Precision Rifle UK
- Friday, 05 February 2021
We explain why so many people involved in Precision Rifle Series (PRS) and the UK’s Precision Rifle League have started deer stalking.
Here at County Deer Stalking we get to meet shooters from a variety of disciplines, however, of late, we have been welcoming a swathe of guys from Precision Rifle.
For those unfamiliar with it, the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) has proven to be a hugely successful shooting sport. Originally derived from Practical Shooting and originating in the US around 2012, the number of active competitors has increased from 164 to over 15,000. In the UK it has also spawned the Precision Rifle League (PRL) which is also gathering steam.
In short, the discipline of Precision Rifle requires that during a timed competition, competitors are assessed on their ability to utilise centrefire rifles to engage a series of targets from a variety of shooting positions at unknown distances, from just a few yards out to 1200 yards.
So why have so many precision rifle shooters made the transition from Precision Rifle to deer hunting? Well, having asked a fair few of them I can tell you. It comes down to availability and synergy.
(At County Deer Stalking we have our own shooting course that allow shooters to engage targets from various ranges and shooting positions)
Firstly, the skills acquired in precision rifle are perfect for deer stalking. Secondly, unlike in the U.S, there are few places and occasions in the UK when you can safely shoot out to 1,200 yards, a situation that has been exacerbated by COVID-19 restrictions on group activities. In contrast, you can set out on your own, or one-on-one with a guide, to shoot deer out to several hundred yards from a variety of shooting positions, at countless locations in the UK, 365 days a year. What is more, you get some lovely non-intensively farmed, free-range, wild venison to take home with you at the end of the day!
As well as the obvious similarities between the two shooting disciplines, I have found that there are more than a few other synergies between deer stalkers and precision rifle shooters which add to the appeal. One of which has been the calibres and rifles involved.
Like many hunters, those engaged in precision rifle have a necessary obsession with ballistics and will have gone to great lengths to acquire and utilise calibres that are fast and flat shooting with a minimum of wind drift. This is because at unknown distances and extended ranges these elements are crucial to success.
For these reasons, calibres such as the 6.5 Creedmoor and increasingly the 6mm Creedmoor have proven extremely popular amongst precision rifle shooters. Regular readers will be aware of our 6-5-creedmoor-calibre-review in which we examine its potential to eclipse the ballistic performance of my trusted .308. And if this were not enough to demonstrate to us that there is a thing or two, we can learn from Precision Rifle, the rise of the 6mm Creedmoor as a viable alternative to the 6.5 in precision rifle competitions, provides us with an excellent alternative to the other widely used 6mm round - the .243 Winchester, which is perhaps the UK’s most popular calibre.
Clearly, we are not shooting deer anywhere near to 1200 yards and I do not want to get side-tracked into a calibre debate, suffice to say, the calibres used in precision rifle are almost invariably suitable for deer stalking, and on many occasions, they are superior to those traditionally owned by deer stalkers. Indeed, if I could quickly and easily substitute my .243 and .308 for a 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor I would be a fool not to. Provided that is, I could find a reliable supply of ammunition.
At any rate, with participants in Precision rifle now coming over to the deer stalking world we are being increasingly requested to assist with FAC variations to allow for the use of 6mm and 6,5mm Creedmoor for deer, both of which are of course perfectly deer legal and suitable for hunting.
Of course, for many, part of the added appeal in making the transition to deer hunting is that it is not all ballistics and marksmanship, it’s also field craft, put simply, you’ve got to first find your target and for me, and I suspect many others, this is why hunting deer has such added appeal to target shooting. As well as having to place a well-aimed shot, you need to have a deep understanding of the ecology and behaviour of deer.
If you are a Precision Rifle Shooter in the UK why not increase your ability to be able to get out shooting and give deer stalking a go. We can offer hunting over thousand of acres of countryside in the South of England less than an hour out of London.
A great place to start is the PDS1 Certificate which can be completed either in the field or online via our e-learning platform. Click here to find out more: pds1-proficient-deer-stalker-certificate
Alternatively, if you’d like some firearms training, we have a woodland stalker course that enables candidates to shoot a series of steel targets at various distances and positions out to 300 yards. Click here for more details: firearms-training