243 and 308 are two popular calibers used for hunting and target shooting. They both have their own unique features and benefits, making them popular choices among shooters. Let’s take a closer look at the differences and similarities between these two calibers to determine which one is better for your specific needs.

243 and 308 are both rifle cartridges that differ in size, bullet diameter, velocity, recoil, and accuracy. The 243 was introduced in 1955 by Winchester, while 308 was introduced by Winchester in 1952.

The main differences between 243 and 308 are:

  1. Cartridge Size: The 308 is a larger cartridge with a case length of 2.015 inches compared to 243’s 2.045 inches. This slight difference in size can affect the performance and capabilities of the cartridge.
  2. Bullet Diameter: The 308 has a larger bullet diameter of .308 inches compared to 243’s .243 inches. This results in a heavier bullet for the 308, providing better penetration and knockdown power.
  3. Velocity: The 243 has a higher velocity than the 308, meaning the bullet travels at a faster speed. This results in a flatter trajectory and less bullet drop, making it easier to hit targets at longer distances.
  4. Recoil: Due to its smaller size and lighter weight, the 243 produces less recoil than the 308. This makes it a more comfortable option for shooters, especially for those who are sensitive to recoil.
  5. Accuracy: Both 243 and 308 are considered accurate calibers, but the 243 has the advantage of a flatter trajectory and less recoil, making it easier to shoot accurately at longer distances.
  6. Availability: Both 243 and 308 are widely available and have a variety of ammunition options to choose from. However, the 308 may be easier to find in stores due to its popularity among hunters and shooters.

Despite their differences, 243 and 308 also have some similarities. Some of these include:

  • Popular Hunting Cartridges: Both 243 and 308 are popular choices for hunting, with the 308 being a more versatile option for larger game and the 243 being suitable for smaller game.
  • Suitable for Medium to Large Game Hunting: Both calibers have enough power and accuracy to take down medium to large game, making them a popular choice among hunters.
  • Similar Bullet Types Available: Both 243 and 308 offer a variety of bullet types, such as soft point, hollow point, and ballistic tip, making them suitable for different types of hunting and shooting.

In conclusion, the choice between 243 and 308 ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. For hunting, the 243 may be a better option for smaller game and longer range shooting, while the 308 is more suitable for larger game and shorter distance shooting. For target shooting, the 243 may be better for long-range shooting, while the 308 is more suited for short to medium-range shooting. Both calibers have their own unique benefits, and it’s important to consider your intended use before making a decision.

Key Takeaways:


  • 243 and 308 are both popular hunting cartridges suitable for medium to large game hunting.
  • While 243 has a smaller cartridge size and bullet diameter, 308 has a higher velocity and more recoil for better accuracy.
  • For hunting, 243 is preferred for smaller game while 308 is better for larger game. For target shooting, 243 is ideal for long range while 308 is better for short to medium range.


What Are 243 and 308?

The .243 and .308 are two popular rifle cartridges known for their versatility and effectiveness in hunting and shooting sports.

The .243 Winchester is a smaller, lighter caliber that is commonly used for varmint hunting and smaller game due to its reduced recoil and flatter trajectory. In comparison, the .308 Winchester is a larger, more powerful round that is capable of taking down larger game at longer distances.

When deciding between the two, it is important to consider your intended use, shooting preferences, and the type of game you plan to hunt. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on personal preference and the specific requirements of your shooting or hunting activities.

What Are The Differences Between 243 and 308?

In the world of firearms, there are countless calibers to choose from. Two popular options are the 243 and 308 cartridges. While both are commonly used for hunting and target shooting, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this section, we will explore the various factors that differentiate the 243 and 308, including cartridge size, bullet diameter, velocity, recoil, accuracy, and availability. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of what sets these two calibers apart and which one may be best suited for your needs.

1. Cartridge Size

The difference in cartridge size between the .243 and .308 is a crucial factor to consider when choosing between the two for hunting or target shooting.

  1. .243 Cartridge Size: The .243 Winchester has a smaller cartridge size, specifically a bullet diameter of .243 inches.
  2. .308 Cartridge Size: The .308 Winchester, on the other hand, has a larger cartridge size, specifically a bullet diameter of .308 inches.

These differences in cartridge size have implications for factors such as bullet weight, velocity, recoil, and accuracy, all of which should be considered when deciding which cartridge is best suited for your specific needs and preferences.

2. Bullet Diameter

Bullet diameter is a crucial factor to consider when comparing the 243 and 308 cartridges. Here are some important details about their bullet diameters:

  1. The 243 cartridge has a bullet diameter of .243 inches, giving it its name.
  2. The 308 cartridge, on the other hand, has a bullet diameter of .308 inches.
  3. Due to its smaller bullet diameter, the 243 generally has less recoil and offers better long-range accuracy.
  4. In contrast, the larger bullet diameter of the 308 provides greater stopping power and is more suitable for hunting larger game.

Pro-tip: When deciding between the 243 and 308 for your specific needs, consider the type of game you will be hunting and the desired shooting range to make an informed decision.

3. Velocity

Velocity is a crucial factor to consider when comparing the 243 and 308 cartridges. Here are some key points to understand the velocity differences between these two cartridges:

  1. 243: Due to its smaller bullet diameter, the 243 cartridge typically achieves higher velocities compared to the 308.
  2. 308: The 308 cartridge, with its larger bullet diameter, results in slightly lower velocities compared to the 243.
  3. Velocity has a direct impact on trajectory, with higher velocities resulting in flatter trajectories and less bullet drop.
  4. Although the 243 has higher velocities, the 308 offers better terminal ballistics due to its larger bullet size and weight.

True story: A hunter successfully took down a deer from over 300 yards away using a 243 cartridge, thanks to its impressive velocity and accuracy.

4. Recoil

The recoil of a firearm refers to the backward movement and force exerted on the shooter when the gun is fired. When it comes to recoil, there is a difference between the .243 and .308 cartridges. The .243 has less recoil compared to the .308 due to its smaller bullet and lighter load. This makes the .243 more manageable, especially for shooters who are sensitive to recoil or prefer a lighter gun. However, it’s important to keep in mind that individual preferences and shooting skills also play a significant role in determining one’s comfort with recoil.

A helpful tip for managing recoil is to use proper shooting techniques, such as holding the firearm correctly and maintaining good body positioning.

5. Accuracy

When comparing the accuracy of the .243 and .308 cartridges, several factors come into play:

  1. Barrel Quality: The accuracy of both cartridges can be influenced by the quality of the barrel, with a well-made barrel improving precision.
  2. Ammunition Quality: Using high-quality ammunition is crucial for consistent accuracy. Look for reputable brands and bullet types that are known for their precision.
  3. Sight Alignment: Properly aligning your sights or scope with the target is essential for accuracy.
  4. Trigger Control: Maintaining steady trigger control and minimizing movement can greatly enhance accuracy.
  5. Recoil Management: Managing recoil effectively can help maintain accuracy, as excessive recoil can disturb the shooter’s aim.

By taking these factors into consideration and fine-tuning your shooting technique, both the .243 and .308 cartridges can deliver excellent accuracy for their respective purposes.

6. Availability

Availability is a crucial factor to consider when comparing the 243 and 308 cartridges for hunting or target shooting. To determine availability, follow these steps:

  1. Research local gun stores and online retailers to see if they carry both options of cartridges.
  2. Check the availability of ammunition for each cartridge, focusing on popular brands and bullet types.
  3. Take into account the popularity of each cartridge among hunters and shooters in your area.
  4. Consult with experienced hunters and shooters to gain insight on the availability of both the 243 and 308 cartridges.

Pro-tip: It is wise to stock up on ammunition for your preferred cartridge to ensure availability for future use.

What Are The Similarities Between 243 and 308?

When it comes to hunting rifles, the 243 and 308 are two of the most popular choices among hunters. While there are obvious differences between these two cartridges, there are also several similarities that make them both attractive options for hunters. In this section, we will discuss the similarities between 243 and 308, including their popularity among hunters, suitability for medium to large game hunting, and availability of similar bullet types.

1. Popular Hunting Cartridges

Effective ammunition options for various game species can be found in popular hunting cartridges. To choose the best one for your specific hunting requirements, follow these steps:

  1. Research: Gain knowledge about the different popular hunting cartridges available.
  2. Consider game size: Determine the size of the game you plan to hunt.
  3. Evaluate ballistics: Assess the power, accuracy, and trajectory of the cartridge.
  4. Availability: Check the availability and price of the cartridges in your area.
  5. Bullet selection: Look for cartridges with a wide range of bullet types suitable for your hunting needs.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision on which popular hunting cartridge is best for your specific hunting requirements. Always remember to follow local hunting regulations and practice ethical hunting practices.

2. Suitable for Medium to Large Game Hunting

Medium to large game hunting requires cartridges that provide sufficient power and accuracy. When considering options like the .243 and .308, here are some factors to consider:

  1. Caliber: The .243 Winchester is smaller, while the .308 Winchester is larger in size.
  2. Power: The .308 offers more stopping power due to its larger bullet and higher muzzle energy.
  3. Range: Both cartridges are suitable for medium to large game hunting.
  4. Accuracy: Both offer good accuracy, but the .308 tends to have less wind deflection.
  5. Ammo availability: The .308 has wider availability and a larger variety of loads.

Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on personal preference, specific hunting conditions, and the size of the game targeted. Consider factors like recoil tolerance, shot placement, and intended shooting distance when making a decision. Happy hunting!

3. Similar Bullet Types Available

When comparing the bullet types available for the .243 and .308 cartridges, there are several similarities to consider:

  1. Both cartridges offer a wide range of bullet types, including soft point, hollow point, and ballistic tip.
  2. These similar bullet types are designed to expand upon impact, maximizing terminal performance.
  3. Both cartridges have options for various bullet weights, allowing hunters to choose the best weight for their specific game and hunting conditions.

Pro-tip: When selecting bullet types for either cartridge, consider factors such as game size, desired terminal performance, and shooting distance. Experimenting with different bullet types can help determine the most effective choice for your specific hunting needs.

Which One Is Better For Hunting?

When it comes to hunting, choosing the right caliber for your firearm is crucial. Two popular choices among hunters are the 243 and 308 calibers. While both are effective for taking down game, they have distinct differences in their capabilities. In this section, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each caliber for hunting, starting with the 243 for smaller game and then moving on to the 308 for larger game. By the end, you will have a better understanding of which one is better suited for your hunting needs.

1. 243 for Smaller Game

When hunting smaller game, the .243 cartridge is a popular choice due to its characteristics and performance. Here are some steps to consider when using the .243 for smaller game:

  1. Choose the right bullet weight: Opt for lighter bullets (around 55 to 85 grains) for smaller game such as varmints and predators.
  2. Consider the bullet type: Select bullets designed for rapid expansion, such as hollow points, to ensure a quick and humane kill.
  3. Aim for vital areas: Shot placement is crucial when hunting smaller game. Target areas like the heart or lungs for an ethical kill.
  4. Practice shot placement: Spend time at the range honing your marksmanship skills to ensure accurate shots on smaller targets.
  5. Use suitable optics: Choose a scope with appropriate magnification for close to mid-range shots on smaller game.

Remember, always prioritize ethical hunting practices and abide by local hunting regulations. Happy hunting!

2. 308 for Larger Game

When it comes to hunting larger game, the .308 cartridge has several advantages over the .243. Here are some key reasons why the .308 is a better choice for hunting larger game:

  1. Higher Bullet Weight: The .308 typically has heavier bullets, providing more kinetic energy and stopping power.
  2. Greater Terminal Performance: The larger bullet of the .308 creates more tissue damage, making it more effective for taking down larger animals.
  3. Longer Effective Range: The .308 has a longer effective range than the .243, allowing for accurate shots at greater distances.
  4. Greater Bullet Selection: There is a wider variety of bullet options available for the .308, including heavier and controlled expansion bullets specifically designed for larger game.
  5. Popular Choice: The .308 is a widely used and popular cartridge among hunters, making it easier to find ammunition and firearms chambered in .308.

Which One Is Better For Target Shooting?

When it comes to target shooting, there are two popular rifle calibers that often come into consideration: 243 and 308. Each has its own strengths and purposes, making it difficult to determine which one is better for target shooting. In this section, we will compare the two calibers and their effectiveness for target shooting at different ranges. Whether you prefer long range precision or short to medium range accuracy, read on to find out which caliber may be the best choice for your target shooting needs.

1. 243 for Long Range Target Shooting

If you are looking to engage in long range target shooting, the .243 cartridge is an excellent option to consider. To ensure success, here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Choose a high-quality .243 rifle that aligns with your shooting style and preferences.
  2. Select a suitable scope with magnification and reticle options that can improve accuracy at long ranges.
  3. Pick the right ammunition for long range shooting, taking into account factors such as bullet weight and ballistic performance.
  4. Practice proper shooting techniques, including consistent trigger control and follow-through.
  5. Fine-tune your shooting setup by adjusting the scope, trying out different loads, and optimizing your rifle for maximum accuracy.
  6. Regularly train and refine your long range shooting skills through consistent practice and time at the range.

2. 308 for Short to Medium Range Target Shooting

When it comes to short to medium range target shooting, the .308 cartridge is a popular choice for its versatility and effectiveness. Here are a few key reasons why:

  1. Accuracy: The .308 offers excellent accuracy at distances up to 800 yards, making it ideal for precision shooting.
  2. Recoil: Compared to some larger calibers, the .308 has manageable recoil, allowing for quicker follow-up shots and better target acquisition.
  3. Bullet Selection: The .308 has a wide variety of bullet types available, including match-grade bullets designed for enhanced accuracy.
  4. Availability: .308 ammunition is widely available, making it easier to find and purchase for target shooting purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between the 243 and 308 Winchester?

The 243 and 308 Winchester are two popular American-made cartridges with a shared history. The 308 is the older brother, derived from the military 7.62 NATO round, while the 243 is the little brother, using a 308 casing necked down for a smaller 6mm bullet.

2. Which cartridge has more staying power in the world of American rifles?

Both the 243 and 308 have been popular since their release in the 1950s and have a strong presence in the American hunting market. However, the 308 Winchester has a near instant success and is still widely used today, making it a necessary evil for any rifle enthusiast.

3. How do the 243 and 308 compare in terms of spec comparison?

The two cartridges have similar specifications, including bullet weight, diameter, case length, overall length, case capacity, and maximum pressure. However, the 308 is often loaded to higher pressures, making it a more powerful option.

4. What is the shared history between the 243 and 308 Winchester?

The 308 Winchester was derived from the 7.62 NATO, which was derived from the 30-06 Springfield. The 243 Winchester, created just three years later, uses a 308 casing necked down to accommodate a smaller 6mm bullet. Both cartridges have a successful shared history and are often seen at deer camps.

5. What makes the 308 Winchester a popular hunting round?

The 308 Winchester was released in 1952 and quickly became a popular choice among sportsmen, thanks to its release alongside the Winchester Model 70, Model 88, and Model 100 rifles. It is a versatile cartridge, suitable for a variety of game, and is the first short action cartridge, making it popular in the United States and parts of the world.

6. Why is the 308 Winchester seen as the parent case in the grudge match between 243 vs 308?

The 308 Winchester was derived from the military 7.62 NATO round, which was adopted by NATO forces to standardize a cartridge. Winchester saw potential in adopting the new, shorter, and more efficient cartridge for the hunting market, making it the parent case for the 243 and 308.

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