30-30 vs 243: Detailed Comparison Guide Based on 6 Important Factors

30-30 vs 243

Are you challenging between 30-30 vs 243 cartridges? There are an array of factors and differences distinguishing the two calibers. They have varying flow speeds, bullet trajectories, and types of loads compatible with them. 

Let’s dive into a deep comparison and review tips you can use to get the greatest output from the cartridges. Read on to discover the best variety for your purpose!

30-30 vs 243: Quick Review

These bullets are reputable in the arms market and originate from different eras:

  • The 30-30 was first introduced in 1895.
  • The 243 Win joined the market in 1955.
30-30 vs. 243: Quick Review

They are both common choices for deer hunting, and target shooting is one of their ideal uses: 

  • Virtually every deer hunter will pick the 30-30 over the 243 ammunition, as the earlier version is known to succeed in varmint hunting.
  • However, the latter is also great for multiple uses and excels in short to medium-range targeting.

30-30 vs 243 Winchester Specifications

We’ve compiled a summary table outlining their respective features. Follow the table below if you want a quick answer regarding the two calibers:  

Rifle Ammo

30-30 WIN

243 WIN

Original Casing:

38-55 WIN

308 WIN

Overall Diameter (inches):



Neck Diameter (inches):



Base Diameter (inches):



Case Length (inches):



Overall Length (inches):



Case Capacity (grains):

45 gr

52.8 gr

The table above helps you know which variety suits your weapon and purpose. There are fewer similarities than differences. Stick around for individual analysis, and get to see what each cartridge has to offer. 

The 30-30 Winchester

As mentioned, the 30-30 has outshined the 243 Win in most categories, making it a good purchase for its versatility. Here are some of the reasons why you should acquire rifle ammo:

  • Best for deer and hogs.
  • A great choice for self-defense. 
  • Has perfect intrusive power. 
  • It is an affordable option. 
30 30 vs 243. The 30-30 Winchester

243  Winchester

The 243 Win is another popular variety in the weapon industry, with great features for most medium-level shooting. It is mostly related to the 240 Weather by Magnum if you are wondering about another close option other than the 30-30 bullet. 

30-30 vs 243 Deep Comparison

Check out their performance in the following key categories: 

1. The Recoil of the Rifle Ammos

The 30-30’s recoil is bearable compared to other calibers in its process range and performance category, such as the 30-06 Win. Interestingly, the variety was originally meant to produce less kickback than most hunting bullets. 

  • This bullet credits its lower recoil to its relatively lower case capacity and size, holding 45 grains.
  • It is convenient regarding the force needed to fire, thus being easy on the shoulders, making it perfect for new rifle hunters.  
  • You get 2,390 FPS, whose kickback is ideal for most rifles. However, this depends on the type of rifle and how well it can take punishment. 
The Recoil of the Rifle Ammos
Important! You should take caution as a newbie (with fewer fundamentals), as this ammo’s recoil can be heavy. 

Meanwhile, 243 cartridges offer more recoil than the 30-30, though it is similar to others utilizing the same bullet powder. It barely exceeds 10 ft/lbs, making it a favorite choice amongst sportspeople, such as target shooters. 

Note: 243’s light recoil can be a big advantage in various shooting conditions only if the cartridge’s other dynamics meet the necessary requirements. Aftermarket accessories can help you minimize the impact, especially when dealing with rugged shooting situations.

Winner: The 30-30 generally has the best recoil resistance capabilities, as influenced by the less grain case capacity, making its power production bearable.

2. Trajectory

The 30-30 has a great trajectory, and many hunters have expressed happiness with its short-range performance. You can conveniently hit a deer with one shot at 200 yards; this is the range where it maintains a flat trajectory. Here are reasons for its ideal air travel: 

  • The capability to minimize air drag. 
  • It has ideal bullet weight and size.

You can improve the cartridge’s trajectory in several ways, primarily depending on your shooting gear and skills. 

  • A good scope can help you hit a deer an inch or two higher from 100-150 yards.
  • Investing in aftermarket equipment like hand grips and shoulder pads is handy for getting balanced shots. This will be effective, especially if you’re going to a target shooting competition. 

The 243 Winchester cartridge is an excellent performer due to its air travel dynamics. It will offer a great output at short to medium distances, with a 20″ bullet drop at the 400-yard mark while using a 100 gr.

  • This is not a bad result considering it shines over other varieties, such as the 308 Win, by over 9 inches. 
  • You can therefore depend on it to target at distances under 500 yards without acquiring premium gun accessories like optics. 
  • Nonetheless, you can use such products to improve the trajectory over long shooting distances. 

Winner: This is a hard one to decide for most shooters. However, the 30-30 wins considering the drastic trajectory curves produced by the 243 variety after its effective 400-yard range.

3. Accuracy of the Winchester Bullets

A great trajectory offers accurate results, perhaps the most crucial factor for every deer hunter. Considering whitetail hunting specifications, 30-30 is undoubtedly one of the best bullets regarding pinpoint accuracy, which is consistent to upto200 yards. 

Accuracy of the Winchester Bullets

Here are things to remember when researching the 30-30 accuracy feature;

  • The factors get worse as the bullet travels further and loses velocity. 
  • Its speed gets higher at its supersonic limit. 
  • You might need the assistance of other equipment, like optics, for distances over 200.

Meanwhile, you’ll also love the 243 Winchester cartridge’s accuracy, though the bullet drop factor limits the feature compared to the competitor. Like the 30-30, you can improve the feature through the following:

  • Adapting a proper shooting technique that neutralizes the recoil. 
  • This also involves understanding the dynamics of the trigger control. 

Winner: The 30-30 also triumphs in this category, having fewer variables in its flow speed.

4. The Ballistics Velocity

A 30-30 cartridge muzzle velocity is normally between 2,200 and 2,400 FPS (670 to 730 meters per second). Various factors are acting on this, and they include: 

  • Variety of the weapon in use.
  • The barrel type and specifications.
  • Your load versions.
The Ballistics Velocity

Additionally, the features of the load you are utilizing impact the bullet’s difference in velocity. For instance:

  • 30-30 Win150 grain cartridge: Muzzle Velocity: 2,300 to 2,400 fps.
  • 30-30 Win170 grain bullet: Muzzle energy: 2,200 to 2,300 fps.

On the other hand, a 243 Win has a great 2960 fps muzzle velocity, clearly outshining the 30-30 cartridge. It can hold its case capacity to produce such a flow speed, explaining its flat trajectory limit. 

Important! The only disadvantage with the bullet is that the ammo loses its speed much faster, reducing up to 1990 fps after reaching the 400-yard mark. You might therefore need to improvise to use the cartridge for long-range shooting. 

Winner: The 243 Winchester wins with 600 fp more energy.

5. Stopping Power of the 30-30

The knockdown energy is crucial when deciding on the perfect cartridge for your shooting escapades. You won’t be disappointed with the 30-30, which has penetrative power capable of offering a dead deer with less accurate shots. 

  • You can enjoy the maximum lethal features at 200-400 yards. 
  • The bullet also has great kinetic energy for targetting large game animals, influencing its penetrating feature. 
Stopping Power of the 30-30

On the other hand, many have expressed their frustrations regarding the 243 Win’s stopping capability.

  • The production of less kinetic energy and wasting energy pushing air withholds it, mainly due to its heavier bullet components. 
  • The bullet derails with almost 700 ft/lb of energy for a total force of 1900 ft/lb.

Winner: 30-30 also wins in this category, thus having great penetrative force and velocity. 

6. What are the Ballistics Coefficients?

You’ll find that these varieties have varying performances in different contexts, including distance and rifle use. We shall review their coefficients through their respective tables. Read below to find out.

30-30 Winchester

Here is a look at the 30-30 Winchester coefficient table.

30-30 Winchester

243 Win Ballistic Coefficient

You can compare above the following 243 Win variables.

243 Win Ballistic Coefficient

Differences Between 30-30 and 243?

As observed, the two ballistics hold distinct features, thus making them applicable for different purposes and with different gun mechanics. Here are the differences between the two powerful cartridges: 

  • Firstly, the 30-30 variety uses less load powder, normally 45 grains, compared to 243 Winchester’s 52.8 grains. 
  • Therefore, you’ll receive more power from the lighter version than the 243. 
  • Another difference is their accuracy, where the 30-30 is better, though you can also count on the 243 to hit your desired target consistently. 
Differences Between 30-30 and 243?

How Far Will a 243 Shoot Flat?

A 243 Win has a great flat trajectory up to 500 yards though there’s an energy downrange beyond the distance. Therefore, you must account for the shot placement to go further than the range mentioned. You can use the above ballistics table to evaluate your options.

How Far Will a 243 Shoot Flat?

Here is the importance of the ballistics calculators: 

  • The data source helps you calculate and know the exact bullet drop at a specific distance. 
  • They also come in handy when configuring your windage modifications. 
  • Can be used for various calculations if you’re a long-range shooter. 
  • You can find several calculators to ensure you get conclusive research. 

Therefore you can improvise on the retained energy downrange and use the bullet over long distances with the right tools and resources. 

Shooting Flat with a 30-30 Winchester

The 30-30 Win conveniently shoots flat up to a range of 200 yards before the bullet drop dynamics start acting. However, its trajectory can still be reflective to 400 yards. 

  • You can employ various shooting dynamics during deer hunting to counter the drop, like aiming a few inches higher as the bullet reacts mechanically, before following any other gravity rules. 
Shooting Flat with a 30-30 Winchester

There are factors to consider to ensure you appropriately cover for the bullet drop, and they include: 

  • The bullet weight.
  • Ammo size and shape.
  • Natural variables like influence wind deflection. 

Final Verdict: Which One is the Best, and Why?

Our compiled data shows that 30-30 is better than 243 Winchester, though the margin is quite slim. The older variety has the following features, placing it over the 243 rifle cartridge: 

  • It has the best recoil resistance dynamics. 
  • Offers more accurate results even over extended deer hunting distances. 
  • Has an excellent flat trajectory, which is also ideal when a bullet drop is initiated. 
Final Verdict: Which One is the Best, and Why?

Many might argue that 243 is the clear winner, although things like higher recoil and rapid trajectory curves compromise it. 

Overall Winner: 30-30 Winchester has the best bullet difference in the discussed categories.


Is a 243 Winchester Bigger than a 30-30?

A 243 Winchester is larger, considering its larger case capacity.

What is the Effective Range of a 30-30 Caliber Rifle?

The effective distance for a 30-30 bullet is 200 yards, with the drop beginning to act after surpassing the range. 

Is a 243 Winchester better than a 257 Roberts?

A 257 Roberts is more versatile and has better terminal bullet performance, as influenced by its repeated minimum energy standard after firing. 

Is a 243 a Good Deer Hunting Rifle?

A 243 is ideal for short to medium ranges when hunting deer.

What Rifle Shoots 243 Ammo?

243 ammo can be ideal with bolt action rifles, where its use in the guns makes it one of the greatest deer rounds. 


That’s all we had on our comparison of 30-30 and 243 Winchester ballistics, with specific winners under each category. The 30-30 Win is a good choice for large game deer hunting since it offers greater accuracy, less recoil, and more penetrative power in a smaller bullet.

243 WIN is also a great option for those working on short to medium ranges. The heavier version has an impressive trajectory, and you can improvise on its lower accuracy and higher recoil by using shooting sticks.

So, which of the two deer rifle ammunitions do you prefer? Comment below with your answer, and tell us why you’d pick the cartridge. 

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Tyler Purol is a professional Bowhunter. He has professional training in hunting. For many years he hunts regularly.