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Thread: First stalking rifle choice

  1. #1

    First stalking rifle choice

    Please forgive me if I am about to start a calibre debate
    Am filling out my first FAC application at present and the only thing left marked in pencil rather than pen is calibre.

    The rifle is to be used mainly on the family farm (350 acres ish) for fox and the odd roe for the freezer. I also intend on finding some additional roe stalking and am likely to get invites from friends on other ground to shoot roe and reds. So the use will be roughly 60% roe, 30% fox 10% red. I have just changed my application from .243 to 6.5 X 55. I am a little hesitant about this simply as I will be in need of a good condition setup (rifle, scope, mod) for around 750 and there are far more .243s available. However have also been told by a friend (an RFD) to be wary of a used .243 as many get a lot of foxing use so may have fired many many shots.

    Thoughts please!

    Cheers

  2. #2
    for what you want i would go with a .25 06 but second hand there are not many

  3. #3
    SD Regular
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    6.5x55, 25.06 and 270 are all excellent choices. I don't see that calibres get inherently more expensive just because they get bigger - have a hunt around and something will come up - but don't take the first one just because it's the first. Buying a rifle is quite an emotive thing (IMO) and if you're not sure, you will never be happy with the rifle.
    Nooooooooooooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!! Our main weapon is.........

  4. #4
    I general I would prefer a 6.5 over a 243, however, if you are really just going to be shooting foxes and Roe, the 243 is more than good enough.

    I would say stick with a 243 just because it will be easier to pick up a decent one second hand. You will struggle to put together a decent rifle and scope for 750, look at spending 400 max on the rifle and as much as you can on the scope.

    I would probably buy this:

    http://www.guntrader.co.uk/GunsForSale/111227190638000

    and spend the rest on a scope, You can pick up mounts in the classifieds here for about 70. Look for a S&B Hungarian 8x56. You are good to go. You can add a moderator later when you have a few quid.
    Last edited by Claret_Dabbler; 17-01-2012 at 15:35.
    Brian.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  5. #5
    Think 'we've' got away quite lightly on the calibre debate thus far - just wait til 'they' start getting in from work!

    Undoubtedly more 243's to choose from - that will include the good, bad and indifferent. Whilst personally a huge 6.5 fan, from what you say I don't believe 243 will limit you unduly. Havent had chance to scan Guntrader for whats currently going in 6.5.

    Never dealt with, but heard good things about Steve Beaty - may be mis-selling him, but think he may have a try before buy service? That Sako will be built like nothing available new today. Irritating that suffers from T8 barrel swiping, but looks very tidy.

    All assuming local FEO has no 'views' regards first calibres - in which case 243 more likely to get the nod.

    But as has been said - confidence is 99% of it; so need to really check what your feelings are.
    Stalking, Courses, Gear - Moray Outfiiting Website here - Welcome
    BASC Approved Trainer & Assessor. Cairngorm National Park Authority Approved Supplier. Supported by Sauer Arms
    See you at the Stalking Fair, Scone & Moy 2017




  6. #6

  7. #7
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    Steve Beaty is an absolutely top chap and yes, you will be able to test fire the rifle at his facility. He doesn't compromise in my experience and won't sell things he wouldn't use himself. It will be worth your while making the trip to see him if only to make a useful contact and have the experience of being in a gunshop. There will be no expectation to buy and I have seen him advise people against having a certain rifle if he doesn't think it right for them.
    Nooooooooooooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!! Our main weapon is.........

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Moray Outfitting View Post

    Undoubtedly more 243's to choose from - that will include the good, bad and indifferent. Whilst personally a huge 6.5 fan, from what you say I don't believe 243 will limit you unduly.
    But as has been said - confidence is 99% of it; so need to really check what your feelings are.
    Thanks for the replies and I think Moray Outfitting has backed up my gut feeling, especially as the budget is tight. Down the road if I end up being more concerned with the reds then I can always apply for a variation. Any tips for telling if a used 243 has a few years left in it?

    Cheers folks

  9. #9
    +1 on Otisitthedog.

  10. #10
    If thought the calibre debate was a talking point, sussing secondhand ( and sadly some new ) rifles is a whole new world!

    Not least from the FAC admin side of things, a rifle purchase is a big decision. Not just flying RFD flag, but I'd always opt for personal and interested service over a price difference of tens of pounds. Now indifference can come from small dealers just as well as large - and vice versa, but a good starting point is to go somewhere that's interested and has ( or wants ) a reputation to protect.

    Key area of 'from use' with rifles is the throat. Though I've seen as many damaged from incorrect cleaning as shooting. But 80% of your eyeball time should be up the barrel - concentrate on the throat area and first 3-4 inches of barrel - and not least the crown and last 1inch or so of the rifling.

    Stocks can be battered or neat - only reflects how carried/ stored rather than how much shot.

    Good to look at bolt body and locking lugs for signs of wear/ pitting etc and equally inside the bolt way - use quickly polishes up such areas.

    Just be aware that barrels operate on 8 parts witchcraft - they can be well worn and shoot small holes - but pitting tends to be fatal to accuracy.

    Often a good sign ( always look on the bright side ) if the rifle has a T8 bushing wear line - at least shows the things was removed often!

    If buying privately secondhand, get crafty. Have a chat and try phrases like 'aren't bore snakes really good' - any reply to the positive would have me out with a magnifying glass on the crown!

    That Sako will be quite easy - check bore and try the bolt - should feel like a bank vault closing ( only works on older Sako's! ).

    If bore looks really bright and shiney - put a patch through it so you're looking at bore, not oil - expect a bit of oil/ dust etc on a dealer shelf - but real gritty yuck or rust is not good.

    And always shoot it if you can!
    Stalking, Courses, Gear - Moray Outfiiting Website here - Welcome
    BASC Approved Trainer & Assessor. Cairngorm National Park Authority Approved Supplier. Supported by Sauer Arms
    See you at the Stalking Fair, Scone & Moy 2017




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