257 Roberts vs 243 Win.
Ballistics Performance Comparison of 257 Roberts vs 243 Win. Cartridges
The .257 Roberts and .243 Winchester are both versatile cartridges that can straddle the line between small game and deer cartridges. The .257 Roberts has heavier bullets and extra energy that can make it a better bet for big game, while the .243 Winchester is more reliable on small and medium game. However, the .257 Roberts is also difficult to find, and the wider selection and availability of the .243 Winchester might be enough to tip the scales. In this guide, we’ll dissect the performance of these two calibers across a number of important factors so you can decide which caliber best suits your unique hunting needs.
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 257 Roberts vs 243 Winchester based on bullet weight and performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
257 Roberts 117gr vs 243 Win. 95gr Cartridge Comparison Table.
|257 Roberts||243 Winchester|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||2,946 ft/s||3,185 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,707 ft/s||2,908 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,480 ft/s||2,649 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,265 ft/s||2,404 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||2,060 ft/s||2,172 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||1,866 ft/s||1,953 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||2,255 ft⋅lb||2,140 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||1,903 ft⋅lb||1,784 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||1,598 ft⋅lb||1,480 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||1,332 ft⋅lb||1,219 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||1,102 ft⋅lb||995 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||905 ft⋅lb||804 ft⋅lb|
|Usage @ 0 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 100 yds||Large Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 200 yds||Large Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 300 yds||Medium Game||Medium Game|
|Usage @ 400 yds||Medium Game||Medium Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Small Game||Small Game|
|Recoil Energy||10.8 (115gr)||11|
|*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.|
Velocity is an important consideration when comparing any two cartridges. The .243 Winchester takes the advantage here, and comes out of the muzzle flying 239 ft/s faster than the .257 Roberts. By 300 yards, that advantage has narrowed to 139 ft/s. At 500 yards, the .243 Winchester is flying 87 ft/s faster than the .257 Roberts. Keep in mind that bullet weight impacts velocity, and we are comparing a 95 grain .243 Winchester against a 117 grain .257 Roberts. A lighter bullet will fly faster, and a heavier bullet will be dragged back a bit by the extra weight.
If a heavier bullet slows down velocity, the payoff is that it ramps up energy. The heavier .257 Roberts does have a bit of an edge here over the .243 Winchester, and this extra energy can help it especially as a deer cartridge. Out of the muzzle, the .257 Roberts has an extra 115 ft-lbs of energy over the .243 Winchester. By 300 yards, that advantage is holding fast at 113 ft-lbs. At 500 yards, it’s down just a bit to 101 ft-lbs.
Trajectory greatly impacts your ability to hit your target effectively. A .257 Roberts zeroed at 150 yards will have 7.8” of drop at 250 yards, 15.1” of drop at 300 yards, and 33” of drop at 400 yards. By contrast, a .243 Winchester zeroed at 200 yards will have 6.6” of drop at 300 yards, and 19.7” of drop at 400 yards. The lighter bullets of the .243 Winchester give it a significant advantage here, which might impact your choice especially if you plan to shoot targets outside of 200 yards.
Both of these calibers are considered fairly mild-shooting, especially in the world of deer hunting calibers. They have highly comparable recoil energies, though the .257 Roberts offers just a bit less recoil. This might be surprising, as the .257 Roberts also generally comes with heavier bullets and more energy. Still, the difference is slight enough that it is likely not worth making the decision between calibers on recoil alone.
The .243 Winchester is lauded as one of the most versatile cartridges on the market. It can be purchased with 55-grain bullets for varmint hunting, or 100-grain bullets ready to take on medium game like whitetail. While it can take large game like elk at close distances, it’s not ideal for these purposes. The .257 Roberts is also an excellent “all-around” cartridge, as it works well for deer, hog, and smaller game. The extra energy and weight of the .257 Roberts means it can do a bit better on larger game than the .243 Winchester, according to some hunters.
Price & Availability
The .257 Roberts is a lesser known caliber, and is therefore not as available as many other calibers. It is also more expensive, though this varies based on the manufacturer. There are also slimmer choices available for firearms chambered in .257 Roberts. Still, there are handloaders and advocates hoping to resurrect the .257 Roberts, and you may be able to find a used firearm from a discontinued line chambered in it. Be careful when selecting a used firearm and make sure it has been quality tested by a trusted gun dealer, as accidents have occurred with faulty used weapons.
The .257 Roberts is a quarter-bore cartridge, and often gets compared to smaller cartridges with higher ballistics coefficients. It comes with a bullet diameter of .257”, a rim diameter of .473”, and an overall length of 2.775”. The .243 Winchester is highly comparable, but just a bit smaller than the .257 Roberts. The .243 Winchester has a bullet diameter of .243”, a rim diameter of .473” (same as the .257 Roberts), and an overall length of 2.709”. While the calibers are similar in size, the different weights available for each caliber (and the heavier bullets of the .257 Roberts) will do more to impact the energy and ultimate stopping power of each cartridge.
Which Caliber is Best?
Many hunters prefer a solid all-around cartridge, particularly if you are investing in just one rifle that you hope to use for many purposes. If you’re looking for calibers that can be used on small and medium game to great effect, both the .243 Winchester and the .257 Roberts will be excellent choices. If you want to take down larger game as well, the extra energy of the .257 Roberts will give you a much easier time stopping targets above the size of a deer. However, the trade-off is that the .257 Roberts is not widely available: you may need to find a used gun dealer you trust to purchase a discontinued model from your favorite manufacturer, or learn to handload in order to get consistent access to your cartridge. The wider availability may be enough to push some shooters into the .243 Winchester, but ultimately it is up to personal preference and what your hunting needs and knowledge are.
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