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Thread: What calibre do you use for stalking?

  1. #1

    What calibre do you use for stalking?

    Hey guys. I'm really interested to know what you all use as your regular stalking calibre? Also, what made you choose it? If you have more than one, what calibre/quarry combination do you like? There are so many choices out there and I'd really like to know the pros and cons to each calibre.

    If you could take a moment to let me know what you shoot and why I'd be really grateful. The more answers I get the better really!


  2. #2

    I was advised when I applied for my FAC that Strathclyde police would resit any applications for anythig above .243. At the time I didnt have much stalking and didnt want to rock the boat so went withe the flow, so to speak.

  3. #3
    Haven't done any stalking with it yet, but I chose a .308 - I've used a .30-06 estate rifle before and was comfortable with the larger calibre.

    I wanted a big calibre as I expected to be stalking deer from muntys to reds and felt that a .243 wouldn't be enough for a big red. I chose the .308 over the .30-06 purely on ammo pricing, as I don't believe there's much between the two rounds for deer stalking.

    I got the old 'teeth sucking' sound from local shooters who said I wouldn't get an FAC or a .308, not just because this would be my first full-bore, but because not uch land here is cleared for .308. I got the FAC approved on the basis that I would be using it for bought days and invitational culls on ground throughout the country.


  4. #4
    I use a 25.06 for everything! Very fast & flat trajectory and hard hitting. Zero at 150m and never more than about 1" out up to 200m so no need to compensate for bullet drop at realistic ranges.
    I have shot both sexes of all six species with it in UK, and turned many a fox inside-out too! I also use 100 grain Nostler BT's for everything. They can be a bit fierce if placed badly but i would rather a meat damaged dead deer than a lightly damaged one that has run away!

  5. #5
    many will argue that shot placement is more important than caliber, all well and good but fact is that many miss and many others wound. We all know a bad shot on a rabbit with a 22lr and the rabbit runs, same placement with a 223 (same bullet weight and caliber) and the rabbit is down. Similar is with deer shooting to a small degree. Even if the shotplacement is maybe off by an inch or two we hope the blood loss or shock will still hopefully lead to a quick death.
    Game, cartridge, speed, bullet choice and shotplacement should be chosen to work together. We should aim to get a big part of the energy of our bullet into the animal. Not on the surface but where it counts.
    One of my favourite examples is the use of very tough heavy bullets in the slowish 6.5 swede which was resposible for many a runner here, why? For example a 156 lapua mega (they sell that a lot around here) running very slow out of a 22" sporter can penetrate at least 20" of flesh which means a side on shot sika hind or roe might only receive somewhere around 500ftlb energy. One would be way better off using a 223 and getting 1000ftlb energy into the animal. In this case the main problem is not the cartridge but the bullet choice.
    For some it does not matter if a deer runs a bit after the shot, we sometime shoot places where we prefer to get them down with less running. If one is close to roads, close to a forest that one does not have permission to go into or when we shoot on the borders of a farm.
    Especially when the neighbour is some tree hugger.

    Since a few years I'm happy to use a 308 with 165SST's for stags, running at about 2700fps and 155gr a-max at the same speed for hinds and calfs. I avoid shoulder shots. Overall meat damage is not too bad.
    Tomorrow morning I'll use a 243 because my 308 is getting new mounts, not really happy but mainly after a spike.
    My friends use 25-06, 270, 270wsm, 3006, the 6.5 and 22-250.
    Maybe the best compromise for our deer would be the 7-08, almost too sensible.


  6. #6

    Rifle Calibre

    Using a 6.5/55 with 120grain Norma Btips, i find it a lovely round to shoot and with a T4 there is very little recoil also waiting on a licence for a Sako
    75 Finnlight in .308, will be using Sako 123grain.

    Most of the lads i shoot with use the .243 and the 6.5

  7. #7
    Good post ejg.
    There is never an ideal choice or we would never have such discussions!
    Imparting all of the bullets energy into the animal is always deemed to be best - but is it? As stated - I use Ballistic Tips which do just that normally. However, it can lead to no exit wound which can mean no blood trail of any use! So is it better to use something like a partition round which expands to an extent but always exits. The animal may run on a bit but will leave a good blood trail from the large exit wound. I have dabbled with both just recently and settled with the BT's as I find them to be more accurate. I can't afford to have runners on much of my ground as there are too many main roads nearby. Ballistic tips tend to drop them 'on-the-spot' if placed right! We all have different circumstances, ideas and calibres and always will!

  8. #8
    .270Win 130grain Nosler partition........ 7mm WSM Hornady 162grain BT, I suppose you could say the long and the short of it!

  9. #9

    mainly because at the time I was wanting a dual pupose deer/fox rifle and I was a first time FAC applicant. Got the FAC no problems and with no DSC1 or mentoring requirements.

    Now I am spreading my wings a bit and occasionally stalk the larger species I am considering either a: swapping the .243 for a 6.5, or b: getting a second rifle in .308 or 7.08.

  10. #10
    Got a .308 and .243 the .308 is the one that comes out 9/10 times.

    Use them all on Fallow, Red, Roe and Muntjac.

    All work effectively the 30 cal seams to drop them on the spot although bullet placement plays an important role in how they drop. you can still get a runner with every calibre of rifle.

    What I will say about .243 is that some of the factory rounds can be a little bit on the hard side and I think don't necessarily open up on deer unless you hit a good piece of bone so I reload and find 100grn Speer SP really well out of my .243 and to date I've had very few runners with the bullet opening up every time (large exit and wound channel).

    .308 a nice range of bulet weight and range of bullet heads, not to fast chugger of a round which is highly effective on Deer and accurate. Also balistically simular to .243.

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