Can you recommend a good second-hand rifle for deer stalking? I have a limited budget and will also want to buy a scope and a moderator.

Steve Bowers
There are plenty of good used rifles on the market today, primarily because as a new model appears, many shooters trade in their old rifle.

If they are not using it in a professional capacity — as a forester, ranger or gamekeeper — then the rifle is unlikely to have had a hard life, and bargains can be found.

Check the second-hand stock at your local gunsmiths in order to handle many different types of rifle to find the one that suits your stature and build.

Don’t be persuaded to buy an unusual calibre, but go for a .243, .308, .30-06 or 6.5x55mm, if possible.

Quite often one can obtain cheap .270 calibre rifles in the south of the UK, as they are not so popular here, whereas in the north, they are still widely used.

You can also compare prices advertised in Shooting Times and online for new and second-hand rifles.

It is vital that a careful check of any rifle is made before purchase to make sure that the barrel is not rusty or worn, and that the muzzle crown is not damaged.

The bolt must operate smoothly and the trigger be set at a safe pull. Also check that the magazine feeds correctly, using rifle snap caps, and finally, make sure the stock is not cracked around the magazine well and pistol grip area.