15 replies [Last post]
Location: Colorado
Joined: 01/30/2006
Posts: 3
The correct caliber???


Hello, I am a rookie hunter and I will be heading out on my first deer & antelope hunt in Wyoming this fall with my father-in-law, brother-in-law and friends.

My brother-in-law just recently gave me a Ruger .243 rifle and I would like to take it with me on this hunt in the fall. With speaking with others they seem to think that the .243 does not have enough power and that I should consider a 7mm for this hunt.

Since I am still a little green having only one pheasant hunt under my belt, I wanted to solicit your opinions regarding this hunt and the best rifle to use.

Should I go with a 7mag or can I be successful with the .243???

Thoughts and feedback are greatly appreciated.



expatriate's picture
Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3206
The correct caliber???

A .243 should work fine for deer and antelope. I bought a .243 for my son's first rifle and he put his first deer down with one shot. The .243 has a great reputation for the type of game you're interested in.

In terms of energy, I've heard that a good rule of thumb for deer rounds is to have 1,000 ft-lbs of energy to do the job. A .243 will give you that out to around 400 yards, depending on load.

Go get yourself a nice buck with the .243 and tell the naysayers to be quiet.

Location: New Jersey
Joined: 01/09/2006
Posts: 65
The correct caliber???

There is nothing wrong with the .243. It a great gun to use for a deer or similar targets. In fact I no at least three people that hunt with that caliber, and have had no problems.
BUT... I don’t no if I would use this gun for anything bigger than a deer. Not that it wouldn’t do the job, but I would not personally trust it. Although you must rember that a .22cal in the right spot would have the same outcome as any other gun.
You have to pick the right gun according to the terrain that you will be hunting...Thick and heavy cover with limited shooting opportunities; you might want to use a 30-30 with a heavy bullet and open sites. Or open long shots you could use a 7mm mag with a medium bullet, good scope, and a bipod. The .243 is smaller than even the 30-30 but kind of falls in the middle of the two that I mentioned. It’s a flat shooting gun that can be very deadly in the right terrain.

I agree... Don't waste your money on a new rifle. the one you have will do the job just fine... good luck

Alamosa's picture
Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
The correct caliber???

There is a world of difference between a .243 and a 7mm RM.

More important than the caliber is your marksmanship and confidence with a particular firearm.

It was very hard for me to convert from a 30.06 to a 7mm RM. It took several seasons before I felt confident.

.243 is a fine rifle for deer. For antelope be sure you should be sure to know the range at which you are proficient. Antelope are often longer shots.

Location: Crested Butte Co.
Joined: 09/05/2005
Posts: 149
The correct caliber???

I have two 243. rem have been hunting deer for close to 40 years I prefer the 243 for deer now has plenty of power and a good long range gun.

GooseHunter Jr's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/28/2005
Posts: 3748
The correct caliber???

.243 is a great deer and lope gun.....would never hesitate to shot a deer with one!!

I too will be in WY for antelope this season!!

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3213
The correct caliber???

You should do yourself a favor and get something like a 7mm-08, 280 Rem, maybe a 270 or a 30-06. At some point you just may want to hunt something bigger. You'll then be better off than with a 243 and it's limited bullet's and you'll have less recoil than the 7mm mag. In the end, better bullets in a cartridge more user friendly means you'll likely shoot better. Don't let anyone tell you a 7mm mag doesn't recoil. And with a 160 gr bullet, it'llonly gain you about 100 fps over a 280 Rem.

If you just want something smaller, do yourself a favor and step up to either the 25-06 or even the 260Rem. Either will blow the 243 out of the water.

Joined: 12/03/2005
Posts: 1572
The correct caliber???

The 30.06 is the most versatile of the heavier firearms for sure and would definately be an plus, 7mm mag, 300win mag etc..the list goes on.......

Saying that, I wouldn't miss a good hunt because I only had a 243. The 243 is very capable for deer size animals. If you have the extra cash laying around, go for one of the harder hitting fellas.

First deer hunt!! If you take a big buck with the 243 you'll swear it is the best calibre ever, if you miss it won't be worth a damn.

Good luck and take along a little antedote for buck fever Big smile Big smile Big smile

Joined: 04/27/2006
Posts: 2
The correct caliber???

I would say a .243 is the gun of choice.

I have used one now for close to 15 years and I have never had a problem with it putting meat on the table.

I have shot mulies and whitetails from 25 yards all the way out to 350 yards, and have never had one run, only drop. Shot placement and being comfortable behind the scope will really pay off for you. Good luck and good hunting. Yes Thumbs up

Location: Montana
Joined: 03/09/2006
Posts: 111
The correct caliber???

.243 Is absolutely fine for deer and antelope. I think soneone else said it, and they were right, dont spend money on another rifle for deer and goats. Do spend extra money on another rifle for elk, bear, and other large game you may hunt in the future if you plan on hunting them. There are many rifles out there that can kill any and all of these animals. Does that mean you should try to shoot an elk with a .243, because it CAN kill an elk, or a deer with a .338 win mag cause it works? No. Once you decide the time is right, so the research on a larger caliber rifle if you plan on hunting larger game in the future (elk bear moose, the like). For now, stick with your .243, practice with it and put one in the boiler room, your goats & deer will drop like rocks. Plan on a bigger rifle in the future if you want to hunt larger game. Good luck.

Location: Washington's Back Country
Joined: 06/25/2005
Posts: 316
The correct caliber???

I would have to say the .243 is an excellent choice for both deer and lopes.....it's all shot placement..... Thumbs up

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