.223 for whitetail


November 16, 2012, 07:32 AM
What are some of the best options for .223 ammo used in deer hunting? It is legal in Alabama and I may give it a try. I want ammo that I can pick up at the LGS or Wally world as reloading is not in my bag of tricks. I saw some Winchester last night that were specifically for Boar? Controlled expansion or something like that.
I know it is not the best round for deer hunting. I have 30-06's, .243, 30-30, 6.5x55, 270, 308 and several other hunting rifles but I can always use another caliber and I already have a few guns in .223.
Please don't assail me with your opinion of a better caliber for deer! I know there are better and I own a bunch of them. I know that I can probably reload a really good round but I don't have reloading equipment. I would really just like some ideas from people who have bought OTC rounds and used them for deer hunting. I may never use the gun for deer, I have popped some coyotes with the steel ammo, but I can add another hunting rifle to my arsenal by purchasing some diferent ammo.

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Nicky Santoro
November 16, 2012, 08:16 AM
Win 64 gr Power Point has a proven record for deer.

kim breed
November 16, 2012, 09:10 AM
Any of the 223 will kill deer, depends on where you shoot them and how far away. Haven't had much luck with dropping them with chest shots, but DRT on the neck shot. Not as messy.

David E
November 16, 2012, 09:17 AM
Remington had some BONDED .223 that worked well on some hogs a couple years ago.

I've not been able to find it since, tho.

November 16, 2012, 09:38 AM
Use the search for more info than you'll care to read. There's a lot of (mostly closed) threads on it.

I've used 70gr Speer semi pointed soft points over varget. If you get into reloading, give it a try.

November 16, 2012, 08:57 PM
Use the search function. There has to at least 100 or more .223 on deer threads on THR.

Owen Sparks
November 16, 2012, 09:23 PM
Illegal in my state.

November 16, 2012, 09:51 PM
The OP specifically said he was in Alabama, not Mississippi.

Any of the heavier expanding loads should work fine, including MK 318 (http://palmettostatearmory.com/index.php/federal-5-56mm-mk318-mod-0.html)


November 17, 2012, 02:27 PM
I've used 60gr Nosler Partitions to great effect.

November 17, 2012, 06:16 PM
Over the last several years, I've taken 3 with a 55gr Ballistic Tip behind the ear. Gotta be careful about bullet placement with something that small but it'll definitely work.

November 17, 2012, 06:34 PM
Lots of info already. Try the search option.

November 18, 2012, 08:10 AM
Federal Power Shok 64 gr. SP
Federal Vital Shok 60 gr. Partition or Barnes 55 gr. TSX
Federal Fusion 62 gr.
Winchester PP
Barnes Vi-Tor TSX factory ammo

I handloaded the 60 gr. Partition; my son shot a doe with it. She was 15 yards away and only went 20 yards after the shot. Entry & exit holes were small, but internal damage was significant.

November 18, 2012, 10:59 AM
I like the Win 64gr Power Point, Nosler 60gr Partition, and Barnes 70gr TSX bullets for .223 as a medium game hunting role.

November 20, 2012, 10:07 PM
I took down a nice Wisconsin northwoods doe on Saturday with a 62 grain Federal Fusion bullet at 25 to 30 yards.

It looked like the bullet expanded right under the skin, went in about one inch behind the shoulder, exploded the heart and then exited the far side. It was almost exactly broadside and no ribs were hit.

By the time I walked the 25 - 30 yards to the deer there was no flinch reflex and it was "gone".

There seemed to be quite a bit of shock damage, though I don't have a lot of experience with different calibers.

40 rod
November 30, 2012, 07:08 PM
Ok as I see the question, you plan on hunting in the morning but tonight you are at the hardware store and all they have to choose from is hardball , or generic soft point55gr, or some kind of super-duper hollow point or plastic tip Varmint stuff. Buy the FMJ , and keep your shots under 150 yards.

There are a lot of better choices with all the premium ammo with good bullets like barnes tsx or nosler. but they are not sold everywhere. The fast varmint loads may blow up causing a nasty but shallow flesh wound. At moderate range FMJ will penetrate and tumble and do a good job, but by the time it gets to 200 yards it will have stablized and will not do well.

Some states do not allow FMJ.

December 1, 2012, 10:55 PM
FMJs are NOT legal in Alabama. i have now bought three different types of "hunting" cartridges for the .223 but have yet to even put the scope on it. I went to Bass pro in Ft Lauderdale and they had about 50 different types.

December 3, 2012, 11:50 PM
My son, thus far, has not handled a rifle he shoots as well as a .223. .243 and .30-30 are no good for him as yet. He is begging me to let him hunt next year. It'll be deer and/or javelina. May even get him a leftover javelina tag for this year.

If, as I hope to, I build a new AR upper in 6.8 SPC, I will be happy to let him use it - loads will likely be made at the bench in my garage, though. Over the past couple of years, a friend of mine has taken one or more of just about everything that lives around here with one, using 110gr Sierra ProHunters. But if I end up with just the 5.56/.223 upper I have now, he'll be using either some of the 64gr Winchester Ranger powerpoints I have stashed, Federal Fusion, or something in a decent bullet I'll load for him. FMJs aren't legal for hunting in AZ, either.

I won't be buying ammo the night before a deer hunt at some nameless store near the hunt site. The rifle will be sighted in and ready to go well in advance, and he will put 100 or more rounds through it in practice, and a couple thousand through his .22 first.

December 5, 2012, 08:28 AM
40 rod said "At moderate range FMJ will penetrate and tumble and do a good job, but by the time it gets to 200 yards it will have stablized and will not do well. "

If bullets are not stabilized when they leave the barrel of your .223/5.56, then you have the wrong twist rate for bullet rate or something is very wrong. Tumbling when they hit is a function of velocity and the bullet trying to change ends when it hits and has nothing to do with the bullet being stable in flight.
But at any rate, FMJ is a bad choice for hunting that is unethical, has poor terminal ballistics on game compared to a hunting bullet, and is illegal in most places.

December 5, 2012, 09:26 AM
Win 64 gr Power Point has a proven record for deer.

Second that. :)

Sav .250
December 5, 2012, 09:28 AM
Check the DNR link for Ala. That way you get the ....facts.

40 rod
December 5, 2012, 10:11 AM
I think we all agree that the best choice is a heavy expanding bullet that is designed for large game. I wanted to point out that a lot of .223 ammo is designed to explode on contact, which is fine for rodents,& coyotes,and is a good thing for preventing ricochets. But is a poor choice for game. I have seen what FMJ does, and like I posted above I would use it rather than pass up a chance to hunt (where legal ). Sometimes I have been so desperate to hunt that I have even used a bow & arrow , the best of which are inferior to the poorest rifle.

As far as bullet stability , most rifle bullets have less yaw and better penetration at range. IIRC both 5.56 and 7.62 penetrate barriers best at 200m . At least that is what I learned in the Army.


December 5, 2012, 11:10 AM
I personally prefer a .243 Win. over a .223 Rem. for Whitetail hunting but the Winchester 64 gr. Power Point is a good choice if you are hunting in the AR platform, otherwise in the AR platform I would use an AR-10 (7.62) anyday of the week over an AR-15 (5.56). IMO. :)

December 5, 2012, 11:50 AM
Barnes 62gr Vortex, which is loaded with their TSX bullet. It will do the job fine.

Pricy, but I think they have some rebate promotions.

2nd choice would be the Winchester Power Max Bonded 62gr. Listed for deer.

Wimchester a Razorback should serve well too, and commonly found at Walmart.

And even their PowerPoint ammo is listed for deer.

Just take clean shots, neck if close enough and are confident, else broadside boiler room.

December 11, 2012, 10:57 PM
I've killed a few large deer using black Hills 55 gr soft points. Lung and heart shots are best. The blow up the lungs, the shock turns them to jello. I have seen
A couple shows on discovery channel where Eskimos go after grizzly bears with M-16's. one show a guy went by himself a shot a polar bear. They said it was an M-16 but it may have been an AR-15. The bear was killed without much drama.
Draw your own conclusions.

December 12, 2012, 04:38 PM
223s and 243s kill plenty of deer but when my hunt is on the line I prefer .264-.308 calibers with quality bullets weighing 120gr or better. All kills to date have been very very quick. If I only had a .223 I would load some 60gr Partitions or the heaviest TSX my barrel would group with.
If I did not handload and was stuck with OTC fodder I would opt for the 64gr Fussion or power point.

December 14, 2012, 12:51 AM
Have used 77gr Nosler Custom Comp on a large Pronghorn. About the same as a small doe whitetail deer. Very undramatic. Animal stood for about 20 sec after the shot then fell over dead. Bullet did not exit.

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