How many states can you use a .243 rifle to hunt deer in? According to our research, the short answer is 43 of the 50. Here is how we found out, and how you can check into what firearms can be used in what states.
The tools needed for this task are:
- Internet access
- Adobe pdf reading software
The process was:
- Determine how you can find out what firearms are allowed where. The best place to find out the information of which states allow the use of a .243 is to check with each state's Department of Natural Resources, or whatever name they give to such a department. Now you could spend a lot of time looking in each state's official web site or you could find a place that has access to each state's DNR site. Luckily for you, you can find it here; The National Rifle Association provides such a web site: http://www.nrahuntersrights.org/Dnrmap.aspx
- Check each states laws. A visit to the NRA's web site allows you to visit the web site for every state's DNR. This will garner the information you desire.
- Decipher the terminology each state uses. Each state specifies what is allowed in different terminology. Most states specify a centerfire caliber over .22, or at least .23. Some states specify a set bullet weight minimum, and at least one state, Maryland, specifies that the cartridge used must generate at least twelve hundred foot pounds of energy. Some states also specify what type of bullet may be used. They may restrict the use of full metal jacket bullets or specify that an expanding nosed bullet is used.
- Determine how many states the .243 is allowed in. A visit to Hornady's ballistics web site gave us the information needed. The .243 Winchester meets all of the criteria specified for 43 of the 50 states. Now this does not mean every place in those 43 states allow hunting. Most states have areas which have different rules. Some areas in the state allow for the use of rifles. Some areas in the same state may allow only the use of shotguns and muzzleloaders. Make sure to check individual areas beforehand.
- Find which states do not allow a .243 rifle. The following states do not allow rifles for the hunting of deer: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware. Most of the them, however, allow the use of shotguns in the hunting of deer. The District of Columbia does not allow hunting of any kind .
Since rules change constantly, and some areas in a state may or may not allow the use of a .243 Winchester rifle, it is advised that you read that state's hunting rules before planning a hunt. Getting to a hunting area and finding out that you are not allowed to use your firearm will put a damper on your entire hunt.