Q: I am 16 years old and my dad is going to buy me a new rifle for pigs, goats and fallow deer. I need your help in choosing a calibre.
The deer in my area are fairly wary and shots are often at 200 metres or more. I’m leaning toward the 7mm-08, but the .308 may be better. I don’t like too much recoil as the biggest rifle I’ve shot up to now is a .223.
– Dale Dakin
A: Either cartridge you mention will do an excellent job on deer, but seeing you are a relatively inexperienced shooter, both may generate more recoil than you can comfortably handle.
For shooting goats and deer in open country, the .243 Winchester is an excellent chambering.
It shoots flat, delivers plenty of punch on medium-size game at longish ranges, and is kinder to the shoulder than either the 7mm-08 or .308.
A mature fallow buck weighs an average 90kg and is a soft-skinned, small-boned animal that is not hard to kill. Cartridges like the .243 Win with a 100gn bullet are adequate.
On the other hand, if you can learn to handle their recoil, you won’t go wrong with either of the larger calibres.