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.243 Winchester


Introduced in 1955 the .243 Winchester is based on the 7.62x51 military (.308 Winchester) case necked down to .243” (6mm). The balance of light recoil and versatility as both a varmint and big game cartridge quickly led to the .243 being one of the most popular rifle chamberings in the world.



The greatest virtue of the .243 is that it offers adequate killing power for medium game at a noise and recoil level that can help any hunter to shoot calmly and accurately. For lightly built hunters or those suffering from shoulder injuries, the .243 is sometimes the maximum power tolerable - period. For such hunters, the 6.5x55 and 7mm08 cartridges are simply too much and the .243 is the only commercially suitable choice.  That said, the .243 is nowhere near as versatile or powerful as the 6.5 and 7mm08 cartridges. For this reason, those who use the .243 must take special care to fully explore the cartridge. Understand its strengths, its weaknesses, along with a thorough understanding of game anatomy with all emphasis towards humane killing. The .243 is a cartridge that can perform either admirably or dismally with results entirely dependent on the aptitude of the hunter.

Loaded with controlled expanding conventional bullets, the .243 has ample power to penetrate medium sized deer shoulder bones but will not necessarily exit broadside. This dictates that penetration cannot be expected to exceed distances beyond 12 to 14”, limiting the effectiveness of conventional projectiles on raking shots. The Barnes TSX projectiles can however penetrate vitals, even with tail on shots. 

Regarding game weights, the .243 is ideal for game weighing between 40kg and 60kg (90-130lb) but is adequate for game weighing 80kg (180lb). This weight limit is suggested not because the .243 cannot produce sufficient penetration on larger game, but because with rear lung shots, even though wounds may be free bleeding, kills can be so slow as to allow animals to run considerable distances and become lost altogether to the hunter. On heavy boned deer, careful shot placement is the key. Countless Elk have been successfully harvested with the .243 (320kg / 700lb) without fuss. However, for every success story there are just as many failures. While many experienced hunters like to argue the limitations of the .243 based on their own skills, animal welfare should always be paramount. There are a great many calibers more suitable for larger medium game than the .243.

On mature boar conventional bullets will often fail to penetrate through the shoulder shield. Although a neck shot would seem the ideal solution, on a mature boar the neck skin can also be very thick and while most .243 projectiles will penetrate through and into the flesh, wounding is sometimes so minimal as to allow animals to escape considerable distances. For this reason, on solid game, it is wise to try to angle .243 projectiles into the chest via the throat or behind the shoulder - both reliant on quartering angles. For those who wish to neck shoot mature boar or large Black bear, the point of aim should be as close to the head / neck junction as possible, preferable in the vicinity of the ear.

The .243 produces its fastest kills inside 200 yards or at impact velocities above 2650fps. Inside this range, internal wounding with select projectiles can be incredibly fierce with lung wounds as wide as 3”. Beyond 200 yards, animals may show little sign of being hit and are able to cover considerable distances regardless of wounding. To minimize such effects, hunters are advised to aim at major shoulder bones, providing of course that the bullet is matched to the penetration required. This rule is just as important on heavy boned deer and for those who choose to use the .243 on game the size of Red or Mule deer, it is imperative to resist the natural urge to aim for a soft spot to maximize penetration.

Between 300 and 400 yards, the .243 is still capable of producing a wide wound channel through vitals, usually around 1” in diameter. Nevertheless, wind drift can make exact shot placement difficult, leading to very slow kills. Rear lung shot game (40-60kg) can take several minutes to expire.

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Factory Ammunition

For several decades, ammunition manufacturers offered two bullet weights for the .243, an 80 grain load designed for varmints and a 100 grain load designed for medium game. These loads were very basic, often very slow and the .243 was for many years best utilized with hand loads. In recent years, ammunition manufacturers have given the .243 a much needed make over. The traditional loads are now sold as entry level low budget offerings while a huge range of high performance loads have become available.
The traditional loads can be very lack luster. In some cases, the 100 grain deer loads are so low in velocity (as well as losing velocity quickly over range) that they produce very slow kills beyond 50 yards. In such instances, the 80 grain counterpart can prove to be much faster killing - until the hunter is confronted with a larger than usual animal.  Realistically, the new factory loads such as the 95 grain Hornady SST are far more humane killing and should, for the sake of our quarry, be chosen over traditional loads wherever possible.
Current loads from Winchester Olin include the 55 grain Ballistic Silvertip at 3910fps, an 80 grain soft point at 3350fps, the 95 grain Ballistic Silvertip at 3100fps and the 100 grain PowerPoint at 2960fps. These velocities were obtained in the usual test barrel length of 24” and true velocities are normally 70fps below advertised specs due to the fact that nearly all .243 caliber sporting rifles feature 22” barrels.
The 55 grain Ballistic Silvertip and 80 grain soft point are of course designed for varminting. Both are adequate for animals weighing up to 90lb (40kg) but do not have any advantage over heavier counterparts in terms of wound trauma.

For a long time one of the most popular loads (due to availability) was Winchester’s 100 grain PowerPoint at an advertized 2960fps. In 22” barrels this load usually gives around 2890fps. The 100 grain PowerPoint has been used to take an incredibly wide range of game over the last 50 years from varmints through to Elk. Even so, this is a rather fragile projectile and at close range, has a tendency to disintegrate from the cannelure forwards. On medium game, this projectile produces high trauma through vitals with the remaining stub, weighing as little as 50 grains, rarely exiting larger framed deer.

The latest offering from Winchester is their 95 grain Ballistic Silvertip at an advertised 3100fps for a realistic velocity of 3020fps. This load is not too dissimilar from the PowerPoint in terms of terminal performance at close ranges but has the major advantage of a higher muzzle velocity and higher BC. The 95 grain BST not only shoots flatter but also through velocity retention, creates a highly traumatic wound out to a far greater distance than the PowerPoint is capable of. The 95 grain BST and 95 grain Hornady SST are definitely the most spectacular killers of all currently available 6mm projectiles. The BST has no means of controlled expansion yet the jacket and core are both of a soft compatible nature and the combination of bullet material, bore diameter and velocity works in perfect balance. The 95 grain BST produces violent wounds and adequate penetration on light to medium sized deer weighing less than 80kg (180lb), basically a very good load.

Current loads from Remington include the 75 grain Accutip at 3375fps, the traditional 80 grain soft point at 3350fps, an 80 grain hollow point at 3350, the 90 grain Swift Scirocco at 3120fps, the 95 grain Accutip at 3120fps, the traditional 100 grain Core-Lokt at 2960 and finally, the 100gr Core-Lokt Ultra at 2960fps. Again, these velocities are from a 24” test barrel with 22” barrels losing around 70fps. The 75 grain Accutip and 80 grain loads are all designed for small game but are adequate for animals weighing around 90lb (40kg). On game of this size, these loads produce fast kills out to moderate ranges. Sometimes these projectiles will exit animals, other times the remaining fragments will arrest in offside muscle, bone or skin.  None are as effective as a heavier, deeper penetrating bullet with regard to consistency of results.

The 90 grain Swift Scirocco is possibly one of the best medium game factory loadings for the .243 user.  From a true velocity of around 3050fps in  22” barrels, the streamlined Scirocco offers excellent long range performance while the bonded core design ensures penetration through bone. There is however a downside to the use of such a stout projectile. While the Scirocco is excellent at close to moderate ranges, at longer ranges beyond 200 yards, wound channels tend to be narrow, slow bleeding with a resulting delay in kills. This is no fault of the Scirocco bullet but simply a limiting factor of the .243 which can only deliver so much energy.

The 95 grain Accutip at 3120fps for a realistic 3050fps is a truly excellent all-round load for the .243.  Unfortunately, this is an expensive premium load and like the Scirocco load, shop retailers are often unable to afford to carry such pricey stock. Nevertheless, for those who are able to obtain the Accutip load, the combination of bullet performance and muzzle velocity is well balanced. The Accutip is a controlled expanding projectile but is prone to jacket core separation and / or bullet blow up, especially when encountering vertebrae at raking angles. Regardless, killing performance is always consistent and the Accutip can be expected to penetrate through to vitals from quartering shots and on lightly bodied deer, produce a free bleeding exit wound on cross body shots. Wounding is highly traumatic throughout penetration, not just through vitals. This load should not be used on dense game such as heavily bodied wild boar at close ranges due to the risk of the bullet arresting before reaching vitals. 

The traditional 100 grain Core-Lokt is one of the most readily available off the shelf loads. Muzzle velocity is fairly low at a true 2890fps along with a Low BC. The Core-Lokt is a good performer for hunters on a limited budget. The projectile is well constructed and remains intact throughout penetration while wounding is fair. The limiting factor of this load is the dramatic loss in velocity over a short distance. At 100 yards, the 100 grain Core-Lokt is already down to 2630fps. Neck shots on medium game should be avoided with such a load. Although this may sound odd, the low velocity Core-Lokt, if shot placement is not exact, can fail to produce a wide enough wound to destroy the vital systems of the neck. Sometimes the hunter will achieve instant kills with neck shots, other times the results are dismal. Like the Winchester PowerPoint (although the PP is more brittle) and many other conventional style 100 grain loads, the 100 grain Core-Lokt should be driven into bone for best results on medium game. On Boar, the base of the ear or chest vitals from select angles are the most effective points of aim. 

Remington’s latest offering, the Core-Lokt Ultra is of a similar construction to the Scirocco. Why Remington felt the need to offer two loads of a similar nature is strange considering that the Scirocco is far superior in terms of its BC and ability to deliver higher energy down range for wider wounding. Like the standard Core-Lokt, the Ultra version loses velocity fast and therefore loses its ability to produce wide wounding at extended ranges. This is another expensive premium load but with more limitations than its competitors.

Federal have a wide range of loads for the .243. Several are marketed as premium loads, regardless of the fact that if duplicated with hand loads are relatively inexpensive to produce. As is most often the case, retailers prefer to stock a small but useful range of sell-able loads which renders the bulk of the Federal offerings as little more than optimistic promotion.

Current loads from Federal include the 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip at 3850fps, the 70 grain Ballistic Tip at 3450fps, an 80 grain conventional soft point at 3330fps, the excellent 85gr Sierra GameKing at 3300fps, the equally brilliant 85gr Barnes TSX at 3200fps, the 95gr Ballistic Tip at 3025fps, the 100 grain Nosler Partition at 2850fps, the 100 grain Power-Shok conventional soft point at 2960 and lastly, the 100gr Sierra GameKing at 2960fps. Federal have over the last few years, made a huge effort to produce ammunition that reaches as close to test barrel velocities as possible. In some cases, 22” barreled sporters lose only 30fps from advertised figures as opposed to the 1990’s when sporting barrel velocities were often 140fps below Federal’s advertised claims.

As stated, Federal produce too many loads for most retailers to stock and on top of this, the price of their premium ammunition is far above what most hunters are willing to pay. That said, some of these loads are at least in theory, very useful. The 55, 70 and 80 grain loads are as can be expected, designed for varminting or lesser game. The 85 grain GameKing hollow point boat tail is also designed as a varmint load but is actually a very effective light medium game bullet. The 85 grain GK produces a wide but also deep wound and on light bodied game, always exits on cross body shots. Using high velocity as its ally, the GameKing is consistent in performance out to ranges exceeding 300 yards. Realistically, this should be Federal’s standard benchmark load rather than an expensive premium offering. 

The 85 grain Barnes TSX is another excellent load. This diminutive little bullet can, incredibly, take lighter medium game with tail on shots and does so in a consistent manner. The TSX is the most suitable bullet for hunting Boar although due to the limiting power level of the .243 itself, should not be expected to produce a wide wound after penetrating through heavy hide, muscle and bone. This also applies at longer ranges where velocity is low - especially on lighter or lean game. It is good to see the TSX and GameKing marketed through Federal. Even though the muzzle velocities of both loads differ, the trajectory is similar, (see ballistic tables). The two styles of bullet make an excellent combination when hunting a mix of brush and open country or a mixed bag of light to heavily bodied medium game.

Federal’s 95 grain Ballistic Tip is the same bullet as used in the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip load differing only in the black Lubalox coating used by Winchester Olin. As previously mentioned, this is an excellent light medium game bullet producing incredibly violent internal wounds.

The 100 grain Sierra GameKing offering is another oddity. This bullet does nothing that the 85 grain GK or 95 grain BT cannot do. The 100 grain Vital-Shok (formally Hi-Shok) is another basic conventional load.  This bullet has a low BC, is brittle like the PowerPoint and fairly average in performance. The 100 grain Nosler partition is, at least in theory, a far better offering. Having a very soft, fast expanding front cavity combined with the locked rear core, the Partition is an excellent all-round 6mm projectile. The negative aspect of this Federal offering is the low velocity of 2850fps (around 2800fps in 22” barrels) which accordingly, is better suited to close to moderate ranges. It would be nice to see the velocity of the Partition load increased along with a reduction in price, marketed to retailers as the standard all-rounder for the .243, rather than an obscure premium offering.

Present offerings from Hornady include the 58 grain V-Max at 3750fps, a 75 grain hollow point at 3400fps, the 95 grain SST at 2950fps, the same SST as a “Superformance” branded load at 3185fps and the traditional 100 grain BTSP Interlock at 2960fps and lastly, the new 80 grain GMX Superformance load at 3425fps. 

The 95 grain SST is pure dynamite. The SST has really set a new level of performance that only a few years ago, was simply unobtainable in the .243. Hornady have very much breathed new life into the .243 with this projectile and although the SST cannot be relied on to penetrate the shoulder shield of a mature boar, this is still the most traumatic projectile available to .243 users.

The only bugbear with the Hornady factory loads are the standard versus Light magnum (now re-branded as Superformance) options. The standard 95 grain SST option is simply too slow for a basic factory load while the Superformance load is beyond the reach of many a hunter’s budget. A single load achieving a velocity of 3020fps in 22” barrels would be far more profitable for all concerned. These comments aside, the Superformance loads do achieve extremely high velocities due to a new proprietary powder, slow burning but not bulky as is the case when burn rate is a function of kernel size.

The 100 grain Interlock is really the pick of the conventional, entry level loads. This bullet has both a high BC and its Interlock mechanism works well in this instance. Out at 200 yards and beyond, the Interlock bores a surprisingly wide and reasonably deep wound channel on medium game in a consistent manner. 
The new GMX bullet is very similar in construction the Barnes TSX and Nosler E-Tip. This particular ‘lead free’ bullet has been designed as much to placate left wing liberal idealists as it has been designed for hunters, such are the pressures on ammunition manufacturers today. The GMX, as can be expected, is a stout bullet, ideal for medium game out to moderate ranges but less than ideal at ranges beyond 270 yards due to slightly delayed killing, regardless of wide internal wounding. Nevertheless, few other 6mm bullets can compare to a homogenous bullet design when used on pigs.

Hand Loading

When reloading for the .243, the most suitable powders are those in the W760, H4350, IMR4350, ADI2209 and H414 range. From normal 22" barreled sporting rifles, realistic safe maximum working velocities include 3200fps with 85/87 grain bullets, 3100fps with 90 grain bullets, 3050fps with 95 grain bullets, 3000fps with 100 grain bullets and 2950fps with 105 grain bullets. Some rifles do however produce best accuracy at velocities some 50fps below those listed above. A properly tuned .243 rifle will often produce groups as tight as .3” at 100 yards with the warmer loads as listed above grouping in the .65” to .75” range. 

Sierra bullets have several 6mm offerings ranging from varmint projectiles through to the economical GameKing and Pro-Hunter medium game bullets. The GameKing is fast expanding and designed for open country hunting while the Pro-Hunter is a tougher bullet for use where deep penetration is required. The GameKing always features a boat tail, the Pro-Hunter features a flat base and much thicker jacket.  Offerings include the 85 grain hollow point boat tail GameKing, 85 grain soft point Pro-Hunter, the 100 grain soft point Pro-Hunter and 100 grain soft point boat tail GameKing.

In the .243, as much as penetration would seem to be a main issue, the 85 grain hollow point GameKing is definitely the pick of Sierra’s crop. The diameter of the hollow point on this projectile causes slower expansion than is the case with soft point projectiles with the result of producing gradual but full expansion along with good penetration. This bullet is best suited to game weighing between 90lb (40kg) and 130lb (60kg) up to a maximum of around 180lb (80kg) and is perhaps the fastest killing and most consistent performer of all low priced conventional bullets available to .243 users.

Speer have a similar system to Sierra, utilizing a soft boat tail bullet for open country work along with their stouter Hot-Cor bullet for deeper penetration, however the manufacturing process of the Hot-Cor differs considerably to the Pro-Hunter. The core of the Hot-Cor bullet is poured into the jacket in a molten state rather than punched in with lubricant as is the case with Sierra and Hornady conventional soft point projectiles. Swaging lubricant really is the bane of conventional bullet design and is often the cause of jacket core separation during terminal impact. That said, the Sierra Pro-Hunter is a bit of an oddity in that it holds together just as well as the Hot-Cor. Ultimately, the performance of both the Hot-Cor and Pro-Hunter are very similar.

Speer offer the Hot-Cor in two weights, 90 and 105 grains. In years gone by, the 105 grain Hot-Cor was considered the “safe” choice when hunting large bodied deer with the .243. Out to 150 yards, the 105 grain Hot-Cor produces wide wounds that are difficult to tell apart from more modern super explosive bullets.  Beyond this range, as velocity falls below 2600fps, wound channels become much narrower. The Hot-Cor produces adequate penetration for use on larger bodied deer (Mule, Red and Caribou) with both cross body and quartering shots although it must be noted that penetration is only slightly better than other conventional bullet brands.  

Speer’s boat tail soft point open country bullets are a little too soft for all-round use and although these bullets expand quickly, penetration is shallow. The 100 grain Speer is however ideally suited to extended range work in the .243 where a frangible bullet is required for maximum internal wounding in the absence of high velocity.

Hornady medium game projectiles include the frangible 87 grain soft point, the 87 grain hollow point boat tail, the 85 grain InterBond, the 95 grain SST, 100 grain soft point, 100 grain soft point boat tail and 100 grain round nose bullet.

While the 87 grain soft point is not a great medium game bullet, the hollow point boat tail version fairs much better. This projectile is not quite as dramatic in effect as the 85 grain Sierra HPBT but is reliable and very economical all the same. At ranges as far as 400 yards this soft jacketed projectile expands readily and produces a reasonably wide wound channel through vitals. Nevertheless, regardless of its wounding potential, the .243 delivers very low energy at 400 yards and animals hit with the readily expanding Hornady 87 grain BTHP tend to bleed out over a period of minutes rather than seconds.

The 85 grain InterBond is a very good performer but also has its limitations. As velocity falls, so too does its ability to produce wide wounds. When using this projectile, it is absolutely imperative to avoid neck shots on game at extended ranges, regardless of the obvious merits of neck shooting. As range increases and velocity falls, the hunter needs to increase resistance at the target, aiming for the forwards muscles and bone on the shoulder of game. 

The 95 grain SST has as previously mentioned, breathed new life into the .243. With neck shots on deer out to moderate ranges, exit wounds can be as wide as 3” in diameter. Chest shots on lean animals will usually render an exit wound of around .75 to 1” in diameter while on larger animals, the bullet will come to rest under offside skin. Again, as with all .243 projectiles, best results are obtained on game weighing less than 80kg (180lb) with the most dramatic results occurring on animals weighing between 40 and 60kg (90-130lb).

With tail on shots at close ‘woods’ ranges on medium sized Whitetail deer, the SST after breaking through the ham or pelvis, is only just capable of penetrating through the liver, coming to rest against the lungs.  Total penetration for the SST is therefore around 18-20” (at close to moderate range impact velocities).  Wounding through the liver and at the rear of the lungs is poor, as the SST has dumped most of its energy within the first 6” of penetration. Ultimately, the SST produces slow kills with tail on shots on medium game so this point of aim should be avoided.

The 95 grain SST projectile is not that well suited to heavily shielded boar and on such game, care should be taken to avoid the shoulder and angle bullets into chest vitals via the throat or via the rear lungs angling forwards. Hunters using the SST are urged to study wound channels on game and try to recover projectiles whenever possible in order to continually assess suitability on local game species.

The 100 grain Interlock BTSP is a fairly good all-rounder for those on a limited budget. This projectile is softer than the SST however penetration tends to be very similar with the same limitations. Like the 105 grain Speer, this projectile has in the past been used to take game as large as Elk and Sambar however the Barnes, InterBond and Partition are much more reliable on game of this size. The Hornady flat base and round nose versions of the Interlock do not provide any significant advantage over the boat tail design.  Neither possess greater penetrative or expansion qualities and because of this, the higher BC BTSP is superior due to its ability to retain higher velocity for greater wounding down range. 

A last offering from Hornady is the 105 grain A-Max bullet which is designed for target / competitive shooting. This is a very soft, fast expanding bullet and is highly suitable for longer range hunting although it must be said, the .243 is not an ideal ethical killer at long ranges. Nevertheless, the 105 grain A-Max has a very high BC of .5 and cleaves to its velocity and energy to maximize long range wounding. The A-max will not penetrate quite as deeply as the stouter SST but for open country, long range work, is difficult to surpass.

Nosler produce the most versatile projectiles for .243 users. The 90 and 95 grain Ballistic Tip bullets already mentioned are both violent, fast killing bullets ideal for lighter medium game. However, for all-round use, the Partition bullets offer both fast expansion and deep penetration. This is something that no other .243 projectile can achieve; other projectiles fall into either the deep penetrating category or fast expanding categories with very little cross over.

Throughout other texts, readers will find references to instances of the Partition suffering bullet blow up. It must be noted that this usually only occurs when a Partition of low SD is used on large heavy game. On Deer and at .243 energy levels, the Partition performs admirably. In the .243, the Partition is available in 85, 95 and 100 grain weights. The 85 grain bullet is intended for lighter deer species, the 95 grain as an all-rounder and the 100 grain bullet for heavier game. None of the 6mm Partition bullets can be relied on to penetrate and fully destroy vitals of medium game from tail on shots but from all other angles, all, regardless of bullet weight, produce excellent results.

The stoutest .243 projectiles are those produced by Barnes. As .243 bullet performance goes, the Barnes bullets produce the smallest width wounds but penetration is exceptionally deep. The Barnes bullets do however produce wide wounds at high velocity (inside 200 yards) and along with this, exit wounds tend to be faster bleeding than competing bullet brands. Barnes currently offer the X bullet in two variations, the 85 grain TSX BT and the 95 grain XLC Flat base and both are generally accurate in most rifles. Of the two, the 85 grain TSX BT is well balanced with regard to velocity and terminal performance, ideal for hogs and heavier species of deer up to 100kg (220lb) out to moderate ranges (200 yards). 

Performance of the 85 grain TSX is far superior to either the 95 grain 6mm XLC and also the 100 grain 257” caliber Barnes TSX (.25-06 etc) when all are used on medium game. This occurs because the 85 grain TSX meets better resistance on impact compared to the 95 and 100 grain projectiles which appear to have far too much momentum resulting in slow kills. It really is amazing that just a few grains bullet weight can make such a noticeable difference. Still, an advantage of the 95 grain Barnes XLC is that the reloader can often develop two loads featuring the fast expanding 95 grain SST for longer range work and the 95 grain XLC for close cover hunting of densely muscled game, both shooting to the same or very similar POI.  
A dual load can also be developed with the 85 grain TSX and 95 grain SST but the TSX must be downloaded to 3100fps. The TSX/3100fps load works fine on game at closer ranges and is still superior to the 95 grain XLC which excels only when used on larger bodied deer.

On game weighing around 150kg (330lb) and above, the Barnes bullets produce good penetration however wound channels are often not wide enough to produce an extremely fast kill. In many instances, animals have been lost altogether due to long “dead runs”. Hunters are urged not to become over confident in the abilities of the 6mm Barnes bullets.

For use on heavily built deer it is far better to utilize the 6mm Barnes bullets on game weighing between 60 and 80kg, up to 100kg as a “versatile” maximum.


Closing Comments

A long time ago, after witnessing too many wounded animals, I banned the use of the .243 on our wild pig hunting block. Animal welfare should always come first and hunters who are capable of comfortably shooting a more powerful cartridges should do so. Nevertheless, the .243 has its place and on the hunting block in question, I have had to make exceptions accordingly. I have one female client who is slightly built and the .243 is as much recoil (combined with rifle weight) as she can possibly handle. With attention to shot placement and actually acknowledging the limitations of the cartridge, this lady is able to fully utilize the .243. For hogs at close to moderate ranges, the rifle is fed the 85 grain Barnes at 3100fps, for everything else, the 95 grain SST at 3050fps. The 95 grain Partition would eliminate the need for dual loading however the two loads have proven to be very versatile.
Often when we think of a light caliber like the .243, it is natural to assume that the best points of aim on medium game should be the “soft spots” such as the neck or rear lungs. Instead, these are the worst points of aim for the .243, causing slow kills at ranges beyond 200 yards and occasionally at close ranges. As long as the correct projectile is chosen, the .243 user should always aim for the shoulder of medium game, regardless of meat damage / wastage. On heavy animals, shot placement is not quite so simple and this is where prior homework and developing a set of protocols pays off (see above notes about boar). This is a cartridge that can produce either outstanding results in an entirely consistent manner or abysmal failures - all entirely dependent on both rifle accuracy, the skill of the hunter and a sensible approach to game suitability. 
Suggested loads: .243 Winchester Barrel length: 22”
No ID   Sectional Density Ballistic Coefficient Observed  MV Fps ME
1 FL Hornady 100gr BTSP .242 .405 2890 1854
2 FL Hornady 95gr SST SF .230 .355 3115 2047
3 FL Winchester55gr BST .133 .276 3840 1800
4 FL Winchester95gr BST .230 .379 3020 1923
5 FL Federal 85gr GK HPBT .206 .293 3220 1956
6 FL Federal 85gr TSX .206 .333 3130 1849
7 FL Remington 90gr Scirocco .218 .365 3050 1858
8 HL 85gr Partition/GK/TSX .206 .315 (Av) 3200 1932
9 HL 95gr SST or Nosler BT .230 .355 3050 1962
10 HL 100gr Partition .242 .384 3000 1998
11 HL 105gr A-Max .254 .500 2950 2029
Suggested sight settings and bullet paths           
1 Yards 100 150 255 295 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -6 -9 -13 -17
2 Yards 100 150 277 312 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.7 0 -3 -3.8 -6.4 -9.5 -13
3 Yards 100 220 250 275 300      
  Bt. path +1 0 -1 -2 -4      
4 Yards 100 175 265 305 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.75 0 -3 -5 -8 -11 -14.5
5 Yards 100 150 275 315 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -4 -7 -10 -14
6 Yards 100 150 272 310 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -4 -7 -10.5 -14
7 Yards 100 150 268 307 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -5 -7.5 -11 -14.5
8 Yards 100 175 278 318 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.75 0 -3 -3.75 -6.5 -9.5 -13
9 Yards 100 150 267 305 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -5 -8 -11 -14.5
10 Yards 100 150 265 305 325 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -5 -8 -11 -15
11 Yards 100 150 272 315 350 375 400  
  Bt. path +3 +3.5 0 -3 -6.7 -9.6 13  
No At yards 10mphXwind Velocity Ft-lb’s
1 300 8 2200 1075
2 300 7.8 2343 1158
3 300 8 2713 899
4 300 7.3 2331 1146
5 300 9.5 2284 985
6 300 9 2253 958
7 300 8 2307 1064
8 300 8.5 2323 819
9 300 8 2288 1104
10 300 7.5 2300 1173
11 300 5.4 2436 1383
Note: Load No.3 for varmints only. Load No.11 superior wounding to other loads beyond 300 yards.
243 winchester final.jpg
  Imperial Metric 
A .473 12.01
B .471 11.96
C 20deg  
D .454 11.53
E .276 7.01
F 1.560 39.62
G .240 6.40
H 2.045 51.94
Max Case 2.045 51.94
Trim length 2.035 51.64
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