My Two Chamberings For Anything Deer Related In The UK!

jamross65

Well-Known Member
IMG_4045 (1).jpg

I had a chat with a mate recently about the need for more than one or maybe two chambering for use on deer in the UK and this was basically my opinion on it....

I've owned rifles from Sako, Tikka, Remington, Mannlicher, Krico, Borden as well as some custom rifles in factory donor actions. I've had them chambered in .222, .22-250, .243, .243AI, .25-06, .270, 6.5x284, 6.5x47 Lapua, .308 and .300WSM. With them where legal (obviously....) I've mainly shot sika and roe, a few red a few fallow and a handful of muntjac.

So, after all the above chopping and changing and now a bit more wise (just a wee bit) I have settled on the following to use for anything deer wise in the UK. A custom built Borden in 6.5x47 Lapua using only 120grn BT Nosler and a .25-06 using nothing except 115grn Nosler Partition (if they are accurate). (although the photo is actually a factory Sako 117grn Gamehead as not loaded any for this particular rifle yet and it is very accurate in the rifle).

I know some may say there is a bit of overlap here and maybe there is, but both can be used for anything here. The 6.5 is only pushing them at around 2750fps. Its isn't fast but it's incredibly accurate. I have shot roe with it, some muntjac and a good sized red stag. Not shot any sika with it yet but I will as well as fallow. The damage the 120grn BT causes is minimalist, because it isn't blowing up at silly speeds and is a joy to shoot. The 115grn Partition is a round I'd use on anything in the UK, regardless of it's size. It is developing more energy than the 6.5 and if we bare in mind that 99.999% of the deer we shoot are under 200yds it is dumping a fair amount of that energy in the beast even at that distance.

The .25-06 is a Sako 75 Stainless Synthetic with a 8x56 Swarovski that is primarily a rifle for guests to use. The 6.5x47 is my rifle for when I get out stalking and has a Zeiss V8 1.8-14x50 on it. The 25-06 is my 'working rifle' in other words and would also come out if it's going to be an abusive day on the gear and me! Plus it is handy having a back up if one fails and clients need to borrow one. That is all I need.

I have a .308 Custom Remmy that I am selling as it sits in the cupboard since being built and will only get used IF I get a shot at boar. So, I'll get a cheap one for that nearer the time.

A lot of what is written on here and especially in the shooting press almost has us believe we NEED a shed load of rifles in different chambering with a plethora of bullets otherwise we simply cannot do a decent job shooting deer. What a great marketing ploy and a load of garbage. Folk new to the sport must feel like they are walking through a maze.....

I admit I don't shoot many foxes and hardly ever get out lamping nowadays but when I do I would happily use one of the rifles I own with the bullets I have loaded for them. Why would I give myself the headache of developing another load just for the odd fox???? (as I said, this is about deer rifles and chamberings)

So, that's my tuppence worth and relevant until I fancy something else......:rofl::doh:
 

Moonraker68

Well-Known Member
I've owned various calibres since starting stalking a dozen or so years ago; I think/hope I've settled on a 7x57 and a 30-06 now; I hope to use the 3O-06 in Namibia for plains game next year as well.
 
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Claret_Dabbler

Well-Known Member
A lot of sense in that Brian. Agree on the 120gr BTs from whatever 6.5 you fancy.

I think the 25/06 is a bit light for a general purpose back up, mines a 30/06...
 

NigelM

Well-Known Member
It's amazing how we all have such different views on what works. The great tapestry of shooting!

I have now concluded (not that I will not change my mind again!) that a 6mm running a 100 grain soft nose/bonded/monolithic bullet at 3000fps is perfect for Muntjac, Roe and Fallow. On Monkeys you could easily get away with a 50/70 grain in a .22CF at the same speed but we are looking for just 2 rifles. For Red and Sika a 140 grain bullet at 3000fps in 7mm. What chambering you choose is up to you to achieve the numbers, I use 6mm*47 Lapua and 280AI - the 280AI is a bit overkill and runs a bit fast for the Reds, but it works.

Plains Game is so variable in size, from Roe size to Moose size and the distances so variable from 50 to 300 yds, I think as an all rounder you might be best with a 180/200 grain bullet at 2900/3000 fps - so 300 Win Mag performance - 30-06 at least.

And you left out long range plinking for fun. 1000 yd stuff. 7mm is the perfect balance between bullet weight/bc and recoil.

My conclusion to the complete inventory is 22BR, 6mm*47 Lapua, 7mm08AI, 280AI and 300WM.

Not a Dangerous Game sort of chap, but that would be good reason for a 6th, 416 Rigby?
 

Tet

Member
Hi jamross65,

Thanks for this, as a newbie ie this is very interesting reading - and as you say the almost infinite combination of calibres and ammunition make it a terrifying environment.

I opted for .308 Mauser M12 Extreme as the main rifle (as I have the regular opportunity to go to Sweden for Boar it seemed a sensible compromise) and for ammunition I am currently using the factory load RWS HIT or DK 165gr. I'm mainly on Roe and Fallow with the occasional Muntie.

As as the second slot on the FAC I've currently got 22-250 for Fox control, but am wondering if I should look to change this to something that would be suitable for the smaller deer as well as Fox on the basis that I may come across both when out.

Any my thoughts or comments will gratefully received and read with interest.

Tet.
 

jamross65

Well-Known Member
Hi jamross65,

Thanks for this, as a newbie ie this is very interesting reading - and as you say the almost infinite combination of calibres and ammunition make it a terrifying environment.

I opted for .308 Mauser M12 Extreme as the main rifle (as I have the regular opportunity to go to Sweden for Boar it seemed a sensible compromise) and for ammunition I am currently using the factory load RWS HIT or DK 165gr. I'm mainly on Roe and Fallow with the occasional Muntie.

As as the second slot on the FAC I've currently got 22-250 for Fox control, but am wondering if I should look to change this to something that would be suitable for the smaller deer as well as Fox on the basis that I may come across both when out.

Any my thoughts or comments will gratefully received and read with interest.

Tet.
Hi Tet

Glad it was of some interest or help.

I think you've got a very 'usable' set up there for anything in the UK and realistically there would never really be a need to change it for stalking deer, ever.....

I suppose it depends on how much you do or how much you rely on the rifle for. If it was for employment or taking guests a back up rifle that is legal for everything like your main one is a good idea. But of it's recreational and not a major inconvenience if something happens meaning reaching for a foxing rifle you cannot shoot deer with then you'll love the 22-250! Pick good bullets that will still easily kill a fox (they don't need to be hugely explosive, the fox will die regardless with an expanding bullet from it!) and you can still use it on muntjac and CWD south of the Border. There will be thousands of roes shot in Scotland every year with 22-250's, it's ridicule;us you cant use it on roe in England.

Will your FEO support an application for the CF .22 to be used for smaller deer species as well? There is no reason why they shouldn't if it's already on land passed for a Sect 1.
 

Mungo

Well-Known Member
Of course, you could do just as well with .243 and .308. Or 6.5x55 and .270. Or 6.5xFlavour-flavour-of-the-month and 7x Venerable Classic.

I don't think it actually makes the slightest difference which you choose once you're into all-deer legal centrefires. And you almost certainly don't need 2 in difference calibres. I'm currently just running 2 .270s. And wondering why I'm bothering to get my .308 repaired. All the deer I've shot in the last month are just as dead with no noticeable change in meat damage.

I always say you could choose entirely at random from a pile of rifles in every conceivable large-deer legal chambering, load it with a standard factory soft point, hand it to a stalker and he would be very hard pressed indeed to detect any change in outcome. I would love to be able to switch someone's beloved 6.5xFrootloop for an identical .308 and wait for them to wax lyrical about it's performance, before revealing that the animal they just shot was actually killed with 'just' a .308.
 

Essexsussex

Well-Known Member
Of course, you could do just as well with .243 and .308. Or 6.5x55 and .270. Or 6.5xFlavour-flavour-of-the-month and 7x Venerable Classic.

I don't think it actually makes the slightest difference which you choose once you're into all-deer legal centrefires. And you almost certainly don't need 2 in difference calibres. I'm currently just running 2 .270s. And wondering why I'm bothering to get my .308 repaired. All the deer I've shot in the last month are just as dead with no noticeable change in meat damage.

I always say you could choose entirely at random from a pile of rifles in every conceivable large-deer legal chambering, load it with a standard factory soft point, hand it to a stalker and he would be very hard pressed indeed to detect any change in outcome. I would love to be able to switch someone's beloved 6.5xFrootloop for an identical .308 and wait for them to wax lyrical about it's performance, before revealing that the animal they just shot was actually killed with 'just' a .308.
much sense spoken as ever Mungo. I have settled for a longer range shooter (7mm rem mag) and a highly accurate more gentle shooting 6.5x55. But of course other than at the margins I would have been just as well sticking with my very accurate much loved and much used 243 which I can't bear to sell for the £300 it would make.

In reality a lot of us have more time thinking about stalking than actually being stalking which leads to all sorts of calibrate related retail misadventure!
 

stubear

Well-Known Member
Just goes to show that caliber choice is as varied as anything else! I guess we all have a mental image of what a rifle cartridge should look like.

I know some people who shoot .25-06/.30-06 (a great combo which I am halfway tempted to move to myself, if only for the inevitable research and shopping trips that would entail :)), another mate has 6.5x55/.30-06 and there are probably myriad other great combinations.

Personally I went for .308 as my first rifle, just coz I know that round really well, its nice to shoot and everywhere stocks ammo. TBH I could probably just stick with that one caliber alone but it would be nice to get a .243 as well for smaller deer and fox at some point, just because!

And then building it out worldwide I'd like to add a sub 12ft/lb .22 air rifle, .22LR or .17HMR, a .300WM and a .458WM. I think that would basically cover me for everything from rats to cape buffalo!

Plus I'd love to get an old hammer S/S shotgun with Damascus barrels as they are a joy to behold.

If I only I could get all of that past the wife as "necessary purchases"... ;)
 

JAYB

Administrator
Site Staff
That's a good post Brian and will no doubt cause a few folk to rethink what they have. For years I used mainly a 243 and a 6.5x55 swede, mainly the Swede with 129 grn Hornady Interlock. There was always 222 and things on the scene but those two were my mainstay. Then I got a 7x57 and all the rest seemed to become redundant, I ended up using it for everything and was well satisfied, I still had the others but just used them for gathering dust really!

Its all academic now as my health has stopped me shooting, I am reduced to one air rifle and one air pistol. Nothing much fears me anymore.

John
 

Mungo

Well-Known Member
Personally, I prefer the 7.62 Vanilla or the .30 Off The Shelf. But I grant that the .27 Old Man's Gun has its merits.
 

patrickt

Well-Known Member
Brian an interesting read, I do think however, that any FEO reading this will also look with interest in order to persuade some of us nicely, or otherwise that we do not NEED the various other calibres in our gun safes!

I shall standby and await calls from fellow shooters concerned about being asked the above question by their Firearms Dept

Patrick
 

Essexsussex

Well-Known Member
Need is very subjective. I don't actually NEED a rifle. If I could not shoot deer I wouldn't die. If any target shooter didn't shoot targets, they certainly wouldn't starve as a result and their livelihood would seldom be affected.

So then substitute need for reasonable justified requirement. Factually it is considered reasonable for me to want a rifle (as I have been allowed to have one), which I can demonstrate that I would use. Having only one rifle would not cause me to die if I couldn't shoot a deer with the other rifle, strictly speaking. But it isn't unreasonable for me to want one rifle set up with a low mag scope for the woodlands and one with a high mag scope for the hill. if I'm doing that, it isn't unreasonable that the woodland be a calibre more advantageous for the job (say heavier and slower), and the hill rifle a fast and flatter calibre.

It also isn't unreasonable to hold a spare rifle, as my infrequent trips could be frustrated by a rifle malfunction quite easily, and the licensing system prevents me from easily borrowing someone else's. no need for these to be the same calibre either, if the argument that all large rifles do the same job is being used then why not have different calibres once the reasonable requirement for 2 rifles has been satisfied?

So it isn't really need that guidelines are set by (or FEO decisions made), its more reasonable requirement I would say? any FEO reading this should be well versed in all the arguments anyway and I don't think seasoned stalkers who are content with one calibre saying so on this forum will set a precedent for the rest of us.
 

patrickt

Well-Known Member
Essexsussex, NEED may have been the wrong adjective to use, more of "Good reason"" as referred to in the F Act/ Guidelines, and an individuals interpretation for, and the counter argument for not having "Good reason". I have recently been involved in a number of queries from FAC holders regarding Police revoking certificates citing "Good reason", and suprisingly.

Even the Judiciary, and members of the Police Force have had their certificates revoked on the basis of not using a particular firearm on a frequency that the Police say does not justify them keeping that particular firearm. Hence my post/observations

Patrick
 

Essexsussex

Well-Known Member
Essexsussex, NEED may have been the wrong adjective to use, more of "Good reason"" as referred to in the F Act/ Guidelines, and an individuals interpretation for, and the counter argument for not having "Good reason". I have recently been involved in a number of queries from FAC holders regarding Police revoking certificates citing "Good reason", and suprisingly.

Even the Judiciary, and members of the Police Force have had their certificates revoked on the basis of not using a particular firearm on a frequency that the Police say does not justify them keeping that particular firearm. Hence my post/observations

Patrick
thanks Patrick - this is interesting and shows quite an extreme difference between forces. for example, I recall someone applying in Sussex putting 5 different rifles on their first application, and getting them all! Although I can well believe that the reverse is in action elsewhere as you point out.

Frequency is a very good point, that we should all at least use what we have.

ES
 

Malxwal

Well-Known Member
Certainly Police Scotland have openly admitted to actively trying to reduce the number of legally held firearms. Generally speaking many are limited to two centre-fire calibres to pursue roe and red, with good cause for anything outwith that requiring positive proof. For me currently 6.5x47 and 308.
 
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