Tikka .243 powerful enough for red stag?

Tikka T3 Synthetic .243
Tikka T3 Synthetic .243

Q: I own a Tikka T3 Synthetic with Burris Fullfield 3-9×40 scope. It is the only rifle I own so I consider myself to be a “one gun Man.” I am interested in gaining as much information about this calibre as I can. My friends all tell me the .243 is too small, but I don’t believe it, as all my shots are well under 200 metres and are carefully placed. I have been using the Hornady 95gn SST with great success on goats, pigs, fallow and red deer. What

Red stag - Bill Ebbersen
Red stag – Bill Ebbersen

are your thoughts on the SST compared to soft-points and other types of projectiles? I am interested in working out a maximum point blank range for this load. Can you help me with that? With 40gn of AR2209, the 95gn SST in Remington brass, chronographs 2980fps out of my rifle and groups around an inch. How can I achieve tighter groups using these components? Can you suggest a good load for the Hornady 87gn bullet using AR2209?
Scott Porter

A: If you are a good, careful marksman, and clearly you are, then the .243 Win. will handle all the game you are hunting. But you already know this. The Hornady 95gn SST seems to be working well for you, so why change to another bullet? For an angling shot on a red stag a tougher bullet like the Hornady 100gn Interlock might penetrate deeper. You are handicapping yourself by sighting in for a 100 metres zero. I suggest you sight in 76mm high at 100 metres for a 235m zero which will give you a point blank range of around 300 metres. At this distance the bullet shouldn’t drop more than 10cm. Average accuracy of one MoA is nothing to be sneezed at and you should be satisfied with this kind of accuracy from a light sporter like the Tikka T3. A good accuracy load for the .243 is, I have found, the Hornady 87gn Interlock and 42.5gn of AR2209. Velocity is close to what you are getting with the 95gn SST, and I’ve shot tight cloverleaf groups with that combination.

Note: check local regulations in your state about legal minimum chamberings for specific deer species. In Victoria, for example, .243 Win. is not legal to use on red deer.





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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.


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