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Deer Hunting

do you think a 243 rifle is a good deer rifle

Uploaded on November 27, 2011

do you think a 243 rifle is a good deer rifle

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from MHoffpauir wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I shot my first deer with a .243 when I was 13. That 7 point buck dropped in his tracks with a shot through the heart, and it's dropped many other deer and coyotes since then. That Rem. 700 in 243 remains one of my favorite guns today.

For the Texas whitetail I encounter, I'd say that the .243 is a superb hunting cartridge.

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from MONSTERBUCKKILLER wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

thats what i hunt with a remington 243, droped all my der i killed

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from CoBowHunter wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

It's plenty of rifle to kill a deer. Accuracy is more important then caliber.

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from lemski4 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Yes the .243 is enough gun for deer sized game, but like CoBowHunter said, "Accuracy is more important then caliber" is so true.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Yes, but if you want to appear more savvy to your hunting buds, get a .257 Roberts, .250 Savage, or 6.5x55 Swedish. Everybody except me has a .243 Win. Boring and not a very good selection of bullet weights suitable for deer or larger game.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

No. It's in the same class as a .223. Closer to a varmint gun than a hunting round.

I know, I know. I'll take some flak for this, but someone has to say it.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

It's great for deer sized game.

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from Phil1227 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

The gun is plentey capable of killing a deer, and I have killed many deer with my dads .243, but given the choice I would choose something a little bigger like a .270 or 25-06.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I know, as so eloquently pointed out already, legions of deer have fallen to the .243/6mm but I'm just not a fan, I prefer more bullet weight, therefore the lightest I prefer is the .257 Roberts.

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from chuckles wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Heck yeah it's a good deer rifle. If you shoot straight it will kill deer within any reasonable distance.

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from SandhillsHunter93 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Yes it is a very good deer rifle. It works very good for hunting in the Sandhills of Western Nebraska. I have killed many deer using this gun. Mostly any gun will kill a deer if you know where to shoot.

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from jmeerpohl wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

My first deer and thin skinned dedicated rifle was a Browning BLR in 243 topped with a Leupold VX 2-8 power scope. I dropped well over 3 dozen, picked my shots carefully and only had 1 that I needed to track more than 50 yards and found him quickly after i figured out he rolled down a hill side. Almost every one dropped in their tracks. I used factory loaded 100 grain Remington Cor lokts soft points and they performed well. No meat spoilage, not much recoil, all around good round and darn near perfect rifle when you need to scabbard your firearm for whitetail out to 200 yards.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

A friend of mine shot a deer this year with his .243 hitting it in the shoulder. The bullet did not penetrate the rib cage. The deer kept going on its other 3 legs and was finished off by his hunting partner about a quarter mile away. My .308 would have dropped it in its tracks (I speak from plenty of experience) with the same shot and would have caused no more damage to the meat. I agree with the point that accuracy is most important but knock down power is also a factor - especially in heavily hunted public lands where a deer could be shot by others if it does not go down right away. I have also heard complaints from hunters in heavy brush that the .243 can deflect easily but not having hunted with one myself, I am not sure if it was deflecting or just bad aiming...

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from Ryan57 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

The 243. is a great gun especially for younger hunters.The only problem I ever had with it when I was younger was the weight.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I am always amazed that we think that a .243 is a gun for young and inexperienced beginning hunters . Just the opposite it should be a rifle for an experienced hunter that can place his shot at a very exact spot to cleanly kill the deer. The .243 is not a "rifle for young hunters and women" like we hear alot unless they are expert shots. Of course I will go on record as saying I don't think that it is a fine deer rifle at all.

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from nchunt101 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

.243 is a nasty little sob on deer. never lost one with it

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sarge, i believe it is good for women and young hunters because they won't be scared of it, allowing them to develop good shooting habits without a flinch. I do not believe it is a good caliber for anyone who is not selective about their shots, but few calibers are. I have watched a couple kids at our camp literally drill deer with the .243 and drop'em right in their footprints, but these kids are good hunters and riflemen. I have also seen the internal results from that speedy little pill and have though maybe it need not be so fast. It's no bonecrusher but in my experience it's very effective on average sized whitetails. Perhaps not a good choice in Maine or Saskatchewan.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I think that the point that I was trying to make was that everyone says the .243 is a fine caliber for kids and women but dosen't imply that it is a good caliber for adult men. If it is a good caliber for kids and women then it is good for seasoned adult men. Still personally I don't perfer it for deer hunting however I'm sure alot of people have had success with the caliber. I know an old man near me that has killed a truck load of deer with a .22 Hornet but I don't consider it a fine deer cartridge either.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I'm with Sarge, in my limited experience, shot placement is very important with the .243

Just this morning I found out that my brother-in-law lost a deer he shot Friday at dark using his grandson's .243 Handi-Rifle. My sis says there was lots of blood but the trail was lost in the dark. No luck on finding it the next day either. I don't know other details such as shot placement and load.

Last year my wife lost what would of been her first deer when she hit it with a Barnes 85 grain TSX bullet from her .243 Handi-Rifle. We were in a pop-up blind sitting on a Management Area food plot when a nice buck walked out at last light about 50 yards away. She took a steady rest, fired, and we both saw the buck go down right where he stood, just over a little rise from us. I told her to reload and quickly exit so that we could finish the job if needed. Much to our surprise, there was no deer, no blood, and no indication of which way he had escaped. I searched around for another hour and never found a blood trail. Because of work and warm weather, I didn't return the next day so we never found it. The coyotes probably got a good meal.

Our best guess is that she held too high and the bullet impacted the area between the top of the lungs and the spine. Being a smaller probably means less shock to transfer when missing the vitals. Before the end of the week we went to the range with a full deer paper target containing highlighted vitals. She practiced until comfortable in hitting the kill zone at 100 yards. A week later she made a perfect double lung shot on a small buck to claim her first 'recovered' deer.

I'm considering sending her receiver to H&R after this hunting season to have a 7mm-08 or .308 barrel fitted.

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from wgiles wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It depends on the bullet. A varmint bullet will likely explode without causing much damage. A good big game bullet should expand, but retain most of its weight. Good shot placement is a necessity regardless of caliber. The .243 is based on the .308 cartridge and is part of a family of cartridges that includes the .260 Rem. and the 7mm-08, all good deer cartridges. The Barnes TSX bullet, being solid copper should be a great bullet for deer.

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from Crazyhunter wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

I'm not a big fan of them you step up to a .270 or 30-06 and you have so many more bullet choices if you ever want to shoot an elk or something bigger than a deer.

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from Crackerjack98 wrote 2 years 16 weeks ago

Yes i shoot a .243 it s remington model 700 sps its great for teens(like me) or adults

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from Greg L. Warner wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I just finished my 6th box of various grains and bullet styles in my new 243 Handi rifle. 4 cartridges left, shot them with 2 being 2 inches apart followed by 2 being 6" and 12" below the first 2. Tried different scope with little improvement. After the last 4 shots, I was off to the sporting goods store to return my cute little single shot.

I received store credit, bought an Axis Savage in 243 along with
another box of shells. I came home with a 3x9 scope. I shot it at 25 yards, adjusted it and moved back to 100 yards. Shot 6 times with some adjusting. My last 3 shots I could cover with a quarter. The trigger is really stiff, so I know that I am looking at a rifle that is capable of shooting 3 shots and cover
them with a dime.

A gentleman who sights most of the stores rifles in said to me;
see all of these thousand dollar and up rifles, your new rifle will compete with almost all of them. Smart buy.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

You had the same experience with your Handi Rifle that I had with the 2 that I had in .243. Didn't own them long. As far as the Savage Axis competing with the other rifles, notice he said almost and not all. They do shoot good but won't shoot with my Tikka, Sako or my Weatherby. My buddy has one in .308 and it shoots good too. Don't lose the clip, he did and had an awful time getting another one. Your gunsmith may be able to do something with the trigger.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I have heard many similar stories about the handi-rifle

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Shucks, with those Axis/Edge rifles being so accurate and all, Big Green and Ed Weatherby better find another line of work. But you can't wash off fugly.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I had a girlfriend like the Axis one time long ago. She was an expert cook, was fine in bed, but she was so ugly you had to tie a bone around her neck to get the dog to play with her. That was before I got my eyes checked. WAM you are right you can't wash off ugly you have to look at them all of the time and I can look at my Sako and Weatherby and smile.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I had a girlfriend like the Axis one time. She was a great cook and was great lover but I had to tie a bone around her neck to get the dog to play with her. That was before I got my eyes checked. WAM you are right you can't wash off ugly, I can look at my Sako and my Weatherby and smile.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Sorry for the double post, it looked like the first one didn't post.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I've had good success with our two Handi-Rifles and have no complaints about accuracy. My .45-70 will put three rounds into one ragged hole at 100 yards.

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from willisriverbuck wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Absolutely, I have taken three deer this season with a remington 700 in .243 win with a tasco 4x32 scope. After borrowing the gun I fired a few shots to check zero and went hunting. With no previous experience with high-powered rifles I took these deer at 200-300 yards. One other deer appeared to be hit(mule-kicked and ran like its tail was on fire) but was never recovered. Blame it the stupidity of the shooter not the power of the gun. It was almost dark at aprox. 300 yards with a rifle I had barely used from the sitting position. Deer probably died in a creek, log pile, or across the property lines wich weren't far away. The rest of the deer died on the spot or within a few yards. Oh,and none of my shots were perfect either. One-lungers mostly. Keep your shots under 300 yds., learn to shoot, and you will do fine. However, from my research I consider the 25-06 and 7mm-08 better deer guns for the low-recoil enthusiast.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

willisriverbuck,
Did you look for the buck that got away, it sounded like you didn't even look for it. Was there a blood trail or anything ? Were the shots measured or are you guessing at the yardage ? 300 yards is an alwful long ways from a sitting position, with an unfamiliar rifle. About the only thing that I gather from your post is that yes a 25-06 or a 7MM-08 makes a better deer gun.

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from willisriverbuck wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I did look for the doe that got away, both that evening and the next day. I found some blood, but it rained right after I shot the deer making blood trailing almost impossible. The property line was only about 75 yards away downhill. The deer was running towards the preperty line when I last saw it. I was not able to mesasure the distance because of terrain and lack of a range finder. The distance is a guess, but I have measured similar distances by stepping them off. I only compared it to similar known distances. I was unclear in my last post. Under 300 yards a .243 is a great deer gun, if you know how to shoot it. However, if you can stand the slight increase in recoil the 25-06 and 7mm-08 make for better blood-letters.

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from 30-CAL wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

The 243 is a good deer round, with the right bullet and proper shot placement they will go down quick every time. If you hand load try the Barnes bullet I shoot a 85 gr TSX and it works well. Keep your shots under 300 yds and it will serve you well.

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from bigbuck123 wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

yes its a good gun all around for big game to preadetors i love them and they put the animal down without to much tracking

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

Give me my .257 Weatherby, .280 or my 300WSM anytime over a .243. I live by the SOCOM slogon "Bring enough gun".

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from mdpaulus wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

No doubt the .257 is a great round as well as the .280. I love my .280 and have killed two elk with it. Having said that a deer is nothing compared to an elk. A .300 is way over kill, as I have yet to track an elk that I have shot with my .300. The .243 is a great round for deer. If shot is placed right you will not even track the deer. I have only taken a few deer with my .243 but one was a nice mule deer and the thing folded in its tracks at 400 yards according the the range finder. What I love about the .243 is the trajectory and the bullet selection. I prefer the 95 grain superformance hornady's. The .25-06 is another gun I love but just don't get it out much now that I have my new .243.

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from JCSoutdoorsman wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

The .243 could kill any big game animal in North America. The 7mm-08 is also good for new hunters.

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from 357 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

it will do especially with a well constructed bullet around 100 grains. personally i am a fan of .25 or even 6.5 to give you a better selection. the 25-06 has my heart.

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from Treestand wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I have used the 243in a Mod 100/Winchester for 20+ years in New York State a truck load of Deer a two bares all with the 80Gr Rem Ammo I fond the 100Gr to Damaging on 165# white tails....so spend your Money on a Good Rifle in the Caliber of your Chose. I now use a 7MM-08 it stops Hogs Faster with 140Gr Hornady Ammo.

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from jr9893 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I shot my first buck, a 148 lb 8 point with a .243 and the bullet performance was fine. I agree that it is a good rifle for a younger shooter/hunter because it has more to it than a .22 caliber center fire. also, if someone has hunted with that rifle since they were a kid, then I don't see why they cant use it later on in life

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from jr9893 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I shot my first buck, a 148 lb 8 point with a .243 and the bullet performance was fine. I agree that it is a good rifle for a younger shooter/hunter because it has more to it than a .22 caliber center fire. also, if someone has hunted with that rifle since they were a kid, then I don't see why they cant use it later on in life

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from DEER30 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Like many of the folks here, i have heard hunters swear by their .243 and tell me how many deer they have killed. I am not as fond of the round as they are. Although it is quite capable of killing a deer and is just as good for men as it is for women and children, I would choose a .270, 7mm mag. or 30-06.

I still hear stories from other friends talking about the one that got away when their .243's couldn't bring down a big buck. Whitetail deer are thin skinned light boned animals and you don't always need a large caliber to bring them down. But remember that a sacrifice in power puts even more emphasis on making a great shot. I would not take anything but a broadside shot on a deer with .243 whereas a 30-06 for example has the power to blast through the shoulder. Plus the 30-06 or .270 are versatile rounds for most of North America's game species.

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

A little Smart car will get me from point A to point B, but my full sized loaded Ford Taurus will get me there quicker and alot more comfortable. Point being small will marginally get the job done but not for me bigger is better and for me that is my .280 Remington or my 300WSM. Since all of my shots are high shoulder shots those two rifles are my choices. That is why they make all of the calibers that they make so all of us will have a favorite choice of what we want to use. If we only had one choice for a cartridge it would be boring.

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from Jordan Black wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

my 53 year old hunting partner has a 243 rem 700 and only one deer did not drop in its tracks and theat was a butt shot i have whitnessed hin drop several deer with it

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from MBobMean wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

All personal opinion and no slight is meant:

People love them or hate them. I have not seen a lot of deer die "in their tracks" unless hit in the spin or brain but in my experience, higher velocity loving guys tend to say they see them die at once when shot anywhere in their bodies. 243/6mm Remingtons can kill deer, no question about it. The .270 Winchester is a caliber that will routinely kill Elk. I would suggest they are both the minimum calibers one should consider for those species.

My issue? I simply do not feel comfortable with a .243 and its 100 grain loads to shoot from end to end in a Whitetail if I decided to take that shot. I do feel my 30-06 with the 180 grain controlled expansion load I prefer will do it, will make a nicer quartering shot, etc. Consequently, I have never owned nor hunted with one of the .243s. This makes me less of an expert than I should be to comment, I agree. The .243 made its reputation by being "fast" and shooting "flat". if I had a buck for all the guys I saw with starry eyes softly saying "look" (pointing at a ballistics chart) "the .243, it's so fast . . ." I'd be wealthy. It shoots about like a .270 in that regard and a 30-06 shoots about as flat and better over longer distances. So, what do you gain? A flat shooting rifle can get the average guy to make a few more shots over common ranges, that makes the hits more accurate, makes them more vital, makes the rifle seem effective. Learn to shoot any rifle and you will be as effective. Shoot something with good sectional density and pick only the best shots, you will humanely kill everything you shoot at.

Oh, FWIW? I also thing 100 grain loads in the .257s is too light.

I grew up out west and we hunted Mule Deer which can run larger. We also had longer shots on average and almost everyone had a gun they felt comfortable with on an elk hunt. Consequently, few of us owned the 6mms although they were popular for hunting varmints with. Here in the South I saw/heard more about them when I first arrived then I do now. I think the trend here is away from them (though lots of guys raised in the 1970s seem to consider one for children or grandchildren as a first rifle). I talked with 3 of 4 founding members of a hunting lease here when I first moved to town. The four buddies all bought new so-described "fast" .243s and started a lease together. After three years all four abandoned the 243s and all claim to have better results. Is this a fact? Who knows, perhaps they simply became better hunters as they gained age and experience, but the lightest gun any of them had last I checked was a .270. The reason all gave was "too many wounded deer". I have a very good friend here who shoots a 6mm at deer. He says the trick is this: "If the neck is broke, the legs don't work." I know for a fact he would also shrug off losing a wounded one, I can't do that.

My personal opinion only? I would prefer not to hunt with a gun I consider the minimum caliber for the game in question. I like longer, heavier bullets. I am more than seriously considering having a rifle made for deer hunting here and my choices are narrowed down to the 6.5x55 or the 7x57. If the former, I will shoot at least 140 grain loads and 160s in the 7x57. I am leaning toward setting up a rifle to shoot 156 grain bullets in the 6.5. I could shoot that through any deer and have a lovely blood trail to follow. If my daughter ever tries deer hunting? I will buy her a .260 Remington and load it with 140s.

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from jmeerpohl wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

A savage Model 16 in 243 will shoot with any rifle when it has the accustock, accutrigger option. I own a sub MOA Weatherby, fine shooter, but no tighter at 200 yards than my 250 Savage or 7WSM Savage model 16's. As far as Tikka, how much better can a Tikka with their plastic magazine shoot than sub MOA, really? I also own a Remchester in 7 RSAUM, a Browning X Bolt in 300 Win Mag and both are a pleasure and tight shooters too. But I fire lap all the barrels to make them shoot better anyway. Don't knock savage accuracy, they have been at it a long time and their rifles can stand with any one's and are great values.

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from jmeerpohl wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Handsome is as Handsome does, I will take the savings on initial cost and find a better place to hunt, a better grade of optics and mounts, and not worry about the ding that will come to my rifle in the field.

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

My remington 700 bdl synthetic and blued was my first deer rifle, now I hunt with much larger calibers, But i still use it from time to time, however my aiming point is much like my bow shots, right behind the shoulder and no quartering to shots,

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from BippityBoopityMate wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

better to have to much gun than too little

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Better to have a gun you can shoot than one you think you can shoot.(or are scared to)

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

I can drive a 10 penny nail with a tac hammer but it is much easier with a regular claw hammer.

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Yes but some on here seem to feel the need to drive their finish nails with a framing hammer.

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

We just have to have enough common sense to limit the size of the hammer for the nail to be driven.

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

That I think we can all agree on. I have taken two deer with my .243 using the Barnes 85gr TSX loading by Federal. The range was really short, 5-10yds on both. Not the most comprehensive test I will agree but the results, full pass through with 3" entrance and exits in the ribcage, combined with the numbers on ballistics and retained energy over reasonable distances lead me to conclude it is an adequate round for deer. I would not hesitate to use it again.
That being said I am trying a 45/70 this year. It will be interesting to see how the heavy bullet and relatively slow velocities perform. The recoil is definitely on the stiff side and I ended up putting a scope on the rifle as much to add a pound of weight as to improve my accuracy. The .243 is definitely more pleasant to shoot but I like to try things before making up my mind. The argument for me is heavy slow bullets vs small fast ones. Heavy fast bullets gets into the framing hammer realm mentioned above, at least for me. So far everything I have shot through the lungs has died within 40yds.
Happy hunting to you the WVA crew.

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

chuckles- in your 45-70 try using hornady leverevolition ammo or reloading with there bullets, It knocks em dead even with out blowing the shoulder and does less meat damage then my 7mm rem mag with factory ammo, I think you will learn to love your 45-70 for whitetails

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Josh,
Thanks for the tip. I did buy some Hornady ammo to sight in with. For hunting I pretty much use Barnes bullets and have the 45/70 dialed in right now with the Vor-tx 300gr flatnose. Barnes shoot well in all my rifles and muzzleloaders with the added benefit of being lead free. Also much of the hunting in MN takes place at very close ranges. I have only shot one deer farther away than 75 ft in eight years and the Barnes bullets hold together at close ranges.
I really am looking forward to using the 45/70. I am glad to hear you have had good luck with yours. Happy hunting!

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from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

.243 was the rifle that brought my first deer to the ground and many more after that. In the hands of a good shooter they are a wonderful gun. I do agree with sarge01 that they really should'nt be the beginner's rifle. Good for a beginner to shoot but not to hunt.

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from slinder wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Great gun! I shott a .243 Savage and it knocks 'em down every time. Like many have said, it's accuracy, not power when it comes to whitetails.

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from cseib25 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I think some of you need lessons in physics,just because it has a smaller number doesn't mean its less effective....the 243 win 150gr with suggested powder loads have very high velocities. One of the bigger reasons why the army switched from the 308 in the M14 to the the 223 M16 for Vietnam, it could cut through the bruch and still have a lot of velocity, plus you can carry more ammo...i have shot and killed many deer with my Ruger M77 mark 2(beautiful gun by the way)i saw someone say they saw a bullet not go through a rib.....might want to check your loads and or the bullets becuase i have a seen a 243 go through one rib and then through the other rib on the other side....

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Where did you find a .243 150 grain bullet ?

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Sarge- he probably ment to say 115 gr.

If Obama hunted, he'd use a .243 .....

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

But no worries Sarge, our loving country would probably pitch in and buy him a Sako.

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from Tamara D. Arndt wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

All I know is I killed my 9 point at 60 yards right though the heart, he dropped. All with my Remington 243...now he's on my wall. Say what you want about a 243, but if you know how to shoot it will do the job nicely. :-) yes I'm a women...with a 9pt right next to her husbands 8pt on the wall.

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

I like bigger guns. You can always download a big gun to make it a little gun but if you have a little gun you will always have a little gun.

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from rfleer87 wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

It doesn't matter on what type of gun you have. It matters where you shoot the animal at to kill it.

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from Treestand wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

KUDOS Tamara:-)
The .243Win came out in 1955 for the "ONE" gun hunter for Deer & Varmint,Black Bear...I have owned one since 1957 and I started to hand-load 60Gr-Hp-Bt,72Gr-Hp-Bt For Varmints(NO one at that time had any loadings for the 243W but Winchester)80Gr/PSP..100Gr-PSP...105Gr-PSP...In 1961 Remington came-out with the Core-lok 80&100Gr ammo BIG differnce in Ammo-Tec. It mite be a little gun but it kills Grave-yard Dead.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Tamara, not trying to be a smart alec but wouldn't your buck have dropped just as quickly with a .222 Remington slug thru the heart? That's like the guy who was bending my ear about the many virtues of his .357 magnum rifle for whitetails and how he'd killed one at a dead run the previous year. Further interrogation revealed that he'd shot it in the neck. When I asked if he couldn't have done the same thing with a .22 magnum the session ended suddenly with "I don't care what you think, I'm still going to use it". I'd rather have a bit more lead to provide a little margin of error personally.

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from kyred wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

I killed a deer once with the grill of a '72 Ford pickup, it wasn't pretty, but the deer was just as dead. Killing deer cleanly with a .243 requires knowing precise shot placement and deer anatomy. It isn't a gun for a novice on large game. Give the young person a .243 and let shoot paper targets or varmits untill they know these things and then let them shoot game. You will have a shooter for life. God bless all the little children.
Red

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from Dallas A. McWhorter wrote 49 weeks 4 days ago

A .243 is my father's and grandfather's favorite deer gun.

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from Carnaud wrote 48 weeks 4 days ago

thats what i killed my first deer with. and he didnt even move after i shot him. just fell straight down. its about accuracy mostly.

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from RJ Arena wrote 48 weeks 4 days ago

How many out there use a 30-30 on deer today? I bet it is up there with the top deer killing cartridges of all time, my point is that it is placement,placement,placement- which you are able to do from practice, practice, practice.

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from small game sportsman wrote 40 weeks 2 days ago

A .243 is the smallest round I would attempt to take a deer with.

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from DennyF wrote 38 weeks 3 days ago

I think a 243 is a fine gun, but would personally prefer something with a little more bullet weight. If one wants a rifle for a youth, women, or anyone recoil sensitive, I would choose a 7mm08. Still relatively light recoil. Decent ballistics and more bullet. For a good all around gun for deer and maybe coyote hunting, a 243 would be hard to beat.

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from mucanuc01 wrote 17 weeks 21 hours ago

I have been using my Colt AR in 223 for the last 13 years and have only had 1 walk away ! Found it about 25 yards away. You have to shoot where it counts, WHATEVER YOU USE !!! I don't care if you use a cannon, you wont kill anything proper if you shoot it wrong ! The question was is it, not do you want to ! Sarge, I'm happy you like large weapons. I think it's great and you probably are a good shot. I cant afford a weatherby so I don't really care how much better it is. I'm reading this thread because I am thinking about buying a 243 to give the AR a rest. Don't care much to read about how a mini cannon is better ! Thank you all for your recommendations on larger size bores, but that was not the intention for this thread. I shoot short shots, clear of brush, in good light. I think a 243 will suit my purpose, and I'm sure it will for other people too. I don't mean to make it seem like I'm lashing out at you. Please accept my apology if you do. I will though at the IDIOT that HAD to bring Obama into it !!!! WHY ?????????? I am not a follower of his, nor did I vote for him but ??? ( I also own a 303 British so I do possess the "fire power" Just choose not to use it ). Sorry if I offended anybody.

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from Georgeteyler1408 wrote 15 weeks 3 days ago

I personally enjoy using a .243 or .270 when deer hunting. Neither one has a kick that causes it to "kill on both ends." As long as your shot placement is good, the .243 is a very effective deer rifle. The main thing I like about the .243 is that it is a rifle that can be handed down to my kids and I can teach them to shoot with it at a young age...So back to your initial question. Yes, the .243 is a good deer rifle with some added benefits.

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from Chris Jankens wrote 12 weeks 4 hours ago

Hello all,

First I want to say 20 years ago I bought a Rem woods master 30-06. Shot my first deer destroyed the front shoulder, what a mess. Second deer shot was a little low and direct hit on the heart, what a mess in the chest cavity. Both shots were 130 grain at 130 yards. To much gun for deer. My wife bought me a Ruger M77 270 and lost 2 deer, both found the next day the coyotes got them went nearly a mile. One shot was in the open spot a little high just below spine, and other was a gut shot. Yes placements not as good but gun would not stay on a paper plate at 200 yards. Traded in for a .243 and WOW 200 yards I can drill golf balls all day long. Destroys coyotes and dropped whitetails on every hit. The damage is not as severe as the 270 or 30-06 but I'll take it any day. The round is a better shooter, and the accuracy is superior yes it will not do elk or large animals like bear but I only shoot Deer, coyotes and other smaller varmints. Its grouping at 350 yards is only up to a clay pigeon and its because of me. Very happy with it. Daughter can handle it and I would never put this in the .223 bucket. I have a .223 and it stays in safe if I can shot deer or coyotes in the same hunt.

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from Ben Hunter wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I shoot a Rem 700 .270 and it takes out just about anything. ANYTHING. Before, I shot the .243 and took two deer with it. I'd say yes; however, it is a little limited on the range and bigger game. If it's not enough, try the .270.

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from Ben Hunter wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

In other words, I'd personally recommend the .270 instead

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from MHoffpauir wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I shot my first deer with a .243 when I was 13. That 7 point buck dropped in his tracks with a shot through the heart, and it's dropped many other deer and coyotes since then. That Rem. 700 in 243 remains one of my favorite guns today.

For the Texas whitetail I encounter, I'd say that the .243 is a superb hunting cartridge.

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from CoBowHunter wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

It's plenty of rifle to kill a deer. Accuracy is more important then caliber.

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from Tamara D. Arndt wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

All I know is I killed my 9 point at 60 yards right though the heart, he dropped. All with my Remington 243...now he's on my wall. Say what you want about a 243, but if you know how to shoot it will do the job nicely. :-) yes I'm a women...with a 9pt right next to her husbands 8pt on the wall.

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from lemski4 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Yes the .243 is enough gun for deer sized game, but like CoBowHunter said, "Accuracy is more important then caliber" is so true.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sarge, i believe it is good for women and young hunters because they won't be scared of it, allowing them to develop good shooting habits without a flinch. I do not believe it is a good caliber for anyone who is not selective about their shots, but few calibers are. I have watched a couple kids at our camp literally drill deer with the .243 and drop'em right in their footprints, but these kids are good hunters and riflemen. I have also seen the internal results from that speedy little pill and have though maybe it need not be so fast. It's no bonecrusher but in my experience it's very effective on average sized whitetails. Perhaps not a good choice in Maine or Saskatchewan.

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from wgiles wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It depends on the bullet. A varmint bullet will likely explode without causing much damage. A good big game bullet should expand, but retain most of its weight. Good shot placement is a necessity regardless of caliber. The .243 is based on the .308 cartridge and is part of a family of cartridges that includes the .260 Rem. and the 7mm-08, all good deer cartridges. The Barnes TSX bullet, being solid copper should be a great bullet for deer.

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from Treestand wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

KUDOS Tamara:-)
The .243Win came out in 1955 for the "ONE" gun hunter for Deer & Varmint,Black Bear...I have owned one since 1957 and I started to hand-load 60Gr-Hp-Bt,72Gr-Hp-Bt For Varmints(NO one at that time had any loadings for the 243W but Winchester)80Gr/PSP..100Gr-PSP...105Gr-PSP...In 1961 Remington came-out with the Core-lok 80&100Gr ammo BIG differnce in Ammo-Tec. It mite be a little gun but it kills Grave-yard Dead.

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from MONSTERBUCKKILLER wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

thats what i hunt with a remington 243, droped all my der i killed

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

Yes, but if you want to appear more savvy to your hunting buds, get a .257 Roberts, .250 Savage, or 6.5x55 Swedish. Everybody except me has a .243 Win. Boring and not a very good selection of bullet weights suitable for deer or larger game.

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from Phil1227 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

The gun is plentey capable of killing a deer, and I have killed many deer with my dads .243, but given the choice I would choose something a little bigger like a .270 or 25-06.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

I know, as so eloquently pointed out already, legions of deer have fallen to the .243/6mm but I'm just not a fan, I prefer more bullet weight, therefore the lightest I prefer is the .257 Roberts.

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from SandhillsHunter93 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Yes it is a very good deer rifle. It works very good for hunting in the Sandhills of Western Nebraska. I have killed many deer using this gun. Mostly any gun will kill a deer if you know where to shoot.

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from nchunt101 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

.243 is a nasty little sob on deer. never lost one with it

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

You had the same experience with your Handi Rifle that I had with the 2 that I had in .243. Didn't own them long. As far as the Savage Axis competing with the other rifles, notice he said almost and not all. They do shoot good but won't shoot with my Tikka, Sako or my Weatherby. My buddy has one in .308 and it shoots good too. Don't lose the clip, he did and had an awful time getting another one. Your gunsmith may be able to do something with the trigger.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I had a girlfriend like the Axis one time long ago. She was an expert cook, was fine in bed, but she was so ugly you had to tie a bone around her neck to get the dog to play with her. That was before I got my eyes checked. WAM you are right you can't wash off ugly you have to look at them all of the time and I can look at my Sako and Weatherby and smile.

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from bigbuck123 wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

yes its a good gun all around for big game to preadetors i love them and they put the animal down without to much tracking

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

My remington 700 bdl synthetic and blued was my first deer rifle, now I hunt with much larger calibers, But i still use it from time to time, however my aiming point is much like my bow shots, right behind the shoulder and no quartering to shots,

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

I can drive a 10 penny nail with a tac hammer but it is much easier with a regular claw hammer.

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

Josh,
Thanks for the tip. I did buy some Hornady ammo to sight in with. For hunting I pretty much use Barnes bullets and have the 45/70 dialed in right now with the Vor-tx 300gr flatnose. Barnes shoot well in all my rifles and muzzleloaders with the added benefit of being lead free. Also much of the hunting in MN takes place at very close ranges. I have only shot one deer farther away than 75 ft in eight years and the Barnes bullets hold together at close ranges.
I really am looking forward to using the 45/70. I am glad to hear you have had good luck with yours. Happy hunting!

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from slinder wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Great gun! I shott a .243 Savage and it knocks 'em down every time. Like many have said, it's accuracy, not power when it comes to whitetails.

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from cseib25 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

I think some of you need lessons in physics,just because it has a smaller number doesn't mean its less effective....the 243 win 150gr with suggested powder loads have very high velocities. One of the bigger reasons why the army switched from the 308 in the M14 to the the 223 M16 for Vietnam, it could cut through the bruch and still have a lot of velocity, plus you can carry more ammo...i have shot and killed many deer with my Ruger M77 mark 2(beautiful gun by the way)i saw someone say they saw a bullet not go through a rib.....might want to check your loads and or the bullets becuase i have a seen a 243 go through one rib and then through the other rib on the other side....

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 25 weeks ago

Where did you find a .243 150 grain bullet ?

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from rfleer87 wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

It doesn't matter on what type of gun you have. It matters where you shoot the animal at to kill it.

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from RJ Arena wrote 48 weeks 4 days ago

How many out there use a 30-30 on deer today? I bet it is up there with the top deer killing cartridges of all time, my point is that it is placement,placement,placement- which you are able to do from practice, practice, practice.

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from DennyF wrote 38 weeks 3 days ago

I think a 243 is a fine gun, but would personally prefer something with a little more bullet weight. If one wants a rifle for a youth, women, or anyone recoil sensitive, I would choose a 7mm08. Still relatively light recoil. Decent ballistics and more bullet. For a good all around gun for deer and maybe coyote hunting, a 243 would be hard to beat.

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from Chris Jankens wrote 12 weeks 4 hours ago

Hello all,

First I want to say 20 years ago I bought a Rem woods master 30-06. Shot my first deer destroyed the front shoulder, what a mess. Second deer shot was a little low and direct hit on the heart, what a mess in the chest cavity. Both shots were 130 grain at 130 yards. To much gun for deer. My wife bought me a Ruger M77 270 and lost 2 deer, both found the next day the coyotes got them went nearly a mile. One shot was in the open spot a little high just below spine, and other was a gut shot. Yes placements not as good but gun would not stay on a paper plate at 200 yards. Traded in for a .243 and WOW 200 yards I can drill golf balls all day long. Destroys coyotes and dropped whitetails on every hit. The damage is not as severe as the 270 or 30-06 but I'll take it any day. The round is a better shooter, and the accuracy is superior yes it will not do elk or large animals like bear but I only shoot Deer, coyotes and other smaller varmints. Its grouping at 350 yards is only up to a clay pigeon and its because of me. Very happy with it. Daughter can handle it and I would never put this in the .223 bucket. I have a .223 and it stays in safe if I can shot deer or coyotes in the same hunt.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

No. It's in the same class as a .223. Closer to a varmint gun than a hunting round.

I know, I know. I'll take some flak for this, but someone has to say it.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 20 weeks ago

It's great for deer sized game.

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from chuckles wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Heck yeah it's a good deer rifle. If you shoot straight it will kill deer within any reasonable distance.

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from jmeerpohl wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

My first deer and thin skinned dedicated rifle was a Browning BLR in 243 topped with a Leupold VX 2-8 power scope. I dropped well over 3 dozen, picked my shots carefully and only had 1 that I needed to track more than 50 yards and found him quickly after i figured out he rolled down a hill side. Almost every one dropped in their tracks. I used factory loaded 100 grain Remington Cor lokts soft points and they performed well. No meat spoilage, not much recoil, all around good round and darn near perfect rifle when you need to scabbard your firearm for whitetail out to 200 yards.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

A friend of mine shot a deer this year with his .243 hitting it in the shoulder. The bullet did not penetrate the rib cage. The deer kept going on its other 3 legs and was finished off by his hunting partner about a quarter mile away. My .308 would have dropped it in its tracks (I speak from plenty of experience) with the same shot and would have caused no more damage to the meat. I agree with the point that accuracy is most important but knock down power is also a factor - especially in heavily hunted public lands where a deer could be shot by others if it does not go down right away. I have also heard complaints from hunters in heavy brush that the .243 can deflect easily but not having hunted with one myself, I am not sure if it was deflecting or just bad aiming...

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from Ryan57 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

The 243. is a great gun especially for younger hunters.The only problem I ever had with it when I was younger was the weight.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I think that the point that I was trying to make was that everyone says the .243 is a fine caliber for kids and women but dosen't imply that it is a good caliber for adult men. If it is a good caliber for kids and women then it is good for seasoned adult men. Still personally I don't perfer it for deer hunting however I'm sure alot of people have had success with the caliber. I know an old man near me that has killed a truck load of deer with a .22 Hornet but I don't consider it a fine deer cartridge either.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I'm with Sarge, in my limited experience, shot placement is very important with the .243

Just this morning I found out that my brother-in-law lost a deer he shot Friday at dark using his grandson's .243 Handi-Rifle. My sis says there was lots of blood but the trail was lost in the dark. No luck on finding it the next day either. I don't know other details such as shot placement and load.

Last year my wife lost what would of been her first deer when she hit it with a Barnes 85 grain TSX bullet from her .243 Handi-Rifle. We were in a pop-up blind sitting on a Management Area food plot when a nice buck walked out at last light about 50 yards away. She took a steady rest, fired, and we both saw the buck go down right where he stood, just over a little rise from us. I told her to reload and quickly exit so that we could finish the job if needed. Much to our surprise, there was no deer, no blood, and no indication of which way he had escaped. I searched around for another hour and never found a blood trail. Because of work and warm weather, I didn't return the next day so we never found it. The coyotes probably got a good meal.

Our best guess is that she held too high and the bullet impacted the area between the top of the lungs and the spine. Being a smaller probably means less shock to transfer when missing the vitals. Before the end of the week we went to the range with a full deer paper target containing highlighted vitals. She practiced until comfortable in hitting the kill zone at 100 yards. A week later she made a perfect double lung shot on a small buck to claim her first 'recovered' deer.

I'm considering sending her receiver to H&R after this hunting season to have a 7mm-08 or .308 barrel fitted.

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from Crazyhunter wrote 2 years 17 weeks ago

I'm not a big fan of them you step up to a .270 or 30-06 and you have so many more bullet choices if you ever want to shoot an elk or something bigger than a deer.

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from Crackerjack98 wrote 2 years 16 weeks ago

Yes i shoot a .243 it s remington model 700 sps its great for teens(like me) or adults

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from Greg L. Warner wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I just finished my 6th box of various grains and bullet styles in my new 243 Handi rifle. 4 cartridges left, shot them with 2 being 2 inches apart followed by 2 being 6" and 12" below the first 2. Tried different scope with little improvement. After the last 4 shots, I was off to the sporting goods store to return my cute little single shot.

I received store credit, bought an Axis Savage in 243 along with
another box of shells. I came home with a 3x9 scope. I shot it at 25 yards, adjusted it and moved back to 100 yards. Shot 6 times with some adjusting. My last 3 shots I could cover with a quarter. The trigger is really stiff, so I know that I am looking at a rifle that is capable of shooting 3 shots and cover
them with a dime.

A gentleman who sights most of the stores rifles in said to me;
see all of these thousand dollar and up rifles, your new rifle will compete with almost all of them. Smart buy.

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from steve182 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I have heard many similar stories about the handi-rifle

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Shucks, with those Axis/Edge rifles being so accurate and all, Big Green and Ed Weatherby better find another line of work. But you can't wash off fugly.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I had a girlfriend like the Axis one time. She was a great cook and was great lover but I had to tie a bone around her neck to get the dog to play with her. That was before I got my eyes checked. WAM you are right you can't wash off ugly, I can look at my Sako and my Weatherby and smile.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Sorry for the double post, it looked like the first one didn't post.

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from PigHunter wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I've had good success with our two Handi-Rifles and have no complaints about accuracy. My .45-70 will put three rounds into one ragged hole at 100 yards.

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from willisriverbuck wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Absolutely, I have taken three deer this season with a remington 700 in .243 win with a tasco 4x32 scope. After borrowing the gun I fired a few shots to check zero and went hunting. With no previous experience with high-powered rifles I took these deer at 200-300 yards. One other deer appeared to be hit(mule-kicked and ran like its tail was on fire) but was never recovered. Blame it the stupidity of the shooter not the power of the gun. It was almost dark at aprox. 300 yards with a rifle I had barely used from the sitting position. Deer probably died in a creek, log pile, or across the property lines wich weren't far away. The rest of the deer died on the spot or within a few yards. Oh,and none of my shots were perfect either. One-lungers mostly. Keep your shots under 300 yds., learn to shoot, and you will do fine. However, from my research I consider the 25-06 and 7mm-08 better deer guns for the low-recoil enthusiast.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

willisriverbuck,
Did you look for the buck that got away, it sounded like you didn't even look for it. Was there a blood trail or anything ? Were the shots measured or are you guessing at the yardage ? 300 yards is an alwful long ways from a sitting position, with an unfamiliar rifle. About the only thing that I gather from your post is that yes a 25-06 or a 7MM-08 makes a better deer gun.

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from willisriverbuck wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I did look for the doe that got away, both that evening and the next day. I found some blood, but it rained right after I shot the deer making blood trailing almost impossible. The property line was only about 75 yards away downhill. The deer was running towards the preperty line when I last saw it. I was not able to mesasure the distance because of terrain and lack of a range finder. The distance is a guess, but I have measured similar distances by stepping them off. I only compared it to similar known distances. I was unclear in my last post. Under 300 yards a .243 is a great deer gun, if you know how to shoot it. However, if you can stand the slight increase in recoil the 25-06 and 7mm-08 make for better blood-letters.

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from 30-CAL wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

The 243 is a good deer round, with the right bullet and proper shot placement they will go down quick every time. If you hand load try the Barnes bullet I shoot a 85 gr TSX and it works well. Keep your shots under 300 yds and it will serve you well.

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

Give me my .257 Weatherby, .280 or my 300WSM anytime over a .243. I live by the SOCOM slogon "Bring enough gun".

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from mdpaulus wrote 2 years 9 weeks ago

No doubt the .257 is a great round as well as the .280. I love my .280 and have killed two elk with it. Having said that a deer is nothing compared to an elk. A .300 is way over kill, as I have yet to track an elk that I have shot with my .300. The .243 is a great round for deer. If shot is placed right you will not even track the deer. I have only taken a few deer with my .243 but one was a nice mule deer and the thing folded in its tracks at 400 yards according the the range finder. What I love about the .243 is the trajectory and the bullet selection. I prefer the 95 grain superformance hornady's. The .25-06 is another gun I love but just don't get it out much now that I have my new .243.

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from JCSoutdoorsman wrote 1 year 51 weeks ago

The .243 could kill any big game animal in North America. The 7mm-08 is also good for new hunters.

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from 357 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

it will do especially with a well constructed bullet around 100 grains. personally i am a fan of .25 or even 6.5 to give you a better selection. the 25-06 has my heart.

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from Treestand wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

I have used the 243in a Mod 100/Winchester for 20+ years in New York State a truck load of Deer a two bares all with the 80Gr Rem Ammo I fond the 100Gr to Damaging on 165# white tails....so spend your Money on a Good Rifle in the Caliber of your Chose. I now use a 7MM-08 it stops Hogs Faster with 140Gr Hornady Ammo.

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from jr9893 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I shot my first buck, a 148 lb 8 point with a .243 and the bullet performance was fine. I agree that it is a good rifle for a younger shooter/hunter because it has more to it than a .22 caliber center fire. also, if someone has hunted with that rifle since they were a kid, then I don't see why they cant use it later on in life

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from jr9893 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

I shot my first buck, a 148 lb 8 point with a .243 and the bullet performance was fine. I agree that it is a good rifle for a younger shooter/hunter because it has more to it than a .22 caliber center fire. also, if someone has hunted with that rifle since they were a kid, then I don't see why they cant use it later on in life

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from DEER30 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

Like many of the folks here, i have heard hunters swear by their .243 and tell me how many deer they have killed. I am not as fond of the round as they are. Although it is quite capable of killing a deer and is just as good for men as it is for women and children, I would choose a .270, 7mm mag. or 30-06.

I still hear stories from other friends talking about the one that got away when their .243's couldn't bring down a big buck. Whitetail deer are thin skinned light boned animals and you don't always need a large caliber to bring them down. But remember that a sacrifice in power puts even more emphasis on making a great shot. I would not take anything but a broadside shot on a deer with .243 whereas a 30-06 for example has the power to blast through the shoulder. Plus the 30-06 or .270 are versatile rounds for most of North America's game species.

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

A little Smart car will get me from point A to point B, but my full sized loaded Ford Taurus will get me there quicker and alot more comfortable. Point being small will marginally get the job done but not for me bigger is better and for me that is my .280 Remington or my 300WSM. Since all of my shots are high shoulder shots those two rifles are my choices. That is why they make all of the calibers that they make so all of us will have a favorite choice of what we want to use. If we only had one choice for a cartridge it would be boring.

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from Jordan Black wrote 1 year 47 weeks ago

my 53 year old hunting partner has a 243 rem 700 and only one deer did not drop in its tracks and theat was a butt shot i have whitnessed hin drop several deer with it

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from MBobMean wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

All personal opinion and no slight is meant:

People love them or hate them. I have not seen a lot of deer die "in their tracks" unless hit in the spin or brain but in my experience, higher velocity loving guys tend to say they see them die at once when shot anywhere in their bodies. 243/6mm Remingtons can kill deer, no question about it. The .270 Winchester is a caliber that will routinely kill Elk. I would suggest they are both the minimum calibers one should consider for those species.

My issue? I simply do not feel comfortable with a .243 and its 100 grain loads to shoot from end to end in a Whitetail if I decided to take that shot. I do feel my 30-06 with the 180 grain controlled expansion load I prefer will do it, will make a nicer quartering shot, etc. Consequently, I have never owned nor hunted with one of the .243s. This makes me less of an expert than I should be to comment, I agree. The .243 made its reputation by being "fast" and shooting "flat". if I had a buck for all the guys I saw with starry eyes softly saying "look" (pointing at a ballistics chart) "the .243, it's so fast . . ." I'd be wealthy. It shoots about like a .270 in that regard and a 30-06 shoots about as flat and better over longer distances. So, what do you gain? A flat shooting rifle can get the average guy to make a few more shots over common ranges, that makes the hits more accurate, makes them more vital, makes the rifle seem effective. Learn to shoot any rifle and you will be as effective. Shoot something with good sectional density and pick only the best shots, you will humanely kill everything you shoot at.

Oh, FWIW? I also thing 100 grain loads in the .257s is too light.

I grew up out west and we hunted Mule Deer which can run larger. We also had longer shots on average and almost everyone had a gun they felt comfortable with on an elk hunt. Consequently, few of us owned the 6mms although they were popular for hunting varmints with. Here in the South I saw/heard more about them when I first arrived then I do now. I think the trend here is away from them (though lots of guys raised in the 1970s seem to consider one for children or grandchildren as a first rifle). I talked with 3 of 4 founding members of a hunting lease here when I first moved to town. The four buddies all bought new so-described "fast" .243s and started a lease together. After three years all four abandoned the 243s and all claim to have better results. Is this a fact? Who knows, perhaps they simply became better hunters as they gained age and experience, but the lightest gun any of them had last I checked was a .270. The reason all gave was "too many wounded deer". I have a very good friend here who shoots a 6mm at deer. He says the trick is this: "If the neck is broke, the legs don't work." I know for a fact he would also shrug off losing a wounded one, I can't do that.

My personal opinion only? I would prefer not to hunt with a gun I consider the minimum caliber for the game in question. I like longer, heavier bullets. I am more than seriously considering having a rifle made for deer hunting here and my choices are narrowed down to the 6.5x55 or the 7x57. If the former, I will shoot at least 140 grain loads and 160s in the 7x57. I am leaning toward setting up a rifle to shoot 156 grain bullets in the 6.5. I could shoot that through any deer and have a lovely blood trail to follow. If my daughter ever tries deer hunting? I will buy her a .260 Remington and load it with 140s.

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from jmeerpohl wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

A savage Model 16 in 243 will shoot with any rifle when it has the accustock, accutrigger option. I own a sub MOA Weatherby, fine shooter, but no tighter at 200 yards than my 250 Savage or 7WSM Savage model 16's. As far as Tikka, how much better can a Tikka with their plastic magazine shoot than sub MOA, really? I also own a Remchester in 7 RSAUM, a Browning X Bolt in 300 Win Mag and both are a pleasure and tight shooters too. But I fire lap all the barrels to make them shoot better anyway. Don't knock savage accuracy, they have been at it a long time and their rifles can stand with any one's and are great values.

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from jmeerpohl wrote 1 year 39 weeks ago

Handsome is as Handsome does, I will take the savings on initial cost and find a better place to hunt, a better grade of optics and mounts, and not worry about the ding that will come to my rifle in the field.

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from BippityBoopityMate wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

better to have to much gun than too little

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Better to have a gun you can shoot than one you think you can shoot.(or are scared to)

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

Yes but some on here seem to feel the need to drive their finish nails with a framing hammer.

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

We just have to have enough common sense to limit the size of the hammer for the nail to be driven.

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from chuckles wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

That I think we can all agree on. I have taken two deer with my .243 using the Barnes 85gr TSX loading by Federal. The range was really short, 5-10yds on both. Not the most comprehensive test I will agree but the results, full pass through with 3" entrance and exits in the ribcage, combined with the numbers on ballistics and retained energy over reasonable distances lead me to conclude it is an adequate round for deer. I would not hesitate to use it again.
That being said I am trying a 45/70 this year. It will be interesting to see how the heavy bullet and relatively slow velocities perform. The recoil is definitely on the stiff side and I ended up putting a scope on the rifle as much to add a pound of weight as to improve my accuracy. The .243 is definitely more pleasant to shoot but I like to try things before making up my mind. The argument for me is heavy slow bullets vs small fast ones. Heavy fast bullets gets into the framing hammer realm mentioned above, at least for me. So far everything I have shot through the lungs has died within 40yds.
Happy hunting to you the WVA crew.

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from Josh Giannino wrote 1 year 37 weeks ago

chuckles- in your 45-70 try using hornady leverevolition ammo or reloading with there bullets, It knocks em dead even with out blowing the shoulder and does less meat damage then my 7mm rem mag with factory ammo, I think you will learn to love your 45-70 for whitetails

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from themadflyfisher wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

.243 was the rifle that brought my first deer to the ground and many more after that. In the hands of a good shooter they are a wonderful gun. I do agree with sarge01 that they really should'nt be the beginner's rifle. Good for a beginner to shoot but not to hunt.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

But no worries Sarge, our loving country would probably pitch in and buy him a Sako.

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from Sarge01 wrote 1 year 7 weeks ago

I like bigger guns. You can always download a big gun to make it a little gun but if you have a little gun you will always have a little gun.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

Tamara, not trying to be a smart alec but wouldn't your buck have dropped just as quickly with a .222 Remington slug thru the heart? That's like the guy who was bending my ear about the many virtues of his .357 magnum rifle for whitetails and how he'd killed one at a dead run the previous year. Further interrogation revealed that he'd shot it in the neck. When I asked if he couldn't have done the same thing with a .22 magnum the session ended suddenly with "I don't care what you think, I'm still going to use it". I'd rather have a bit more lead to provide a little margin of error personally.

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from kyred wrote 1 year 6 weeks ago

I killed a deer once with the grill of a '72 Ford pickup, it wasn't pretty, but the deer was just as dead. Killing deer cleanly with a .243 requires knowing precise shot placement and deer anatomy. It isn't a gun for a novice on large game. Give the young person a .243 and let shoot paper targets or varmits untill they know these things and then let them shoot game. You will have a shooter for life. God bless all the little children.
Red

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from Dallas A. McWhorter wrote 49 weeks 4 days ago

A .243 is my father's and grandfather's favorite deer gun.

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from Carnaud wrote 48 weeks 4 days ago

thats what i killed my first deer with. and he didnt even move after i shot him. just fell straight down. its about accuracy mostly.

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from small game sportsman wrote 40 weeks 2 days ago

A .243 is the smallest round I would attempt to take a deer with.

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from Georgeteyler1408 wrote 15 weeks 3 days ago

I personally enjoy using a .243 or .270 when deer hunting. Neither one has a kick that causes it to "kill on both ends." As long as your shot placement is good, the .243 is a very effective deer rifle. The main thing I like about the .243 is that it is a rifle that can be handed down to my kids and I can teach them to shoot with it at a young age...So back to your initial question. Yes, the .243 is a good deer rifle with some added benefits.

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from Ben Hunter wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I shoot a Rem 700 .270 and it takes out just about anything. ANYTHING. Before, I shot the .243 and took two deer with it. I'd say yes; however, it is a little limited on the range and bigger game. If it's not enough, try the .270.

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from Ben Hunter wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

In other words, I'd personally recommend the .270 instead

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from Sarge01 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I am always amazed that we think that a .243 is a gun for young and inexperienced beginning hunters . Just the opposite it should be a rifle for an experienced hunter that can place his shot at a very exact spot to cleanly kill the deer. The .243 is not a "rifle for young hunters and women" like we hear alot unless they are expert shots. Of course I will go on record as saying I don't think that it is a fine deer rifle at all.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 24 weeks ago

Sarge- he probably ment to say 115 gr.

If Obama hunted, he'd use a .243 .....

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from mucanuc01 wrote 17 weeks 21 hours ago

I have been using my Colt AR in 223 for the last 13 years and have only had 1 walk away ! Found it about 25 yards away. You have to shoot where it counts, WHATEVER YOU USE !!! I don't care if you use a cannon, you wont kill anything proper if you shoot it wrong ! The question was is it, not do you want to ! Sarge, I'm happy you like large weapons. I think it's great and you probably are a good shot. I cant afford a weatherby so I don't really care how much better it is. I'm reading this thread because I am thinking about buying a 243 to give the AR a rest. Don't care much to read about how a mini cannon is better ! Thank you all for your recommendations on larger size bores, but that was not the intention for this thread. I shoot short shots, clear of brush, in good light. I think a 243 will suit my purpose, and I'm sure it will for other people too. I don't mean to make it seem like I'm lashing out at you. Please accept my apology if you do. I will though at the IDIOT that HAD to bring Obama into it !!!! WHY ?????????? I am not a follower of his, nor did I vote for him but ??? ( I also own a 303 British so I do possess the "fire power" Just choose not to use it ). Sorry if I offended anybody.

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