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 .243 wssm accuracy
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New Member

69 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2004 :  7:07:32 PM  Show Profile
Has anyone shot the new.243 wssm?Idont know anybody who has one and wanted to here some feed back on it.Thinking of one in the winchester
model 70 coyote or the Browning a-bolt varmit stalker. Just wondering how accurate this new round is. Thanks in advance for any replies.

Starting Member

14 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2004 :  7:56:05 PM  Show Profile
Don't have the .243 WSSM but do have the .223 WSSM.
I have the .223 WSSM in Browning A-bolt and was not happy with my first shots out of the box. My Savage 110 .223 Rem was way more accurate. However, in the .223 WSSM, using the 64 gr bullets were a waste of time, the 55 gr ballistic tip Winchester CXP2 were much better. At least about an inch or a little under. At the speeds the 243 and 223 are going it seems they need a little more distance than 100 yards to flatten out if that's possible. Some other forum writers have said they like to shoot at 200 to 250 yards to really appreciate the accuracy. The couple of gun writers I read have said the .223 did drop the deer they were hunting last year with the 64 gr slugs but they were under whelmed with the accuracy as well. I wish I'd bought the 243 WSSM instead. The recoil is non exsistant and the gun is very light. Its good enough for most Texas game that I'll be hunting anyway. I'm sure the.243 shares similar recoil and flatness characteristics. I know it has more knock down power. The short 90 degree bolt throw is really nice if you need follow up shots and it is a very short crank to chamber the next round.
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Junior Member

128 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2004 :  01:04:19 AM  Show Profile

I got a Winchester Model 70 Coyote in .243 WSSM awhile back. I wanted to use it as a long range heavy varminter. I set it up with the Leupold VX-III 4.5-14x50mm LR scope with the Boone & Crocket reticle, and a Harris bipod. The action is smooth, and I've had no problems with feeding or extraction. The trigger was heavy out ot the box with about a six lbs pull.

I haven't gotten into reloading for it so my experience has been limited to factory ammo so far. Initially with the 95 grain Win Supreme Ballistic Silvertips, at 200 yards, I was getting a number of three shot groups with two holes an inch or so apart and a flier opening things up to around three inches or so. Where I shoot, it's usually pretty windy, so I thought that was a good start.

After a couple of shooting sessions, I took it to an older gunsmith around here who used to do bench rest rifles. We talked over some things and I had him steel bed the action, pressure bed the barrel, and install a Kepplinger adjustable set trigger. I've got the trigger adjusted to 1.3 lbs unset and 8 oz set. I like that a lot!

I've only had it to the range once since I got it back. It's still not consistent, but I did get one group at 200 yards with two holes touching, and again a flier opening it up to around three inches. I couldn't repeat the two holes touching group, so I don't know if it was a momentary alignment of the stars or what. I guess I'm going to have to start reloading for it, but I think it's going to be a shooter.
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Junior Member

417 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2004 :  03:44:50 AM  Show Profile

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Starting Member

14 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2004 :  12:51:10 PM  Show Profile
Here is an article from Shooting Times by Dick Metcalf about the .223 WSSM in a real world hunt you might find interesting as it also talks about the .243. WSSM

Winchester’s new .223 Super Short Magnum adds tremendous velocity, power, and range to one of America’s most popular rifle calibers.

For the last three years one of the most popular cracker-barrel conversations among American rifle enthusiasts, within and without the firearms industry, has been speculation about what calibers Winchester would introduce next for its revolutionary and growing family of Short Magnum cartridges. As new-product announcement dates for the 2003 “model year” approached, the smart money was betting on either a .257 WSM or a .338 WSM (or both).

The smart money was wrong.

From (L-R): .22-250, .223 Rem.,
.223 WSSM, 7mm BR, .300 WSM

The new .223 WSSM (C) is based on the short, fat case concept made famous by benchrest cartridges like the 7mm BR. It uses the same case head and body diameter specs as the .300 WSM and out performs other popular .22 centerfires.

Instead, in mid-October 2002, Winchester play-faked everybody by announcing its 2003 additions to the WSM cartridge concept would be two new Super Short chamberings: the .223 Winchester Super Short Magnum and the .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum (WSSM). That’s right—Super Short. Based on the fundamental WSM case dimension as established in the original .300 WSM, the new 1.67-inch WSSM cases are 0.47 inch shorter than the short-action-length 2.10-inch WSM cases, necked for .224- and .243-caliber bullets, while maintaining the same case-head and body-diameter specifications as the .300 WSM. Visually, they look really short—and really fat.

The performance specifications are impressive. Both Winchester Super Short Magnums will be initially available in three loadings. The .223 WSSM will be offered in the Supreme line with a 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip at a nominal 3850 fps muzzle velocity and in the Super-X line with a 55-grain Pointed Soft Point at 3850 fps or a 64-grain PowerPoint at 3600 fps. These figures compare to 3680 fps for a 55-grain bullet in Winchester’s .22-250 loading and 3090 fps for the 64-grain bullet in Winchester’s Supreme .223 Remington PowerPoint loading (the only other place Winchester loads that bullet).

The .243 WSSM will be initially offered in the Supreme line with a 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip at a screaming 4060 fps muzzle velocity and a 95-grain Ballistic Silvertip at 3250 fps plus a 100-grain PowerPoint loading at 3110 fps in the Super-X line. By comparison, Winchester’s conventional .243 Winchester loads clock 3910 fps with the 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip, 3100 fps with the 95-grain Ballistic Silvertip, and 3090 fps for the 100-grain PowerPoint Plus. The .243-caliber .240 Weatherby Magnum, incidentally, as factory-loaded with the 95-grain Ballistic Silvertip by Weatherby, is catalog-rated at 3420 fps.

Let’s put this blur of figures into plain talk. First, the .223 WSSM is probably the fastest/hottest commercial .22 centerfire on the market, matching bullet weight to bullet weight. I say “probably” because there are not a lot of direct comparisons. Its 3850 fps 55-grain rating definitely out races any 55-grain .22-250 and also Weatherby’s 3650 fps 55-grain .224 Weatherby Magnum. Allowing for the five-grain weight difference, it is essentially equal in velocity to Winchester’s 3870 fps 50-grain .220 Swift, but in energy terms it wins by 1810 ft-lbs to 1663 ft-lbs. Its 64-grain loading, of course, stands unchallenged by the much slower 64-grain .223 Remington offerings. Interestingly, the 40-grain Ballistic Silvertip, which exceeds 4000 fps in Winchester’s loadings for the .22-250 and .220 Swift, is not included among Winchester’s initial .223 WSSM listings. My guess is handloaders will quickly jump on that one.

Turning to the .243 WSSM, no such claim to caliber supremacy can honestly be made. Of course, with the light, 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip bullet at 4050 fps it is unmatched commercially. And it is fair to say it stomps both the conventional .243 Winchester and 6mm Remington at all bullet-weight levels. But the .240 Weatherby Magnum beats it easily—by 300 to 350 fps and 400 to 450 ft-lbs—in the 90/100-grain bullet weight range.

Winchester and Browning are making new “Super Short” action designs tailored to exact WSSM cartridge dimensions.

So what’s the point?
There are several. First, the .223 WSSM 64-grain PowerPoint offers more downrange impact energy for large predators and medium game than any other .22 centerfire out there. And the 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip .243 WSSM will be the fastest, flattest, .243/6mm-caliber long-range coyote load you can buy—by far. Plus there are the basic advantages inherent to the Short Magnum concept—moderate recoil due to the use of increased efficiency propellants and improved accuracy due to the uniform load density and consistent burn of a short, fat powder column. These two new cartridges resemble nothing so much as the benchrest world’s championship-proven jug-shaped .22 PPC and 6mm PPC loads—on steroids.

Moreover, to accommodate these new cartridges, Browning and USRAC/Winchester firearms companies are introducing an entirely new super short action size in the Browning A-Bolt and Winchester Model 70 lines, which will be approximately a half-inch shorter than conventional short-action receivers (similar, in fact, to the length of a custom PPC-type benchrest rifle). The intrinsic accuracy benefits of a short, stiffer action over a long action are well-established principles of rifle design. The new actions will also eliminate any problems that might occur using such extra-short cartridges in a standard-length short action (similar to the problems that occur whenever anyone tries to adapt a standard long-action gun for a conventional short-action cartridge). The resulting guns will be smaller, lighter, more compact, and quicker handling, with essentially nondiscernible recoil effect—i.e., you’ll still be looking at the target through the scope when the bullet gets there.

For high-performance centerfire rifle enthusiasts, this is exciting stuff.

Shooting The .223 WSSM
Soon after the initial announcement of the new WSSM cartridges last October, I joined a group of Winchester and Browning staff and product engineers for a whitetail management herd-reduction hunt in Arkansas to gather initial field-performance data on the 64-grain PowerPoint .223 WSSM loading. Winchester’s catalog category for this load is “CXP2” (for “Light, Thin-Skinned Game”), and it is being labeled specifically for deer. I’m fully aware (as is Winchester) that the use of .223- and .224-caliber centerfire rifle ammunition for whitetail deer remains a controversial subject in many quarters so I’ll address it before proceeding.

Greg Kosteck (L) and Glen Weeks from Winchester dropped this 207-pound Arkansas whitetail with the .223 WSSM cartridge.

According to data from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are currently 41 U.S. states that allow centerfire rifle for deer hunting. Of those states, 90 percent (37) allow the use of .22 caliber. The states that do not allow centerfire rifle for deer at all (eight) are Illinois, Indiana, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Rhode Island. The states that otherwise allow centerfire rifle for deer but not .22 caliber (four) are Colorado, Connecticut, Virginia, and West Virginia. Some of the remaining 37 states have bullet energy and bullet configuration restrictions that eliminate certain .22-caliber loadings, and you should always check the relevant regulations in any state where you hunt (hunting laws frequently change abruptly), but the .223 WSSM meets the currently published rules for all.

Admittedly, a hunter’s margin of error with a .22-caliber rifle is much thinner than with a bigger, more powerful cartridge, but to many that challenge is appealing. So my position on the .223 WSSM (or any other .22 centerfire cartridge) for whitetail deer is simple: If it’s legal, and the rifleman is a serious hunter and skilled marksman who knows the capabilities and limitations of his tool, I support it.

For the Arkansas .223 WSSM deer hunt Browning provided several prototype Super Short Magnum A-Bolt Hunter model rifles with 21-inch barrels. Lightweight and fast handling, they felt very much like the existing scaled-down Micro version of the short-action A-Bolt. At the end of the week Browning’s Scott Grange had to pry the one I used out of my hands. The various prototype guns were works-in-progress in terms of their bore specs. Twist rates of 1:12 and 1:14 were represented, as the company had been experimenting so far with twists keyed to the lighter 55-grain bullets instead of the 64-grain load we were using.

Winchester’s current catalog footnotes that same 64-grain bullet in .223 Remington loadings as “Intended for use in fast twist barrels (e.g. 1 in 7 to 1 in 9). Slower twist barrels may not sufficiently stabilize bullet.” So the group spent a bit more prehunt time than usual after arrival targeting the guns with the scopes provided by hunt cosponsor Swarovski, and we were comforted by the consistent 1.25/1.50-inch average groups turned in at 100 yards, with no signs of incipient destabilization. “Minute-of-Whitetail,” one of the other firearms writers quipped. It was sufficient indeed for our bullet performance testing given the terrain and vegetation we were facing and encouraging to Browning’s and USRAC’s stated commitment to offer production guns fully accuracy optimized for all the new loadings in all bullet weights. The above-the-norm velocity that the WSSM case allows for the 64-grain bullet may indicate a better performance at slightly more open twist than from the much slower .223 Remington offerings.

We took a total of 13 deer with the new 64-grain .223 WSSM on the hunt, including one 207-pound trophy buck that went down at 125 yards. All were one-shot fatalities. All fell within the same distance of initial point of impact, as I would have anticipated with similar shot placement from a .30-30, 7mm-08, or similar “standard” deer cartridge. Typically, the bullets did not exit, but bullet upset was explosive and internal organ damage was devastating. One hunter placed a shot in the base of an approaching deer’s neck at about 65 yards that did penetrate through the opposite front shoulder. The exit wound was more than three inches in diameter with completely shattered shoulder bones exposed. I shot a large doe at 75 yards from the quartering rear, impact just in front of the last rib into the thoracic cavity. No exit, but the collapse of the expansion shock cavity expelled lung tissue and internal organ debris more than 10 feet back out the entrance wound toward my position. The deer ran about 50 feet, with massive bleeding, and collapsed.

The experience has changed my mind somewhat about the utility of the .224 caliber for deer hunting, at least as far as the .223 WSSM is concerned. And I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to try the lighter bullet .223 WSSM loadings and the 55-grain Ballistic Silvertip .243 WSSM on some really long-range varmint and predator shooting as soon as they come off the line. Stay tuned.

I’m already starting to wonder what Winchester is planning for the Short Magnum family for next year.
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New Member

69 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2004 :  4:14:25 PM  Show Profile
Thanks everyone for all of your help. That is defenitly information that I will be able to use.
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Senior Member

2461 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2004 :  7:12:14 PM  Show Profile
One of my buddies bought a new Winchester in 7mm short mag.I don't remember what model but it is stainless with a camo synthetic stock,a 700 dollar rifle.The bolt was stiff and binding and the trigger is about 8 pounds.The best groups it would do with factory or handloads is about 3 inches.It went to a gunsmith today for a trigger job and try to find the accuracy problem.

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Starting Member

27 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2004 :  10:58:57 PM  Show Profile
Off subject, but they missed Kansas on the list of states that don't allow the .223 for deer. .23 cal min.
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Advanced Member

9558 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2004 :  01:11:19 AM  Show Profile
Originally posted by dustinn3

Off subject, but they missed Kansas on the list of states that don't allow the .223 for deer. .23 cal min.

Way to go Dustin... I was just gonna point that out!
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Starting Member

18 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2006 :  11:26:20 PM  Show Profile
I have a 223 WSSM, 243 WSSM and A 25 WSSM Coyote heavy barrel.
The 223 WSSM and 243 WSSM are chambered in super light rifles.
Winchester model 70 Super Shadows.
I worked the triggers on both of these the 243 is breaking at 1.5 lbs.and the 223 is breaking at 2.5 lbs at the present time.
I haven't worked with the 223 WSSM yet or the 25 WSSM, but have been shooting the 243 WSSM with factory loads with the 95 grain bullets.
I am very pleased to say the 243 WSSM shoots under 1.5" at 200 yards off of sandbags.
This rifle has far more killing power than the 204 Ruger which I have be working with also.
It kind of reminds me of a custom 6MMX284 wildcat I once had.
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Junior Member

291 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2006 :  08:45:03 AM  Show Profile
My M70 Coyote in 243 WSSM is the most consistently accurate rifle I have. It's also my favorite!
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653 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2006 :  08:56:29 AM  Show Profile
First thing to remember about all the new shorties is " dont believe more than 10% of what you read you read in the gun mags".Those guys get paid to write glowing reports and the truth is not there.
Ive sold a number of the 243 short mags in 243wssm and about every customer reports excellent accuracy.Ive been reloading the ammo since dies became available and before data was plentiful.
I can tell you this if you chronograph it there is hardly no difference velocity wise from the standard 243 win.
I talked with the Sierra techs for data before it came out in the books and they were very unimpressed by its lack of gain over the standard 243.
In loading it Ive used standard 243 powder charges to get the best loads.The 85gr BTHP and 39 grs IMR 4064 shoots great in about all of them.55 gr bal. tip and 44 grs 4064 shoots cloverleaf groups in one them.
Personally from what Ive learned I would never buy one as the standard 243 win. does for all practical purposes the same thing.
ammo is much cheaper and available and velocity increase is not there or not enough to make any difference.
I own 3 rifles in regular 243 win and and dont believe I would gain a thing by changing.

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