.243 ok for Sika?

Sako75Hunter

Well-Known Member
Hi folks,

I'll shortly be looking for a second-hand rifle, which will be used purely for stalking Sika deer.

I was thinking any deer-legal calibre would do (in Ireland that means .243 and up), with the exception of .243, which would be a bit too close to the .223 I already have. But now I'm thinking maybe it would be a mistake to exclude .243, as this is one of the most common calibres (important when looking for s/h), ammo is easily obtained, the recoil is negligible, etc., etc.

Does anyone have any experience of .243 with Sika? I know shot placement is paramount whatever you're shooting at, but sika have a reputation of being pretty hard to put down for their size, and I don't want to risk being undergunned. And I don't want to go through the hassle of buying a rifle and then feeling the need to change to a more powerful calibre.

Most, if not all, shots would be taken well within 200 yards, but I wouldn't like to find myself having to renounce potential opportunities for longer shots of up to maybe 250-300 yards purely because of the calibre I'm using.

Any thoughts appreciated.
 
Last edited:

turner.jc1

Well-Known Member
I'd go with your initial thought. No need to go for the legal minimum, it's not ideal. A .270 would fit the bill.. Easily sourced ammo, flat shooting and low recoil with 130gr bullets, and will knock Sika over without hassle.
 

Roncon1

Well-Known Member
I shoot a lot of Sika in Ireland and a .243 will do the job however if you are on open ground as suggested by your 200-300 yard comment it wouldn't be my choice if ammo availability is a big consideration I'd find it very hard to pass up the .308 you'll have no problem with ammo selection or availability and you won't be found wanting.
 

paulbshooting

Well-Known Member
I used to shoot sika with 243 and 95 grain ballistic tips, federal ammo from memory. They did the job but even engine room shot beasts could run on, often into deep cover down in dorset where I shot. Ended up with a 308 and 150 grain nosler tips. Greater knock down power and better blood for any tracking. I was also getting into reds up north so the 308 was on the agenda for that as well. I now shot a 308 on all uk deer, one rifle and one bullet choice.
 

sikasako

Well-Known Member
For sika would suggest going for for 270 or 308.
Both calibres are easy to get ammo for and will drop sika effectively.
Would avoid the option of a smaller calibre with ballistic tips, as this will result in excessive meat damage
 

Home Loader

Well-Known Member
I have used .243 .260 and .308 for Sika and don't find a great deal of difference provided the shooter does their bit only use 123 gr in the 308 that's good medicin but didn't notice much difference when using 85gr out of the .243.
You will have greater success with a 243 that you are comfortable with and fits well rather than a larger calibre which doesn't fit well or you are not confident with.
 

A Guy Out West

Well-Known Member
I would imagine a .270 Win or a 25/06, would be ideal. The .270 shooting a 110 Barnes TTX is catastrophic for a deer hit in the engine room and the recoil is not much more than a .243 shooting a 100 gr. I read many posts on this site of people shooting red deer with the 25/06 and getting the job done nicely, again recoil is light. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

Ranger22

Well-Known Member
I use a 243 for my private Sika shooting, don't find it a problem. Like said, shot placement and bullet choice are the two key things. I also use a 270 and it is a cracking round for Sika. Going by what you've said I would say get a 270, ammo is plentiful. Plus it's a calibre that is man enough for anything your going to stalk in the Uk and Ireland
 

Roncon1

Well-Known Member
All the calibers mentioned above including the .243 will be more than capable of the job, the man that introduced me to shooting deer 20 years ago shot as many deer as most on this site and most of them Red and Sika were shot with a .22 magnum when in Ireland you Wernt allowed a caliber that is now classed as deer legal. But from my xperience and especially given Sikas habits and habitats and the distances discussed I wouldn't choose a .243 as I'd like to be using 100gn bullets at a minimum and a lot of .243 don't always shoot the heavier rounds as well hence why I'd go .270 or .308 and given rural Ireland RFD's you shouldn't get stuck waiting on ammo either.
 

Sako75Hunter

Well-Known Member
the man that introduced me to shooting deer 20 years ago shot as many deer as most on this site and most of them Red and Sika were shot with a .22 magnum when in Ireland you Wernt allowed a caliber that is now classed as deer legal.
Out of curiosity, any idea where was he generally placing the bullet: head shots, neck, heart/lung?

Did he have many runners?
 

Roncon1

Well-Known Member
He mainly head shot them but did shot a lot in the chest as well, I never really asked him but I'm sure he suffered plenty of runners/wounded deer throughout the time he was at it.
 

Glen of Imaal

Well-Known Member
I've used a .243 for about 20 years on sika in Wicklow. Used a .22-250 before that. Of the 5 guys that i've been stalking with for years, 3 use .243's as well. If I thought it wasn't up to the job, then I'd use something else but I haven't had any problems.
 

Sako75Hunter

Well-Known Member
I've used a .243 for about 20 years on sika in Wicklow. Used a .22-250 before that. Of the 5 guys that i've been stalking with for years, 3 use .243's as well. If I thought it wasn't up to the job, then I'd use something else but I haven't had any problems.
Thanks for that. What kind of ranges are you shooting at?
 

Glen of Imaal

Well-Known Member
200 yards would be pretty much my max. I stalk a mix of open hill and forestry. I'm not comfortable beyond that and don't need to. I'd rather try to stalk in closer and fail than leave a wounded beast on the hill. Not having a go at people who are happy and able to take shots at longer ranges, it's just not for me.
 

baguio

Well-Known Member
Why would anyone choose a .243 these days when other, better options are readily available? Sure a .243 will kill deer but so will all of the others. The question people should be asking is "What does a .243 do better than all of the other deer legal calibres?" Nothing that I can think of?
 

Sako75Hunter

Well-Known Member
200 yards would be pretty much my max. I stalk a mix of open hill and forestry. I'm not comfortable beyond that and don't need to. I'd rather try to stalk in closer and fail than leave a wounded beast on the hill. Not having a go at people who are happy and able to take shots at longer ranges, it's just not for me.
Respect!
 

tweedbreeks

Well-Known Member
I shot this sika hind with a .243 100grn from about 150yrds. The shot was slightly angled but you can see the exit wound. It ran about 200 yards before falling which I was pretty suprised at and if it wasnt for being so sure of the shot, being able to see the beast fall and following the blood I reckon I would of had a hard time finding it. I can see why people recommend a heavier more damaging bullet and aim to 'pin' through both shoulders, theyve a strong will to live!
 

Attachments

VSS

Well-Known Member
You will have greater success with a 243 that you are comfortable with and fits well rather than a larger calibre which doesn't fit well or you are not confident with.
^^^ This has got to be the number one sensible response.
No point going for something bigger if you're not comfortable using it.
I tried rifles of several calibres before deciding on .243, and I went for that because it just felt right. I do concede that my experience (both prior and subsequently) is extremely limited, but I do at least have a rifle that I like, and in which my confidence is constantly growing. When (if) the day comes that it fails to do what's required of it then I'll have a re-think. Got to keep an open mind.
 

Roncon1

Well-Known Member
I agree, you will have greater success with a rifle you feel confident with but I think this is equal for any caliber there is zero reason why he would be any more comfortable with a .243 over say a 25-06 or a 6.5 etc.
 

Top