlock but liked the Sierra's better.
 

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Your first choice, 100 gr. Nosler Partitions, is my hunting partner's preferred choice for over 30-years, and certainly not the only choice. Load accurately at the LOWER END of the manufacturer's recommended powder recipe.

The 243 bullet does not have to be delivered to the target in 0.20 milliseconds (200 yds. at 3,000 fps). The deer will be just as dead from a large-for-caliber bullet going a "lazy" 2,500 fps that takes an additional 0.04 milliseconds to get there. Slow the bullet (and the rifle) down a little.

AND...

Suggest the boys go to a range. Practice, practice, practice. Practice can be any old bullet - just practice! In the end, it is the combination of bullet performance, trigger time producing self discipline, and self confidence (including high confidence in one's equipment) that enables SHOT PLACEMENT to put deer on the ground. A lot of practice enables high confidence that leaves very little to chance in the field. Confidence through practice eliminate the "jitters" as one confines his focus to making a good shot and not on "the prize", which comes later.

If it's meat they're after, deer don't take it well in the neck. A "tamed" 243 with a 100 gr. Nosler Partition is more than capable - if the shooter is...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the responses. I was hoping for a magic new performing bullet solution I guess. Personally I think the .243 is barely minimal for deer sized game but it is a caliber a youngster can handle and will certainly put a deer down as I have several very nice ones mounted on the wall that my boys put there.
I can also say I was very glad when they moved to more capable calibers like the 7mm-08 and .280 and freed old Dad from the night time tracking. I know every where is different but in south MS, at dusk dark, a fifty or so yard trail in the swamp or pine thickets is a major chore with no decent blood trail.
Both of my sons and my grand children must prove themselves at the bench before they are allowed in the woods with a firearm to deer hunt. All are taught how to place shots on a game animal and I would never teach them to neck shoot a deer as there is too much room for error. They will do things like that on their own when the become old farts like us.
 

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The Sierra 100gr SBT game king abd 85gr HPBT game king have never failed me. The 100gr SBT has proven extremely effective out to 300 yards.


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Thanks for the responses. I was hoping for a magic new performing bullet solution I guess. Personally I think the .243 is barely minimal for deer sized game but it is a caliber a youngster can handle and will certainly put a deer down as I have several very nice ones mounted on the wall that my boys put there.
I can also say I was very glad when they moved to more capable calibers like the 7mm-08 and .280 and freed old Dad from the night time tracking. I know every where is different but in south MS, at dusk dark, a fifty or so yard trail in the swamp or pine thickets is a major chore with no decent blood trail.
Both of my sons and my grand children must prove themselves at the bench before they are allowed in the woods with a firearm to deer hunt. All are taught how to place shots on a game animal and I would never teach them to neck shoot a deer as there is too much room for error. They will do things like that on their own when the become old farts like us.
well ill say this. Ive killed a dump truck load of deer with my 6mm and 240 wby. Only one with a 243. The only deer with those calibers and ill throw the 25s into it too is when i used bullets like barnes x's. Ive killed deer out to 350 yards with the 6mm and some at close to 500 with my 240 and ate meat every time. there not the pop guns some want make them out to be. there actually a darned good deer rifle. You dont need an 06 or a 300 wby to kill a deer. What you need is to put a bullet in the boiler room. For most thats a bit easier to do with a 243 then it is a 300 ultra mag. Just keep in mind that the real premium bullets for deer in the 243 and other guns of that level are the cup and core bullets that have been working long before someone tried pumping it into your head that there marginal and the only way to kill something is to buy the buck a piece bullets that somehow make them something there not.
 

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Practice is a continuous function that does not stop when one can show a proficiency to hold a witnessed, no-stress, bench mounted, rifle on target at 100 yards for two or three shots. Children can do this and their parents allow them to hunt only to find the stress of actually holding the rifle in a deer stand and the adrenaline coursing through their bodies is problematic for their making a killing shot. Proficiency at tracking is going to increase under this strategy.

Practice is shooting again and again and again during the life of the shooter so muscle memory is developed, "concern" for recoil is eliminated, anticipation is eliminated, and the "thinking" part of shooting is rendered from the conscious to the subconscious. Only then, during safe hunting circumstances, will intense focus be on the positioning of the shot and not on any alternatives. My $0.02 for what its worth...
 

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yup i agree totaly. A 223 in the hands of a shooter is better then a 300 mag in the hands of someone whos idea of practice is checking the zero of there gun before season
 

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I always love people who think 243 is not ideal. My wife puts them down with her. This is her Doe for this year. 243 winchester fired from a Mossberg Patriot Youth topped with a BSA Sweet 243. She uses Winchester XP Deer season 95 grain. This 1 was taken at 110 yards, bullet was recovered after if blew both shoulder blades and was stopped by the hide on the back side. Tracking was super simple, watched it fall.

Shot placement is always key, our longest track this year was just over a quarter mile.

As for the 223 comments, have watched them dropped at over 200 yards by a 223. So, watch your shot placement.

Also, don't ever believe that you have to shoot the exact rifle you are hunting. Make sure it is zero's and your equipment is good. The important thing is to practice in as many calibers and platforms that you possess all year long. All shots should be taken with the intent of following the rules of marksmanship.


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gotta find a pill the rifle likes first. sierra 85 hpbt has proven the most accurate in both mine and kills very well with good blood trails. the 80 barnes kills well but was quite as accurate as the sierra. neither one of mine like 100gr pills.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
lloyd have you ever tried any 105 gr. Speer spitzer hot cores. I happen to have box of them and tried a few but never followed thru because the Nosler 100gr. partitions were very accurate. As you know bullets are hard to come by at the present and my supply of Noslers is depleted.
land_owner I will agree that practice is a principle key to good marksmanship and shot placement is an absolute necessity. When I referred to the bench being mastered I did not go on to say the kids were first mastering a pellet rifle,
shotgun and handguns before sitting at the bench with a rifle capable of killing larger game than dove or squirrel.
The .243 caliber is a more than adequate caliber in experienced hands.as are some .224's
rswink a one quarter track in the south MS pine thicket without a good blood trail equals a lost deer if you do not have a good blood hound.

Thanks for all responses, Ken
 

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That's a lot of practice then! A BB gun or pellet rifle is a wonderful platform for teaching marksmanship. I still use both myself, the BB though more often, and it is a lessen in gravity to observe the "rainbow" trajectory from barrel to target, which is frequently the back of an alligator gar fish as it glides just below the surface of the pond immediately prior to its gulp of air. In one form or another, I am always hunting. From the balcony, which overlooks the pond and some 20+feet above the water, there is no skip, just a large and satisfying "woosh" as the gar fish freaks out and disappears into deeper waters.

I made three "clothes pin" derived rear sight "elevators" for my Daisey. Short, Medium, and Long range. Slide one under the rear sight and raise the barrel a specific amount for longer shots. I have mastered the distance within which each elevator is effective to preclude the necessity for hold over. It can be a lot with distances approaching 50 yards!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sounds like a very relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a little leisure time not to mention scaring the xxxx out of the gar. Pretty inventive to use clothespins for elevators.
Do not have water close to the house but I do have two large pecan trees full of squirrels, or at least they used to be.
Bought me a new pellet rifle about two years ago and the pecan stealers are getting scarce. So far I reduced the population by 42, the latest this past Saturday morning.
Still love to shoot but my energy for it has dwindled.

Ken
 

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Thanks for the responses. I was hoping for a magic new performing bullet solution I guess. Personally I think the .243 is barely minimal for deer sized game but it is a caliber a youngster can handle and will certainly put a deer down as I have several very nice ones mounted on the wall that my boys put there.
I can also say I was very glad when they moved to more capable calibers like the 7mm-08 and .280 and freed old Dad from the night time tracking. I know every where is different but in south MS, at dusk dark, a fifty or so yard trail in the swamp or pine thickets is a major chore with no decent blood trail.
Both of my sons and my grand children must prove themselves at the bench before they are allowed in the woods with a firearm to deer hunt. All are taught how to place shots on a game animal and I would never teach them to neck shoot a deer as there is too much room for error. They will do things like that on their own when the become old farts like us.
I've talked to a fair number of guys that would use the .243 on big Northern moose without issue. I'd rather have more bullet mass, but they manage.

I like the 30-30 and 6.5x55 for mild cartridges. The recoil is around the same as .243, and muzzle blast is low, as neither are extremely high pressure. The 6.5 is higher pressure, but in factory pressures, lower than the "modern" cartridges. The .35 Remington is even lower pressure than the 30-30 with factory loads but can be increased a bit in a strong gun like the Marlin. Or loaded a bit lower with 158 gr. pistol bullets.

I think the carbine length levers are an ideal gun for the younger (or older) hunter. I would hardly bother with bench shooting, as I haven't seen very many natural rests in nature that are comparable. Most of the shooting is done off hand, and make shift rests either take time, or obscure vision with other branches...
 

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tactical level - I respectfully disagree. The woods are FULL of improvised rests such as the rifle stock against a tree, a branch, a big rock, or a walking/shooting stick you take with you to steady the barrel. Rests are everywhere and a suitable rest is always steadier than off hand.

I am a fixed position sniper. The wildlife has to pass near me. I build a stand. I clear shooting lanes. I rest my arms and the rifle on the frame of the stand. This eliminates barrel shake.

Perhaps you stalk carrying your rifle across the chest "at the ready". Seeing game, you are "caught in the open" with little or no time to move or get into any other position prior to taking the shot. Still, a walking/shooting stick would be steadier...
 

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tactical lever, the shooting bench is the best way to properly zero the firearm. Besides it builds confidence for the shooter to be able to hit what they are aiming at, be it a paper target, can, bottle or a gallon jug full of water. This holds true especially for the younger ones who are just beginning to fire a rifle or handgun. Of course the shotgun is another story.
Both of my sons are very accomplished marksmen with all three and they began on the bench. They were also taught
prone, sitting and kneeling positions as they matured.

Ken
 

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tactical level - I respectfully disagree. The woods are FULL of improvised rests such as the rifle stock against a tree, a branch, a big rock, or a walking/shooting stick you take with you to steady the barrel. Rests are everywhere and a suitable rest is always steadier than off hand.

I am a fixed position sniper. The wildlife has to pass near me. I build a stand. I clear shooting lanes. I rest my arms and the rifle on the frame of the stand. This eliminates barrel shake.

Perhaps you stalk carrying your rifle across the chest "at the ready". Seeing game, you are "caught in the open" with little or no time to move or get into any other position prior to taking the shot. Still, a walking/shooting stick would be steadier...
You have a point, and you are right about the way I hunt mostly. Depends on the terrain also. While I can find a rest in thick coniferous forest, very often you lose sight of the animal, or sight picture.

Most shots (mine and hunter's average) are fairly short. Tried a single shooting stick that I had lying around. Found that it introduced a weird side to side instability. Maybe poor technique on my part, but found a tight sling, or maybe even offhand without the sling easier to manage.
 

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tactical lever, the shooting bench is the best way to properly zero the firearm. Besides it builds confidence for the shooter to be able to hit what they are aiming at, be it a paper target, can, bottle or a gallon jug full of water. This holds true especially for the younger ones who are just beginning to fire a rifle or handgun. Of course the shotgun is another story.
Both of my sons are very accomplished marksmen with all three and they began on the bench. They were also taught
prone, sitting and kneeling positions as they matured.

Ken
Not disagreeing with what you are saying. Just saying that after that, offhand is a great, actually critical skill to have.

You don't always have a great spot, or any spot to rest, and going prone or even sitting or kneeling in vegetation isn't always feasible.
 
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