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Thread: Getting Started - Which calibre

  1. #1

    Getting Started - Which calibre

    Hi everyone,

    I currently hold a firearms certificate for .22 rimfire and .222 centrefire, these are on closed conditions for fox and AOLQ.

    I have spoke with my local FEO about swapping the .222 for a deer legal calibre. As per home office guidance they are happy for me to acquire either a .243 or a 6.5x55.

    I just need to get my permission wrote up again, to send in and proof of future/past stalking.

    What's the difference between them?

    Which would you purchase?

    Which will serve me a lifetime of stalking?

    I know the local gun shops keep ammo in both calibres but not in huge supplies. I will be using factory loads.

    Not trying to start arguments or cause trouble I just can't decide which would be more beneficial to me.

    Thanks for your help


  2. #2
    I shoot 6.5x55 its a lovely caliber and I'm more than happy with it with RWS 140 g ammo it'll take down anything I'll come across

    I'm not really a .243 person personally

  3. #3
    My .243 will serve you well

  4. #4
    What deer species will you mainly be shooting?
    Which chamber img has the better selection of ammo available locally (or if not local within easy reach)

  5. #5
    Hi I'd do a search on this site as this has been covered so many times. You will get two answers, one will be from the 243 fans who will say it is all you need, the other will be from people like me who highly rate the 6.5x55. In reality both will serve you well, if you don't home load then 243 ammo may be easier to get but the 156gr geco shoots a dream out of my 6.5 and at 24 a box is as cheap as home loading. The 243 has a shorter barrel life but I have a friend who has shot his out at 4500 so it won't happen quickly.
    why did I choose the 6.5x55? The 243 is at its top range for large deer. 100gr is about the max that it can easily cope with. This will be enough for all species but light for the bigger ones and you will get more runners especially if reds are your quarry, but it is good enough. The 6.5 has a much bigger bullet range and shoots the 140gr a treat, this will buck the wind and carry as much energy out 300yds as a 165gr 308. It also has a much more predictable trajectory.
    People will tell you the 243 is flat shooting but if this is your only rifle you will soon get use to working out drop. For my 6.5 zeroed 1" up at 100m it is 2.2" down at 200m and 9" at 300m. This means out to 200m it will be in a 3" window which is the size of a roes heart so to 200m it shoots flat!
    in conclusion, get what you want and can afford, either will do and do the job well, go to your RFD and see what ammo they have in stock or could easily get. If you plan to home load then get the 6.5x55 as it is superior to the 243 IMHO but then I am biased!'


  6. #6
    Either will be fine (have had both). Probably more important to find a rifle you like the feel of, which 'fits' you comfortably and which is within your budget - rather than agonising over which cartridge is best (been there done that, life is too short!!).

    There are often good deals on here for rifles.

    Best of luck,


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by palmer_mike View Post
    What deer species will you mainly be shooting?
    Which chamber img has the better selection of ammo available locally (or if not local within easy reach)
    I'd Like to shoot Fallow, Roe and Muntjac but i want to try Reds etc at some point.

    As for ammo its about the same for either calibre

  8. #8
    Thanks for the comments so far,

    Ive been searching the site for a few weeks reading what people think.

    Ive picked up both calibre rifles and like both. Im looking at selling, trading in my .222 tikka T3 varmint (approx 1 year old) and buying either another Tikka T3, Lite this time or a Sako 85.

  9. #9
    Personally I shoot a .243 (and a 30-06), but an awful lot of stalkers I know rate the 6.5x55 very very highly indeed so I don't think you will go far wrong with either tbh. I am sure that with the wealth of info available on both calibre's you will have a fine time getting confused about all the pros and cons of velocity, bullet weight etc!
    Its a good thing to check which calibre's your local RFD stocks in a decent range and quantities, that may sway your decision. Have a look at various rifles to see if your favoured model is available in only one calibre, that may sway you too, and it will be the rifle itself that lasts your lifetime not the calibre!
    Overall opinion might be that the 6.5 is more flexible in taking on larger prey with heavier bullets, and some say that the .243 wears out its barrels more quickly, but then arguably there is more choice in ammunition and rifle with .243.
    The bottom line is that they are both good calibre's, They will both kill deer and foxes cleanly as long as you do your bit

  10. #10

    Buy a rifle that you like, that "fits" you and will be a reliable workhorse......

    Calibre.....Depends on your chosen pursuit.....fallow, roe & munties will fall over with any 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm or .30 cal. If you are going to be shooting something bigger...maybe boar then go for something like a .30-06. You can buy ammo for it anywhere. Reloading components are generally freely available and will carry bullets from 120gr up to 200gr covering all quarry and paper targets

    As people have said you cant go far wrong with a .243, 6.5 x 55 , 7-08 or .30-06...... or all four!

    I tend to swap between a .243 and 6.5 x 55 for most of my stalking

    Good Luck

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