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Thread: Why is the .243 so popular?

  1. #1

    Why is the .243 so popular?

    I've been reading the forums a lot recently and it seems that the .243 camp has a lot of members! And when a newbie comes along looking for a Deer rifle, they always ask .243 or .308?

    The more I read, the more I wonder why? Yes it will work, but it's hardly perfect. It is just about legal energy wise and when shooting 100gr bullets in Scotland it's right at the limit of it's bullet weight unless you have a fast twist barrel. Quite often people find the accuracy drops off at 100 grains and prefer to go slightly lighter down south where they can.

    When you look at it that way, why do so many people support it? Why not use something bigger? .25-06 is fast, flat and throws more weight comfortably although it is a bit harsh. 6.5x55 or .260 are mild rounds which again handle the weight better but don't knock your shoulder for it. Then there's 7x57 or 7-08 which is going a bit on the large side if the gun is to be used for Foxing but is otherwise still good.

    I guess I just don't get why people love it so much? What good points does it have that aren't covered by slightly bigger rounds? Trajectory is an issue I suppose, but not in every day Deer stalking. Shots are most often taken at about 100 yards and between that and 200, there ain't much in it no matter what calibre you use.

  2. #2
    First of all I have to agree with you about all these magical "flat shooting" rounds we hear about - at most realistic UK deer stalking ranges most common deer legal cartridges shoot within the width of the crosshairs on my scope of each other. Knowing your drop and drift is more important than thinking you don't need to know your drop and drift.

    I guess that with 243 being the minimum that is legal for all deer in the UK many view it as very much a good place to start. I would also imagine that the fact that some forces might allow fox on a 243 will also be a factor. It is also true that the 243 will kill most UK deer pretty well, though I personally prefer as big a hole as possible, and that recoil is moderate. It is also always good to have a commonly used cartridge as getting components and ammo will be easier. It is likely that many people who shoot deer only have regular access to the smaller species and in view of the police propaganda about "overkill" this may also have an impact upon choice.

    I happen to shoot a 308 and subscribe to the "big hole" physical reality of killing deer in a sporting manner but I think the 243 has a lot to recommend it and I'm also a big fan of free choice. I shot my first ever deer with a 243 and all those since have been with a 308, like you I don't quite understand the attachment to the 243 but it does the job, it's legal, it is designed as a vermin cartridge so is well suited to that role as well, some people might shoot it better and luckily we still have the choice so it is all good.

  3. #3
    Let's face it the Police love the word minimum and more often than not steer new applicants that way regards how suitable it is or not. if the minimum was .22 L/R then that's what they would be pushing on folks.

  4. #4
    As brit hunter said min cal Police will like first time aplicants to start with.
    Firearm dealers/shops will have various .243 rifles and amunition in stock ,because of its popularity.
    I know there are other calibre's for deer used and preferred ,but there is nothing wrong with .243,with 55g bullets you have excellent fox tool and 100g for deer ,and as said does the job.

  5. #5
    i think it is ingrained in us about the min too i remember thinking a 243 would be all i ever wanted untill i actually found it lacked in certain areas for me ,thats me folks !! not everyone .with 100 grain ammo for munty and roe and more often fallow i tended to drill a hole staight through the beast only for it to bugger off and leave me up a seat wondering should i stay or should i go now look .with charlie much the same really thought i had missed so many times only to find the fox a day or two later when it started stinking ,changed down to 55 gr and 80 but then i have a 22.250. pretty sure at the time the fuzz wouldnt have let me have had a 308 .the 243 finally went yesterday for new pastures and i am going to try a 6.5 .so i have a 22.250 ,6.5x55,and my favorite the 308 .incidently the rfd said he had 243's coming out the gunroom so perhaps the fuzz are letting folks go a little bigger as a start these days ,what do you think ?

  6. #6
    Somehow it seems that for many the first priority is to have a low recoiling rifle.
    Other countries don't allow 243 for deer for a reason. I think you just have to
    adapt your hunting style to the weapon at hand. Overall the 308 is better and
    a proper deer calibre.

  7. #7
    I have just got one and the FLO imposed restrictions had nothing to do with it.
    Without the moderator I actually found the recoil to be a lot higher than expected, especially with 100gn bullets.

    In my mind it is a classic calibre and partners very well with my 270. I now have two rifles that are legal for everything from fox (and any stupid hoody crow that comes within 300yds of me whilst out!) to a 24st Red stag

    I went for wanted something fast, flat and with a short action cartridge. I have a long action already and by choosing a short action for the second CF there is zero chance of a cartridge choice error.
    It also give me a bullet choice that barely overlaps my existing rifle (although I did just buy some nutty 90gn HP for the 270 for a laugh!)

  8. #8
    HUH ....................... bewsher ..................... hate to point this out but the P-H 1100 is a std Mauser length action and not a short one

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    HUH ....................... bewsher ..................... hate to point this out but the P-H 1100 is a std Mauser length action and not a short one
    Which is exactly why I wouldn't want one as a gift. Horrible, sloppy old things.
    There are lots of 243s on the correct length action for sensible money.

  10. #10
    referring to the cartridge rather than the actual rifle.
    would want a 308 and a 243 for example

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