Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

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Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by shazz » 07 May 2019, 3:00 pm

G'day guys,

I'd like to know the difference in hunting performance and what you can/can't/shouldn't take with this.

Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 loads.

The thing that got me thinking about it is seeing Nosler do these 2 bullets in their Varmint series.

22 Caliber 55 Grain
6mm 55 Grain

Different dimensions because of the larger barrel on the .243 of course, but otherwise the "same" bullet.

I know .243 is faster velocity but not exactly how much this comes into play?

Thanks all.
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by cracker » 07 May 2019, 3:47 pm

from wikipedia.

.223
55 (3.5 g) Nosler ballistic tip 3,240 ft/s (990 m/s) 1,282 ft⋅lbf (1,738 J)

.243
55 gr (4 g) BT 4,058 ft/s (1,237 m/s) 2,012 ft⋅lbf (2,728 J)

.243 has a much larger powder charge behind it, the parent case is .308 after all.
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by Apollo » 07 May 2019, 4:13 pm

"shazz", I'm not exactly sure what your point is here for the question and topic title.

A 55gr bullet in a .223R is not a heavy load, far far from it by near twice the possible bullet weight in a suitable twist rate barrel.

A 55gr bullet in a .243W is probably classed as a very light bullet for the calibre and not the best accuracy for that calibre. Sure it shoots way flatter simply because of the nearly 1,000 fps velocity increase and far flatter ballistics.

The two bullets have different BC's and behaviour yet alone the far greater barrel wear from the .243W calibre.

If you are talking about pushing the same bullet to it's maximum in a .223R compared to a .243W then it's not even a discussion point as accuracy will suffer so why even bother.

So, unsure as to your intended point.
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by on_one_wheel » 07 May 2019, 5:11 pm

Apolo is spot on , I could only add to that by saying that case volume and twist rates are a major factor here.

My .223 likes 55 grain projectiles and
My .243 likes 100 grain projectiles.

While my .243 with its 1 turn in 9 1/8 "will send a 55 grain projectile out faster than my .223 with its 1 turn in 12", it won't do it with anywhere near the consinstancy as the .223...,
and likewise my .223 is not nearly up to the task of stabilising 100 grain projectiles well like the .243

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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by shazz » 07 May 2019, 5:26 pm

Hi guys,

I think I picked a poor bullet weight example for my question. The 55gr was the bullet that lead to the thinking, but I see that wasn't the best example.

I guess 80gr would have been a better example?

Either way, my question wasn't about that weight specifically.

More about using a 'relatively' heavy load for a .223, and a 'relatively' light load for a .243, and in both instances the bullet weight is the same.

I did a straight up crap job of asking the first time. I see that :lol:
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by Apollo » 07 May 2019, 5:58 pm

Well, I must just be too bloody old. I still don't get what you are asking.

Are you asking about Accuracy..?? Velocity.. ?? Barrel wear.. ?? or what... ??
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by Apollo » 07 May 2019, 6:11 pm

I've gone back to the first sentence you posted... "hunting performance".. am I on track..

If so the difference is "terminal velocity"....or put it another way, just downright knock down power.

The .243W is going to win irrespective of bullet weight as long as both are equal weights. That bullet is going to hit with a lot more force out of the .243W than a .223R.

You shoot say a Pig with a 80gr Bullet, from the .223R it's likely to bounce off as it doesn't have the terminal velocity but with the .243W it's packing a lot more punch given the same weight bullet but with enough terminal velocity / energy to penetrate... ??
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by CrackThump » 07 May 2019, 6:14 pm

*I'd like to know the difference in hunting performance and what you can/can't/shouldn't take with this.*

From this first line, I dunno, potentially she's asking about energy delivered on target and knockdown potential. ?
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by Apollo » 07 May 2019, 6:19 pm

CrackThump wrote:*I'd like to know the difference in hunting performance and what you can/can't/shouldn't take with this.*

From this first line, I dunno, potentially she's asking about energy delivered on target and knockdown potential. ?


Who says it's a "she".... :sarcasm:

BTW.... in your signature line, what's this "cracker" "thumper" "bruiser" bit...???
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by AZZA'S HJ47 » 07 May 2019, 6:45 pm

I use a 69g pill in my 223 and i used to a one point shoot the 58g vmax on a max load of 2208 if you are shooting small varmints it was a absolute pleasure take a neck shot and off would fly the head and so on and so forth. 69g 223 round would be used for longer distance shooting a lots less impressive but bang on in the accuracy department.

I stopped shooting the light stuff due to the complete fact that other than spectacular explosive expansion the barrels not going to last.

I still shoot 69g pills in the 223 for mostly target and longer range feral sniping. I have moved to a 87g vmax for the 243 still moving but not costing barrel life.

Hope this helps
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by SCJ429 » 07 May 2019, 7:24 pm

You need to play to your cases strengths Shazza. The 223 is a puny case but very accurate, it can sling a 50 to 70 grain very accurately at moderate ranges. Use frangable bullets on small game.

The 243 is almost a Magnum for a 6mm. You can shoot 70 grain bullets super fast or heavy 100 grain plus bullets out to longer range. The 243 is far more flexible for hunting. You can use lighter frangable bullet to blow things up or a heavier bullet for medium game up to around 70 kilos. What are you intending to hunt?
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by bladeracer » 08 May 2019, 2:56 am

shazz wrote:G'day guys,

I'd like to know the difference in hunting performance and what you can/can't/shouldn't take with this.

Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 loads.

The thing that got me thinking about it is seeing Nosler do these 2 bullets in their Varmint series.

22 Caliber 55 Grain
6mm 55 Grain

Different dimensions because of the larger barrel on the .243 of course, but otherwise the "same" bullet.

I know .243 is faster velocity but not exactly how much this comes into play?

Thanks all.


A heavy .223Rem load would be something like an 80gn bullet at around 2900fps, or even a 90gn bullet at 2500fps. Or against small game a heavy load could be a 35gn bullet at 4000fps.
A light .243 load could be anything,down to a 55gn bullet at 1000fps or less.

The .223Rem can push a 35gn bullet to 4000fps, the .243 can push a 55gn bullet to similar velocity. Either of these would virtually explode on impact at close ranges. I would consider both to be small game loads, rabbits and foxes.
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by bladeracer » 08 May 2019, 3:05 am

shazz wrote:Hi guys,

I think I picked a poor bullet weight example for my question. The 55gr was the bullet that lead to the thinking, but I see that wasn't the best example.

I guess 80gr would have been a better example?

Either way, my question wasn't about that weight specifically.

More about using a 'relatively' heavy load for a .223, and a 'relatively' light load for a .243, and in both instances the bullet weight is the same.

I did a straight up crap job of asking the first time. I see that :lol:


I'm struggling to find any relevance between the two.
An 80gn bullet in both cartridges can make about 2900fps and 3400fps, significant, but not huge. I would think both loads would be compatible with similar live targets at similar ranges - foxes, pigs, goats, smaller deer, though you might stretch the .243 to a little further distance. Essentially, you can make the .243 do anything the .223 can do, but you can't make the .223 do what the .243 can do - shoot heavy bullets basically.

Perhaps if you can explain what relevance you're looking for between the two we can give a better response. Modern tighter-twist barrels have greatly closed the gap between the .223 and .243.
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by Baronvonrort » 08 May 2019, 10:12 am

shazz wrote:G'day guys,


I know .243 is faster velocity but not exactly how much this comes into play?

Thanks all.


The faster velocity gives more energy.

Kinetic energy = MV^2/2 Therefore Mass Times Velocity Squared divided by 2 which shows velocity has a greater influence because it's squared over mass for energy.

The ADI manual shows starting loads are around 300 FPS quicker than advertised velocity for the .223.

As for accuracy it depends on rifle.

Light loads for 55gr in .243 will not cause as much wear compared to max loads.
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by marksman » 10 May 2019, 7:28 pm

shazz wrote:G'day guys,

I'd like to know the difference in hunting performance and what you can/can't/shouldn't take with this.

Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 loads.

The thing that got me thinking about it is seeing Nosler do these 2 bullets in their Varmint series.

22 Caliber 55 Grain
6mm 55 Grain

Different dimensions because of the larger barrel on the .243 of course, but otherwise the "same" bullet.

I know .243 is faster velocity but not exactly how much this comes into play?

Thanks all.


g'day Shazz
did a bit of calculating for you

223rem 55gr nosler ballistic tip, bc .267, adi2208 25gr max, vel 3037fps
ballistics
100yd +1.62", 150yd +1.47", 200yd zero, 250yd -3", 300yd -7.73"

243win, 55gr nosler ballistic tip, bc .276, adi2208 45.5gr max, vel 3941fps
ballistics
100yd +.61", 150yd +.70", 200yd zero, 250yd -1.55", 300yd -4.04"

as you can see the 243 does shoot flatter and will hit harder than the 223 with this bullet weight
but at a cost of 20gr of powder more per shot and IMHO at least half the barrel life again
its up to you what you would find acceptable, proper bullet placement is more important than velocity
I hope this is a help to you :drinks:
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Re: Heavy .223 loads vs light .243 ones

Post by Baronvonrort » 11 May 2019, 11:14 am

Nosler load data suggests better accuracy closer to minimum loads with varget which is the same as 2208.
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