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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I don't think that anyone has really touched on bullet placement.  Sounds like in the example in the first posting, the classic lung shot was made.  If a deer has all 4 legs working then it can go quite a distance with no blood supply - hence the desire for a good blood trail.

When I started shooting pigs this really came into focus, as they rarely leave a blood trail no matter what they're shot with.  Much better to drop a pig in it's tracks or within just a few yards, or the odds of finding it go way down, unless you have dogs.

So.... what I'm getting at is, if you want them to drop a little faster and be easier to find, have you considered aiming into the shoulder bone?  Yeah a little more meat gets lost, depending on the bullet, BUT they drop soooo much faster (both deer and pigs) on "average", although there are bound to be exceptions.  Sounds like your son is a good enough shot to put the bullet where he wants it.  When I want something to drop at the shot I line up the vertical crosshair with the leg on a broadside shot.

Anyway from my limited experience with the "x" bullet I'd say it would be more effective hitting the shoulder bone, and it would be unlikely for the bullet to fail.  I've only shot coyotes with 'x' bullets, but dropped 3 of them exactly in their tracks.  Gonna try some on pigs next.

My only other thought is, in the .243 the small bullet may limit the exit hole you can get (and still be confident that the bullet will perform if it does hit a shoulder bone, whether you intend to hit bone or not).  So the other possibility is to go up a little in caliber, provided your son can handle the increased recoil.  

Anyway.... food for thought.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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37,699 Posts
My .257 Roberts gives .243 ballistics, more or less, with 100 grain bullets.  And so far it's been just fine on small pigs and Texas whitetails.  I've been pleasantly surprised as to how it's worked out.  No doubt they are effective in many circumstances.

But.... most of my hunting is thinning the herd, so to speak, at the invitation of landowners.  I don't seriously deer hunt.  Perhaps this helps me relax (a little) and take my time with shot placement?  There's a whole lot more does and spikes than trophy deer, so it's easier to wait for perfect shot placement.  And warm weather (and warm fingers and 2-3lb trigger pulls) greatly helps precision shot placement in the field!

My view on these cartridges is that they are more suitable for the expert than the beginner.  I'm glad that my first deer fell to a .280 Rem and first pigs to a .30-06.  No worries about cartridge performance there.  Now that I have a little more experience under my belt, I feel confident taking a smaller bullet into the field.  For what it's worth, I have every intention of trying out my .22-250 one of these days, although it will be with the sturdiest bullet I can find, the Barnes "X".  But I would NEVER start a beginner out with this cartridge, even on the very small Texas deer.  Just asking for trouble in my opinion.

For the beginning hunter, there are a jillion things to try to remember in the field.  Need to have a cartridge (bullet) that will get the job done in the field, with any reasonable shot placement, without a lot of extra mental gymnastics.  If recoil is a problem, use reduced loads on the range until comfortable, then just a few "full-power" rounds for sighting-in and hunting.

My two cents....
 
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