After my results with the Black Hills ammo from my AR test, I thought it might be worth it to try some of their take on my favorite bullet, the 95 gr. Nosler. I’ve used this bullet to take a literal ton of deer meat in the last 10 years and I have yet to have an animal end up more than 25 yards from the point of impact. In most cases, they drop right on the spot. For years, I’ve shot the Winchester Supreme Ballistic Silvertip with a lot of success. After shooting the Black Hills ammo in my AR, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to try their 95 gr. Nosler bullet. I picked up two boxes from Ammo to go for $25.95/20 rounds. For reference, the Winchester Ammo is $31.99/20 rounds from Midway. Here’s how the test went…

As always, my targets are ¼” grid paper with a 1.25” dot as the aiming point. My shots were taken at 100 yards indoors off a solid rest.

First up is my control. I shot three shots using the tried and true Winchester ammo. With three shots, I saw an average group radius of .332 inches. Definitely not bad and most certainly “minute of vital zone.”

For the Black Hills ammo, I let my barrel cool and cleaned the bore completely. Then I fired two strings of three shots at the target. I didn’t let the barrel cool in between shots. The bullets followed the path from left to right that you see in the target with each successive shot. Unlike my AR, which can drill ragged holes after a 20 round string, my Ruger is WAY susceptible to heat.

Here is the data for the average group radius as I increased the shot count.

3 shots .184 inches

4 shots .258 inches

5 shots .403 inches

6 shots  .496 inches

As I’m sure you can guess, I’m switching over to the Black Hills ammo. Less expensive and MUCH better accuracy. If you have something that has worked better for you out of a .243 WIN gun with a 22″ barrel and 1:9 twist, let me know. I’ll happily test it out.

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11 Responses to .243 WIN Ammunition Testing

  1. Thanks for the test on .243 ammo. I have a Remington 788 in .243, but it is used more for varmints than anything else; as deer hunting with center fire rifle cartridges is illegal in Indiana. I sort of buy what is on sale at Rural King and usually it is Remington .243 ammo in lighter grain bullets.

    • That would be because of cartridge length….243 is simply a 308 necked to 6mm bullets.

      You have to get a slightly scaled up design.

    • There are several companies out there making AR variants in .243. I believe they are all based on the AR 10 lower. Off the top of my head, DPMS, Olympic, and Remington all make them.

      Many moons ago, an old timer told me that the military had considered using .243 before 5.56. Unfortunately, .243 couldn’t meet the needs for magazine capacity, cost, and controllable full auto firing. Consider it a rumor, but a hell of an interesting story.

      • I always thought the .243 was something the military should have developed more than the .223. I just never thought the recoil was that bad, actually I thought it to be mild. I suppose the .243 and .308 are somewhat the same size as the magazine design model for the 788 is used for both. Much prefer .243 to .223 in some place like Afghanistan.

  2. Black Hills and Hornady Match are my two favorite ammo brands for accuracy. Black Hills can be hard for me to get locally. Cabelas usually carries it.

  3. Nice work, Tyler! The .243 is one of my (several) favorite rounds. It easily hits hard enough for deer, the felt recoil is more than manageable, it’s ballistics are excellent. It has a lot more energy than the little .223, and the point blank range of the .243 is 200 yards. What’s not to like?

  4. “With three shots, I saw an average group radius of .332 inches.” Curious as to how you compute an average from one group? And dont most folks measure the diameter to the outside edge of the group and subtract the bullet diameter? Not trying to nit-pick just understand your methodology.
    Also you may consider checking for barrel-forend contact after your barrel heats up. Removing some stock material may solve your issue.

    • Sorry to take so long to get back to you Dave J. I measure the horizontal distance of each hole from the leftmost hole and the vertical distance from the lowermost. I average those distances to find a group center and then find the distances from that “center” to each hole. I then average those distances to find an average radius of the group. By shooting on 1/4″ graph paper, it is a pretty repeatable way to measure accuracy.

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