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Location: Colorado Springs
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I have both a .243 and 25 -

I have both a .243 and 25 - 06.  Love 'em both to!  In the past, I've owned .270, 30-06, and .300 win. mag. also.  From what I can tell, sounds to me like you want a rifle for deer and varmint hunting.  Either a .243 or 25 - 06 would be great for this type of shooting.  If you REALLY get into target shooting at longer ranges, the 25-06 will probably be a better gun for you.  My .243 is a Winchester Featherweight, pre-64.  Great gun, but I think it would be pretty expensive today for a starter rifle.  My 25-06 is a Ruger MKII.  I love it - my go to gun for Deer and Elk.  I shoot it for target practice out to 400 - 500 yds. also, great fun and cheap with the right bullet.  You might want to consider a 6mm Remington also.  A bit' more velocity than the .243 but very little recoil.  It will be a better caliber than the .243 if you get into Prarie dog shooting and serious Coyote hunting.  It's often overlooked but a great deer rifle also.  If I where you, I'd consider a Savage to start with - it's a cheaper rifle (around $400 new) and it sounds like you'll be getting another rifle in a couple of years.  My first rifle was a Savage and I wish I still had it.  Wasn't pretty by any means, but a great overall rifle.  Very accurate.  Good luck.

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3206
.243 and .25-06

If I'm not mistaken, the .243 and .25-06 both use a 6mm bullet, right?  I know the .243 is just a necked down .308; I thought the .25-06 was basically the same round based on the longer .30-06 case.

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They are just what you say

They are just what you say except the the .25 caliber bullet is just a bit larger than a 6mm.  The same argument can be used between the .243 and the 25-06 as has been used on the .308 and the .30-06.  You can get heaver bullets in the .25 caliber than you can in the .24 along with a little bit more speed in the .25. 

But I would feel under gunned with a .243 when I am after an elk where the .25-06 in my minimum round for an elk but hunters with a .243 have done the job on them. 

Tndeerhunter's picture
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Location: Tennessee
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new hunter

In his first posting the OP clearly states that he is new to hunting and wants opinions on chamberings that would work for someone of his experience level. Sorry, but I am simply not of the opinion that a .243 for big game is a good choice for someone just starting out.

It has been around a long time (50+ years) and has taken a lot of game. That still does not make it a good choice for someone just starting out. I would still say, however, that the added frontal area plus 20% more weight in a projectile makes the 25/06 a very viable choice.

Better yet, perhaps someone just starting out could make good use of the two rifles, one dedicated for each need. A smaller caliber for his varmint hunting needs and then a dedicated deer rifle for those needs. Something on the order of a .270 (as he mentioned) 7/08, .260 or 6.5x55. None of those chamberings have excessive recoil and they all bring much more to the table than a 100gr 6mm/.243 pill does.

Even if the OP chose low recoiling loads (such as Remington's reduced recoil loads) for the .270, .260, or 7/08 for deer to 200 yards, he still has a bigger bullet with equal or superior SD working for him. In full power loadings these chamberings are a significant step up in power. Simply my opinion for someone just  starting out. 

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for biggame

If game like deer and pronghorn are in your plans, my advice would be either the .25-06 Rem, .270 Win, or the .308 Win.  In fact for pronghorn the .25-06 is an excellent choice.  For larger mule deer and elk, the .270 Win and .308 Win are great all-around cartridges and plenty capable of dropping them out 300 yards.  I see no reason to have any need to take shots much beyond 300 yard on biggame anyway.  As others have said, pick a rifle that fits you well when bringing it to shoulder.  There are lot's of good rifles out there for under $750.  Ruger M77, Remington 700s, Savages, etc. 

If you want a manageable cartridge in the .30+ caliber range that's not as punishing to your shoulder as a magnum, you might want to consider the .338 Federal round.  I've been studying the ballistsic and performance of this round lately and it seems to really be the best of both worlds as far as biggame cartridges go.  It offers great range capability, with plenty of retained energy transfere on any biggame animal while maintaining a reasonably tolerable recoil at around 23 ft/lbs. (to compare: a full powered .270 Win with 130 grain bullet delivers about 18 ft/lbs to 19 ft/lbs of recoil to the shooter in a fixed breech rifle).  The more I read about the .338 Federal, the more and more I'm liking it.  I just might buy one soon.

As far as optics go, you seriously don't need more than 6X magnification power in any biggame hunting scope. I know that many hunters out there want the 50X oversized stuff, but those really are for long range 1000 yrd target shooting, and nobody takes game at 1000 yrds, though some do BS about it.  Good luck.

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Two rifles. I'd drop down to

Two rifles. I'd drop down to a 223 for varmits and go with a 308 for big game. The 243 qand 25-06 will both handle deer but my opinion is they are both on the light side for anything bigger. Between the 25's and 30's there's a lot of cartridges that would fit the bill for elk size game, and do it well. Start at the 260 Rem and go up! Up to elk size game, most are pretty good cartridges. But what the smaller cartridges won't let you go is fire a heavier bullet, 180gr, the 30's will do that. Of course there's not a lot of difference between a 175gr 7mm bullet and a 180gr 30 cal bullet but, what the 7-08 will do with a 160gr bullet the 308 will do a bit better with a 165gr bullet. As bore diameter increases, the same case can fire equal bullets a bit faster.

The 243 I like for a preditor rifle. I've shoot a few deer with it but just never felt good doing it. My favorite calibers are 6.5's and 7mm's. That's just personnel choice though, the 270 is a great cartridge and most of the 30's are also. You won't find a clear answer here. find out what kind of ammo is readily avaliable near you then pretty much take your pick.

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I picked up a Stevens 200 in

I picked up a Stevens 200 in .243 for just under $280 out the door. I am going check their other chains for a .308 or 30.06. Now I just have to find the right scope. I am looking at a 2-7x32 Nikon prostaff, or a weaver v-7 2.5-7x32. If I buy another rifle I will put the same scope on both. I'm sure a may want a more powerful scope for target shooting later on, but for hunting I think these would be more than good enough. And lower powers seem to give a wider field of view.

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scopes

I think the scope power(s) are fine. I happen to own both those scopes and my suggestion is the 2-7X32 Nikon. If you check with Cabelas, I think you might find the 3-9x40 on sale, along with the 2-7x32 for the SAME closeout price, which might let you put it on your .243 and still have exactly the same sight picture, which is very good for transfer; rifle to rifle.  Yes

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/shooting-optics-riflescopes/nikon/...

tim
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Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 600
.223 .300wsm you are good to

.223

.300wsm

you are good to go for anything in the lower 48

 

.270wsm if just one gun

Don Fischer's picture
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I think earlier I may have

I think earlier I may have suggested the 308 and 243 but thinking back in my own life I'm going to change my mind. Years back my son got out my to show a buddy how well it shot. He grabbed some shells that had Nat match head stamps and figured they were 308 stuff, they weren't! I'd necked the stuff down to 243! Imagine his suprize when the bullet's hit down right in front of him. 243 and 308 ammo could look a lot alike to a new user and the same thing could happen. Or you could take 308 ammo for your 243 and never get it to chamber. Of course if you really manhandled it, you might seat the bullet way into the case in which case you will blow up the rifle!

So with that in mine I'm gonna say thet now that you have the 243, go for the 30-06. Not enough difference in the 30-06 and 308 to worry about. Does make a great campfire discussion that is never settled though!

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