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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer

.243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer

14 Dec 2015
@ 10:04 am (GMT)

Chris Walley

I had a .243 win. built a few years back for long range use against paper & steel. It has a 24" barrel with 1/8" twist for use with 105 gr. to 108 gr. match bullets.

The rifle is so handy I want to use it hunting whitetail deer. Our bucks only weigh about 150 to 180 pounds on the hoof. My shots would be from 0 to 150 yards.

Would 85 gr. Partitions be a good choice? My concern is that they may be too lightweight for close shots of less than say 50 yards?

Replies

14 Dec 2015
@ 02:48 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Personally if you want a premium bullet, I would go straight for the 100 grain partitions especially if your ranges are within 300 meters or so.

Whitetailed deer are not that large or hard to kill though, so you could try Speer 105 grain loads (Speer part number 1229) Back when I shot a .243 I used to get around 2900fps from those, and they mushroomed well, and retained lots of their weight. Many were around 70 to 80% weight retention after killing mule deer weighing in the range 150 to around 220 pounds. Killed a pile of whitetailed deer with them as well and had no issues.

We were hunting for meat, so nearly all my shots were head or neck ones all under 250 to 350 meters maximum but many were quite close too. Was not wanting to ruin any good eating.
14 Dec 2015
@ 07:35 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Hi Chris.
I use a 6mm rem & 100 gn Sierra game kings, shot heaps of Deer, Fallow & Red. They work well even with high forward shoulder shots on Red Deer, they drop on the spot.
Bob
14 Dec 2015
@ 07:52 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Hi Chris, the 85gr will work, just depends on whether your twist will like it.

Bryan's suggestion that "your ranges are not long" infers that even if you use the heavier 100 (or 105gr) pill, you will still have high impact velocities to help maximize trauma. In other words, there is nothing to lose by using a heavy bullet, especially if it suits your twist rate.

Any of these bullets will take your deer from most angles bar tail on. The bullet Bob suggests is a more frangible bullet (but with a tough jacket). The Sierra way of thinking (this comes through especially when talking to their staff) is to dump maximum energy straight after impact. Exit wounding is not a high priority, nor are raking shots or such factors as a high retained bullet weight.
14 Dec 2015
@ 08:59 pm (GMT)

Chris Walley

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Thanks to all for the fast replies, and excellent information.

I believe I will see how the heavy Nosler & Speer bullets perform in my gun and go from there.
15 Dec 2015
@ 03:31 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
The Speer bullets are quite low priced here in Canada and are a good value. For moose and elk, I still use the 160 grain Hot core 7mm bullets in may 7mm Remington Magnum and have never had one go more than 15 meters, most dropped very quickly.
17 Dec 2015
@ 04:09 am (GMT)

Gerry Moriarty

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
My 11yr old son took his first caribou this year with the 85 gr partition. The shot was at 105yds and hit the young bull high in the shoulder. It dropped in its tracks although did not expire. It tried to get up as we approached it and was humanly dispatched. A great moment.[b]
17 Dec 2015
@ 06:20 pm (GMT)

Brendon Greig

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
my mate and i were out goat shooting on the weekend and i were trying Hornady 87 grain v max for the first time and they were dramatic killers out to 300 yards nothing took more than 1 or 2 steps, We had a fellow yearling step out in front of us that i shot angled forward hitting her about 4 or 5 inches behind the shoulder blade breaking a rib on entry and destroying the lungs and vitals damaging no meat she literally staggered in a circle and collapsed dead on the spot this bullet was fine for her being a lite bodied animal but i am planning on using Seirra 85 grain BTHP for deer stalking which gives me the same point of impact as well but feel the v max may be to frangible for heaver bodied animals or animals with wet and heavy coats
17 Dec 2015
@ 09:17 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
We use the 87 grain V-Max for coyotes and wolves here in northern British Columbia and they work fine. Hardly any pelt damage, very explosive.
19 Dec 2015
@ 04:29 am (GMT)

Brent R

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
I have personally or have seen 60-70 whitetail and mule deer shot with a .243. I have had good luck with partition bullets (all 100 gr) but have totally switched to 95 gr Hornady SST bullets after I tried them several years ago. In my experience they are the best bullet available for the .243 for deer sized animals. Good penetration with very substantial wound channels.
19 Dec 2015
@ 07:18 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Many years ago I was working for British Columbia Fish and Wildlife in the Okanogan area in saunter British Columbia. I was asked to remove a fair number of whitetails from several orchards where they had been causing damage to fruit trees.

Back then there were no Hornady SST bullets and I did not have the cash to use the Noslers. Instead I chose the Sierra 85 grain hollow point boat tail bullets, and shot the deer as they left the orchard at first light from around 200 yards so as to minimize their being spooked. When I could, I used head or neck shots just in front to the shoulder and all of them dropped on the spot. Just to say that as long as a person understands shooting, bullet placement and takes care to select a bullet he has some level of confidence in, you should be good to go.

I really do think however that if your .243 has a faster twist and likes 95 to 100 grain bullets, or a tiny more, then most of the bullets for sale these days will do the job if you can do yours well. I have not yet tried those 95 grain SST Hornady bullets, so will be sure to try them when we do some load workups for his .243 Weatherby Vanguard S2 later this winter. It has a 1:10 twist, so it will be of interest to us to do so since his daughter has been talking to him about taking some deer with it next fall.
20 Dec 2015
@ 06:33 pm (GMT)

Chris Walley

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Quote:
I have personally or have seen 60-70 whitetail and mule deer shot with a .243. I have had good luck with partition bullets (all 100 gr) but have totally switched to 95 gr Hornady SST bullets after I tried them several years ago. In my experience they are the best bullet available for the .243 for deer sized animals. Good penetration with very substantial wound channels.


Do you think the 95 gr. SST would be strong enough for shots that may be less than 50 yards?
20 Dec 2015
@ 06:42 pm (GMT)

Chris Walley

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Quote:
Many years ago I was working for British Columbia Fish and Wildlife in the Okanogan area in saunter British Columbia. I was asked to remove a fair number of whitetails from several orchards where they had been causing damage to fruit trees.

Back then there were no Hornady SST bullets and I did not have the cash to use the Noslers. Instead I chose the Sierra 85 grain hollow point boat tail bullets, and shot the deer as they left the orchard at first light from around 200 yards so as to minimize their being spooked. When I could, I used head or neck shots just in front to the shoulder and all of them dropped on the spot. Just to say that as long as a person understands shooting, bullet placement and takes care to select a bullet he has some level of confidence in, you should be good to go.

I really do think however that if your .243 has a faster twist and likes 95 to 100 grain bullets, or a tiny more, then most of the bullets for sale these days will do the job if you can do yours well. I have not yet tried those 95 grain SST Hornady bullets, so will be sure to try them when we do some load workups for his .243 Weatherby Vanguard S2 later this winter. It has a 1:10 twist, so it will be of interest to us to do so since his daughter has been talking to him about taking some deer with it next fall.


It has a 1/8" twist and was throated for the 105 gr - 107 gr match bullets so it should be good to go with the 95 gr - 100 gr hunting bullets.
20 Dec 2015
@ 07:58 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
As long as the deer are not too heavy, this bullet performs very well.

What you have to understand is that this bullet does have to work hard after impact to stay together. Hornady utilized a flat base as well as their Interlock swage and external cannelure swage and these features do allow the bullet to penetrate to vitals on mid sized deer.

Quite often you can see that the 95gr SST has only just held together or fallen completely apart after reaching and passing through vitals. Wounding does tend to be more dramatic than the Partition because of this.

Wounding is quite often identical to the Nosler Ballistic Tip however the method of controlling expansion within the SST does appear to help add a small level of insurance, even if it is only a slight delay before the bullet comes apart.

All in all a very dramatic killer providing it is not pushed too hard into the shoulders of large, tough animals.

Everybody, please understand the following:

The smaller the bore, the more it is reliant on high velocity in order to create a wide, disproportionate to caliber wound.

A bullet that sheds some weight can also help create a disproportionate wound. There is another thread on this forum where Brendon has switched to the V-Max because the goats in his location are small bodied and the V-Max has displayed better performance than others because of this.

But in the likes of the .223 and .243, we need to make sure we have some remaining bullet weight for penetration relative to the size of the animals we are hunting. This can be a tall order for the .243 and especially the .223.

If we go too far either way (bullet too tough with 100% weight retention or bullet too thin / fully frangible) we can run into problems on medium game depending on body weights and ranges. For this reason, you can see why a bullet like the little Partition can be of use, soft up front, secured at the rear. The Partition has its limits- make no mistake. But if there is any doubt when using a .243 for deer hunting, this bullet is never a bad choice.

At close ranges, we need to take care with shot placement but at extended ranges, the same holds true. As I wrote in the KB, it is important to try to keep shots forwards when using the .243 past 200 yards because that initial burst of high velocity now begins to fade. However, to take this shot, the bullet needs to be capable of adequate penetration.

A good hunting buddy of mine once shot a red stag in close with his pet Sika load utilizing the 85gr GK HP. He could see the bullet strike on the shoulder- but he never found that stag. After this, he switched to the then new Barnes X bullet. This worked well in close but had its failings out long. One extreme to the other. Answer- Partition. Just like Bob's softpoint Gameking up front, but again, locked at the rear.

About the worst I have seen is the latest from PPU (Highland / case stamped NNY). The case is filled with 50BMG powder, the muzzle velocity for the relatively tough 100gr bullet is around 2600fps. This load has been created and sold without any compassion towards the animals we hunt. It might be OK as a youth load providing the youngster is trained well and the load is used in close. But beyond this, it is the anti of how a small bore should be run- remember, high velocity is a key factor to fast clean killing when using a very small bore.



21 Dec 2015
@ 02:14 am (GMT)

Brent Ravnaas

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Do you think the 95 gr. SST would be strong enough for shots that may be less than 50 yards?[/quote]

Mature bucks where I hunt typically weigh in the 200-300 lb range and I have shot them from between 20-375 yds with the SST. I have seen bullet separation at closer ranges but haven't found this to be a problem. I have had the bullets exit on all but very close shots that went thru the shoulder bone and a couple straight on shots. All of this said, the partition is a good bullet and I wouldn't have any trouble recommending it. Besides bullet performance, the other reason I switched to the SST was that my rifle typically shoots .25" 100 yd groups with them. I could never get that good of accuracy with partitions.
21 Dec 2015
@ 05:45 am (GMT)

Chris Walley

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Thanks for all of this wonderful information!

The deer in my AO are small. A large buck on the hoof would be 180 - 200 pounds with most bucks going about 150 pounds on the hoof. Longest shot would be 200 yards with the majority being in the 0 - 100 yard range.

I believe I will load up some of the Hornady 95 gr SST's, and the 100 gr Partitions for my rifle. I'll let the rifle have the final say on what I use :)
21 Dec 2015
@ 09:18 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: .243 win. and Partitions for Whitetail Deer
Good call Chris.
 

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