2009 Cow Elk Hunt — Dallen's First Cow Elk Taken With A 243 WSSM

Dallen and 243 WSSM A-Bolt right after the shot

Just after Dallen shoots his first cow elk, using my A-Bolt Stainless Laminate in 243 WSSM.

Dallen and I both had late cow tags this year. After we struck-out with our rifle deer tags we were really hopeful for a little redemption by filling our cow elk tags. I would be testing a new 270 WSM, 140g AccuBond load out with my Winchester Model 1885. I spent a good couple of weeks tweaking the load and shooting group after group. I finally narrowed my load down to the best sub inch consistent shooting load.

The 28 inch barrel of this rifle is pushing the 140g AccuBond bullet 3540 fps. Oh yeah, a cruise missile. If you want a pick up a lot of speed try a 28 inch barrel out for size. With this rifle being a single shot there isn't a large amount of the overall length taken up by the action. Thus, this 28 inch barreled rifle comes in the same lengths as a 24 inch Model 70 would. Even with the AccuBond's stronger frame I knew any impact speeds above 3000 fps were going to disintegrate this bullet. At the speed my rifle was shooting this bullet's ideal expansion/penetration looks to be in the range of 350-700 yards. I was very curious to see how effective the bullet would be on a cow elk.

Not only was I trying a new bullet out of my rifle, the rifle was also equipped with a new scope. I was trying in the field for the first time a 2.5-16x Bushnell Elite 6500. I really liked the scope while shooting from the bench. The biggest thing I liked was the extra half inch of eye relief over the Elite 4200 that I did have on this rifle. For some reason, with my well above average stature, my forehead likes to get scope bit when shooting magnum recoiling calibers. Not the case with this rifle scope. Scope bites have vanished. Yeah!

Dallen was once again carrying my little 243 WSSM Browning A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Hunter. He would be using the same load that he used on his spike elk from two months prior, a 80 grain Barnes Tipped Triple Shock coming out the barrel at 3350 fps.

I decided to take a scouting trip on my own to access the whereabouts of the elk and if the stars aligned I go ahead and take care of filling my tag.

It was a bitter cold morning when I headed up the mountain in the dark. Boy was it bitterly cold. I think I said that already. I picked the wrong morning! The moisture from my breath was freezing my eyelashes shut if I paused while blinking my eyes.  I hiked in a couple miles and up about 1,500 vertical feet trying to located the elk in their usual places. Something had changed their patterns this year as there wasn't any sign of the elk being in their usual spots. It was still nice to be out of the office and get some good exercise but where were the elk?

The following week I heard reports that a heard of around forty elk was about a mile up the mountain on the other side of the small mountain range I was hunting. Dallen and I went out that evening to glass from the road and verify the herds location and come up with a plan. Because of the location we asked a very kind rancher to allow us to cross his property in hopes of getting our tags filled. "Sure come tomorrow and remove a couple of them for me." No problem, Thank you!

The next morning we headed out just after light. We spotted the elk again from the road and found they had moved over and back a ridge. We devised a plan and off we went.

After a good 400 foot vertical climb and a 70 yard crawl through about a foot of snow we were in position and setup on our Stoney Point Steady Stixs. The herd was mostly bedded down across a finger draw off the main canyon. The elk ranged from 230 to 300 yards away depending on which cow you were looking at. Even though it was one of the further elk I asked Dallen to take a cow that was standing broadside at 272 yards. At this range the bullet would be basically dead on. I picked out a cow at 242 yards that was bedded down broadside but still offered a good shot.

Dallen with 243 WSSM rifle and his first cow elk
Dallen's cow taken with 243 WSSM using a 80 gr Tipped Triple Shock at 272 yards.

I gave him the go ahead. Boom, boom...thump, whop! The cow I was shooting quickly jumped up and stood broadside. I could see Dallen's cow sliding down, down the hill. He's ecstatic! The elk started to file their way out of the canyon. My cow looked sick but kept on standing so I let her have another one right behind the shoulders. Boom...Whop! And she just stands there. Dallen starts heckling me about how quickly his went down... The herd is now clearly making an exit. My cow decides she wants to make an exit and even though I knew she had to be dead on her feet I didn't want any part of having to hike any farther to get these elk off the mountain. So I let her have it again. This time she had turned around and was going away. I shot to the left of her hind quarter, through the rumen and straight toward the opposite shoulder. Boom...Whop! This time she decided she should lay down and about thirty seconds later her head finally hit the ground. Boy did Dallen really start heckling me that he could kill them quickly with one shot and Dad with is big rifle took three. I think I might be hearing about this for some time to come... Dad remember that year it took you three shots and I only took one to get my elk.

Dallen with my cow elk taken with my Model 1885 in 270 WSM
My cow taken with my Model 1885 270 WSM using 140 gr Accubond handloads.

Now the work began. This was the first time I was the only adult to take care of two elk on the ground. We had come prepared to bone out and bring two elk off the mountain and that's what we did, all in one trip. It took several years of experimenting with different sleds and modifying them to get a system that works great for hauling meat off the mountain in snow.  It's a combination of modified saucer sleds and my home made heavy duty canvas meat bags. I'll write more about my snow meat hauling system in another post.

I used my custom Russ Kommer knife again on these elk. I wish I had this knife 20 years ago. The blade had not touched anything to sharpen it since Russ sharpened it. I had previously boned out Dallen's spike with the knife and now I was going to see how well it went through these elk. I boned out the first of the two cows in a breeze — razor sharp through two elk. Before using it on the second cow I did run the blade on a ceramic sharpener a few times and finished off the second elk.

80g Tipped Triple Shock and 85g Triple Shock fired from 243 WSSM and recovered from cow elk.

Both of these bullets were fired from my 243 WSSM rifles. They were recovered from cow elk after punching the shoulders and resting against the hide on opposite side.

  • Left - 85g Triple Shock,
    132 yards, 3500fps, Dec. 2006
  • Right - 80g Tipped Triple Shock,
    272 yards, 3360fps, Dec. 2009

View more of my recovered Barnes Triple Shock bullets.

I was in a hurry to get these animals boned out so I didn't spend a great deal of time opening the chest cavity up and seeing what  performance the 140 AccuBond had. The first two shots both hit a rib upon entry and appeared to have exploded just inside the rib cage. There was no sign that the bullets penetrated to the other side of the rib cage. The third shot entered the rumen, crossed through and broke a rib under the shoulder on the opposite side. I looked  for some time but could not find any large bullet remains.

Dallen's cow was shot about five inches higher than his spike. The bullet went through the shoulder blades on both sides and stopped against the hide. The bullet was a picture perfect mushroom shape just like Barnes advertises.

I still need to test this 140g AccuBond load a little more. A lot of people swear by them and I believe them. I just think I might be sending them on their way just a little faster than Nosler had planned that they would go.  I think I might plan on neck shots at closer ranges and enjoy the speed that will make this bullet extremely deadly at long ranges. And Dallen is now two shots for two elk with the little 243 WSSM and the little 80 grain Tipped Triple Shock! I'm really liking the performance of this bullet. Most of all I had another wonderful day in the field with my son making memories we will always remember.

Related Journal Entries:

2009 Mule Deer Hunt with 243 WSSM Rifles

Mule Deer Hunt with 243 WSSMDallen and I both would be hunting together for mule deer with rifles this year. I was pretty excited about the opportunity and it brought back memories of my first hunt at age 16 with my father using my Grandfather's Winchester Model 94 in 25-35 Win. I shot a two point that year in the 200 yard range with a peep sight. I long lucky shot I am sure I could never reproduce. I was pretty excited and had a wonderful time.

Dallen and I were going to be hunting some high altitude areas and looking to spend a night or two backpacking into some remote locations. I had a couple of honey holes that no one is crazy enough to venture into... well almost no one. We were planning on heading there.

Mule Deer Hunt with 243 WSSMUnfortunately a few days before the hunt Dallen fell ill with the swine flu and it quickly spread to my other three children. With the rifle season only being basically a week long it was a disaster for our hunt. With the kids sick I would grab a couple of hours sleep then take off driving around five in the morning. I would hike in a mile, hunt for a couple hours then run home to help with the kids. I did see a few smaller bucks and a small four point. On opening morning I hooked my digital camera up to the spotting scope and filmed a couple of two point bucks sparring to take back and show Dallen. And on one of my mad dashes I watched a whopper of a 3x4 but he was on the wrong side of a canyon.

By the end of the week Dallen was over the flu but the effects had taken it's toll. His lungs were just not up to 100%. I took him out two mornings and we saw a few does. We were unable to hike in as far as I wanted because his lungs just weren't in any shape to handle it.

I did have fun taking pictures of Dallen as we were hiking out the one morning. In fact the November 2009 wallpaper download on browning.com is one of these photos. I'll  post some others in this journal entry.

We were both carrying 243 WSSM rifles for the hunt with my 80g Tipped Triple Shock load. The load shoots really well out of both rifles. I decided on a load with powder that isn't as fast as I could possibly could get but it is a very accurate load and has absolutely no signs of any pressure in my rifles.


I was carrying a 243 WSSM, A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Varmint with a fluted barrel. This rifle has a 24 inch barrel and is topped off with a Bushnell Elite 4200 4-16x scope. Although the scope does not have the eye relief I need in a magnum recoiling rifle it works perfect on this rifle that has little to no recoil. This rifle is pushing my 80g Tipped Triple Shock load at 3475 fps on a 55 degree day. I bet with the right powder I could safely get this bullet going around 3600 fps, but I am very satisfied with how it is performing as is.


Dallen was carrying a 243 WSSM, A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Hunter with 22" barrel. This rifle has a Bushnell Elite 3200 3-10x SA Scope which is a perfect match for this small super short actioned rifle. This rifle is pushing the same 80g Tipped Triple Shock load at 3360 fps at 55 degrees. Barrel length makes a difference in the amount of speed you can achieve. Still 3360 fps does plenty darn good on deer and even elk as you may have read in my entry on Dallen's first elk with a 243 WSSM.

Dallen is hopeful the 3x4 will be on the correct side of the canyon come next year. I hope he's right.

The Meat Cart — Lightweight Elk & Deer Cart System

Dallen with his spike elk on the deer and elk meat cart.

After hauling the elk out with the Meat Cart my Carry In Big Game Cart system, I had Dallen take the wheel for a picture.

Hanging from the cart are my heavy duty homemade canvas big game meat bags.

In 2007 I was back out archery elk hunting again, packing in six miles to hunt. I was fortunate to get a little five point bull on my fourth day hunting the area. After shooting the bull in the morning it took the rest of the day to bone the elk out and take trips hauling the meat up and out of the steep rugged canyon to a trail. My base camp was about a mile from this location and the trail head was a good five miles out from there. I realized that I was not going to be able to get the meat out in time to keep it from spoiling on foot. I needed help and I placed a cell call out to a good friend to bring in some horse. The next morning I was grateful to see my friend and his horses, however I felt bad that I had taken him away from his family and the activities he had planned for the day.

It was at this time that I really started formulating ideas and drawing sketches of systems for me to haul an elk or deer out in one trip.

Here was what I wanted in a system.

  • Something small enough that I could place it on my backpack along with all the rest of my gear.
  • Something light enough that I would not be too weighed down by it and the rest of my gear. My goal was to get it under ten pounds.
  • It needed to be strong enough that I could place up to 150 lbs.
  • It needed to be able to haul meat out by a single person along narrow trails
  • I wanted a brake system for better control on inclines.

During the following year I started experimenting with different cart oriented designs. After all the experiments, I ended up with a cart system based around a single wheel. The cart is designed such that the meat is held in my canvas meat bags hanging from the frame of the cart. The weight is distributed evenly across both sides of the cart and can be all balanced directly over the wheel. The cart has detachable handles that balance the cart but don't hold any of the weight. And of course I placed a brake to control the cart on inclines. The handles can be quickly detached by turning two knobs. After removing the handles the cart can be easily placed on my frame pack or strapped to the outside of my internal frame pack for transport.

Lightweight Single Wheeled Elk and Deer Cart System

Here is a picture after a few modifications in the fall of 2010. The handles have been removed and tied to the side in preparation to use the cart for elk season this year. Two modifications are better brakes and lug bolts across the bar that the meat bags hang from. The bolts will help keep the meat bags from slipping out of position. With the modification the cart now weighs in at 13.8 lbs. With the right materials and welding I'm  confident a cart like this could be built weighing in the 7-10 lbs range.

In 2008 I was back archery hunting my usual area and this year I had the Meat Cart with me. It did add some additional weight but having it with me gave me great confidence in getting an elk out myself, if I were to get one on the ground. I was prepared to shoot a cow if I needed just so I could test out the Meat Cart, however after setting up my base camp and taking daily hunts all over the place I was only able to find one elk, a six point at that, but he was on the wrong side of the fence. Elk sure know where the public ground is and isn't. I think there must be something printed on the backside of the no trespassing signs the elk and deer can read. Something like "entering this area can greatly harm your health". Anyway, I struck out for 2008, so during the following year I made a few more tweaks to the cart.

Right now the cart weighs in right around thirteen pounds. I went with a solid, non-puncture inter-tube that added some additional weight. The breaks are also a work in progress and are excessively heavier than they need to be. Along with the steel frame the cart still only weighs 13 pounds. That's 10 pounds lighter that the two wheeled collapsible deer carts that are currently on the market. I'm pretty sure if it were built from aluminum and with some better manufacturing of the brakes the cart would probably be in the seven to ten pound range. I'll keep tinkering...I need an aluminum welder, hmm...

Single Wheeled Ultra-Lightweight Collapsible Elk and Deer Game Cart

I now have a new 10 lb prototype of this lightweight style of collapsible game cart. You can learn more about my newest lightweight game cart in my journal entry titled: Ultra-Lightweight Backpack Packable Game Cart

I am now manufacturing a updated version of this lightweight game cart by the name of Pack Wheel.

Dallen's spike elk he took with a 243 WSSM, became my first test for hauling out an elk. We were only a mile in to where his elk was on the ground so we didn't have to go too far to get it out. I used the cart to haul probably about two thirds of the elk out with the rest going in a frame pack on my back while Dallen carried much of the gear and his trophy rack. The cart did a wonderful job considering it was it's first call to duty. I had to go up and out of one canyon and across another to get back to our vehicle. I learned a few things that I will be tweaking but, for the most part my collapsible lightweight game cart worked very well.

The original idea for the cart spawned from my father's idea and the single wheeled elk / deer cart he built back the the 70's.

You can learn more and watch a video of my newest ten pound prototype lightweight game cart in use on a muzzleloader mule deer hunt in 2011.

January 2012: The lightweight game cart worked great for me on a late season cow elk hunt where I was able to use the cart to haul an entire cow elk out three miles.

Related Product Links:

Pack Wheel Backpack and Game Cart LogoPack Wheel — Lightweight Backpack and game cart

Dallen's First Elk, Taken with a 243 WSSM

Face painted DallenIn 2009 I was back archery hunting for elk. One of my greatest passions is archery elk hunting. The past couple of years I have backpacked in five to six miles and spent almost a week just enjoying being on the mountain by myself with none of the worries of work and the projects at the house.

This year was going to be a little different. My oldest son Dallen was now twelve and he had a rifle deer and elk tag. I was excited to help him have the best experience possible. So I changed my archery hunting location to a location that only required maximum hiking distances of two to three miles. This way I could scout for him while I was archery hunting and the hikes would be more manageable for a twelve year old. Dallen would be hunting a couple of weeks after the archery season and I hoped that I would have the elk figured out before it was his turn.

Dallen resting at mid-dayDallen was excited to be hunting this year and he accompanied me on two of my archery trips. He was a trooper and put in three good hikes however we never got into any elk. We did find areas where the elk had been, we just couldn't find the right place at the right time. I spent another four days hunting there and always seemed to be one day behind where the elk were at. I would hike one direction and the elk would be bugling in the other and so forth. I did learn a bunch about the area and had an enjoyable time just getting away.

The day before the opener of the rifle elk season Dallen and I headed up to the trail head to spend the night. He loves to sleep out in a tent with his old man and we had an enjoyable time that evening. The next morning around 4:30am we were up and getting ready. Just about the time we started to hike the trucks started pouring into the trail head's little parking area. As we headed up the trail in the dark I'm pretty sure that Dallen was just a little too excited and quickly got sick to his stomach and I mean sick. Within three quarters of a mile he just couldn't hike any more and was very upset because he ever so wanted to get a bull. I quickly realized that we should change or plans and try for a herd that works a large quaking aspen section of the mountain. This herd had done an excellent job of eluding me during the archery season but, Dallen's upset stomach turned into a blessing today.

Browning A-Bolt 243 WSSM rifle resting on pack while elk hunting.

243 WSSM rifle sitting on pack as we take a break near where we last heard the bull on opening day.

We eased our way into the edge of the quakeys just as it was getting light. Dallen was hurting really bad and very upset that he was. That quickly changed, as soon as it was light enough to shoot, I cow called and boom a bull bugled within 150 yards of us deeper in the quakes. I proceeded to call back and forth with this bull for the next 20 minutes. Unfortunately, every time I got the bull bugling his current lady friends would start calling. It was obvious his current ladies didn't want to share. I was really hoping that a satellite bull was in tow and would came over to check us out but, it wasn't to be. One thing for sure was the instant that bull bugled back at us Dallen was cured. I bet Dallen now belongs to a long list of hunters that have been cured by the sound of a bull elk bugling back in the early light of opening day.

We spent the rest of the day circling around the mountain trying to find where the bull's lady friends had lead him away captive too but, had no luck in finding their secret hiding spot.

Dallen's first elk taken with a Browning A-Bolt 243 WSSMAfter the opening weekend we switched areas and headed to a little lower altitude and hunted the lower edges of the quakeys mixed with oak brush. We found elk sign the first two times but couldn't locate any elk. On the third morning we finally crossed paths with a herd of about eight cows and a spike. There wasn't very much time for us to setup as the elk were on the move and there was only a small window in the oak brush before they got into the thick brush and went around the ridge. He quickly got setup on his shooting sticks and I grabbed a Primos Hyper-Lip Single cow call. I mewed, the spike stopped, Dallen dropped the hammer, and the spike took a couple steps and fell over. I didn't even have time to pull up my binoculars to see the shot. It was pretty darn cool. I was very impressed with his ability to acquire the target and take a good shot without having to be coached or him asking me if he should shoot. He knew when it was the right time to drop the hammer all on is own just like a pro. It was the coolest sharing this moment with my son. We both actually shed a tear or two of joy and a great big hug for dad. I can't think of a better way to get to know and bond with your kids than taking them hunting.

When we spotted the elk we knew they were well within the range of the rifle and my son's abilities. After the shot a quick check with the range finder verified this, 205 yards. With this rifle and load it has about a 350 yard max-point-blank range on a seven inch target. He was using my 243 WSSM in a Browning A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Hunter rifle with a Bushnell Elite 3200 3-10x Short Action scope. It's a sweet lightweight rifle setup that is ideal for carrying all day long. Dallen really enjoys the rifle and thinks it's his now. Hmm... Not yet son.

For the past several years Dallen and I have taken a prairie dog and rock chuck hunting trip. I think those shooting experiences really sharpened his skills and paid off well. I would also have to credit the hunting videos he has watched and heard me preach on when it is and isn't the right time to take the shot.

Here are some of the more technical details:

  • 205 Yards
  • 243 WSSM
  • A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Hunter with 22" barrel
  • Bushnell Elite 3200 3-10x SA Scope
  • 80g Barnes Tipped Triple Shock
  • 3360 fps  (same load same day shot 3475 fps from my A-Bolt Stainless Laminate Varmint with a 24" barrel). You can view this handload on my 243 WSSM Ballistics and Handloads page.
  • Center punched both shoulders
243 WSSM Entrance Hole on Dallen's First Elk 243 WSSM Exit Hole on Dallen's First Elk
243 WSSM, 80g Tipped Triple Shock Entrance Hole & Russ Kommer Custom Knife 243 WSSM, 80g Tipped Triple Shock Exit Hole

Yes, you read correctly and it isn't a typo, an 80 grain bullet passed through a bull elk's shoulders at 205 yards. The bullet hit the elk exactly where I had told Dallen to place it. I have taken several cow elk with Barnes Triple Shock bullets and a couple of Mule deer. I have learned that they penetrate through anything even with the small bore .243 variety. I have found that the Triple Shock bullet performance on a animal has been best achieved by hitting the deer or elk in the muscle and bone of the shoulder. I also believe the Tipped Triple Shock expands better than the non-tipped on game.  If you zip a Triple Shock through the rib cage I have not heard any audible indication that the animal has been hit. Where a more traditional bullet gives a load audible whop, pretty much anywhere you hit the animal. In the past the Triple Shock has left me wondering if I missed, especially when the elk is also showing no signs of being hit. This has happened when I have placed the bullet in the traditional behind the shoulder through the rib cage area. With a Triple Shock the only time I have heard a good thump has been with bone crushing shoulder shots. So I hold for shoulder even though I loose a little meat, I like knowing I made a hit audibly and I like seeing critters fall over quickly.

We hauled this elk out with my lightweight packable deer and elk cart. I have been working on the cart for a couple of years now and it did very well for it's first elk. Also on this hunt I used for the first time a new knife that Russ Kommer made for me. Wow, what a nice knife. I had expressed a couple of things I wanted in a knife and Russ did an excellent job with it.

Here are some notes on my Russ Kommer semi-skinner knife.

  • This was the first time I used only one knife from start to finish.
  • I boned the elk out one hour faster than normal...and I wasn't trying to go fast.
  • I sat the knife down at one point and then needed it and made the comment "Now where's my knife." My son quickly says "Right there Dad, good thing it's bright orange instead of camo..."  Exactly why I wanted a brightly colored knife.
  • This was the first time I went from start to finish without sharpening my knife.
  • The knife cleans very quickly compared to the folders I normally use.
  • The sizing was perfect even for getting out the tenderloin without puncturing the rumen.

I really like the knife. If there was one thing I would like added would be a reflective handle material like you see on running shoes and safety vests. The reason: when I am exhausted boning a elk out in the dark I often lay my knife down and spend the next five minutes trying to find it. On occasion, I have repeated this finding process numerous times per animal. The reflective material would make it even easier to find the knife in the dark.

243 WSSM and the 243 Win.


243 WSSM and 243 Win Bullets
243 WSSM & 243 Win. (Left-Right)

I have often heard the question "What's so special about a 243 WSSM compared to the 243 Win?"  The simple answer is that the 243 Win. is an excellent caliber and so is the 243 WSSM. They each offer a little different flavor to our hunting and shooting experiences. Here are some of the pros and cons and why I like the 243 WSSM.

Some Positives

  • The 243 WSSM can fit into a shorter action rifle with a shorter bolt, magazine and receiver. This means you get a lighter, smaller rifle that produces a shorter, faster bolt throw. It also means you get a stiffer action that can improve accuracy.
  • The 243 WSSM shoots bullets a little faster. Roughly 100-200 feet per second.
  • In theory shorter fatter cases have the characteristics to burn the powder more evenly and consistently resulting in improved accuracy.
  • The cartridge is short enough to work in the AR-15 platform. Where the 243 Win. requires the longer action AR-10 which in heavier and more expensive.

Some negatives

  • Loaded ammunition is expensive.
  • Loaded ammunition can be harder to find.
  • Some people have reported difficulty with shells feeding. This makes perfect sense, the case is really short and really fat, requiring a little more finesse to make the transition from magazine to chamber than a longer traditional shell. My A-Bolt's magazines required a slight adjustment to get shells to feed smoothly. (see my 243 WSSM Feeding Issues - Solved article)
  • Because the shells are fatter you will get one less shell in the magazine in a Browning A-Bolt or Winchester Model 70.
  • Production rifles are hard to find now days (See list below.)

Some myths

  • The 243 WSSM burns barrels out really fast.
    Wrong! I have not seen nor heard of any evidence that they burn barrels out any faster than any other "magnum" like cartridge. Browning and Winchester also chrome lined their barrels. Chrome lining can greatly extend barrel life. I personally like how easy it is to clean chrome lined barrels. I suspect that they were chrome line as a precaution before real extensive testing was done on the barrel life.  Whatever the case production rifles from Browning A-Bolts and Winchester Model 70s are chrome lined. One of these barrels with proper care should last well beyond the amount of rounds most people ever shoot in their lives.
  • You better stock up on brass because they aren't going to make it any more.
    Common sense will tell you that there are far too many rifles out there for Winchester to stop making brass. And more rifles are continuing to hit the market with the AR-15 rifles that continue to get more popular in the 243 WSSM offerings. Now common sense will also tell you that Winchester would only make runs of brass to meet the demand. If demand goes up or down they would obviously adjust accordingly. I use to think this but Winchester hasn't done squat to support their WSSM customers with brass.

Where can I find WSSM brass?
We have a supplier of WSSM brass! Bill at Hill Billy Brass is forming WSSM brass from WSM brass. Thank you Bill!

Where can I find a 243 WSSM rifle? Currently only AR-15 rifles are in production. Here are the AR-15 rifles that I am aware of.

If you're one who likes to tinker at the reloading bench with different bullets, powder and the like, the 243 WSSM might be for you. If you are looking for a rifle that's a little faster shooting and lighter to carry, the 243 WSSM might be for you. If you spend a good deal of time hunting and hiking in rugged tough country, a little lighter rifle might be for you. Now on the other hand if you like to grab a box of ammo at Walmart as you're heading out of town to your hunting lease the 243 WSSM probably isn't for you.

I think the 243 Win. is an excellent cartridge and I have always been fond of it. My father's deer rifle is a Sako Forester chambered in 243 Win.  In my youth I watched my father shoot mule deer with it and I'd hear the stories from the guys in his hunting party talking about how they would all miss at long range with their 30-06's and my dad with his little 243 would get them every time. Boy, how I thought that rifle was the best rifle in the world. Some day I hope to own my father's rifle but we'll have to see as I have two brothers that have their eyes on it also.

I don't think you can go wrong with either cartridge as long as you understand what might be an advantage and what might be a disadvantage for your individual hunting and shooting style. The 243 Win. is an outstanding caliber and for the gear head that I am the 243 WSSM is just as outstanding. Many a deer has fallen to a .243/6mm diameter bullet throughout the years. And the latest cartridge to push this 6mm bullet does the job quite well.

The 243 WSSM has also been deadly on elk. In 2009 my son made a 205 yard one shot kill on his first elk bull elk with a 243 WSSM and a 272 yard one shot kill cow elk with a 243 WSSM, and again in 2010 Dallen took a cow elk with a single shot at 110 yards with a 243 WSSM.

To view my favorite handloads for the 243 WSSM check out my 243 WSSM Handloads and Ballistics page.


  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

Additional information