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Thread: Caliber choice

  1. #1

    Caliber choice

    Hi all. Going to be doing my DSC-1 at the end of the month, then investing in a single rifle, primarily for roe. Basically, if nothing comes up second hand that I can't live without I'm probably going to go with the obvious choice of a new .243, probably a Howa. However, just wanting some opinion on how much flexibility I should have regarding caliber when looking at second hand guns.
    The primary purpose as I said is deer, however it would be nice to take a few long range foxes as well. I have a .17hmr and .22lr, so I'm alright for vermin control.
    I will be reloading, so I would just like a bit of info on availability/cost/choice of reloading bits for various calibers. At the moment I am really thinking .243, .260 6.5x55 and 25-06 are all the possibilities I am thinking about. Haven't really looked too much into the .308+ as I am unlikely to have to take many larger deer, although flexibility is always nice. Space is a real issue, so I am unlikely to be able to purchase an additional rifle down the line.
    Any input would be much appreciated. Cheers.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by carper99 View Post
    Space is a real issue, so I am unlikely to be able to purchase an additional rifle down the line.
    Any input would be much appreciated. Cheers.

    Go for the .308 mate. It's one of the great all rounders, load slow and heavy for the little deer and you'll have no problems.
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  3. #3
    Any of the 7mms would be a good choice, 7mm08 would be flexible enough for all your needs.
    Paul
    I wish I was half the hunter my dog thinks I am

  4. #4
    You guys all seem to recommend going up from the 6mm+ projectiles, any particular reason? 25-06 looked appealing to me as it shoots 100+ grains very flat.

  5. #5
    Keep it simple either .270 good & flat for long range foxes and any deer plus boar if you ever get the chance or the .308 great at everything and cheap as chips and ultra available even if not quite as flat.
    LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE & PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by carper99 View Post
    You guys all seem to recommend going up from the 6mm+ projectiles, any particular reason? 25-06 looked appealing to me as it shoots 100+ grains very flat.

    Don't get bogged down with all the "Flat shooting" stuff mate, only a laser beam flies flat.

    Bullets are dropping the instant they leave the muzzle, and that's no bad thing either, because if they did shoot flat they'd never stop flying and eventually leave the atmosphere, unless they hit that nice safe backstop within normal stalking distance of course.

    I can't vouch for the masses, but it's certainly my experiance that the smaller bullets smash the shiite out of the smaller deer. I remember when .22 CF became legal for Munters and CWD in England, a couple of clients were keen to bring their .223's up to Norfolk to shoot Munters. They got them alright, and destroyed the front ends while they were at it. Whereas a slow heavy bullet gets in, does the damage and punches out the back, and unless you strike the shoulder can be surprisingly gentle regarding carcass damage.
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  7. #7
    Any of the deer legal cartridges will kill deer. Almost all of them will, in terms of ballistics, shoot without an inch or so of each other at normal stalking ranges despite the assertions that some are flat shooting and others loopy. Some of the bigger calibers might be a better bet on larger deer, say should you take a day at red stags or sika, but this is arguable and is probably more a matter of confidence for the shooter rather than being able to make the deer more dead. I like a bigger hole and so am not so keen on the 243 for example but this is personal opinion and I doubt if it would be supported by any actual evidence.

    In your case you should pick a rifle that suits you, that fits you well and so on.

    The only, very important, reason to pick between the various deer legal cartridges is availability of ammo or reloading supplies. If your hobby is going to be driving around gun shops trying to buy ammo then take your choice but if your main hobby is stalking and you want to maximise your time spent doing that, and minimise the running costs, they buy something that is common as muck. That will give you the best chance of easily finding ammo and reloading components and will also increase the chance that you will pay as little as possible for them. In the UK I would suggest that 243, 308, 270 and 30-06 are probably the common as muck cartridges and they are all in regular use by a lot of people killing a lot of deer. I tend to favour the 308 only because there is a good supply of mil surplus ammo available at reasonable prices so you can practise a lot for not much cash however the others have all been killing deer for decades.

    Ask your local gun shop to show you what ammo he has available and the prices and use that to help sort out the cartridge question for you. In the long run common as muck saves you a lot of time and money that could be better spent on stalking.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
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  8. #8
    Really interesting points guys, and a really big help. I find it interesting no one is encouraging me to get a .243. Cost is certainly a big factor, and I will be looking into .308 a bit further, would be nice to try a few calibers.

  9. #9
    Caroach has probably given you the best advise carper, I run a .223, 6mm rem. and a 7mm rem mag! all have their good and bad points, and all get used on a regular basis.
    I choose what I feel suits me best on the day, the point im trying to make is it is difficult to pick one calibre for every application, but to big is always better than to small in my book.
    Paul
    I wish I was half the hunter my dog thinks I am

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by carper99 View Post
    Hi all. Going to be doing my DSC-1 at the end of the month, then investing in a single rifle, primarily for roe. Basically, if nothing comes up second hand that I can't live without I'm probably going to go with the obvious choice of a new .243, probably a Howa. However, just wanting some opinion on how much flexibility I should have regarding caliber when looking at second hand guns.
    The primary purpose as I said is deer, however it would be nice to take a few long range foxes as well. I have a .17hmr and .22lr, so I'm alright for vermin control.
    I will be reloading, so I would just like a bit of info on availability/cost/choice of reloading bits for various calibers. At the moment I am really thinking .243, .260 6.5x55 and 25-06 are all the possibilities I am thinking about. Haven't really looked too much into the .308+ as I am unlikely to have to take many larger deer, although flexibility is always nice. Space is a real issue, so I am unlikely to be able to purchase an additional rifle down the line.
    Any input would be much appreciated. Cheers.
    I think you're going to need to consider your scope options quite carefully if you're hoping to combine 50 yard woodland roe stalking with 250 yard plus lamping of foxes.
    Also if foxes are not going to be a regular quarry you need to understand that the benefit of a flat shooting calibre is that it gives you a reliably long point blank range to work with as Toby is unlikely to stand around waiting whilst you dial elevation in.

    We all have an opinion on calibres and I know as many guys who profess a dislike of 243 as I do guys who swear by it.

    Are you looking at a lightweight stalking rifle or something a bit more "tactical" in build weight? You might find that a lightweight unmoderated .308 is less comfy than the equivalent 6mm calibre.

    Personally I think you wouldn't go far wrong with .243 and you might use an 85gn+ bullet for deer and something lighter for your occasional foxes.

    Ask three hobby shooters and you'll get three different answers. Ask three fulltime keepers what tool they use for deer and foxes and I doubt you'd get three different answers.

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