View Poll Results: .243win or 6.5G for Deer

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  • .243 Winchester

    4 5.56%
  • 6.5 Grendel

    68 94.44%
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Thread: 6.5G vs .243win for Deer?

  1. #1
    stmcelroy
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    6.5G vs .243win for Deer?

    Kicking around the idea of getting into the 6.5 Grendel for range and hunting.

    The only "big" game hunting I do right now is mule/whitetail deer in Eastern Washington, where it's open and shots out to 500 yards are possible.

    So far I've hunted with everything from .243win(current gun) up to .300win mag, but hunting with an AR15 has me intrigued.

    Last years deer was a 3x4 mule deer shot at a whopping 25yards with my Tikka 595 .243win with 85gr Barnes TSX bullet. It was a DRT shot and the bullet performed flawlessly.

    So my question is would a 6.5 Grendel in 16-18" barrel be comparable or superior to a .243win for deer hunting?

    Looking hearing what you guys have to say.

  2. #2
    JASmith
    Guest
    The Grendel compares very favorably with the .243 Winchester. There's a series of three articles at ShootersNotes.com that carry a comparison of one load each for 6.5 Grendel, .243 Win, 6.8 SPC, .257 Roberts, 30-30, and .223 Rem:

    http://shootersnotes.com/grendelmani...t-the-grendel/

    http://shootersnotes.com/grendelmani...or-large-game/

    http://shootersnotes.com/grendelmani...nd-aim-points/

    The real trade is a reduced point blank range in the Grendel in return for superior energy and penetration potential at all ranges.

    The Grendel load used in that discussion was Alexander Arms offering of the 129 gr Hornady SST. More recent and lighter hunting bullet offerings should make the near-in trajectory more comfortable while not unduly sacrificing lethality out to beyond 400-500 yards.

    Also, the analysis supporting the article was for 24" barrels. The muzzle velocities, trajectories, etc. would be different for the shorter barrel. A question will be how much trade you are willing to make for ballistic performance versus easy handling and carrying.

    I believe there are folks in this forum who have used and carried Grendels and other AR's in barrel lengths from 10" to 26" and possibly longer. Their comments will be illuminating.
    Last edited by JASmith; 08-26-2011 at 12:14 PM.

  3. #3
    Moderator bwaites's Avatar
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    Welcome!

    You are aware of Alexander Arms planned visit to Eastern Washington next month?
    ”You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  4. #4
    stmcelroy
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by bwaites View Post
    Welcome!

    You are aware of Alexander Arms planned visit to Eastern Washington next month?
    Thanks. Been a longtime member of the 6.5 forums but mostly just lurking and talking myself out of the cartridge. Got a 300blk upper lately that has gotten me enthused about the AR15 platform again.

    Aware of the visit and looking for someone to carpool with to save on gas.

  5. #5
    LRRPF52
    Guest
    The main advantages the Grendel has over the .243 Win for target-shooting is barrel life, and much less powder consumption for reloaders. You also have a smaller action and potential for a lighter rifle/carbine for carrying while hunting.

    The main advantage with the .243 Win is velocity. The .243 Win with 85gr bullets probably has a little more recoil than a Grendel pushing 120gr pills, both rifles being of similar barrel profile. They are both great cartridges for children and women who are more recoil-sensitive. The Grendel/AR15 gives the hunter a much faster follow-up shot option than a bolt-gun .243 Win of course. A .243 Win in an AR10 is significantly heavier and larger than a Grendel AR15 as well. The Grendel is an inherently accurate cartridge since you pretty much fill the case to within 90% or above capacity with whatever bullets you're using, so burn is very consistent.

    The .243 enjoys a pretty broad range of bullet selection, and covers .22-250 velocities with the 55gr grenades for varmints, as well as really fast medium game bullets in the 75-105gr range. It's a very flat shooter for sure.

    I think I would approach this from the advantages of the AR15/Grendel combo, versus a bolt gun, rather than the calibers.

  6. #6
    Moderator bwaites's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stmcelroy View Post
    Thanks. Been a longtime member of the 6.5 forums but mostly just lurking and talking myself out of the cartridge. Got a 300blk upper lately that has gotten me enthused about the AR15 platform again.

    Aware of the visit and looking for someone to carpool with to save on gas.
    Sounds great! I was pretty blase about the 300BLK until I had a chance to shoot one with a suppressor. Subsonic rounds, suppressed, was seriously cool! I'm thinking I want one now. BUT...I can't quite figure out what spot it fills for me, so I'm still a little iffy. I tend to be a pragmatic user vs. a collector, so if I don't think I'll use it, I don't buy it. I just can't quite figure out where to use it!
    ”You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  7. #7
    stmcelroy
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by LRRPF52 View Post

    I think I would approach this from the advantages of the AR15/Grendel combo, versus a bolt gun, rather than the calibers.
    I think you are right.

  8. #8
    cokecounty
    Guest
    Agreed. For me, the best advantage to hunting with an AR/Gredel platform is being able to keep my target in the sight picture and watch impact due to the minimum recoil. Also, I have always thought the .243 a little light for deer, especially big mulies. Good Luck.

  9. #9
    GregP42
    Guest
    I plan to use mine this year for deer season here in Ky.

  10. #10
    buckbustn
    Guest
    I just recently built a Grendel that I plan on using for hunting wt here in Oklahoma. I used to be in love with .243 because of velocity and BC. That was until I realized there were so many more rounds that outperformed .243. The other reason being about 10 yrs ago I decided to hunt with one. It was a nice rem (model eludes me). Any ways I'm sitting in my blind and out comes a nice 11pt. He quarters away and I fire. The buck never flinched. He did however flag me and run. Looked like an injured run so I waited a bit and then comensed to tracking. This was all done by track tracking due to no blood trail. About 300yds into tracking I find him grazing. I fire again at the same spot I thought my first shot was. He merely looks at me like I'm stupid, and continues to graze. I fire again and this time he runs again. Still no blood trail. After about another hr of tracking I find him dead against a blackjack. At this point I am utterly confused. As soon as I get him field dressed lo and behold there are 3 entry wounds just behind shoulder and 3 exits. Heart and lungs both had been shot but were completely intact. The buck died from internal hemoraging. He was not shot with fmjs either before anyone asks. All I ever shot out of it was soft points. I know people who use nothing but .243 for wt but from that year one I have forever sworn off .243 to hunt with.
    Sorry for this being so long but I wanted to get my horror story out there for you.

  11. #11
    cokecounty
    Guest
    I am glad your tracking perserverance paid off. I have helped more than one campanion search high and low for .243 shot deer. In my pre-grendel days I carried a 25-06 and never had that problem. For the last two seasons I have been Grendel exclusive and absolutely love it. I bet you do too. Good Luck.

  12. #12
    JASmith
    Guest
    buckbustn and cokecounty -- Your comments caught my attention. I had understood that the principal reason for light to no blood trail for .243 shot deer was lack of exit wounds. Yet buckbustn got 3 exits through the boiler room and still no blood trail?

    Were the bullets premium or classic CoreLokt, PowerPoint, HotCore, Gameking, etc.?

    Same questions for county and others.

    I'm asking the question because the size of the permanent wound cavity more or less sets the rate of blood loss, all other things being equal. The size of the permanent wound cavity, in turn, is set by how much the bullet expands.

    Bullets of similar construction typically expand to a fixed multiple of the bullet diameter for similar impact velocities. If rifles of .25 caliber and above generally get reasonable blood trails and rifles of .24 caliber and below don't, then that says something about where we should operate even when we can be assured of hitting the vital zone every time.

  13. #13
    LRRPF52
    Guest
    I'm also interested in what bullet type was used for that. I have a friend who shot a large buck with his 24" barrel .223 pushing 69 SMK's...a target bullet for sure. He said it jumped up, and DRT'd in its foot prints. I also have run into guys at the range who prefer .223 out of their AR's if the deer and wait for it.......even elk are within 200 yds, but they were using some type of specific hunting bullet running fast out of 24" barrels as well. The conversation came up because they were shooting Olympic Arms .25 WSSM's that day (AR's), and I was interested in what kind of results they were getting. They were the ones who said they get more one-shot drops with .223 than even the .25 WSSM's within 200 yds, specifically with elk, which even I, the 5.56 nazi, had a hard time digesting.

    I think a lot of it depends on the density of the muscle and bone of the target, stamina, personality, bullet type, velocity, etc. Some animal/people are just weak and worthless without group support, frequent hugs, proximity to the herd, etc...and when they get a cut or scratch, they call for mommy or a medic. Others can operate at near 100% with real injuries, alone, and just drive on with undeterred willpower. Those types usually have denser muscle and bone tissue than the weaklings as well. I can see how a .243 going 3400 fps might poke right through dense meat, and make a much smaller wound cavity if the bullet doesn't open, but you'd think it would explode when entering a hydrostatic tissue medium. Must have been one tough critter...

  14. #14
    JASmith
    Guest
    I've seen enough reports to suggest that the .223, even the lowly Hornet, will get a fair share of one-shot drops where the animal more or less stays in visual range of where it was standing when hit.

    The real question is "What do we do when the animal doesn't call for mommy or a medic, but keeps on trucking with a fatal hit?" These are the situations where that trail can be very useful.

    I had been wondering if the newer bullets with bonded cores or all copper would create enough blood channel to the exit wound that the trails would be visible even for .223's

    'twould be nice...

  15. #15
    PumpActionJackson
    Guest
    i have no experience with .243 or 6.5 on deer, but i have dropped both deer i have killed, one with a 30/30 and my bigger one was a .308.

    i think either would be good with good shot placement, all of my deer were inside 150 yards though and i have probably let 10-12 bucks walk because i was not 100% sure about the shot i would be trying to make. cant wait to see how the 65 does on some deer this season if i get it built in time


    edit: what i dont understand more, is all the people in my area hunting within 100-150 yards with a 300 WSM or 300 WM. seems it would just hamburger the mid sized deer here where i am at.

  16. #16
    LRRPF52
    Guest
    Yes, .300 Mags are great for 600-800yd shots, if the shooter is capable. A buddy of mine who had attended the USMC Scout/Sniper course at Quantico impressed his game guide on Kodiak Island with his Remmy Sendero in .300 Win Mag. I think he took his first shot at an Elk at 500 yds, when the guide doubted his ability...insta-drop. "Hey, try that one out der...!" 700 yds, 800 yds...drop, drop. He was dialing his elevation and windage per his dope, and making first-round hits over and over, or so the story goes. He was a straight-shooter character-wise, and one of the best NCO's I ever worked with.

    .300 WM and WSM is a bit overkill at close distances...more recoil and velocity than needed to get that job done.

  17. #17
    buckbustn
    Guest
    That long ago I don't even remember what bran of bullet I was using. I have recently acquired a long term and short term memory loss due being doped up from a recent spine surgery, or maybe not, I really don't remember.
    Anyways, the reason I stated that it wasn't fmjs was because I at least remember that much. However entry and exit wounds were very similar which to me would scream FM, but as I stated I know those weren't used.
    As for the lack of blood trail, well that still perplexes me to this day. It just doesn't make since to me. I.e.
    1. Deer gets shot in vitals, for the sake of argument we'll say with fmj. 2. It's a clean through and through in chest cavity. 3. When vitals are hit that point essentially becomes a hole in a pressurized pipe. Even with a shot through the heart it will still pump.4. That pressurized system that was just ruptured has to release that preasure at the point, or points in this case, of least resistance. You all see where I'm going with this right? By all rights even if I had put 3 through and through fmjs there should have still been a readable (bubbly at that from lungs hit) blood trail. So to answer your question JA, yes a larger exit means better blood trail, with a clean shot. On the other hand that doesn't mean that a small exit can't leave a blood trail that my 5yo could follow. Just this last year I helped a buddy track a blood trail that he thought was a great shot, so did I until I started to see a lot of brown in the trail. This trail looked like someone had drug a bloody rag through the woods. We get to the doe and sure enough she had been gut shot and still left that much of a bold trail. But here's the kicker, that was all from the entry the marlin 30-30 he was using, there was no exit wound. That one confused me a bit too.

  18. #18
    Varoum
    Guest
    I voted for the Grendel. When you compare the 6.5 Grendel versus the .243


    1. Barrel life
    2. Less recoil
    3. Smaller and lighter action
    4. Less powder went reloading
    5. Greater BC with the 6.5 bullets
    6.
    Quote Originally Posted by gunner69 View Post
    Don't forget #6. Fast Follow-Up Shots a Plus.
    Last edited by Varoum; 10-07-2011 at 05:44 AM.

  19. #19
    r3dn3ck
    Guest
    I've taken more than my fair share of deer with a .243. It left uniformly HUGE GAPING exit wounds with 80-100gn pills (mostly core-lokt's). 2" to 5" wide exit holes gave me a lot of faith in the .243. Mostly you could drop a mason jar into the exit hole without touching the sides unless it was a neck shot. The one long range shot I did with .243 was about 450yrds and still got that 2" exit hole with a quartering hit. What matters as far as my results is they're coastal blacktail deer with a maximum live weight of about 150lbs. They're itty bitty. I have yet to take a horned-gopher with the grendel but given the sectional density gains and lower velocity I'm expecting just a hair less dramatic wounding but with much more penetration capability.

    With .243 I find a lot of small fragments in the wound channel. I'm expecting to find much fewer and vastly larger fragments if any at all with the grendel.

    Varoum has all my points for getting into grendel in his numbered list.

  20. #20
    gunner69
    Guest
    Don't forget #6. Fast Follow-Up Shots a Plus.

    I had some bad luck hunting with my Remington in .243. Shot some 'Yotes and the damn bullets exploded on contact! Not my cup of tea. Bought my 14 year old a 6.5 Swedish Mauser and he killed 3 deer his first season..... all 1 shot kills. The damned military M-38 Husky would shoot under 1" with anything over 139grain bullets.

    I shoot a 6.5 Swed, a 6.5x284 Norma in a Remington 700, plus two 6.5 Grendels. The 6.5 Bullets has did their job in dozens of animals I have shot.

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