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Thread: .243 Ammo Recommendations for Predator Hunting

  1. #1

    Default .243 Ammo Recommendations for Predator Hunting

    I know this topic has come up before, but I am thinking about the upcoming season and I thought I would get other opinion's on the topic. At this time I don't reload. It's not that I am not interested in doing it, I just have not had the money in the past to buy all the accessories to get started. So, for my .243, I have been using factory ammo. I am not happy with the results. Last year I blew a hole in a fox that was unrepairable. I was using Remington Core Lokts in 80 grain. I know most people recommend a full metal jacketed round, but they are extremely difficult to find for a .243 from the store. You can order them, but there are issues with shipping ammo to AK. So, the other option is to use 100 grain ammo. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but according to the ballistics charts in my shooter's bible, when you go from 80 to 100 grain, you slow down the fps from about 3,000 fps to about 2,700 fps. According to Rick Kinmon's book "Hunting the Hunters", it sounds like bullet velocity is much more important that bullet weight when it comes to hide damage. He seems to think that if you slow your bullet down you will have less hide damage. So my question to everyone is what is your opinion? Would you use a larger, heavier grain bullet that is slower, or a smaller bullet that is faster? Also, if there is anyone out there that uses a .243 and doesn't reload, what do you use? Is there a better alternative that you can buy from the store? If so, which kind, and where can you pick them up?

  2. #2

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    It isn't that much to start reloading, if you shoot much then it will pay for itself in no time! I have seen the rcbs kits go for cheap on alaskaslist. I reload everything I shoot and will never shoot factory loads again, maybe I could make you up a box and ship it to you something in a 58gr vmax ammo

  3. #3

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    BushwackJack,
    To get the best fur friendly round for your .243, you'll need to reload. I shoot a 6PPC, just like Rick Kinmon at the exact load/velocity he wrote about and have had phenomenal luck on fox, lynx, and coyotes. I loaded some .243 rounds to shoot the same, but have yet to get to the range to put them through the chronograph. I would expect identical results given it's the same bullet (80gr. FMJ) and velocity. If you can't reload, I'd get the 100 grain ammo at the slower velocities. Anything in the .243 that has high speed to it is going to peel foxes open. There simply isn't enough mass to them to take a frangible bullet without wanting to split. You could do it with a .22 something or a .17 caliber, but the .243 bullets don't appear to have a low enough weight to keep from peeling the small fox bodies.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mooneyman View Post
    It isn't that much to start reloading, if you shoot much then it will pay for itself in no time! I have seen the rcbs kits go for cheap on alaskaslist. I reload everything I shoot and will never shoot factory loads again, maybe I could make you up a box and ship it to you something in a 58gr vmax ammo
    Thanks for the advice mooneyman. I aprreciate the advice. Are you in Alaska? If you are out of state I don't believe you could ship me some ammo but I appreciate the offer. If you are in state, let me know how to contact you and maybe we can work something out.

    Quote Originally Posted by snowcamoman View Post
    BushwackJack,
    To get the best fur friendly round for your .243, you'll need to reload. I shoot a 6PPC, just like Rick Kinmon at the exact load/velocity he wrote about and have had phenomenal luck on fox, lynx, and coyotes. I loaded some .243 rounds to shoot the same, but have yet to get to the range to put them through the chronograph. I would expect identical results given it's the same bullet (80gr. FMJ) and velocity. If you can't reload, I'd get the 100 grain ammo at the slower velocities. Anything in the .243 that has high speed to it is going to peel foxes open. There simply isn't enough mass to them to take a frangible bullet without wanting to split. You could do it with a .22 something or a .17 caliber, but the .243 bullets don't appear to have a low enough weight to keep from peeling the small fox bodies.
    Snowcamoman. As always, your advice is greatly appreciated. I definitely want to get into reloading, I just don't know if I can afford it right now. So at the present moment, I think I will go ahead and use the 100 grain rounds. I was kind of leaning that way anyhow, because when I was shooting the 100s this summer at the range I was getting some pretty good groups with them. Good luck this season. Did you ever get your snowmachine fixed? I remember you had to bail on one of your snowmachines last winter and had to hike out in the middle of winter.

  5. #5

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    I did get my machine all fixed up. I had to order some new plates on the suspension that a bolt had completely wore through. I put another couple hundred miles on it after that and it seems to be good to go. If you're in the interior, I could load up some rounds for you as well if you wanted? Let me get some chrono numbers first though so I get the ideal velocity dialed in. If you can possibly keep your factory 100 grain rounds out in the 100 yard range, that would surely help with the fur. Try to stay off the shoulder for sure with the 100 grainer too or it'll be messy.

  6. #6

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    Yes I am in the matsue, I have been reloading since I was about 12, I have the dies and brass my boy shoots 95gr sst for bear. I wonder how the HPBT would do? No problem loading some up for you. It's a 105gr bullet going 2700-3100fps I could chrono them but your barrel will shoot them different I am more than willing to send you many sets to find what works for you.

  7. #7

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    Looked at wrong page, it would be 2500-3000fps

  8. #8
    Member 907pride's Avatar
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    I was once in your position. When I started to get serious about predator hunting and calling I did not reload and I was at the mercy of what I could find on the shelf. To be honest with you I never found a great round that came off the shelf. Most of what you can buy in the store is going too fast.

    You are correct about the speeds. When I first started I thought I needed the fastest bullet so I bought a .243 wssm which is moving about 4200 fps. I quickly learned that the typical shot within 100 yards would literally tear a fox in half. I sold it just a few months after buying it and bought a inexpensive .243 savage edge. The rifle was only $300 dollars and to date is still my most accurate rifle. I am consistently getting 5 shot groups at 5/8" or better with my loaded rounds which is just as good or better than my $4k custom rifle. I have much better luck now with slower rounds (as far as pelt damage) out of my 243. If you can get them to around 2800 fps and keep them stabilized in your rifle then you should be fine.

    I started using "Barnes banded solids" that are a 75 grain. They are a great bullet and hold together well. Any bullet will still do some damage when it hits a leg on the way in.

    I know you said that you don't reload but there are some companies that reload here in Alaska. I believe that the Pioneer Cartridge company is still doing custom loads for people. Call them up and ask them to load you up 100 rounds of Barnes Banded Solids. They are very inexpensive and they ship to anywhere in Alaska. I would recommend loading them .01 off the lands of your rifle.

    If you want to go that route then I'll even let you know my secret recipe. The Barnes bullet serial number is 24375. Load data is as follows.

    .243 winchester
    Barnes 75 grain spitzer solid
    CCI 200 br primer
    powder- IMR 4350
    powder charge- 46 grains
    COAL- 2.666

    They sell these bullets at 3 bears. Good luck to you. I could talk predator hunting all night long, so I better cut myself off. Good luck, ~907~

  9. #9
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    I've been shooting a 243 all of my adult life and a few years even before that. My father shot a 243 all of his life. My son...well, you get the idea. My family swears by that caliber. I'll give kudos to 907pride on the Savage. I have a long action Savage 110 in 243 and it's the best thing I've ever owned and the only non Winchester I ever loved. Savage makes good stuff; you can't go wrong.

    I'm afraid I can only echo what others here have already said; you really need to reload to see your rifle live up to its potential. The basic 70, 80, and 100 grain factory loads are accurate, but they're designed for white tailed deer. In your position, you have a couple of options. Reloads. I know, cost is a barrier to getting into the reloading game. I hear ya. But you really have to prioritize. Think of it in costs per reloaded round vs costs per store bought round. Do the math and find your break-even point. I'll bet it will surprise you. You can shoot an awesome load using only 40 grains of powder. If I recall correctly, that's 1000 rounds per 5 lb can. Second option, get someone to let you use their equipment. There are folks here who will let you come to their house with your own supplies and load on their bench. Once you start reloading, you will see a lot of new opportunities open up for you. You've got the right rifle, you just have to use it to its potential and Remington Core-Lokt isn't going to do that.

    Now, here is where I start to ask dumb questions, but that's because I don't hunt for furs, so I'm trying to understand. Why are you shooting into parts of the fur you want to keep in the first place? (I must be missing something.) As accurate as my 243 is, I'm thinking you should be taking all head shots, leaving the fur completely alone.

  10. #10

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    907pride,
    Thanks for the information on the Barnes 75gr bullet, I'll have to check those out. Finding the Hornady 80gr FMJ's doesn't happen here in Fairbanks. I end up having to order online. Are you touching lands with that COAL, or just off? I'm .002 off the lands in the PPC and it really seems to shoot accurate that way.

  11. #11

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    I'm going to try that load too, nothing funner that finding that perfect load, every gun will change it and that's what I like. My dad wby likes mag tips and mine seems to prefer boat tails and a heaver load in regards to powder.

  12. #12

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I am going to try out your suggestions.

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