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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, new here, thought I'd pop in and ask a question. I'm looking for a .243 bullet that will perform in close quarters in wooded areas I hunt, with shots under 50 yards. I've shot the Remington 80 grain hollow point reloads for years with great results but went through some scope mount troubles and lost a few deer due to poor shots, so I was thinking another bullet.

Deer run from 80 lbs for a small doe up to say 150-160 for a big buck which is rare. I mainly take base of the neck and high lung shots and with the 80 gr hollow point they wind up DRT, unless I miss.

Any recommendations on a bullet that'll do a good job at 10-50 yards on smaller sized deer?
 

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Welcome to ShootersForum, CFX90.

You will get many replies to your question and most of them will solve your dilemma. For close-quarters deer hunting, a lot of guys are going to tell you to choose a different, larger, caliber; one that is less likely to result in bullets blowing up. To me, the answer is stick with your 243, but choose a premium bullet, like the Nosler Partition which comes in 85gr, 95gr and 100gr versions. Personally, I believe the 243 is best with the heaviest possible bullet when big-game hunting, but any one of those three bullets will do the job.

I should probably bite my tongue here, but since you mentioned (twice) about losing deer due to poor shot placement, I'm going to give you my standard spiel about high shoulder and neck shots. The reason so many old time hunters advise people to shoot one third of the way up the body, and BEHIND the shoulder, is that your margin for error is greatly increased. Will you have as many "DRT" kills? No, but you won't wound as many deer, either...a worthwhile trade-off. Aiming for the cardiothoracic cavity (on deer) means you have an object about the size of a volleyball to aim at, with any shot that touches it being lethal, virtually 100% of the time. Will you have to track the deer a ways? Possibly, but if your shot placement is good, the blood trail will be excellent and you will recover the deer.

Far too much is made of the high-shoulder, DRT shot. Put a well-designed bullet, like the Nosler Partition, through the boiler room of a deer and it's time to see how sharp your skinning knife is! ;)
 

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Hmmm. I have witnessed bullets coming apart in both the .243 and 6mm Rem. The deer were recovered, but poor performance in my book. One was a neck shot and the deer got up a few minutes later and started to stagger off. The bullet had come apart before it could break neck bones. Mind you this was a buck in the rut so his neck was pretty well swollen up, but still, I think a .243 should be able to break a deer's neck. Range about 80-90 yards. I can't say for sure what my friend was shooting, but he has a hodge-podge of factory loads and I'd guess it was a lighter one. The two of us had to heave pretty good to get the buck in the pickup and I'd wager it was at least 150 lbs, maybe closer to 175.

My wife shot a decent sized doe, which for us is a hundred pounds or so, through the shoulder on a broadside shot. The bullet broke apart on the shoulder but a piece of the bullet or bone severed the spine, so it was DRT but could have easily been lost. This was with her 6mm, range about 90 yards or so. We aren't using that load anymore unless it's for varmits.

Anyway, putting out that info as a lead-in to my philosophy which is bullets really ought to be able to go through a small whitetail, if needed. We also have lots of pigs to shoot and bullets definitely need to be tougher for those.

For deer, we have had pretty good luck with factory Remington 100gr. Core-Lokts. They will go through our deer, no problem, and penetrate 14" - 16" inches on pigs, which is OK. I need to get some handloading going for the 6mm but it might have to wait till after deer season.

If you can find the Federal Premium load with the 100gr. Nosler Partition bullet, I would suggest that as the best all-around factory load. While I haven't used 6mm Partitions, I have used them in several other calibers with no issues. The front core tends to fragment pretty easily and will make a mess out of lungs. The rest of it will drive on through and you should have a blood trail if it isn't DRT.

Not a real big believer in DRT myself, have seen some animals run off with unbelievable damage... like to have a blood trail if needed.

Best of luck.
 

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DRT is a myth. Nothing will do it all the time; just about everything will do it occasionally.

For many years now I have been loading .243 and 6mm Rem. rifles with 100 grain Nosler Partitions for deer. I have no reason to change. Deer have been taken at point blank ranges and out to 250 yards with universally acceptable results if the shot was good.
 

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100 grain partitions are the way to go with the 243--expansion and penetration. If never lost a deer with them on heart-lung shots. Blood trails were wide and short!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds like the Noslers are the way to go then. I was under the impression that they were "hard" bulllets I wouldn't get expansion I was after.

Has anyone tried the Hornady 95 gr SSTs? Will the push feed of my Win 670 damage the tip?

To clarify on my losing deer, it was due to a loose screw that would cause it to loose it's zero. I sighted it in before the season, shot a deer but lost it, sighted it again because it was off, lost another deer, shot it on paper again to find it was off, then tore the scope and mounts completely off and remounted it. I've never had a problem with the bullet killing them, it's just if I make a poor shot there's next to zero blood to follow. They always drop with a base of the neck or high lung shot, damaging little meat. Not a fan of the shoulder shot.

Does anyone load the NPs in factory .243 so I can give them a whirl without loading some? IIRC Federal does but I don't care for Federal... Does Hornady make anything suitable?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I found some Nosler Custom Trophy Grade .243 Wins with the NP bullet, but they're 85 gr. Would you get the 100 gr NP Federals? Or will the 85s be enough. I'm not a fan of Federals like I said but as y'all have instilled some confidence in me with the Partition bullet.

I know .243s can be picky with heavier bullets and this has a 18" barrel (which is why I love it - small and light) so I'm scared it won't throw good groups with bullets over 90 gr. Would that change your bullet choice? Or do I have to get a box and see?

As long as it will leave a followable trail with a solid vital shot (heart, lung) when they don't DRT I'll roll with it.
 

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CFX90,

Everyone has a different experience with various types of ammo and apparently Federal has let you down, in the past. I'm not sure if you were using their Premium line of factory ammo, but I have seen many instances where it was the most accurate option for my rifles and those of friends and acquaintances. They have always been loaded with high quality bullets, like the Sierra GK, Nosler Partition and several other premium lines. I would suggest picking up a box to see if they shoot accurately in your gun. As long as your 18" barrel has a 1:9 or 1:10 twist rate, it should group bullets up to 100 grains well enough for hunting. The model 670 comes with a 1:10 twist rate, from the factory.

To clarify, the Nosler Partition bullet IS tough, but only the back half of it! The front half is designed to open up and create a significant permanent wound channel, while the back half is held together by the partition, ensuring that it continues to penetrate through-and-through. Some people say it's half varmint bullet, half copper solid, but that's an exaggeration on both ends. What it is, is a bullet with extremely reliable expansion at long range and the uncompromising toughness to give full penetration nearly 100% of the time, even at the highest of impact velocities. There are many excellent bullets on the market these days, some with target-grade accuracy, but none of them are "better" at harvesting big game.
 

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I have a box of 85 gr. Partitions, but they are not yet loaded.

The Premium line, in my opinion, is good stuff. The rest... less so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
CFX90,

Everyone has a different experience with various types of ammo and apparently Federal has let you down, in the past. I'm not sure if you were using their Premium line of factory ammo, but I have seen many instances where it was the most accurate option for my rifles and those of friends and acquaintances. They have always been loaded with high quality bullets, like the Sierra GK, Nosler Partition and several other premium lines. I would suggest picking up a box to see if they shoot accurately in your gun. As long as your 18" barrel has a 1:9 or 1:10 twist rate, it should group bullets up to 100 grains well enough for hunting. The model 670 comes with a 1:10 twist rate, from the factory.

To clarify, the Nosler Partition bullet IS tough, but only the back half of it! The front half is designed to open up and create a significant permanent wound channel, while the back half is held together by the partition, ensuring that it continues to penetrate through-and-through. Some people say it's half varmint bullet, half copper solid, but that's an exaggeration on both ends. What it is, is a bullet with extremely reliable expansion at long range and the uncompromising toughness to give full penetration nearly 100% of the time, even at the highest of impact velocities. There are many excellent bullets on the market these days, some with target-grade accuracy, but none of them are "better" at harvesting big game.
Great info thanks a lot. I think I'll get a box of the Federals and see how they perform.
 

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.243 bullet

I have a old Remington 700 BDL in 6mm Remington. I have shot several truck loads of deer with it since I bought it slightly used and a pawn shop.

For the first few years I shot Remington Core-lokts. I shot deer from 20 yards to 300 yards.
Most of the deer shot either went down there or ran very little. I never lost a deer with the Remingtons. The entrance hole was actual bullet size but the exit hole was just under baseball size in most cases. I only shot one deer that the bullet did not exit. I hit it in the spine on a quarting shot and the bullet blew apart a large section of the spine and was lodged on the other side just under the hide. I think I still have that bullet somehwere.

Then I started reloading. I tried Barnes X, Speer, Hornady, Nosler ballistic tips and then Nosler partitions. I settled on the partition. I loaded up a couple hundred rounds and have not loaded for it since. I have shot many deer with the Nosler Partitions with great success. I did notice that the deer ran farther with the partitions than with the Remington factory loads and the exit hole was smaller as well. I never lost a deer to these bullets however. I have never recovered one from a deer. They blast on through and leave a good blood trail.

I have not hunted with the gun is several years but got it out the other week and shot it some. I think I will hunt with it a little this season. It is a great caliber and probably any heavier premium bullet will work rather well.

Darin
 

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Been using the 95 Nosler Part. for years in the 243Win. no complaints, always get entrance and exit holes. Well over 50 deer taken with the 95 as my rifle does not like the 100's. I hunt close quarters as the 243 is my brush gun. see ya, Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Guys how about the 85 gr Partition? Our deer are small. Most 80-125 lbs. I don't want to get a 100 gr and not have it expand as much as it should before it exits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Got a box of Nosler Custom Trophy Grade 85 gr Partitions on the way. I think I'll be happy if it'll group. Will post after I crack one here in a couple of weeks. :D
 

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For standard cup and core bullets, the faster the bullet is going at impact, the more shallow the wound channel will be. That's extremely contrary to what you would imagine. A graph with penetration distance on the vertical axis and impact speed on the horizontal axis slopes downward to the right.

If the bullet is going too slow, you'll get a very long wound channel because the bullet does not expand. If the bullet is going too fast, the bullet will open too much, possibly disintegrate, and will cause a shallow wound channel. Between too fast and too slow, there is a region of the curve that is pretty flat at about 14-16".

All of which is a long way of saying that the advice you have gotten is sound. In a 243, it's pretty easy to get a standard bullet going too fast, especially at close range. As far as I know it is impossible to get a Partition going too fast.

Speers and Sierras open well at 2100 FPS and start to get into trouble at about 2800 FPS. For Hornadys, good opening happens at about 1800 FPS, and problems begin at about 2800 FPS.

The Partition will reliably open at 1800 FPS and will hang together at some ungodly high impact velocity as yet not located by mankind. The old Solid Base works from 1800 to 3100 FPS.

Long story short, the advice to load 95 or 100 grain Partitions is excellent advice. There are other good solutions, but that is one that is hard to beat.



Mean penetration graph is an average of a few common cup and core bullets.



This graph shows individual penetration curves for common and premium bullets. The mean graph above reaches down to lower impact velocities. The individual graph starts around 2100 and does not show the "pencil through" effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very insightful...so the million dollar question, is will the 85 gr peel open on a deer within 50 yards? Judging by the factory velocity of 3225 fps, considering I have a relatively short barrel, I believe it will perform. Also I should take into account that the above bullets weren't from a .243, just overall bullet construction performance right?
 

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The 85 grain Partition, from your short-barreled 243 Winchester, will expand at everything from 5 feet, all the way out to as far as you're likely to shoot it. The front portion is designed to expand consistently all the way down to ~1800fps. What makes the Partition, and other premium bullets "better", is that the aft section of the bullet will hold together, ensuring that it continues to penetrate, even if the front section is removed entirely, due to very high impact velocity on a close shot.

Denton, I must say I'm VERY impressed with the above graphs! Not only do they illustrate why the performance of my favorite old 270 load (140gr SGK) blew up on close-range shots, your graphs provide an excellent visual description of the reliability Partition bullets exhibit. If I'm reading the graph correctly, the Partition penetrates between 17" and 19", regardless of any reasonable impact velocity. Bob sure did us all a favor, with that kind of performance, eh? :)

Maybe in a PM, do you have penetration results for the relatively new Accubond bullets, from Nosler? I've heard conflicting reports, although my personal experience with them, so far, has been positive. As always, thanks for your excellent contribution to various posts!
 

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My favorite bullet is the 100gr. Speer Grand-Slam. My average shot is probably 30 yards and these bullets have always exited regardless of angle or bone encountered except for once and it was recovered in the hip after smashing a front shoulder. I load the GS to the max from a 22 inch barrel in my 243's. They are accurate in both 243's that I've fired them from, my favorite 243 will shoot them consistantly down close to 1/2 moa for 3 shots the other will do about a inch at a 100yds. I know they don't got the hype as some of the other bullets but if you see them at a fair price snatch them up. The 100gr GS will outperform the 85gr partition and do just as well as the 100gr partition too. Dave
 

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Your 85 grainers will perform just fine. Shoot them, and bring us back grand legends of your adventure.

My personal choice is 100 grainers, but the difference in performance is the stuff pointless arguments are made of. The Partition will hold together at any impact speed you can achieve out of a 243.

Sadly, the graphs are not from my own data. All I did was assemble graphs from some published research done by Gary Scuiscetti (sp?) several years ago. He published the raw data, but didn't put it in graphical form. So I don't have data on AccuBonds. I sure hope they work well, because I got a good buy on some and stocked up for all my chamberings.
 
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