The DIY Hunter

Favorite 243 WSSM Bullets

Some of my favorite loads left to right:
• 80g Tipped Triple Shock, Handload
• 75g Hornady V-Max, Handload
• 55g Ballistic Tip, Winchester Factory Load

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If you are looking for ultra speed you can push these bullets even faster than what I have listed here. I like to keep my loads away from the highest pressures possible. The loads here are my goto sub minute-of-angle accurate hunting loads. For varmints I either use the 75 grain V-Max or the 55 grain Ballistic Tip Winchester factory load.  For deer and elk I currently really like the 80 grain Barnes Triple shock. That bullet has preformed very well on elk. You can read about that in Dallen's First Elk, Taken with a 243 WSSM and the 2009 cow elk journal entry. I am very comfortable with this 80g TSX bullet on elk out to 350 yards. Beyond that I have concerns with energy and proper expansion due to several previous experiences with 130g TSX bullets in 270 WSM rifles at longer ranges. You can read more about my thoughts on the Triple Shock in my Recovered Triple Shock Bullet journal entry.

Another interesting thing in regards to speed. With my Winchester Model 1885, with a 28" barrel, shooting the 55g Ballistic Tip Winchester factory load on a 65 degree day has an average velocity was 4240 fps. It also consistently shoots this load under an inch at 100 yards. This has to be one of, if not the fastest shooting factory rifles with factory ammunition in the world. It does amazing things to chucks and prairie dogs. Wow!

I'm still looking for a long range deer load (350 yards and beyond). I thought the Hornady 85 grain InterBond might be the ticket. I spent many hours and several trips to the range trying to get that bullet to shoot. I tried four different powders and many different seating depths. The best I could get was three inch groups at 100 yards. On the other hand, every load I tried with the 75 grain Hornady V-Max shot well. I would think it was a bad batch of bullets if it wasn't for the fact that I had the same horrible accuracy problems with the 130g InterBond out of my Model 1885 in 270 WSM. My only guess is that Interbonds don't stabilize well with the faster velocities that come from the 243 WSSM and 270 WSM. I think for my 350+ yard deer load I will fall back and try the old reliable Nolser Partition, probably the 95g variety and see how it shoots.

I'm working on a load for the 95g Nosler Partition. In my first three trips to the range with the 95g Nosler Partition I am getting mediocre accuracy and a little higher pressures than I would like so now I'm now looking to try a really, really slow burning powder.

I found the 95g Nosler Partition load I like... well, maybe I'll tweak it some more in the future but for now I'm happy. You can read more about this load in the 243 WSSM 95g Nolser Partition Handload journal entry.

Oct. 15th 2010: I broke a decapping pin during development of the 95g Partition load and purchased another decapping/Tapered Expander assembly that is one thousandth of an inch larger in diameter. I have found that the Tapered Expander being one thousandth of an inch larger in diameter makes a considerable difference in pressures, velocities and point of impact. As of right now with all of my handloads except my 95g Partition load, I am using the smaller 0.242" diameter Tapered Expander.

Here's some DIY Hunting Rifle Target Downloads that might be helpful as well.

Bullet Powder Primer COAL Barrel Length Muzzle Velocity Notes
105 Gr. Hornady A-Max 45.8 Gr. Hodgdon H1000 WLR 2.3530-2.3560 24" 3070 Great Accuracy! See target groups and more information on this 105 A-Max load.
95 Gr. Berger VLD Hunting 46 Gr. H1000 WLR 2.434 28" 3220

Awesome Accuracy! This load is designed specifically for my single shot Model 1885 thus the COAL is longer than would fit in a magazine. This load was used on these long range shots.
1,200 Yard Shot
673 Yard Shot On A Very Small Target

95 Gr. Berger VLD Hunting 51 Gr. Accurate MagPro WLR 2.434 28" 3330 Great Accuracy! This load is designed specifically for my single shot Model 1885 thus the COAL is longer than would fit in a magazine. See target groups and more information on this load 95g Berger VLD load.
95 Gr. Nosler Partition 46 Gr. Hodgdon Retumbo WLR 2.270 24" 3165-3250 fps Sub MOA, This load shot 3250 three different times at the range with a slightly longer COAL. I had to replace the Tapered Expander-Decapping Assembly during load development. The new one is 0.243 in diameter and my old broken one (Oops!) is 0.242 in diameter. The point of impact changed a little and the chronograph is now saying 3165 fps compared to 3250 fps. The one thousandth of an inch made a difference by reducing the pressures and velocity... I could probably move back up a grain of powder with the .243 expander or go with a .242 expander to get the 3250 fps velocity.
80 Gr. Barnes Tipped Triple Shock 51 Gr. Hodgdon Superformance WLR 2.250 (everything I tried between 2.236 - 2.265 shot well) 22" 3550 fps Sub MOA. View my target groups and information about this load and Hodgdon Superformance powder
80 Gr. Barnes Tipped Triple Shock 52 Gr. Accurate MagPro WLR  2.265 22" 3360 fps Sub MOA. Could probably add a grain or two more of powder as I had no pressure signs with this load. This was one of my first test loads and it shot so well I didn't mess with it any more.
Same 80g TTSX load as above with different rifle 24" 3475 fps Sub MOA
85 Gr. Barnes Triple Shock 52 Gr. Accurate MagPro WLR  2.220 24" 3440 fps Sub MOA
75 Gr. Hornady V-Max 46 Gr. IMR 4350 WLR  2.220 24" 3560 fps Consistently accurate from all three of my 243 WSSM rifles.
70 Gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip 47.7 Gr. Winchester 760 WLR 2.285 24" 3600 fps Sub MOA
55 Gr. Ballistic Tip Winchester Factory Load     22" 4080 fps Sub MOA
Same 55 Gr. factory load as above with different rifle 28" 4240 fps Sub MOA