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Thread: Downside to the .243, Is This True ?

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Downside to the .243, Is This True ?

    Looking into a new rifle for my son, maybe wife also,
    that is easy on the shoulder, excels on Deer and Predators (Fox, Coyote, or Wolf),
    and lots of "General Shooting for Experience"

    the Venerable .243 seems to stand out and is recommended by so many,
    then, I run into this statement, http://www.6mmbr.com/243Win.html

    "Barrel life is the downside of both the .243 AI and standard .243. These chamberings pump a lot of powder through a small bore. The result, typically, is rather short barrel life, sometimes less than 1500 rounds. A few folks have been experimenting with the use of very slow, cooler-burning powders. There is some evidence that the use of super-slow powders, combined with modified cleaning regimens, can result in significantly enhanced barrel life."

    Now, as I am a thoroughly addicted Handloader, I am more than kinda interested in doing a lot of range work with this new rifle myself, so this is not good news to me,

    Is this true by your experiences with your .243's ?
    Have you seen the "Enhanced Barrel Life" as a result of loading "cool and slow" ?

    any comments and discussion on my excitement over the .243 ?
    Do you consider it, "not a problem," slap on a new barrel and keep havin' fun ?
    Thanks

    Also to consider, "How does it compare to the 25-06, or .223 ?" as to Barrel life,
    (those are the two the others I am pondering)
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Ive been considering a .243 for my medium caliber rifle for quite some time. And this is the first Ive heard that it is a barrel burner. The rule of thumb I always follow is muzzle velocity faster than 4000 feet/second=shorter barrel life slower than 4000 feet/second=long barrel life. This isn't a stead fast rule but is give me a good starting point. For comparison I have somewhere in the ball part of 2000 rounds down the tube of my .22-250 at muzzle velocities that are 3500 fps or more and it still drives tacks all day long. Some I think a .243 would serve you well if you weren't asking it to shoot lasers. Anyway that's my .02.
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    From my experience I have not seen this problem, but I own only one .243. It is a Belgium BAR that was purchased new in 1962 by my grandmother. That gun went through my grandmother, my mother and both of my brothers and has stacked up more whitetail and elk than I can even comprehend and still shoots decent groups. I would say it is comparable to the 25-06, except in ammo selection, but you reload. And there is no comparing it the 223 in my opinion.

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Kodiakrain, I would venture to say if ya did shoot the barrel out then you should have a smile on your face an undertaker couldn't remove because ya just had a bushel of fun doin it!
    I read last night in a nosler manual they run a test on a new bbl vs same bbl after 2000 rounds ( don't know if they mentioned caliber) and vel dropped off approx 300 fps. So, my point is if you run 2000 rounds thru any gun you are likely to see some performance changes.
    I would not let that stop me from buying one - if your worried buy an Encore and you can easily change bbl's later!
    I had a 6mm and it was a real shooter - now I have a 243 but it seems to get left in the safe a lot....
    Randy
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    It will take several thousand dollars worth of reloading supplies to burn out a .243 barrel.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Now, as I am a thoroughly addicted Handloader, I am more than kinda interested in doing a lot of range work with this new rifle myself, so this is not good news to me,

    Is this true by your experiences with your .243's ?
    Have you seen the "Enhanced Barrel Life" as a result of loading "cool and slow" ?

    any comments and discussion on my excitement over the .243 ?
    Do you consider it, "not a problem," slap on a new barrel and keep havin' fun ?
    Thanks

    Also to consider, "How does it compare to the 25-06, or .223 ?" as to Barrel life,
    (those are the two the others I am pondering)
    6mmbr is a great website. Their information is solid with lots of real world experience so they are tough to argue with, however their goals are significantly different than most shooters and so some of there information is less relevant--barrel life being among these things. If you desire to shoot 1/4 MOA (and it takes this kind of consistent accuracy to be competitive) then perhaps they are right, expect 1500 rounds or so. But if you are looking for 1/2-3/4 MOA then you can expect several times that many rounds depending on a host of factors.

    As for the particualr question on "cool & slow" powders, it'd take more experience than I have to verify. There is evidence to support this, but there is also good evidence to support that the more powder that leaves the case in granular form the more "sandblasting" the throat receives, hence less barrel life. I tend to agree with the latter view as I've seen more throat issues with slower powders, but then I fire mostly large capacity cases and I look for top performance which requires slower powders and is naturally going to lead to more erosion.

    You can expect barrel life 2500+ rounds from any cartridge and probably twice that from most if you do not shoot the barrel so hot you can fry eggs on it and keep it clean. I've never not bought or built a rifle because I was concerned over barrel life. Barrels are not that expensive. As for AI or not, if you are rebarreling then I would chamber it AI, but I wouldn't necessarily have a new rifle rechambered. I will say that I'd want a magazine box at least 2.82 in length for a 243 I expected to use with heavy match bullets--3.00 would be better still.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

  7. #7

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    "Shot out" is relative like the others say. I've still got a Remington 788 in 243 I bought back in 1972. I can look you right in the eye and claim it's got waaaaaay over 5,000 rounds through it. And I don't think I'd blink too bad if I claimed it was approaching 10,000. Probably 90% of that has been with the 85 grain Sierra spitzer and the old original 4831. The remainder have been the same powder and 100 grain Noslers (both SB and Partition) and 105 Speers. It still breaks an inch with those same loads.

    Nope, it won't win any bench shoots.

    Yup. It trained two daughters and a wife to shoot and deer hunt over time, while blowing up a serious mountain of ground squirrels and prairie dogs in my own hands. It'll still do it's share for both uses.

    I've got a Ruger #1 in 243 too, and it's never been introduced to ground squirrels or prairie dogs, but it's sure done it's share to control the deer population. I settled on Speer 105 Sitzers and the same powder within a week of buying it and have never fed it anything else. Probably nowhere near 1,000 rounds through it in 30 years.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Thank You Gents, for all the info
    I admit I have the tendency to "Overthink things" a bit, so I will be going ahead on this idea then

    I had a feeling, as in 6mmbr, as the name of the site, that they were in a different league than I and so their standards might be a bit higher than mine.
    Primarily, a Hunter, but I do like to shoot and reload for that <1" grouping, and figure this rifle will be really accurate, but I am not really after 1/4"

    My first reloading rifle sent out over a thousand rounds in the first six months, so I got to wondering
    Already I have slowed down quite a bit this winter, just no shooting weather to speak of, kind of hampers everything some

    Any other comments on the .243 vs. .243AI comparison would be interesting
    These comments caught my attention:

    The "improved" version of the cartridge, the .243 Ackley, can do everything its parent can do, with more velocity, and greater brass stability thanks to its 40 shoulder. Among the Ackley variants, the .243 AI is rightly one of the most popular.

    Parker Ackley reluctantly developed the .243 Ackley Improved ("AI"). Ackley finally gave in to his customers' requests to develop the .243 AI. He had always felt that the .243 Winchester was already an improved configuration, but he did say that the best thing to be gained by improving the .243 Winchester was to substantially reduce the case-stretching problems. The .243 Winchester parent case has always stretched brass, almost as bad as the Swift. Even though you get more velocity with the improved .243, I've also found that the improved version gives a bit more throat life than the parent case does.
    The .243 AI delivers more velocity by virtue of enhanced case capacity--roughly five grains more H20 capacity than a standard .243 Winchester. The .243 AI has a water capacity of approximately 57 to 58 grains, compared to 52-53 grains for the standard .243 Winchester.
    The .243 Ackley Improved is one of the best long range varmint rounds going, and can add some extra punch for your light big game rifle as well. One would be hard pressed to ignore a cartridge as versatile as the .243 Ackley Improved.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Kodiak,
    Not intending to take this off on a tangent from the letter of your original question, or start another debate, but...
    On the subject of cleaning; within the BR community can be found two distinct camps. One group is of the old school of thought that you need to clean the hell out of your barrel after every couple shots. The other group thinks that you don't need to clean but once a match or until accuracy starts deteriorating. This second group believes that excessive cleaning contributes more to wear and reduced barrel life than does shooting. Some very well written and thought provoking articles can be found about this, and it's interesting reading. My point is, how and how often you clean may very well contribute to shorter barrel life as well. And how those guys who made that statement are cleaning their barrels might be a factor in their estimate. Something to consider.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    6mmbr is a great website. Their information is solid with lots of real world experience so they are tough to argue with, however their goals are significantly different than most shooters and so some of there information is less relevant--barrel life being among these things. If you desire to shoot 1/4 MOA (and it takes this kind of consistent accuracy to be competitive) then perhaps they are right, expect 1500 rounds or so. But if you are looking for 1/2-3/4 MOA then you can expect several times that many rounds depending on a host of factors.
    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    "Shot out" is relative like the others say. I've still got a Remington 788 in 243 I bought back in 1972. I can look you right in the eye and claim it's got waaaaaay over 5,000 rounds through it. And I don't think I'd blink too bad if I claimed it was approaching 10,000. Probably 90% of that has been with the 85 grain Sierra spitzer and the old original 4831. The remainder have been the same powder and 100 grain Noslers (both SB and Partition) and 105 Speers. It still breaks an inch with those same loads.


    Yep! I have an Australian buddy who has a Parker-Hale 243 that he has put over 10,000 rounds down the factory barrel shooting pigs, 'roos and rabbits. The rifle still groups right at an inch.

    Ted

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Any other comments on the .243 vs. .243AI comparison would be interesting
    I've never been bothered by short case life in the 243. I generally neck size only, so that probably helps.

    I've had a lot of "back handed" experience with increased case capacity in the 243, but how my experience compares with an AI is up for grabs. Here's my experience:

    My Ruger #1 has a really long throat, plus a 26" barrel. I can seat that 105 grain Speer spitzer all the way out so the base of the bullet is at the base of the neck, rather than shoved way down in the case body. I will NEVER publish the load I'm using for fear that some fool will try to use it with modern 4831 and standard overall length. I doubt they could physically manage the charge I use, but I don't want to open doors for the vast number of fools with reloading presses. Off the soap box.

    But I will say that I'm chronographing just over 3100 FPS with loads that are still leaving the edges of the primer cups slightly rounded- by no means "hot." I could push it a little hotter, but in my limited trials accuracy started to suffer. That's right in the realm of the 240 WBY with a 24" barrel, BTW.

    Nutshell- You lose an awful lot of powder capacity with long bullets shoved way down in the 243 case. How much of that you recover with AI is part of the question. The other part is just how long do you want the barrel on a 243? Clip it to 20" as in some of the lightweights, and I bet you're going to have trouble hitting 3000 fps, and 2900 is more realistic. The Ruger #1 is fully as big and heavy as most other #1's, so it's not what I'd consider an ideal 243.

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    The other part is just how long do you want the barrel on a 243? Clip it to 20" as in some of the lightweights, and I bet you're going to have trouble hitting 3000 fps, and 2900 is more realistic. The Ruger #1 is fully as big and heavy as most other #1's, so it's not what I'd consider an ideal 243.
    Brown Bear,

    You are right on the money. I've been playing around with 95gr VLD's, 95gr Ballistic Tips and 85gr Partitions for my daughters 20" .243 Ruger Tactical. The highest velocity reached to date is just shy of 2900fps. Accuracy has suffered in the higher velocities. The shorter 20" barrel has really suffered in this cartridge when compared to my 20" 308 and 375.

    http://ruger.com/products/m77Hawkeye...ets/17140.html

    Since 4350 and 4831 are solid performers in that weight I went right in the middle and played around with RL-17. Accuracy has been good in the 2750fps range with a variety of lengths but I'm trying to get a little more out of this rifle. I loaded a few test loads with a slower 7828 but it is a fire breather. My next plan is a faster powder in an attempt to get up to speed in the shorter barrel.

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Hmmmm, 22", 22.4, or 24" ??

    Very Much Appreciate the info on shorter Barrel length issues,
    So, here's a couple I am looking at,
    Barrel Lengths I am considering are 22", 22.4", and 24"

    and, What is it with Pictures of Rifles anyway, get ya going, ............
    This Browning X-bolt is a bit thick up forward tho for smaller hands so I may try to find an A-bolt for comparison
    :2:3:

    and tho "Blu is Tough to do on Kodiak," I may go with a Tikka of some kind like this one here....
    more likely the Tikka T3 lite Stainless on Synthetic
    couldn't find the pic of one of those,



    ­



    ­
    Tikka 3 Hunter, 243 Winchester
    w/Blue Barrel & Walnut Stock­­­

    ­­ ­ ­

    Tikka T3 Hunter .243 ­


    SPECIFICATIONS
    • Action : Bolt
    • Caliber : 243 Winchester
    • Barrel Length : 22.43"
    • Capacity : 3 + 1
    • Trigger : Single Stage
    • Safety : Thumb
    • Length : 42.5"
    • Weight : 6.62 lbs
    • Stock : Walnut
    • Finish : Blue
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    All those people who blew the barrels out of their .243s did not go through the proper barrel break-in procedure. Or perhaps they did, but did not hold their mouths right when doing so. Tsk, tsk! Buy your .243; rehe**** your ritual, get all the proper ingredients, and get started. The firearms gods will be looking on with careful scrutiny to see if you screw up or not.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Hah! Look at that! It won't let me spell reherse (sic).What a laugh.

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Too complicated to pick just one Kodiak, by em both and surprise the wife!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    My next plan is a faster powder in an attempt to get up to speed in the shorter barrel.
    You don't hear of many people using it any more, but take a close look at IMR-4320. It's been a sterling performer for me any time I want a powder a little faster than 4350. It's my go-to in a couple of 250-3000's with 100 grainers an a Ruger Ultralight 257 Roberts with 100 grain bullets. It's much more accurate than 4350 with that bullet, even though the 4350 is more accurate in the Roberts with 115-120's.

    Kodiakrain- In my eyes 22" or so is the best all around length for the 243, with shorter compromising velocities in favor of weight savings and 24" resulting in a much bigger and heavier rifle for the little bit of vel gains. It probably has a lot to do with personal taste from growing up using mostly 22" barrels in all non-magnum calibers, but I can't shake it. If I'm going to use a 24" barrel, it will be to take advantage of much bigger cases and probably larger bore holes.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    i am loading the nosler 100 gn with H-380 in the savage .243 i dont know what speed it is flying as i dont hav a chrono... but can sure wack a rabbit in the head with it at 100 yards or better.. so it must be good! That little savage shoots sub MOA all day long.. we bought it 3 years ago.( about) i can be very certian it has seen well over the 1500 rounds this thread was asking about. heck seems like that one goes though 100 evertime it is taken out... or more if the kids are liking it..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    heck seems like that one goes though 100 evertime it is taken out... or more if the kids are liking it..
    You want to really hurt your ammo budget, start saving 16 oz plastic drink bottles. Fill em with water, and add food coloring if you're inclined. Your kids will chain you by the ankle to the reloading bench after a little time blowing those things up, and cleanup is easy. My wife is so hooked, she nailed me the other day for getting a drink from the faucet rather than grabbing a bottle of water. Sheesh!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    You want to really hurt your ammo budget, start saving 16 oz plastic drink bottles. Fill em with water, and add food coloring if you're inclined. Your kids will chain you by the ankle to the reloading bench after a little time blowing those things up, and cleanup is easy. My wife is so hooked, she nailed me the other day for getting a drink from the faucet rather than grabbing a bottle of water. Sheesh!
    cup or two of water in the bottom of a coffe can set them outside for an hour. makes a nice ice circle... spray paint one side and hits are obvious.. and no bottles to pick up
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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