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  #1  
Old 08-06-2010, 12:33 PM
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243 or 7mm-08 for a youth gun


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I am looking to buy my daughter her first deer rifle and would like some advice on the best caliber to buy. I have narrowed it down to either a 243 or 7-08 in a youth rifle and have done alot of research and still can not make up my mind. I am leaning toward the 7-08 and loading up some reduced loads and later on regular loads where it will last her for a long time. I have never shot a 7-08 so I do not know what the felt recoil is to compare it to. On the other hand I know that many feel the 243 is a great deer caliber and the recoil is perfect, I just think it is on the small side for deer and could be less forgiving than the 7-08. I want to buy a rifle that she will be able to hunt with and not out grow in a few years. I would just like to see what everyones opinions are between the two calibers. Thanks for any and all of your help.
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:38 PM
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i'd go with the 7-08 for the simple fact of more knockdown power. if you load some reduced loads for her to learn on, the recoil would be right on par with most .243 loads. full power 7-08 loads are just a tad lighter than average .308 recoil.
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:48 PM
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We have a few other threads on the subject - warning - they tend to go 6 or 8 pages and sometimes off the deep end about light calibers & hunting. So be warned.

Having said that - I started off my wife with a 6mm Rem. She takes careful shots and does well. 100 grain bullets are what you want, don't go lighter unless it's a very good bullet or you can get documented proof of performance. The good 100gr. bullets will go through our deer ( ~100 lbs. for a doe, typically ) and give maybe 16 inches or so of penetration on pigs.

I like the .257 Roberts as well but the stock on mine is just to big and bulky and heavy for her - it's a tang-safety Ruger 77 and frankly the stocks were a bit overbuilt, so to speak. My 6mm Rem was the only thing in the safe that she could reasonably handle so it got the job and has worked out well. I've shot a lot of deer and pigs with the Roberts and it's got a sterling record for me.

My son got started on a .250 Savage, mainly because I had an action and could talk my dad into barreling it for me It, too, has worked well. I use 100gr. Speer Hot-Core bullets. Did have one pig run off that I could not find, but about 6 months later stumbled across the bones, maybe 50 yards from where I shot it. It had just run off into a heck of tangle of briers & poison ivy as they are wont to do.

I don't know how big your deer are but with good bullets the smaller calibers can do well. Maybe you can borrow some rifles or rent them and see if the 7mm-08 will be something she can handle? Make sure to get a stock that fits well as I think that is one of the most critical factors in handling recoil. My wife's and son's rifles are cut down to fit them with good recoil pads, to avoid developing bad habits. Even then we do most of the practicing with 22s.

Best of luck. Hope you're ready for a lot of opinion
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2010, 12:59 PM
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The .243 Winchester has a lot of fans, no doubt. But I think the 7/08, which can give you factory loads from the Remington reduced recoil loads with less recoil than the typical .243deer loads to the new Hornady Superformance loads giving the 7/08 nearly the same performance as a .280 Remington, is more versatile. That's a lot variety and makes it, perhaps a more viable choice as your daughter grows. Good Luck.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:21 PM
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I can tell you that the recoil from the .243 caliber will be less! This will make a difference to the young lady shooting the rifle is she is under 130 lbs or so. My daughter who was in her teens, weighing 109 lbs could not handle the 7mm - 08 in a featherweight model 70 Winchester but she hand no problem with the .243 Winchester.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:02 PM
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7mm 08 is the better choice in my book. I have a Remington model 7 youth model that my 10 yr. old niece shoots. With factory 140 grain loads the recoil is very mild. I would highly recommend the 7mm 08 over the 243 for deer sized game.
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2010, 02:29 PM
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You are leaning the right way. The 243 will kill deer all day long, and twice on 3-day weekends (ask me how I know?), but it's a marksman's rifle and not as ideal for youths and ladies as I once believed it was. In the hands of a very good shot and someone who is experienced enough to not let their nerves get the best of them, the 243 is perfectly fine. For someone who might miss by a few inches, the added bullet weight of the 7/08 is worth the additional recoil. You could also compromise and go with the 260Remington, which is right between the two.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:45 PM
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Here is my experience. I started my daughter out on a .308 with reduced loads. It was to much for her, she could shoot it but not well. After repairing the damage I had done with a lot of pellet and 22 rimfire. We started back out with a mild .257 roberts load.

She killed her first deer with a well aimed shot at approx 45 yards from the old Bob. The spike buck took one step after being hit in the boiler room with the 100 grain hornady slug and tipped over. Result one pumped up daughter and one proud dad.

Do yourself and her a favor. Go with what will create the least amount of recoil and get the job done. You can get her the 7mm-08 later after she's built confidence and maybe a little more muscle and frame. Sure the 7mm-08 is the better round between the two and I have no love for the .243 but if you think anything of your daughter and developing her shooting skill think twice about what has more killing power vs. what will get the job done. You can always dump the .243 and get another rifle.

My daugther now a full grown women will not shoot my .280 because it thumps her more than she cares. But she will still from time to time send a hot load into the boiler room with the bob which pretty much ends the story.

p.s. if the 7mm-08 is almost a .280 and the .280 is almost a 7mm mag.. well you get the picture.

Been there done that
good luck
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2010, 03:39 PM
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Split the difference and get a Ruger Hawkeye Ultralight in 257 Roberts...
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2010, 04:12 PM
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Two years ago I bought my grandson a Remington 700 youth model in 7mm/08. I
started him out with the reduced recoil loads. He was about 11 going on 12. He soon
switched to full power loads, and last season he shot a black bear in Pennsylvania.
This season he is going for Antelope in Wyoming (lucky kid).

Zeke
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2010, 04:29 PM
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I went through this recently in the really nice Howa/Hogue youth package. .243/7-08/.308? I decided to get a a .308 and load it down. It still kicks too hard though for a starter IMO (my boys are pretty young). Now I am glad I bought it because I really like it. The one inch shortened stock and 20" barrel is very handy. I think it may become my own primary tree stand gun. But for a kids first deer gun, the .243 would be a better choice. I am looking for a good one now.
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  #12  
Old 08-06-2010, 04:52 PM
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Is there a reason why "knowledgeable" shooters and hunters continue to act like there is not a reduced recoil round for the 7/08 with a heavier bullet and less recoil than the .243?? Do you really believe that the first big game animal your child will pull the trigger on will be at 200, or maybe 300 yds?? The round is produced with a 140gr bullet (a better SD than 100gr .243 load) and with less recoil than a typical .243 deer load. Heck, the .308 reduced load has less recoil than a typical .243! I would figure that the first shot for a NEW hunter will be at somewhere less than 200 yds. Just as the .410 shotgun is NOT a really good choice for a new bird hunter, my thoughts are that the new RR (reduced recoil) rounds make larger bores the way to go for BIG GAME and, a new hunter.
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  #13  
Old 08-06-2010, 05:21 PM
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My 2 boys have both of these cal. My oldest shoots the .243 in a Savage and my youngest likes the 7-08 in a Savage youth with the muzzle brake. My older son killed a doe and 5 point buck last year. The .243 with 100 gr. Bullets worked great. Younger son has killed 2 doe with his 7-08 using 140 Nosler bal. tips. He never uses the muzzle brake. Yes the 7 may be more versatile but deer size game could care less. As far as recoil the 7 is not much over the .243 but my older son when he first started hunting was intimidated by larger looking shells so he chose the smallest round I felt he should use on deer. Choose one or the other and don't look back.
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  #14  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
You are leaning the right way. The 243 will kill deer all day long, and twice on 3-day weekends (ask me how I know?), but it's a marksman's rifle and not as ideal for youths and ladies as I once believed it was.
Agreed. The 6mm Rem is far superior

Well I guess I am biased. I do agree that the .260 Rem is not a bad choice, in
all seriousness.....
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:55 PM
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Tough call for sure. You said something about loading some reduced loads for the 7-08, so by that Im sure you can find a nice mild round for her. The .243 loads can kill deer just as dead. Just choose the caliber YOU belive she would be most comfortable with and have fun.
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  #16  
Old 08-06-2010, 07:57 PM
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i'm not a fan of the 243 but if you load up some barnes 80 or 85gr ttsx bullets it will kill any deer that she'll ever want.
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  #17  
Old 08-06-2010, 08:27 PM
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Wellll, for a TN whitetail, a .243 will work fine. They will work on CO elk if you aim straight. Now, sorta agree w/the 280-7mag analogy...for a girl. But, there is a big dif in the amount of kick for a man. An 7-08, for a man, or woman is no big deal, for a kid, it can be a big deal.

Something that hasn't been mentioned is the rifle/caliber combo. I bought a 7-08 BLR for my daughter and it kicked way more than my bolt .270...and that was comparing her reduced loads (light bullet and the staring load in the book) to my elk loads and switching from one gun immediately to the other. Also, one of the kickingest guns I ever shot was a .243...I think a Mohawk 660 or 600. It was short, light and w/no butt pad. Set up right, there is no recoil, set up wrong, guns can be mules.

You didn't mention the age and everybody assumed what the age is (about 12, or minimum legal age to hunt). I'd buy a .243 for a kid under 16. After 16, I'd probably buy a .260. It has the same ballistics as a 6.5mm, which the Europeans use to kill just about everything up to about 1,000#. The .264 diameter bullet has a very high ballistic coeficient and at extended ranges it, in some ways, surpasses the .308 (drop, and fps).

John Wooters used to swear by a .243 on TX whitetails and he is a full grown man.

So, far, I've shot my kids .243 at elk (don't try that at home, 3 shots and I found one bullet, the same thing that happens shoulder, happens to the bullet and yes, w/the right bullet, that won't happen. After one shot, it went looking for a place to lay down (clipped a lung and hit the spine, which busted up the bullet)), yotes (it makes a softball sized hole on the back side) and antelope (fell over and started kicking DRT).

Again, if she is under 16, get the .243. It will do the job just fine, and it will always be worth what you paid for it and guess what after you see how good it works, you just may want it for yourself.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:35 PM
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I'm biased towards the 7mm08, now that I've just bought one for myself a few months ago. If you haven't seen it, my post is http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=65983

I bought a 7mm08 for my Dad as well, and he's been working on some reduced loads for it with Blue Dot. Of course with this powder, you need to be VERY CAREFUL not to overload the case with a second load of powder.

For Blue Dot with 120 grain V Max, velocity from a Model 70 Featherweight has been 1494 to 2309 fps. I haven't had the pleasure of using these in my rifle which is the same as Dad's, but I've seen him use these loads, and the recoil is next to nothing. I think something like these loads would be more than suitable for a young child.

I guess it depends on the type of shooting the kid will do in the future. If you have game that requires more than a 243 can safely and humanely take care of, I would go for the 7m08. In my part of Australia, the game I hunt would not fill me with the type of fear I would have if faced with a bear with his eyes on me for a snack. Apart from pigs, most of the game I go after is happier to be heading in the opposite direction when it sees me with my rifle in hand. Pigs can be extremely dangerous in my part of the world, and I've had a few close brushes that make me happier to be holding something like a 7mm08 (I'm yet to hunt with my new one yet!) or current 308. If that would give confidence to a young shooter, and give them a good margin of personal safety in your part of the world, maybe the 7mm08 might be a better choice.
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Old 08-07-2010, 04:44 AM
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I watched on the OUTDOOR CHANNEL last week, where they were using a .243 Winchester to shoot antelope at over 500 yards!!! Now anyone who thinks the .243 or 6mm caliber is lacking in killing ability needs to do some solid research and get the true facts.

My late brother in law killed over 17 elk with a .243 when he was a young hunter and all shots were under 200 yards. Hunters back in those days got close to their big game animals. Also didn't shoot if the shot was not perfect in their eyes.

It is A-OK for someone who is an adult hunter to make a suggestion on a bigger caliber but they are not the little lady behind the gun and just don't seem to realize, that the whole thing is suppose to be FUN, not wake up next morning with a pain and big bruise on their shouilder. Stay with the .243 caliber and those things won't happen and that little lady will move up in caliber when her time is ready etc. why try to push to much on a kid.

Last edited by 2Bits; 08-07-2010 at 04:47 AM.
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  #20  
Old 08-07-2010, 06:42 AM
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My vote is for the .243 in a light weight rifle .Loaded with a good quality bullet in the 85 to 95gr range ,the last thing you want to do is make a young shooter recoil shy or create a flinch. The .243 will get the job done and more power doesn't make up for a poorly placed shot.Just MO.
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