Smaller calibres

It's got to be wrong to start allowing smaller deer to be taken with .22 centrefire. Just because it's legal in Scotland doesn't mean it's a good idea.

With less 'margin for error' there will inevitably be more wounded animals and more suffering.

And how many more deer are going to be culled because of the proposed change? Not many i bet.

Changing legislation on calibres won't make the slightest difference to deer numbers. The only thing that should change is stalkers' attitudes. People are too busy trying to protect their own stalking areas.

Invite other stalkers to help. Be less concerned about excluding every other bugger from your patch. Knock over more deer and the landowner will love you forever!

It works for me...

I've got to agree with Butch.

My husband has stalked for years and it always amused me that other stalkers were so protective about the land they stalked over.

It seems to me that so many stalkers won't actually tell you where they stalk, for fear of you trying to muscle in. I've always found that if you're doing a good job, taking out the right number of deer and doing it responsibly, then the landowner has no reason to look elsewhere.


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The one thing that can be said about this is that you can't over Kill an animal but you can under kill something. The last thing we need at the moment is bad press and drawing attention to our sport. If the legislation is changed and .22 centrefire becomes a deer legal caliber for smaller deer then the chances of wounding will increase.

All it will take will be a few wounded animal to be seen running around a field or somebodies garden for the various organisation to start putting pressure on our sport.
Calibre debate

I agree with everything that Jason has said.

And just where are these centrefire owners going to shoot and doesn't everyone who wants to stalk buy a stalking rifle - usually a .243 or above? I don't know of anyone with a smaller calibre who wants to stalk, but I might have missed something and there are hoardes of wouldbe stalkers just waiting in the wings for the new legislation to go through.

Wake up DEFRA and other 'organisations' - the change to calibre legislation can only be bad for animal welfare, and what's bad for animal welfare is bad for us.
If the law is changed, will all the people who have smaller calibre rifles apply to have there FAC changed as on mine the wording clearly says "The Lawful Shooting of Deer"
If so will the Police insist on the holder compleating a Deer Stalking Certificate as seems the case for a lot of people applying for deer calibres at present.



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The DSC Certification seams to be one which vary between Police Forces as to wether they want you to have done at least DSC level 1 or not.


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Small Calibres

I'm sorry but I don't agree with most of the contributers who suggest that a .223 would result in an increase in injured animals.

Most of my stalking has been in Scotland for roe deer where I have used and successfully despatched a fair number of roe without incident. The rifle is lighter and has less recoil than a 0.243< which I suggest should lead to more accurate shot placement. From experience down the target range many people (even experienced shots) flinch when they fire heavy calibre rifles.

Smaller calibers have worked in Scotland for a long time, why not in England?

Since moving to England I have sold my 0.223 and 0.65x55 and replaced them with a 0.243. I can't honestly say I notice any difference.

I think its best to select the right tool for the job. A 223 would be fine for Munties and Roe with little meat damage and capable of delivering a clean kill.
For bigger deer, bigger calibres are needed but there isn't a one size that fits all and delivers a useable carcase IMO


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A change in the law to allow .22 centrefires to be used will not lead to more wounded animals or a drastic increase in the number of stalkers. You have still got to have deer in your area to shoot them, that will rule out half the number of .22 centrefire shooters who ae more interested in shooting fox anyway. As for animal wellfare allowing these calibres to be used for roe and muntjac is merely bringing us into line with the rest of Europe. If anything small calibres will lead to better and cleaner kills of these smaller types of deer. A large high velocity bullet does not expand as well in a smaller target as a smaller round fired at the same target. This is down to energy down range. While smaller bullets are faster flying and have a flatter trajectory in general they carry less energy into the target therefore slow down quicker and will expand better in a smaller target. Larger calibre bullets such as .270, .308 have a greater down range energy and require a large target to expand to best effect. A happy medium is .243 however in the case of these species of deer smaller calibres will probably do as gooder job if not a better one. One of the great hunter W.D.M Bell used to .220 swift on large Red Deer stags with great effect. For him it had an almost uncanny ability to kill big red deer stags as if they had been electrocuted. P.O. Ackley preffered .220 swift to 30.06 for shooting deer he felt that the smaller round did a much better job of knocking them down. If you wish to read the article I will post the thread to it. Jason it is possible to over kill something, this would lead to bad press more so than the use of a smaller calibre wounding a deer. A 200 grain bullet from a 30.06 would make a very large exit wound in a deer or for that matter .300 wsm this would frankly be over kill. Their would be a very large amount of meat damage. Meat damage or damage to the carcass is how you determine whether a calibre is over kill on a particular species of deer. Aside from all this the average male human being weighs around 85 kilos a little more than the average muntjac or roe deer, yet all the modern armies have gone to 5.56mm which is the military version of .223 for knocking us off and their not allowed to use expanding ammunition, there must be something to it.


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Why do we need 22 centrefires for deer? It would make no difference to obtaining it on an FAC as you would still have to prove that you have deer to stalk. If it ain't broke don't fix it!

I personally think that we have more than enough choice of calibres to take deer with I don't think we need the 22 centrefire as well.

Alled, you cannot kill an animal too much! Also you are incorrect about the .30 calibre meat damage and exit wound. They are a slower heavier round and therefore do not cause as much bleed out / bruising in the meat as the smaller faster rounds.

You are correct that the military use the 5.56 / .223 but their reasoning is not to kill the enemy it is to halt the advancing troops i.e. the more troops you wound the more of their brethren have to stop to take care of them, more resources etc. Comrades don't stop to look after dead troops, the 7.62 was just too effective.


I have shot a good many deer with a .222 rifle the recommended start calibre. For Roe deer there is none better I will need to side with ALLED 12 It is time the law both sides of the border marries up so we can move more freely between our different shooting areas with out fear of braking the law.
There are lads out there that shoot close to built up areas and there would be no way they would get a 300 win mag etc for that type of stalking but a .222 with a mod on would be just the ticket for removing suburban roe and muntys.
Remembering it is the energy and speed that is released that makes the caliber legal so no real problems there as i know a few lads that shoot 243 and fire the nice new 50 grn or 75 grn pill at similar speeds as .22 cf


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Used the .223 and .22.250 with 50gr bullet for 20 years the .22 s are more than capable for deer but are you don,t knock it till you,ve tryed it :D


I do not agree with smaller calibres being allowed for Roe, Munties or CWD.
A 243 is fine. It is true Bell used small calibres on Reds. They have also used 30.06 and 303 on Elephant and Cape Buffalo in the past. Having taken both these animals in my hunting career, I would be loathe to take anything less than my 375HH if and when I decide to go again.

I say use the right calibre for the right animal, meat damage is not the issue so much for me. Surely it is the animlas welfare with a clean kill and an instant death that matters.


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Malcolm you have answered the question. In scotland and many parts of europe .22 cf are the norm for shooting roe, muntjac and associated species. So the whole of Scotland and europe are wrong. Most of the .22 centrefires can generate enough down range energy and velocity to meet the current regulations the only detractor is the calibre size. In some case .220 swift, 22-250 in certian bullets actually have more energy. Their is an excellent american website which will give you optimal game weight formula, they are not an exact science most of the bullets which would be suitable for deer have OGW's well over the weight of a roe or a muntjac. Their have been a few ph's who used smaller calibres i have already listed them above but here for your reading pleasure again. One of the great hunter W.D.M Bell used to .220 swift on large Red Deer stags with great effect. For him it had an almost uncanny ability to kill big red deer stags as if they had been electrocuted. P.O. Ackley preffered .220 swift to 30.06 for shooting deer he felt that the smaller round did a much better job of knocking them down. Instant death will occur with these calibres on these deer, if their were a problem surely Scotland and the rest of Europe would have band them by now. If you check the ballistics tables you would see that .338 lapua magnum has more down range energy and velocity than .375H&H and probably more accuracy. IF a cape buffalo were charging me and I had the choice guess which one I would plump for. Personal choice yes common sense yes standardize deer calibres should happen no reason not to and lots of reasons why they should happen. The website I get my OGW's and all the other detials is at it is American but it has every possible calibre in use even the wildcats. Makes very interesting reading and useful tips for reloading not that I have started to doing that yet but hopefully soon. No offence intended malcolm just putting the facts on table.


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From 1972 to 1993 only .22 centrefires were permitted in Southern Ireland for deer shooting and EIRE became a testing ground for evaluating the effect of small calibres on large deer species.
This was introduced by the authorities against advice of most experienced stalkers.
Legal requirement was 55 Grain bullet weight and 1700 Foot/pounds of Muzzle energy.The .22/250 just crept into this. The.220 Swift was technically illegal as factory cartridges at that time were loaded with 50 or 48 Grain bullets only.
Soon rifle Buffs discovered the 5.6x57 RWS and 5.6x61 Vom Hofe Super Express which fired 74 Grain and 77 Grain bullets, both of these being a vast improvement over the .22/250 etc.
In1993 common sense prevailed and the ceiling was lifted to .270 and I believe that now no ceiling exists.
There is less stinking game in the forests now for the Foxes!

The problem here will not be killing small Deer with small rifles but preventing some people with small brains illegally shooting at larger species when they appear.
During the 20 year period mentioned,over there I killed all the larger species with what the law foolishly demanded.


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Whilst the .22/250 is an excellent cartridge for Roe-Deer sized animals with the correct bullet it is inferior to the .243 Winchester in many ways.


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stag1933 said:
Whilst the .22/250 is an excellent cartridge for Roe-Deer sized animals with the correct bullet it is inferior to the .243 Winchester in many ways.
I'll second that view Stag. ;)



stag1933 said:
Whilst the .22/250 is an excellent cartridge for Roe-Deer sized animals with the correct bullet it is inferior to the .243 Winchester in many ways.

Would you like to offer some evidence in regards its inferiority to substantiate your claim ?

Not like you to make a claim and not back it up with something Stag.