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Thread: A 243 for Caribou

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    Default A 243 for Caribou

    Ok so some of you might know I have a 243 Winchester as the largest caliber rifle I own. I'm going to caribou hunt with it this fall. (I know, a little late getting started.) I'm looking for the right ammo to use for that purpose. I actually would prefer to buy factory loads as I don't have my own loading bench, although I think I could borrow someone else's. I'm committed to using this rifle this fall, so buying a heavier gun is out. I'm thinking I should be looking at some of the partition type factory loaded bullets or those projectiles for a hand load.

    What say you guys?

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    I say either pick the heaviest cup and core it will shoot well or go to a premium bullet. The 243 is plenty for caribou but if expecting to meet with big bear a premium bullet would make me feel a little better than a cup and core. Are you taking your son with you this fall? If so, I have some options we can discuss when you come by.

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    Lots of caribou are killed every year with a .243 Winchester. Most any factory load that uses a bullet of 90 grains or more will work just fine, though I'd probably choose THIS or THIS if I could find it.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    I say either pick the heaviest cup and core it will shoot well or go to a premium bullet. The 243 is plenty for caribou but if expecting to meet with big bear a premium bullet would make me feel a little better than a cup and core. Are you taking your son with you this fall? If so, I have some options we can discuss when you come by.
    No. Sadly he has to go back to FL; he only spends summers up here. We are going t go ptarmigan hunting thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Lots of caribou are killed every year with a .243 Winchester. Most any factory load that uses a bullet of 90 grains or more will work just fine, though I'd probably choose THIS or THIS if I could find it.
    The 85 grn TSX bullet used in your links looks interesting. (no lead?) It's also used in the Federal Vita-Shock bullets. (There is actually a whole list of manufacturers that use it. Wonder if it's available locally because, at those prices, I'm not buying a lot of it and I can't afford the haz-mat shipping to bring up only 3-4 boxes.

    Barnes has their own brand of that bullet in already loaded packaging, and they list Sportsmans and Boondocks as retailers.

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    fl,

    I've a larger caliber rifle you can borrow if you'd like. in one season, this is the bear activity I witnessed in the region you drew a tag:
    Large grizzly came in on my moose kill in the middle of the night. A 54 yr old man was charged out of a patch of alders by a grizzly. This friend of mine decided to stay clear from where I shot my moose, so that he could avoid a confrontation......still got charged in a different location by a different bear. A guy with a broke prop asked me to check on his camp. told him all looked well on the way out. on the return to my camp site, all his meat was gone, his tent was shredded, and every piece of his camp was destroyed.

    Still think the 243 is a stupid choice in the region you're going to hunt. Those bears are curious and cunning in that region......opportunists to the smell of meat, grouchy when you wake them from an afternoon nap. Let's not forget about the Marine who put a 30-06 bullet through a grizz, right before he got his face half torn off......that was in your hunt area too.

    I've a savage 99 beater that you can borrow if you'd like. It's missing alot of blueing and the stock is scratched up......you can't hurt it. It's sighted in for 275 grain bullets.

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    Thanks for that post, Mainer. I'm starting to wonder if that is the reason no one has responded to my questions about float hunting that area-people must think I'm crazy or something.

    Thanks for the the offer of the loaner rifle, I appreciate it greatly. I'm always surprised when someone offers a stranger the loan or use of items such as that, and I've experienced it before in this forum. The other time, accepting such offer has turned into a nice friendship in the "real world" whatever that is. In this case, I'll decline for three reasons. The first is I'd like to take my first caribou with "my rifle" and this is all the "my rifle I have. (My late father bought this rifle for me.) I could borrow my girlfriend's dad's Win Mod 70 in 30-06 if I really had to. Lastly, my friend with whom I'm hunting carries a heavier caliber rifle (300 or 338-I forget which.) However, in light of your post I may consider taking a 44 revolver with me.

    Obviously I'm not planning to hunt bears, but someone on the forum uses the tag line "carry enough gun for what might be hunting you."

    PS: I plan on sending you a PM in a few moments.

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    Recommend you do carry that .44 - with some very heavy loads in it.

    .243 should be just about perfect for the caribou btw; hit the vitals, set for a second if he went out of sight, then go pick him up real close. Do note that as much as I think you're great for caribou, I would never recommend shooting that at a moose. Sure its possible to accomplish; I just wouldn't try it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    Recommend you do carry that .44 - with some very heavy loads in it.

    .243 should be just about perfect for the caribou btw; hit the vitals, set for a second if he went out of sight, then go pick him up real close. Do note that as much as I think you're great for caribou, I would never recommend shooting that at a moose. Sure its possible to accomplish; I just wouldn't try it.
    Yeah I don't really have a "moose rifle", but that's okay, I've never seen a legal moose in Alaska anyway. BTW, I met a guy through my last job who lives in Kotz; he hunts with a 243 and hunts and has shot everything with it, including moose. But yeah, at that point you're teetering on the verge of a hunting ethics issue. Most states' laws just say "centerfire rifle" for big game (Alaska law is like that isn't it?) without specifying a minimumcaliber. Not sure if that is good game management or not.

    Back to the discussion topic, went into Sportsmans today. (Why do I keep going in there?) Absolutely zilch in 243 loaded or otherwise. I asked a guy at the gun counter about factory ammo using the triple shock bullet and he said "I saw some in here about 2 years ago." He also said they messed up there distribution and haven't had an ammo shipment in 2 weeks and won't see one until Wednesday. Methinks those guys will be going away after Cabela's and Bass Pro come in. I'll start calling some of the smaller shops.

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    Get a bear tag then plan to harvest one, get all excited about it . . . and there will all the sudden be none about to bother you.
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    Anything with a 95 or 100gr bullet ought to be decent for a caribou. Caribou also tend to be shot at longish range so I'm not sure I'd pick a TSX or other really tough bullet since it might have slowed considerably by the time the bullet gets there and not expand well. You don't have much diameter to start with so you ideally need some expansion.

    I like the Federal loaded with 100gr Sierra Game Kings or the 95gr. Ballistic Tip (big game BTs not to be confused with the 55 and 70 grain varmint BTs) or the Winchester loaded with their version in 95gr called the "Ballistic Silver Tip".

    If all you can find are some plain Jane 100gr Corelokts or Federals then fret not and rock on. I've killed quite a few whitetails with them and they work just fine. Just realize that you have a smaller bore and can't depend on shooting through a lot of critter to hit vitals so avoid quartering shots. This is probably one of the very few times I don't really advocate tough, controlled expansion bullets- you are unlikely to blow up a bullet on a close range shot because caribou typically aren't shot that close but you could sure fail to expand at 200+yds and be in for a very long tracking job. In my experience with the .243 you may not get an exit wound.

    Almost all of the lighter bullets are made for varmints and should be avoided.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Best factory load for 243 is the Federal 100 grain. IMO. Perfect for caribou.
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    Wal if it's the only gun you got, and your bud's got a big boomer in case of bear trouble, go ahead on.

    However, I can't shake the feeling that a 243, and a 100 grain bullet is too small for anything bigger than a wolfie.

    I think the fact that it HAS been used successfully on boos is essentially meaningless as to whether it is appropriate. I also figger, the bigger the boo, and there are some big,uns, the more marginal it is.

    Can you bust through both shoulders with a. 243? I dunno. You tell me.

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    I wouldn't recommend it, but I used to reload Barnes 115 gr RN in .243 for a fellow in Anchor Point who used them on moose...big moose successfully. He said they killed just like the 6.5x55 160 gr RN...heavy for caliber. I think if you deliver it to the vitals it's going to kill better than an arrow and we know they work just fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Wal if it's the only gun you got, and your bud's got a big boomer in case of bear trouble, go ahead on.

    However, I can't shake the feeling that a 243, and a 100 grain bullet is too small for anything bigger than a wolfie.

    I think the fact that it HAS been used successfully on boos is essentially meaningless as to whether it is appropriate. I also figger, the bigger the boo, and there are some big,uns, the more marginal it is.

    Can you bust through both shoulders with a. 243? I dunno. You tell me.

    SOTN
    I would think the .243 is fine and you dont need to bust through both shoulders, besides a lot of caribou are taken in tundra or the snow so if it takes them a couple hundred yards to die no big deal. A lot of guys prefer a 22-250 for caribou

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    The 243 win is a perfect caribou cartridge. Flat shooting and surprisingly hard hitting. I have been using one for caribou for years (30+ caribou) and only one has gone more than 10 yards and that one was shot once through the heart and I cannot explain why it ran. Only recently have I discovered premium bullets and started shooting Barnes vortex 80 gr ttsx with great success. Before that all I shot were 100 gr rem corelokts and 100 gr federal soft points. I have never found a bullet and I shoot for vitals no head shot. I recently read Dennis confers moose and caribou hunting book Hunt Alaska Now and he talked about upper lung shots killing quicker due to blood possibly filling up the lower portion of the lungs. And another where he talked about scapular shattering after being shot (they're so thin and pliable I wanted to see for myself). So I shot one in the upper lung with the 243... Quick death though I couldn't be certain it was faster than a "pocket shot" as I've heard used on this forum. I then shot one high in the shoulder and it did indeed shatter dropping the caribou where it stood, killing quickly as well. Most of the shots in barrow are from 200 yards to 350 yards though I have not shot a caribou with the 243 past 400 yards though no doubt it would be up to the task with proper shot placement.

    I hope this helps, though a word of caution should be stated with regards bears. The 243 has been used for years for polar bears in barrow but that is in a hunting scenario with distance between you and the bear and the opportunity to send multiple shots down range (and a combination luck, skill, and fearlessness). In a defensive situation the 243s lack of big boy knock down power make it an inadequate round. If your worrying about bears in the area get a minimum of a 270 win and call it a day. The 270 shooting 130 grs is a phenomenal caribou round though it may do just a hair too much damage, worth piece of mind as bear protection though. (My father would disagree with me on that damage comment so take it with a grain of salt).

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    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Get a bear tag then plan to harvest one, get all excited about it . . . and there will all the sudden be none about to bother you.
    No bear tag required for where he is going to hunt.

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    BRWHUNTEr, thanks so much for your remarks. I'm actually sitting on piles of Rem CorLokt 100 grn ammo, and can't find anything locally (not done looking yet) in those TSX type bullets.

    As for the bear concerns in that area,I just spoke with the friend I'm going with; he's going with a 7mm, and he has two 44 revolvers. (S&W and a Taurus). I'll probably be able to carry the Taurus. (Which, if you see the other thread on those guns, means I'll have a great hammer for driving tent stakes and clubbing grizzly bears. LOL).

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    If you have any more questions I would be more than willing to help you out. Pm me or email me at brwhunter@gmail.com. I don't know where in the state you will be hunting and would like to know if your willing to share.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BRWHUNTER View Post
    If you have any more questions I would be more than willing to help you out. Pm me or email me at brwhunter@gmail.com. I don't know where in the state you will be hunting and would like to know if your willing to share.
    It's the DC483 permit area. (Paxson is right int he center of it.) I'll send you a PM.

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