This caliber comes first, not because we think it’s our #1 pick, but because we feel it’s the most overlooked in a shooting culture where bullets are stand-ins for the size of your pickup truck, which is itself often a representation for something else. Get what we’re saying here?
The .243 Winchester was developed by necking down the .308 cartridge to the 6.2mm bullet, giving shooters a little more zip with a little less recoil. The .308 (also on this list) is often cited as having ideal ballistics.
Like it or not, the bullet drop at 300 and even 400-yards for a most .243 rounds are comparable to the vaunted .300 Win Mag. Even the difference in muzzle velocity is negligible.
Yes, it’s a smaller piece of lead. Yes, it’s quite deadly. Yes, it’s fun to shoot a .243 because it doesn’t kick like a mule. Yes, .243 ammo is available virtually everywhere.
If you can’t stomach the idea of a 6mm round and you think it’s for youth shooters, fine. But the actual “reasons” many shooters use to dismiss the .243 aren’t so reasonable at all, as they are a matter of personal preference (which is of course a product of our own bias).