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Thread: Calibre choices value for money

  1. #1

    Calibre choices value for money

    Finally got my interview with my local FEO in just under two weeks. On my initial application I put .17hmr and .270 but in the five months since my application went in I got another couple of permissions on top of the existing so being honest I was wondering what people choices would be if you were working to a budget.

    I would like to add a FAC Air Rifle as I have one small perm 15 acres ish where this would be a good tool for the job.
    My other perms one is 500 acres for foxing so I thought maybe a .22 250- the FEO wont clear a .270 on this land which is frustrating I asked.
    Other is 2000 acres with red, roe and sika so thought would keep a .270 but aybe a second hand 308 is better value for money

    I am in the process of buying a house so budget is tight and have no qualms about swapping 270 for 308 22 250 for 204 etc so my question would be what do you think would be good value buys or alternative buys in the secondhand market. in total for the three probably have 2500 ish to spend and would rather get an average/ugly rifle but good glass.


  2. #2
    There will be more cheap 243's out there than anything else..

  3. #3
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Yorkshireman in Darkest Cornwall
    If you stick to the 270 there are loads of Parker Hales out there which will shoot fine for deer stalking and could be swapped for something newer when funds allow. 270's are cheap as we have slightly fallen out of love with it. Great round though and plenty of factory ammo out there for you to try.
    Any Questions Feel Free to PM me

  4. #4
    an air rifle in .17 or .22; a22Lr OR .17HMR, a .243 WIn and a .308 WIN will cover you for all possible UK hunting scenarios.
    A consideration is if amo is easy to get near where you live, go for the popular calibers and you're less likely to run into supply issues.
    A few wisdom's:
    • Do not be seduced by the marketing-men
    • If you can get closer, get closer.
    • If you can get more stable, get more stable.

  5. #5
    Consider the .204 over the .223. It's a cracking round for fox. FAC air really will only push the range out realistically about 30yards more than a sub 12. Better stopping power as well. It will be less affected by wind than sub 12. .25 shooting at 50fte is a great tool. .22lr would be an alternative but shots at squirrel or pigeon won't be on the cards.
    .17hmr is another good round. Cheap and lots on the market. Loud so that may need to be thought of?
    happy times coming up for you!

  6. #6

  7. #7
    this is how my thought process would go, FWIW:

    If you can have a single centrefire that will do all jobs, then you are immediately better off in terms of cost. I presume you are a relative newbie, at least to owning a rifle; having 1 centrefire to keep accurate and that you are confident in will keep you focussed on actually shooting, rather than keeping your equipment in good order. Also you will also need to test ammo on each new gun (you need to do this when new to you, and 3 boxes of different brands could cost you 60-90), and then to keep two guns zeroed will also cost more than keeping one gun spot on.

    Will the FEO clear your 500 acres for .243 or 6.5x55? sometimes they will as they see this as a foxing round as well as a deer round. sounds daft I know, anyone a mile or two away would be just as dead with any centrefire but there we go.

    then in terms of calibre, you have to consider cost to buy and cost to feed. .243 rifles are good value and plenty around, as people "change up" for whatever reason. .270 are exceptionally cheap as unfashionable these days. both are cheap enough to feed. the 6.5x55 which you could also consider if you are having a single rifle, is relatively expensive to buy and to feed.

    If FEO plays ball, the .243 will be grand for everything you have mentioned other than the 15 acres if you fancy an FAC air rifle. some will say .243 is marginal for deer, and there are plenty of "discussions" you can read on this. Frankly having one rifle you know and love and are deadly accurate with, which might have to be .243 if the FEO passes it, may be better than have two calibres that you have to change between and learn different bullet drops etc, certainly as a new entrant to shooting centrefire.

    In terms of buying a good value rifle, if you have not had to buy two, you could afford a new fancy one. Alternatively, there are many very good .243s about that can be had for a song that are perfectly accurate and you could spend the money on a new boiler for the new house!

    If you are short of cash, you could put together a very good .243 outfit with an 'unfashionable' make and old in terms of years rifle that isn't synthetic and stainless (note Husqvarna is at least the equivalent of the earlier Sakos rifles, but little known in the UK, ditto some of the german makes like Krico, basically anything not Sako or Tikka commands less money for a good gun.) Many will point you to BSA or Parker Hale, which I gather can also be good rifles but I like the lines of German and Scandi rifles.

    Plenty will warn you that old .243s may be shot out. I am sure that this is true so you must consider this, but careful checking of the equipment before you buy, and preferably test firing, will mitigate.

    I bought an awesome old school Husqvarna .243 for 200 with a scope, which I subsequently screw cut, scope also subsequently upgraded. Its a real tack driver and my go to rifle. There are good value lower end scopes that will do a great job, I chose Edgar bros Optimate for my first one but you might find something better foxing oriented, and although I have better scopes and another rifle, this outfit remains the most effective I have, as I know how reliable it is.

    my overall message is focus on the shooting not the toys for now, get comfortable with one gun if you can, and you don't have to spend loads for now; you will be unlikely to grass more deer if you do.


  8. #8
    how on earth is 500acres not clearable for .270

    my 3/4 acre 100yrd long garden is cleared up to 6.5mm

    as is my main 22 acre deer perm with Foot paths

  9. #9
    A couple of points:

    1) You are new to FAC so its likely that there will be conditions attached to your FAC. Generally, and certainly with the home office guidelines a rifle is conditioned for the largest quarry it will be used on and any other lawful quarry eg Fox is deemed suitable.

    2) Re the 500 acre permission, I would have a chat with the landowner and ask him to include deer under your permission, but on the understanding that he will be very specific about which deer can be shot and when, and that any foxes will be shot on site.

    3) I would stick with the 270 and 17 HMR. A 270 or 308 or 7mm or 6.5x55 are all pretty much interchangeable and no deer will know the difference. For foxig and deer a 243 would be an obvious choice, but 243 is not ideal for sika and red.

    When you a speaking with the FEO you will need to demonstrate that you have a very clear understanding of the safety and what is a suitable shot et etc. Size of land is actually irrelevant and so is calibre. a 22-250 is just as deadly as 270. Again look at the home office guidelines.

    My advice is don't overcomplicate things, get a good 2nd hand parker hale 270 / 308 with a Zeiss, Schmidt, Meopta or swarovski 6x42 scope and get experience under your belt. Spend any additional funds on working towards your DSC Level 2 and once you have done this, and demonstrated a good level of experience, and actually worked out what you like / don't like in a rifle, then put in for a variation and get another rifle.

    But then my first rifle was a 243, and was the only rifle I had for ten plus years and frankly everything I pointed it at from large reds, sika to small roe all died pretty quickly. Yes I had a couple of occasions hind stalking when 2nd shots were required - down to poor shot placement on my part through misjudging wind and the stalker I was with not wanting me to get any closer so they were 200 yard shots. If your FEO is happier with you having a 243 as a first rifle and letting you use it anywhere, its not a bad result and indeed a 243 is an easy rifle with little recoil and cheap to feed, and there are some very good 90 or 95 grain loads that excellent on deer, but that we in the peoples republic of Nicolmania can't use on larger deer with our 100gn min bullet weight which is just a touch too big for the 243.

  10. #10
    If a 243, there is an immaculate Varberger that has seen very little work for 400 on the Bristol (bdrpc) website.

    You'll not go far wrong with that. (no connection to seller!)
    I can resist everything, except temptation.

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