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Thread: Just joined the forum and rethinking my setup!

  1. #1

    Just joined the forum and rethinking my setup!

    Good morning guys

    Isn't it always the way, ive spent a few weeks thinking of rifle, calibre, scope, mod, ammunition etc etc and just when I think I have it cracked - I join this forum and you good folks have me doubting my choices!

    Lesson to be learned by me - read more by people who know their stuff before deciding!

    Ok, so in your opinions, would this work well?

    Tikka T3
    ASE moderator
    S&B variable power scope (with a Kenton industries TTC)
    Bushnell or Nikon laser range finder

    Initially I was thinking a just .243 rifle - but would I be better going for this and a larger calibre, maybe something in 30.06 or 308? - or ignore the .243 and go for 1 larger calibre rifle?

    Its going to be 50/50 fox and pest v deer stalking.




  2. #2
    Your calibre choice depends on what deer you are shooting.

    If it is the smaller deer then a .243 would be a good choice for a 50/50 fox/deer rifle.

    If you intend to regularly shoot larger deer then you may be better with a 6.5x55.

    You may also want to look at Howa as they are a really good value rifle.

  3. #3

    Calibre choice

    Hi Danny

    thanks for your thoughts - I noticed that a lot of people on this forum swear by their 6.5x55's - but in your experience would firearms dept's think its too much gun for pest control?


  4. #4
    You don't say how long since you were issued with your FAC. They might think it's too much gun for the land clearance. Which could be an issue. Many people who say get an xyz have open FACs, so it's not a problem for them.

  5. #5

    Rangefinder: Do you need one? Beware Manufacturers claims


    I'm probably to new to this site myself to welcome you, but I'll still say welcome! Sorry about the confusion caused by forum reading. I will refrain from making any comment on rifle, calibre and moderator at all. About scopes my advice is simple: Spend as much as you can possibly afford! You normally get what you pay for.

    Now a range finder? Why and for what use? Yes, I know it is about improving the accuracy of range estimation so you can adjust your aiming with the proper hold-over to compensate for bullet drop. Now I'll just give you my experience with range finders, and then you decide for yourself if you should not rather spend that money on an even better telescope.

    Unfortunately it takes quite a bit of explaining for anyone to fully understand what I mean and why it is said. But here goes......

    I live and mostly hunt in the western Free State. Here it is true "grassveldt" or wide open slightly undulating grass covered plains as far as the eye can see. It is also springbuck country! Now springbuck have what I consider as phenomenal eyesight! They can see a person walking for about three or so miles. Far too far to even think of taking a shot. Where I do most of my springbuck hunting the animals are known, in the Afrikaans language, as "trekbokke". It can be literally translated to "moving springbuck", with the moving having the same meaning as in moving from one house to another. These trekbokke have learnt the trick of crawling through any ordinary cattle and sheep fence. It means that they may be in one paddock, or as we call it here a camp, and simply move to the next area by crawling through the fence, maybe into a neighbour’s property. They have then "moved" their area from one owner's farm to the next owner's farm: they have "trekked" away. Now you must also know that in South Africa game is owned by no-one in particular, or are regarded as [i] res nillius[*i] , but any farmer on whose property any game is found has some claim to that game. This habit of trekking from one property or camp to the next means that they belong to any farmer on whose land they are at any moment. Now, in this area many or most farmers drive around doing their day to day chores and stock and fences checking with a loaded rifle in their bakkie – or pickup or whatever you know such a vehicle as. Whenever any springbuck is seen, the farmer would stop and try a shot at one. As this behaviour has been ongoing for many generations of springbuck the remainder have developed an accurate distance estimation of what is safe. It is more or less like this. A herd of springbuck will ignore a vehicle and a walking man at about 3 kilometres. They start running from a moving vehicle or walking man if it approaches any closer than about 2 kilometres. The moment any vehicle closer than 4 kilometres stop, they immediately start running and they keep on running until they are about 6 kilometres from the vehicle. They then stop and look back at the vehicle. There is simply no way that any hunter can shoot at these trekbokke from a vehicle. You have to be more clever than most to get one of them. You walk and watch very far ahead of you, and sometimes when you are lucky you see the springbuck from about 4 or so kilometres before they have seen you. Then you plan your stalk. Using the natural undulations in the terrain it may be possible to walk upright up to something like 1500 metres from them, but only if they are a small group or a single territorial ram. Then you have to start crawling on hands and knees up to shooting distance. Now If I just want to have fun and don’t urgently need meat I hunt them with a muzzleloader for which my limit is 100 meters. But if I really want some meat I use a .308 for which my self imposed limit is that distance at which I can still aim at the body and not have the bullet drop so much that it will likely be a miss or the possibility of just wounding it becomes unacceptable. Practically about 300 or so meters, or yards. With a rifle, like the .243 win and a faster bullet and one better ballistic coefficient bullet, one can stretch this distance a bit, but not really very much. Fact is I need a range finder that can tell if I'm are closer than about 300 to 400 yards from a springbuck that I'm are stalking. If you are a very good shot and know the bullet drop at further distances for your rifle & bullet combination and you are prepared to take such long shots, well then you may need a rangefinder that can measure those further distances! I have a higher quality model of one of the makes that you are considering. Can I use it to measure the distance to a springbuck in the 300 to 400 yards range? No. Most definately not. A range finder may work very well up to 800 or some models up to 1200 yards, as the manufacturers claim, if you want to know how far you are from a white painted house or a barn. But on animals under hunting conditions these claims are just that: Unsubstantiated claims.

    I have just gone outside and did a quick testing of my rangefinder. I slowly walked towards a herd of grazing beefmaster cattle. The herd consists of fully mature cows, heifers and some 1 to 3 months old calves. I took along my shooting rest; a very steady tripod that is height-adjustable with a padded rifle rest. I rested the rangefinder in the rifle rest and tried to get distance readings every few yards as I walked closer to the herd. After literally hundreds of attempts I eventually got a reading of 453 yards on a big cow standing broadside on. But that was only one reading, walking closer I got a few, say 10% of all carefully aimed & clicked attempts at around 425 yards resulted in readings. The % of attempts that resulted in readings started getting around 50% readings at about 375 yards. Only at about 350 yards could I get reliable results from a well-rested rangefinder on mature cows. All the while I concentrated my efforts to get readings from the calves. The furthest ever reading on a calf was at 253 yards! Calves can only be reliably ranged from closer than 200 yards. Incidentally I got a reading at 91 yards on a guinea fowl! I would dare to say that there is simply no way you will ever get a reading on a springbuck that is further than 250 yards with my rangefinder. I will at this stage not disclose in public which make my rangefinder is, but it is a well-known brand and one of the higher priced models of the make. It was also a gift. from a hunting client!

    So you are going to use your rangefinder to estimate hold-over on pests like foxes? Unless you get a very high quality model that can “see” a fox at the ranges where you need some hold-over with a .243 win, you must just forget about a range finder.

    I wish someone who really knows about range finders will chip in and enlighten us all about which size “target” some models can reliably “see” at what ranges. Do your research very well and don’t buy a “600 yards” model without making very sure that it actually can work on the main target animal that you want to shoot at such long ranges.

    In good hunting.

    Andrew McLaren

  6. #6
    Welcome in from a fellow newbie to this board.


    A very readable and enjoyable post - many thanks.

    Good points are raised - namely, using a zero distance that allows maximum 'point blank range' for the size of species that you hope to engage. Also, investing in good glass, my preference for the spending to be biased toward your binoculars. If you can't see it to start with, you stand no chance of stalking onto the beast. Personally, my comfort zone regarding low light shooting actually expires before I lose visibility through a medium price scope.

    Rgds Ian

  7. #7

    Range finders

    Hi Andrew and IanF

    Thanks for the input.

    With range finders - and im prepared to show my stupidity here - I thought you bounced the laser off the ground or some other solid feature near the animal, rather than on the actual animal itself?

    For my own use it will be more (70% of the time) for creating a range card for static shooting, accurate distances to features around me so that when an animal comes into view I can glance at the card and see instantly what to set the scope at - (I am also getting a BDC type product from Kenton industries for my scope to save on the maths and time when im aiming).

    The other 30% of use will be for stalking - and I readily admit its limitations here - but any help for bullet placement is a good thing.

    With the .243 the max range anyone I know shoots is 300m - so the range finder doesn't have to be fab - I very much agree with all your sentiments however guys.

    The land I shoot for fox / pest control is 2500 acres in Derbyshire - which has woods, valleys, fields and every other kind of terrain really - and judging distance in these areas can be difficult for me - and here I mean is it 200 yards, 250 yards or 300 yards.

    Ive not even thought about bino's! - another expense! - but yes they are important as you say! - my present pair is just a cheap compact set but I guess I will have to invest in some better ones.


  8. #8

    western Free State

    Hi Andrew - I have relatives near you, well nearly near you - at Middleburg.

    Ive yet to go and visit them, not sure how they'd react to me turning up with a .375H&H asking to stay a while!

    Your hunting sounds tricky, we have a lot (or so I assume) more natural cover here, and the animals are more used to people being around - certainly they don't tend to scatter as you approach 3km away!


  9. #9

    good to see

    Ay up mate, good to see a lad from up my way, see you do a bit in derbyshire, ive got quite a bit of rabbiting, foxing ect up that way.
    On the subject of rifles and calibres dont think you will go far wrong with a .243 the guy earlier who said have a look at howa rifles is right ive got a weatherby .243 (howa make em for weatherby) and im well pleased with it, shoots under inch groups with hornady 95 gr sst factory ammo,havent started to reload .243 yet just my .22 hornet, but will be interested to see how the groups shrink when i do, best of luck with whatever you choose mate, anyway PM me if u fancy getting in touch, cheers

  10. #10

    More on Rangefinders

    I have time to kill while waiting for a motor vehicle repair. I intend spending the time finding out about rangefinders from some dealers.

    But just a correction on Daemo's suggestion that you bounce the beam off something solid near the animals: There is nothing solid in Free State Grassveld! Just grass and nothing else! Here you have to bounce the beam off an animal or there is no reading at all!

    Look here as an example: That herd of blesbuck may be well withing "killing" distance from my .308, if I knew the bullet drom and the range. But the rangefinder I have has absolutely no chance of giving a reading on those blesbuch at about 450 or so yards!

    The few termite mounds are of almost no use, they are even smaller than the blesbuck, and a rangefinder, at least mine, wont work off them. To successfully hunt those blesbuck? Well come over here and I'll show you a trick or two on how to by ethical methods only hunt them!

    In good hunting.

    Andrew McLaren

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