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Is .243 the be-all and end-all that it's cracked up to be?

Discussion in 'Firearms Certificate (FAC) Guns' started by Jackroadkill, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

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    I know this is potentially a contentious issue, but bear with me... My FAC is due for renewal next spring and I'm intending to apply for a full-bore rifle. This is mainly for foxing, but I have the chance of a few deer (locally and further afield). In my heart of hearts I'd love a Lee Enfield in .303 but I'm not sure that my FEO would grant me one for hunting with, and there's nowhere to shoot one locally that I want to go to, so I think that avenue is closed to me at the moment.

    So, we all know that for foxes the .243 is definitely capable, and it's also capable (in the eyes of the law, at least) of humanely killing most (all?) UK deer species. The question is this: is the .243 so popular because it finds itself in the fox-and-deer category almost by default (because of the size and energy that it makes easily) or is it genuinely the best all-rounder?

    I don't want to go for a .223 because this will limit deer species that can be taken; likewise I'm not keen on a .22-250 for this reason and the susceptibility to wearing barrels. I don't know much about .270 but I suspect that it might be more gun than I need.

    Any advice or opinions gratefully received.

    Cheers,

    JR
     
  2. Elk hunter

    Elk hunter Keyboard Hero

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    303 is deer legal, so why no use one. Can't beat a calibre you are comfortable and familiar with.

    Failing that I woud strongly recommend any thing built off the 30-06. 270/25-06 far better than a 243 due to the fact it can shoot heavier bullets than a 243 and as light as 85gr for foxes.

    I can be honest not over keen on the 243 there are better Calibres.

    Andrew
     
  3. jonesy185

    jonesy185 Busy Member

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    243 I use for fox destruction and I love it . Great caliber for the job .
    Never had any issues with it .

    I was gonna get a 223 at first but eventually went for the 243 for fox as primary and deer on the side when need be .

    Ammo is reasonable depending on what you get or home loads .

    I use 75 gr hornady sst BT very popular for foxes in the 243 .


    All personal preferences end of day .
     
  4. r10hunter

    r10hunter Honorary Member

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    For fox and occasional deer .243 is the way to go in my opinion.

    Feo's are advised that anything over .264 /6.5 mm should be primarily a deer or boar rifle. With other smaller animals ( foxes ) conditioned only if the feo sees a good reason to do so.
    Then you get into needing dsc's how much stalking you have etc.
    Sound out your FEO. Most will not consider .308 etc is really not an appropriate round to be shooting at foxes in the dark. Depending on your permission and individual FEO obviously.

    With .243 you can just say it's to control fox on my permission (AS IT IS A WINDY PERMISSION) and occasional deer shooting if invited by someone. No need to say where or when you will shoot the deer.

    Good luck with the application.
    Andy.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  5. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    The .243 probably gets most of its popularity from the fact that it's the minimum legal calibre for deer in the UK. I've always liked larger calibres although I don't have the experience of deer shooting to be abl to comment on that. I always found the .308 to be a very versatile calibre with a wide variety of bullet weights available and plenty of power for anything you'll find in this country. 30-06 and .270 do have a bit more energy but also the recoil to go with it but a 6.5x55 might well suit you.
    I did put a lot of rounds through a Tikks M55 in 22-250 and it was always capable of 0.5" groups at 100 yards so I wouldn't worry about shooting one out hunting although some makers tubes may not be of the same quality. Have you considered that maybe 2 rifles might be required? Could be a solution :)
     
  6. snapperspike

    snapperspike Engaging Member

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    I consider the 6.5x55 quite often, BUT if you look at the ballistics, your not gaining a great deal over a .243 out to 250yds really, and that's a sensible max distance unless you are a regular hill stalker.
    That's why I went for the .308.
    As an old keeper said to me :-
    "You know exactly what it's going to do, and where it's going to come down, and it'll b****r anything on it's way" !!! :D
     
  7. 1961nuffield

    1961nuffield Honorary Member

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    I have a Parker Hale in .243 win. for foxes, and its a pleasant round and gives good barrel life. I prefer .308 though, if you can get one.

    John
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2014
  8. kermitboy1

    kermitboy1 Banned BANNED

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    The old school keeper that taught me all of my 'field skills' as a youngster, used 243 for fox and deer. He never gave any consideration to any other cal being needed for the job in hand on an estate of over 1500 acres. Sadly no longer with us, but I bet if he could have an input in recommendation of what to use, he would sing about the old 243 Parker Hale that served him so well. KB1
     
  9. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

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    Just done a bit of snooping around the net and it looks as if used .308 rifles are a little cheaper than .243's, and ammo looks to be fairly similar in price... What are the chances of being granted one of these? I do have full bore experience (mainly 5.56 and 7.62mm), which may count in my favour. I think I need to ring my FEO.
     
  10. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    Can't see why there should be any difference in the way the firearms people view the 2 calibres. If you have the use for a deer rifle with the option of using it on fox then the 308 should be an ideal choice and the FEO should see it that way as well, no doubt he will have dealt with similar applications many times before.
    Don't forget a moderator and expanding ammunition and to add for target use as well, including zeroing to get it all covered.
     
  11. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

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    Certainly won't - although I have plenty of land that's suitable for zeroing.
     
  12. engraver

    engraver Keyboard Hero

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    Three good friends of mine who stalk often are currently shooting .243 steyr's

    But the one with the most experience 35yrs, told me he preferred his .308 especially for sika and big reds.

    Should imagine they punish foxes too, but what calibre doesn't? a fox doesn't take much killing Ive seen them fold to a rimfire.

    I would say the .243 may be the most suitable on paper to FAO's but in use it will do the job, but that .308 punch may be in the back of your mind when you have a large deer in your scope.:D personally I would put in for it, whats the worst they can do? refuse and maybe suggest .243 instead.

    If I could cover ground like I used to I would probably be on those fells now, with something like a Mauser .308 chasing some big reds around,:D
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  13. r10hunter

    r10hunter Honorary Member

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    Because that is what their guidance tells them. 6.5 mm max for a fox rifle. ( and that should only be allowed if in a windy area)
    6.5 mm max for fox and deer rifle.
    [​IMG]

    Some feo's can be convinced to allow .308 on fox to save buying another rifle some will not allow it.

    .308 Rifles that are primary deer rifles may also be conditioned. "Deer and fox while deer stalking." Ie. you can't use it at night or when deer are out of season, if you get a fox condition on it at all.
    If you apply for a .308 for deer you may also be questioned on your stalking experience and required to produce a DSC or a portfolio of experience.
    The reason many people go for .243 for fox and occasional deer and then after a couple of years move up to .308 if needed.

    Cheers Andy
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  14. snapperspike

    snapperspike Engaging Member

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    Agreed Andy.
    It comes down (in a lot of cases) to this "county" interpretation of the law by the police force.
    I have an open ticket here in North Yorks. and AOLQ, and the fire arms dept. are great, and most shoot themselves, so they know and understand requirements.
    My friend who was recently licenced, lives 8 miles away in West Yorks. has a torrid time, and although granted fac for .17hmr and .223, has a closed ticket, fox but no deer, and a load of conditions as well.
    It's a bit of a lottery really.
    As you say, .308 is not a cal. that a lot of the feo's like to grant on first app., but if he's had a fac for a few years, he MAY be lucky.
    I don't really see how a .308 is any more dangerous than a .243.
    In fact, when I applied for .243, my feo tried to persuade me to go bigger, and apply for 6.5 or .308 then !
    It's down to proving "need" as well, which again is open to the local county forces opinion.
    Not a rant, just wish we could all have a level playing field.
     
  15. r10hunter

    r10hunter Honorary Member

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    Probably the home office don't really think .308 is more dangerous than .243 but they have to issue a cut off line for fox in their guidance and so chose 6.5mm.
    I guess if no cut off line were in the guidelines you would have people wanting to shoot foxes with .700 nitro express.

    Like you say if all areas would stick to the guidelines it would be so much more simple.
    Cheers Andy
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  16. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    The thing about guidelines is that they are open to interpretation and can be applied differently according to the people involved. If they are used simply to provide guidance to inexperienced applicants that's fine but if some forces try and turn them into a set of rules then that's something else altogether. The alternative is to have separate rifles for each quarry which means more cost etc.
    In terms of 'danger', perceived or real, there's not a great deal to choose between any of the common calibres for deer used in the UK. The .308 is very flexible in terms of cartridge availability and, if you reload, the range of options is almost unlimited (with a suitable barrel).
     
  17. snapperspike

    snapperspike Engaging Member

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    I'm lucky Terry, most of my rifles like Prvi.
    In fact the Parker Hale shoots less than inch groups at 100m with it, with a warm barrel!
    Happy chap !
     
  18. engraver

    engraver Keyboard Hero

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    Believe it or not I sold this for a mate a while back, [​IMG] yellowboy .357 mag and he got this variation for mentioning fox, so there you go you never know unless you ask.

    Was good fun but never aimed at a fox:D
     
  19. buffy vampire slayer

    buffy vampire slayer LOW BELLEND THRESHOLD

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    the thing with stalking is that some Scottish estates now consider .243 not enough gun for reds and sika.
    I have a .22-250 and a .308 both conditioned for deer and fox and AOLQ.
    getting a centrefire in west yorks with no experience of the calibre or similar calibre being asked for is impossible with the way they interpret the home office guidelines and they apply mentoring conditions at the drop of a hat before granting it.
    they also try arguing you down for a lesser calibre,so if that happens to you stick to your guns,literally
     
  20. 1961nuffield

    1961nuffield Honorary Member

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    .308 ball (ex nato) is cheap to buy as well, so that's the calibre I'd put in for if you have half a chance.

    John
     

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