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First Centefire Rifle

18 Feb 2013
@ 11:32 pm (GMT)

Bryce McNally

Hi Nathan

Great website with tons of information on calibres but I have to ask the age old question on Calibre recommendations.

I am planning on doing my first deer stalking trip into the ureweras this year and am wondering on your recommendation for a good around calibre to purchase. I appreciate that it's not black and white but I obviously have to start somewhere.

This will be my first centre fire purchase and havent played with anything other than a 223 so I'm not sure on how recoil sensitive I will be.

I have a good friend that will help with reloading etc. I was thinking alond the lines of .260 rem Do you think that's enough.

Many thanks



19 Feb 2013
@ 04:49 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: First Centefire Rifle
Hi Bryce, glad to have you on board.

For foreign readers, I will give a brief description of the Ureweras (translates from Maori- burnt penis). The Ureweras is a massive tract of land that can be considered harsh in nature if traversing long distances. The environment mostly consists mostly of dense rain forest, the terrain ranges from flat swamp land to incredibly steep ridges but not generally of a high altitude. In this bush, shots range from around 10 to 50 yards max. Grass clearings can be found here and there, allowing for some longer shots, the longest being about 300 yards if the hunter can get up high into a tree. But it is more usual to have a field of view of around 25-50 yards in the open. Where there are clearings, there is usually swamp. The Ureweras hold Red deer, constantly on high alert from all year around hunting. Body weights are much the same as young or lean Elk or Mule deer. During the roar (rut), stags can be very difficult to put down.

Access is typically via road end (then back pack) or by boat via Lake Waikerimoana. It is a harsh place in some ways, both land and people. Some of the native people still live in a world where the white man is seen as the invader and confrontations are not uncommon in certain areas. Like the early American Indians, horses are a big deal to many of the natives of this area and I think that the horses in this area are perhaps the best stock in the country.

OK, back to your question. Due to the possibility of losing stags plus having to take less than ideal shots (less than ideal shot placement when snap shooting / shooting between trees), I prefer to carry something with a bit of punch for the Urewearas. For a long time I used an 8mm-06 in this area. For an off the shelf rifle and taking your experience level into account, I would recommend that you adopt a .308, possibly one of the Tikka rifles that are proving so reliable and accurate out of the box.

The 165gr SST bullet would prove a good allrounder for you. If full penetration is required for blood trailing, a core bonded bullet can also prove very useful. If you can afford it, the 165gr Partition is ideal, it gives both explosive wounding combined with deep Penetration. This depends on your budget, bearing in mind that you need to practice.

Other good cartridges include the .270 Win loaded with a 150gr bullet or the .30-06, though recoil would be very high from the T3 platform, for someone trying to build skill. The laminate rifle is best if adopting the .30-06. One of my favourite loads for Urewera type application is the 180gr Norma Vulcan.

Some readers will have met Rusty, a bushman who lived in the Ureweras for many years. I haven't seen Rusty for a few years so I don't know if he is still up there. Rusty was a government culler and a crack shot with a .222. But in Rusty's words, the .222 is OK for sniping young deer (neck/head shots) for meat from hides/tree stands- but when chasing large stags or stalk and shoot situations, the .222 (and .22-250) let Rusty down too many times. Hence Rusty would always carry a .308Win for stalking animals larger than yearlings. You can't get better advice than from someone who has spent over a decade in a tent, in the heart of the Ureweras.

Sight your .308Win rifle in 2" high at 100 yards, dead on at roughly 200 yards, 8"-10 low at 300 yards, generally speaking. If you have access to areas where long shots may occur (300 yards), sight 3" high at 100, dead on at 246 yards (roughly) and 6" low at 300 yards.
19 Feb 2013
@ 08:48 pm (GMT)

Bryce McNally

Re: First Centefire Rifle
Thanks Nathan

I purchased your ebook today to do a bit of reading and obviously support your cause.

Would you class a .308 as being a good all around calibre for Deer and pigs. I plan to invest a few dollars into a new rifle and have a good mate who will be helping me to set up for reloading. I appreciate that there is no such thing as a one calibre fits all but I'd like something I can load a few different loads/projectiles for from goats up to red deer in varying terrain.

Kids are older now so I can dedicate some serious time to what I enjoy which is hunting. I pig hunt a lot in Northland with dogs but would like to put some effort into deer etc now but would like to o as much as possible with one calibre without limiting myself too much.

Thanks again
20 Feb 2013
@ 06:14 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: First Centefire Rifle
Thanks Bryce, I hope you are enjoying the read.

The cartridges mentioned in my last post are ideal for pigs and each are good allrounders. With the .308, you will find that the 165gr SST is, as suggested in the Knowledge base, especially good where mixed body weights are too be encountered- covering goats, pigs and reds. If you want to try you hand at longer range work in the future, there is plenty of info in the KB to assist with suitable .308 bullet choices and ideal ranges.


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