Stalking

GEORGE WALLACE says:

We’ve got about half a book here! There is no fixed rule for choosing a bullet for each quarry animal but there are a few guidelines.

First, you absolutely must use a bullet with which your rifle shoots accurately and then, and only then, worry about one which kills cleanly without, in the case of deer, doing unacceptable meat damage.

Better to shoot straight and lose a bit of meat than to risk blowing off a leg or jaw or shooting an animal too far back.

Accuracy is paramount.

With that sorted, choice of bullet or even calibre of rifle becomes much less important. I’m no great fan of the .243 but there’s no doubt it will kill any creature on Earth if you put the right bullet in the right place.

For heavier animals I always suggest a heavier, tougher bullet. Speer used to offer a wonderful 105 grain round nose soft point for the .243. They stopped making it a few years back but I seem to remember reading they are available again either from Speer or another manufacturer.

You can spend a lot of money on fancy Premium bullets but you don’t really need them for deer. Just avoid the light weight, thin-jacketed ‘varmint’ bullets which are offered in most calibres.

If you are thinking of buying another rifle with larger deer in mind, then I would unhesitatingly recommend a .308. I have known many stalkers who have changed from .243 to .308 but have never heard of one who regretted doing so.

Use a bullet from 165 to 180 grains, whatever the rifle likes best, for everything from Muntjac to Red. Loaded with such a bullet the .308 won’t smash small Deer and will kill the big ones cleanly.

On the other hand, if you have a fancy for a 6.5 x 55, a .270 or a 7mm/08, just go for it. They all work if you remember to take care with the shot and place the right bullet in the right spot.