Mossberg Bantam 243


Jun 15, 2019
Well friends, I was out today taking a look at a CVA Scout in 45-70 that showed up locally to me. I decided to pass on it as there was a lot of slop/ movement on the forestock, and I was worried how long it would hold up under the type of loads I would want it for. Also present was a Mossberg Patriot "Super Bantam" in 243 Win. Well, the wife has been looking for a shorter rifle to share with me, and we have a gap in capabilities for varmint and predators, and it's called a Patriot, and it's 4th of July, so it ended up taking a ride home with me.

The bad first, since that sticks in my mind. The bolt moves like someone threw in a handful of sand before packaging. I know that's just a lack of finishing work in the machining, but it bugs me just a little. It will work itself out, perhaps with the assistance of some lapping compound. The stock is synthetic, but makes contact with the barrel along one side. I think I can fix that with a tool easily enough. Plastic magazine. Yes, I know, saves on cost.

The good. Well, for one thing, the wife has no issues shouldering it from standing. That would be enough for me to lay money down as it is. It's light. Like, really light. Website says 7.5 pounds with the scope, but to me, it feels like less. Perhaps that's just the balance. The trigger feels to my highly calibrated finger :)sneaky: ) to be about 3 1/2 pounds. I think those are adjustable, too. It was not too expensive; less than $400 out the door, with tax.

The meh. It has a scope. Basic 3-9 with a plex; nothing special, but likely enough for us to do whatever we need with it.

So, I've been accumulating .243 components for a bit now and I have 80 grain Sierras and 85 grain Speers, but I also want a dedicated bullet for coyote - don't need to keep the pelt, so may just stick with those. Got my hands on 250 primes 243 brass, uh, somehow. Don't like to buy primed because a) I like to side the brass myself, and b) I like to know what primers are being used. Good news is, it's all Winchester brass, so I suspect they are pull-downs and have Win factory primers in them. At least, that would make sense for why I bought them. I hope.

Open to any suggestions from the floor. Like I said, looking for a dedicated varmint, primarily yote, bullet. Any thoughts on powders. I've got 4350, Hunter, RL15, and one or two others that I think should work, but are there any stand-outs? Any pet loads? Anyone taken anything truly impressive with a 243? I was thinking the two of us would use it mostly for lighter stuff, but also deer and maybe pronghorn - if we ever... But, if there are other uses, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks, all! And happy 4th! (and for all of you in Canada, Germany, UK, Australia, & parts far-flung, just have a great day and enjoy some time outside).

Oh, one more interesting (to me) thing: The CVA I looked at was manufactured in Spain, while the Mossberg was manufactured in Connecticut - which nearly qualifies it as being made in the USA.
I have limited experience using a 243 on deer but I did research online and among friends and settled on the Sierra 85 gr HPBT. It uses a Matchking jacket and profile so accuracy is very good. It comes apart in the critter sorta like a Berger. A friend who has used them a lot told me, "It turns a 243 into a 25-06. " I don't have my data In front of me but I know I used IMR 4064.

I only killed one deer with it personally, a large doe at 120 yds. She was quartering to me with her left side facing me. I shot her on the point of her left shoulder and she dropped immediately and never moved. The heart/lungs area looked like it went through a blender .

If it will do this to a deer, I can't see why it wouldn't be 'yote medicine, too.

If it will do this to a deer, I can't see why it wouldn't be 'yote medicine, too.
No reason why it wouldn't but it might be a bit too tough for coyotes To be honest, I haven't shot a .243 in years. Maybe a couple of times when I first moved to Arizona. Then again in the in 80s when I bought a Winchester M70 push feeder with scope for $200 from my son in law. He got a job transfer to Boston and was fearful of their gun laws so I took it off his hands. Now that he lives in Texas he can have it back anytime gratis. It does not like the Sierra 85 gr. HP.
Most of my .243 work was with a Kodiak Mauser I bought and was a tackdriver with the 100 gr. Hornady SP. I did a number on a lot of coyotes with that load. When I moved to Arizona from nevada back in 1979 some of the boxes containing loading stuff fail to follow me. Included were all my notes and data that I'd collected and worked up from my very first time reloading back in 1954. Still very unhappy about that. Anyway, going from memory, I used the Hornady 100 gr. SP, Winchester brass and standard primer and either IMR 4350 or H4350, just don't remember which.
I personally never used the .243 for deer but took several neighborhood kids on their first deer hunts as guide and back up shooter if necessary. Four kids over a two week period. All four got their deer using my rifle and that load.
Just before I left Nevada I gave that rifle to a friend's son.
Currently, I have two rifles in .243; the previously mentioned M70 and a Ruger #1A which I've only shot about one or two times since I bought it. Nice rifle with nice wood. I'm afraid I'll get it all banged up.
Paul B.
Congratulations on the 243 Win. I had a Winchester M70 XTR that shot lights out with 70-100 gr bullets.
The "club" load was a 70 gr SMK with 39.5 grs IMR4895. Shot well under MOA. The Nosler 70 gr BT shot the same and was wicked on woodchucks, racoons and coyotes.

Well friends, I was out today taking a look at a CVA Scout in 45-70 that showed up locally to me. I decided to pass on it as there was a lot of slop/ movement on the forestock, and I was worried how long it would hold up under the type of loads I would want it for.
Last year I picked one up in 35 Whelen. The only issue I have is it a little nose heavy other wise it’s a nice little rifle.
Either way I’m sure you’ll enjoy your 243.
Congratulations on your Patriot. My son has one in the 6.5CM and it is a shooter. For the money it is better than appears. As for being a 243 the different bullets I used in the past were Sierra 70gr match hpbt, 85gr hpbt, Barnes 85 ttx, Nosler 95 BT and 100PT. 70 and 85 Sierra were wicked on ground hogs. The 100gr Nosler Pt was the best for me on deer. Bang flop each one. Just never could live without a 243 so they were moved on for something else. Just me, I guess. It will serve you well. Dan.
Thanks to everyone for the input and the positive comments! I didn't realize until a short bit again that the 80 grain Sierras I already have are varmint bullets. I do really think I will try and find some 100gr Partitions for it, as I am eager to see what it will do.