hunting with what you have


September 17, 2007, 11:48 PM
I plan on deer hunting for the first time this winter, and i've never really bought a dedicated hunting rifle. i have two rifles that could potentially take a deer, but i dont know wich one to choose. help me out...

i have an m-1 garand and an ar-15. should be an easy pick, right? the m-1 should win hands down, but theres one small problem. i have horrible eyes and shooting with the garands iron sights gets me 6 moa. (wow right?:mad:) on the other hand i have an ar-15 that i can dop 1moa with out to 200 yards and 1.5 moa at 300 yards, all form field positions. no it isnt a target varmint rifle. i put this together to be my out to 200 yards home defense gun, so it is verry rugged. although i will be taking shots well under 100 yards un the thicket of land where im hunting.

so what would you pick? more than adequate power or proper shot placement and minimum power?

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September 18, 2007, 12:02 AM
223 isn't really your best deer rnd, I'd deffinetly go with the Garande,

as a side note........ I wouldn't consider 200 yards for SD, thats pretty much a guaranteed conviction unless ya got a sniper shootin at you..... which BTW Has happened..... out here in Arizona in wide open terrain and in the middle of drug smuggler alley even then... it cost me alot of $$ in legal defense fees that was with 4 witnesses and 3 slugs embedded in my living room wall........ I'd look into a 30 yard SD gun if I were you thats pretty much the maximum ya can get away with and still have a chance at a legal defense

September 18, 2007, 12:08 AM
if its under 100 yards, I'd bet you could probably still do a number on deer with the m1. . . .but if you insist, i'd load some 69 or 77 gr bullets up for the ar and im sure it too could humanly harvest some good game :)

September 18, 2007, 12:14 AM
The Garand 30-06 would be my choice for a deer rifle.

September 18, 2007, 12:20 AM
If you use the Garand make certain you use bullets under a 165gr and nothing high powered. You can break your operating rod with excessive recoil from some hunting ammo.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
September 18, 2007, 12:42 AM
Garand, definitely.

I'd probably look around for someone to load up some mildish loads with 150gr. Core-Loks or RNHP's if time permits. Otherwise, probably Remchester factory loads with 150gr. bullets suitable for medium game would suffice if you don't make a steady diet of them.

Don't feel funny about it- once I went on a deer hunt with an Uzi stoked with 4 Silvertips for lack of anything else. Fortunately for all involved, I didn't see a single deer but lots and lots of freezing rain.


September 18, 2007, 12:43 AM
Neither of those are ideal deer rifles. However, if I had to choose, I'd say the AR. I'd sacrifice power for accuracy. The knockdown power of .30-06 doesnt mean jack if you cant cleanly hit your target.

September 18, 2007, 12:43 AM
at the ranges you're talking about, the 6 moa garand is fine, and 30-06 is far superior to the 223 for deer at every range.

Chris B
September 18, 2007, 12:48 AM
You went deer hunting with an Uzi? Would've been a great story back at camp if you'd taken one.

Ian Sean
September 18, 2007, 01:32 AM
Personally I would go with the Garand, BUT! Do a check with your Game Commision in your state!

Not all states allow hunting with semi-auto's and some have restrictions below a certain caliber round (you want a dead animal not a wounded one) I kind of agree with the reasoning for it. Here in Pennsylvania, no semi-autos for hunting.

September 18, 2007, 01:48 AM
Borrow a deer rifle. This is like asking "I want to pick up a 3/4 ton of rocks. Should I use my Toyota Corolla, or my 1972 F-150 that I can't drive because the transmission is shot?"

September 18, 2007, 01:58 AM
Where are you hunting? The little goat-deer around here don't need that much.

I've not been a big fan of a 223 for deer, but seeing the size and with a proper round, I've reconsidered--especially at less than 100m. I think they'll both get the job done.

September 18, 2007, 02:12 AM
ya could always use it as an excuse for another Milsurp too, a Yugo mauser or Mosin nagant will work perfectly if ya have a hard time with barrel mounted sights look a NO4 MK1 Enfield with a rear peep, ya can get any of these cheap right now I brought home many Oregon white tails and a few Elk growing up with an Enfield jungle carbine

Father Knows Best
September 18, 2007, 03:21 AM
Check your state laws. Many states don't allow deer hunting with the .223 round. If that's the case where you are, then your only choice is the M1.

September 18, 2007, 07:31 AM
They use M1 garands to take down a deer in Band of Brothers! Since it was on TV it must be true! Haha.... JK!

Realistically however I would choose the garand over an AR. It'll be heavy but worth the better round IMO.

September 18, 2007, 08:14 AM
Put a scope on the M-1

September 18, 2007, 08:20 AM
Would all depend on the range you're taking the shot. I was initially going to use my Mosin Nagant with PU sniper scope for hunting this year, but as I've been reading and listening to some other hunters I've heard most shots here in New York are taken well under 100 yards. 3.5 magnification under 100 yards... Still might be able to do it. I've also a Yugo M48a that has some hunting rounds, but I'm hesitant to shoot with that one. My accuracy and shot placement is nowhere near my Mosin, but again, minute of pie plate should be half way decent. I may just wait and see how my new 1897 Trench Gun functions, find some of those new rifled slugs companies are selling and use that lol.

Overall though I'd probably find some hunting rounds for the Garand. The AR is a good platform and accuracy is good, but in order to have an ethical, clean, and efficient kill you'll need a balance of stopping power and round placement. I mean with the right placement you can take down a deer with a .22 I wouldn't do it because it would mean un-necessary suffering for the deer.

Check your local laws, it might be a moot point anyway, depending on semi-auto hunting laws in certain areas.

The Annoyed Man
September 18, 2007, 08:54 AM
+1 for borrowing someone's dedicated deer rifle.

Father Knows Best
September 18, 2007, 09:02 AM
Yeah, borrowing a rifle is probably your best bet. You can also pick up a good deer rifle for very little money -- as little as $100 to $150 if you shop the used gun racks and gun shows. But if you can borrow a rifle, use that $100 for ammo and range time to get comfortable with it and to be sure it is dialed in, and use whatever is left over to buy beer for the buddy who loaned it to you.

September 18, 2007, 09:15 AM
I've shot several deer in the last two years with my M1 and Lake City 1969 FMJs. Clean kills on all. I had a good 100 yard zero and when I quit trying for headshots and just went behind the shoulder there really wasn't any problem at all with sight picture.

I shot eight deer last year with seven different rifles. Six of them were military surplus with iron sights. (one was a Garand) I found that waiting on the deer to turn sideways and give me a clear shoulder shot (out of a blind so I was generally shooting off a rest) made it simple.

I had shot all the rifles on a range and sorted out the 100 yard zero with the ammo I was going to use.

Shot the first doe with Garand a couple years ago. I had a 100 yard zero at six oclock on a NRA 100 yard rifle target. She was straight on and looking at me and I put the front sight blade right under her chin. Got a good trigger break. I was trying to shoot her between the eyes. Turned out she was 125 yards out and the LC69 FMJ hit right where the front sight blade was and went right through her neck from front to back. She went down in place.

Used M1, M1 Carbine, K31, 1909 Argentine, Jap Type 44, and Swede Mauser. This year it's 1903A3, P17, Krag, K98, 1891 Arg Carbine, 1911 .45 and AR15

September 18, 2007, 09:16 AM
Out here in Colorado it would be a no brainer since the .223 is not legal for big game .

September 18, 2007, 09:24 AM
Either caliber/cartridge will cleanly take deer.

Shot placement is infinitely more critical than caliber/cartridge/bullet

Having killed in excess of 100 deer with both calibers/cartridge I suggest that you use the AR-15 due to confidence in bullet placement.

However, bullet choice IS important.

Use any of the SOFT POINT 55gr to 64gr hunting bullets.

The Winchester 64gr PowerPoint is excellent. A close second choice would be either the Remington, Federal, or Winchester 55gr Soft Points.

DON"T use any of the "ballistic tips", "V-max" or "Blitz" bullets.
Just the Garden variety of Soft Points.
I'd also avoid any of the Match type bullets. They may, or may not give acceptable performance. I've lost deer with the above mentioned type bullets with both the .30/06 and .223Rem. On 100-175lb deer, there isn't a lot gained with the .30/06. With poorly placed shots, they'll both wound and loose deer. BTDT.

September 18, 2007, 09:53 AM
Federal makes a .223 round that they rate adequate for medium, thin skinned game, like deer. In Texas, shooting inside of 150 yards, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Many a deer has been taken with a .243, and that is not that much bigger. If, however, you are hunting larger deer I'd borrow a modern hunting rifle.

I agree with checking your local regs. In Texas, the only restriction is that you can't use rimfire ammunition.

September 18, 2007, 10:31 AM
I've shot several deer in the last two years with my M1 and Lake City 1969 FMJs.

Now, that can get you in problems. FMJ is not legal in many places for hunting purposes. It is a poor choice for a hunting round.

-- John

September 18, 2007, 10:41 AM
I n the past I have sold one gun to buy another that i needed and didn't have the money to buy one more. If a guy wants to hunt he needs a gun suitable for the job at hand, that he can hit what he aims at.

September 18, 2007, 10:45 AM
The money you spend on trying to get an M1 scoped with a decent mount could be better put to buying a rifle better suited (Mossberg and Savage make decently priced bolt actions that are accurate and ready for scoping) for hunting.

I'd borrow a buddy's rifle, if I could. After all, it might turn out that you don't like hunting very much. If you have a friend who is a hunter, ask him to go with you and help you.

September 18, 2007, 10:52 AM
My 12 year old daughter dropped 3 does where they stood last year with a 223. Her first time hunting. She walked up to the first one, and when I expected tears, looked up and said "perfect shot placement". She was right too. But like the others have said, our Texas deer, unless you spend some major cash, aren't very big.

September 18, 2007, 11:02 AM
I voted Garand but agree with #26. A Savage/Stevens, Mossberg ATR, or Howa package rifle might be the perfect solution. Yes I know this thread is "hunting with what you've got" but I'm taking the liberty to use a little more common sence than shooting deer with a mediocre rifle vs one that you may end up missing with.

September 18, 2007, 11:05 AM
I took my AR-15 deer hunting last year. The first obvious thing to look at is if the .223 is leagal in you’re area for deer. Also some areas have rules on semi autos and magazine capacity. I think that the .223 is adequate if a premium bullet is placed in the correct area, but the M1 would give you a much bigger margin for error. I used 60 grain nosler partitions by federal. They are hard to find in the store, so you may have to resort to the internet to order these. I unfortunately didn’t shoot a deer last year, but based off the “wet phone book test”, this was the bullet that seemed to perform the best based on penetration and weight retention. Keep in mind most .223 rounds are designed for varmint hunting and will not penetrate well. I also wouldn’t plan to shoot past 150 yards or so.

In the long run, you would probably benefit from a dedicated deer gun though.

September 20, 2007, 02:20 AM
+1 on putting a scope on the M1. There's a not terribly expensive "scout mount" which replaces the rear handguard. No drilling, no mods to Garrand. Channel down center lets you continue to use iron sights. You can mount either a long eye relief scout type scope or a red dot holographic sight. For the 100 yd brushy area you're describing, the red dot would be good.

My experience with an Eotech and this scout mount was eye-opening (if you'll excuse the pun...) Cheek weld wasn't critical, and rapidly acquiring and hitting a target at 50 to 100 yds was easy, compared to iron sights. I don't think accuracy was any better with red dot, just a heck of a lot faster.

As scout mount and red dot are forward of action, there isn't any problem with clip loading / ejection. I preferred this to some kind of offset mount L of the action, which is what was done with the M1C's and D's.

September 20, 2007, 03:20 PM
You have the perfect excuse to buy a new hunting rifle. Why mess with milsurps? Savages are affordable as is a Weaver 2x10x40KV that will fix those inefficient eyes. New gun and the garand doesn't get bubbaed. Win, win....:D

September 20, 2007, 03:53 PM
I'd scope the M1. But I'm going to do mine that way so I’m biased. You could look at the S&K insta mounts: It sits off to the side and is not inline with the gun. I know that turns some of, but I didn't like the scout style mounts on my Garand. It’s already too front heavy for my tastes.

Let me throw another wrinkle in though. I may be wrong, but I don't think the M1 likes hot commercial hunting loads, so choose carefully.

But as someone else said, for the cost of the mount and a good scope, you could get a new (well... new to you anyway) gun with some OK glass.

However, for the cost of a mount and a low price scope (If your Garand is like mine, it’s probably not a tack driver and not worth priceless glass), you could have a really cool looking Garand that will put your sad eyes on target.

I understand about the bad eyesight. :(

And don’t forget the hunting clip with they 5 round limit if you go with the Garand.

If you have no $$$ for either and IF your state is ok with .223, then get some good rounds and take only sure shots.

September 20, 2007, 03:57 PM
Texas white tail deer are pretty small. .223 and other varmint chamberings is not uncommon. Mini-14 gets used.

Centerfire cartridges are mandatory in Texas, caliber isn't.

I think my Remington 7mm mag is too big for most Texas hunting, but it is the rifle I have. I'd prefer a .24 or .25 caliber with shorter barrel. The magnum is a no brainer for me as I don't have to adjust my shot from 50-300 yards. The drop is about 3-4 inches.

IMHO: Shot placement is more important than cartridge choice.

I'm setting up a Ruger .41 Blackhawk with scope for the short range shots.

September 21, 2007, 12:18 AM
The M1 IS a hunting rifle. If it could reach out and knock off the most dangerous game on the planet I'm sure it will do for deer. Thee 223 is up to your Fish and Game.

September 21, 2007, 01:51 PM
Another fairly inexpensive route would be look at a Stevens in .243 or .270 - either are a good choice for deer. Probably more accurate than a milsurp (other than a K31) and easier to scope.

I'm not sure of the better choice between .223 AR and an M1. M1 is heavy, good caliber for deer. AR is a great rifle, but possibly light for deer and state law may not let you use it.

A Yugo M48 is good condition will run you about $125, add a scope and you have a heavy hitting round in an inexpensive package.

September 21, 2007, 02:29 PM
Point Blank Range on a 30-30 for deer is about 8-10 inches at 100 yards.

6 inches is fine enough to get it in the boiler room and with a 30-06 will have more than enough umph to get the job done.

Please don't hunt deer with a .223. Its just not a sufficiently powerful cartridge to bring the animal down humanly. Especially if its only your first time hunting. go with the 30-06

But it might be heavy, and noisy, depending on where you are hunting. Might be best to consider borrowing something else. Also, might want to post/move this post over at the Hunting forum.

B.D. Turner
September 21, 2007, 03:24 PM
I would first do a couple of things before using either for hunting.
Is the .223 legal for deer hunting in your state and county?
Is there a round limit for hunting rifles?
A well placed .223 will take down a deer but it is far from ideal. Some folks like it and some hate it for deer. I have seen several deer taken with .223 over the years.
The 30-06 has taken all north american game.
Buy some deer vitals targets (most better sporting goods stores have em) If you can keep em in the kill zone at a given distance then it is accurate enough.

September 21, 2007, 03:58 PM
Well, I've shot deer with 55gr .223, but then they are West Texas whitetails. Kind of like shooting a puppy dog.

This whole business of humane/caliber makes me laugh. I've seen folks wound deer with superdupermagnums. The caliber is enough, but was the result humane?

If you are a crack shot with your AR and can put your round in the kill zone with confidence, then use the AR.

September 21, 2007, 04:29 PM
I've seen many white tail taken here in Montana with nothing more than the 223. Good bullet and good shot placement is always better than more power.

Depending on your twist, I'd look at Barnes TSX in either 53gn, 62gn or 70gn. Keep you shots short and only shoot at a good target and you'll be fine.

September 21, 2007, 05:26 PM
This whole business of humane/caliber makes me laugh. I've seen folks wound deer with superdupermagnums. The caliber is enough, but was the result humane?

It does not follow that, because someone can wound a deer with a stupidmagnum rifle, using a .223 on the same animal is humane.

Generally, ethical hunting would suggest that you use a sufficient caliber AND you shoot it with sufficient accuracy, not one or the other.

If a .223 is enough for deer in your area (i.e. you have to look twice to see whether it's a deer or a coyote), then I won't say it's insufficient. However, in general, for average-sized deer in the US, it's not considered to be the pinnacle of hunting ethics to use .223 on deer, unless you really know what you're doing.

Keep you shots short and only shoot at a good target and you'll be fine.

True enough, if deer hunting in your area allows for this. In some places, due to cover and topgraphy, this would mean that most of the shots you might have with a "deer caliber", you should not take at all. Are you willing to live with that? If so, no problem. In other areas, you can't see past 50 yards and it's a non-issue (but neither is 6 MOA offhand accuracy).

September 21, 2007, 05:39 PM
.223 is illegal for Deer in MN so the Garand is the only option.

Deer Hunter
September 21, 2007, 06:08 PM
If the .223 is inhumane, why is it that the most popular gun for "putting animals down/out of misery" is the .22 LR out of a pistol?

Shot placement trumps ballistics.

September 21, 2007, 06:15 PM
I live in east Texas, and we fall into the "is it a coyote or is it a deer" category (hint: coyotes don't have antlers.... :neener:) I was just up in the Sam Houston National Forest today scouting and in most of the terrain I covered, the maximum shot would have been 100 yards and that is rare. More of it was in the 40-60 yard range. For that range I might use the .44mag handcannon, or Archerandshooter's .44 mag Henry. Or I might just take my AR out with the appropriate ammunition.

I myself would hesitate to take the Garand because of the issue of weight. My AR weighs NOTHING in comparison to one of those; and if I'm going walk half the day through brush, the last thing I want is a too-heavy rifle to tote around. But that's me.


September 21, 2007, 06:36 PM
ArmedBear: My point was simply that if the deer aren't overly large and the shooter is very good with an AR, then it is not at all unethical.

Of course the folks that wound deer with the UberMag probably can't hit with an AR either.

It comes down to using what you are comfortable with. If I was in Iowa hunting those elephant sized deer, I wouldn't even look at a .223. It would probably just bounce off the kevlar hide. :D .460 Weatherby Mag baby! J/K. I think I'd have to look in New Mexico for my arm after I fired one of those.

In West Texas, a nice 8 point might weigh 130 or 140 where I hunt. A big 12 point might weigh 170ish. .223 is fine. Now, we do have some nice mule deer, and we have a 2 week season for them. My friend got one that field dressed at 280 a couple of years ago. Lard-assed deer, but still a nice rack. He used a .30-06 with 165gr SBT. I probably would use something in that range myself.

September 21, 2007, 06:50 PM
From most reports where state laws make the AR legal
the bullet of choice is the win 64gr powerpoint.
The sutaibility of 223 on deer has been one of the standard aguments we gun guys keep going to, I am not real strong either way but if you are confident with your ability with the AR I would expect you are way ahead of some of the nuts I have seen at the range .
I am surprised at the general lack of shooting ability that I see demonstrated every year at my range.
Seems a shame to drag a nice old Garand around out in the weather. Ask around at work or with other friends,you might be surprised who has something tucked away that would well for you.

September 21, 2007, 06:57 PM
I don't get a lot of the .223 deer hunting hate. I have shot A LOT of decent sized Eastern MT mule deer with a .222 that with only 1 exception dropped where they stood and I'm a marginal shot at best. The one that did not drop where it stood made it 50'. All of these were torso shots that hit the heart, lungs, or both. It is all about placement, not caliber. Anything larger than a deer? Not so much.

If you are a good shot with the AR15 I'd say go for it.

That said... It would "cooler" to say you got the deer with the Garand!

September 21, 2007, 09:19 PM
A good .223 beats an inaccurate 30-06.

September 22, 2007, 12:04 AM
6 minutes kills a deer at 150 yards here in NH. Since when is a 1 minute rifle needed to kill a deer?

September 22, 2007, 08:38 AM
Sometimes a sub-moa rifle is nice so you can decide which chamber of the heart to hit. ;)

September 22, 2007, 08:48 AM
A few people have suggested that a Garand is in general a poor choice for hunting. Why? It's got fine iron sights (which still present a problem for the Original Poster but not for everyone) and is chambered for an acceptable game cartridge, i.e. .30-06.

Assuming an eight-shot autoloader is legal in your state (some states require no more than five round capacity), what's the problem? Is it the weight?

The Deer Hunter
September 22, 2007, 10:56 AM
3" at 50 yards? Works fine where I go hunting...

Theres a lot of variables here. Are you hunting somewhere out in the open? Or somewhere in the woods where 75 yards is probably the maximum you will be shooting? Or is the minimum 125+ yards?

Are you going to be trecking deep into the woods? The Garand weights like 12 pounds or something, while the AR weighs like 5-6 pounds. 12 pounds might not seem like a lot, but things get heavy in the woods...

Like many other posters have already stated, some states don't allow .223 for hunting. Also, some states only allow 5 rounds maximum in a semi-auto. I'm sure you can find 5 round magazines for AR's. They do have 5 round en-bloc clips for garands too btw.

Personally I would use the Garand, like I'm sure countless others have done in the past. On the switch hand, a whole lot of people have shot deer with AR's too.

September 22, 2007, 11:23 AM
If the .223 is inhumane, why is it that the most popular gun for "putting animals down/out of misery" is the .22 LR out of a pistol?

Next time you're out hunting and get a chance to shoot a deer between the eyes or in the back of the head from less than 6" away, please post pictures.:p

Look, I have a friend who's been hunting for 50 years and I can say with confidence is NOT full of BS. He and a buddy were out scouting and maybe taking a rabbit or two that popped up, and they saw an elk. His buddy grabbed his .22 from the truck and took a shot. The elk dropped dead in its tracks. Shot placement. And luck.

That doesn't mean that I'd hunt elk with a .22 or that he would, even though he's a damn good shot and has the trophy-covered walls to prove it. His hunting ethics include this: "You owe it to the animal to shoot a gun that's accurate enough and powerful enough for a consistent humane kill. Don't trust in luck." Of course, the gun and the game determine what that means, exactly.

The Catch-22 of the original question is that at the range where it's appropriate to hunt deer with a .223, the practical accuracy of the Garand is sufficient as well. I'm with you, Deer Hunter, though. I'd much rather CARRY the AR, even my 20" HBAR, than the Garand, which is only semi-portable.:)

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