I was fortunate enough to shoot my first roe buck of the season after a fair bit of trying but after yesterday there is no doubt in my mind that bigger calibres are better for killing deer and never to me has this be so more evident. I have a .223 and .308 and never have I'm been so glad that .308 is my calibre of choice. Unfortunately, yesterday I let a shot go that was terrible and it was my fault, no excuses but this were saved from a nightmare by a bigger calibre and good ammo Horny 150 sst's.
I was stalking the heavily wooded property boundary where small patches of open hardwoods give nice margins where roe can feed. It was very much tip toe stuff and any deer you see would be very close. I had just moved into darker cover between rows of mature spruce to take a wizz and ahead out on a bit of open grassy ground was a bit of movement. Zip down, glassed it and sure enough it was a nice buck. So made my way to the edge of the trees about 15m ahead quick but quiet and set up sticks but had been a bit surprised and took my eye off it. It had been grazing right to left diagonally right to left at about 50m and I made my first mistake by not dropping my variable down to low mag. I was a bit close but would not have had any other clear line of sight through the trees. I'm a minute or so it popped out between two trees so straight into the aim and bloody hell it filled the picture but not in clear focus (parallax at 150 for open ground and it's at 40). The safety catch was knocked off with that wonderfull tikka click and the buck flinched and looked right at me. I knew he was or the off so I forced a rushed shot but he was already moving and the bullet hit him well back in the last 2 ribs.
Now this is one of those times where the is a moment of doubt and anger because you know you've messed up. On the reload I glanced up and down he had crumpled to the floor kicking hard but down and with parallax and mag fixed a follow up was there if needed. The buck expired quick enough. On inspection the bullet had taken the back of the liver but made a mess to tidy inside which given the shot is to be expected. It was then when you think over things that this was luck for than skill and actually I'd made a real arse of final parts of the stalk because of simple things, magnification, parallax, safety catch. All that saved the day was the heavy calibre bullet because in honesty having heard of and seen similar shots made with a .243 or less, the deer would have been off and running to far away places. That definately something to consider when the FEO tells you all you need for deer is a .243!!!
So, bigger calibres have knock down power that gives you a greater margin for error and I'm happy with that theory. If I had shot that buck in the same place with my .223 it wouldn't be what I'm cooking later and I'm sure of that.