Why is the 243 so popular in Europe?

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by Finn fan, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. Finn fan

    Finn fan AH Member

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    I have watched my far share of hunting videos on Youtube due to some circumstances beyond my control this winter.

    I enjoy a youtube channel based in England called the Shooting show along with several others. Maybe it is just me but it seems like every Roe deer is shot with a .243. To my unscientific counting it seems to be the most common caliber used in Europe based on posted videos.

    I would have thought more 6.5x55 or 7x57 would have been used.

    Can any of the hunters across the pond comment on this? True or just a youtube anomaly?
     
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  2. Dudders

    Dudders AH Enthusiast

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    In the uk .243 was for a long time minimum requirement for deer, almost everyone starts with a .243 will deal with most commonly found deer and fox in uk ammunition cheapish and everyone stocks it also police were never to keen to allow inexperienced hunters out with bigger calibers .
     

  3. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Looking for a 243 in a Ruger for my new grandson. I think it's a great starter caliber.
     
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  4. larry4831

    larry4831 AH Fanatic

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    Years ago back in Pennsylvania before the barnes TSX bullet was called the TSX it was just the Xbullet. I shot a Whitetail deer at about 150 yards with a 90 grain X bullet. The deer was about 150 pounds and the damage that little 90 grain bullet did was devastating, when I open that deer up the lungs were mush ,the heart was mush ,it did a lot of damage. The little 243 Winchester is a great round on medium size game with the right bullet.
     
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  5. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    In the UK, as Dudders has said, the minimum calibre is .240, which in effect means the .243.
    It is legal for all six species of deer in England although I believe the Scots have different calibre laws where you may hunt roe deer with a .22-250 for example.
    It is an ideal starter round and good not only for deer but also foxes.
    For someone starting out with a firearm, the police are more likely to grant a certificate for a .243 than a .300 WinMag for example.
    It's a popular calibre, relatively cheap to shoot or reload and covers all bases.
    It is illegal to use on wild boar however which is .270 as a minimum if memory serves me correctly.
    The UK is also quite densely populated and many hunters don't have the wide open places as other hunters around the world are blessed with so a smaller calibre with a quieter report is deemed more politically correct as it is less intrusive.
    This is also why you find most UK hunters use a sound moderator which the police put on your licence with out asking. (At least they did with me.)
    I would suggest that although the .243 is popular on the continent, I believe our neighbours opt for the 'modern' calibres over and above it.
    So I would agree that the most popular calibre in the UK is likely to be the .243. It does the job and has done so for years.
    Most hunters who just want a bit of stalking here and there will often be granted one by the police and unless they hunt abroad they will very likely never see the need to go bigger or different.
    And even if they do, I wouldn't mind betting they will be keeping hold of their .243.
    I would also add that when applying for a Firearms licence in the UK, you have to declare the calibre you wish to own and the quantity of ammunition you can hold and purchase.
    You also have to have land to shoot on which the police will vet and deem appropriate for that calibre.
    It seems that the authorities prefer you to have a smaller calibre because it's in some way safer than to have a larger one which surely must be more dangerous.......
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017

  6. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I own a Remington 700 Mountain in .243 which I use on Roe Deer, a great caliber.
     

  7. James Cook

    James Cook AH Veteran

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    similar experience with the 243. i've killed lots of white-tail large and small with them. never felt undergunned. never made a good shot that i didn't find the deer. took one marginal shot about 30 years ago and paid the price on it in not finding the deer.
     

  8. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    It's a very popular caliber here that is quite popular for whitetails, Julie's and pronghorns. I would think it perfect for roe deer.
     

  9. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    And hear I thought it was just because they were a bunch of pansies---especially the French :) :)
     

  10. Jimbob

    Jimbob AH Enthusiast

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    As has been said, it's used a lot in the UK as that's what's easy to get a first rifle. You can usually get any sensible deer round as your first rifle but many people don't want the hassle so just go with what they know will be approved.

    The reason the shooting show and other British magazines/films use the .243 however is simply because they have to aim it at their audience. Everyone can get a 243, ammunition is readily available, and most stalkers have experience with it. You'll also notice that if they're after bigger dear it's usually with a 308 or 6.5x55. No point in alienating there viewers by using something that they feel they can't have.

    I would agree that it's a brilliant roe cartridge and can do all of the other species in the UK but I don't think it's ideal. Most people I know who have access to red or Sika who get a 243 as their first rifle change it relatively fast for something along the lines of 6.5x55, 308, 270.

    As a slight correction to a post above, 243 is legal for wild boar. There is no minimum energy or calibre for them you see, however 270 is advised as the minimum but it's not law and AOLQ covers them now so if you have a deer rifle you can shoot Boar, you wouldn't catch me doing it with a 243 though.

    As an example of what can be achieved if you don't mind a little hassle, my first deer rifle was a 45-120, my second was a 308 whilst the 45-120 was sold and I found a replacement, my third is the 9.3x57 I should have by Easter.
     

  11. ScottG

    ScottG AH Fanatic

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    I enjoy the shooting show also. That guy gets really excited ;)
     

  12. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I had no idea that the govt had to approve certain calibers for you. I thought our gun laws were strict here in Canada, but at least we can get all the calibers we want without approval. They won't let us have suppressors though.
     

  13. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    Yes. In the UK you can't just go out and buy a gun because you like it or want it.
    You have to apply for a variation on your licence (at a price of course), fill out the forms and send it off to the police who will approve or deny your application.
    If approved you can then go out and purchase the rifle according to your licence along with the quantity or less of the ammunition you have requested.
    For example, with my .243 and 30-06 I can purchase 200 rounds at any one time and hold 300.
    Most first time applicants will have conditions imposed on them which they have to adhere to unless they have passed their Deer Stalking Certificate 1, in which case they are deemed to have had the training needed for safe use of a firearm.
    Otherwise there will be conditions on your licence such as going out with a mentor and being restricted to the land specified on your licence.
    You have to have written permission from the land owner who states you are allowed onto their land to shoot deer/foxes/vermin.
    You can't own a firearm without good reason to, for example you will not be granted a firearm if you don't have land to use it on or aren't a member of a gun club.
    That's why most go for a .243 as a starter calibre as it covers all bases and you are most likely to be granted a licence if you start off sensible.
     

  14. Mike B

    Mike B AH Enthusiast

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    My 9 year old has a Ruger American in .243, really accurate and affordable. He loves shooting it. Highly recommended.
     
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  15. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    image.jpg
    @Mike B I will be looking for one like this one. It's an M77 Compact. Only a 16 inch barrel.
    The one above is in 308 but the 243 was made at one time.
     
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  16. Mike B

    Mike B AH Enthusiast

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    That's a pretty gun! His is an 18" barrel and he can shoot well off a rest, but it's a bit long for him to hold while standing there.
     
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  17. Jimbob

    Jimbob AH Enthusiast

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    It likely doesn't bother you but, as a heads up, the purchase/hold thing got scrapped a while ago. You should just have one number for holding. For example I have 400 on my FAC so I can buy 4 lots of 100 spread out or 400 in one go.
    It was scrapped to allow people to stock up on bullets they like when they come across them.
     

  18. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    That's interesting. I haven't had to update my licence for a couple of years now so wasn't aware of it but thank you for letting me know.
     

  19. ArmyGrunt

    ArmyGrunt AH Elite

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    One more reason I'm grateful for the gun laws here in the States. Nearly no restrictions for the common man. I'd be up a creek with no paddle if I needed to have land first. That said, there is one range about 40 minutes away maintained by the Dept of Natural Resources where anyone can shoot free.

    That Canadian no suppressor thing is also unfortunate. I read about out recently while searching for my next adventure. I really enjoy firing suppressed.
     

  20. markferrigno

    markferrigno AH Enthusiast

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    I spent 5 years liing in German and 4 of those years hunting. I never ran across a hunter with a .243 (except other Americans) The .243 is a nice Roe caliber, most hunters carry 7MM or larger, manly in case they come across Wild Boar (Germany has minimum energy requires for High and Low game)

    I did hunt with several German who used combination rifles in .222/20ga .222 is a nice Roe caliber as well. Germany may be a little different from the rest of Europe as they are almost no restrictions for hunters in the acquisition of long rifles/shotguns
     
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