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Thread: Caliber Choice

  1. #1

    Caliber Choice

    I'm looking to purchase my first Stalking rifle and am torn between the .243 and 6.5 x 55. I have shot the .243 as an estate rifle with good results . However more recently I have been advised that the 6.5 x 55 is the caliber of choice and creates less damage to the carcase.

    Your opinions would be most welcome.

  2. #2
    hi JC
    i am not to sure u should be to worried in what u choose as both calibres will do the job u require
    i hav never had a 6.5x55 but use a 243 and hav done for most off my stalking i never worry about meat damage , as the most i hav lost is a shouder and not all of that was totally lost.
    i do believe the 6.5x55 is smoother shooting but there are pros and cons for all calibres i can recomend tikka and ruger in 243 never been let down by either good luck in whichever way you choose

  3. #3
    Hi JC

    I have both calibres. Both are excellent choices. The 6.5 is a slightly softer rifle to shoot but the .243 has the advantages of being a short action.

    Plus if you are not loading your own, you will find you have a wider choice of bullet weights available to you at any gunshop if you choose the .243.

    At the end of the day its all down to bullet placement. A deer shot well with a .243 is just as dead as a deer shot with one of the bigger cannons.

  4. #4
    hi, I too have both calibres and have to agree with all that's been said.
    I reload both calibres and get all the accuracy I need from both. But! When I have to take one rifle it's always the 6.5mm I shoot 140grain Amax for everything from Munters up to the biggest Norfolk stags.
    If it's a foxing rifle with an amount of stalking, especially if its smaller deer ie munter CWD or roe and shot from a high seat where you have more time then there's nothing wrong with a .243. Its flat shooting easy to get ammo for and every rifle manufacturer makes one.
    If you want an all round rifle suitable for true woodland stalking where you get less time thats capable of taking all species of British deer then it got to be the 6.5mm.
    I wouldn't get too concerned over meat damage, worry about a humane dispatch. Meat damage is more about the bullet you use and where you put it.

  5. #5
    i'm moving from .243 to .308 for my stalking rifle, keeping the .243 for fox and munty.

  6. #6
    I have a .308 for all deer and whilst I like it, and appreciate its ability to ground anything in the UK (or Europe for that matter) I wish I had got a 6.5x55/57. I had a few shots with a friends Tikka 695 6.5x55, moderated with a good scope, and shot a one hole group at 120 yards, which converted me!

    The .308 is a bit barky and punchy, nothing too bad but I think the 6.5 does it all with less fuss.

    All the most experienced stalkers I know rave about them, low recoil, superb accuracy, great sectional density and ultimatley all the power you will ever need. My next stalking rifle will be a 6.5.


  7. #7
    I have never shot the 6.5 but have two .243s of different weights and a .308 that I use on deer. In the last year I have shot 8 roe deer only so my experience is very limited. But my experience would lead me to the following conclusions. I dont want to home load but I do believe that you will find some rounds that do and do not suit a particular rifle, so large choice is preferable. Only 2 of the deer moved anywhere after impact and both of those were hit by the .308. My limited experience makes me absolutely sure that confidence is hugely important, that you have a rifle that you are comfortable with, that has recoil that after a while you dont notice, that you can practice with enough to 'know' that when you have a live animal in your sight that you can the shot with a steady hand. I have total confidence that within the ranges that I might shoot over, that my rifle/ammunition/scope combination will put the bullet where it needs to go. If you add an unknown into the equation, that would not be the case. So my advice would be work out what you going to shoot most and if you are not going to have several rifles find a combination that works best for you for that type of shooting.

  8. #8

    our favourite topic!

    I started stalking and bought a .30-06. after a little while and a lot of mickey taking from people (who know less than they might let you believe) I bought a .243 win. I have shot quite a few deer with both and the most effective for deer by far is the .30-06 with 150 gr psp bullets. It kills very well and with little meat damage. It is far superior for deer shooting than the 243. I have just bought a 7mm08 to add to the arsenal. it pushes 140gr bullets just below 3000fps. with great sectional density and high ballistic coefficient. I see that it will be my go to deer rifle. The 243 i now load with 80 gr bullets for foxing. the .30-06 will remain in my cabinet becuase it is so damned good. i do load my own ammunition- but most major makers make 7mm08 ammunition in the bullet choice you want, you might have to order it.

    I would recomend that a trip to the hodgdon site maybe worth looking at to compare rounds. But don't fall into the faster the better trap..... i just don't think it is true. 6.5 x 55 140 gr bullets are going at 2600fps! they have massive sectional density and penetrate well with conventional soft point bullets.

    Look Hard at the 7mm08. it will be a classic as the time goes on.

    swampy steve

  9. #9
    7-08 is hard to get brass for in uk unless you neck down .308" i should imagine it can be a bugger to get factory fodder for. I have one it is as swampy says a heck of a deer gun! However i should avoid .243" unless for roe and fox, it is not a good big deer gun and it is not kind on meat. However it works well as a light too cary light recoiling gun.
    6.5 bullets punch well above thier weight - i think i shall re-barrel my .243" as .260 and shoot 120- 125 grn bullets!

  10. #10
    I was about to trade my .243 and .270 for a 6.5 x 55 as I've hardly heard a bad word said about the 6.5 x 55 and it seems a good option for a one rifle solution.

    I use my .243 for most quarry including Devon reds and it knocks them down no problem but there is sometimes some meat damage. My main issue is that I want to fit a mod and protect my ears and the .243 is a beautiful Steyr Mannlicher that I would hate to cut and I also would rather pay for one rifle to be cut than two so I would rather go to a one rifle solution.

    However I've just been told that there is a new calibre on the block in the form of the 6.5 x 47 which several well known authorities are raving about. The downside is that this calibre is so new that almost no-one makes one yet and ammo is hard to get although that might change very quickly.

    I don't know what to do now!

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