No love for the .243 Win.?

Nov 9, 2013
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Missouri
#1
I have been curious for a while as to why there are no ELD-type factory loads for the .243. I know the caliber has a reputation as a barrel burner when pushed, but the .243 is a very common deer cartridge (at least in the midwest), thus would be readily available for someone interested in trying their hand at the PRS style shooting w/o having to buy a new rifle. I have several rifles in the popular PRS calibers and enjoy shooting them, but still have a soft spot for the .243 and have shot it since the late 60's. George Gardner proved what it could do, PRS-wise, a few years back. There are several good 6 mm bullets available for hand loaders with the rising popularity of the 6's in long distance shooting. So why no Hornady, Federal etc. factory 103, 105, 110 or 115's? Is it a barrel twist thing in factory barrels or.......? I have grown to hate reloading and have a nice custom R700 .243 that just sits in the safe. I'm sure their are simple reasons that I am unaware of so someone please enlighten me. Thanks!
 
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spife7980

Full Member
Feb 10, 2017
4,230
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Central TX
#2
Hornady is coming out with a eld-x offering according to their website but yeah, most factory 243 barrels arent twisted fast enough for the heavy bullets.

Most people who shoot it competitively reload and dont buy the factory ammo meant more for hunting, its a vicious circle.
 

Sutherlandsd

Blind Squirrel
Apr 24, 2013
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NE TN
#3
I shot 243 pretty much all last year, if you want to keep a barrel you have to use something like H1000. There is really nothing in the way of factory ammo, which I reload so that was irrelevant. It also suffers the same issue as the 260rem when it comes to overall length, 6cm seems like an easy way out compared to it for relatively the same performance. The barrel burner stories.... they are real.
 

XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
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Grand Junction, Colorado
#5
There is love for the 243win here, the 26" 1-8 twist pre fit I put on a savage action has been excellent but you really need to reload to take advantage of the caliber IMO.
With the 105amax and 105scenars pushed with either H1000 or H100-V finding very accurate loads was easy for both in the 3030-3100 fps range. Surprisingly it also shot the Berger 88gr flat base varmint extremely well with minimal work up.
 

lash

Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
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#6
The biggest constraint that I see you having is the lack of affordable factory match ammo. Maybe if and when Hornady adds an offering, that will change, but currently, you’ll find yourself paying $40+ per box of 20 for anything that will work well in your factory barrel.

Speaking of which, as already mentioned, the slow twist of the factory barrels pretty much only accommodate lighter projectiles, not the higher BC bullets that will be competitive on a precision field rifle match at distance.

I know a guy who is shooting a Ruger RPR and doesn’t want to reload for it. It is costing him a fortune for the 90 gr match loads he buys at close to $50/box. The rifle really shoots though.
 
Feb 24, 2017
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#7
Shot my first 1.5 seasons with a rpr in .243. Love the caliber. Rl26 can spit the heavies (110-115s) at prs speed limits pretty easily. From a pure performance standpoint its hard to beat. Albeit at the cost of barrel life.
 
Jan 9, 2018
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Bel Air, MD
#8
Check out Blackwater Precision. They have a load with the 107 SMK. They are $32 per 20 so still not cheap but good ammo. Before I loaded own I was shooting their 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 ammo and they are both top notch.
 
Likes: Poorboyr
Nov 9, 2013
300
22
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Missouri
#10
Thanks for the good info/replies! I have all the components and equipment to reload and IIRC the barrel is a 1:8 twist, so just need to get busy and do some loading, I guess. Just easier to grab a 6.5 CR or the new Valkyrie build and go shoot. I will check out the Blackwater ammo.
 

Snuby642

Sergeant of the Hide
Feb 11, 2017
874
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#12
I have been reading about all the 6mm variants as aposed to the 243.
So far I get the twist rates are the biggest change.
Could I get some suggestions on further reading.

I'm just thinking of rebarraling my 243, more twist. And bigger barrel.
Are the chamber differences worth that much more?
 
Jul 29, 2014
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#13
I have been reading about all the 6mm variants as aposed to the 243.
So far I get the twist rates are the biggest change.
Could I get some suggestions on further reading.

I'm just thinking of rebarraling my 243, more twist. And bigger barrel.
Are the chamber differences worth that much more?
barrel life with 'improved' shoulders, less brass growth, and less capacity than 243
 
Sep 18, 2017
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#14
This plus alot of draw to better brass and offerings for chambers. For example PVA has a 6cm chambering with a throat for the 110 gr SMKs for a tl3 pre fit available for order from their drop down menu. Not saying a 243 cant be ordered with a better throat, but for someone like me it's easier. Alpha, Lapua, and Peterson have brass which for me means more options for good brass.
 
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XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
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#15
There are far more options for 243 brass than any of the improved 6mm cases or Wildcats, not sure about Alpha but I know Patterson and Lapua have offerings and then there is every other manufacturer on top of that.

I am using Lapua for mine and am fairly confident the 100 pieces I bought will most likely last until the barrel is toast since I don't really hot rod it and 3100 fps with the 105amax or Scenars is plenty of performance for me without running crazy pressures.
 
Apr 24, 2014
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AZ
#16
In the .243 caliber what weight bullets are considered light and which are heavies?
And which twist is best for each?
I assume the heavies have a better BC?
If I got one I want a shorter version 18-22" to run suppressed.

Been looking at the cheaper Savage or Ruger American's.
Both would need a better stock and some glass.

I run a 260 semi auto now and like it very much but was thinking of trying a .243 or getting back into a grendel semi auto.
Too many choices!
 

XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
1,233
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Grand Junction, Colorado
#17
In the .243 caliber what weight bullets are considered light and which are heavies?
And which twist is best for each?
I assume the heavies have a better BC?
If I got one I want a shorter version 18-22" to run suppressed.

Been looking at the cheaper Savage or Ruger American's.
Both would need a better stock and some glass.

I run a 260 semi auto now and like it very much but was thinking of trying a .243 or getting back into a grendel semi auto.
Too many choices!
Once you get up to 105 grain you really should be looking at 1-8" twist barrels or possibly even faster. I have ready some people saying that they have had good luck with 105 AMAX in the 1-9" twist barrels but I wouldn't bet on it working every time unless you are running a longer barrel and the highest velocity you can accurately get without running silly pressures.
Since you stated you would prefer to run a shorter barrel I would run a minimum 1-8" twist if you plan on shooting bullets in the 105 grain range but I think a 1-71/2" twist would be the safest bet unless you plan on running the lightest varmint bullets.
On the light end of the spectrum 75vmax are the lightest I have run from a 26" 1-8 twist but can't remember the velocities but the Berger 88gr flat base varmints were very accurate at a little over 3400fps.
 
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Maxduty

Quae Moriatur
Mar 8, 2014
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Oklahoma
#20
Love my .243. It loves 57 grain varmint loads, but it's a really slow twist barrel. I had it originally built for shooting ground hogs, but I don't live there anymore and it's practically useless for deer. I know people who hunt deer with varmint rounds, but I refuse to after hearing the horror stories of lost animals. I'd like to build it into something useful.
 
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XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
1,233
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#22
3400 fps? How long will that barrel last?
Like my gunsmith but don't want to sleep with him. Lol
Not sure how long it would last at that velocity but it got there pretty damn easy without beating up the brass.
I broke the new barrel in with factory ammo then tested with a variety of bullets I had ranging from 75-105.
The 88gr bullets were the Berger flat base low drag and were moly coated, maybe I got a fast barrel since the 105 gr bullets I settled on went to 3100 or a little less depending on which one I was using without pushing them to hard.
I fired a 10 shot string with a box of Nosler factory ammo with the 90gr ballistic tips not letting the barrel cool between shots that made a diagonal hole about 1" long just to see how the barrel would behave when it heated up.
 

sandwarrior

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 21, 2007
4,610
376
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in yooperland
#23
The .243 has some drawbacks. The 1-10" twist, so it won't stabilize the heavies, is one. And the other is it's right on the edge of "overbore". Using fast hot loads and shooting long strings will burn barrels out quickly with them. Normal loads and shooting isn't so hard on them. Improved and modified cases abound in 6mm/.243" because of this. Seems like everyone loves them until they go through a lot of barrels. The trick then is how to not shoot them hot. As mentioned above, keeping pressures down and burning a slower powder for a longer push, the poster uses H1000. I do the same. in most of my cartridges. I also try not to go near max with the load no matter what the powder is. Lower pressure equals barrel life. The high BC bullets nowadays take a lot of the work out of wind calls. They retain speed so much better than the "plugs" we've used since the '50's. More speed=less time of flight=less drift.

If I were to get another .243 today, I would make some changes. Then again, the new crop already has. Throated for long bullets means the lands aren't as close to the powder plasma as it leaves the case. Less to catch on, less to get deteriorated by flame. Steeper shoulder. The 6CM (and most other new 6mm's) have a 30 degree shoulder. This is still good for feeding and in 6mm it's more efficient in internal ballistics. I would NOT go with a 40 degree shoulder. Too steep and restricts flow. I worked with a lot of AI cartridges and it's the same with all of them. The pressure curve at the top is steep. All it takes is a really warm or hot barrel and you go right over the top, flattening or blowing primers. The one thing an AI shoulder will do is mitigate case growth. But, to make them work right, you gotta keep pressures low. 30 deg. shoulders are the best mix of flow vs. pressure efficiency.

The one thing I would've changed with the new cartridges is I would have made the case geometry the same as the .308 based cases. Granted, you lose a tiny bit of capacity, but next to nothing in useable capacity. the 6 and 6.5CM cases are a bit too flat and would feed better, if their case shape was exactly that of the .243/.308.

The little bit shorter case allows seating the bullets out as well in short actions. You can still use all the long bullets in .243, just not seat them out as far. If you consider doing this, a well designed and long throat is must, IMO.
 
Likes: Mr Flannel
Jan 9, 2018
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Bel Air, MD
#24
My son shoots a 243 with a 1:8 twist barrel. He is 9 so we have been loading a reduced load for him but it is extremely accurate and stays supersonic out to 800 yards. We are using H4895 behind a Hornady 87 g BTHP. We are getting right at 2800fps. It seems like the brass is going to last forever with the light loads and my guess is the barrel life will be pretty good. We have close to 2000 rounds through the barrel so far and we are still on the first barrel and the first batch of 200 pieces of brass we bought. We haven’t put a bore scope through the barrel but it is still as accurate as day one and the velocity has stayed consistent so it would appear the barrel is still good.
 

sandwarrior

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 21, 2007
4,610
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#25
My son shoots a 243 with a 1:8 twist barrel. He is 9 so we have been loading a reduced load for him but it is extremely accurate and stays supersonic out to 800 yards. We are using H4895 behind a Hornady 87 g BTHP. We are getting right at 2800fps. It seems like the brass is going to last forever with the light loads and my guess is the barrel life will be pretty good. We have close to 2000 rounds through the barrel so far and we are still on the first barrel and the first batch of 200 pieces of brass we bought. We haven’t put a bore scope through the barrel but it is still as accurate as day one and the velocity has stayed consistent so it would appear the barrel is still good.
I like everything you are doing here. However, when you decide to bring the loads up to full power, I would suggest going to a slower powder. FWIW, I was shooting that very same bullet out to the Buffalo at Raton.;):D Full power load, though.:cool:
 

XLR308

Sergeant of the Hide
Mar 22, 2018
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#26
H1000 acts like it was made just for the 243 heavies when you get to that point, H100-V is also a favorite of mine even if it doesn't get much love the 243 loves it.
I was glad to figure that out since I ordered 16lbs of it with the intention of using it in 300wm but didn't see the results I wanted there. 😎
 
Jan 9, 2018
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Bel Air, MD
#27
Sandwarrior, I’m not sure how much you know about reduced loads. Having a young shooter I did a ton of research on the subject. H4895 is the go to powder for reduced loads. You can load it at 60% of the max charge weight and still have good accurate loads. We have loads using 4895 for the 6.5 creedmoor and 308 as well. The velocities are obviously lower but the accuracy with the powder is amazing. Form 60%-80% all produce sub .5 MOA groups. For full power loads. For the 105’s he shoots on occasion we use RL17. That is also what we have been using in Creedmoor but for the reduced loads H4895 seems to be king. I have a great video of him shooting steel at 800 yards with it but I’m not sure if I can post videos here.
 

sandwarrior

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 21, 2007
4,610
376
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#28
Eoddave27,

Actually, I do know a lot about reduced loads. I didn't mean to infer you were doing it wrong, just "when" he's ready to move up, a slower powder would be in order.
I like Re-17 as well. Love it in fact. I have yet to do any serious reloading with the two newest powders, RE-16 and RE-23. They have all the attributes of RE-17, plus a couple better facets I understand.

Although, I like the idea of having a cartridge like the .243 where you can lighten up the loads with lighter bullets and charges, and still have a pretty flat shooting cartridge. That's where you could sit out all day and shoot p-dogs with a .243, and not kill your barrel.
 

Bandit320

Registered from Columbia
Sep 1, 2018
5
1
3
#29
Just shot in my clubs “Snipergeddon” match with a 243. Thanks to what learned reading on these forums, and excellent wind calls from my spotter in very gusty and variable winds I was able to tie for the second longest shot at 1,500 yards. Used a modified Savage Axis with Cabela’s branded scope. I have a HUGE amount of love for the 243!
 
Jan 9, 2018
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Bel Air, MD
#31
My Remington factory barrel died between 700-800 running 105 amax at 2950, I was using h1000. It made me sad...
Wow that barrel went quick. I have been watching my sons barrel closely because with the reduced loads I have no clue what we will be able to expect from it. He has put over 2000 rounds through it since May though so I don’t think I can afford for him to run full power loads all the time. We do on occasion but rarely. The hotter loads we shoot are 105 BTHP’s shooting right around 2850 so they aren’t really hot loads but still a lot hotter than the H4895 reduced loads he shoots.
 

sandwarrior

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 21, 2007
4,610
376
83
in yooperland
#32
My Remington factory barrel died between 700-800 running 105 amax at 2950, I was using h1000. It made me sad...
Was there any given day where you shot it really hard? I mean hot strings of 20+ on a hot day? Or, over 150 shots in a day? I still say that Remmy and Win hammer forged barrels have stresses that can never seem to come out. Too many 90 deg to axis stress infusions during manufacture that can't be normalized/stress relieved. Cut and button rifled barrels don't have that.

The bright side is there was a lot of options when it came time to rebarrel, right?;)
 

reubenski

First Sergeant
Jun 8, 2008
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Colorado Springs, CO
#34
I shoot a 6SLR. It is what the 243 should've been. The sizing die just pushes the top of the shoulder down making the neck .300" long and giving the case a 30* angle. The catch is that with anything besides Winchester brass a donut develops at the base of the neck. Unless you're willing to neck turn , a lot, you pretty much have to stick to Winny brass. Now, the Win brass I've been using has been great. Extremely accurate. But there's just no way its going to last 20 loadings like Lapua. Being that 6SLR is virtually the same cartridge as the 243, I've been considering just going to the straight 243 so I can branch out to better brass.

I've got 1500rds on my 6SLR barrel. It is firecracked, but it is hanging strong. I shot 44grs of RL26 for the first 1Krds and switched to 45grs of 4831SC for these last 500rds. With both loads it has been rock solid 3000fps using 115DTACs. QL estimates just under 50K PSI. This configuration has done better than my last two Dasher barrels using Varget. Pretty sure you could run a straight 243W at sub 50K PSI and net some pretty good barrel life using slower powders.
 

Niles Coyote

Gunny Sergeant
Aug 13, 2007
3,953
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South West, MI
#35
Was there any given day where you shot it really hard? I mean hot strings of 20+ on a hot day? Or, over 150 shots in a day? I still say that Remmy and Win hammer forged barrels have stresses that can never seem to come out. Too many 90 deg to axis stress infusions during manufacture that can't be normalized/stress relieved. Cut and button rifled barrels don't have that.

The bright side is there was a lot of options when it came time to rebarrel, right?;)
This was 8-9 years ago but it was during summer so likely around mid 80's to mid 90's and I was alternating by shooting 5 shots from the 243 then 5 from my 308 for most outings. Over the course of a couple hours. I'd typically shoot 50 rounds through each rifle before leaving. When it went I do remember I was shooting 900 yards and suddenly had a difficult time keeping my shots on a 24" plate. After a thorough cleaning I tried it at 100 and it was sending fliers all over. I should probably scope the bore (didn't have one at the time) and see how it looks. Those amax were shooting around 5/8-3/4 moa prior but I know I was at the ragged edge of stability and it may just be that I need to push a bullet that is more agreeable with the 9.125 twist now that the barrel had worn.

It was my first non 308/223 rifle and really opened my eyes to the ease of shooting LR in the wind so I ended up moving over to 6.5 bores. With a 6xc mixed in there for one match season.
 
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Mar 26, 2006
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#37
Especially when people are shooting 87-90gr projectiles cooking at 3800-4000fps....
I wouldn't want to be near anyone trying that. I shoot a 243AI and if I were to even attempt those velocities I'd be blowing primers out of the cases.