Getting the right .243 rifle is not the easiest of tasks. However, the search doesn’t have to be so complicated as long as you know exactly what to look for. A rifle of such caliber is best used for certain purposes and it is also considered as one of the most reliable rifles available for hunters.
Those who are looking for a hunting rifle to help them win a big game such as a mule deer will most likely prefer to get a .243 rifle over the 30-30 or a .30-06. While all three types of rifles are reliable, most would prefer to stick with the .243 model. In hopes of making your search a little less stressful, we’ve researched and put together a list of the top .243 rifles that you can get your hands on now.
The Buying Considerations – How to Choose a .243 Rifle
When you’re out buying a .243 rifle, you should take note of certain characteristics that will help you distinguish between an excellent rifle in terms of quality and functionality with one that is not so good. Here are a few points to look out for during your search:
Most rifles are made from high-quality materials such as stainless steel barrels, synthetic or hardwood stocks, etc. You need to make sure that you get a rifle with good materials as this will determine how long your rifle will be able to last you for.
Understandably, the first factor that budget shoppers will look out for is the price tag. Though the price is important, it is also critical to consider the overall quality and performance of the .243 before making the final decision. Don’t just settle on a rifle because it is cheap. You should always aim to get the best quality rifle that you can afford.
Top Best .243 Rifles – Rated and Reviewed
Before reviewing the top hunting rifles, here are a few honorable mentions. The .243 caliber was initially developed by Winchester for use in their Model 70 rifle. This rifle, along with Kimber Classic Select Grade, Browning X Bolt, Rossi and Henry, Marlin, and Ruger M77 are all premium and wonderful rifles.
With that in mind, here’s a list of the top .243 rifles you can buy to take along on hunting trips. While you go through each rifle, remember to take note of the unique features and characteristics of each one. This way, it’ll be easier for you to pick out the ideal rifle that suits your needs.
1. Winchester Model 70 Extreme Weather SS 22IN 243 5+1RD
The .243 Winchester Model 70 appears first on our list thanks to its overall tough and sturdy build that works to offer a great deal of strength, durability, shooting accuracy, and high performance across various distances. Not only is it accurate, but it also delivers a smooth loading process. However, one downside to this bolt action rifle is that it does not come with a scope. But this is not necessarily a bad factor as it means you get to pick and pair it with your favorite scope.
The .243 Winchester Model 70 is a great hunting rifle for those who like to customize their firearm. Plus, this action rifle is so sturdily built that you can expect to count on it for years to come. This is one of the better bolt action rifles that you can pass on to a child or grandchild for their field sports adventures.
Despite no obvious cons, one thing that can be improved on the .243 Winchester Model 70 is to include scope mounts. Providing a good mount will help make installing a scope onto the rifle much easier. It’ll also mean that the scope will be attached to the rifle properly without any room to move around.
Many recent customers purchased the .243 Winchester Model 70 because of its smooth bolt action. They were even more delighted to find that his rifle came with other amazing features such as a smooth feeding. Customers noted that feeding the rounds from the magazine tube into the chamber was quick and easy, which helped them achieve quicker follow-up shots to successfully land that kill shot.
If you want a rifle that is built to last you several generations, then the .243 Winchester Model 70 may just be what you’re looking for. Other than a long service life, the quality materials used in building this rifle ensures that they can handle all kinds of impact. Finally, the .243 Winchester model 70 also makes for quick loading and smooth bolt action movement, making it one of the best for deer hunters.
- Sling swivels accept most slings
- Smooth bolt action movement
- Reliable feeding with no complaints on jamming issues
- Can withstand all sorts of weather conditions
- Does not come with a scope mount and scope
2. Remington 700 ADL Stainless .243 Winchester 24” with 3-9×40 Scope
Second on our list is yet another .243 Winchester model that is tough all over with just enough firepower to help you knock down the big game you’ve been eyeing for. With a short action receiver and 24-inch steel barrel length, the Remington 700 ADL Stainless .243 Winchester is definitely something you should consider if you need a long range rifle with a heavy contour barrel to help you rack up some serious trophy kills.
The Remington 700 rifle even comes with an integral box magazine and scope as an added bonus for hunters who want to save time and money from getting and installing separate accessories. With a scope attached, this action rifle is all set and ready to go ‘out of the box’.
A rifle caliber such as this is a hot choice among many deer hunters. Quite frankly, it is quite difficult to imagine what other applications this .243 rifle cannot be used for. In fact, this is a pretty good choice for hunters wanting to also hit hogs, varmints, bears, and just about any larger games.
One thing that could be improved in this rifle is for it to be designed for easier and smoother windage and elevation adjustment. If you go shooting frequently, you’ll know that there will be times when your shots are a little off, either too far to the left/right side, or too high/low. Hence, it’s great if the rifle is able to make it much easier to make such adjustments.
Many customers were satisfied with their Remington 700 bolt actions in general and they were just as excited to see that it comes with a scope included. Some report that they were able to knock down large targets from various distances with this rifle and scope combination. One even said that they successfully hit a whitetail deer that was approximately 500 yards away.
If you’re looking for one of the best long range rifles for hunting purposes, then the Remington 700 ADL Stainless .243 Winchester may just be what you need. Not only is it built to be tough all over, it even delivers a powerful punch, making it an ideal shooting partner for many avid big game hunters out there.
- Excellent Firepower
- Accurate shots
- Durable and solid construction
- Clear images
- Suitable for field sports
- Eye relief is suspect
- Might be too heavy for some
3. Mossberg Patriot Bantam Rimfire 20IN .243 Win Blue Scope 3×9 5+1RD
Best for Money
While the Mossberg Patriot Bantam Rimfire is not as high end as some, it still delivers a good amount of damage. This is especially helpful if you’re using it for big game hunting, such as a mule deer, varmint, or a hog. This rifle caliber is pretty accurate and the scope is also relatively good for a generic model. In addition, this rifle has been designed with reduced recoil right from the get-go to make your experience more comfortable.
The Mossberg Patriot Bantam Rimfire is a good entry level long range rifle for those who are new to the hunting game. This is mainly because it is easy to use and right in the budget range for many new hunters while still packing enough stopping power to deal with large animals.
However, considering it’s not a high-end model, several improvements can be made to this rifle. The first is to ensure windage and elevation settings are easier to adjust for a more accurate shot. Another possible improvement is to reduce the trigger pull weight. This will make it much easier for hunters to get a shot off.
Recent customers were surprised to see such a quality rifle at the “cheaper” range, especially since it comes with a reliable riflescope. One commented that they were very happy with the scope and was surprised to see how far he was about to sight it. The bottom line is that the Mossberg Patriot Bantam Rimfire is a reliable and affordable rifle .243 rifle.
This is your best choice if you need a .243 rifle that is reliable, accurate, and powerful. The Mossberg Patriot Bantam Rimfire offers some pretty potent stopping power at an affordable price point. So, if you’re looking for long range rifles that won’t break your bank, then this will make for a very suitable choice.
- Accurate shots
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Decent scope magnification levels
- Reduced recoil
- Durable construction
- Trigger mechanism might be a little gritty
- Stiff scope adjustments
- Scope might be blurry at some magnification levels
4. Browning X Bolt Micro Midas 20IN 243 Winchester 4+1Rd
Best .243 Bolt Action Rifle
Browning’s superior craftsmanship and attention to detail have garnered the company a pretty good reputation among hunters, but what really strikes out to us is how beautiful this long range rifle looks. It even comes as a complete package, which includes the scope. This design reminds us of a classic hunting rifle that is passed down from your father or even grandfather. The beautiful wood finish gives it a touch of timeless appearance.
The Browning X Bolt Micro Midas Winchester will mainly be used by hunters and target shooters who appreciate a good old fashioned bolt action rifle. This is especially true for those who want to make the most out of hitting their long-distance targets since the .243 cartridge can travel pretty far.
While the .243 round does pack some punch, the eye relief on the scope is definitely not the best. So, the one thing that the manufacturer can look into is to provide a little more generous eye relief for users to sight comfortably. This will also make it much easier to look through the scope for faster target acquisition.
A lot of recent customers were happy with their long range hunting rifle for a few reasons. One of which is a smooth bolt action movement that had no stiffness to it. Although the scope was a generic brand, they found that it was surprisingly reliable and accurate to quickly help hunters acquire targets. Some of them were able to easily reach out and hit targets that ranged about 400 to 600 yards away.
If you enjoy bolt action rifles and like to add one more to your gun collection, then the Browning X Bolt Micro Midas Winchester might just be worth considering. It features smooth loading and reliable shooting to help you quickly land a target. While it may take a little getting used to, but with a little practice and once you get the hang of it, it will be easy to just quickly load up and knock down a large game.
- Reduced recoil
- Includes a scope that delivers excellent images
- Good lever action
- Good firepower for the purpose of hunting
- Suitable for long-distance shooting
- Easy windage and elevation adjustments
- Eye relief can be better
- Trigger pull weight may be heavy for some
- Scope might be blurry at some magnification levels
5. Savage Axis II XP Compact .243 Win 20” Rifle w/ Bushnell Scope
Best Youth .243 Rifle
Younger hunters that are just starting out in the field will need a good starter rifle to help them through their long and possibly successful adventures. Fortunately, Savage Axis II XP Compact may just be up to that task.
Aside from being a suitable beginner’s rifle, the slim profile model sports a stainless steel receiver and barrel to deliver quite a bit of reach, which could make shooting much more exciting for youths. This is especially true since the bolt action rifle lets them hit targets from far away. The rifle even sports a camo finish that gives off a classic hunting rifle look and a more traditional monte carlo style grip.
The Savage Axis II XP Compact will mostly be purchased by younger hunters and may possibly also be passed down to their siblings or other youths. If you need a reliable rifle that has enough barrel length for your child and a decent length of pull, then this may just be the one. Other than that, the long range rifle also has a relatively modest recoil that certainly won’t knock a kid down.
Plenty of customers found that they were able to hit their targets from a good distance away. This is among one of the most reliable rifles that will not only help you hit a buck from far away but is also the perfect size for most youth shooters.
The Savage Axis II XP Compact is a good choice to get for your child or grandchild who is itching to get on their first shooting adventure. This is the perfect rifle that will be able to help them stop a deer or any big game they’re aiming for.
- Reasonable recoil
- Easy to adjust trigger mechanism
- Good lever action
- Durable scope tubing
- Excellent rifle for younger hunters
- Clear image picture
- Great value
- Recoil pad might be thin for some
- Sighting might be challenging
- Barrel may rust if not properly taken care
6. Ruger American .243 Win
Best .243 Hunting Rifle
Next is the Ruger American .243 Win, which is one of the most popular rifles used for the purpose of hunting. This one features a lightweight synthetic stock to give it an all-round solid build. As expected, it is strong and durable enough to take on all kinds of bumps, bangs, and other impacts you may subject it to while you’re out in the field or through the woods.
This is a clear and favorite option among deer hunters. But this doesn’t mean you should cross it off for hunting other animals. The Ruger American .243 Win proves to be a good hunting companion that is durable and has the ability to last a pretty long time. Generally, synthetic materials are also expected to last longer than the usual materials, such as wood or walnut stock.
However, one disadvantage of the Ruger American .243 Win is its lack of sights. The manufacturer can consider including a riflescope or scope mount to help improve the hunter’s accuracy while on the hunt. With the help of a good and reliable riflescope, they’ll be able to easily knock down their target with pinpoint accuracy every time.
Many deer hunters opted for the Ruger American .243 Win but they’ve also successfully used it to hunt down bears, predator, varmint, and even hogs. All in all, they were pretty satisfied with the rifle’s accuracy at various distances. The hunting rifle even has just enough power to stop an animal in its tracks.
If you need one of the greatest kinds of .243 rifles for hunting, then the Ruger American .243 Win could just be the right investment for you. Not only will it make your hunting trips more enjoyable, but it will also stick with you for years to come. Almost none other rifles will be able to match the firepower and reliability this .243 rifle delivers.
- Synthetic stock offers a durable construction
- Reduced recoil
- Reliable feeding
- Excellent choice for hunting deers and other big game
- Lightweight and easy to carry around
- Does not include optics
- Heavy trigger system
- Stiff user adjustable trigger system
With plenty of options available on the market, it is certain that you’ll be able to find a good .243 rifle to help you make the most out of your hunting experience. A great .243 rifle will definitely help you yield great results and write all kinds of hunting stories to tell your friends and kids. Be sure to do enough research, and choose your rifle wisely as it might be the hunting rifle that you’ll rely on for years. Hopefully this article has given you enough information, details, and recommendations you need to get the job done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is a .243 a good varmint gun?
Yes, a .243 rifle is a good varmint gun that can help you hit both varmint and coyotes. The .243 hunting rifle has enough stopping power to even knock down larger predators that might damage your property.
Q: Is a .243 big enough for a deer?
Yes, a .243 hunting caliber is most certainly able to kill a mule deer. However, this is generally considered as a starter hunting rifle for deer hunting. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can easily upgrade to other cartridges such as the .30-06 or a 30-30.
Q: What is the best grain bullet for the .243 rifle?
Most .243 rounds will range from 80 to 100 grains. However, this will depend on personal preference and how far you want your shot to reach. As a rule of thumb, the lighter the bullet, the faster it will travel. So, if you want to hit further distances, you may want to go for a lighter bullet.
Q: What is the maximum effective range of a .243?
The maximum effective range of a .243 can reach more than 1,000 yards. Surprisingly, this long range firearm can travel quite a bit of distance for a hunting rifle. But generally, this hunting rifle ranges around 600 – 800 yards for successfully hitting a whitetail deer.