I use a slip on Simms recoil pad for benchwork. I can remove it in 2 sec. and use it all the time at the bench. For hunting I don't use it, I just bear the pain. My right shoulder is bone on bone and needs to be replaced. However, I just had a right eye retina detachment repaired and don't know how well my sight will return. I might have to learn to shoot and see left handed. I tried it and what a disaster it was. I know muscle memory has much to do with it. But 60 years of shooting right handed makes this a chore that may never come around. Load down for practice and hope you can deal with full power loads for hunting.
WOW Ron. Sorry to hear about the shoulder pain, sounds familiar at my house, and with neck/spine surgery pending, I feel your pain. I have eye issues too and the left eye is the better eye. Going to take some time for me too, I plan to use the rimfire and 223 bolt gun to work on the left hand shooting, it just don't feel right.
Many of us just need to find a smaller caliber. I am a firm believer that most of us use much more gun than necessary. I used a 30-06 and 300 Weatherby for many years. But then I learned, I killed my biggest mule deer and Boone and Crocket with one round from a 243. I then killed an antelope at well over 400 yards with the 243. I then killed one of my biggest whitetail with that 243, a little over 300 yards. I never lost an animal with the 243, not one and all were one shot kills. But I always wanted something bigger and better and bought into the hype.
I then used the 30-06 and 300 for 15 or so years, forgetting about my success with the 243. In 2010, I bought a 257 Weatherby, Vanguard and have killed 11 or so deer with it, both mule and whitetail, one over 400 yards, one at 282 and one at 328 last Nov. None required 2 shots.
Point is both the 243 and the 257 Weatherby with 100 grain bullets will kill any deer anywhere. Recoil is mild in a full size gun, I can shoot it all day long, the 300, no way, the 45-70, no way. If the animal is still and 350-375 yards or so, the hold is dead on then nothing really matters but the trigger squeeze. And the recoil is mild. I would not use the 243 or 257 guns on elk but up to any large mule deer . The deer I have killed with the 257 have been weighed, field dressed most around 175 pounds, but the range is 163-183 pounds hanging weight, so those are all pretty big deer. All of those were whitetails. Never had one run more than maybe 40 yards.
I am not a fan of the 6.5 Creedmore and all of those, but they are in that low recoil category and should work just fine, only issue is they are not as flat for the range 0-350 yards where I kill most game. But for old guys with weak shoulders and kids they are a great deer gun. Richard Mann at Field and Stream just did an article comparing the 6.5 Creed and 243 as a hunting arm, good read, and basically my 50 year experience as well, with the 243.
6.5 Creedmoor vs 243 Winchester | Field & Stream (fieldandstream.com)
He claims the 243 has a 15% less recoil advantage.
He concluded this"
"""Out to 400 yards, I’ve seen various .243 Winchester big-game bullets work to perfection on deer and pronghorn. My wife used a .243 and an 85-grain Nosler Partition in Africa to take gemsbok, wildebeest, and impala, all with one shot each. (Now you see why I respect that bullet so much.) For all manner of varmints and for small to medium big game, I think the .243 Winchester is an ideal cartridge inside 450 yards.
Because my son likes the 6.5 Creedmoor, I’ve seen a lot of animals taken with it. His first was a blesbok at more than 500 yards in a gale-force wind. Inside 400 yards, and on game up to 500 or so pounds, I’ve never been able to tell the difference in the performance of the Creed and the .243.
I have taken some larger beasts with the Creed than I have the .243. Even with some bad shooting on a Newfoundland hunt, I took a big black bear, a woodland caribou, and a moose using a Creed and Nosler’s 140-grain AccuBond."""
I do not have experience with the Creed but having killed animals beyond 400 yards and huge whitetail and mule deer with the 243, I just think for those of us who need less recoil and do not shoot beyond about 350-400 yards, the low recoiling 243 is simply a smart move.
So, in deciding if the smaller round is reasonable for anyone, just make a list of the people you know who have gotten a bruised shoulder from a 243 and then a list of the people who have gotten a bruise from the round you current use. Going to be a pretty short list with the 243. Nuf said. And you do not need that Past pad for a 243....
Not what the OP asked but one the same subject. She is up north, so the 243 has limitations, but for those of us down south....