For hunting deer in Canada, these 10 top cartridges more than promise to get the job done
Introduced in 1955, the .243 Winchester was developed by necking down a .308 Winchester case. A round well-suited for true short-action rifles, the .243 Win. is one of those unique cartridges than punches above its weight. Chambered in many lightweight and compact rifles, it’s considered one of the best deer-hunting cartridges for small-framed hunters, including youngsters and women.
But make no mistake, this isn’t a kid’s cartridge. The .243 Win. has remained popular for more than 60 years because it performs—it kills deer, plain and simple. Like its parent, the .308 Win., the .243 Win. is an extremely accurate round. It’s also flat shooting and has very mild recoil. For deer hunting, the .243 Win. is generally loaded with bullets in the 90- to 100-grain range, carrying a minimum downrange energy of 1,000 foot-pounds out to 300 metres or so.
The go-to rifle of one of my deer-hunting mentors was a Browning BAR in .243 Win. I watched enough animals go down with one shot to see first-hand how effective this underappreciated cartridge is as a deer round.