.243 for pigs

Game hunting and large prey. Deer stalking, hunting with hounds. Boar, pigs etc., large prey, culling, hunting large feral animals.

Re: .243 for pigs

Post by Rod_outbak » 23 Nov 2018, 5:24 pm

Vast majority of pigs we shoot here, are nailed with the .223, with 55gn projectiles.

Largest pig I've ever seen/shot here, was with a single heart-shot from the .223, at roughly 50 metres. Best guess is he was around 100kgs.
[~80kgs would be about the largest I'd ever seen before this gent, or since].

The .243 has bit longer legs, and a bit more authority, and we've even used them to head-shoot dozens of feral cattle, in years past.
We nailed a LOT of pigs with .243 when is was younger, and the 87Gn BTHP was the pick of hard-hitting performance on pigs.
The 87Gn Vmax seems to be an even better evolution of that projectile for pigs; in my mind.

Hard to see how a 100gn projectile in a .243 wouldnt be good enough for just about any hot pork you are likely to meet in Australia, but we havent met any pigs that didnt go down from the 87gn pills.
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by bigrich » 24 Nov 2018, 5:55 am

Sounds like you’re a real fan of the 243 rod. I haven’t owned or field tested a 243 rod, by the sounds of it your shot placement is really good. I’ve heard conflicting things and views about the 243, that it’s too explosive on some boar and doesn’t penetrate in some instances. Have you ever encountered this ?
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by Daddybang » 24 Nov 2018, 7:24 am

Ive never had a pig walk away from a 90gr round to the neck from mine... maybe the 50's but I reckon its more of a case of people hitting shoulders or missing the heart/lung (poi to high and to far behind the shoulder) which I've found to be common with people who hunt a lot of deer and then go after pigs.
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by Rod_outbak » 24 Nov 2018, 7:38 am

bigrich,

[Caveat: These are my experiences; we dont have grain or farming in our district, so somewhat different to people down in farming country]

For many years, most properties around here had an old .303 hand-me-down of questionable accuracy, and usually a .243 for day to day use. I recall Dad and the overseer of the day; shooting feral cattle when there was a Brucelosis outbreak(~1976?), and there were dozens of feral bulls/mickeys put down by 100gn pills from either of the .243 rifles here.
They were pretty much the darling performance cartridge for an all-rounder, when I was first interested in shooting(late 1970's).

When I was growing up, most of my shooting mates would buy a .30-30 first(shooting pigs along creeks/scrub), a .243 next (distance shooting of pretty much anything else), and if you were lucky enough, a .357 revolver (when hot pork got nasty).
At that time, the .22 caliber cartridges were seen as too light for pigs, and really only for roos. And a lot more sensitive to wind.
I wish I'd realised just how effective the .22 cal cartridges really were.
But at that point, we did very little roo-shooting, and most of our focus was on pigs, as we had a lot more of them(boredrains).
Very few rabbits, but cats and foxes as well, which the .243 handled well.

Roo-shooters tended to have .222s, or 22-250's, or those new-fangled .223's, but properties usually had a .243 as their go-to rifles.

I'm not sure if I'd consider myself a devoted fan of .243; if I was buying a new rifle around this caliber, I'd probably lean towards 6.5mm, though thats more due to slightly heavier projectile options, rather than better ballistics.
And you could probably do much the same job if you went a tighter twist on the .243 barrel. When I was having my Krico M603S re-barrelled in 2013, I would have preferred a tighter twist than the original 1:10, as this would have given me a bit more range in the heavier projectile weights. It ended up where it was much quicker and simpler to re-barrel with the same twist, and I havent regretted it.
The superb accuracy from the new barrel has more than made up for it..

A large boar pig covered in mud can often take a .243 round in the shoulder and keep going, but I've seen the same result with a .303Brit running a 180gn Taipan BTHP at ~45 metres.
Shoot the same pig in the head with a .223, and he goes down like a sack of spuds.
In that circumstance, about the only calibre that I've used that will ignore the mud, has been a .30-30 150gn RN, though I'm sure a .45-70 would do the job as well.
But the .243 will be my preference if we meet the pig at 150 metres, rather than 50...
For every large boar we see, we would see 15-20 small to medium sized pigs. So, for 99.5% of the shots I've taken on pigs over the past 35+ years, the .243 with 87gn BTHP or Vmax pills, have been devastating.

I dont think I'd be choosing a rifle based upon the game that isnt going to be a regular customer.
Myself; I'd be choosing something accurate, that is plenty heavy for the majority of the animals encountered, but with enough grunt to still nail larger game (with careful shot placement).

They fly pretty flat, they are very accurate, they hit pretty hard (if you choose suitable projectiles), and they arent overly flighty in wind. Hard not to like the .243.
A .243 with a 1:8" or 1:9" twist running something like a 103gn ELD-X, would have to be hard to beat...

My 2 cents.
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by bigrich » 24 Nov 2018, 12:15 pm

thanks for your response, first hand experience and knowledge rod, much appreciated. shot placement sounds like the key to your good success in some circumstances, i've bin told by a few people that 243 is a bit light on for pigs at times, especially with a offhand chest shot. besides gaining some knowledge on the 243, i've discovered that 120 gr nosler ballistic tips shoot eceptionally accurate out of my 6.5x55 model 70. i fluked a really silly accurate load just this morning, and i'm questioning whether or not i actually need to run 140's at less velocity with less accuracy. besides pigs, there is always the chance of getting onto a deer, but from what i've bin told, a lot of the smaller east coast species are no more solid than goat. don't mean to hijack the post, but i find this relevant as the two cartridges aren't far apart :thumbsup:
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by Pythonkeeper » 24 Nov 2018, 12:29 pm

243 is probably my favourite caliber across the board, very versatile and will take down most critters that walk our land.

On a recent trip (last weekend) I encountered a large angry sow that took 4 shots all under 50 metres from a 45/70 (405 grain) to get her to drop and even after that we put another 2 into her with the mates 223 before she finally gave in and died.
Toughest animal I’ve ever come across, first shot went in the back of her head behind the ear and out the other side as she was quartering away on the trot, this should have dropped her but all it did was piss her off. She turned on the spot broadside and I put one through her shoulder which also passed through out the other side around the armpit, this should have dropped her also but she charged with bad intentions and I put one in her chest which went through her whole body and came out near her asshole, her back legs went out from under her but she still kept coming one her front legs with ass end dragging behind, put another through her shoulder and she was down but not out, still had some fight in her so another couple of point blank head shots with the 223 finally had lights out.....crazy stuff, she had a belly full up bubs and just didn’t want to give up..
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by bigrich » 24 Nov 2018, 12:36 pm

Pythonkeeper wrote:243 is probably my favourite caliber across the board, very versatile and will take down most critters that walk our land.

On a recent trip (last weekend) I encountered a large angry sow that took 4 shots all under 50 metres from a 45/70 (405 grain) to get her to drop and even after that we put another 2 into her with the mates 223 before she finally gave in and died.
Toughest animal I’ve ever come across, first shot went in the back of her head behind the ear and out the other side as she was quartering away on the trot, this should have dropped her but all it did was piss her off. She turned on the spot broadside and I put one through her shoulder which also passed through out the other side around the armpit, this should have dropped her also but she charged with bad intentions and I put one in her chest which went through her whole body and came out near her asshole, her back legs went out from under her but she still kept coming one her front legs with ass end dragging behind, put another through her shoulder and she was down but not out, still had some fight in her so another couple of point blank head shots with the 223 finally had lights out.....crazy stuff, she had a belly full up bubs and just didn’t want to give up..


never mind the terminator, you came across the "pigorator" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: i bin told this is some folks swear by larger calibers for pigs, suprised the 45-70 didn't flatten it. maybe try the 300 gr federal hollow point soft nose ? :thumbsup:
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Re: .243 for pigs

Post by Pythonkeeper » 24 Nov 2018, 1:55 pm

Funny you say that, we actually named her Terminator....

First time I’ve used the 45/70 hunting, before now I’ve only ever had to put a maximum of 2 rounds into a pig, I think she was just a big, very tough animal and very pissed off to, none of the others I got that day put up any arguments with the 45/70 even with porter placed shots...

Back to the 243, I’ve personally dropped red stags out past 200 metres (100 gr soft points) and they’ve dropped like a chunk of wood on the spot dead before they hit the ground, full pass through both shoulder blades, you can expect the same results on most pigs...great caliber..
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