I've enjoyed shooting a variety of pistols and rifles over the years, but have never owned a bolt-action hunting rifle. I've had a Marlin-Glenfield 30-30, several military surplus Mosins, SKS carbines, AK-47s, and a .22 from long ago, but never a long range 300-yard varmint or deer rifle. I recently remedied the situation by purchasing an inexpensive .243 Savage from my local Walmart. Wikipedia tells me that...

"the .243 Winchester is a popular sporting rifle cartridge. Initially designed as a varmint round, it is now more frequently used on medium to large game...However, due to the smaller caliber bullet used, its suitability for large animals is dependent on skill level and the hunter's ability to make a clean and accurate shot...The .243 is based on a necked down .308 cartridge case and is known for its accuracy, flat trajectory, and relatively mild recoil...The .243 produces a velocity of 2,960 feet (902.21 m) per second with a 100 grain (6.6 gram) projectile from a 24-inch (610 mm) barrel...Along with the .270 Winchester, the .308 Winchester, .223 Remington, and .30-'06, it is among the most popular and widely available of all centerfire cartridges." (Read the whole Wikipedia Article)

Before I bought the rifle, I did some online research to find out what I could about shooting a .243 rifle, and I would like to share the following links, which I found to be interesting and informative. I hope they will be of value to someone trying to decide on a hunting rifle. For any reader who is very new to shooting, .243 is the diameter of the bullet in inches.

.243 Winchester Cartridges and Ballistics

Dennis Dezendorf Reviews the Savage Model 10 in .243 Caliber
Syd Reviews the Savage Model 110 in .243 Caliber
.243 Win + .243 AI Cartridge Guide
The .243 Winchester, by Chuck Hawks
New .243 Service Rifle Cartridge, A Proposal By Chuck Hawks
243 Winchester Reloading Manual in PDF Format
243 Winchester - The Ultimate Deer Cartridge
Hunting with the .243 Winchester - Possibly the Perfect Deer Round
The 243 Winchester, by Ashby Koss

The photo to the right shows a 55 grain .223 cartridge standing next to a 100 grain .243 cartridge.
One can easily see that the .243 is much larger and more powerful.

The User-Friendly .24/6mm Cartridges (by Chuck Hawks)
EXTENSIVE AMMUNITION BALLISTICS for: .243 Winchester (From Shooting Times Magazine)
Federal's 243 Winchester 6 mm 85 grain Sierra Boat Tail Hollow Point -Ballistics - 500 yds
243 Winchester (Collection of Articles and Information)
243 Varmint Loads
The Efficient and Useful .243 Winchester in the Deer Woods
Is the 243 Winchester Too Small for Deer? (Pros and Cons)
Limits of the .243 (Four Page Shooter's Forum Discussion)

Sighting In Your Rifle

My Savage .243 is the most inexpensive center-fire Savage model 10FXP. It is a package deal from Walmart, which means that it came with an inexpensive Bushnell scope. (Note: all the new Savage center-fire rifles come with their famous "accutrigger," so even the inexpensive models have good triggers.) The stock is a very inexpensive and plain synthetic version, and the fixed four-round interior magazine strictly loads from the top. In other words, there is no hole in the bottom of the stock for a magazine or even for a trap door. The barrel is 22" long. This is a bargain basement version ($384.00 as of March 2010). I'm going to include some links below about sighting in your rifle. Of course these directions will apply to all rifles, not only a .243!

How to Bore Sight A Rifle, Chuck Hawks
How to Sight In Your Scope, Chuck Hawks
Six Simple Tips for Rifle Sight-In
Sighting In Your Rifle
How to Sight In Your Rifle Scope
Here's A Good Sighting-In Target, PDF Format

How to Shoot Accurately

OK! Now you have your .243 rifle. You have it sighted it, and you know that the rifle itself is capable of hitting the bullseye at 200 yards. But what about YOU? Are you a good shooter? Do you know the principles of marksmanship? An accurate long-range rifle won't be of much value, unless you know how to shoot. Here are some links that may help us become better marksmen...

Marksmanship for Hunters
Rifle Accuracy Reports (Many good articles here)
Basic Rifle Marksmanship By David Reed
Advanced Marksmanship By David Reed
Marksmanship Fundamentals
Marine Corps Marksmanship (124 pages in PDF Format)
Basic Rifle Marksmanship (Follow Links)
Marksmanship Tips