The Ultimate Deer Cartridges - Best Caliber Rifle for Hunting Whitetail Deer -
Best Cartridge for Hunting White tail Deer

with Darrell Udelhoven

By Test: The Best Drop Whitetail deer Dead in their Tracks Deer Caliber, Cartridge, & Bullet Combinations.

In some relatively involved deer shooting testing the .243 Winchester and 6 mm Remington cartridges loaded with 85 grain Sierra GameKing Hollow Point Boat Tail bullets were as good as the best and better than the rest! This included rifles of all the major caliber's and cartridge/loads, including 7 mm magnums and 30 caliber magnum cartridges. See, September 1999, Vol. 5 No. 8, SHOOTERS NEWS, "THE ULTIMATE Deer Hunting Cartridge," by Bill Truitt. This Magazine for Hunters and Shooters is great reading.

I personally am in need of more proof, --as I am still concerned about bullet surface blow-up on deer at close range, nerve centers hits such as the spinal column from the head to the shoulders should drop them in their tracks, ---even at very close range. The new 100 grain Remington Premier Core-Lokt Ultra or Nosler Partition will do the job. See the performance of the new ultra bullet at 25 yards.  The 243 Winchester caliber with the right bullets will work for deer hunting.

243 Winchester 100 grain Remington Premier Core-Lokt Ultra bullet performance - scans of this bullet's performance at a 25 yard impact. You can view those scans on other of my 243 ballistic pages.

Whisky Chamberlain of Idaho took 15 consecutive big bull elk, all one shot kills, with a regular .243 Winchester, therefore I believe with the right bullet and will placed and proper ranged shots wiith my .243/06 Wildcat ought to be adequate on elk. I don't want to buy a new larger caliber rifle just to go elk hunting one time.

Today, 03/04/07, I saw on the Men's Channel "American Trophy Hunters,"  - Dish-TV CH 218, a massive old Elk shot at over 200-yards & dropped in his tracks with a .243-Winchester with open iron sights. They did not mention the  bullet weight or construction type, however, it proved to me that a Well Placed .243 bullet at 200-yards will deck the biggest Elk that walks.

Therefore, my 243/06 Wildcat ought to do the job on big Whitetails, big Mule Deer and on Elk with the Grand Slam bullet. I do not want to buy another larger caliber rifle to hunt elk, perhaps once in my lifetime.

In the 243 Winchester for big Mule deer & Elk, I would use the 100-grain Remington Core-Lokt Ultra factory cartidges, if reloading I would use the 100-grain Speer Grand Slam Bullets.

All those hunting programs should give all the fine point details about the rifle caliber & bullet weight and construction type! That would make those programs much more interesting to all of us.

------------------------------------------------------------- Added 11-23-05 NEW!---------------

Now, 11-23-05, Remington has a new 6mm 100-grain Premier Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded bullet that we need, because you don't always get a perfect broadside shot at deer under WI hunting conditions.  On the opening day of our 2005 nine-day deer season I and my hunting partner were shooting at two bucks and a doe at around 200-yards.  I had my 243-Win with 95-SST bullets and a good rest, I know I hit all three deer, none of them went down. My partner had a 7mm mag but no rest, and may have missed his three shots? He followed one buck, the eight pointer, to the bottom of the hill and finished him off at close range.

I am also now going to use 100 grain Nosler Partition bullets in my 243-06 Wildcat rifle. I wish I could buy the new Remington Premier
Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded bullet. I will use the loaded 95-SST`bullets on coyotes, not deer. I want penetration and retained bullet weight at other than perfect shooting angles, so that deer are more apt to be anchored near where they are hit!

BULLETS for DEER  HUNTING in 6-mm caliber! 
The shock created by the explosive hydraulic shocking power of the higher velocity bullets is what generates the instant nerve shock paralyzes and therefore instant knockdown kills. Insufficient velocity or improperly constructed bullets that fail to produce the explosive expansion shock that is needed, won't get the job done.

If you don't hand load, Federal is loading Sierra's 85 grain HPBT for the .243 Winchester.

The Sierra Bullet Smiths sent me an email stating that my 243-06 wildcat had too much velocity with the 85 grain BTHP at ranges closer than 200 yards. Therefore, I have decided not to use that bullet in my 243-06 wildcat. I used the 100 grain Sierra BTSP during the 2000 deer season, and at 100 yards broke a running doe's neck, it was the only shot at deer that I got all season. I used the 100 grain Hornady Interlock #2450 this deer season and never got a shot at one all season. I had a lot of problems with the pickup this 2001 deer season and didn't hunt the way I should have, wait till next year!

The lightest bullet I use in my 243/06 is the 85 grain Sierra HPBT bullet for coyotes. I now prefer the 87 grain Hornady V-Max for coyotes, I want a bullet that will blowup when it hits the frozen ground.

A Sierra Rep. told me the 85 grain HPBT was very popular in the 243 Win. and the 6 mm Rem. on deer, but due to the higher velocity of my 243/06 I should only use it at 200 or more yards on deer. Therefore, I am using the heavier 100 grain bullets in my 243/06 Wildcat. This rifle has been perfect for me!.

I would love to hear your experiences with different load combinations especially in the .243 or 6 mm caliber, including wildcats.

Quick Kill Deer Cartridge Load Combinations for some of the larger diameter Caliber's
In the 7 mm & 7 mm Remington Magnums use the 120 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets for deer. Stay away from the 120 grain Sierra PSP, it won't expand rapidly enough. The 90 grain Sierra HP or 130 grain Nosler ballistic tips work well in the .270 Winchester.

The .257 Roberts and the .25/06 worked well with 75 grain Sierra bullets [varmint class bullet?] and Nosler's 85 grain Ballistic Tips and 90 grain Sierra Hollow Points. The 100 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip works well in the .264, 6.5x55 Swedish. [His testing, not mine!]

Let us hear from you!
What has your experience been?
Help us determine the actual terminal performance of specific bullets at various ranges on deer.

Rick Jamison writer for Petersen's Hunting Magazine, July 2002, p- 20, Guns & Loads Article Long Rangers, - says in essence that for deer sized game you need a minimum of 1000 ft/lbs of energy and 2000 ft/sec velocity at the impact range for adequate bullet expansion. The bullet needs a sectional density between .215 to .265 and a high ballistic coefficient for long range shots. This is a great Hunting Magazine, I subscribe through the local school magazine drives.

Whisky Chamberlain of Idaho took 15 consecutive big bull elk, all one shot kills, with a straight .243 Winchester.

Therefore, I believe with the right bullet and will placed and proper ranged shots the 243/06 Wildcat ought to be adequate on elk.

I don't want to buy a new larger caliber rifle just to go elk hunting once or twice in my remaining lifetime.

During an elk hunting trip in western Colorado in about 1985, I attended a retirement party for a Department of Wildlife officer. I questioned 25 of the attending DOW officers as to the cartridge with which they hunted elk. The .243 Winchester cartridge was used by twenty-two (88%) of them, two of them used the 30-06 cartridge (8%), and one used the .270 cartridge (4%). While three Wyoming Wildlife officers were checking my license, I asked them what cartridge they carry for hunting elk. ALL three replied that they shoot the .243 Winchester cartridge (100%) and said they shoot it for every type of big game animal in Wyoming.

Just thought you wanted to know these facts. I shoot the 375 H&H cartridge most of the time, and I don't own a .243 Win. However, this does support my opinion that any modern cartridge with a bore of .243 or more and has velocity of 2500 fps or more is sufficient for harvesting an elk which is standing broadside at a distance of 300 yards or less. (200 yds would be the outside limit to stay within the 2500 fps cut-off. I say 150 yds. would be my limit Darrell U)

Billy Mitchell - Posted in rec.hunting (newsgroup) on 09/23/03
The following reply was posted by Ranch 13 on OutdoorsBest Forums 03/03/2004:

Couldn't agree more with the use enough gun theory. With nearly 50 years experience using the 243 Winchester on things from ground squirrels to moose I haven't ever noticed it not being enough gun.

You can look at the various ballistic tables I have on the Net and determine the approximate outer range limit your cartridge and selected bullet will be capable of killing a deer with a well placed shot.
If you can't put the bullet in the vital kill zone don't take the shot no matter how capable the cartridge you're using is at that range.

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Darrell Udelhoven
Posted 06/21/00; Updated: 03/21/11