Armour-plated Sika Deer

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Sika Deer credit Jacek Halicki.
Sika Deer credit Jacek Halicki.

Q. I have always enjoyed reading your columns in the magazine. Your answers and info have proved helpful to me on many occasions in the past. I have been hunting for over 50 years, but only been reloading for the past ten years. I have a free range Sika hunt booked for the rut next year. I recently purchased a Tikka T3 Lite in .25-06 Rem. topped with a Vixen 2.5- 10x50 IR scope specifically for this trip. But the NZ guide feels I will be undergunned and recommends a .300 Win Mag. or .300 WSM topped with a 4-16x scope. He said that shots could be 300 yards or farther and that Sika stags are tough and difficult to kill. I believe that my rifle/scope combination would be ideal for the task at hand. If you agree with my choice, could you please advise the best projectile and load for my .25-06? I own a .30-06 with 1-6x24 Vixen and .35 Whelen with Bushnell 3500 3-9x40mm, but don't want to start swapping around rifle/scope combos as these two rifles have been set up for sambar. I look forward to receiving your advice.
– John Ur

A. I'm afraid I don't agree with that NZ guide who recommends a .300 magnum to kill a deer that seldom weighs more than 50 kilos. I'd be happy using the .25-06 loaded with a stoutly structured bullet like the Barnes 100gn TSX BT driven at

.25-06 factory ammo suitable for Sika deer
.25-06 factory ammo suitable for Sika deer

around 3300fps ahead of 60-gn of AR2225. In fact, I'll be using my long- throated .257 Roberts shooting the same bullet at 3240fps when I go to NZ for Sika next year. I've taken a dozen deer with that load in my Roberts and they all dropped on the spot with chest shots. The last one was a red stag last Easter. Recently, I got a letter from a reader who had advice from a so-called Chital guide telling him that Remington Core-Lokt bullets were a failure for Chital. My experience has shown that the Remington Core-Lokt (an oldie but goodie) is one of the best deer bullets I've ever used.
Most of the time, it's where you hit 'em, not what you hit 'em with! Let your instinct and faith in your rifle be your guide.

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