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Thread: General beginner's advice

  1. #1

    General beginner's advice

    Hi folks,

    So, as per my introductions post, a bit of background;

    I'm a woodland officer, and a lot of my job involves meeting with landowners and encouraging them to engage in positive management of their woodlands, including deer management.
    I am not yet a stalker myself, so I figured as I was advising people (or at the very least referring them to The Deer Initiative), it was about time to start.

    My interest is primarily in population management and filling my own freezer. I'm not remotely interested in trophy hunting, so any stalking I do will be on land with solely those objectives in mind.

    So I have a few questions I could do with some advice on;

    1. I thought a .308 would be a practical, all-round rifle to start with, as there are reds in my area and I may have access to land on which to shoot them. That said, and not at this time knowing what I will be able to get with a small budget, I was curious to know if I should also include on the FAC application other calibers. Will it go against me on the application if I apply for, say, a .308, a .270 , a .243 and a .22 (the latter of course just being for small game)?

    2. As it will be my first FAC application, I assume a mentor will be a requirement of the FAC. Is this correct? I have a number of people in mind, but am curious to know what is required of a mentor (in terms of qualifications etc) and how it works. (i.e. is the mentor someone chosen by the firearms officer or can I just choose someone myself).

    That's enough for now.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Q1 .308 sounds ideal for you, the others you could probably quite easily justify as well (although not sure if they would be happy about granting .270 & .308 as they may think them too similar, but ask anyway as if you don't ask.....)
    q2 regarding mentor not sure as all feo's seem to have their own ideas, lol. When I initially got my fac I had a condition that I must be accompanied by an experienced shot (no named individual), but this condition was removed when I passed DSC1.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by palmer_mike View Post
    q2 regarding mentor not sure as all feo's seem to have their own ideas, lol. When I initially got my fac I had a condition that I must be accompanied by an experienced shot (no named individual), but this condition was removed when I passed DSC1.
    Times have moved on. There is specific instruction from ACPO FELWG to Licensing Departments to not foist the 'mentoring' condition on FAC applicants anymore. Details are contained in this document: http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/...April%2013.doc

    That aside, I think it might be helpful for any 'nimrod' to seek out the guidance of a more experienced stalker to show him the ropes - just not have it as a restrictive requirement to possessing a firearm.

    To the OP. Do you have any previous experience with any type of sporting firearms, as that is what the FLD will be looking for. Also depending on where in Devon you are you might find a wide variation in the 'quality' of FEO you initially deal with, and that could influence the manner in which your application is dealt with. PM me for more info.

    EDIT TO ADD:

    This is what the FLD will be looking for, (from HO Guidance), I've highlighted the relevant points.

    13.26 It is desirable that new applicants should have some previous experience of the safe use of firearms before using such rifles. Experience is neither cartridge nor ammunition type exclusive. It may include the shooting of any quarry species. The aspect that police are looking to be satisfied about is the competency of the applicant to take a safe shot every time. The shooting of any quarry requires a safe backstop for the shot, and such experience is transferable between quarry species.
    Last edited by Orion; 11-11-2014 at 18:50.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Orion View Post

    To the OP. Do you have any previous experience with any type of sporting firearms, as that is what the FLD will be looking for. Also depending on where in Devon you are you might find a wide variation in the 'quality' of FEO you initially deal with, and that could influence the manner in which your application is dealt with. PM me for more info.
    Hi, thanks for the advice. I used to regularly attend a clay shoot as a non-licenced shooter when I was living in Ireland, and I have been out with experienced stalkers and shot myself (not literally!) once or twice before. Beyond that I haven't used firearms since I was in army cadets as a teenager!

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Hi. I am intending on doing the DSC1 at the earliest opportunity, not least because I have a professional reputation to maintain and build on, and it would not look good if the local woodland officer went charging around unqualified! I am scheduled to do the BDS deer management course (for which normally the DSC1 is a pre-requisite, but due to the nature of my profession I have got a place on it without at this time).

  7. #7
    Definitely put in for a .22lr, ostensibly for bunnies but basically to practice your shooting without spending a pound a bang, which you would be on your .308. a .22 is the perfect rifle to practice on, cheaply.

  8. #8
    I think the 308 makes a lot of sense, not because it will kill deer better but simply because ammo is usually readily available and is often less expensive than the less common cartridges. It is also the case that if you are relatively new and want to practice then mil surplus ammo is available and can be very inexpensive. Lots of people will encourage you to more obscure cartridges on the basis that they are better in some tiny and almost imperceptible way but in the end it is you who has to find ammo for it and has to pay for the ammo so go for something as common as muck and as cheap to feed as possible.

    The same could probably also be said for the 270 and 243 with the exception of the mil surplus ammo for practice, they are both great but for a beginner the mil surplus ammo can be a real big plus point.

    If it were me I'd stick to one deer legal rifle and spend the cash on the one rifle and reasonable glass (fixed mag, second hand, quality Euro glass) rather than spreading the cash around 3 rifles and 3 scopes. In the end a 308 will, in practical terms, do everything a 270 or 243 will so unless you are coming down with cash start with one and practice with it and get good with it and then consider adding another centre fire. (You could equally well start with just the 270 or 243 and I'm picking the 308 purely on the surplus ammo ticket)

    As already mentioned the .22 is ideal for practice as well, plus is useful for lots of other stuff, so there is probably no overlap between it and a 308 so in that case you can probably justify both.
    For self catering accommodation on the Isle of Lewis please visit:
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  9. #9
    Extremely useful advice, thank you! I hadn't even considered surplus ammo!

  10. #10
    I agree with the comments altho frankly anything from 7mm - 308 is fine I think .243 may be tad light if the reds are big although its all down to bullet placement rather than calibre As an aside I personally would never own a 243 and a 308 too easy to muddle rounds with a not good result - and seen it happen twice at Bisley - luckily a 243 fired in 308

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