There's a lot of debate as to what the best deer rifle is, but the .243 definitely has it going on.
As hunting season approaches every year, we look toward our gun cabinets and wonder if we're really using the best deer rifle. All the old favorites are normally there, like the classic Marlin, Remington and Ruger rifles. We go back and forth on what's better between a .270 Winchester, a .308 Winchester and a .30-06 Springfield.
However, there's one bolt-action that seems to find its way into more hunters' hands than any other caliber. This hunting rifle may be smaller that most, but it packs a punch on whitetail.
If you haven't already figured it out, I'm referring to the .243 Winchester.
As far as deer hunting calibers go, the .243 is light, small and perfect for beginning deer hunters. However, this rifle caliber doesn't just stop there.
Big-game hunters in the western states use this rifle round on mule deer and even bear. It also might be one of the most accurate of all rifle rounds at ranges under 200 yards. However, it can also reach out there long range if needed. One reason for its accuracy is the low recoil it produces.
Some hunters out there feel that the .243 just simple isn't big enough for an ethical shot. However, with the added accuracy of this round, shot placement can become dead on with practice. Taking a heart shot at 200 yards is fairly common for those who know what they're doing.
Bolt or Lever?
In regards to the type of rifle, the classic bolt-action tends to lead to better accuracy, such as the Ruger American. This single factor leads to the overall appeal to most hunters.
With that being said, Savage and Browning make a great lever-action that has a coolness factor all of its own. If those sound like a little too much rifle, there are plenty of single-shot .243s made by the likes of Rossi or Henry.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a good rifle. Ranging from $250 to $500, you can get all you need. Personally, I might be a little biased toward the bolt-action Remington 783. At only $399, it comes with a scope, a recoil pad, a synthetic stock and an adjustable trigger. Ready to go out of the box, this one will get the job done.
If you've shot one before, you know how effective the .243 is when it comes to taking down deer. Some have reported taking bears or elk, but at that point, you might be pushing it.
If you want a hunting rifle that's incredibly accurate with very little recoil, a .243 is all you need.