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from Salladthewhitet... on 11.05.11
I agree with all of the above answers, except no one mentioned the bullets used. I used to use the .243 for Colorado mule deer and had two failures on shoulder shots with lightly constructed bullets (Sierra 100gr) which did not pentrate the shoulder blade at about 100yds. Swithched to Nosler partitions with 100% success thereafter. Now there are many other premium bullet available and I would reccommend any of them in the .243
I say go with a little larger caliber also. It leaves a little more room for error. If you shoot a deer in the shoulder with a 243, I would imagine (but do not know) it would die very slowly. with a larger caliber it will go through the shoulder blade.
But all of this depends on what feels comfortable and how much recoil you can handle, and your amount of practice. There is a lot of factors to this.
It is about the smallest you would want to go with. If you can handle more recoil, I would go with more gun.
Hundreds and hundreds of mule deer are killed every year with a .243
Ditto all the comments 25-06 guy wrote. I grew up shooting a 243 on game in Montana. I used only 100 grain bullets, kept the distance reasonable and had clean one shot kills on large bodied mule deer, whitetail and a bull elk. Most deer went down in their tracks or within a few steps and several dressed well into the 200 pound range.
How good is a 243 for mule deer. I believe it is an excellent but often overlooked round because of all the new hype with all the new magnums that seem to be surfacing right and left. My wife and kids all shoot 243's because of the mild recoil and have the same results as I did when I was a kid.
You just have to keep the shot distance with in reason, but it will put them down.
A 243 is a real good caliber, shot placement is everything. If you put the bullet it the boiler room of a mule deer it will go down.
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