Lowest Caliber for Deer


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Aaryq
June 5, 2007, 06:31 PM
Howdy folks. In ND (my home state before I joined the Corps) they just changed the laws that say you CAN hunt deer with a .223. I've heard almost across the boards that a .223, unless you have great shot placement is no good for deer. For you deer hunters, what rifle caliber would you consider the bare minimum for putting down a deer safely and humanely at 50 to 150 yards?

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Chawbaccer
June 5, 2007, 08:07 PM
I think the general concensus is that the 243= 6mmRem is about the minimum ethical round. In West Virginia we can use any centerfire round. 17 Rem, 22 Hornet etc.

huntinstuff
June 5, 2007, 08:57 PM
I would x2 Chawbaccer on that one.....243/6mm minimum. Yes a well placed 223 will do the job, but I think we owe the animal a bit more than that.

Kimber1911_06238
June 5, 2007, 09:00 PM
in CT .243/6mm is the minimum...i prefer a caliber that starts with a 3..... like .30-06

BsChoy
June 5, 2007, 09:01 PM
3rd in the afirmative for the 6mm round as the commonly accepted minimum

koja48
June 5, 2007, 09:10 PM
6mm/.243 again.

Clipper
June 5, 2007, 10:11 PM
Around here you'll get the hairy eyeball from everyone if you go under .243, but then, my uncle had 100% success for 30 years or so with neck shots from a .218 Bee...

~z
June 5, 2007, 10:29 PM
.224s will do the job plenty well at the range you mentioned. I dont see where .019" and 30-40gn makes one that superior to the other. Shot placement it critical either way. If you feel the shot is not "doable" with a .223, I fail to see how .243 will make all the difference, sorry.
~z

twoblink
June 6, 2007, 04:19 AM
I have always followed "Rule of 3" for Deer; use a caliber that starts with "3" minimum..

Alagator
June 6, 2007, 04:45 AM
The problems I've seen with the .223 were due to the inexperience of the shooter. Because of the mild recoil, it is selected for a kid's first deer gun, usually with a full-length stock. A recipe for inhumane hits. I got called out one night to track down and finish a bad job like that.:( Talked the dad into getting a .243 with a cut-down stock, and buying lots of ammunition for the kid to practice.
I had a friend, a professional coyote killer, who routinely dropped mule deer with a .22-250. The law can't tell the difference between the kid and the killer, and I would have to go with a minimum of .243/6mm just to prevent poor shot placement with the .223.

Grumulkin
June 7, 2007, 12:19 PM
Lets see,

I've taken one deer with a 222 Remington, one shot through the chest at 80 to 100 yards.

I've taken two deer with a 22-250 Remington one of which was DRT at 360 yards.

I think .224 caliber centerfires are perfectly adequate for deer as long as the correct bullets are use and placed well.

Now, maybe I'll see how a 22 LR or 17 HMR does. A bullet from either placed in or behind the ear should work.

Art Eatman
June 7, 2007, 01:39 PM
I've always had the attitude that if I saw a really good buck, I didn't want to worry about angling shot, neck shot or 90-degree cross-body--nor, to a reasonable degree, distance. So, I've tended to favor 30-caliber.

If I impose certain limitations, I'll happily use lesser cartridges. I've killed a lot of deer with a .243, but I was really picky about my shots, and I never shot at a running deer.

Today's bullets provide better material to work with, in the smaller diameters. In .22 stuff, there are now 70-grain (+/-) bullets that are dependable on deer. That said, however, I'd still limit myself against angling shots and longer distances.

Overall, though, a lot depends on circumstance. I've had deer lie down beneath my tree stand. I 99.99% could have collected supper with a .22Short. (Did you know that an old doe's skin will just twitch like crazy when you drop little pieces of bark on her? It took five minutes of doing just that before she finally went away to nap somewhere else. :D )

Art

DogBonz
June 7, 2007, 01:54 PM
I have always followed "Rule of 3" for Deer; use a caliber that starts with "3" minimum..

No offence, but I don’t know what type of deer that you are shooting at, but we have some of the largest in the north east and many have fell cleanly to sub 30 caliber rounds. I think that the .243, .257’s, 6mm’s, 6.5mm’s, .260’s, 270’s, 7mm's 280, et al do a fine job on deer. A 30-30 puts nowhere near the energy on target as most of those rounds, but should we never field them because they are sub-30? I think not.

Back on topic, I think that the .243 is considered the minimum for “ethical harvesting” of deer.

ZeSpectre
June 7, 2007, 02:15 PM
I don't hunt but dad brought home multiple clean kills every year with a Remington 760 chambered in .243 Winchester. I can recall a few that had second shots and a couple of "chased that deer all over creation" stories but the vast majority of them were either DRT or DRQ (dead real quick) hits.

chris in va
June 7, 2007, 02:49 PM
How is a 30-30 a sub-30 caliber?:confused:

skeeter1
June 7, 2007, 03:00 PM
.243/6mm is a good choice and doubles as a decent varmint cartridge.

If you like leverguns, a .357 Magnum would be the minimum, and a .44Mag would be better, and I don't think anyone ever went wrong with a .30-30.

DogBonz
June 7, 2007, 04:36 PM
How is a 30-30 a sub-30 caliber

What I was saying was that a 150gr slug fired from a 30-30 is doing what? maybe 2000 fps? That equals about 1335 f/lbs at the muzzle.

A 270 will fire a 140gr bullet clocking 2700 fps for 2265 f/lbs at the muzzle. Now, I’m no mathematician, but that means that a 270 will deliver 930 more f/lbs than the 30-30.

What I was getting at was that just because a round was 30 cal or larger, does not mean that it will kill a deer any better or faster or cleaner or more humanely that a round that in sub 30 caliber… Meaning smaller, like .277 in the above example.

Disclaimer: I am at work, so the fps numbers are off of the top of my head, but would not change enough to make the given example not true. This also was in no way meant to take away from the 30-30. I feel that it is a great round for the task at hand and has probably killed more deer than most other calibers combined. I love the 30-30 and have one in the safe that I have many, many fond memories of, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are other calibers out there that will kill deer just as dead that are smaller.

hankpac
June 7, 2007, 04:57 PM
NOT recommending this, but I know that a LOT of deer have been taken with a 22 LR. It's vastly underpowered, but poachers, native americans, and all sorts of hunters have taken deer with this round. Often used in the backyard for winter larder replenishment. Never done it myself , of course.:D
As to a .223, a 55 gr lead tip, jacketed round (commonly known as a soft point) will go clean through a deer's chest, hitting ribs on both sides, and exploding the heart. It will do the job.
I prefer an arrow, after all is said and done, and haven't used any of my rifles for killing deer or elk in 10 years.

Grumulkin
June 7, 2007, 06:48 PM
I prefer an arrow, after all is said and done, and haven't used any of my rifles for killing deer or elk in 10 years.

Yea, but an arrow just zips right through and doesn't expand at all.

MudPuppy
June 8, 2007, 12:05 AM
For the goat sized deer that I've seen in this area, a .223 seems fine to me. My brother took two last year and they went down as quick as the ones hit with the 30.30.

I use a 308 mainly, but that way more than I need for the size of game and the distances I shoot. (but I like that particular rifle an awful lot.)

Art Eatman
June 8, 2007, 11:38 AM
Yeah, the over-population of deer in the general hill country area around Austin has them stunted down to near-varmint size. Through the 1960s, bucks to 140 pounds, field dressed, weren't all that uncommon. By the late 1970s, it was getting rare for one to dress out to 100 or more, and many were dressing out to around 70 pounds. A .223 is plenty big for those "greyhounds". :D

Art

stevelyn
June 8, 2007, 12:31 PM
Folks out here in the bush kill caribou out to 200 yrds all the time with .223s. Neighbor lady did one last year. Just make you use a good bullet in the 55+ gr range and pick your shots.

HankB
June 8, 2007, 06:47 PM
I'm aware of one deer that was put down with a .22 Colibri. (!)

I would absolutely NOT try it myself.

People have been killing deer for thousands of years with pointy sticks, so I see no reason that a carefully placed shot with most .22 centerfires - including .223s - won't do. (Choose your bullet type carefully.)

marksman13
June 8, 2007, 08:42 PM
I deer hunt with a .243 and 7mm WSM most of the time and occasionally break out the old 30-06. I would say that the bare minimum for an inexperienced hunter should probably a .243 if the shooter can handle the recoil. That said, I have killed more than a few deer with rounds much weaker than a .223. Shot placement and shot selection are the keys.

Shadow Shock
June 11, 2007, 11:14 AM
I have killed nearly all my deer with the .223, however I have also used the
.222. in my state of Texas, more deer have been taken with a .22lr than anything else. Second place goes to the much more potent .30-30

351 WINCHESTER
June 12, 2007, 04:21 PM
At typical eastern ranges (under 100 yds.) a .30-30 will do just fine. There are better cartridges for sure, but the reason I lean on the .30-30 is the rifle, a well used marlin. My son killed a deer last year with my .243 using winchester ballistic silvertips. Massave tissue damage.

Just about any centerfire round with an expanding bullet will do. Just make sure the rifle fits your shoulder and carries well.

RubenZ
June 14, 2007, 12:09 AM
The Rule of 3 is boggus. That leaves out too many great Deer hunting calibers. The 270 comes to mind which IMO IS if not one of the best North American Hunting Calibers created.

dakotasin
June 14, 2007, 12:49 AM
For you deer hunters, what rifle caliber would you consider the bare minimum for putting down a deer safely and humanely at 50 to 150 yards?


257 roberts.

yes, i consider anything smaller than 257 diameter too small. 'course, if our deer dressed out at a whopping 125 pounds, i suppose i'd feel a 223 or smaller adequate as well.

RubenZ
June 14, 2007, 09:18 AM
.257 Roberts is an excellent caliber as well for deer. I think a .243 is the minimum that should be used. And even then I'd hesitate using it on bigger South Texas Bucks and Hogs. It's ok for kids to use on a smaller 4-6pt that doesn't field dress too heavy.

Art Eatman
June 14, 2007, 11:16 AM
One problem with this sort of discussion is the difference in skill levels among shooters. Please keep that in mind when making "grand, sweeping generalizations."

:), Art

mbt2001
June 14, 2007, 11:31 AM
The ever dangerous and hard to bring down whitetail deer... And his larger and more dangerous cousin, the Mule Deer :rolleyes:

I have seen people go from 30-30's to 7mm mag and I must say that it is now getting ridiculous. A .223 is a perfectly acceptable white tail round. It is capable of, I hate to use the word HUMANE but that is the word... humane kills on both white tail and mule deer. Would you hesitate to shoot a 300 pound man with a .223? Then why not use it on Whitetails????

Regarding the law, my advice is to follow it. Don't look for a minimum caliber, look for a caliber that you shoot well and have faith in. For me, that is the .257 Roberts. You can use it on Deer, Hogs, Black bear and as a varmint round (proper bullet selection applies).

Some people prefer a .308 or .30-06. Both are fine rifles. The .243 / 6mm are also excellent rounds, but lack the cross over potential of a .257 or .308.

The .357 magnum was considered for many years as a fine deer hunting cartridge, the .38 special was also considered a fine light game cartridge. Light game includes smaller white tails, the kind that are in Texas Hill country, a big one would be 100 lbs field dressed. But, those seem to have fallen by the wayside in the increasing crush to use something akin to proton torpedoes to insure that the dangerous whitetail plauges us no more....

One problem with this sort of discussion is the difference in skill levels among shooters. Please keep that in mind when making "grand, sweeping generalizations."

+1 Art


EDIT - I am a 30-30 nut... Great round, great rifle / round combo, excellent for all hunting save the "western type" long shot hunting, +200 yard shots.... not a good choice.

RubenZ
June 14, 2007, 12:06 PM
Would you hesitate to shoot a 300 pound man with a .223? Then why not use it on Whitetails????



THat can be argumented as well because we all know that a .223 is not an affective Human killing machine. I don't even think that is why the military picked it. They wanted a light round that was easy to carry ammo for and would at least STOP or Hold back a threat. It is NOT a great human killing round. That and the fact that human skin is lest thick and hard than a White Tail.

Art Eatman
June 14, 2007, 02:56 PM
Whoa up on the .223 and military stuff, okay? Off topic.

When TFL and THR were "younguns" on the Internet, I was pretty much down on the .223 for deer. I still am, but much less so, now, because of all the R&D on hunting bullets, these last half-dozen years.

There are bullets available, now, around 70 grains or so, that can be quite effective. The caveats have to do with distance and the angle of the shot; same as what I impose on myself with my .243.

And that's the "why" of my previous post. :)

Art

RubenZ
June 14, 2007, 03:47 PM
Whats TFL?

Art Eatman
June 14, 2007, 08:38 PM
http://www.thefiringline.com

Rich Lucibella started it in 1998. It ran some two years, and Rich got involved in other business interests and shut it down for a while. The moderators decided we'd continue the style here at THR. Rich got it back into action, and a bunch of us are moderators at both sites.

Art

mbt2001
June 16, 2007, 11:36 AM
THat can be argumented as well because we all know that a .223 is not an affective Human killing machine. I don't even think that is why the military picked it. They wanted a light round that was easy to carry ammo for and would at least STOP or Hold back a threat. It is NOT a great human killing round. That and the fact that human skin is lest thick and hard than a White Tail.

Don't believe the hype... Go read the one shot stops regarding the .223 It is well into the 90% range. The problem with the .223 is the same as the problem with the 9mm. It has much more to do with the bullets (FMJ's) than the rounds.

Again, with the 223 you have to consider the shot placement. I am a neck shooter. I believe that is the best place to hit a white tail and always aim there. I am also usually between 25 - 100 yards, sometimes even closer. All of that being said, it is a good round. Not my first pick, but certainly not a bad one. There are too many other good calibers out there for deer to focus on the .223, that is why I said in my post don't look for minimums.

If someone didn't have a deer rifle and was going to purchase their first one, and lived in Texas, I would recommend a .223 or .308. For the ONE reason that these have SHTF cross over potentials. If someone just wanted to add a gun to an already broad arsenal, then I would recommend the .257 roberts.

ClarkEMyers
June 16, 2007, 12:00 PM
All deer all terrain - .257 Roberts maybe .250-3000 with a good bullet.

Although I've had a chance to eat deer taken with .223 up - and times I could have poached an animal with a .22 rimfire - it is my firm and unvarying belief that a .243/6mm will give too many unaccountable failures from time to time with decent shot placement and all the rest ( I suppose anything might but a .243/6mm will give more and sooner) - and that in heavily hunted public hunting areas the animal is more likely to move far enough to be claimed by somebody else and more important is likely from time to time to be alive and looking back when recovered after tracking - or fail of recovery. FWIW I might well shoot a deer with a .243/6mm and a good bullet assuming I was in the woods in season with a tag and a good preferably a rested shot presented itself and that was the rifle I had but for setting out to hunt a deer I prefer a .25 and up - .270/.280 is perfect and as I age I find my Scout to be a fine old man's rifle.

Big Daddy K
June 16, 2007, 12:37 PM
Our smallest deer gun at this time is a 243. 95 Gn Winchester drops Texas deer right there.
My favorite deer gun is a little Ruger carbine in 44 mag.
I want a dirty 30 lever gun.
Also I would feel comfortable shooting a Texas deer with a 223.

22-rimfire
June 16, 2007, 12:39 PM
I always ask why someone wants to hunt with the minimum caliber? Is it because they think they are such a great shot and the tiniest bullet surgically placed would do the job on a whitetail deer under perfect conditions? Or they just want to use their AR's? I think the answer is often they want to use their AR's. So, use an AR in 308.

You can field dress a whitetail with a scalpel or razor blade, but it is a lot easier with a slightly larger knife. So, why choose the minimum for anything? I know, recoil issues and young hunters....

There is always a lot of hair splitting about recommended caliber choices for whitetail deer. 257... why not. 30-30, sure. 357 shot from a rifle, sure. Why not a 300 win mag? Okay, use it if you like a bit more recoil or you are taking longer range shots typically. How about a 338? It is arguably one of the most versatile calibers for big game in the US.

A rifle in .223 works with the right bullet. The .243 Win works better with the right bullet. But the 270 through 30-06 range of calibers work a lot better. The point of wounded game running to another hunter, or having to track further a wounded animal is a valid one depending on where you are hunting. You need to consider that for the most part it is not legal to track a wounded deer onto private property for which you do not have permission to be on and take it. So, technically you need to think in terms of quick stops. That is why I switched from a .243 to .270. When I shoot a deer in the front shoulder area, I want it to go down and not act like it wasn't even hit. I know the supporters of the 243 and 223 all say they have quick humane kills. But frankly there are better choices available.

RubenZ
June 16, 2007, 03:15 PM
Well said.

This bad boy was shot out at around 180-200 yrds with my .270 using 150gr NP's. and just FELL right where he was standing. In Fact, I thought I missed him and he disappeared because by the time I took eye away from scope I couldn't see him. I don't think you can get results like that using a .223. NO way. MAYBE just Maybe you can shooting a little Hill Country Doe in Texas that way no more than a CAT. But you head WEST to Freer, Zapata County, Del Rio and you will be a moron to try and attempt shooting bucks out there with a .223.



http://panam4.panam.edu/~rzamora8/IMG_2153.JPG

Sunray
June 16, 2007, 05:14 PM
"...fail to see how .243 will make all the difference, sorry..." It's about bullet construction. Most .223 bullets are made for varmints, not heavier game. They lack sufficent penetration and tend to break up before hitting vital organs on deer sized game. Mind you, so are most less than 85 grain 6mm bullets.

marksman13
June 16, 2007, 08:43 PM
Rubenz, I don't want to come off as a smart a$$, but I have in fact dropped deer that size with a 22LR. They were both does and both were well over 200 lbs. Both were around 50 yard shots. Shot placement drops deer, not caliber. I have seen kids drop good bucks dead in their tracks with 223s and 260s. I have also seen a guy shoot a small doe with a 300WSM and we spent two hours searching for her. I don't advocate hunting with a 22LR, nor do I recomend hunting with any marginal cartridge, but I would much rather see someone hunting with a marginal cartridge and shoot it well rather than see someone hunt with some uber magnum and not shoot it worth a damn. I have yet to shoot a deer of any size with my 243 that did not drop where it stood.

Jason_G
June 16, 2007, 09:02 PM
Smallest? Probably .22-250. Would I do it? No. Have I seen it used successfully? Yep.
I shoot 6mm, it works fine. I'm sure I could go smaller, but I wouldn't want to. FWIW I'm saving up for a .308.

Jason

Rembrandt
June 16, 2007, 09:38 PM
....For you deer hunters, what rifle caliber would you consider the bare minimum for putting down a deer safely and humanely at 50 to 150 yards?

Those little southern deer are alot like shrimp....tasty and you need quite a few to make a good meal. Deer species get bigger the further North you go. While it may be effective on smaller sub species a .223 would probably bouce off the big bodied ones in the upper midwest and Canada. Not uncommon to see 300-400 lb deer in our area. That's alot more mass, tissue, and bone to penetrate.

MeekandMild
June 16, 2007, 11:50 PM
Should you be asking about minimum bullet size rather than minimum caliber?

Although I've never shot a deer with less than a .243 I can see that the old idea that it is the "minimum ethical caliber" may not be entirely true any more. A modern expanding bullet such as a Swift Scirocco 75 grain would be little different in its impact than your generic 85 grain .243 bullet. Any bullet which can poke a hole all the way through a deer is "adequate" in my opinion. (In fact, now that it comes to mind, I may load up some .223 this fall using the Swift bullets, just to see whether this is as true in reality as it is in theory.) :scrutiny:

In my experiance there is a serious consideration for loss of edible meat in southern whitetails if one uses anything larger than a 120 grain bullet in a high powered rifle.

Art Eatman
June 17, 2007, 12:04 AM
Ain't a lot of worthwhile meat in the neck. :D And a cross-body heart/lung shot doesn't hurt anything I'd eat. :D:D

Art

Aaryq
June 17, 2007, 02:31 AM
Rembrandt: This post is for you. I was born and raised in ND. I lived in a town of 1500 people and paid for my gas, dates, ammo, and everything else from working on a farm and ranch. I've seen an ELK (not a mulee or white tail deer) run away after 2 well placed shots (in the vital square they taught us in hunter's safety). Yes that second shot hit while that little cuss was running and yes he kept running. I've seen deer the size of juggernauts and elk at least 100 times the size (I have a bad habbit of exaggerating the size of critters) and I've seen them gunned down. The problem for me is I don't talk to the people who have taken those critters down. The people I used to hunt with have turned from a beer every now and then to raging alcoholics with drug addictions and I can't talk to them about hunting because they're too busy trying to get their next fix. Sob story aside, I've seen some big deer, and all exaggerations aside, I know that a lot of people use a 30-06 for deer but I know that there is a lower caliber that I can use to take them down.

RubenZ
June 17, 2007, 02:46 AM
Rubenz, I don't want to come off as a smart a$$, but I have in fact dropped deer that size with a 22LR.


Where did you place shot?

22-rimfire
June 17, 2007, 11:07 AM
The new issue of Field & Stream (F&S) has a piece on calibers for a wide range of puposes. They recommned 243/6mm with 100 gr core-lokt bullets for varmints & big game (transition caliber) which I agree with. (That is what I did when I couldn't afford both at the time.) 257 Roberts is their second choice. They have two big game catagories; light kickers and all around rounds. 7x57 Mauser and 7mm/08 is their choice for light kickers and 308 is second. All around.... 30/06 No. 1 and 270/280-No. 2. I like the 7x57 Mauser round. 223 is their varmint recommendation by the way.

To me the interesting choice for handgun hunting is 44 mag as No 1 and 480 Ruger as No 2. 45 Colt is their honorable mention. No mention of the 41 mag. Doesn't surprise me though.

Bwana John
June 17, 2007, 11:18 AM
I knew a poacher (American Piute Indian, said game laws didnt apply to him:rolleyes:) who took many mule deer with a head shot from a .22 mag, usually at ranges less than 50 yds.
His method of hunting quail was no more legal, he used a trot line, with many size 22 hooks and baited with a rasin or pine nut.:uhoh:
For fishing he used a gill net.:eek:
He did feed his family.:o

For young children and old womens I would draw the line at .243 as the smallest ethical cartridge for killing deer.

glockman19
June 17, 2007, 12:27 PM
6mm/.243 again.
Agreed.

I also wouldn't take the shot at further than 150 yards to be humane & effective. As others have said shot placement is very important.

RubenZ
June 17, 2007, 03:42 PM
Everyone knows shot placement is important but what happens when you are presented with something unexpected? Say the wind blows at the exact instant you pull trigger? Or a raccoon decides to jump at a deer and all of a sudden scare it as you pull the trigger? I mean ya anyone can take a deer with a .22 but thats just stupid and will maybe work a small percentage of the time. I'd rather be sure than not sure.

marksman13
June 17, 2007, 06:06 PM
Rubenz, one of the does was shot in the neck, the other was shot in the spine. Both were shot while I was squirrel hunting. I wouldn't intentionaly take a 22LR on a deer hunt, but if a deer presents itself and that is what I have in my hands... Bottom line is that deer are not tough. They don't wear body armor. I frimly believe that most of the people who blast away at deer with magnum powered rifles and consider small caliber guns inadequate, are people who don't know how to wait for a good shot. That, or they know they are using overkill and do it because this is America and by God they can if they want. I am not saying that the 270, 30-06 and 7 Mag are bad choices, just saying that bashing lighter loads is uncalled for and sooner or later you guys are going to run into a good shooter with a light rifle and they are going to make a fool of you bashers.:neener:

MeekandMild
June 17, 2007, 07:58 PM
Art Sez: "Ain't a lot of worthwhile meat in the neck. And a cross-body heart/lung shot doesn't hurt anything I'd eat."

Meek Sez: Art, I don't know how you get all those deer to pose exactly straight. Seems like a lot of my deer are turned one way or another so that chest shot bullets seem to cross over and hit one or the other shoulder or front leg, usually the offside one. Nearly all my face-on shots seem to be turned just enough so that the rumin gets hit on the way through. :neener:

(The rumin problem may be my habit of aiming for the hollow of the near side in facing deer, above where the collar bone would be if deer had collar bones. Since I read up on CWD I've been avoiding spine shots if at all possible.)

Art Eatman
June 17, 2007, 11:09 PM
Well, that's why I've mostly taken neck shots. :) Otherwise, if I don't mess up hams or backstraps, I don't worry a lot. But, hey: "I'll take luck over skill, any day." :D

As far as bad stuff from the spine, well, I've generally had Ol' Bucky disassembled before much of anything can move from Point A to Point B. So far, nothing's killed any of my coyote buddies, from cleaning off the carcass...

'Cept me.

Art

kmrcstintn
June 25, 2007, 06:57 AM
I find this interesting since I am in a similar boat; even though I am close to middle age, I didn't get exposed to hunting until a few years ago; basically I'm as green as a youngin on his first hunting excursion; I tried a .30-06 bolt action that was not setup for me (bought a used springer 03A3 that had a custom sporter stock that was way too long); next I tried a combo of Marlin 336 in .30-30 and Mossberg rifled slug setup in 12 ga with low recoil ammo; even with all this prep, I haven't seen any deer, let alone taken shots at any

earlier this year, I bought a nice Tikka T3 in .223 and was wondering about using it for deer; I talked it over with my hunting buddy (really taken me under his wing and getting me up to speed) and he suggested staying away from such a light caliber unless I was able to consistently place head or neck shots in exactly the right areas; he mentioned .243 as a minimum and an ideal 'low recoil' and effective hunting round for deer; I just got my dad's Remington 760 in .30-06 and I put together another shotgun combo based upon a Remington 870 Express to include a fully rifled slug barrel and a shorter tube for open sights and forster slugs

I am leaning toward .30-06 w/ low recoil ammo (if the regular 150's cause a flinch with the heavier trigger of the 760) and 12 ga low recoil sabot slugs and the other barrel (hi-viz adjustable sights & interchangable chokes) will act as backup with 12 ga low recoil forster style slugs

since I'm no 'expert' and don't want to experiment with my shots, I will run heavier calibers and take proven broadside and angling shots to the torso and the heart/lung vitals

22-rimfire
June 25, 2007, 09:05 AM
It does take a little time to get your feet wet hunting. Then again, the new hunter always seems to see that big 8-pt... it just walked up to me....

I never particularly enjoyed shooting the 30-06 a lot on the bench. Same goes for the 270 win. For the most part, I just shoot my "deer rifle" enough to be proficient. Used to shoot my 243 a bunch. I was young and I believed I could place a kill shot inside a 6" circle at 300 yds at a running animal until the day came when I shot one with the 243 at 20 yds in the front shoulders and it didn't react. After waiting a bit, I tracked it a long way (several 100 yds in dry leaves) until the blood trail stopped. That is when I switched to a Remington Model 700 in 270 win.

The 270 or 30-06 is not the end all of calibers, as I shot one buck with it that ran about 75 yds before bleeding out. Frankly, after you learn a bit about how deer react to a shot, you discover that if you don't hit the front shoulder or spine and you put one through the heart-lung area, the deer will probably run a ways before bleeding out.

That is why using the 223 with say a 60 gr bullet or a 6mm/243 in a 100gr is a reasonable choice as the round will expand rapidly (but not too rapidly) when it hits a deer where another round may just wizz through the heart-lung area and exit without apparent immediate massive damage to the animal. I'm still not convinced that I would choose a 223 rifle as my first choice. I certainly would not choose an AR-15 style rifle in 223 for deer hunting. But if that is all I have, I'd use it.

My father used the Remington Model 760 in 30-06 as his deer rifle. He shot many deer with it. They are good rifles for a whitetail hunter. I always leaned toward bolt action rifles. Probably as a kid I read that they were usually so much more accurate... funny. You really don't need 1 MOA accuracy for a deer rifle, but I'll take it.

KINGMAX
June 25, 2007, 09:11 AM
I don't like tracking a wounded deer. They seem to go for water. I like a 270 in a 150 gr. for my deer round. A good neck shot, down they go. It is a great flat shooting predictable round. I have had good results.

B.D. Turner
June 25, 2007, 10:28 AM
One problem with this sort of discussion is the difference in skill levels among shooters. Please keep that in mind when making "grand, sweeping generalizations."

, Art

Above is the only statement I have seen that makes the most sense on this post. Some can do much with little. Some can do nothing with much. A .243 that hits its target is far better than a .300 win mag that misses.

elkhuntingfool
July 6, 2007, 08:24 PM
I'm surpised there nobody here with magnum erectus and touting the WSMs

marksman13
July 6, 2007, 08:48 PM
elkhuntingfool, I have a 7mm WSM, but I don't take it out very often. I just feel like it is more gun than I need unless I am hunting a power line or hay field where long shots are more likely. As a matter of fact, I don't think the 7mm WSM has been out since I got my .243.

elkhuntingfool
July 6, 2007, 08:54 PM
Marksman.... I actually shoot a 7mm mag :) I was waiting for a few guys from the 'best caliber for elk' to show up and start talking about needing a magnum.

It is too much - but it works just fine and I don't feel the need to get a rifle for deer and a rifle for elk - one size fits all.

Plus - my shots are around 300 yards or more - and I feel just fine shooting it.

If I did buy a rifle for deer only it'd be a .243 - perfect, perfect round for mule deer.

TimboKhan
July 7, 2007, 02:41 AM
State laws aside, it is perfectly ethical and sensible to shoot a deer with a .223. It's a function of shot placement (as is anything, really), but with proper bullets and proper placement, your deer will leave this mortal coil just as quickly as it would with anything else.

That being said, my smallest hunting caliber is a .270, a caliber that I think is perfectly effective on any deer, elk, antelope, or jackalope that I would ever take a shot at. My largest (and main hunting rifle) is a 7mmRemMag, and between those two, I can plant anything I will ever shoot at.

RubenZ
July 7, 2007, 10:49 AM
All this shot placement crap is good, but its not the final say so. I mean, ya its important, but thats just one variable against many more unpredicted ones. Like I said earlier, you don't know what can happen between the second you decide to pull trigger and bullet hits target.

I am a good shot, in that I get no buck fever, I can always hit where I aim. But I'm not going to go bare minimum and use a .223 because I can. What if something went wrong and deer moved etc. I don't want to spend minutes or even an hour tracking a Buck. Especially down here in South Texas where the brush is so thick you need to hack away with a Machete an Axe just to go find your buck.

TimboKhan
July 7, 2007, 11:29 AM
All this shot placement crap is good, but its not the final say so. I mean, ya its important, but thats just one variable against many more unpredicted ones. Like I said earlier, you don't know what can happen between the second you decide to pull trigger and bullet hits target.

Your argument holds just as true for a .416 Rigby as it does a .223. I am going to directly disagree with you and say that shot placement is the final say so. Look, if you want to hunt with a .223, you are going to have to tailor your hunt around it, which means stalking in closer and taking certain shots. I am not saying that it's the best choice, and I made it clear it's not even my choice. It will work though, and thats just the truth of the matter.

Logos
July 7, 2007, 11:31 AM
Wow.....popular topic.

Here's what the old deer hunter thinks (hopefully wise but not yet old enough to be senile).

Deer come in all shapes and sizes ...... 100 to 350 and more pounds.

Think about it.

They are also shot at all ranges........ 10 feet to 400 and more yards.

They are also shot from all angles.....including the Texas Heart Shot (that one has to go through the deer from stern to stem to get to the heart).

So......considering all this......what is the least powerful gun that can cover all these possibilities?

I would set THAT minimum at .270 class or more.

Meaning, for this comprehensive set of shooting circumstances......the .243, the 30-30, the 45-70, and a lot of other traditional rounds just don't qualify.

Of course you CAN kill deer with them......but not in every one of the circumstances that we may encounter in deer hunting--say, big deer, bad angle, long range.

That's why the old deer hunter sticks with his choice of .270 power class and above......because he has taken that long, tough shot at a big deer's behind--and had success.

If you want to stay at the shorter distances and be very picky about the shots you take.......go ahead and use the less powerful rounds.

It can be done, but you won't be ready for all the contingencies.

marksman13
July 7, 2007, 11:35 AM
I think the bottom line is that we will never have a general consensus on what the lowest caliber for deer is. Apparently there are an awful lot of up armored deer running around that are immune to anything that doesn't start with a "3". There alse seems to be alot of people who don't realize that bullet construction has evolved as much as hunters have over the past twenty years or so. My personal opinion is that a 223 should be the lowest caliber used as a dedicated deer hunting round even though many deer have been killed with the 22LR. I have several firearms to choose from when I head to the stand, but more often than not it is my Remington 700 in 243 that is slung over my shoulder. I would not feel undergunned with a 223 as long as shots were kept under 200 yards. Apparently there are some of here that feel under gunned with a 270. To each his own I guess.

Bottom line is, find a gun that you are comfortable with, that you shoot well, and is in your price range. Chances are better than not that the cartridge you choose will be more than adequate for killing a deer.

marksman13
July 7, 2007, 11:38 AM
Of course you CAN kill deer with them......but not in every one of the circumstances that we may encounter in deer hunting--say, big deer, bad angle, long range. _ Logos


I say the old deer hunter needs to learn how to get close enough to his prey to make a clean kill. He also needs to learn when to take a shot, and when to pass. Big deer + bad angle + long range = deer walks and I go home with a good story for my buddies.

Blackfork
July 7, 2007, 11:54 AM
Last year I shot eight deer with seven different rifles. Only one rifle had a scope and I used it offhand at about 60 yards. The rest were military rifles from Swede 6.5, Garand 30 cal, M1 Carbine 30 cal, Jap 6.5 carbine, K31 Swiss 7.5, and an Argentine 7.65. Longest shot was 150 yards. All deer died from the first shot. Some dropped in place. One ran about 100 yards on a lung shot. I'm thinking about shooting a deer with an AR15 carbine this year. Maybe.

Most folks shoot ONE or TWO deer a season and that's it. I'm not sure you build expertise that way, or if you do it takes a long time. Add that to the fact that most folks don't shoot their deer rifles much on the range- in factu usually they come out for zero check at deer season, hunt a little and then go back in the guncase. If you don't shoot a LOT, just shoot your deer rifle during season or have killed enough deer to have a background in shooting live game dead on the spot, then I would opt for a 243 or larger.

As long as the shot is placed, you are going to be OK. If you don't have 20 or more deer already on your resume though....I'd be hesitant to drop down to 223 caliber.

This is all said with the background of shooting a little 223 throughout the year. I load and shoot about 4K rounds through my AR15s and usually rebarrel one of the rifles each year.

Maybe I will shoot three or four does with an AR15 this year and post my results. We shoot doe tags from Oct through Feb.

Vern Humphrey
July 7, 2007, 12:02 PM
The question is, why?

You can say, "My 8-year old son (or daughter) can't tolerate the recoil of a more powerful rifle." That's a good reason.

You can say, "All I have is a .223, and I can't afford another rifle." That's a good reason.

But if you have a safe full of rifles, or you are going out to buy a deer rifle, why buy less than a .243/6mm?

Logos
July 7, 2007, 12:17 PM
I say the old deer hunter needs to learn how to get close enough to his prey to make a clean kill. He also needs to learn when to take a shot, and when to pass. Big deer + bad angle + long range = deer walks and I go home with a good story for my buddies.

In a perfect world, of course, you'd be right.

But....this world is not perfect, so you're wrong.

Why? Reality. Fact is, a lot of people DO (some rightly, some wrongly) feel they have the skill to take the long shot at a bad angle.

Especially if the deer is a really big one, since it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

So they need to be encouraged to "Use Enough Gun," as Bob Ruark used to put it.

Was good advice......Is good advice.

Disciplined practice with increasing power will enable almost anyone to master a rifle of considerable power.

But I'll make a deal with you.....you hunt the way you like--and I'll hunt the way I like.

This topic is, after all, and like most, about opinions.

I also know for SURE that I'd rather have a big set of antlers on the wall than a story for my buddies.

;)

marksman13
July 7, 2007, 12:29 PM
Logos, I too would rather have another head on the wall, but not if it means taking a bad shot. Fortunately, we live in America where we can hunt the way we choose (in most places). I think the two of us will have to agree to disagree about this. I may shoot deer with what some call inferior calibers, but I refuse to take a poor shot at big a deer because I want him on my wall. I don't want to risk wounding him and causing him a slow and painful death.

Logos
July 7, 2007, 01:03 PM
I refuse to take a poor shot at big a deer because I want him on my wall.

Yes, you are now totally correct.

I respect that because now you're not telling me that I'M taking a poor shot or I am lacking in skill.

It's a good shot for me because I have the skill and use enough gun for it.

It would be a poor shot for someone with a rifle that was too weak or was an unpracticed rifle shot, or both.

I think I mentioned before that rifles of less power are perfectly acceptable to me.

I have no problem with someone using a 25-35 or a .218 Bee or a handgun, if they have the skill and the judgment to use it with success.

They just won't be equipped to take that long range/bad angle/big deer shot that sometimes presents itself.

marksman13
July 7, 2007, 04:00 PM
Logos, I don't care how good of a shot you are, how powerful of a rifle you are using, or even how loud your big brass balls clank together when you walk through the woods. A bad angle is a bad angle. There no reason to shoot at a deer that not giving you a good shot.

With a big buck at a long distance that is giving you a poor angle for a shot, the deck is stacked against you making a clean kill. Why risk wounding the deer? Why not give him a quick grunt so he will face you and give you a neck shot? Dumb decisions are dumb decisions no matter what skill level you have. Experienced hunters know how to pass on a deer that is not offering a good shot.

Like I said before, proper shot placement opens up the door for alot of calibers, and closes the door for many others. You can talk about how great magnum calibers are, and for the most part I will agree, but they do not make up for a poor shot. You have no idea what that bullet is going to do once it enters a deer's body. Why risk wounding a truly huge buck and have him run off in the woods and die?

Vern Humphrey
July 7, 2007, 04:07 PM
I don't care how good of a shot you are, how powerful of a rifle you are using, or even how loud your big brass balls clank together when you walk through the woods. A bad angle is a bad angle. There no reason to shoot at a deer that not giving you a good shot.
In theory, you're right. In practice, you can't count on perfect performance. Go to a range and look at the 100 yard target frames and count the bullet holes -- many a shot has gone astray under ideal conditions.

All sorts of things can happen under field conditions -- a perfect presentation can change as the hammer falls. A poor shot due to adrinaline or exertion is always a possibiltiy. You can find yourself with a fast-departing view of a wounded animal, and have to take that shot. You just can't count on 100% perfect performance 100% of the time.

Which is why we have seatbelts and airbags in our cars, jacks and spare tires in the trunk, and why we buy insurance and have smoke detectors in our homes -- and why we like to have a rifle that will punch a bullet through to the vitals no matter what the angle of the shot.

marksman13
July 7, 2007, 04:28 PM
Vern, I have never said that using "too much" gun is a bad thing. I can appreciate where you are coming from on this one. Where Logos and I dissagree is the fact that he seems to believe that having a 270 allows him to get away with what is essentially, immature and childish behavior. He seems to believe that using a 270 gives him enough leeway to take poorly angled, long distance shots.

If this is not the case then I appologize, Logos. The way you have worded your posts leads me to believe that you feel this way. I would rather stalk in close to a big buck and shoot him in the neck with a 223 then shoot him in the arse from 300 yards away with a 270 or 7 mag.

Is any of this sinking in? I am not bashing anybody's decision to hunt with a larger caliber gun. I am simply saying that there are small caliber rifles out there that are more than capable of killing a deer humanely and quickly with out the kind of recoil that causes some hunters to flinch. The 223 with a heavy bullet, anywhere from 60 grains and up, with a soft tip design is quite capable of killing deer.

eliphalet
July 7, 2007, 09:03 PM
Saw a deer killed with a 222 from a contender, it didn't go over 100 feet or so. Shot at 30 yds. or so standing broadside.
That said if I had my choice I would not use less than a 24 caliber gun and in fact use a 30. First time I went deer huntin I was 12 that woulda been 1961. I have shoot a bunch of deer since but have yet to shoot one in the rear from behind or through the hind quarters. I have been lucky maybe, as stuff happens hunting. Lost a real nice buck one day cause I wouldn't but there are always more deer, and my gosh would I hate to gut one shot up the backend.
.
Art put it pretty good in his first post, and the only way I would intentionally shoot at a deer other than a heart lung shot would be a real fantastic trophy. That isn't gonna happen this year as I have drawn a doe tag again. I stopped shooting bucks years ago, if I can draw a doe tag, cause does usually have better meat and a nice big barren mule deer doe is a large as a medium buck anyhow.
Good hunting guys, use your heads out there and try not to wound and lose your animal, it'll ruin your day and I have seen it ruin a new hunters deer hunting forever. They went more but could never pull the trigger and finally stopped completely.

marksman13
July 7, 2007, 11:44 PM
Well, I will be damned! The world must be spinning in reverse because Eliphalet and I almost agree on something!:D That was a joke, I swear...well...mostly a joke anyways.:neener::D

willsnipe
July 7, 2007, 11:53 PM
Err on the side of shot placement. You can "wing 'em" with a Howitzer and knock 'em down; but they don't eat too good! :rolleyes:

Logos
July 8, 2007, 01:41 AM
I would rather stalk in close to a big buck and shoot him in the neck with a 223 then shoot him in the arse from 300 yards away with a 270 or 7 mag.

Ah, if it were only so easy.......but whitetail hunting rarely works that way. Where I hunt, you don't stalk, and you certainly don't "stalk" trophy bucks. Some "still hunt," some sit in a stand and some do drives.....most do a little of each.

When you use the term "stalk" it makes me wonder if you've picked up all your deer hunting knowledge from a very bad book.

Neck shots are only made when a lung shot cannot be made.....or when they happen by accident.....which does happen sometimes, especially on running deer.

Those neophytes who use the neck shot by choice will soon have a "dead" deer get up and get away from them and have misses when the deer moves his head. They have to learn the hard way.

Your apology is appreciated, but I must say that you are are extremely confused about what I said. You make it sound like I prefer and advocate shooting deer at long range and the worst angles. That's not what I said at all.

What I said was that you need a rifle of .270 class or better to take advantage of the very tough opportunities that are a part of hunting trophy whitetails.....and yes, that includes the stern to stem shot if that's all you get.......you take it because you have the skill to do it and because you will probably never see that deer again. If you know your skill level and your rifle's abilities, you can make that choice without undue danger of wounding.

However, if you choose to walk around with a .223, you will not be equipped to even attempt a long and difficult shot on big deer. You just pass up most shots.

You will have less than half the reach of someone with a real deer rifle and you will only be able to take broadside shots to slip that tiny bullet in behind the shoulder.

Perhaps you also like to play golf with only a 9-iron and a putter. So be it. If it's more fun for you that way, have at it.

Some folks here who advocate puny rifles are apparently talking about shooting flea-bitten southern whitetails that weigh about 100 pounds soaking wet and covered with mud after being chased through a swamp.

That ain't what I'm talking about......I'm talking about real deer.

What I have said has been clear......if you use a weak gun, you limit yourself--and if that's what you like, that's good for you......."stalk" your brains out and have fun doing it.

Most people prefer results, though.

Some also use primitive weapons.....bows, black powder rifles and spears and nunchaku and slingshots and frisbees and such things......it's a different type of hunting and that's fine for those who enjoy such activities.

But, if you want to be really ready to take that trophy with a long, tough shot that has to penetrate and break bones.....you need a decent gun.

That's why I recommended the .270 class and above.

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 08:22 AM
How much skill does it take to shoot a deer up the ass, Logos? I think I'll pass on the shots facing away from me. I was raised not to shoot a deer unless I could see his head, neck or front shoulder.

Stalking is a legitimate method of hunting deer. The open rolling hills, mixed with hard woods makes it a very legitimate method for me. I've only killed a few deer while sitting in a stand.

As far as the neck shot goes, I've hunted for long time and seriously doubt that I have ever killed less than five deer per season. Many of those deer have been shot in the neck, and none of those shot in the neck have ever gotten up to walk away. I can't say the same about the deer shot in the lungs. It sounds to me like you are talking through your posterior.

I don't feel as though a 270 gives you enough penetration to logically expect to kill every deer you shoot up the backside. It just isn't a good shot. Bullets do crazy things once they enter an animal's body. They don't always push straight through and find vitals. I think you owe it to the animal to wait for a more reliable angle.

Logos
July 8, 2007, 10:52 AM
I take it back.....you didn't read about deer hunting (or ballistics, for that matter) in a very bad book.

I can't imagine an author so misinformed, so you must have gotten your information elsewhere.

Urban legend comes to mind.

RubenZ
July 8, 2007, 11:01 AM
Neckshots are the easy way out :) I guess if you use and underpowered gun you gotta take the easy way out. It amazes me that people would even consider a .223 for anything bigger than a bobcat :) Even most coyote hunters will not recommend it for long range coyote hunting. They will tell you the .22-250 is the way to go.

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 11:08 AM
Rubenz, I have heard a neck shot called many, many things, but never have I heard it called easy.:what: Most people seem to think the only thing harder to hit is a deer's head. You sure have a twisted view on things. If a neck shot is the easy way out for you then I want to watch you hunt. I guess you shoot eyeballs?

MeekandMild
July 8, 2007, 11:26 AM
He was probably talking about the base of the neck and not the part of the neck near the head. From the side the vital area is a roughly four inches high at the base and it tapers smaller as it goes toward the head.

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 11:38 AM
I think it is safe to say I feel the same about your hunting methods, Logos. I've seen many deer shot in many palces with a vast assortment of calibers from 22LR all the way up to a 375 H&H. I've seen a 22LR drop a deer in it's tracks and I have seen a deer run 300 yards through a cutover after a heart shot with a 7mm WSM. The fact is that there is no perfect caliber out there. As long as there is such a vast assortment of calibers there will be a vast assortment of opinions. Logos, I have never said your .270 is a bad choice. You and others have repeatedly tried to convince me that the 223 is bad choice. My problem with you lies in the types of shooting you advocate. For the life of me, I can not figure out how any moral, ethical hunter could even contemplate seriously taking a shot at a deer walking away from them at any distance, unless they were shooting it in the back of the neck.

Logos, make me understand if you can how it could be impossible to wait for a deer to present a better angle. Are you hunting with dogs? If you are hunting from a stand then there are options at your disposal that would allow you to take a better shot then putting one between the hind quarters. Your logic seems flawed to me.

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 11:39 AM
Meekandmild, if that is the case then it is the same sized target as the shoulder. I think Rubenz types before he thinks sometimes.

RubenZ
July 8, 2007, 11:43 AM
I will agree with Marksman on shooting a deer walking away. I would never that shot..

And yes marksman, sometimes I do type before I think.

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 11:45 AM
I assure you that comment was made mostly in jest. I forgot to tack on a smilie face. I just can't comprehend shooting a deer in the butt.

Art Eatman
July 8, 2007, 01:02 PM
My daddy always said that if you hit Ol' Bucky in the white spot, he doesn't go anywhere. So, not knowing any different, I took it for granted that if you bust 'em in the neck, they don't go anywhere.

So far, so good. Most of my Texas deer hunting in serious fashion was back in the two-buck limit days for whitetail. Of the forty-some bucks I tagged, about half were neck shots. Most of those neck shots were with a .243, 85-grain Sierra HPBT, and inside of a hundred or so yards. None beyond maybe 125, anyhow. My longer shots were with my pet '06.

I've stalked the jungly stuff in the Appalachicola River bottoms around Blountstown, Florida. Walk a little, lean against a tree a lot. Mostly, deer come wandering right on by, and shots are sorta up close and personal.

My preference has always been cross-country walking-hunting. Kick Bucky out of bed, look him over, and if ya want him, take him. Gotta have some notion of how much to lead, though. Put the crosshairs about a neck-and-a-half in front of his nose, he'll generally wad up. The deal is that you have to follow through, just like dove hunting. That's where, IMO, an '06 beats a .243, any day. If I'm off just a hair, he's still gonna pile up and I'll have time to get in a next shot if needed.

But just sittin' around where you have a pretty good idea that the deer's gonna show up some twenty to fifty yards out, I don't think it makes a lot of difference what you're using.

:), Art

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 01:14 PM
I can agree with that, Art. If I'm walking the thick stuff like that though I'm toting a shotgun or a 30-30. It really does boil right down to the type of hunting you are doing and confidence in your gun of choice.

Logos
July 8, 2007, 03:54 PM
"My" .270, Marksman13?

Show me where I ever said I have a .270?

You are so confused.....you have somehow morphed the discussion into .270 vs. .223.....and it was never about that.

You seem to have the misconception that one can switch weapons at will when encountering different types of terrain. Not where I hunt. It's typical northern whitetail country--one big mixture of thick woods, farm fields, meadows, swamps......10 yard shots to 400 yard shots......you hunt it all.....and you can't just change weapons at will.

That's why it's best to have something that CAN do it ALL......that usually means a fairly compact bolt-action rifle of the .270 class or better with a 2X7 variable scope.

But a 30-30? Or a .223? Well, they are laughably FAR from the top choice in my area.

And, you say, "Wait for a deer to present a better angle?"

No, you take your shot as quickly as you can, because that big buck is moving, his nose is in the air, the rut is on, and he may be ten miles away in an hour.

He will disappear in seconds and it is highly unlikely you will ever see that big buck again.

Where I hunt, you take your shot as it comes, and you take it now.....long or short, sideways or endwise, breaking bone, punching through brush--whatever it takes.

And for that you need a modern and powerful rifle.

Since you have so little experience with shooting deer from stern to front, I'll tell you that deer so shot with such a rifle go down very, very quickly......meaning either instantly or within 25-40 yards.

Instantly if the bullet comes close enough to the spine along the way.

Very quickly if the bullet just ranges from the pelvis to the heart/lung area, because that bullet is passing through vital organs all the way and breaking a tremendous number of blood vessels and causing massive nerve damage and other trauma as it makes its long journey to the heart/lung area.

Yes, it's a stupid and unsportsmanlike shot for you and your .223. You are right not to take it.......but for me it's just another dead deer.

It's all about being properly equipped.

MCgunner
July 8, 2007, 04:45 PM
I like the 1000 ft lb ol' adage except that 6mm is the minimum caliber I would accept making that 1000 ft lbs on target. I've killed more game, deer, hog, what ever, with a .257 Roberts than anything else. I've killed 'em just as dead as with my 7 mag. Don't take a cannon, but .22s are a little lacking of lead for my taste.

marksman13
July 8, 2007, 05:08 PM
Ah, but show me, Logos where I ever said I had a 223. You have managed to confuse yourself. How bout you take whatever rifle you have and continue to shoot your deer between the hams, and I'll keep shooting mine in the neck or shoulder with my 243, 30-06, 30-30, and 7mm WSM?

Being a true sportsman, a true hunter if you will, requires knowing the animal that you hunt. It requires knowing your tools and how to use them in the best interest of yourself AND THE ANIMAL YOU ARE HUNTING.

Shooting deer up the "poop chute" is unethical in my opinion. It is merely that though; just my opinion. No need to get mad and question my experience. I have never told you that your rifle was inadequate, yet you continue to bash my style of hunting and the tools I use. Your posts have for the most part been entertaining, but immature. You strike me as the type who wishes to impose your ideas on anyone who will listen. Your attitude, and your arrogant tone don't impress me. I simply don't care what you have to say anymore. You obviously can't have an intelligent discussion with someone who has a different point of view than you do.

I think it best if we drop the conversation before it turns into a insult hurling contest. These types of threads have been known to get quite ugly and I do not wish to go there. I think it is in the best interest of each of us to just ignore eachother, before we get this thread locked.

Debunk Brady
July 8, 2007, 09:07 PM
Just go with a .30-06 and then you don't have to worry about it.

Logos
July 8, 2007, 09:13 PM
Ah, we can never do without actual deer hunting experience......can't stress that enough.

Blackfork
July 8, 2007, 09:32 PM
P17 30-06 in military configuration.

30-40 Krag. (Full-length barrel but a peepsight has been added and the stock cut back.)

K98 Mauser. (WWII bring-back with lyman peep added.)

AR15 carbine. (Might as well give it a try.)

Chilean 7X57 Carbine. 7X57. (Same as my Ruger #1 so I handload for it.)

Argentine 1891 Engineers Carbine. 7X65 cal.

M1 Carbine 30 cal.

Swedish M38. 6.5.

Jap Type 44. 6.5.

Swiss K31 7.5.

MCgunner
July 9, 2007, 10:55 AM
Some would say that Art's style of kickin' 'em up and shootin' 'em on the run is "unethical", but I've done it and totally enjoy that style of deer shootin'. It reminds me of hunting rabbits with a .22 when I was a kid, only there's more time to get on the deer than I ever had to get on a rabbit. :D I've made shots at 50-75 yards on running game, not that hard to accomplish. And, yeah, you need a little more gun if you can't be sure of hitting something very vital. Lung shots do the trick with a 7 mag, even lung/liver.

I mostly feeder watch and can place my shots in the shoulder. Out in west Texas, there's more open country. You can see for miles and a deer can hide behind a blade of grass. It's prime country for Art's style of hunting. Around here, the vegetation is thick, the deer have no problem hiding out in the brush, and the land acreage is small. So, you're stuck with feeder watching. That's okay, but I'd sure rather be on some 10K acre place out west spot and stalking , more fun. I ain't complaining, though. At least I have a place to hunt. That right there is a major accomplishment in Texas, the land of the millionaire leasing system. It's getting to the point you either have to know a rancher well, like BFF, or inherit land, or make a Bill Gates income if you wanna hunt deer. It's ridiculous. I guess I'll be feeder watching until I die. For feeder watching, I've never lost a deer with a .257 Roberts, in fact, never lost a deer with it, period. Of the few dozen it's killed in my hands, only one went more'n a few steps and I was using a heavy 117 grain Hornady interlock that didn't open up through the lungs. Went back to my Sierra game kings after that. Actually, I've killed a few with it doing Art's style of hunting, but it's more of a feeder watching gun. With those 117 Hornadys, though, I did shoot through an 8 point stem to stern once, total penetration. It's all in the bullet. I'd still prefer my .308 or better for jumping deer, though. I can tell ya this, if you shoot 'em in the butt and it exits their throat, they fall right in their tracks. I've done it twice, once with the .257 and once with my .308 and both deer were dead before they hit the ground. The .257 cut the aorta on the way through and the .308 left and exit wound in the throat the size of a soft ball (Nosler ballistic tip).

One of my favorite feeder watching guns, sorta puts a little more sport in it, is my .30-30 Contender. It puts 1000 ft lbs on target all the way out to just shy of 200 yards and a long shot down on my place is 100 yards. Field rests, that's about all I can do with a handgun anyway. It's killed 5 deer in their tracks, so far. It makes less energy than a .243, though there's a little more lead in the bullet. It's quite deadly. Heck, I've taken TWO deer with a .357 magnum blackhawk at 760 ft lbs at the muzzle. Shots were under 50 yards, deer fell dead. One I shot with my .357 carbine at 80 yards went about 20 yards before falling, lung shot behind the shoulder. It don't take a cannon. My 7 mag is a safe queen anymore. About all I hunt with is my .308 anymore when rifle hunting. It's enough gun for a big hog should I wanna shoot one and overkill for whitetail. Hogs is one thing I've got on my piddlin' little plot of land that Art ain't got. Javelinas don't count. :D

RubenZ
July 9, 2007, 02:08 PM
I agree, Deer Leasing in Texas has become too business oriented. It's sad that the avg joe who wants to take his little son out deer hunting has to pay 3+ k for a lease. Not like the good old days where leases could be found under 1k.

mbt2001
July 9, 2007, 09:33 PM
The price is a little higher than inflation, if you say a deer lease cost $700.00 30 years ago, but then again look at the percentage of budget that $700 represented back then, and that is about what $3,000.00 is today... In some places it is more than that, in which case it is tracking the realestate market...

I am with you, I wish they were cheaper, but they are not a bad deal now.

kmrcstintn
July 9, 2007, 09:40 PM
I'm surpised there nobody here with magnum erectus and touting the WSMs

just got back online...here's what I have to say about 'magnumitis'

I thought that I needed a big ole bad magnum...a .300 Win Mag in a Tikka T3 Hunter format; shot it 2 sessions of 20 rounds trying to get it sighted it; shooting it was absolutely MISERABLE; sold it; banked the money; shopped at another shop found a Marlin 1894C in .357 magnum that is an absolute hoot to shoot...using a 'deer' vitals target and open sights at 50 yards using an unsupported standing position, I shot 1 1/2" 3 round groups several times within the heart/lung area...hmmm

might be a good choice for my father since he is thinking of just using his .357 magnum revolver (S&W 686 PowerPort topped w/ Bushnell trophy red dot); this will allow him a more stable platform to use a nice low recoiling round that is lethal within 75 yards...especially with Buffalo Bore ammo! he might need some optical assistance since he's up in age and his eyesight isn't too good...

MCgunner
July 10, 2007, 08:11 AM
The price is a little higher than inflation, if you say a deer lease cost $700.00 30 years ago, but then again look at the percentage of budget that $700 represented back then, and that is about what $3,000.00 is today... In some places it is more than that, in which case it is tracking the realestate market...

I am with you, I wish they were cheaper, but they are not a bad deal now.

I guess that depends on your income. I make, combined with my wife's social security disability, about 35K a year right now, about what I made 25 years ago. Only good thing is everything is paid for, no debt at all other than utilities and the ever present taxes. I belonged to a hunting club for a while that had leases around the state. That was fun, costly at the time, but a lot less than a good lease. I dropped it, though. The best lease was 13 miles west of Langtry, 13,000 acres, and I miss hunting there, but it started going up big time and I had to drop it.

I bought my little place in 1988 and it has appreciated big time, though there's still little development around there and the hunting has only gotten better. 300 bucks a year for taxes, figure that's a lot cheaper than a lease. It sorta gets old lookin' at the same trees, but at least I get to hunt and the hunting is real good there, not exactly managed, never seen a real wall hanger, but have shot a lot of older bucks off it over the years. It beats sitting at the computer net hunting. LOL And after all, you can't eat the horns. But, I'm out on the 3K leases, no thanks. I can run to New Mexico and hunt mulies for way less than that if I want an adventure. Ain't guided, but I know the Guadelupes pretty well, have spent some time there and taken a mulie there before. Just hunting in that beautiful country is worth the trip even if you don't shoot squat. I'm a big time duck hunter and have lots of duck hunting for little or nothing around here, so I'm pretty happy with my hunting activities now days, lease or no lease.

As to the magnum thing, I was in New Mexico one year with my 7. Me and a buddy walked into a store in Queens (only store for 60 miles) and a bunch of hunters were in there yakkin' about guns, asked what we were totin'. My bud has a BLR in .300 win mag, me and my 7, they all roared. Don't think there was a gun there bigger than .308 and one even was totin' a .257! Now, truth be told, my .257 is all I needed. It pushes 3050 with a 117 grain Hornady, 3150 fps with a 100 grain Game King, factory .25-06 territory, but in my defense, when I bought the 7, all I had was the .257 and I'd thought I'd get to hunt elk, which I never did. When we told 'em what we had, those other guys all roared with laughter and wanted to know why we were walkin' around with cannons. LOL

I now have a .308 Win in a little stainless M7 Remington and all the rest have sat in the gun case for the last 10 years. The little M7 does it all, very accurate, handy length, light to tote, love that thing. It's plenty of gun for the hogs, deer, even if I wanted to go elk hunting with it. I ain't gonna sell the 7, surely not the .257 (grandpa's old gun and killed my first deer at age 11 with it), but the .308 does it all for me now.

One of the "monsters" I've shot off my place. LOL! Does it really take a magnum to kill something this size???? :rolleyes:

Big pic
http://imageigloo.com/images/2893PICT0073.JPG

quatin
July 10, 2007, 12:42 PM
Half of you guys are talking about an "all round deer caliber" and the other half is talking about "a minimum deer caliber".

Vern Humphrey
July 10, 2007, 12:52 PM
Half of you guys are talking about an "all round deer caliber" and the other half is talking about "a minimum deer caliber".
To my way of thinking, they are one and the same.

Some say, "Under ideal conditions, what is the miniumn caliber?"

Others point out that in hunting, there is no such thing as ideal conditions, and you can't run home and get a bigger gun when you find yourself in a situation where you need it.

So the minimum deer caliber is the one I'd feel comfortable with, knowing as I do, the sort of things that can happen when deer hunting. And that turns out to be the all around deer caliber.

kmrcstintn
July 10, 2007, 12:53 PM
Half of you guys are talking about an "all round deer caliber" and the other half is talking about "a minimum deer caliber".

half of half of us know what is going on half of half of half of the time...the rest are just plain ole dazed and confused...

hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!! :rolleyes::p:D:neener:

quatin
July 10, 2007, 01:03 PM
To my way of thinking, they are one and the same.

They shouldn't be the same. The more important variables such as distance and size of game you can control. Why is it so hard to just say a .223 will take smaller deer at shorter distances? If you ever find yourself in a situation with a larger deer at longer distances, well then you should have though about that before you brought a .223.

marksman13
July 10, 2007, 01:12 PM
Quatin, I've been preaching the same thing all along. Distance and shot placement are variables that can be controlled by the hunter. I said from the beginning that a 223 is the minimum cartridge that I would consider effective for deer. I don't know that anyone here will change his/her mind about it.

Vern Humphrey
July 10, 2007, 01:15 PM
They shouldn't be the same. The more important variables such as distance and size of game you can control.
Actually, you can't -- too many factors are outside your control. A large deer may look like a smaller deer under certain conditions, and vice versa. A distant shot may look closer than it is, and vice versa. The angle of presentation may deceive you when chosing the shot. You may not make a perfect shot (gasp) and have to shoot again at a fast-disappearing deer.

I'm reminded of Elmer Keith's famous 600-yard kill of a mule deer with a .44 Magnum -- that deer had been wounded, and they were tracking it when they saw it on the opposite ridge. If you don't have Elmer Keith with you, you may have to make that shot yourself (although hopefully not that long.)

KINGMAX
July 10, 2007, 01:25 PM
270 is my choice.

quatin
July 10, 2007, 02:56 PM
Actually, you can't -- too many factors are outside your control. A large deer may look like a smaller deer under certain conditions, and vice versa. A distant shot may look closer than it is, and vice versa. The angle of presentation may deceive you when chosing the shot. You may not make a perfect shot (gasp) and have to shoot again at a fast-disappearing deer.

Well if you have that kind of problem then don't bring a light caliber rifle. If anyone has problems sizing up game that badly under 100 yards then bring something else. For other people who don't make those type of mistakes or have a range finder it should be fine.

Vern Humphrey
July 10, 2007, 03:03 PM
Well if you have that kind of problem then don't bring a light caliber rifle. If anyone has problems sizing up game that badly under 100 yards then bring something else. For other people who don't make those type of mistakes or have a range finder it should be fine.

It's been my experience that the person most likely to make a serious mistake is the man who thinks he can't make a mistake.

quatin
July 10, 2007, 03:09 PM
I thought it was the person who prepared the least.

Vern Humphrey
July 10, 2007, 03:14 PM
I thought it was the person who prepared the least.
They are one and the same.

The man who thinks he can't make a mistake isn't prepared to deal with conditions he didn't anticipate.

quatin
July 10, 2007, 03:23 PM
Fine...so bring as many buddies with guns as you can to cover more mistakes. Multiple shots from multiple angles ought to do it.

RubenZ
July 10, 2007, 04:11 PM
Half of you guys are talking about an "all round deer caliber" and the other half is talking about "a minimum deer caliber".

Well the Minimum Deer Caliber is actually supposed to mean kill a dear ethically with the smallest round.

I mean heck, Minimum could be a .17HMR. Just shoot a deer in the eyeball and hope the bullet bounces around its brain.


There you go folks. Minim. Caliber is a .17hmr. Or heck, even a airsoft gun make work.

Logos
July 10, 2007, 04:34 PM
Very well-said by both Vern and Ruben, and I agree.

Whether it's the eyeball shot or the neck shot.....the strange logic is the same.

The purveyors of such logic have simply not hunted enough to know that their beliefs are not realistic.

marksman13
July 10, 2007, 05:14 PM
I think the neck shot has been proven to be as effective over the years as any other shot. I think that there are a bunch of Zumbos among us who feel that any way other than their way is the wrong way. The head shot works. The neck shot works. If you don't have the patience, skill or terrain to allow you to make those shots then stick with what works for you. It's as simple as that. The minimum caliber for deer will vary from person to person. There are those who are skilled enough and have terrain features that allow the use of a caliber deemed inferior by those who have a limited skill set and a different set of terrain features.

Many of the areas I hunt allow shots no further than one hundred yards. In those settings a 223 is perfectly suitable for the job with a 70 grain bullet. When I hunt over bean fields or hay fields, I opt for the 7mm WSM because my shots are often in excess of 250 yards, and I prefer the better terminal ballistics of the 7mm at those ranges.

To sit around on an internet forum and bash someone else's cartridge choice without knowing the their skill set or terrain features is immature and misinformed. Maybe Aaryq is hunting over wide open fields. Perhaps he is hunting in a thicket. Or maybe he is hunting in a fairly open hard wood forrest. All of those situations could call for a different caliber of firearm. Perhaps Aaryq is as much of a shooter as he is a hunter. Perhaps it is the other way around. We don't know these variables so it is impossible to rule any caliber out of this discussion.

Logos
July 10, 2007, 05:25 PM
But.....if you stick with the .270 power class and above (within reason......since we haven't discussed MAXIMUMS here) you can rest easy knowing you are ready for ANY situation that may come up and won't have to waste time and energy "controlling" a lot of "factors."

:D

marksman13
July 10, 2007, 05:35 PM
But what to you say to someone who can not handle the recoil of a .270, but can easily shoot a 223? Should that person not hunt? The OP asked what the minimum caliber of rifle was that could humanely harvest a deer. With proper shot placement, the answer to that is a 223. Had he asked the best caliber for deer my answer would have been different.

Some seem to be under the illusion that a 223 can not kill deer humanely. I think ignorance is the culprit here. Many of the people bashing the 223 as a deer hunting round have no experience with the round. After killing nine deer with a 223, I know that the round is quite capable, though not ideal. I grew older, and I moved on to larger calibers. My small statured wife however will probably pick up a 223 for deer season this year.

Logos
July 10, 2007, 05:58 PM
I don't think anybody is ignorant enough to believe the .223 can't kill deer humanely in perfect circumstances.

I'd be very surprised to have anybody that ignorant turn up here.

I've never met anybody who couldn't handle the recoil of a .270 class rifle when properly trained (the 7X57 Mauser with 139 grain ammo is very mild).

If such a person turned up I'd want them to go with the .243 class and be aware of the possibility that they'd have to turn down some shots.

marksman13
July 10, 2007, 07:43 PM
My wife does not handle the recoil of a 243 very well. She grew up in a totally different environment than I did. If it takes buying her a 223 to get her in the woods until she gets accustomed to shooting heavier recoiling rifles, then so be it. She actually shoots a 22LR quite well, so I do believe that she will be able kill deer quite effectively with a 223 as long as shots are kept under 100 yards.

MCgunner
July 10, 2007, 08:39 PM
IMHO, and that's what it is, if you can't handle the recoil of a .243, you really don't need to be hunting deer. Are you going to be a good enough shot to place that .223 where it needs to be? If so, I reckon .223 will do the job, but a .243 is anything, but a cannon. JMHO, though.

The .22-250 is pretty popular down here for feeder watching. It is a precision tool and head or neck shots at out to 200 yards ain't a problem. I still prefer more bullet, but hey, the .223 or .22-250 WILL work, I just feel why limit the power of the gun when I can shoot more gun that will be more than just a feeder watching gun? For handicapped, I can see it. But, if you're good enough marksman to put a bullet in a deer's head at 200 yards every time with a .223 and you're not handicapped, I don't see why you can't do it with a .25-06, frankly.

I'm not into black rifles. Some folks, I feel, just wanna shoot their tacticool guns at deer, give 'em a reason to own the things other than paper and that "shtf" thing they all talk about. Well, fine, but wouldn't something in, say, 6.8 be better? They make ARs in other than .223. I've even seen 'em in .308! But, the .223 will do the job feeder watching which is the sort of deer hunting that 99 percent of the hunters around here do. But, I ain't no kid, I can handle a better caliber.

Actually, the whitetail down here aren't very big, 125 dressed is a mature buck. Even the 55 grain .223 can handle a shoulder shot on a deer that big with total penetration. A .308 can handle ANY shot with total penetration, though. I've never seen those 300 lb monsters they hunt up north, but I can say a mulie is quite a bit more deer than the whitetail I hunt around here. On these pathetic little things, a .243 is sorta overkill, LOL! So, maybe I'm being too critical, but I still prefer .243 and up for general whitetail hunting. That's where I, personally, draw the line. .223 is totally legal in Texas for deer, though, so if it hangs your hooter, go for it.

Logos
July 10, 2007, 08:52 PM
Yes, if you can shoot a .223, you certainly could master the much better 22-250.

Seriously, Jack O'Connor's wife was as petite as you can get and she used the .257 Roberts and the 7X57 Mauser with great success during a stellar hunting career. She hated recoil and agreed to use the 30-06 only once, I think it was to take a lion.

She respected the animals she was hunting and endured a little discomfort for the privilege of hunting them.

R.W.Dale
July 10, 2007, 08:55 PM
Yes, if you can shoot a .223, you certainly could master the much better 22-250.

There's a bit of cruel irony in that. You'll have better ammo choices up to the task of taking whitetail for the .223 due to the slower twist rate that 22-250 "suffers" from.

The winchester 64grn PP for .223 comes highly reccomended

Logos
July 10, 2007, 09:12 PM
Right, the 22-250 is great, but on the other hand, the much better .243 would get you all the way up to 80 grains......and with an incredible display of valor you could even brave the risk of serious bruising from the crunching recoil of the massive 100 grain bullet.

marksman13
July 10, 2007, 10:20 PM
So far Logos, you have only managed to give this board a bunch of half hearted attempts at sarcasm. You haven't presented a single fact to PROVE that a 223 is not an adequate rifle for killing deer. I doubt that you have any experience at all with a 223. I doubt that you have much experience at all with hunting the Southeastern United States. Sure, you may have killed many deer, and maybe you have even used a few different calibers, but I do not believe you are the authority you pretend to be. I think you got most of your information about a 223's potential as a deer round from the same gunshop commandos you get most of your information from. You are so rooted in the past that you can not see the vast improvements that have been made in ammunition in the past couple of decades. Of course there was a time not all that long ago when the 223 was a pretty poor choice for hunting whitetails, but that time is gone.

S&WKING
July 10, 2007, 11:34 PM
I would shoot my 204 at a deer if i had time to take time but not a running shot or through trees
logos if you wanna talk maximums y not a 50 bmg or heck how bout a cannon

Logos
July 11, 2007, 12:09 AM
Funny thing is.....I don't own a .270, but I DO own a .223. Remington 700 ADL. Bought it used and on sale. Had a very nice trigger job done at Gander Mountain and have a great old Leupold 3X9 variable on it.

Killed a few woodchucks and crows and coyotes with it and know exactly what it can do. I would use it on a deer (only with a really premium heavy bullet and at less than 100 yards) if I had any reason to do so.....and I don't have any reason to and I don't anticipate one will ever materialize.

RubenZ
July 11, 2007, 01:26 AM
I have lots of Javelina to test my rounds on and that is how I judge if a caliber would be good for deer.

If a Caliber can't kill a Javelina effectively to me I wouldn't say its safe to use on whitetails.

And I'm sorry, but I'f taken a few Javelinas with a .223 and while yes it does bring em down. I really didn't like to see them suffer that much.

Art Eatman
July 11, 2007, 08:10 AM
As usual with any thread that gets toward six or seven pages, it's more squabblesome than illustrative.

Enuf...

Art

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