There is no restriction on the calibre of rifle you can own in Scotland, PROVIDING you can show a good reason for requiring it. For hunting Deer, there are many calibres you can choose from. If you were shooting mostly Reds then a 308W or 270W would be very suitable. If only Roe, then a 22 Centre fire such as a 223, 22-250, or 222 would be fine. If you will be shooting both then a 243W would be a good all-rounder.
I own rifles in 280 Rem. (which is almost identical to the 270W apart from the bullet being 7mm), 243W, 22-250Rem. & .22LR.
With the budget you have available you could buy 2 fine rifle combos & I would suggest the following:-
A full bore for Red Deer in one of the following calibres: - 308W, 280 Rem., 270W, 7X57, 6.5-55. All fine calibres.
A 22 Centre fire for Roe & Foxes e.g. 22-250 Rem., 223, .222, 22 BR, 22 PPC.
I wouldn't advise you to buy a custom rifle just now. There are many fine factory rifles available which will be more accurate than you are at this stage. Take a look at Tikka, Sako, Winchester, or Remington. A Sako 75 would be a particularly good choice & later on when you've killed so many Deer & Foxes that the barrel is shot out you can send it to Callum Ferguson in Tomintoul to have a Border barrel screwed on & a little fine-tuning.
Regarding scopes, buy the best you can afford. In the UK you can buy a Smitt & Bender or Swarovski for a little more than a Leupold & believe me they are far superior to a Leupold.
I wish I had your dilemma, mate. If I was starting out again then I would make less mistakes this time round.
Send me an E-mail at stewh@btinternetDOTcom if you want to discuss it further.
Wow, big bucks. I would suggest a short action bolt gun in a 6.5 cal. My favorites are 260Rem and 6.5X55. Will do anything you want out to 600yds plus. Match bullets should be readily available and reloading costs not extreme.
I am stunned that you would need to spend that much. Why not get someone to mail you just about everything except the receiver? I am sure you have no laws against importing scopes, stocks, rings/bases, that sort of stuff. The receiver would be whatever is available locally from Tikka/Sako, Rem, Savage, Winchester, Beretta, or even Mauser - Parker Hale.
I am stunned that you would need to spend that much over there. I thought Canada was expensive.
i have to agree with most of the last 2 posts. i live in scotland and hunt with a .222, .25-06, 6mmPPC, all of which are sako's and .308W from accuracy international. i'd go for a sako or a tikka or a ruger, depending upon what you fancy.
where abouts are you and what kind of deer is it you have to hunt? this would seriously dictate the choice of caliber in my opinion.
if you are planning on going over 300m, then you are looking for a caliber with high ballistic coefficients. i'd opt for one of the 6.5's if this is the case.
as for scopes..... swarovski are not all they are cracked up to be. i have just sold one and replaced it with another leupold long range tactical, which is every bit as good as the swarovski. it depends on your preference though and what you are using them for.
you might wish to portion some of your budget to buying some reloading gear, as this will improve your accuracy no end.
my advice would be listen to as much advice as you can and decide what will work for you.
IMHO long range is best moved to (if at all, I'm not convinced which probably puts me in a minority of one here) from a firm bedrock of normal range hunting.
Therefore I would suggest a good quality standard rifle to start. When you have cut your teeth on this you will better understand your needs and can have someone like Callum Ferguson or Trevor Proctor build exactly what you want.
I would suggest a sako 75 stainless synthetic in 243 if roe and fox are the prime targets or 25-06 if reds are much on the agenda. I love 6.5x55 but the number of sub 140gr loads can be counted on the ring finger of my right hand and finding it in Scotland likely pretty hard. I do not think it is advisable to mix starting handloading with starting hunting. If fox were not on the agenda you could stretch that to 308 or 30-06
A fixed 6x42 scope will let you concentrate on hunting and minimise fiddling. If I can shoot rabbits at 250m with one and hunter bench rest types aggregate around 0.3moa to be competitive (so I'm told) then you and I can shoot deer a lot further. Add in a decent pair of binos and a spotting scope and you have spent:-
Mounts £90 (estimate)
Scope £450 (Swaro. The S&B and Zeiss have too thick reticles and the leupold is poorer at dusk)
Binos £850 Swaro ELs
Spotting Scope £500 Swaro CTC 30x70 draw scope
These are all heavily discounted prices and still come to a total of £2,760. To that add a rifle slip, sling, ammunition, range fees, FAC variation, BASC/BDS membership (for the insurance)bipod (if you must)etc and you'll be over £3k in a jiffy.
Buying stock rifles and high quality glass and hunting with them is not sexy - however I guarentee that if you use this equipment well you will do better than with a magnum custom rifle and no decent glass.
Buy once, buy right.
you need a scope with adjustable turrets and a paralax adjustment, with a reticle thin enough to allow you to shoot tight groups but thick enough so you don't loose it in the shadows,
I would suggest either a S&B PMII 3-12x50 or 4-16x50 with a mildot or klein reticle( avoid the horus and byrant, they are too cluttered) or a Nightforce NXS 5-22x50 with 1/10 miliradian clicks. Or the Zeiss/Hensold 6-20x50 tactical. You will cover every type of hunting and most target shooting applications with one of thoise 3 scopes. I'd err on the side of the S&B if you are hunting more than shooting paper and the NXS if targets are your main quarry.
You need a dependable mounting system, by far the most sturdy and uncomplicated is a picatinny rail and matching rings. I would opt for badger Ordnance in every case, there are cheaper alternatives on the market but badger are by far the best quality.
You need to consider stock shape, will you be using it mostly prone? or standing sitting, I would opt of a general purpose style, The Mcmillan M40, HS precision's standard pattern or the Hogue overmoulded are all good choices for a hunting rifle.
Consider rifle weight, i can tell you from experience that you do not want a big fat varmint type barrel if you are hunting anything steep or stalking any woodland, i'd opt for a heavey sporter of light varmint contour if you want a slightly heavier barrel, stick with standard hunting profiles if you don't want a heavey. People say that heavey barrels are more accurate,,thats pure bull. light barrels are just as accurate,, but the heavies stay accurate over longer shot strings. (when will you ever fire more then 3 to 5 rounds when hunting?)
define your use for the rifle, is it possible to have an alround rifle from Foxes to Reds? beware the man with only one rifle, he likely knows how to use it.. but in what kind of area are you foxing? up in the hills yopu can happily shoot foxes with anything, but in more populated areas the Police may wish you to have a smaller caliber.
what i would do is have 2 rifles. I'd have a 22.250 for fox and short range roe. Then i'd have another rifle for longer range roe up to reds. caliber choice,, well you are spoiled for choice.. get something that will do what you require and not do it marginaly, a 243 is marginal. A 6.5x55 is a good starting point, and basicaly anything in between up top 300 win mag is still on the right track. Think availability of hunting loads, a 308 and 30-06 has probably the largest choice of factory ammo in all sorts of bullet types and weights, yiou wouldn't go wrong with either. A 270, a 25-06, 280 will all do the job well. I like the 6.5x284, but there are only a couple of factory loadings.
If you have the money to spend i would definately go for a custom rifle. Options available would be an RPA(british!! ), a Nessika bay(from Callum) a sako remington or winchester that is customised.
Personaly, if i had $8000 to spend i would be talking to Jackson rifles about an RPA with a Border Barrels Barrel on it, mated to either a McMillan or HS stock. In the caliber of your choice for larger deer. I would also buy a factory 22.250 probably a remington and i would have border barrels re barrel it, after i'd shot it quite a bit at fox, crow and rabbits.
The world is your oyster..
Buy once Buy right..