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Thread: 243 wssm for sheep

  1. #1
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default 243 wssm for sheep

    Yeah I am probably going to stir it up with this but I honestly want input so here goes. I currently own a 325 wsm (8mm) a 7mm mag, and Just to keep going with the mm trend I was considering a 243 wssm in the A bolt. I know it will be great for varmints but I was wondering what ya'll though about it on sheep (I would like to leave bears out of it as I routinely hike in the areas I will sheep hunt in with only my 44). Curious who has experience with their terminal ballistics as well as their ability to buck wind and anchor a sheep. I enjoy shooting my 325 but could easily see it giving me a nice raccoon eye if I had to shoot it prone. The 7mm is wood and it was my dads gun so I would rather not bang it around the mountains, and I want a good excuse to get a varmint gun.

  2. #2
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    6mm is more than sheep capable. I would not have a problem taking a 6mm out for sheep.

    Shot placement, quality bullet (Penatration, exspansion and weight retention) is the key here.
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  3. #3
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    Default Might be a little small

    Like alaskamoosehunter said "Shot Placement is key".

    I did take this ram with a .243 and had two great shots and he still wasn't down. I have since changed to the 300WSM. Purchased a custom stock and it only weights a little over 5lbs. Happy so far. Plus I can still use it for other critters.

    Best of luck
    Last edited by tv321; 10-15-2009 at 21:39.

  4. #4

    Default 25 Wssm

    The 25 WSSM would be a better choice for the Alaskan hunting situations. It's bullet weights would give broad range of animals; varmints, deer, sheep.
    It's ballistics are equal to the venerable 257 Ackley Improved and not quite on par with a 25-06. Recoil is mild and rifles can be lighter.
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  5. #5
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    Smile .243 wssm on Alaska Rams

    As your original posting states... this is not really your primary go-to rifle.

    Looks as if you are wanting a lightweight, compact, easy handling/packing, short or "super-short" action, flat shootin' rifle.

    I agree the Browning A-bolt in .243 wssm is just that kind of firearm.

    Is the A-bolt a top choice for me? NO! But,,, I do feel that the ergonomics and practical side of this gun are all fitting. Browning has good product and reputation.

    It's not the rifle to be questioned... it's the cartridge .243 wssm. In my opinion - this round is a solution to a non-existent problem.

    For example:
    Is a .243 or 6mm an inherently accurate bullet? YES very!!!

    Can this bullet be hot-rodded for very speedy time of flight, flat trajectory, all leading to easier (not quite the right word but you catch my drift) hit placement in all shooting positions and conditions out to some 600 yards? YES "knowingly"!

    OK... (That stated) So most .243 WIN, 6mm REM, & all the "enhanced" versions or target variety already do this --- have been for decades.

    The .243 and 6mm rifles have always been on the lighter side of bona-fide larger or big game cartridges. Not a niche round... yet an overall nice compromise between a little much on varmint to not quite a routine anchor on big game. The .243 wssm is no different!

    I’d go back to the drawing board just a bit and still seek out the lightweight, compact, easy handling/packing, short or whatever action, flat shootin' rifle -BUT go the .270 to .300 cal. variety (not necessarily even magnum by any stretch).

    A marginal to kinda OK cartridge is not the way to stack more odds in your favor. You are far better off to anchor your Ram where he's hit than conversely find the tough consequences and rugged logistics of poor terminal performance high-tailing off the unforeseen rift or cliff.

    My point here also is that all hunts in Alaska (even just down the way for a day) are pretty expensive no matter how you look at it... gas, equipment, time, on & on. Mountain Sheep are not cheap to fair chase. Likely choose a more suitable Sheep cartridge in short action like the .270 WSM or similar.

  6. #6

    Default Well

    I have a Browning A-bolt 243wssm and have studied the ballistics. I have successfully harvested a large whitetail with it but have not tested it on anything larger. I have used primarily 95grain factory rounds through it and am very confident using them on deer. It has been the most accurrate rifle I have ever shot. I do believe this rifle would work adequately on sheep and provide the added bonus of being a great varmit gun. That being said, I also own a 7mm Rem Mag and it would probably be my first choice for a sheep hunt. If you have anymore specific questions send me a PM. Good Luck on your hunt.

  7. #7

    Default

    I'll sign on for the 25 instead, too. Not wssm's, but I've shot lots of game with 24's and 25's in similar, faster, and slower velocities. In all cases the performance of 115 and 120 grain bullets on deer-sized and larger game put the 25's in a league apart from the various 24's. Don't get me wrong, I love my assorted 24 cals. But for my taste, especially as range stretchs and animal size goes up even a little, the heavier bullets in the 25 cals trump the 100's in 24 significantly.

  8. #8

    Default 257 Weatherby

    I am going with a 257 Roy as a replacement for a 300 win model 70 that I have used for years. Mine is a vanguard but you can now get them in Remington as well. Its not the lightest but it will do the job.







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  9. #9
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    I haven't killed anything with my 243 WSSM yet, but I have taken it hunting. I shoot handloaded 85-grain TSX bullets in it. The rifle is light and would make a great sheep rifle.

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    Default

    I use a .243 remington for deer in PWS and for wolves- just doing my part by engaging in aerial predator control (the land and shoot kind- it probably can't beat the old 12 gauge for shooting from the air). Anyway- I personally think sheep die easy with an accurate shot, whether it be a .300 or a .243...I just bought a tikka t3 lite in a .270 winchester...good luck and remember, its never bad to add a new rifle to the closet.

  11. #11
    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    I'm going to go out on a limb and ask why not a 270 WSM? A 260 or a nice Swede? There's where my money would be.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

  12. #12
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have been reading about the 6mm berger 115gr Very Low Drag bullets and their wind bucking ability as well as their nearly .6 BC. I don't know about the terminal ballistics on "large" game like sheep.
    size/weight/BC/recommended rate of twist/
    6mm 115 gr Match VLD 0.243 115 0.595 7 243115V

    I have sent Berger Bullets an email regarding the use of this round on sheep and am very curious to see what information they will respond with. As for the 270 I have a 325 and a 7mm so the 270 wsm doesn't offer that much of an advantage though I am loosley considering one in the tikka t3 lite. Like I said above I don't feel super comfortable shooting the 325 from a prone position on a natural rest without eating the scope though the ballistics of the 200gr accubonds make it an easy choice for pretty much all but the biggest of bears. The 7mm is heavy and has sentamintal value that keeps me from wanting to bang it over the rocks. I am interested in 150gr loads for the 325 as a sheep round but I don't hand load and the manufacturers arent on board yet. I am going to the wasilla gun show and will hopefully be able to score some 150 grn rounds from one of the local cartridge shops.

  13. #13

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    I cant see why a 24 anything wouldn't work. My father in law has killed elk with a .243 for years so I am guessing if you hit where your aiming it would do fine. I have shot quite a few deer with a .243 and it didn't have any problem killing em, and sheep IME arent hard to kill if your shot placement is good. I personally would opt for something a little bigger but the 243 WSSM would do the job ,with good bullets, that I have no doubts of.

  14. #14
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    Default

    I would think a .270 WSM would be ideal for sheep. Also, plenty for caribou and a good selection of bullets are available.

  15. #15

    Default

    I wouldn't recommend a 243 as a general-use elk caliber, but I have to tell a 243/elk story that helps make AlaskaCub's point. I had three elk hunting friends stay me at our place in the southwest. I went along to help pack if they were successful.

    Kind of a "three bears" story. Pop, mom, and young son. Same in calibers: 338, 300 winnie and 243.

    Kind of a circle cluster too, when they finally found elk. A herd of about 20 jumped and blew out of there, and the shooting started. When the smoke cleared there were two elk down. While they were dressing, I followed up trails looking for signs of additional unregistered hits (yeah, it was kind of an OK corral shootout for a few seconds.) Miraculously no other elk were hit. We managed to get my truck to them and brought them out whole.

    Back at my place we hung them and set to skinning. Turns out both were killed with single shots through the lungs down very close to the heart. Also found a cute little 243 mushroom at the end of each wound channel. Ma and Pa had both missed completely while emptying their mags. Junior shot twice and dropped two elk running flat out, the first at about 100 yards and the second closer to 175.

    You are required to put bullets where they belong with a 243, but when you do they're fine. Bigger would certainly give you more margin for error on a bum shot, but you have to cut hair first.

  16. #16

    Default VLD

    [quote=LuJon;197622]I have been reading about the 6mm berger 115gr Very Low Drag bullets and their wind bucking ability as well as their nearly .6 BC. I don't know about the terminal ballistics on "large" game like sheep.
    size/weight/BC/recommended rate of twist/
    6mm 115 gr Match VLD 0.243 115 0.595 7 243115V

    I have sent Berger Bullets an email regarding the use of this round on sheep and am very curious to see what information they will respond with.

    I don't believe that Browning or Winchester offer a rilfe with a 1-8 as a standard twist. VLD's are target bullets and terminal performance on animals might be questionable.Also the bullet length would limit case capacity as it would have to be pushed into the case so far to get overall Cartridge Length.
    They shoot well out of my 6-284 varmint rifle. It has a 1-8 twist Pac-Nor barrell, and for long distance offers very good accuracy.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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  17. #17
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    here is what I got back from Berger bullets. I won't usualy post someones name but in this case it is redily available on the berger bullets website:

    LuJon ,

    I understand your concerns. I'll explain how the Berger VLDs are working on game so you can decide if it is the best hunting bullet option for you.

    Upon impact at close or long range the VLD bullet will penetrate 2" to 3" through tissue and bone before it starts to expand. Once the expansion begins the bullet will shed 40% to 80% of its weight as shrapnel over the next 12" to 15" (depending on impact velocity). This results is a massive wound channel right in the middle of the vital area (organs). This massive wound channel is created by both the shrapnel and the fact that in most cases 100% of the energy is used up inside the animal. This causes the animal to go into shock which is what drops the animal in its tracks. By the time the animal could recover from the shock they have either quickly bled to death or have experienced vital organ failure (usually because the organs are shredded).

    In cases where the animal does not drop instantly the animal rarely goes more than a few yards. To date we have not received a report of a lost animal that has been hit with a Berger VLD. This does not mean that it won't happen but it has not happened yet. The bullets that retain a high percentage of their weight and penetrate deeply act more like an arrow. These bullets will produce a greater wound cavity than an arrow because of the high speed (resulting in higher energy transfer) however the wound channel is made by shock rather than metal so is less likely to cause the extreme hemraging produced by the Berger VLD. It is like the difference between hitting the animals internal organs with a sledge hammer vs. a grenade.

    No matter which bullet you use, if you hit the right organ or the spine the animal will drop but the number of "bang flops" you get with Berger VLDs will be much higher than with the deep penetrating high weight retaining bullet. Regarding shot placement, the Berger VLD has a higher BC than other hunting bullets so the drop and drift is less. Combine this with our years of making precise bullets and you get a hunting bullet that is easier to put right where you want it. There are many hunters who are reporting that after practicing at the range with the Berger VLD they are able to extend their personal ethically lethal range allowing them to take shots that otherwise would have been missed opportunities.

    All that I have mentioned has been proven by our own thorough testing and by a large number of hunter in the field. I appreciate that any hunt is capable of providing you with a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is important that you completely trust the bullet you are using. I say with confidence that if you give Berger a try you will not be disappointed.

    Kind Regards,
    Eric Stecker
    Master Bulletsmith
    Berger Bullets

  18. #18

    Default Bergers

    Their response was probably honest. However, when I'm hunting sheep there are also other opportunities to take black bear, in some instances other game also if you so choose. While a 115 grain VLD would most likely kill a sheep with a good shot, I would be reluctant to shoot at any larger game or smack a pissed off brown bear in the noggin with one!
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

  19. #19

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    I can summarize their honest description of terminal ballistics in one word: Eek!

    They describe exactly what I've been trying to avoid all these years, and why I started shooting Nosler partitions in the first place. My only discovery of the limitations of Noslers in 24 caliber 100 grain and their 25 caliber 100 grain is poor expansion at long range when velocity drops. It's not proven to be an issue with the 115 and 120 grain 25 caliber partitions. That's why I use Hornady, Speer or Sierra for smaller calibers at longer ranges. They expand but hold together and penetrate well. But paritions are challenged to expand at low velocities. I expect the same from Barnes, but I haven't had the courage to try them at low velocities on game.

  20. #20
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Like I said above I don't feel super comfortable shooting the 325 from a prone position on a natural rest without eating the scope though the ballistics of the 200gr accubonds make it an easy choice for pretty much all but the biggest of bears.
    If you feel comfortable with your 325 I would consider switching scopes. I took a nice caribou in Alaska a couple years ago shooting from the prone position with my 338 WM. I didn't have much time to set up for the shot and I ended up prone with my gun laying across some rocks on the river bank. It was the only time I thought about gettin' scope bit before I pulled the trigger. Much to my susprise it didn't even touch me. I have a Leupold VX-lll 2.5-8x on that rifle. The amount of eye relief on that scope is amazing.

    Shawn

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