243 Ballistics

Testing 243 ballistics with a rifle and chronography at a shooting range

A look at 243 Ballistics with information for some of the most popular 243 Winchester ammo loads available in the United States.

Winchester brought us .243 Winchester as a caliber for varmint hunting and target shooting. It’s lightweight, delivers fairly low recoil and, tends to be accurate. Let’s take a look at what this popular deer and hog hunting round is capable of through an analysis of 243 ballistics.

Quick 243 Winchester Facts

  • Based on a necked down 308 Win case, the 243 Win offers lighter bullets, higher muzzle velocities, and less muzzle energy than its predecessor.
  • Considered the entry level deer hunting cartridge in Great Britain, where the Deer Act of 1963 necessitates a caliber of no less than .240 and muzzle energy of no less than 1,700 ft lbs.
  • Not generally used for self-defense. No national military has ever designated the 243 Win for service, although the LAPD’s SWAT unit did implement it during their infancy.

243 Winchester Ballistics

LoadBarrel LengthMuzzle100 yds200 yds300 yds400 yds500 ydsMuzzle100 yds200 yds300 yds400 yds500 ydsMuzzle100 yds200 yds300 yds400 yds500 yds(G1)(G7)Sect. Density
Winchester 100 Gr. Power Point243110283825832341211218972147178914811217990799-1.51.40-6.6-19.7-40.50.3620.1820.24
Prvi Partizan 100 Gr SP242969268224132159192117011957159712931035820643-1.51.680-7.7-22.9-47.50.3250.1630.24
Prvi Partizan 90 Gr SP24310027752474219119281686192115401223960743568-1.51.530-7.2-21.8-45.70.2950.1470.216
Hornady 75 Gr. V-MAX 243580325429522670240521552134176314511187963773-1.50.90-4.9-14.7-30.50.3360.1650.18
Federal 95 Gr. Ballistic Tip243025277425362310209618931930162313561126927756-1.51.50-6.9-20.4-41.60.3840.1920.228
Winchester 55 Gr. Ballistic Silvertip 24391034933114276624442144186714891184934729561-1.50.70-4.3-13.1-27.70.2810.1360.132
Federal 100 Gr GameKing2429602741253323342145196419451669142512101021856-1.51.60-7-20.4-41.30.4370.2190.24
Federal 100 Gr SP242960269724482213199117831945161513311087880706-1.51.60-7.5-22.1-45.40.3610.1820.24
Hornady 90 Gr ELD-X2431502911268524692264206919831693144012191024855-1.50-2.6-10.1-18-43.20.4170.2090.216
Federal 95 Gr Berger Hybrid Hunter2430502829261924182226204319621688144612331045880-1.51.40-6.5-18.9-38.40.4410.2210.228
Barnes 80 Gr TTSX243350304227552486223219931994164413491098885706-1.51.10-5.7-17.1-35.50.3360.1670.192

243 Win History

Winchester introduced the 243 Win in 1955.

Originally, the East Alton, Illinois company made it available for Winchester’s Model 70 and Model 88. Quickly thereafter, the cartridge won fans worldwide.

Today, you’ll find the versatile 243 Win with a bullet in one of two weight classes: 55-85 grains, which is suitable for rodents up to coyote, and 90-115 grains, like 100 grain Remington Core-Lokt 243 ammo. This weight is more appropriate for whitetail deer and other small-medium sized game.

The 243 Win’s muzzle velocity hinges on its bullet weight. At 55 grains, its bullet achieves 3,910 fps; at 100 grains, 2,960 fps. A heavier bullet delivers greater energy upon impact at the expense of faster bullet drop — which is nothing skilled marksmanship can not accommodate.

Twist Rate’s Impact on Ballistics

One must take barrel twist into account depending on the type of 243 Win cartridge that is fired. A slower barrel twist of 1:10 is generally adequate to stabilize bullets weighing up to 100 grains, while the accuracy of heavier, higher ballistic coefficient bullets is improved by a 1:7 or 1:8 twist. In short, you would do well to use one rifle for varmint hunting and another for deer.

243 Win vs. 308 Win

Although based on the 308 Win, the 243 Win differs substantially from it. The 243 Win delivers substantially less recoil and a flatter trajectory. 308 Win ammo offers a wider frontal area, improved resistance to wind drift, and greater energy over longer distances.

Accuracy Considerations

Federal 243 win ammunition

The 243 Win is an exceptionally accurate round, in part because its low recoil prevents flinching. Larger 243 Win bullets generally offer sectional densities just greater than .200, which is considered adequate for ethical kills, yet its high accuracy permits surgical shot placement that mitigates the suffering game must endure.

Other Attributes

  • A small cartridge for an accordingly small rifle, but one that permits the kind of accuracy that amounts to fast and clean kills.
  • Popular among metallic silhouette and long range shooters for its low recoil and high accuracy.
  • By no means an obscure cartridge, many manufacturers produce the 243 Win with every conceivable bullet type.
  • More than six decades on the market means a great variety of rifles available.



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