243 Winchester for smaller plains game?

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by mlg, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. mlg

    mlg AH Member

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    Okay Gents - who here uses the 243 for plains game hunting? What do you hunt and what projectiles do you use?

    I have not had much experience with the 243 in the field - other than using one in South Africa to dispatch a couple of Springbok for the pot on a friend's property. That it did without fuss using I think it was 90gn PMP factory rounds - and at a range of 300-350 metres.

    I have just bought one and plan to load 80gn Barness TTSXs or possibly Nosler 90gn Accubonds. Here in Australia it should be ideal on pigs and fallow sized deer although I suspect that it would be adequate for red deer with good shot placement (isnt that always the case?) and premium projectiles.

    I would be interested to hear what guys with experience have to say though.......
  2. teenhunter

    teenhunter AH Veteran

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    i hunted in zimbabwe with a CZ 243 win and it was gr8 on plains game. i used some Norma oryx 6.5 g.
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I used one on Blesbok and Springbok and they both dropped like rocks on the spot.
    Nice open country shots within 150 yards.

    Highland AX 100 Grain Soft points.
  4. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    mlg,
    The .243 is a great calibre for smaller game. Those 90gr TTSX will be absolutely deadly. Shoots nice and flat, and depending on your shooting ability, I would not hesitate putting the .243 up against even something like a Hartebeest. Not ideal, I know, but I have had some do it before , and with relative ease if I may add.

    Best Regards
    Marius Goosen
  5. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Veteran

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    My son used his with 85g TSX bullets to take a jackal, warthog, oryx, blue wildebeest, impala, and an ostrich. Put into the vital triangle, it did very well. Not all his shots were perfect, however, and that is where you see the limitations of a 243. if using a 243, you must accept that there is little leeway and you must choose your shots wisely and execute them correctly. The 243/TSX combo will work very well for you if you only take broadside shots and put the bullet into the vital triangle, behind the heavy leg/shoulder bone. It may well be able to do more, but I can offer first hand experience only for that shot.
  6. BARTFRNCS

    BARTFRNCS AH Enthusiast

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    Do I even have to say anything?
  7. Jriley

    Jriley AH Senior Member

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    The only time I wished for a smaller rifle in Namibia was when I saw a huge 5-inch steenbok (well, as huge as steenbok get LOL) and I had a .375 in my hand. Other than that I was always happy to have a little more rifle than I needed. Trophy fees are pretty expensive, and while watching trackers do their job is interesting, I would rather not do that if I could help it.
  8. mlg

    mlg AH Member

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    Well thanks very much for the informative replies. I think that the secret to non varmint hunting with the 243 will be quality projectile choice. I will start with 80gn Barnes TTSX and see how they do. My initial quarry will be pigs and maybe a fallow within the next couple of months.

    Jim - I agree with what you say - if I was doing a safari and paying for it I would move up in caliber. Its just that a lot of the times I feel that the 243 is up to the task on smaller stuff and this certainly seems to be confirmed by the other posters here.

    The rifle I have purchased is a Tikka T3 - it suits me well and is light and hopefully will shoot as well as a previous Tikka I had.
  9. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    Hell of a caliber for impala, Blesbuck, Warthog, I have personally shot Kudu, Blue wildebeest and Zebra with it although I would not reccomend it to a paying client as mentioned in this thread already, I taught my wife to shoot with it and it's equally good for kids starting out. I started with a 303 though but can see that it would be of good use for young hunters as well........

    I like it.

    My best always.
  10. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    Great cartridge for a large number of species in Africa. My 14yo son used his in Africa in 2008 with 100 partitions.

    Blesbok in.
    [​IMG]

    Blesbok Out
    [​IMG]

    Impala
    [​IMG]

    Rowland Ward Steenbok with exit hole.
    [​IMG]

    Bushpigs
    [​IMG]

    He also shot spring hare, porcupine and dassies (great fun).

    As stated, flat shooting and more than capable of taking most species. It now wears a Leupold 4.5-14x50LR B&C reticle and he plans to take the small five/tiny ten with it.

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  11. Wolverine67

    Wolverine67 AH Fanatic

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    Code4, that steenbuck are BEAUTIFUL!
  12. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    Thx, the smile says it all.

    [​IMG]

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  13. TerryR

    TerryR AH Veteran

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    Like virtually any cartridge, a shot through the heart with the 243 will kill most game, personally I would use a 7mm08 or 7X57 as my lower limit for plains game. The recoil is negligible yet it hits with much more authority than the 243. use a good 140 grain bullet and have at it. An awful lot of people got their start deer hunting with a 243 because of it's lack of recoil and in most cases it worked fine but my guess is that the 7mm08 is taking it's place as the beginner's caliber of choice. It's also a choice that the beginner needn't put aside as he/she gains experience.
  14. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Like TerryR I'm a fan of the 7mm08 for low recoil and great results for recoil shy shooters. Went to RSA, East Cape last May and my son elected to bring his .243 instead of his 7mm. Just likes shooting it better. We reloaded the 80 gr. TTSX bullets for it. He killed 3 impala, 1 springbuck and a bushbuck all as 1 shot kills. He borrowed my 7MM for his Kudu so I used the .243 for my Nyala on that day. 1 shot. The most unusual story I have already told on here. He shot and killed 2 lechwe in 1 shot. Went through the neck of the younger bull when he jumped in front of the older bull. Bullet went completely through both animals from about 150 yards. I and others have posted pics of expanded TTSX bullets in the past. They will tend to go through bone quite well. They are essencially a "semi-solid" bullet. They mushroom to about double the original diameter and keep right on going. I had one from my .270 go through approx. 30 inched of mule deer. He didn't make it too far. Good bullets and for any animal under 300 lbs should do just fine as long as shot placement is decent. Bruce
  15. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Beautiful mount!
  16. mlg

    mlg AH Member

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    Thanks for all the info gents. For what I want the 243 will be adequate with good bullets - and I also have a 270 winchester if necessary.

    Code 4 thats an awesome steenbok!
  17. Christian3006

    Christian3006 AH Member

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    I think that the 243. would peform really well on that size game. As before mentioned shot placement and premium bullets are the key:2c:
  18. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    243 Cal is a fine caliber I use TSX bullets in 85gr and have never had a problem I've taken Pronghorn in Wyoming at 300 yard in the chest and retreived the bullet lodged against the skin in his butt cheek I've shot Whitetail deer 264 yards broadside in the vitels and all 4 legs went out like he was hit with a canon they will do fine on smaller plains game animals using a good quality bullet.
  19. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Tell your son Congrats on a Beautiful Trophy.

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