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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to buy a Mossberg 100atr from bass pro, but I can't decide if I want a 243 or 308 for decently long range shooting, probably max of 600-800 yards. I don't hand load and don't like to spend a lot on high end ammo, but I just want to know which round is best for shooting at least 2" groups beyond 100yards for a budget shooter.
 

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You don't mention if you want this for hunting or target but I'm going to assume that it's target because of the range & 2" pattern that you are looking for. Not sure if that is the best rifle choice for what you want. The .308 has a history of accuracy (sniper use) and I think better suited to the longer ranges. You can also get different loads for varmint, deer, black bear, etc.
 

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Well "clemmer", you certainly present an interesting question.
If you take the time to read about the ballistics of the two cartridges that you named, you'll find that they're two different cats.
I would advise you to do some research on your own and then ask an intelligent question.
"nuff said??
 

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243/308

NO DISRESPECT & DON'T TAKE IT THE WRONG WAY, BUT shooting well WAY OUT to 800 yards is not something you can just do well without a good gun, good glass & A LOT of practice. Plan on spending more $ on ammo to learn how to shoot at that distance than that rifle will cost, WAY MORE, especially if you don't reload. The same goes for a scope suited for the task. That kind of equipment doesn't come cheap & I sure wouldn't look to pinch penny's or find a good gun/scope suitable for 800 yards at a big chain store. I'd be looking for a specialty used gun being sold by an exp'd long range shooter that can give you info on loads that work well at that distance, with THAT PARTICULAR gun. That info alone can save you hundred's of $'s in trial & error on ammo My advice, take a step back, slow down, be more realistic on your expectations & speak with someone that you KNOW has ACTUALY DONE IT, for advice on equipment & where to get it, NOT someone that claims they have done it on the net. IMO, think baby steps & LOT'S of practice. Good luck, it aint gonna happen overnight, or on the cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys I really don't know a whole lot about the science of shooting and ballistics but from what I research I can't decide on what to choose. I'm sold on the 100atr, I just need some input on what would give the best accuracy at 100+ yards for hunting between 243 or 308, plain and simple, please give me your opinions
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you had to choose between the two rounds with cheap ammo to shoot a longer distance as accurate as possible, which would u choose?
 

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Clemmer, I see a lot of posts now days from new shooters who are of the belief that they can simply buy a gun and scope and start shooting very accurately at long ranges. It's simply not that easy. First off, you need to learn how to shoot and that takes a lot of lead going down range. Second, if you don't reload you're not going to get there either....too cost prohibitive. You need to walk before you run. Start with realisitic expectations. See what you can do at closer ranges and work your way out. It's just not as easy as you think.
 

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Obviously you have not done the basics. Plain and simple.
Please don't waste the time of well meaning, experienced riflemen with inane questions.
 

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No question 308Win. I also go along with all of the preceding comments. The vast majority of us look for a sub moa result but we don't always get it and for hunting purposes I personally am happy if my rifle prints a one inch five shot group at a 100. If I do my bit that puts me in the 2 inch ring at 200, near enough to get a clean kill, from then on it is all down to me and how much coffee I have guzzled that morning but I prefer not to shoot anything over 200yrds because it is much more fun getting close .... it is called 'hunting'. I rarely shoot at paper unless I change ammo or have cleaned my rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
to work my way up to shooting At least 200 or 300 yards, what would be the easiest or best choice between the two rounds?? I know that the 243 has flatter trajectory, but I didn't know if there are other factors that could benefit 308? I really don't know. Please educate me. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #11
And yes sus scrofa i like where you are coming from, but I'm just in need of an easy shooter at a longer range than my other guns are cape able of for deer and coyote hunting, and I just want a gun that will give me the most accurate shot possible for cheap, and I'm not sure of the factors that each of these rounds have that will effect the accuracy
 

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Forget the very long range stuff for now. If you're asking which caliber would be best for you for shooting deer and coyotes I'd suggest the .243 as my personal choice. Either one can be very accurate and both are capable of making clean, humane kills on the game animals you mention. My reason for suggesting the 243 is simply that it has less recoil which may help a newer rifle shooter and it is very flat shooting at all reasonable distances (but so is the 308 actually). I've been deer hunting for fifty-three years and I have yet to ever even get a shot beyond two hundred yards at a deer...and I've shot a LOT of deer. Yes, you can get shots longer but it doesn't happen very often. At least not in the North East US. Not to bash Mossberg even a little bit but if I were actually looking for a rifle to shoot at very long ranges with, that wouldn't be my first choice of gun to get. In fact, it wouldn't even be on the list of guns to get. It's a very adequate gun for deer hunting but for six hundred yards and beyond it's just not made for the task. Again, concentrate on closer distances. Up to even three hundred yards both calibers will be more than flat enough shooting and each will kill deer. At longer distances the 308 with heavier bullets will have more retained energy and might be a better choice.
 

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Take a good look at a mid to high end Savage in the .243 Winchester.

The Mossberg has a 10-inch twist barrel and may have a lot of trouble stabilizing the heavier bullets you will want for your long range shooting. My Model 16 has a 9.25-inch twist barrel.

Further, swapping to an even tighter twist barrel is straightforward with the Savage system. You will want something faster if you start using the heavier match bullets intended for serious long range shooting.

Regarding the .308 it does indeed do well, but the seemingly dinky 6.5 Grendel will do as well or better at those long ranges. Both it and the .243 Win have about half the recoil energy than one sees with long range bullets in the .308 Winchester.
 

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clemmer, don't let anyone discourage you. If you want to start at 200 yards and work your way to shooting 600 to 800 yards and have a safe place to do so, go for it. You will learn soon enough that it is not easy, but you might have fun anyway. Shutter the thought!

A few questions. Have you shot high-powered rifles much at all? How large and old are you? Recoil matters in volume shooting and though I think the .308 is a better choice for your quest, it might not be if you are slight of build or very inexperienced.

How much are you willing to pay for optics? I've not done much civilian shooting beyond 500 yds, but I know enough to know that you are going to need good glass that is built for that purpose. I typically budget to spend 66% as much on my scope as paid for the rifle. In other words, I buy a $600 rifle, it's going to get a $400 dollar scope. The exception to this rule is when I am buying a budget gun like you are. For example I paid $199 for a Savage/Stevens 200 a few years back and it bears $350 in optics. It deserves it, because as Savages will do, it's capable of incredible groups. I guess what I am telling you is, don't by a Mossberg kit gun with a $100 scope on it and expect much success shooting afar.

Also, why the infatuation with a Mossberg rifle? If you are budget conscious, as JASmith said, I would go with a Savage every day and twice on Sunday. And I own/have owned Winchesters, T/C, Ruger, Howa, S&W, Marlins, and shot many others (Mauser, Remington, Weatherby, Browning). I've had great luck with all of them, but Savage has dominated the value/accuracy market for going on 2 decades.
 

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.243 vs .308

And yes sus scrofa i like where you are coming from, but I'm just in need of an easy shooter at a longer range than my other guns are cape able of for deer and coyote hunting, and I just want a gun that will give me the most accurate shot possible for cheap, and I'm not sure of the factors that each of these rounds have that will effect the accuracy
Clemmer, you've got to crawl before you walk. This involves plenty of shooting and becoming quite proficient at 100 yards. I agree with nab that the lesser recoil of the .243 will help you become a better shooter, and its certainly good coyote medicine. When you can center a paper plate regularly at 300 yards, you can then move to 500 yards. If a gust of wind blows shortly after pulling the trigger, a miss is inevitable at these ranges. With proper bullets, the .243 is an adequate deer cartridge provided the bullet is properly placed. I, for one, am darn sick and tired of tracking poorly shot deer by users of too small a caliber who don't place their bullet appropriately.

I don't want to discourage you, but, as they say "practice, practice, practice". The .243 will make this easier. Besides, the .308 was originally designed as a 200 yard cartridge to be used in auto rifles. Although an accurate cartridge, and one that has surpassed the intentions of its creators, it hasn't the power for shooting at 600 to 800 yards.

Lastly, research your rifle and scope choices well as shooting at long range requires excellent equipment. You have a challenging goal that will be hard to reach if you use inadequate equipment. Good luck!:)
 

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I would suggest a .308 as there are more target loads available from the factories. The barrels will last longer than a .243 as well. Hunting loads in a .243 may or may not do what you want beyond hunting ranges, and if .243 factory target loads are available, they are a rare breed. If you want to use the really long, heavy target bullets in the .243 (ie. 107gr. Sierra), not only do you need to handload, you need a faster-than-normal twist barrel. An off-the-shelf .243 hunting rifle won't cut it for the best target bullets in that diameter.

Yes, there 1,000 yard shooters using .308s... specialized loads, to be sure, but everything gets specialized at 1,000 yards. The 168gr. loads, especially the Sierra Matchking, have a reputation for running out of stability beyond 600 yards, and you'd need 175gr. (I think) to reach 1,000.

You aren't likely to find a "cheap" solution to a specialized target role, but the .308 probably comes closest with readily available ammo that will work in an off-the-shelf hunting rifle.

Good luck...
 

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I would suggest a .308 as there are more target loads available from the factories. The barrels will last longer than a .243 as well. Hunting loads in a .243 may or may not do what you want beyond hunting ranges, and if .243 factory target loads are available, they are a rare breed.

Yes, there 1,000 yard shooters using .308s... specialized loads, to be sure, but everything gets specialized at 1,000 yards. The 168gr. loads, especially the Sierra Matchking, have a reputation for running out of stability beyond 600 yards, and you'd need 175gr. (I think) to reach 1,000.

Clemmer, I agree with MikeG's post here. The 243 is a great cartridge and at the top of my list for favorites. There's also plenty of comp shooters who use a rifle chambered in one of the .243 calibers that are out there. The problem with what your wanting to do is there's many, many more target/match factory loads for the 308 than you'll ever find for the 243. In order to get the best .243 caliber bullet loaded for long range shooting you would have to have a rifle with a barrel twist that no company makes. The Ruger has a 1:9 twist and that's the fastest one on the market today, but the really good match bullets such as the Hornady 105gr A-Max and 105gr HPBT, Bergers 105gr VLD, 108gr VLD, and 115gr VLD, DTAC 115gr HPBT and the Noslers Comp HPBT. They all require a barrel with a 1:8 or 1:7 twist or something along those lines. Also if deer are on the list at the ranges you've stated then the 308 Winchester again would be my choice and you'll find plenty of target/match factory ammo for it with bullets that will get you to 600-800 yards. The standard twist rate in a factory 308 barrel will be ok for some ammo to get you to 600-800 yards.
 

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Definitely 308. It's an inherently accurate cartridge with (like everyone says) many many more "off the shelf" options as far as ammo. Hornady makes a 168gr BTHP load that shoots sub moa out of the box from my Tikka T3 and for hunting the Winchester Silver tips 168gr (Molly coated BT) shoot almost as accurately but awesome on deer! Not sure where you are at but, if in the land of bigger deer that bullet knocks the bigger deer down in their tracks. I have several deer run a long ways on 1,2, even rounds through the lungs but, have never had one go more than 20 yards with 1 rounds in the lungs on the 168 Silver tips from my 308 and usually drop in their tracks! At the same those 168HPBT have served me well out to 600.Have been able to stay within a 6" painted circle at 6

Don't want to take way from the 243 because they are great - Good ballistics very flat shooter (Flatter than the 308) but, I quit using them on deer unless maybe the deer in your area are pretty small.
 

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You have gotten some good advice above. All I can add is that if you are going to be handloading, you ought to consider another caliber: .264 as in the .260 Remington or 6.5 Creedmoor. Probably not in your rifle of choice though. But it has the ballistic coefficient to buck the wind and stay supersonic at long ranges, less recoil than the .308, and some mighty good bullets available in .264. As someone else has said, look hard at the Savage line. If I were buying, that's what I would get.
 
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