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Thread: Suitable Calibres for deer (newbie advice Scotland)

  1. #1

    Suitable Calibres for deer (newbie advice Scotland)

    Can anybody explain this in English trying to figure what would be a good calibre to apply for on a first fac application for paid stalking

    For roe deer, where the bullet must weigh at least 50 grains AND have a minimum muzzle velocity of 2,450 feet per second AND a minimum muzzle energy of 1,000 foot pounds may be used.
    For all deer of any species - the bullet must weigh at least 100 grains AND have a minimum muzzle velocity of 2,450 feet per second AND a minimum muzzle energy of 1,750 foot pounds.
    It must be stressed that all these figures are the minimum legal requirement.
    For all deer stalking the bullet must be of a type designed to expand/deform on impact.
    To ensure safe and humane shooting, stalkers must practise and maintain their skill with the rifle and must check at regular intervals that their rifle is still zeroed correctly - i.e. that the bullet is striking a selected point of aim at a chosen range.

    Thanks Davie

  2. #2
    Hi, Roe Deer get a .243, Red Deer get a .308 just my opinion but they work well and you can get ammo anywhere for them.

  3. #3
    Ignoring the facts that you have put in your first post (I'm not well enough informed on Scottish firearms law to question) it is far to easy to get bogged down in technical details, which some people love, but I prefer to deal in what I know; For deer in the UK (personally) I wouldn't bother with anything less than .243 100gr ammunition. That said, this is fine for Roe, but if you have the opportunity of larger species I would (and have) opt for a larger 30 cal with about 150gr. If you can justify the need ie have stalking booked then any police force should really play ball. I love the .308 I now shoot with, and where I shoot in Norfolk about 50% of what gets shot is Muntjac, and its fine for them, and does just as clean a job of dealing with the biggest of the Reds we have round here. Can't go wrong!

  4. #4
    To be legal for all deer everywhere in the UK you need a minimum 243Win with 100 grain bullets. Many people will shoot a 243 all their lives and have no complaints.

    If you are relatively new to shooting then I might suggest that the 308Win would make a good choice because you can often pick up mil surplus ammo at low cost for practise. Also the 308 is common as muck so ammo is available, reloading components are available, rifles are available 2nd hand and so on, though to be honest pretty much the same could be said for the 243 except for the mil surplus bit.

    Beware being talked into some fancy cartridge that some mate has read about on the internet - chances are at realistic stalking ranges it offers little or no real benefits over the 243 or 308 but you will spend the rest of your life trying to get ammo for it.

    There is no down side to going with the 308, other than that you can't take it to France, as you can load lighter bullets in it to make it perform just like a 243 at all reasonable stalking ranges. You can load with 150 grain bullets for red deer and you can go even heavier should you get a chance at boar in the UK. You just can't load the 243 up to 308 levels while you can always load the 308 down to 243 levels so in my view that makes the 308 a one rifle does it all job.

    I am also given to believe that some estates frown a little on guests turning up with a legal minimum cartridge (i.e. 243) to shoot red stags, I've never experienced this myself but it is worth bearing in mind that there are at least rumours of it happening.

    Also if you get the chance at sika then you just can't make a big enough hole in them, I've taken to setting land mines and using a grenade launcher but when I don't have them with me the 308 does as well as can be expected. It may also be the case that a bigger, heavier, bullet will make a bigger hole and if you have the misfortune to make a bad shot (and it will happen some day) then any extra advantage you can have on your side helps. If this is your first centre fire rifle then your local police force may well give you a 308 but are unlikely to give you anything much bigger so the 308 sized bullet will probably be the biggest hole you can make.

    The other really common (i.e. sensible to pick) rounds in the UK are probably the 270Win and the 30-06. The 30-06 has the edge over the 308 with heavier bullets if you intend shooting a lot of boar but apart from that they both offer something very similar to the UK deer stalker. The 270 had a great reputation as a cartridge for red deer on the hill but at realistic stalking ranges there is nothing between it and the 308 or the 30-06.

    That is my take on it, it is worth what you paid for it but hopefully it might give you some food for thought.

  5. #5
    If you go for a .308 as your first rifle be advised to also apply for a sound moderator. It will reduce the felt recoil which will help when getting used to a cf rifle. Personally I would start off with a .243 or 6.5x55, using 100g + bullets.


  6. #6
    Excellent advice above from Coarach. To cover all deer species in Scotland I use both .243 and a moderated .308. For a single rifle to cover open hill and woodland, a moderated .270 or 6.5 x 55 would also be excellent choices. As stated, some places consider the .243 too light for large red stags, so if I was you, it would be between a 6.5 x 55, .270 or .308 Win. Then it is down to bullet weight. The 6.5 x 55 works well at around 120gn, the .270 is great with a 130 gn bullet and .308 gets a decent sectional density (penetration) with a 150gn bullet for larger deer. They will all work and a moderator does take the edge off the felt recoil a bit.


  7. #7
    Always amases me 243 is too small for red stags funny that shot cull red stags in Perthshire for quite a few years without problem.Tend to use 6.5and 140grn now.maybe I was lucky in meeting old fashioned stalkers who could get in close.i recon most were shot at less than 150yds back then many under 100.Is it the modern way to shoot from longer ranges.
    No comment on big woodland stags in the south never had the money.

    Actually min legal calibre is 240 think you will find will just pass
    Last edited by roedeerred; 07-05-2011 at 20:30. Reason: min calibre added

  8. #8
    243 or6.5x55 as afirst rifle -good for everything and easy to shoot well. Not much goes very far with 100 gn bullet through the vitals,but anything will run a long way with a 600 nitro express through the guts.

    Also, they are readily acceptable to The licensing authorities.

    As for big red stags on estates that don't like 243, well there is usually an appropriate estate rifle for guests to use.

  9. #9
    The other essential is 22rf and plenty of ammo and practice. You can shoot 100rds of 22rf for less than 10. With even cheapest cf ammo - privi partisan you are only looking at 10 shots for that.

  10. #10
    I gotta say 7-08! After that, you may want annother gun, but don't need another gun. capt david

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