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.223 or .243

I shoot a 7mm-08, but want to let my 9 year old shoot his 1st deer some time this year. I have been leaning toward finding a youth model .223, and my 6 year old would take it over in a couple of years when the 9 year old moves on the the .243 thats already in the safe.
But now I'm leaning toward letting the 9 year old (85lbs) shoot the .243, and skip the .223 idea. The LOP bothers me, but should I overlook it? Am I over thinking it?
If he uses the .243 (completely under my supervision, with a rest/brace) should I dial down the grain? I think .243 goes all the way down to 55, but I'd be scared to use anything smaller than 85 on a deer.
I hate to buy a gun when I already have one.

Replies

  • seabiscuitseabiscuit Posts: 1,044 Officer
    My son (eight years old) shoots a .243 with 85 grain. He also weighs 85 pounds. No problem at all. The .223 is too small IMHO.
  • grouper sandwichgrouper sandwich Posts: 532 Officer
    I've killed pile of deer with a 22-250 and a 243 honestly I can't tell the difference between one or the other in how quickly they die. I can assure the deer cannot tell the difference. Keep your shots within 300 yards and use premium bullets (think Barnes TSX) and he will be just fine. Just remember, there is no such thing as a marginal gun, only marginal hunters. And Matt, a 223 is most definitely not too small for a deer rifle.
    corksling-2.jpg
  • StonewallStonewall Posts: 848 Officer
    My 9 year old is only 70 lbs and is shooting a Ruger youth model 243 and is having no problems with it at the range, although that six pointer that walked out in front of us a couple of weeks ago caused him all kinds of problems as in buck fever and he just grazed him at about 80 yds. My first rifle was a 243 and I shot it all the way through college and killed a pile of deer with it. I used to shoot the Rem 100 gr core-lokts but I bought some 95 grain Fusions for my son this year because I heard some good things about that load but have nothing to back it up yet except a few chest hairs off a grazed 6 ptr.
    Can't never did try!
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    .243 with Federal Premium loads with 100 grain Barnes TSX or Nosler Partion. If you keep the shots under 150 yards you won't usually have as much trailing to do after the shot. IMHO anyway... I still have the one I got as a kid- Rem BDL 700 with Leupold Vari X 3x9. Sweet shooting gun!
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,859 AG
    243 100 gr is what my girls shoot.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • JTRJTR Posts: 1,184 Officer
    H&R .243 youth model, single shot with a 4x32 scope is what my 7 very soon to be 8 hunts with.

    Have shot Core Lok 100 grain and Winchester 95 grain rounds.
  • KlingerKlinger Posts: 2,116 Captain
    They make a youth model 7MM/08. The recoil on them isn't that bad, & you wouldn't have to stock different ammo.
    In my many years, I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame,two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.-- John Adams
  • showmanshowman Posts: 539 Officer
    Marlin X7 can be had in the Youth model in either the 7-08 or .243 and Backwoods Outdoors in Albany has them for $304.99. Last week, out at the Chickasawhatchee WMA range, a man had his 10yo daughter shooting a youth model 7mm-08. She was a little wisp of a girl but she was having a ball and not having any problems with that round at all.
  • BodineBodine Posts: 3,077 Captain
    I believe in giving a youngster the best chance of a clean kill, especially for their first deer.
    Caliber will not decide this, maturity ,lots of range time and small game hunting will.
    That being said, I would not start a child with a 223, he or she should be made to wait until they can handle a larger weapon with confidence and have the will to shoot it, and shoot it well.
    Your child should be concentrating on breathing correctly, proper shot angle and placement with out the fear of recoil in the back of their mind.

    GS not only are there marginal guns, there are less than adequate calibers for deer hunting.
    F the feds
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    Has your older son shot the 243 yet? How did he handle it? If you've had him around guns and shooting as I suspect you have, I'd probably just look into a youth model stock and buy that and let him shoot it. You'll have to spend a little money but not nearly a new gun/scope. What model is that 243?

    But, the way I see it, you're still going to have to buy another gun in a couple years when the 6 y/o is ready to handle one on his own ;)

    As for the .223, it will do the job. My Dad handed me a .223 when I was 13 and my first buck was killed with a double lung shot at 100 yards with that gun. Keep them close enough that they won't struggle with the shot and it would work. Would I recommend that for every kid, nope. Heck, I'll probably start mine out with a .243 when he's 6-9 y/o, depending on how he handles firearms.

    I will also say that I'm a huge fan of the Barnes bullets. The damage is unbelievable, although any well placed bullet is more than sufficient to do the job. My 25-06 looks like a 30-06 went through them! The doe I've shot with it was a paint trail to follow and the buck, well, if you can't follow lungs on the ground (seriously, lungs - not clots - and I've been hunting more than long enough to know the difference!) then you shouldn't be hunting.
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    I like the .223 for myself, but I would not put it in an inexperienced hunter's hands.
    .243 would be a much better choice IMHO.

    The .223 makes a great training aid to get a child used to a little recoil and a lot of report. (IMHO, the report scares them worse than the recoil, so always use plugs and or muffs at the range.
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
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    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • hooknredshooknreds Posts: 2,461 Captain
    I not worried so much about .223 vs .243 but I guess more the "fit" of the gun. I would LOVE to get away with using the .243 I already have (Savage 110C Model J) its just the eye relief, and "handling" is more my concern.
    Foo, can you order youth stocks for guns??
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    You can shorten a wooden stock to where you need it and then add recoil pads to fit the child.
    Order a new full size stock for when they outgrow the cut downn one.
    Save the cut down one for when the grandchildren or nieces and nephews need a starter gun.
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
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    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    I didn't find any youth stocks for the Savage 110C on a quick search but, an option would be to get this as a full sized replacement (which, obvisouly wouldn't have to be bought now)

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/724206/ram-line-syntech-rifle-stock-savage-110c-with-detachable-magazine-synthetic-black

    And do as Dewey said and have the current stock cut down to a youth LOP. Then put one of these on it:

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/1945118987/limbsaver-recoil-pad-grind-to-fit-rubber-black

    That would give you a youth stock for now and a nice Hogue pillar bedded stock to move to as the boys get older and grow into a full sized stock.
  • dewyafishdewyafish Posts: 5,025 Admiral
    Oh, and a shorter stock isn't a bad thing at all when cold weather moves in.
    There's nothing more enjoyable than suprise morning sex...
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Unless you happen to be in jail at the time.
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    Oh yeah, you could also do what my Dad did with me (we was po! :biggrin). He got a chunk of wood, laid the old stock on there and measured it out. My Grandfather is good with wood and has all the tools so we went down and cut out a "new" youth stock. Worked a few weeks on tweaking and tuning that that the action bolts and contours matched, the inlet in the stock for the bolt handle was correct, etc., etc. and finally painted it brown. Now it was nothing to look at, but it did the job. The guy we "bought" it from passed away a few years back. He sold it to Dad and then bought it back for the same money about 2 years later when I stepped up to the 270 that I still have. I just wish I could have got my hands on that .223 when he passed...
  • Nat-LightNat-Light Posts: 451 Deckhand
    I'd let him shoot the gun first with a low recoil round and see how he does with it. Then I'd go from there. If he is cool with the .243 then I'd get the stock cut down (unless you have a really nice stock on it currently) as previously suggested and then make adjustment to the scope if necessary. I really like the .243 round and still shoot it. I started hunting with an old Ithaca L55 with the Boforos barrel in .243 this year, it's lightweight and drives tacks.
  • hooknredshooknreds Posts: 2,461 Captain
    I think you guys are right. Cutting down the stock is probably the best option. The furniture is nothing to brag on, that's for sure. Anyone got a recommendation for north fl/sowega?
    What low recoil round are you suggesting nat? Do you mean just a smaller grain bullet?
  • RhettleyRhettley Posts: 1,545 Officer
    Good points so far. I don't believe they manufacture a "reduced recoil" cartridge in .243. You can try shooting the 85 grain and 100 grain bullets yourself and see if you can tell any difference. I personally would go with 100 grain for deer for a little bit more knock down/energy.

    Main things for the kid will be good hearing protection and a good recoil pad. Have you ever tried running a leaf blower with your shooting muffs on? You feel like the thing is on low instead of hi and it's barely moving the leaves although it's actually working normally...

    One thing I haven't seen mentioned is to get a Lead Sled for target practice for the kid to shoot from. There is some good information in this thread from a TX forum. http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=175958
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    hooknreds wrote: »
    Anyone got a recommendation for north fl/sowega?

    I'd check with Alexanders and see what he can do it for and what the turnaround might be. That's the only gunsmith I've used around here.
    What low recoil round are you suggesting nat? Do you mean just a smaller grain bullet?

    The only way to get a reduced recoil load in a 243 is to have a smaller bullet. 85 gr would be where I'd start but, based off the recoil table I reference you're likely looking around 8ish ft/lbs of energy. I highly doubt that the 15 grains of bullet weight would be that much different, but I've been know to be wrong on many occasions. :wink For a point of reference, your 7-08 should be around 12ish.

    Of course if you're looking for something else to do, I've got a reloading press sitting in the garage :grin
  • Nat-LightNat-Light Posts: 451 Deckhand
    I think your only recourse for a noticeably lower recoil round in .243 will be from a hand load.
  • plumbbobplumbbob Posts: 791 Officer
    I shoot a 223. I sight it in every year. I haven't had any problems. They may run 50 yds. but, that's it. I like my 223. I'll use my 30-30 this year.
  • hooknredshooknreds Posts: 2,461 Captain
    omegafoo wrote: »
    Of course if you're looking for something else to do, I've got a reloading press sitting in the garage :grin
    I know absolutely ZERO about reloading, but am great at handing off cold beers TO reloaders while they do work :))
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    hooknreds wrote: »
    I know absolutely ZERO about reloading, but am great at handing off cold beers TO reloaders while they do work :))

    I'm confused - you want a drunk man reloading ammo for your 9 y/o to shoot? :huh What kind of Dad are you :cookoo

    j/k

    Reloading isn't that bad and I have no problem passing on what little knowledge I have on the subject. Grouper Sandwich helped me out and I'll gladly pass it along. Pick up the goodies and you're welcome to use the press. Powder, primers, brass, and bullets and the rest is here. But, for him to take a deer this year, I'd probably just buy a box of 85 and 100 gr ammo and shoot it. It does take a little time to tweak a load so that it's shooting like you want, although somehow with Tyler's gun we managed to do it the first time. Reloading used to be a way to pass time while the wife was watching soaps in the evenings. With a little one now, that's not quite the case these days.
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 14,859 AG
    Speaking of reloading, when are you going to get the stuff I have for you?

    my 243 is a Rem 788 with wooden stack and has a little weight to it but not much. Short gun too which fits them good. Jaden was shooting it when she was 9 with 100gr. She is now 12 and a whopping 74lbs so I think your boy will be fine. I'll agree good ear muffs are a must and is half of what kids seem to be affraid of. Get or borrow a led sled or the like. That seemed to help my girls when they first started.
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    micci_man wrote: »
    Speaking of reloading, when are you going to get the stuff I have for you?

    ??? I could have got it this week as I was supposed to be in the training going on over at your place but someone's out sick with his wife (emergency surgery) so I'm here instead of at your place. I'll try to get by there this week.
  • grouper sandwichgrouper sandwich Posts: 532 Officer
    omegafoo wrote: »
    ??? I could have got it this week as I was supposed to be in the training going on over at your place but someone's out sick with his wife (emergency surgery) so I'm here instead of at your place. I'll try to get by there this week.

    I sold my 25-06 and it's unlikely I'll get another one. I've got unopened and fired brass and Barnes TSX's (115) I'll make you a good deal on.
    corksling-2.jpg
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,127 Captain
    I sold my 25-06 and it's unlikely I'll get another one. I've got unopened and fired brass and Barnes TSX's (115) I'll make you a good deal on.

    Make me a deal I can't refuse! I won't be getting rid of my '06 any time soon. The Encore with the MGM barrel is a shooter!
  • JKPJKP Posts: 3,211 Captain
    IMO the difference in recoil amongst most .243 loads is negligible. The load should be selected based upon what shoots best in the rifle as shot placement is most important. Lots of range time and confidence that the round will go where the shooter intends will go a long way towards a successful youth hunting trip.
  • grouper sandwichgrouper sandwich Posts: 532 Officer
    I'll get with you this evening when I can get home and take a quick inventory.
    corksling-2.jpg
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