Jump to content
AZFieldOptics

Cartridge of the Week: .243 Winchester

Recommended Posts

Our first submission for Cartridge of the Week for our CW.com thread was developed in 1955 to be a "do-it-all" round by simply necking down the already popular .308 Winchester. It was also the first center-fire cartridge I ever fired, chambered in my Papa's superb pre-'64 Model 70 which he used to take the heads of Gobblers back when AZ offered a Turkey rifle tag! Of course, I'm talking about the amazing .243 Winchester. Capable of velocities flirting with 4000 fps from factory 55gr loads, it is also loaded with bullets almost twice the weight. While I have never personally done it, I've had more than one person remark that a 100gr .243 is more than capable of taking animals in the Black Bear and Elk weight class. Certainly, even a 55gr hammering away at 4k & put through the pump house of any animal should end things pretty quickly and it makes a superb cartridge for the allusive Coues Deer.
This is another Winchester cartridge that put Remington on their heels. Even the proud folks in Ilion, NY quickly fell into line & began clambering their rifles in it, regardless of the fact they already had their own .244/6mm Remington. In fact,  the .243W has been chambered by most domestic companies and in most action types, making it a truly versatile round.  It also enjoys a loyal following worldwide, with the Europeans in particular being fans of this class of cartridges.
Wanna whack prairie dogs at 400 yards? The .243 will do that, but I think it really shows what it can do on deer. Second only to the .30-30 and maybe third to the .30-06 Springfield, I would bet more deer have been taken with it since 1955 than most other cartridges & with good reason. The entire 6mm-6.5 family of rounds share versatility, easy reloading & high performance coupled with broad shootibilty & mild recoil. If anyone can make the case that the .243 isn't among the top of that group, I'm all ears. 
 
 
 
 
 
no_photo.png
ReplyForward

20190329_081002.jpg

20190329_092032.jpg

Screenshot_20190625-142351_Instagram.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, firstcoueswas80 said:

I have a 1955 mod 70 fwt in 243. Love that gun.

I can still remember how amazing the action of my Grandfather's Pre-64 Model 70 felt. Those were superb rifles! What kinda of optic sits on top, if any?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only downfall with the .243 Win is barrel twist. If manufacturers would offer an 8 twist that would allow for the High BC 105 weight class of bullets to be used and that would really open the doors to hunters in the versatility department. The 105 Berger is devastating on deer and offers ballistic performance very similar to the very popular 6.5s. Your average .243 Shooter never even thinks about bullet weights above 85 grains. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the day I went with the 6mm remington that beat the 243 in every way but public opinion.  Now days the mm's have out fadded most of the decimal cartridges.  Just like creedmore is the magic word now a days.  To quote the famous writer and rifleman Jack O'Connor "You have to take a little salt with the figures".  😯

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, AZFieldOptics said:

I can still remember how amazing the action of my Grandfather's Pre-64 Model 70 felt. Those were superb rifles! What kinda of optic sits on top, if any?

A leupold with CDS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.243 is a great round. My mom shot a Savage 99 in 243. Both the 243 and 22-250 share the crap twist rate that the won't stabilize the big bullets though that hurts them both from being even more popular.

I have no doubt that a 243 would take care of an elk with the right bullet in the right place at a reasonable range, and is more than capable of anything smaller with plenty of muscle to spare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, STOMP442 said:

The only downfall with the .243 Win is barrel twist. If manufacturers would offer an 8 twist that would allow for the High BC 105 weight class of bullets to be used and that would really open the doors to hunters in the versatility department. The 105 Berger is devastating on deer and offers ballistic performance very similar to the very popular 6.5s. Your average .243 Shooter never even thinks about bullet weights above 85 grains. 

I doubt you will ever see that in a factory rifle. People who have money burning a hole in their pocket for a custom barrel would most likely jump straight to a 243 AI or 6.5. Dave Tubbs was shooting heavy bullets more than 20 years ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, STOMP442 said:

The only downfall with the .243 Win is barrel twist. If manufacturers would offer an 8 twist that would allow for the High BC 105 weight class of bullets to be used and that would really open the doors to hunters in the versatility department. The 105 Berger is devastating on deer and offers ballistic performance very similar to the very popular 6.5s. Your average .243 Shooter never even thinks about bullet weights above 85 grains. 

Remington now chambers a 1-9.2 twist-- fastest factory .243 Ive seen unless Tikka or someone is doing an 8.

 

.243 was my first deer rifle-- ultra light M77... sold when I moved to Colorado for a 7mm... what a regret now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have about a dozen .243's aside from my 300 win mags its my Favorite Caliber. There all shooters.

Have one in a winchester pre 64 couple remington 700's and the rest in rugers from early m77 in both varmit and regular barrels and ruger number #'1 in both varmit and 1b's , oh yeah one other one a Savage striker bolt action pistol 1st year they came out.

I have a couple of 6mm rugers in varmit  both in 77 and ruger #1, but just dont like them not nearly as accurate as the .243.

 

Always thought about maybe a 1-8 or 1-9 for heavier bullets but always came to the conclusion of why. ive killed 2 lopes with it numerous deer and a few elk mostly 300+ yards. still might though as I have a few old mark X short actions I could use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 3:46 PM, STOMP442 said:

The only downfall with the .243 Win is barrel twist. If manufacturers would offer an 8 twist that would allow for the High BC 105 weight class of bullets to be used and that would really open the doors to hunters in the versatility department. The 105 Berger is devastating on deer and offers ballistic performance very similar to the very popular 6.5s. Your average .243 Shooter never even thinks about bullet weights above 85 grains. 

Those are great points! Certainly, bullet design and understanding of that process has evolved dramatically since 1955. The fact that its still kicking in the age of super 6-6.5mm cartridges is a testament to it. The old cartridge could certainly use some attention though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 4:22 PM, ThomC said:

Back in the day I went with the 6mm remington that beat the 243 in every way but public opinion.  Now days the mm's have out fadded most of the decimal cartridges.  Just like creedmore is the magic word now a days.  To quote the famous writer and rifleman Jack O'Connor "You have to take a little salt with the figures".  😯

Yeah, public opinion has vaulted a lot of lesser cartridges to the forefront while sweeping excellent ones away. .260 Remington is another great example of that, although its enjoying somewhat of a comeback in the long-range game. Its puzzled me how all these new super cartridges, as a good as they are, are often treated as revolutionary... we've been down this road before starting with the exceptional 6.5x55!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 4:44 PM, muledeerarea33? said:

Love my .243! Was my go to til I got the 6.5-06ai finished. Now it’s my trusty back up.

Nice, both sweet cartridges!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/25/2019 at 8:29 PM, Delw said:

I have about a dozen .243's aside from my 300 win mags its my Favorite Caliber. There all shooters.

Have one in a winchester pre 64 couple remington 700's and the rest in rugers from early m77 in both varmit and regular barrels and ruger number #'1 in both varmit and 1b's , oh yeah one other one a Savage striker bolt action pistol 1st year they came out.

I have a couple of 6mm rugers in varmit  both in 77 and ruger #1, but just dont like them not nearly as accurate as the .243.

 

Always thought about maybe a 1-8 or 1-9 for heavier bullets but always came to the conclusion of why. ive killed 2 lopes with it numerous deer and a few elk mostly 300+ yards. still might though as I have a few old mark X short actions I could use.

Sweet! I really want a Savage Model 99 chambered in .243... Also, I need more Ruger #1's in my life. Took a buddies out this last weekend, chambered in .22-250; what a rifle...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×