JJ Sutton, C.P.S., C.M.A.S. writes [via ammoland.com]
To begin with, there are statements in this article that are purely my own, and my opinions are obvious and blatant. Nonetheless, I really hope there are some good tidbits in here that grab people’s interest. As importantly, am I hoping to get some attention from ammunition manufacturers on the .243 WSSM, which was truly ahead of its time.
The .243 caliber cartridge is a historically proven caliber. I would wager it has been used on almost every continent since its introduction in 1955. It is proven as a hunting caliber across North America, throughout Europe, Africa and so on. It was also proven as a competition caliber in long range precision shooting before more modern fads and technology started edging in on its accolades.
In a few particular circles, it has been efficiently used as a Law Enforcement sniper caliber as well.
The original caliber has a heritage that makes the conversion to a Super Short Magnum seem very reasonable and, generally, a pretty good idea. Improved technology in propellants and the physics behind shorter, wider casings help boost performance. Ballistics shine as well. I am sure arguments can be made against this next statement, but the introduction in 2003 of the .243 WSSM (Winchester Supper Short Magnum) gave the round about a 10% boost in key performance areas of velocity, accuracy and effective Range.
Mechanically speaking, what really torpedoed the chances of the .243 WSSM being well embraced, was how it interfaced with Bolt Action platforms. It was not originally looked at in relation to semi-autos, I think that is where .243 WSSM or Winchester Super Short Magnum shines brightest.
Reading through blogs, forms, and rifle owners’ comments on the .243 WSSM, they all point to one key failure. Namely, feed and function related issues. The overwhelming complaint expressed about this round was how hard it fed or failed to feed. The incredibly steep shoulders of the case from neck to fat magnum body meant it had a really hard time feeding in a bolt action platform. The performance of the cartridge wasn’t in question if it made it into the chamber and the trigger was pulled.
The way bolt actions operate meant there was not enough engineering put into getting that short little round keg of spitfire up and into the chamber. The ammo designer probably spent a lot of time designing the round, but gun makers didn’t do enough to allow it to mechanically function. Instead, they just hoped to retro fit it into existing platforms. It is far more costly to design and manufacture a new receiver format than a new cartridge.
While long range shooters and hunters were, and are, focused on traditional (bolt action) feed issues, the mechanical performance failings of the .243 WSSM are simply solved by introducing it into a modern sporting action. That just so happens to qualify the AR-15 platform actions as perfect!
I think there could be wide eyed masses of semi-auto shooters waiting for a round like this that they could affordably upgrade their ARs with and have a great hunting caliber available.
The design and function of the AR-15 platform perfectly offers the mechanical solution which the .243 WSSM lacked in a bolt action.
The magazine and bolt interface in the AR-15 is simple. First, the design of the magazine provides uniform tension on the cartridge from three sides: from the bottom, and from feed lips on each side. When a loaded AR-15 magazine is inserted and seated in the action, the cartridge alignment is such that it is more directly in line with the chamber and the feed ramps support the rest of the chambering. The incredibly defined shoulder of the .243 WSSM is no longer the hindrance it presented to a bolt action platform.
With cycling problems solved, it provides one of the highest velocity options in the AR-15 platform: pushing a factory 55gr bullet a screaming 4,050+ fps muzzle velocity with a mid to long range effectiveness like never before. Heavier grain bullets are probably more preferred for most game options but still – 4,050+ fps!
Larger and heavier AR-10 platforms have been chambered to allow traditional, long cased .243’s, and they perform well, too. I would easily venture there are WAY more AR-15s sitting around than there are AR-10s on the market, that in just a few moments and by popping out two take down pins that AR-15 can now be converted with an upper to a hunting rifle just that easy.
.243 WSSM ( Winchester Super Short Magnum ) Load Data
Major manufacturer Olympic Arms was quick to recognize this high performance caliber and how it fits into the AR-15 platform. Olympic Arms produced their first .243 WSSM production rifle in 2004 and included production models in their 2005 catalog. I hear nothing but great things about those production rifles. A couple of specialty manufacturers are putting out some nice custom work as well: Accuracy Systems. Inc. in CO and Dedicated Technology in MN.
You may have heard that one of the reasons the .243 WSSM withered on the vine was that it “burned up” barrels too fast. Nope. Not factual. The round was introduced in 2003. A lot of modern technology helped it get its primary and supporting characteristics.
First, know that the shape, mathematics, and engineering behind the case design is very important. Although such technical aspects are way above my head, I know they are important to the performance of Super Short Magnum cartridges. I understand they chrome lined the barrels of the first bolt action rifles put out but I never read about barrel erosion issues from any consumer.
Secondly, in order to get the best burn rates and pressures from any of the propellants used, it meant it usually was accompanied by high heat. High heat is the enemy of quality metals. Modern propellants are capable of getting burn rates and pressures at lower temperatures. Stay with me here . . .
The engineering of the Super Short Magnum maximizes science to get better performance. Better powders have reduced heat and reduced heat equals lower erosion potential in the throats of the barrels. That covers Thermal and Chemical erosion concerns.
Lastly, better available steel for barrels busts the myth of barrel erosion from a mechanical perspective. Quality barrels commonly of a stainless steel variety, are better, are harder, combined with improved technology, simply do not produce excessive barrel wear.
In fact, Tom Spithaller, Director of Sales, Olympic Arms, Inc., told me their .243 WSSM demo rifle, made in 2004, is still used regularly, and has approximately 8,000 rounds thru it. It is still holding tight groups with beautiful performance and no erosion issues from a barrel made of 416SS. I am pretty positive that far exceeds what a normal hunter or recreational shooter would put thru their barrel in a life time (in this caliber).
The best advice though is to take the time to properly break in a barrel per the barrel maker’s recommendations. Once you have a correctly seasoned barrel and it is on your hunting or mission specific rifle don’t rapid fire it and allow it to get excessively over heated. It will last a long time. Save that abuse for your recreational, competition, and fun range time with calibers that are more affordable to shoot. Which using AR platforms is just a quick change of an upper.
Seriously, finding .243 WSSM is the adult version of a never ending Easter egg hunt. I have had several cases on order for MONTHS (like close to 12 months) and still nothing. I asked a connection I know, who announced he would be hanging with Winchester at the Live Fire Day before SHOT Show 2016, if he could PLEASE ask Winchester what were the chances of getting some .243 WSSM in production… nothing, crickets.
The distributors who have heard of it have never seen it, and others have never heard of it. An ammunition company who advertised the caliber said there was no way they could get brass (so why list it damn it?). I even called up Peter Pi founder of CorBon (www.corbon.com ) on his cell phone to see if they had any interest in it. He turned me over to the production manager and he never gave me a response which I took as a no.
I have since found a tip for what seems like a good source for brass if you are a reloader – I am not. Check out Hill Billy Brass. ( www.hillbillybrass.com )
If I won the lottery, I would order up 50,000 rounds of the stuff and get it into the market so I could start cranking out more .243 WSSM chambered AR-15s. I think it really is a “Must Have”, all around, screaming fast AR-15 Caliber. No joke. I personally think the .243 WSSM most excellent for varminting, small game, medium, and even some Big Game at the appropriate distances. It easily can bring down a Bull Elk at 350yds.
Another caliber bullet? Why? Sorry, I cannot drum up enough interest to read all the technical details, but with so many standard calibers around, .223/.308/.300 Blackout, etc., immediately available off the shelf and reasonably priced, what is so impressive about this particular round?
It seems to me that whatever this .243 round can do some other standard and popular caliber round can do already. I am not opposed to innovation when there is an obvious improvement to be gained, but…?
The WSSMs have been around for at least a decade now. Not exactly new.
Because it is a very high velocity round (basically, performance slightly exceeding .243 Winchester) that is short enough to be fed in an AR-15 lower.
.243 caliber has been around since the fifties. Read the article, .243 (aka 6mm) is a STANDARD caliber size. Also, if you read the article, you’d know that .243 WSSM is a very high performance, high energy, high velocity long-range precision and hunting cartridge that takes a umber of good features from other calibers and combines them in a way that no other cartridge does.
I hate people who see something new, something their grand-pappy didn’t teach them on, and dismiss it out of hand as unnecessary.
The top end of the .243 wssm in 55 grain is over 4,000 feet/second…..there is the problem…..and the reason why hunters love this round…..someone somewhere need to start making it again.
A round that’s reliable in a semi auto but not a bolt gun? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard that before.
They are few in number, but they are there.
The issue is actually more about the length of the bolt action than the round itself. This round is substantially shorter than even a typical “short” bolt action, which is sized for a .308/.243 Win cartridge (approx. 2.8 inches). The “standard” length action is sized for .30-06 cartridges, and “magnum” actions are sized for the .375 H&H class of cartridges. The problem comes in here where the cartridge has a long way to move forward to get the bullet into the chamber as it is coming loose of the magazine rails in a .308-length rifle. Chopping the action down might help, and it might not.
Commercial bolt actions have been so reliable for so long that people who aren’t gunsmiths have forgotten the years and years gunsmiths spent getting “magnum” cartridges to feed reliably in ‘standard’ actions – eg, sporterized Mauser/1903/1917 actions. Ask a gunsmith who builds custom rifles some time about getting a .375 H&H to feed in a full-length Mauser action sometime… but do it when there are no ladies or children present.
For what I need a center fire rifle for, hunting at ranges usually less than 300 yards, I’ll just stick with my .243 bolt gun.
Thanks for the effort of the reply.
I’ve had mausers and springfields and others. That 1917 is an interesting rifle as issued. I always felt it was overbuilt. Which ain’t always a bad thing.
For many custom gunsmiths building an African rifle on a budget, the 1917 is a starting point, explicitly because it is so massively over-built. These gunmakers will tend to straighten out the dog-leg in the bolt handle, lop off the sight “ears” on the rear of the receiver, then polish it up, smooth out the trigger, hang a custom barrel on it, then start working on the magazine/bottom metal.
I’ve seen 1917’s sporterized into .505 Gibbs, which if you do a little reading, you’ll see is a monster of a cartridge. More of them have been put up in .375 H&H and .404 Jeffrey, tho.
It’s not a 1917, but my buddy has a Mauser 98 action chambered in 500 Jeffery. He’s been slowly piecing it together since acquiring the barrel and action together.
OK, here we have a new “Gotta-have-it” cartridge that, on paper, appears to the the Hot New Lick[tm].
Trouble is… there’s not as much there for your money as you’d like.
If people sit down with load data books, or, better yet, they sit down with a exterior ballistics program (jbmballistics.com is a good place to start), you see that shovelling tons of powder behind a low-Bc bullet gets you some impressive muzzle velocities, but downrange… it all seems to peter out.
Experienced shootists learned this oh-so-long-ago with the .22-250. The .220 Swift, .22-250 and then.22-250 AI provided shooters with the first rifles that could credibly run muzzle velocities over 4,000 fps. Downrange at 800+ yards, however, those bullets had all the ballistic fervor of a .22LR. What happened? The tyranny of drag, that’s what.
IMO, if you want to come up with a successful round for a rifle today, you start by choosing your bullet. Not your case, not your velocity, just your bullet. You should choose the bullet for the bore diameter you have by one criterion: the highest possible Bc (G1 or G7) you can find. After you’ve done that, compute the rifling twist necessary to stabilize the bullet, then (and only then) start figuring out how your going to launch it. Too many people get obsessed about muzzle velocities, paying no heed to how quickly they’re going to bleed that velocity away with high-drag pills.
In an AR-type platform, there are two common variants of the AR: The AR-15, which has a .223/5.56 bolt head, and the AR-10, which as a .308/7.62 bolt head. There has been a 6×45 wildcat for some time, and you can find .243 pills that are substantial improvements over anything the .223/5.56 can launch, especially in the 105 grain space, where the benchrest boys & girls have spent the last three decades tuning the performance of .243/6mm bullets and ballistics. Trouble is, the OAL on a 105gr pill on a 6×45 is too long for the AR’s magazine and bolt cycling. Pushing the shoulder back would seriously decrease the case capacity, and you’d end up with something that launches at a very modest velocity for a lot of effort.
OK, so let’s propose using the .243 WSSM to launch a varmint-class bullet with low Bc’s is just a waste – and figure out how to get the most out of the .243 WSSM. You could use the fact that this cartridge affords you lots of capacity in a short case, and an OAL closer to the .223 than a .308 does to good effect. IOW, don’t settle for the .243 WSSM with light, buzzy pills. No, get to work and use what you have here to launch the optimum bullet: the 105 grain VLD pills used by the benchrest crowd.
In order to get the OAL down to be the same as the 5.56/.223, the shoulder will need to be bumped back and the neck possibly trimmed a bit. Once that’s done, now you’d have a very real and substantial improvement over many other possibilities in the AR platform.
Pick the bullet first. Then figure out how to launch it.
4000 fps is hard on a barrel anyways. Talk about some wear and tear.
Read the article, that issue is specifically addressed.
Excellent points. When reading the post, I was puzzled why the author chose such a piss poor bullet. A G-1 of .276?
When looking at a rifle, I look at bullet selection first, and as you stated, I plug it in my ballistics program. If it doesn’t have good bullets for me to load, I don’t want it.
And if it won’t shoot under a half inch after tinkering, I get rid of it.
Tom, you’re just too picky. I have some guns that shoot minute of barnside. – and they work just fine.
Haha. Yes. I’m a bit picky. I do have exceptions. My .375 and .470NE only need to shoot minute of buffalo brain.
The upside of velocity over BC is that it extends your point blank range (+/- 3″ typically). For most any hunting application this is preferable, unless you’re going after larger game where deeper penetration is desired. Basically comes down to using the right tool for the job.
Maybe, maybe not.
This is why I’m recommending that people play with ballistics tables or an exterior ballistics program. You can often find out that the conventional wisdom of “push it faster” is increasingly wrong. When you have a higher Bc, you have more downrange energy and flatter trajectories – in as little as 300 yards.
Go ahead – play with JBM’s program, and use the bullet library. Pull up a .308 round with a old-school hunting bullet (eg, Nosler Partition) and then look at the new, very slick hunting bullets with higher Bc’s. Play with bullets of the same mass and launch velocity – you will see the higher Bc wins (obviously). But then play with a lighter bullet, launched at higher muzzle velocity, vs. a heavier bullet with higher Bc’s launched at a lower velocity. You might be quite surprised to see how much the higher Bc pays off.
If you’re comparing say a flat based 150gr. .308 to an aerodynamic boat tailed 168gr. .308 you’d be completely right. But comparing apples to apples like a 150gr. Nosler ballistic tip vs. a 165gr. ballistic tip you’re almost always going to see a longer zero out of the lighter bullet. Just checking Hornady’s ballistics table their 150gr. SST Superformance (BC .415) zeroed in at 200 yards drops 6.8″ @ 300 vs. 7.6″ for the 165gr. SST Superformance (BC .447). Now this difference isn’t nearly as significant to shooting a deer at 300 yards as it is to hitting a gong at 1000 yards. For hunting the choice between the two should be based on terminal ballistics, the heavier bullet being better for larger game.
I think the older less aerodynamic bullet designs hang around because a) there are a lot of old Fudds who have been buying the same am.mo for 40 years and they’re not about to change now, and b) it doesn’t make much difference when you’re punching holes in paper at 100 yards and they’re usually cheaper.
You’re not going to see the best bullet designs out of Hornady, Nosler, Sierra, etc.
You need to be looking at Berger and Barnes.
Yes, those SSTs are not the highest BCs around, but compared to older flat based designs like Rem. core lokt @ .314 (150gr) or W;nchester power point @ .294 it’s enough to make a huge difference downrange. I almost question if those power points aren’t meant for the .30-30. The Noslers are a bit higher.
No love for the .45-70?! The .308? 300 BLK? 5.56? .22 LR? Those don’t have great BC’s. All can be used to great effect, and are (were) in military and spec ops supply chains.
I say pick the purpose, then pick the platform, then pick the bullet, and then pick the speed. I.E. deer hunting with a bolt action rifle inside of 300 yards and a $1,000 budget. But first of all, understand how much your wife will let you spend!
I don’t get it. It costs 3 times as much per round as a .243 W-i-n-c-h-e-s-t-e-r and all you get is a slightly shorter, fatter .243 that gains a whopping 50fps. What’s the point?
The whole point is that that the OAL of the .243 WSSM would allow you to fit the rounds into an AR-15 magazine and up the mag well without hogging the crap out of the lower and upper to make it feed.
You can’t get the OAL of a .243 Win up through the AR-15 magazine well. The round is just too darn long.
Remember my rants about how “there are other rifles than the AR-15, folks?” This is where I could re-post those rants, but I won’t, because I don’t like repeating myself.
This entire article is about trying to get more horsepower out of an AR-15. That’s it. This is just like the 6.8 SPC, the .300 AAC, the 6.5 Grendel, you name it. Everyone knows the 5.56 is a squirrel round, and they all want to come up with the Magic Solution.
Here’s my idea for a magic solution: We design and field a magazine-fed rifle that shoots a round in the 6.5 to 7mm bullet space, with a G1 Bc of at least 0.400. It should be fed by a detachable or fixed magazine of at least 10 rounds, have ballistics with a bullet that remains supersonic out to at least 880 yards, is rechargeable with stripper clips (if necessary) and have a recoil impulse under 15 ft-lbs.
There, I said it: It is time to replace the AR-15. Quit trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, nut up and do the work we know needs done.
So essentially an ar10 in 6.5 creedmoor or 7mm-08?
Or just leave it as a 308win and quit trying to make what was originally designed to be a mediocre intermediate range gas gun into the precision “long range” rifle that it will never be.
IMHO, those are kinda on the upper end of the necessary case capacity and generate unnecessarily strong recoil. Something with a case volume closer to the BR series of cases or even a .284 case that’s been shortened to about 1.5″ would give the necessary powder capacity. For 1000m supersonic a 107gn Sierra MK in a 6.5mm BR launched at a moderate 2700fps would easily get there even in fairly dense air. It’d be a bit like a 6.5 Grendel with just a bit more poop. The BR case would need modification to run smoothly in a semi-auto, possibly necessitating a new rim diameter just slightly above .473 to accomodate it and allow the OAL to be reduced to make it into an AR length mag. 6.5 Grendel made a good fist of trying to balance things. A 6.5 BRX with a little added body taper might do some neat work too. I’m a fan of the 7mm BR. 165’s moving a pokey 2250 make it 1000yrds supersonic with the same mild recoil as a 7.62×39. 130’s loping along at 2560fps MV still clear over 800yrds supersonic with even less recoil. Admittedly that’s more impressive on paper and steel than on meat.
This, in the end, is bench racing. An exercise in the theoretical. An obscure (all things relative) boutique cartridge, that isn’t, you know, available. Nobody is making them, and the chance that someone is going to stop cranking out rounds they can sell everyone they press, for a flyer, seems highly unlikely.
If only we had a standardized long action semi like the ar15. The ar10/pa10/lr308 etc has too many variants with non-interchangeable parts. If only one can be agreed upon by all manufacturers.
Doesn’t Magpul now ship decently priced mags for only one of those variants? I would imagine that would tilt the market in its favor pretty quick…
Perhaps if they renamed the cartridge the ‘.243 W-i-n-c-h-e-s-t-e-r Super Short’ I’d get it, but the ‘magnum’ label implies something a bit hotter than the .243 Win. Even then it seems more practical to just buy an AR10. The money you’d save on am-mo would quickly pay for the extra couple hundred bucks over an A-R 15 upper. Throw in an 18″ barrel as opposed to a 16″ and you’ll probably get that 50fps back. So yea, if you really just HAVE to have a .243 in an A-R 15 platform I guess that works, but from a commercial standpoint I don’t see the future in this round.
What you’re describing almost sounds like a Garand or M1A chambered for a greater variety of cartridges. I’d absolutely love a .243 autoloader if the price was right. I agree; for sporting and long-range applications the AR-15 platform is generally barking up the wrong tree. CQB is a different story, but I’d still rather have a good shotgun. It’s time to move on.
I’ve moved on to a cowboy assault rifle in the venerable .30-30. I figure it will do just about anything I’d ask an unscoped rifle to do. More powerful than a 5.56, less recoil than a .308 (or 12ga.).
The Garand/M1A have their own issues, starting with a) they’re expensive to manufacture, b) their long op-rod is subject to being bent by hotter loads, c) their stock mounting really wants them to remain in the stock, not be broken out for cleaning.
Dyspeptic Gunsmith, don’t even get me started on the M1A. People’s rabid love for that rifle, I will never understand. Especially when people start trying to turn it into a precision rifle (the military only did it because that’s all they had on hand, again, and again). It has so many negative against it and a reputation that was purely conjured up by peoples’ last lusting for a military rifle that was wood and steel, then many threw off the wood!
Owning one, I can answer some of your questions:
1. In a 7.62×51 battle rifle, it is more accurate than its peers. The G3, FAL, etc weren’t even 2MOA rifles. The trigger on the Garand or M1A could be made very nice by a competent gunsmith. The sights were head and shoulders above the peer rifles, with match sights being even better.
2. Using the M80 ball ammo, they were quite reliable, and they hit plenty hard.
3. They had a substantial enough stock that when you put a 1907 sling on them, and then reefed down on that sling, the rifle held up and didn’t go out of zero, or worse, break the stock. Too many modern/younger shooters don’t know crap about using a sling when shooting a rifle. I consider the M16/AR-15 platform to be an embarrassment for using a sling in a proper manner unless you outfit the AR with aftermarket parts to put together a forearm on which you can actually reef down on the sling.
4. The M14’s and M1A’s that were made with TRW parts are high quality guns, built from forged, heat-treated steel and walnut, unlike the stamped sheet metal of their peers of the era.
Those are some reasons why people like the M1A so much. All guns have their issues, and the Garand/M1A are no exceptions. Give me a quality M1A with quality magazines and M80 ball ammo, and I’d be happy to compete in a service rifle match. Then again, give me a 1903A3 Springfield and M2 ball ammo and I’m content to compete as well.
Here’s your answer Robert, people own .243 bolt guns. It doesn’t do anything that couldn’t be had from other weapons for less and have good ammo availability.
My father in law has a bolt Browning in .243 wssm. The problem is finding ammo, but it drops deer in their tracks. He was going to reload but finding brass is a pain, thanks for the link above.
Cabellas Currently has some 243wssm. So does Able’s.
Thank you for that information. It was appreciated. I did order a box. Seeing as how it might fire 3-4 rounds a year to check zero and shoot deer that should extend the usefulness of the rifle another 5 years!
Buy the whole lot so Cabellas will be forced to re-order, thus keeping production alive!
If you think the .243WSSM is hard to feed give it to D’Arcy Echols he will make it feed it is all geometry and math….He used to purposely get a table at the CADA show in Denver next to Don Allen who’s rifles were pretty but did not feed worth a _______. D’Arcy is the man!
The .243 WSSM only gives 50-150fps over a normal .243 Winchester (depending on projectile weight). Not worth the extra issues caused by the short-and-fat cartridge.
Sounds fun in an ar15. The reason I don’t own an ar is because I don’t really care for 223/5.56 but this could be a fun caliber.
Yeh, I don’t own any AR’s either……
I’ve got AR15 pattern rifles in 5.56, 6.5Grendel, 6.8SPC, .338Spectre, .and 458SOCOM.
Lots of calibers to chose from.
The .458 and .50 Beowulf have a nice short range thump, and the 6.5 Grendel is a respectable long range round, particularly out of an 18, 20 or 24″ stainless barrel.
Interesting cartridge but I wish it had a common parent case instead of one that appears to bee a pain to get.
I guess people just like new things. I guess that is how progress is made. Yet 7mm-08 reloads have better ballistics than….well, pretty much anything made in short action class today. Can be supersonic out to 1500 yards and has lots of other bullet selections, recoil a little less than 308. And how many decades has it been around? May as well look into building an AR-10 in it.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
The 7-08 is one of the most overlooked cartridges out there for an AR-10. I have no idea why. It is an entirely competent cartridge for hunting anything in North America up to and including elk.
Anything that can kill an elk can kill a moose
“The best advice though is to take the time to properly break in a barrel per the barrel maker’s recommendations. Once you have a correctly seasoned barrel and it is on your hunting or mission specific rifle don’t rapid fire it and allow it to get excessively over heated. It will last a long time. Save that abuse for your recreational, competition, and fun range time with calibers that are more affordable to shoot. Which using AR platforms is just a quick change of an upper.”
The purpose of an autoloading rifle is to throw multiple shots down range quickly so if you are not going to be using rapid fire then I don’t why you would want to use the AR Platform. I would use a dedicated autoloader chambered in 243 WSSM.
A savagely good point.
The #1 enemy of barrels is heat. Heat comes from two things: powder burning (and blow-by) and bullet friction.
Rapid fire strings erode barrel throats.
There is no one out there who is going to tell me that the .243 WSSM isn’t over-bored. It is massively over-bored. It’s more over-bore than a 6.5-284 Winchester, which is a notorious barrel burner. The .243 Winchester is over-bored, and in rifles where it is fired in rapid fire strings, it will burn barrels. So there’s no way the WSSM gets to be any less of a barrel burner, IMO.
Ammo magazine ar-15 pistol platforms Brownells
Keyword ads suck too. Especially in comments. If I wanted to link to an external site, I would have done so.
“…a factory 55gr bullet a screaming 4,050+ fps muzzle velocity with a mid to long range effectiveness like never before.”
It seriously depends on what your consider “long range effectiveness”, but using 6 mm bullet with a measly BC sounds like a waste. Capabilities of 90gr and especially 105gr low-drag bullets are hidden bonus of 6 mm. Of course, that ultra-fast 55gr will probably blow a chimpmunk apart pieces at 100y, but I don’t hate chipmunks that much.
Call me when a box of ammo doesn’t cost more than filling up my wife’s SUV.
If you ever shoot this round, you will fall in love with it. Just a fantastic shooter that is flat, hot and will absolutely drop a deer in its tracks. It is a true joy to shoot as well. Recoil is low enough to actually enjoy and make you want to shoot it all day. The only downside is availability of ammo. Check out Snipers (Hide?) for an excellent article on why it is a premiere sniper round. In all honesty, I have to say that my father’s bolt action Winchester (never a single feeding issue) has to be my favorite rifle to shoot of them all.
Not a fan of the .243. It’s probably the people who buy the guns chambered in this caliber as their first deer rifle, not the caliber itself, as in it’s high weight/high BC form the 6mm pill is a ballistic gem. But I’ve spent way too much time tracking deer from new shooters who thought they missed their deer with the 243, only to find it dead a long way away after too long of a track.
I realize it has very little recoil, and that’s why so many new shooters buy it. But I’ve seen that tiny round zip through everything but the vitals too many times to recommend it for a new shooter who’s shot placement is less than perfect.
I’ve never used my .243 WSSMs for that purpose but I only load 100gr Sierra Game King
SPBT bullets with 36gr of IMR 4064, and would have total confidence it shooting a deer with it. I have nailed small varmints on the move at 300 yds with it.
you may have it, I have shot Various calibers at long range for years, basically to keep and maintain accuracy most barrels were changed at 1200 rounds! Now I am told this round is a super duper pooper scooper and is the end all catch all, too what purpose, speed, accuracy, penetration or just because? Good if you have money too burn buying the rig and 60 $ boxes of shells or the set up for reloading! Increasing speed increases throat wear, copper fouling, cleaning time etc. I too like the 7mm08, built an 11 lb target gun! However the Author might want to roll his Own, just an option and maybe fill the craving!
These gimmick rounds (SM/SSM) need to die so the resources wasted on them can be put into non-gimmick rounds.
Looks like the smal brother from 50 fatmac
My first rifle was a Browning a-bolt 2 in .243WSSM bought in “09” it was second hand and abused (the feed lips were blacksmithed with vicegrips) the thing looked as though it lived in the back of a ute. I was disappointed, until I shot this thing and “Holy-fair-dinkum” it can shoot like no .243 win.
my first group @ 100 yds was 1/2 MOA for five shots!!! (55g BST Win Supreme) then I learnt to shoot.
I have since shot over 1000 rounds that I can account for, no telling how many the last bloke shot, with little regard for barrel life. On the 2/8/14 I shot 3 shots into .219″ at 200yds witnessed by a range officer (all holes touching)
100g speer / 42g ADI 2009 gets you 3100fps Chrony’d by the same fella within 10 fps of each other. I think the G1 BC was .325.
I have since long throated the chamber to allow for David Tubb 115g projectiles to be seated forward (OAL 2.400″) this leaves only the boattail in the boiler room so 45g of ADI 2213SC for 3050 fps. now stick that into your ballistic calculator ….At 2000yd the projectile is akin to a .22LR standard. Ok so the holdover is like 61 meters the scope would probably aim at the barrel but seriously this cartridge can knock on .240 Weatherby Magnum territory.
So while the nay sayers are banging on about Grandads .243 I now have a 1500yd rifle for less than $1000 scoped.
I have a stock of brass I may never get through primo projectiles and a rifle that gives me allot of Joy to tinker with.
The above is in some part opinion but backed up by experience with a great cartridge.
Ps the 115g is tail happy for 300yd out of my 1:10 barrel but once the projectile goes to sleep it still bucks the wind and is a tack driver. There is great potential in this cartridge.
The David Tubb 115g molycoated projectiles have a G1 BC of .612 standard and .635 when tipped. Giving it potential to cover 1800 yds before the transonic zone.
Dan I wish Tubb woulda’ stuck a polymer tip into that bullet and made it a bit more “terminal friendly”. I have the 117’s but haven’t gotten a good load out of my Match-barrelled Savage Striker pistol 243 WSSM…but got a 243 WSSM AR pistol idea in the works for intermediate range coyotes…we’ll see.
I have a browning abolt 243 wssm and still looking for bullets if anyone knows someone who reloads are knows anyone who sells them let me know at [email protected] are message me are call me 337 277 4709 mike
I shot my .243 at 4000 fps 500yds and you have to do it to see how much quicker the bullet gets there to appreciate what that does for you. The holdover for small targets like coyotes is not bad at 500yds either.
I’m currently considering an upper in 234WSSM compared to a complete DPMS GII rifle in 243 and the up front cost and weight are my biggest concerns since I can reload.
You can load a 95gr Sierra HPBT (G7 BC ~0.232) to mag length (~2.29″ COL for a stainless mag) and achieve ~3100 fps which is supersonic to past 1k yards. Not bad for a semi-auto ar-15 platform. Using a Shilen select match barrel or other quality barrel, accuracy can be easily sub MOA.
I have a 243 wssw in browning rifle is there anyone sell the bullets I love shooting mine I would buy 4 r 5 boxes 243wssw supper short mag
MidwayUSA currently has loaded 243 WSSM ammo. If you reload, Hornady and Winchester brass are readily available.
Sadly, my Browning A-Bolt .243wssm is the most accurate rifle I’ve owned. This rifle cuts bullet holes at 100yds. Dime sized groups are the norm with Winchester factory ammo. No recoil, very short action and drops whitetails like a Mack truck. I say sadly because the ammo cost $14 per box when I bought the gun and now $60 if you are lucky enough to find it. I never experienced anything but pleasure with this rifle… please bring back the ammo!