Minimum calibre for larger red stags

MJ75

Well-Known Member
#1
Gents

I know .243 is the legal minimum calbre red deer in the UK. But what do you recomend as the minimum calibre for larger red stags on the open hill. I know a few people believe .243 is a little too light in some instances.

Thanks in advance.
Jared
 

JH83

Well-Known Member
#3
I would suggest that the 6.5x55 and 260 rem are a good starting point for large reds at range on the hill. 308 and 30-06 are probably the more common choice, with 270 and 25-06 in the middle.

Alot of people say that 243 will do them time and time again, and I suspect they are right, but it leaves little room for error, and who makes the perfect shot every time? I think the 243 is fantastic for what it was designed to do, fox/roe/munt etc.

The heavy bullets from a 30, or deep penetrating bullets from a 6.5 are more reliable on large deer IMO.

James
 

Jason

Well-Known Member
#4
You can take red's using .243 I've done it but necked them, IMO use something like a 6.5x55 or .30cal. with ,243 you have to be very accurate I have seen a red shot with a .243 through the heart and it stood still not reacting to the shot then dropping on the second. when we examined the internal organs there were two holes through the heart 10 mm apart, with a wound channel showing no evidence of the bullet having expanded (slipped between it's ribs).

Consider the .243 as a surgeons scalpel and the 6.5x55, .270 and .30 cal's as lump hammers and if the animal looks delicate then use the scalpel and it it looks hard as nails then use the lump hammer.
 

Thar

Well-Known Member
#5
jameshodgson said:
I would suggest that the 6.5x55 and 260 rem are a good starting point for large reds at range on the hill. 308 and 30-06 are probably the more common choice, with 270 and 25-06 in the middle.

James
Sorry James the 270 aces the 308 for energy, :eek: at 300yrs the 130gn 270 bullet has around 250lbs of energy more than a 150gn 308, plus shoots a lot flatter. It is not the classic choice for hill stags for nothing. ;)

I am not a fan of the 6.5X55 for big stags, it does not poduce much more muzzle energy than a 243. I have tracked a few runners with my dog for my mate when he used to use one, :???: he has now gone over to a 270 with 6.5 being used on fallow does/roe ect.

It used to be a min of 270/7mm with the Forestry for big woodland stags, although I think that has now changed.

I would say start at 25-06, 7-08, 308, 6.5X284, 270, and 30-06.

Best rgds

Thar
 

nuttyspaniel

Well-Known Member
#6
A 243 with 100grn bullets! Now before all jump on me, if a shot is properly placed there is no problem, and touch wood lately thats what Ive managed. But the problem is if the shot is of a little thats where it all goes messy!! At present I am changing up to a 25-06 from my 243 and have had my nutts rapped by my professional stalker mate and asked why as he has said my rifle, my load and myself are a very good combo, and there is no need to change, and I was told that when Im on the hill he doesnt even have to think about mopping up my bloopers!!! But at present I have a bit of ground with a few reds which are coming out of a neighbours wood onto the kale and rape. Now my argument is that if I mis place a shot the beast takes of over the boundry Im feked!! Now scottish law states that I can go follow the beast up and dispatch it, ok fine but then Ive got to leave it inform the neighbours then its up to them if I can retrieve the beast!! Well Im not going to shoot a beast where there is a chance of retrieving it whats the point!!!

So basically yes a 243 with a 100grn bullet is good enough to do the job, but the question is are you confident enough to use that combination? Ive asked myself that very question and answered yes but what if!!! And that was enough. As for recomended calibres in my eyes and Ive owned 1 and loved it punted it for a treble as I got this but of ground full of roe and thought right most of my stalking will be roe with only the odd hill red at my mates!!!!! Oh I do rue punting it and that was a 308! Not as noisey and a tad gentler on the shoulder and as long as it scoped properly will shoot from 50yds out to 200ish yds and all you have to do is aim at the middle of the beast!


hope that helps
nutty
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
#7
Having shot a considerable amount of both Red and Sika stags with clients using all sorts of calibres on both Scottish and European Red Stags, some of which have been in or around 400lbs, I can honestly say that I have noticed no great overall difference between using a 243 through to a 338 calibre PROVIDING the shot is placed correctly.

A great many of my clients are American, and some prefer to use two of my rifles which are a Ruger Mod77 stainless in 25.06 and a 270 Tikka, using 120gr and 130 to 150gr nosler/sierra bullet respectively. I have just changed to a new cammo Tikka Lite in 270, good working rifles IMHO very pleased with it.

Again the subject of calibre has been raised. BUT at the end of the day it is all about correct shot placement, and knowing your quarry. You can badly shoot any species with any calibre (and belive me I have had clients that have) and the deer will still run like the wind. I knowpeople who have used a 243 in Africa on Zebra, and killed them dead!! Again shot placement, although I would not recommend a 243 for this job.

The 243 is an excellent round, but to answer the question asked about Red Deer. If a client of mine was booked to take Scottish or European Reds with myself I would advise him/her to bring a 25.06, 270 or 30.06 or any comparable calibre, you really do not need anything bigger to achieve the desired results. IMHO the 25.06 is a very under rated calibre in the UK, being a necked down 30.06 case. I have taken many African species with this calibre including Wildebeest, which are renowned for being tough.

I have had a number of American clients with 300Win Mags. And have had Jap Sika Stags shot wiht this calibre still run off, even though shot placement was correct (that is Sika for you).

I personally do not rate either the 25.06 or 270 as under gunned for Red Stag, having used these two calibres for about 20 years professionally guiding clients. Red Stag are not to my mind that tough, not when you put them up against a Japanese Sika Stag, which pound for pound will take a phenomenal amount of punishment sometimes. From my memory over the last 15 years (my memory is not waht it used to be when I try a remember back any further) I have had both species hunted with the following calibres with clients. 243, 25.06, 270, 270weatherby, 280, 30.06, 303, 3030, 300win mag, 338. Plus a few European calibres, as 90% of my clients are Americans.

Shot placement gentlemen and knowing your quarry, along with terrain and weather, these are the important points to remember.
 

SWR

Account Suspended
#8
130 grain Nosler partition through a 270 will knock them over as if they have been run over by a train with little carcass damage
 

JH83

Well-Known Member
#11
Thar,

By no means am I bashing the old 270 as some people tend to, as I have little experience of it, just saying that the 308 is more commonly used, and a reliable round for big deer. The other advantage of it is the huge choice of bullet weights, the ability to go up to 180 grn or more if you wanted to shoot boar/elk etc.

The 6.5 swede often gets a mixed response, I know a guy of 50 yrs experience who has shot everything with one, boar, elk, huge red stags and absolutley swears by the long thin bullets for penetration and a high B.C. Who am I to argue?

Use what works, but I feel the .243 is underpowered for stags, and we owe it to our quarry not to take the chance.

James.
 

llwynog

Well-Known Member
#12
hi, I own both the .243 and 6.5swede. Most of my deer are shot in Norfolk and are of the big red variety. I have to agree with whats been said above, by choice on reds I'll always take the 6.5mm. The .243 is an excellent calibre for fox and smaller deer.
I use 140grain Amax bullets in the 6.5mm and have to say I'm more than happy with the performance. There are plenty of roads, public footpaths and even the main line railway surrounding where I shoot so I don't want a 'runner'.
I'm currently looking to trade the .243 in for something bigger, like 30-06 or 300wsm, then I'll use the 6.5mm without a mod on the smaller deer and keep the larger calibre for foriegn trips, reds and sika.
regards
 
#13
I shoot a 30.06 for Red Deer loaded with a 130gr Hornady soft point which zips along at 3200fps. I also practice on the range as often as possible. the combination works very well for Hill Stags and also for there big brothers down in the Galloway Forest. i have shot Reds with smaller calibers but your margin for error is much smaller and nobody shoots perfect all the time, so maybe 30.06.

regards
Billy T
 

jon15

Well-Known Member
#15
Shot placement is the key factor as to whether you kill a stag cleanly or not. I have just come back from Scotland where I shot four stags, largest was 18st 6lbs clean in the larder, all with a .243 and all with one shot per beast, i was using 105g SN Geco's factory ammo. I spoke to the stalker before hand and said I had I only had my .243 as my 308 is not shooting well since I had it moderated and I have not had a chance to get it sorted. I expected him to say use the estate rifle 25.06, he asked me to shoot on the range and was happy for me to head to the hill with my 243. I was rather apprehensive about shooting big stags with a .243 but the stalker was telling me how all his father shot was a .243 and he had been a stalker for 40yrs. I am not saying it is the perfect hill rifle by anymeans or the hardest hitting hence I have a 308, but do not underestimate what a 243 bullet can do when it is put in the right place.
 
#16
Shot placement is the key factor as to whether you kill a stag cleanly or not. I have just come back from Scotland where I shot four stags, largest was 18st 6lbs clean in the larder, all with a .243 and all with one shot per beast, i was using 105g SN Geco's factory ammo. I spoke to the stalker before hand and said I had I only had my .243 as my 308 is not shooting well since I had it moderated and I have not had a chance to get it sorted. I expected him to say use the estate rifle 25.06, he asked me to shoot on the range and was happy for me to head to the hill with my 243. I was rather apprehensive about shooting big stags with a .243 but the stalker was telling me how all his father shot was a .243 and he had been a stalker for 40yrs. I am not saying it is the perfect hill rifle by anymeans or the hardest hitting hence I have a 308, but do not underestimate what a 243 bullet can do when it is put in the right place.
Must have a good twist rate.:cool:
 

Paul at Fechan

Account Suspended
#17
Any combination delivering 2500+ft/lb at muzzle will really start to do the business. The .243 is fine but lets be honest it's putting out around 1900 ft/lb compared to the like of bigger stuff so the punch isn't so great. My .308 is right on the 2600 ft/lb mark at muzzle and it shows when the beast is struck.
 

irishgun

Well-Known Member
#19
A 243 can get you into trouble on sika/red stags ...not a fan of the 6.5x55 ... the 270 using 130gr ballistic tips or SSTs is ideal for these hardy animals .
30,06 is a tad better . there has to be enough wallop to take the air you of there lungs .
 

stag1933

Well-Known Member
#20
A 243 can get you into trouble on sika/red stags ...not a fan of the 6.5x55 ... the 270 using 130gr ballistic tips or SSTs is ideal for these hardy animals .
30,06 is a tad better . there has to be enough wallop to take the air you of there lungs .
As `irishgun` will confirm we have taken many Red and Sika stags in Eire even with the .22/250 during the bad old days between 1972 and 1993 until the ceiling was sensibly lifted to .270 , the often maligned .270 and the venerable .30-06 are ideal for big stags.
For many years here I used a Sako Finnbear in 7mm Rem.Mag. calibre for everything including Roe and vermin species.
As the late Robert Ruark said `use enough gun`.
Whilst a boy can sometimes do a mans job, generally the man will do it better.

HWH.
 

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