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What sort of deer stalking rifle should I buy?

Q: I'm wondering about deer stalking rifles. I've been considering a .243 but would this be the best all-round rifle for this purpose? And what about scopes? My budget for both is about £4,000 tops.

deer stalking rifle

Our expert at Sporting Gun advises:

A: Well, your budget is decent. That’s good news because a suitable rifle with quality optics is usually about £1,500 for each piece of kit to ensure you get a sound combination.

So with this budget you’ve got some money left over to spend on a sound moderator and ammunition, plus a good cleaning kit.

What would I choose? Any of bolt-action rifles on the market today.

A premium rifle

Value for money is offered by such names as Tikka, Sako, Remington and Ruger. However with the funds you have available, you could look at a premium rifle from the likes of Heym, Steyr Mannlicher, Merkel or Sauer.

Good looks

You’ll probably be wanting the traditional blued steel and a walnut stock, which you could upgrade with your sort of budget. If you wanted to, you could also have some engraving done to personalise your new rifle.

Your options

You might like to look at the Blaser R93 and Heym SR30.

These ultrafast, straight pull bolt designs are popular in the UK and provide a quick-exchange barrel system so that you could also buy a varmint or big game barrel — making your original purchase very economical.

I also like the Mauser M03, which is a modern interpretation of the old Mauser 98 bolt-action. This rifle is strong, sturdy and accurate, and also offers a barrel change system for versatility.

What about scopes?

Here I’d say you should buy the best you can afford.

Premium brands such as Zeiss, Swarovski, Kahles, Schmidt & Bender and Nightforce will give years of reliable service and great low-light optics.