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.243 for Axis Deer?

Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior MemberPosts: 1,405 Senior Member
edited January 2020 in Hunting #1
A few days ago, I discovered that I loved my wife’s brand new Kimber .243 better than my .308.  Extremely accurate and fits me perfect.

Question: is the .243 powerful enough for Texas Axis deer?  I am primarily going to hunt Whitetail culls/doe, but I can take an Axis if I want.  

I was planning on using the .308, but why if the .243 will do?

EDIT:  all shots will be 100 to 150 max from a permanent blind.

Replies

  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    I've taken pronghorn with a 6mm Rem (a .243 Win on very mild steroids) at 440 yards with complete pass through, great bullet performance, and excellent terminal effects.

    With the right projectile, I'd bop elk at 300 with the .243 Win. I've yet to see a deer at any range (which is long) that I could hit that would make me feel undergunned with a .243 Win.

    Axis are about the same size, or smaller, than pronghorn.

    My honest opinion is that you've stumbled across the perfect chambering for your quarry.

    Go get 'em! :)

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 21,391 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #3
    Should be, the 3 Axis deer I've killed weren't terribly larger than whitetail. (Less than 50% which would be roughly the size of the larger northern whitetails, which are frequently taken with a 243) 

    A decent 100-105gr bullet, in the right place, ought to kill one nicely (And this from someone who's not necessarily a fan of the cartridge)

    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,508 Senior Member
    I’ve taken an Axis doe with a 105gr A-Max through the neck at about 75 yards. Not terribly proving of a cartridge. But, it worked. 

    My boy took a decent sized buck that was larger than most whitetail in my area. Shot was 150 yards through the top of the heart with a 104gr A-Max. Buck jumped and ran about 25 yards. Stopped and fell over kicking. Died soon after. 

    Yes. The .243 Winchester seems to work fine on Axis. Choose a proper bullet and put it in the right place. 

    One of my favorite cartridges. Effective above its pay grade. 

    I will admit, I’m a heavy for caliber fan in regards to that cartridge. 
    95+ grains. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,111 Senior Member
    I may have an opportunity to shoot Axis from a friend's back yard later this year.  I suspect the range will be close, and was considering using my .223 AR.

    Any input on that would be appreciated. 

    As for using a .243, I've taken a Texas whitetail and a number of antelope with one.  I wouldn't feel under gunned using one on Axis.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,405 Senior Member
    Thanks everyone. I picked up a box of 95 grain Winchester Deer XP rounds at my LGS this morning.
  • MichakavMichakav Senior Member Posts: 2,797 Senior Member
    The .243 is a perfect round for those and any medium game. Especially if the rifle fits you so well. It's more about bullet selection and confidence/comfort than anything else.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,508 Senior Member
    Michakav said:
    The .243 is a perfect round for those and any medium game. Especially if the rifle fits you so well. It's more about bullet selection and confidence/comfort than anything else.
    What he said. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,508 Senior Member
    Thanks everyone. I picked up a box of 95 grain Winchester Deer XP rounds at my LGS this morning.
    Those should work if you’re twist is fast enough. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    If it's a factory .243 Win, I seriously doubt it will have a twist that won't handle 95 grainers. That was an early issue with the 6mm Rem and that's why after a twist rate change, it was re-marketed as the .244 Rem. The .243 Win was produced from day 1 with a twist that handled 100 grain bullets.

    Non-issue, IMO.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,508 Senior Member
    If it's a factory .243 Win, I seriously doubt it will have a twist that won't handle 95 grainers. That was an early issue with the 6mm Rem and that's why after a twist rate change, it was re-marketed as the .244 Rem. The .243 Win was produced from day 1 with a twist that handled 100 grain bullets.

    Non-issue, IMO.

    Mike
    My CVA Scout Pistol w/ 1-10” twist doesn’t like anything over 85gr. 
    That may be the shorter barrel but, I wish it had a faster twist. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,297 Senior Member
    My buddy’s 11year old daughter whacked a big axis doe last weekend with a Ruger American compact in 243. It’s like her 7th or 8th deer with it. 

    It’ll work. 
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,152 Senior Member
    The .243 Win has never left me undergunned for critters up to and including mule deer.  Place the shot well and you’re good to go.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,405 Senior Member
    Got my big Axis doe on Saturday.  She was broadside to me at 100 yards when I shot.  At that point, all the deer including her ran into the woods.  I panicked when I got to the spot where I thought I shot her and there was not a drop of blood.  The landowner was with me and helped me look for her.  Thankfully, we found her stone dead 15 yards away because we never found a drug trail.  

    Indeed, looking at her on the ground - no bullet hole.  I joked that I must have scared her to death.  Rolling her over, we found the entrance wound (1 drop of blood) about 3 inches left of my point of aim. 

    When we gutted her, we could not recover the bullet despite the lack of an exit wound.  Lungs still inflated, not gut shot.  Best guess, she spun away from me as I was shooting and the bullet and rib it hit on entry were tracking into the chest (Rather than into the lungs) causing damage and death.  We think the bullet shattered on the rib.

    Bullet 95 grain Winchester Deer Season XP.


  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,508 Senior Member
    Something don’t sound right. Shattering on a rib and not penetrating the thoracic cavity does not sound like a 15 yard run lethal hit. 
    I think you missed something. A surface blow-up will not kill a deer in 15 yards. You penetrated and hit something lethal. 
    Liver
    Heart
    Artery
    Something!

    A 15 yard run sounds like a good hit to me. 
    Heart shots often run further than that!

    You did something right. Just didn’t know where/how to find the answer. 

    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,973 Senior Member
    FWIW, in general we suffer in the USA from cartridge envy.  The 30-06 and .308 are great rounds but not really needed for 90% of North America's game  We buy them because we in general like bigger, faster louder, etc.  A 100 gr .243 doing 3000 fps will take down nearly anything.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,405 Senior Member
    Zee said:
    Something don’t sound right. Shattering on a rib and not penetrating the thoracic cavity does not sound like a 15 yard run lethal hit. 
    I think you missed something. A surface blow-up will not kill a deer in 15 yards. You penetrated and hit something lethal. 
    Liver
    Heart
    Artery
    Something!

    A 15 yard run sounds like a good hit to me. 
    Heart shots often run further than that!

    You did something right. Just didn’t know where/how to find the answer. 

    It was a mess in there, but we found no sign of the bullet.  Since both lungs were fully inflated, we think the trajectory was back to front.  It definitely got the job done.  If it could kill on a bad shot, it should be fine when I do a better job.

    It was just strange that none of the blood came out before she died.  The landowner, who has seen a lot of dead deer, couldn’t explain it either.  
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 24,508 Senior Member
    Small calibers kill. But, sometimes leave small holes. Which means.......little blood. 

    I’ve killed a lot of game with a .223 Rem. They don’t leave a lot of blood. 

    I used a 95gr Hornady Interbond once. Once. It was a lethal hit. But, the bullet was tougher than needed on a deer and she ran a good ways with little to no blood. About 100+ yards. Fortunately, I saw her go down. 

    I really like the 105gr A-Max for the .243 Win and it’s about my go to Bullet if the gun has the right twist. 
    It’s accurate and explosive. But, penetrates enough to get the job done. My boy and I have killed a slew of pigs and deer with that bullet. I like trauma. It gives it to me. With internal damage and usually a good blood trail. 

    Another, that I’ve not used, would be the 95gr Ballistic Tip. Linefinder speaks highly of that one. 

    I’d twist in not fast enough, the 85gr Sierra HPBT-Game King is devastating. But, not the greatest penetrator. Never lost an animal with it, though. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    I've used Hornady SSTs
    ...and had similar things happen on boiler room shots...no obvious exit but the chest was filled with soup...by all appearances the bullet just grenaded in the chest cavity...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #20
    If it's a factory .243 Win, I seriously doubt it will have a twist that won't handle 95 grainers. That was an early issue with the 6mm Rem and that's why after a twist rate change, it was re-marketed as the .244 Rem. The .243 Win was produced from day 1 with a twist that handled 100 grain bullets.

    Non-issue, IMO.

    Mike

    Originally it was the .244. After it tanked in sales because it's 1:12 twist barrel wouldn't stabilize 100 grain Spitzers, it was remarketed as the 6mm Remington. The .244 had a 1:12 twist. It came back as the 6mm with a 1:9 twist, which it still has. That's Remington. The Rugers had a 1:10. I'm planning on building one on a Yugo action and putting a 1:8 or 1:85 twist on it. And you're right, any .243 should stabilize a 95 grain bullet. The 1:10 will stabilize 100 grain Spitzers all day long.

    My current .243 is a Remington 700 AND has a 1:9 twist. I shoot everything from 80 grain to 105 grain Spitzers with no problem.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    snake284 said:
    If it's a factory .243 Win, I seriously doubt it will have a twist that won't handle 95 grainers. That was an early issue with the 6mm Rem and that's why after a twist rate change, it was re-marketed as the .244 Rem. The .243 Win was produced from day 1 with a twist that handled 100 grain bullets.

    Non-issue, IMO.

    Mike

    Originally it was the .244. After it tanked in sales because it's 1:12 twist barrel wouldn't stabilize 100 grain Spitzers, it was remarketed as the 6mm Remington. The .244 had a 1:12 twist. It came back as the 6mm with a 1:9 twist, which it still has. That's Remington. The Rugers have a 1:10 or they did a few years back. Of course the Ruger 77 was just a glimmer in Bill Ruger's brilliant mind back in 1955. I'm planning on building one on a Yugo action and putting a 1:8 or 1:85 twist on it. And you're right, any .243 should stabilize a 95 grain bullet. The 1:10 will stabilize 100 grain Spitzers all day long.

    My current .243 is a Remington 700 and has a 1:9 twist. I shoot everything from 80 grain to 105 grain Spitzers with no problem.


    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 8,111 Senior Member
    Linefinder is not the only one who likes the 95 grain NBTs.  Oddly enough, I picked this for my .243 and he picked it for his 6mm before we even really knew each other.  It's not like we put our heads together and came up with what we figured would work well on antelope.  I'm every bit as pleased with this bullet as he is.

    I've also killed an antelope and a mulie buck with 139 grain Hornady Interbonds from my .284.  I hit the antelope a bit far back and he ran about 100 yards before stopping.  I hit the deer high in the shoulder and he dropped on the spot.  I suspect he was dead before he hit the ground.  Regardless, I like the bullet.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    I like NBT's for 3 main reasons. (I've used them in a .223 Rem, 6mm Rem, and .270 Win. I'm not speaking about  the .223 though, because it's a small-varmint gun.)

    Reason #1 - Accurate. If you handload, they'll match whatever performance your rig is capable of delivering.

    Reason#2 - Explosive performance on close range (relative term) game. I don't need a blood trail. I want complete jelly in the  chest cavity. These bullets provide at that range. Due to early complaints of "too frangible", Nosler thickened the jacket of all their "hunting weight" bullets, and BINGO!!!!!!  Chest grenade  + penetration at -200 yards. Great medicine in thick cover.

    Reason#3 - After velocity has slowed at long range.....they pretty much perform as a conventional bullet does at average range. At a quarter mile complete pass through the chest cavity, with a nice wound-channel is the norm.

    I like NBt's. A lot.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 17,086 Senior Member
    I used to use NBTs...always got great performance out of them....switched to SSTs for economic reasons...I could get 100 SSTs for the same price as 50 NBTs with no loss / difference in performance...

    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    IME, SST's seemed a little "harder" at close range and didn't expand quite as explosively as NBT's. OTOH, my opinion may be biased. I've used SST's only twice on game.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,394 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #26
    I use Game Kings for the same reason. NBT are good but I've had as good a luck with SGKs in my .270 and my old 6mm Remington. But I figure a lot of the difference in opinion is due to luck and happenstance. I used Ballistic tips for a few years and had plenty of success. But  I've had equal success from Game Kings, and 100 of them cost the same as 50 Ballistic Tips.

    I still use Ballistic Tips in my .250 Savage but they're Combined Technologies instead of the plain Nosler because I seem to get better velocities with them.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
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