This is my first post so be gentle
I have been stalking for a while and have been succesfully using a Tikka 595 in .243. I now have permission for a 6.5 x 55 and would welcome views on different makes of rifle. It has to be available in left handed and I would prefer a rifle that allows unloading with the safety on, this being the only niggle I have with the Tikka.
Have you looked in the rifle and calibre section of this web site? I'm sure that you will find that your questions have been answered about two thousand times over in those threads. I'm not being funny its just that it gets very tiresome reading the same arguements time after time after time..blah..blah...blah!
No offence meant, I hope you find the info you are looking for. 6.5x55 is my favourite calibre, I had a Carl Gustaf rifle in this calibre. You can't get much more Swedish than that!
In fact Minsterley Ranges are selling my old 6.5 CG if you are interested.
like you I'm a left hooker, the choice of rifle is a bit limited. I use a Sauer, but the bolt cannot be opened with the safety on. Manlicher do a lefty as do Tikka. The other I found was RWS ruag, the Titan Six. If my memory serves it had a sliding top safety, like a shotgun, but I can't remember if it had to be on or off to open the bolt. I didn't like the feel of it anyhow, too much plastic. Thinking of safety, I've no problem with the Sauer, when loading/unloading the rifle should always be pointed at the ground anyway. Having said that, each to their own. I do have the number of a guy in Bracknell (Berkshire) who deals only in left hookers, if you need the number email me. Good luck in your search.
I know that this matter has been discussed time after time but i would just like to carry it on for a short while. It strikes me that most of us like our gadgets and enjoy the process of learning what suits us best. This process is marvellously documented on web sites like this. As a consequence we all feel we can tell people what that accumulated knowledge leads us to believe. I just wonder if when we give our advice to a new stalker, that we assume they are the same as us. There is a popular thread on this site that the 6.5x55 is the round of preference for all uk deer stalking. As we speak there are 32 bolt action rifles on guntrader of that calibre and a quick look at the net has not made me conclude that there are many manufacturers of many bullet weights available at your gunshop. If this is true then it is true to say that reloading may be the only way of getting the best out of this round. Do we really think that a newby to the sport is going to get the gear neccessary and spend the time required to do this job. It strikes me, we could actually be putting him off the sport, by discouraging the process of starting with a round (.243) for which there are 293 rifles on guntrader and a proliferation of manufacturers and bullet weights and designs for him to practice with. Whilst there are a number of contributors that believe they may have lost the odd beast due to using this round there are as many who think it is the round of choice. I have two .243 stalking rifles and a .308 and have not yet discerned any noticable difference at the ranges and species of deer that I shoot in terms of stopping ability. If i had read this site before i purchased these rifles I would have missed the great fun I have had in trying most of the manufacturers at most of the bullet weights that are available. The process of experimentation is vital to the confidence that you need to stalk properly.
Thanks all, my search will continue. I know Sako offer their 75 in left hand
but don't know about the 85 I've tried a right hand Mannlicher and liked their safety system but again i'm tring to find out if its available as a lefty.
Likewise am also left handed. My advice, which was given to me was find a good left handed rifle and don't worry too much about the calibre, which in left handed is somewhat limited. I have a Heym SR20 in left hand in .243. Calibre is a bit small perhaps and ideally I would like a 7mm, but it has three position safety - fully locked, safe on but you can open the bolt or fire. No longer made, but you can occasionally find them - one was sold recently at the Holts auction - 7x57 for £700, with Svarovski scope.
Am seriously thinking about rebarralling to 7x64 or getting another rifle in this calibre to use both here and overseas.
Sako Mod 75 is very nice and available in .243, .270 and 30-06 in left hand - has a separate button to press to unload which is a bit fiddly. Have used the right handed version in both wooden and stainless and good solid and accurate rifle. Sako 85 is not going to be available in left hand according to Gunmark people when I spoke to them at the Game fair.
Tikka's you can't go wrong with. Good solid rifle, albeit the older 595 is perhaps a nicer rifle than the T3.
The Ruger Mod 77 has a good three position safety and available left handed. Friend has one in mountain rifle and knocks over deer very well.
Remington Mod 70 - have used has a two stage safety that allows the bolt to open even with the bolt applied. The annoying thing is that the bolt often catches on clothing when slung and opens itself and then fills up with snow and other c..... But solid action and anybody can and will customise it.
Don't think the modern Mannlicher is available left handed, but then Model M definately is and is a very nice rifle, if you can find one.
Mauser M03 is available left handed - and in just about any calibre you care to wish. Has a good safety system, in that with safety on, striker is lowered sp it cannot fire. You just push safety across to fire, or pull it the other way to unload. Have had a look at a right handed and looks very nice. Only issue is that it has a dedicated detacheable scope mount that looks a little fragile, but am sure it is strong enough.
Don't discount the single shot rifle - Ruger No1 is a nice rifle, likewise many continental rifles. Slightly slower to reload perhaps, You generally only need the one shot, unless you are culling, but have never had an issue stuffing two cartridges into the shotgun as the one skeen of geese have flown overhead and have missed with both barrels.
Have fun looking and don't rush in to the first rifle you see.
More importantly get some good optics - you won't go wrong with Schmidt and Bender 6x42 Hungarian.
Sorry if indeed you feel that In anyway I am 'having a go'. What I'm trying to convey is what ssgpiv so eloquently posted. What is happening as usual is that you are geting a lot of information that is of no real use to you at this present time in your stalking career. A few pointers that may help you are:-
A. Join a rifle club and get talking to fellow shootist and try out their various rifles for yourself. I have done this and fired everything from a Accuracy International to a Mosin Nagant.
B. Are you really left handed? A stupid question you may think but in the Forces we only got right handed rifles, but i knew some very good left handed shots! The wife is left handed but only feels comfortable shooting from the right shoulder (very well i may add).
C.It may be an idea as a newbie to look at the 243, 6.5 and 308 for there 'pro's and con's' They are all very popular for a good reason surely.
D. Once you are happy with the rifle calibre and make, you may wish to look at reloading and more exotic calibres.
At the end of the day its all about dispatching a deer safely and with as little pain and suffering to the animal as possible, to the best of yours and the rifle/bullets abilities. Everything else is 'Whim and fancy'.
I wish you good safe shooting for the New Year. Enjoy your sport but beware of 'Greek gift horses mouths whilst bearing gifts wearing sheep's clothing in a bush!