.223 rem on whitetail deer?


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MinnesotaFats
May 20, 2013, 01:30 AM
let me start off by saying i hunt in minnesota corn fields where the shots are between 50-400 yards. the rifle used for those distances is rem 700 .308 and am very comfortable killing a deer clean. but for the brush i have no rifle i am comfortable using being they are all collectables passed down from my deceased grandfather, except for one.. a stevens model 200 in .223 and thanks to members of thr ive got it dailed in to sub moa. i was wondering if it is ethical to use a .223 on deer? my opinion is to save up money for a larger caliber but would anyone recommend a .223 bullet in a pinch? ive searched forums with very negative responses on this topic. any help would be highly appreciated.

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sixgunner455
May 20, 2013, 01:37 AM
Can be done, with the right bullet. Probably shouldn't be at very much more than close range, IMHO. arfcom has a ton of posts about this, and research threads about the "right" or "best" or "good" bullets to use for it.

Explore!

TexasPatriot.308
May 20, 2013, 01:46 AM
.22 calibers are legal in some states, here in Texas they are legal, and lots of times my go to gun is my Ruger no. 1 in .22-250. I can put a 55 grain bullet anywhere at up to yards, I have a few .223s mainly AR15s, and lots of people use them, when I was a kid, most of used .222s and hard to argue that most poachers use a .22 long rifle. I usually stick to a .308 or 7mm-08 cause we got some real long shots down here and I am too old to punish myself with the overkill magnums and wsms when my rifles will do the job. you bet the .223 will do the job.

TexasPatriot.308
May 20, 2013, 01:48 AM
you said "for the brush", the .223 aint hardly I brush gun, we learned that in Viet Nam. go with a 30-30 and for closer range a .44 mag is deadly to 100 yards plus a few more.

MinnesotaFats
May 20, 2013, 02:07 AM
by brush gun i wasnt refering to caliber size. i was refering to the fact that my 300$ stevens .223 is the only rifle i own that i wouldnt mind being nicked and scratched by brush. i was just curious on the proper .223 bullet type bieng used on deer. like i mentioned i searched forums but people were rather quick to dismiss the .223 on medium sized game. just lookin for helpful info on the .223 if one had to use one in this situation..

idcurrie
May 20, 2013, 02:09 AM
Depends on where you live, I suppose.

Here in Far Northern Canada it is highly illegal and for good reason. The deer are MUCH larger here than the Southern United States.

Shots are also generally taken over great, open expanses between 200-350 yards in my experience. Shots are usually taken with a tall bipod while sitting on your foot.

Flatter shooter calibers such as the 270win and 300 win mag are preferred. Less flat shooting calibers are good out to 350 yards too such as the 30'06 and 7mm'08 or the 338wm. The bullet drop is greater on these but a bit of practice to know your drops and you should be okay.

A 223 Remington is a comical joke for this application, particularly since you're just as likely to encounter a giant Moose or Elk or brown bear.

Even if it were legal here, I wouldn't do it for ethical reasons. I'm not even sure what the benefit of using such a tiny bullet would be except maybe lighter recoil for people with shoulder injuries or the terminally sissy.

An ethical hunter will ensure that his bullet is of sufficient quality and size to kill game as cleanly and humanely as possible. Using the smallest possible projectile does not achieve that goal.

WardenWolf
May 20, 2013, 02:17 AM
Can it be done? Yes. Should it be done? No. It's marginal for deer. Your best bet is to save up for something better. You might consider a .30-30 lever gun such as the Rossi Rio Grande, which is a solid modern take on the classic lever and can be had for under $400.

winchester1886
May 20, 2013, 02:20 AM
Where I live there are a lot of hunters here that use a .223 They say they aim for the neck just a few inches down from the head. The shot should clip the spine and drop him on the spot.

frankenstein406
May 20, 2013, 02:20 AM
whats the barrel twist? unless you can reload the heavier grain bullets I think a cheap shotgun would be better.

MinnesotaFats
May 20, 2013, 02:34 AM
well my worries for the .223 have been confrimed. thats all i needed to hear. guess ill be carefully bringing the m1 garand into the brush, id rather put a scratch on that than make a deer suffer. thanks for the replies gentleman.

Water-Man
May 20, 2013, 03:04 AM
Nosler Partition and Barnes TSX are both very good rounds to use.

jmr40
May 20, 2013, 08:24 AM
Lets get a few myths cleared up.

.22 calibers are legal in some states,

A 223 is legal in 40 of the 50 states, of the 10 where it is not legal, 5-6 are shotgun only. So only 4-5 states where rifles are allowed do not allow the 223. There have been 2 states within the last year that have changed their laws.

Most of the failures that you read about are from folks using varmit bullets in their 223 on deer. Use varmit bullets in a 7mm magnum and you will see failures on deer. Use a bullet designed for big game hunting in either a 7 mag or a 223 and either will drop any deer in the USA.

A 223 is a shorter range round, but any deer within 150-200 yards is in trouble if you can shoot, and use good bullets. In a 223 I'd be using a 60 gr Nosler Partitions, or a 55-62 gr Barnes TTSX. You won't find any people who have actually used a 223 with good bullets tell you you need a bigger gun. Used with good bullets, and at reasonable ranges it is a fine deer round.

go with a 30-30 and for closer range a .44 mag is deadly to 100 yards plus a few more.

I disagree. NOTHING will reliably shoot THROUGH brush. A 30-30 or 44 magnum will deflect just as badly as any other round if they hit brush. The ideal brush gun is accurate and flat shooting enough to shoot though tiny openings in the brush. A a scoped, lightweight, accurate bolt rifle in a flat shooting cartridge is the ideal brush gun. The traditional lever action calibers will be several inches above or below your line of sight even at 100 yards. When shooting at a deer 75 yards away the bullet could easily hit braches as it flies in an arched trajectory. A 223, your 308, or any modern flat shooting round can be zeroed at 100 yards and never be more than 1/2" high or low between 50yards and 150 yards. Being able to shoot through a baseball sized opening at 50-75 yards is how you shoot thorough brush.

dbb1776
May 20, 2013, 08:33 AM
.223 winchester 64 gr power point, personal experience it's a good one.
I want to try .223 fusion.
.223 is good for deer with a good bullet. Stay away from light varmint bullets. Stay within 200 yards.

mcdonl
May 20, 2013, 08:43 AM
Scratching a gun should not even show up on a list of reasons when selecting an firearm of capable ethical dispatch of game.

If you have a gun better suited and do not want to use it for fear of scratching it. Dont hunt.

dbb1776
May 20, 2013, 08:59 AM
Again, use good bullets, place your shots, keep it under 200 yds. I've had the same experience hunting with my 16 in barrel .223 and 64 grain power points as I've had with my 30-30. Bang dead, or bang run 30 yds. Depends on placement and the deer.
Good bullets are generally over 60 grains. Pick your shots, just like any other gun.
Enjoy the low recoil and eat up!

dbb1776
May 20, 2013, 09:01 AM
Never had to borrow a bigger gun to shoot em again either.

j1
May 20, 2013, 09:02 AM
I have shot too many deer to remember with my 30 30 and 30 06. I have shot only two deer with my 223. It killed perfectly in both cases. The distance was thirty yards and the deer was shot inthe head. Death was instantaneous. The second was 100 yards with the shot placed behind the shoulder and the deer moved about fifty yards. Both were shot with Sierra 52 grain hollow point target bullets. Performance was perfect.

Would i use my 223 for deer hunting? No as all shots might not be as perfect. My 30 06 does the job at two or three hundred yards well also.:)

GooseGestapo
May 20, 2013, 09:07 AM
This topic has been beaten to death, especially in the hunting section.
Having taken over a hundred deer with .22cf, I can give you some guidance on bullet selection.

With the .223, any of the 55gr or heavier soft-point bullets will do well. My favorites are the 60gr Hornady PtSpt, and Sierra 65gr "GameKing". These both compare favorably with the 80-100gr bullets from the .243. If you don't reload, the 64gr Winchester load and the 60gr Hornady "Custom" loads have enviable reputations in my neck of the woods (W.Georgia).

Avoid the "plastic tip", "Blitz", "TNT", "SX" and such bullets. Any hollow-point is also suspect when it comes to light game use with the .22cf's. I handload and particularily like the Sierra 63gr SemiPt, and 65gr GameKings. However, my .22-250 has a 1/14" twist and it will shoot the 63gr "ok", but key-holes the GameKings. I bought a bulk quantity of the 60gr Hornady "Blems", so it's my current "in-use" bullet for deer. I've never recovered but one of the Hornady's, it was as raking chest shot on a ~120lb doe at ~35yds. Bullet was recovered just under the hide on far side (~18" of penetration) and weighs 38.5gr with perfect mushroom. Was fired from an AR15 w/16.5" bbl at ~2,800fps m/v. Deer bolted and ran ~30yds and collapsed. Or, about like a similar shot from a .30/30. Typical performance....

Just as with any cartridge, the three most important factors in hunting are shot placement, shot placement, shot placement.
fwiw; I've lost more deer using the .243 than any other caliber/cartridge. Thats because I've typically been less distinguishing on my shot placement expecting the 100gr bullets to "do their job". Sometimes they didn't....

Most .223's are notably accurate and as such allow careful shot placement. Lack of recoil adds to the equation. Use it if it's legal and you're comfortable with it.
Most nay-sayers have little or no experience with it.

idcurrie
May 20, 2013, 09:22 AM
Oh, I have a LOT of experience with it and I'm a naysayer...enough experience to know that most of these 'deer killing' bullets listed will not even stabilize in my Weatherby Vanguard (1 in 12 twist).

Using a cartridge that encourages hunters to aim for a postage stamp size target near the base of the skull as posted above is not very ethical.

I will say that the USA is in love with their AR-15s and its varmint class cartridge and these facts will often fall on deaf ears.

It's a fact that a 7mm'08 or 270 are far more ethical giving greater range, energy, and surface area as well as being less likely for 'joe sixpack' to pick up a box of FMJ or Varmint bullets from 'Walmart' before the hunt. Further, if the shooter is affected to any degree by the recoil of those two cartridges, his technique is so poor that he does not know how to hold a rifle and would do better learning how to shoot correctly than debating what accessory to put on his barbie doll ar-15.

Takem406
May 20, 2013, 09:25 AM
IDefinitely! I've shot all my deer in the past few years with a 22-250 using Barnes bullets inside 250 yards! Flat lethal!
In 223 there's also a DRT bullet, Google it. It goes in a couple inches through tough material then explodes.

But the Barnes are amazing! Retain all their weight and tear up flesh! One shot kills. They will run a little but it's not bad.

The bonus is that 224 calibers are very accurate! My 22-250 is a one hole shooter. I also shoot it a ton and kill prairie dogs at 500 yards with it. I know my rifle.

Grandpa would also use 22 cals on deer. Last deer was at 400, one shot kill.

The big issue is wind drift and the energy drop off. Get close, and make a good shot.

In God and Glock we Trust

jrdolall
May 20, 2013, 09:58 AM
It's a fact that a 7mm'08 or 270 are far more ethical giving greater range, energy, and surface area as well as being less likely for 'joe sixpack' to pick up a box of FMJ or Varmint bullets from 'Walmart' before the hunt. Further, if the shooter is affected to any degree by the recoil of those two cartridges, his technique is so poor that he does not know how to hold a rifle and would do better learning how to shoot correctly than debating what accessory to put on his barbie doll ar-15.
Now that's what we call hogwash around here. I know plenty of people, mostly old like me, that have problems with the recoil from a .270 which is why .243 and 22-250 are used in abundance for whities. I spent last week with a friend of mine out west that has been guiding hunters for over 40 years and guess what he uses exclusively? An old Winchester Model 70 in .243. He had shoulder surgery over 20 years ago and was forced to go to the lighter recoil rifle. He takes elk every year with this gun. He shoots prairie dogs and coyotes with the gun.

I don't think anyone is saying that the .223 is the best choice for deer hunting. No doubt the 30-06 and such are far better choices but the .22 caliber bullets are more than capable. I also think that many people hunting deer with a .223 are NOT using an AR but rather a bolt rifle. As a matter of fact I have never seen anyone that hunts deer with an AR-15 around here. No doubt there are some but none that hunt with me.

I have never hunted with a .223 but I do have one bolt rifle in the caliber and I bought several different types of factory ammo earlier this year with plans to test them out and see which is most accurate for the rifle. The low recoil may help introduce a kid to deer hunting and I will do all I can to make that happen.

idcurrie
May 20, 2013, 10:06 AM
I know plenty of people, mostly old like me, that have problems with the recoil from a .270

If tucked into the fleshy bit inbetween the collar bone and the shoulder and pulled tightly into the body so that it cannot take a run at you while leaning into the rifle and not back away from it there will be virtually no felt recoil. Proper technique is key. If someone has a problem with the recoil, they are "Doing it Wrong", surgery notwithstanding.

An old Winchester Model 70 in .243.

He should look into a newer M70, they come with a decelerator standard. A 243 is fine for deer but he would be undergunned around these parts for big bruins and large Elk and Moose.

As a matter of fact I have never seen anyone that hunts deer with an AR-15 around here. No doubt there are some but none that hunt with me.

Right. I didn't mean that people were running around the bush with an AR-15 after deer. I just mean that the 'modern (non) sporting rifle' is so popular now in the USA that it has changed the status of the diminutive 223 to be seen as much more capable than it actually is. As a result of the barbie doll AR-15's popularity, people are buying bolt action rifles in a varmint class cartridge and hunting game much too large for it rather than buying the bolt gun chambered in a cartridge which is much more appropriate for the class of game they are pursuing.

Then again, I hear the deer in the Southern United States are more like dogs in size.


One thing I do agree with you on is that you don't want to discourage a young shooter with heavy recoil. That's why it's important to teach them proper technique. I was hunting deer at 12 years old with a 300 savage bolt gun with a steel but plate. There was no recoil that I can recall...

Also, any 270 or 7mm'08 can be loaded down for kids. There are even 'reduced recoil' factory loads available and even those have more power than the dminutive 223.

Certaindeaf
May 20, 2013, 10:29 AM
When I was a kid in Montana we shot all our game with multiple calibers, .223 included.. out of an old-school AR-15 with iron sights. We took deer, elk and black bear etc. with that little gun.. it worked very well.

Art Eatman
May 20, 2013, 10:36 AM
By the late 1990s, R&D in bullet design changed the game considerably, making the .223 a viable choice for use on deer. Centerfire .22 bullets now are far more than just "varmint bullets".

Certain caveats, of course. Distance is one; being "pickier" about shot placement is another.

Neck shots, or cross-body heart/lung shots? Shouldn't be any problem at all.

45_auto
May 20, 2013, 10:38 AM
Proper technique is key. If someone has a problem with the recoil, they are "Doing it Wrong", surgery notwithstanding.

Hopefully you'll get to experience shoulder bursitis when you're older and wiser. Get back to us on that "proper technique" when you do.

jrdolall
May 20, 2013, 10:52 AM
I shoot a 30-06 which has been my go-to gun for umpteen years. I have never felt the recoil when shooting at an animal (other than a couple of low light scope gashes)but I definitely find myself becoming more recoil sensitive as I get older which has a big impact on my range shooting. I no longer enjoy shooting any of my larger calibers more than 4-5 times and my technique has not changed a whit in 40 years. My 22-250, .243 and 30-30 are looking more attractive for my numero uno every year. I can easily shoot a box of shells out of any of these rifles without any problems and the old adage about practicing and perfection still hold true.

fallout mike
May 20, 2013, 10:53 AM
I have a arm that was basically put back together with spit, duct tape and baling wire. I can no longer shoot large calibers bc of the recoil. So IDCURRIE, could you show me the "proper technique" to shoot in my state, surgeries notwithstanding?

mnhntr
May 20, 2013, 11:45 AM
I also live in MN and have taken a few whitetails with my AR15 in .223. I use handloads with 75gr Hornady BTHP match bullets and they are just as dead as if I used my .260 or .35rem. The key is shot placement. I almost always shoot them in the neck and they drop in their tracks. If they are over 300yds then I would opt for my .260rem.

Arkansas Paul
May 20, 2013, 12:57 PM
Here are a few other threads on this subject you may find helpful.
Opinions will vary, as you can already see.
My opinion, if it's all I had or all I was capable of using, I would use it. It's not, so I won't.
I did see a deer killed last season with a .223 at 125 yds. DRT! Never wiggled.

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=686171&highlight=.223+deer
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=683463&highlight=.223+deer
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=673945&highlight=.223+deer
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=566683&highlight=.223+deer
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=474397&highlight=.223+deer
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=489378&highlight=.223+deer

Ar180shooter
May 20, 2013, 01:09 PM
Depends on where you live, I suppose.

Here in Far Northern Canada it is highly illegal and for good reason. The deer are MUCH larger here than the Southern United States.

Shots are also generally taken over great, open expanses between 200-350 yards in my experience. Shots are usually taken with a tall bipod while sitting on your foot.

Flatter shooter calibers such as the 270win and 300 win mag are preferred. Less flat shooting calibers are good out to 350 yards too such as the 30'06 and 7mm'08 or the 338wm. The bullet drop is greater on these but a bit of practice to know your drops and you should be okay.

A 223 Remington is a comical joke for this application, particularly since you're just as likely to encounter a giant Moose or Elk or brown bear.

Even if it were legal here, I wouldn't do it for ethical reasons. I'm not even sure what the benefit of using such a tiny bullet would be except maybe lighter recoil for people with shoulder injuries or the terminally sissy.

An ethical hunter will ensure that his bullet is of sufficient quality and size to kill game as cleanly and humanely as possible. Using the smallest possible projectile does not achieve that goal.
.223 is legal for deer in several provinces, and will work fine. Choose your shots carefully and select a decent bullet like a Nosler partition.

As for shooting Moose/Caribou... IF you're hunting small deer in the southern U.S., it doesn't matter what rounds are appropriate for Moose... just small deer.

Also, heart shot with a .223 is better than a gut shot with a .308... and I've seen plenty of the latter from other hunters, while doing only the former myself.

I also don't get the "highly illegal" part. You would be in violation of provincial hunting regulations, the worst that would happen is your firearm is confiscated by the game warden and you get a hunting ban for a few years.

mtrmn
May 20, 2013, 01:17 PM
Like the milspec AR argument, somebody is always resurrecting this dead horse.

IN MY OPINION-If it's legal in your area to use 223 for deer hunting and you want to do it, then go for it. If you decide it wasn't such a good idea then stop. Neither side will ever give in to the other in this age old argument.

Swami
May 20, 2013, 01:22 PM
I would definitely agree that what we see as "deer" here in Louisiana is much different that our northern neighbors! I had a rather large (by our standards) doe cross about 20 yards in front of my motorcycle a few weeks ago; I'd say she was 250+ pounds, and that looked HUGE to me.

Most shots here are under 200 yards, and a good many are taken at 50 yards or less. The 30-30 is king in these parts, but I would definitely use my Rem 700 in .223 and would have no ethical qualms. Were I planning a hunting trip up north, I would not consider less than .30 cal.

dprice3844444
May 20, 2013, 01:28 PM
I have a arm that was basically put back together with spit, duct tape and baling wire. I can no longer shoot large calibers bc of the recoil. So IDCURRIE, could you show me the "proper technique" to shoot in my state, surgeries notwithstanding?

a pachmeyer magnum decellerator butt pad and a http://www.gentrycustom.com/muzzle-brake should ease the recoil pain for rebuilt/damaged shoulders

Arkansas Paul
May 20, 2013, 01:30 PM
I had a rather large (by our standards) doe cross about 20 yards in front of my motorcycle a few weeks ago; I'd say she was 250+ pounds, and that looked HUGE to me.

I'm not saying you're lying amigo, but I'd have to see a 250+ lb doe to believe it, and then I still probably wouldn't believe it.

I figure you saw a mature buck that had shed it's atlers. :)

Swami
May 20, 2013, 01:37 PM
> I figure you saw a mature buck that had shed it's atlers.

Maybe! And I was traveling 50+ on a bike, etc., so my estimates might be off! I call it the "fish-estimate" :D

My point was, what is massive and almost unbelievable by our standards is still smaller than the deer in Canada, which could help explain why we see the .223 as a capable round and why our northern neighbors do not.

idcurrie
May 20, 2013, 02:40 PM
If you're getting 'scope gashes', you're 'doing it wrong'. Just because your technique hasn't changed in decades doesn't mean the technique is correct ;)

People with medical conditions are obvious exceptions. The fact that people have disabilities doesn't make stairs an invalid choice.

.223 is legal for deer in several provinces

I believe it's legal in 2 out of 13 provinces and territories.

I also don't get the "highly illegal" part. You would be in violation of provincial hunting regulations, the worst that would happen is your firearm is confiscated by the game warden and you get a hunting ban for a few years.

Actually you can forfeit anything that you used while hunting. This includes your TRUCK. Large monetary fine, hunting ban and criminal record. Here in AB, anyway.

is still smaller than the deer in Canada,

Canada is a pretty big place. The poster above, who is from Ontario doesn't have the giants. Hell, the most populated parts of ontario actually jut down below whole states.

Up in northern Canada (northern Sask, Alberta, Yukon etc), yes animals are just that much larger here.

Certaindeaf
May 20, 2013, 02:57 PM
Hey idcurrie, it really don't matter what you yammer on about.. I don't care what you say but calling someone a Barbie doll player and that they shoot small dogs is an insult.

mnhntr
May 20, 2013, 03:35 PM
"I'm not saying you're lying amigo, but I'd have to see a 250+ lb doe to believe it, and then I still probably wouldn't believe it.

I figure you saw a mature buck that had shed it's atlers."
This doe dressed out at 175lbs, my buddy took it on the back of my property here in MN. The doe was close to 210lbs on the hoof

Arkansas Paul
May 20, 2013, 03:44 PM
That is a massive doe for sure.
Trust me, you aint seeing one like that in the south. Hell, that's a big buck here. I bet you don't see many up there in MN.

idcurrie
May 20, 2013, 03:45 PM
Hey idcurrie, it really don't matter what you yammer on about.. I don't care what you say but calling someone a Barbie doll player and that they shoot small dogs is an insult.


...I really don't think you got what I was saying.

Like the Ruger 10/22 is to rimfire, the AR-15 is the 'Barbie doll' of the centerfire rifle world. It has tons of accessories you can buy and you can dress it up however you want.

The 'Dog' comment is meant to show that the class of cartridge is suitable for varmint class game such as coyote (a dog). It's not optimal for deer. There are FAR better choices of cartridges which actually reside in that class.

That's not an insult to anyone, it's a statement about the class of cartridge.

Certaindeaf
May 20, 2013, 03:47 PM
Now you're telling me I don't get what you're saying? oh heavens

Kachok
May 20, 2013, 03:59 PM
.22 caliber hunting bullets have poor external ballistics in general. While the 223 has adequate energy at the muzzle it tapers off very quickly. If someone was in a pinch for money the amount that you save using the small 223 is offset by the need for premium bullets like the Partition. Besides a 30-30 shell costs about the same as a quality 223 and is a much better option IMHO energy figures may be close but there is something to be said for caliber/mass/momentum when talking about terminal ballistics.
Long story short a 223 is marginal at best as a deer cartridge but if you limit yourself close ranges and precise shot placement it certainly can work, I have a friend that claims 15 straight one shot deer kills with his AR.

Certaindeaf
May 20, 2013, 04:01 PM
They say it takes 50fpe to kill a man.

Certaindeaf
May 20, 2013, 04:19 PM
.22 caliber hunting bullets have poor external ballistics..
It is my understanding, and we might quibble upon the "hunting" term perhaps, but unless I'm mistaken, all standing 1,000 yard competitions/bets/awards have been won with the .223.

Kachok
May 20, 2013, 04:32 PM
It is my understanding, and we might quibble upon the "hunting" term perhaps, but unless I'm mistaken, all standing 1,000 yard competitions/bets/awards have been won with the .223.
No even within real world hunting ranges (inside 400yards) the 223 falls short, depending on the bullet used a 223 falls below long accepted minimums at only aprox 100-125 yards. Even a 243 is effective out to 300yards with common soft point bullets and over 350 with premium high BC bullets, I would consider the 243 VASTLY superior. By the same standards a 140gr 260 Rem or 6.5x55 are effective out past 700 yards with high BC bullets, no way would I ever grab a 223 over my 6.5x55, 7mm-08, or 270 on a deer hunt.
With all we put into hunting who in their right mind would risk compromising it for a few pennies per shot? Seems silly to me.

Arkansas Paul
May 20, 2013, 04:36 PM
I just read the OP again and noticed that he wants something for the brush.
In that case, the .308 you use for most of your hunting would be a better choice by far. I mean, the .223 is fine if it's all you have or if you can't handle high powered rifle recoil for one reason or another, but if you have both, I'd call it silly to use the .223.

Just my opinion. Take it for what its worth.

CMC
May 20, 2013, 04:59 PM
Federal premium loaded with 60 grain Nosler partition.

JPG19
May 20, 2013, 05:18 PM
I have taken several deer, all within 100m, using Hornady 55gr soft-points. I would have been more comfortable with a heavier round, say 75gr or 77gr, but this was all the local stores had in stock at the time. Either way, it dropped them like a sack of potatoes; no issue whatsoever.

ldlfh7
May 20, 2013, 05:23 PM
Go for it - Whitetails are not hard to kill.

scaatylobo
May 20, 2013, 05:31 PM
IF you spend the time to get the shot placement AND you use a decent round that performs as the stuff I use does = your gtg if you want to.

I keep the shots under 150 yards [ perfect for the woods I hunt ] and use ANY high end bullet over 62 grains.

Just bought a Mossberg MVP in 5.56/.223 and its shoots better than I can.

As was mentioned prior,IF you live long enough to have a shoulder replaced [ I just did ] or lose a limp,then you might REALLY appreciate and understand the use of thiis round.

The caliber and LACK of recoil as well as the newest bullet designs allow you to shoot a very reasonable round that will do most anything in the North American hunting AO you want.

the only game I would avoid is bear as they have a very thinck skin and can get 'unpleasant' if wounded.

scaatylobo
May 20, 2013, 05:36 PM
The MVP kicks a great deal less than either.

03Shadowbob
May 20, 2013, 07:41 PM
Johnboy
I've taken a number of deer in the brush with an AR in 223 and all were DRT with either neck shots or high shoulder/spine shots at 100yards or so. I made sure there was a super clean path though to the animal. In thicker brush I prefer my 35remington lever.

mac66
May 20, 2013, 08:50 PM
I've killed two does with the 223 out of an AR15. One was about 75 yards the other about 40. Both heart/lung shots, both deer took off ran 50 yards or so and died. The only reason I used an AR was so I could say it could be done and I've done it. If anybody says an AR15 has no sporting purpose, I've proved them wrong. I typically use a bolt action 308, a lever action Marlin in 35 rem or 375 Win, but I like to use other stuff to cull the does I have on my property.

idcurrie
May 20, 2013, 10:09 PM
It is beyond me how anyone could think that these two projectiles are in the same class and are to be used on the same class of game...

http://s21.postimg.org/dv3cg311z/IMG_2763.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
image hosting services (http://postimage.org/)

http://s2.postimg.org/5lrzeihsp/IMG_2765.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
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Or how these cartridges could be considered in the same class or for use on the same class of game:

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free upload (http://postimage.org/)

http://s8.postimg.org/xe8hvljed/IMG_2759.jpg (http://postimage.org/)
green shot (http://postimage.org/app.php)

jrdolall
May 20, 2013, 10:43 PM
ID I think you are missing the point. Nobody thinks that the .223 is the optimal cartridge for medium size game. I assure you that, despite your comments, my technique has been more than sufficient to harvest small, medium and big game all over the world using everything from .22 LR up to the "safari" rounds used in South Africa. 30 years ago I could shoot the nail that was holding the target on the tree at 100 yards freehand with a 25-06 but now I might struggle to hit the target freehand. My eyes and body are not what they were but I can't recall the last time I shot a deer that ran more than 100 yards because there is a big difference in punching paper and punching animals. I get a good rest, take my shots selectively and ALWAYS put the bullet in the honey pocket because I have never been all that comfortable shooting at an animals neck. I have done it on very close shots but just prefer behind the shoulder.
Multiple posters have indicated that they have successfully killed deer using the lowly 223 but none of them said it was the best round for the job. It is perfectly capable of killing a whitetail deer if the shooter knows what he is doing.

dvdcrr
May 20, 2013, 10:56 PM
I have had good luck with 223 out to 100 yds on deer. Seems to be very lethal short range caliber. I wouldn't hesitate to shoot even a large deer out to 150-175. In fact I would rather shoot a 223 at short range than a 257 mag. That's been my experience. That being said go pick up a reasonably cheap k31 and let the fun begin!

Agsalaska
May 20, 2013, 10:59 PM
Sure. If the deer are small enough, you are close enough, and you know what you are doing. My brother in law dropped a doe this year from about 40 yards with a 22mag.

Certaindeaf
May 20, 2013, 11:32 PM
I just use a 9x19.. pistol (well, and other stuff). If you land "it" good, it's good. There's no sense arguing about broken bones, chopped meat and a dead animal.

Txhillbilly
May 21, 2013, 12:03 AM
I laugh every time this argument comes up.

It's just a whitetail deer!

They aren't that hard to kill,but you do need to have good shot placement on any game animal if you want to kill it,and not wound it.
Using any of the .224 caliber bullets designed for game hunting,and not a varmint bullet,a deer will drop every time you shoot one within 150 yards. I prefer to use a 65 gr Sierra Gameking,or a 70 gr Speer soft point out of a 1-9 twist barrel.

Kachok
May 21, 2013, 01:12 AM
It all boils down to this.
YES you certanly can kill a deer quickly with a 223 with proper shot placement and good bullet selection, I don't think anyone here is debating that point, or not anyone who has ever used a 223 before anyway. The same can be said for 45ACP, 30 Carbine, 9mms and a whole host of other marginal cartridges.
NO the 223 is not a 270 or 308 it does not give you the effective range or versatility of the larger cartridges, there are shots that I could confidently take with my 30-06/7mm-08/6.5x55...etc that I would never dream of trying with any .224" bore, if all shots were pristine 40 yard neck shots there would be alot more people hunting with 223s but in the real world the deer don't walk up and pose for us so the vast majority of experienced hunters use 243 caliber or larger for very good reason.
Using a marginal cartridge is a handicap much like hunting with a bow, you have to be very mindful of your range and or angle but alot of people like the challenge, me personally I am more of a meat hunter and like being able to take a raking shot with confidence in a very quick clean kill. My 6.5x55 gives me through and through penetration any way but lengthwise, minimal meat damage, lightning quick kills, large free bleeding exit wounds just in case I ever do need to track, great trajectory/accuracy/range, and does all that with a bare minimum of recoil that children and small framed women can handle with ease, unless I suddenly feel the urge to make things more challenging I see absolutely no reason to use a 223.

sixgunner455
May 21, 2013, 01:56 AM
idcurrie - I'd be a bit more circumspect about how you speak about other peoples' medical conditions, and how they adapt to still be able to hunt and shoot. You're coming off quite abrasive, and there is just no need for that.

Davek1977
May 21, 2013, 05:00 AM
I've taken SD whitetails....which are certainly closer in size to canadian deer than southern whitetails...with the .223, and wouldn't hesitate to do so again. That said, I know my limitations, the limitation of the caliber, etc. I would not recommend just anyone with a .223 use it for deer hunting. The adequateness of the .223 for moose and bear shouldn't even be part of this discussion in any way, as no one suggested the .223 be used for such a purpose. If I have a deer tag...and am hunting deer.....I could care less how my gun performs on moose. I'm hunting a specific quarry, not blasting at anything that has four legs and hair. I am perfectly comfortable taking a deer with the .223 round. I wouldn't dream of using it on elk, moose, or bear unless it was a do or die situation. Bringing up other big game animals brings absolutely nothing to this discussion. If I'm discussing a VW Beetle's performance on the highway, telling me it has no place in the Indy 500 seems rather silly, since none one made any such claim, nor do I think anyone believes it.

Sentryau2
May 21, 2013, 06:56 AM
I suggest useing the heaviest bullet u can find 77otm is very VERY nice ive taken 3 deer with it through a bolt gun at around 500 yards with a 75$ scope so I know it can be done (im taking frontal shots (heart) or spine shots from the side) I didnt have any of thoes deer run, but you have to be comfortable doing that with your gun, Id NEVER attempt that with my ar-15 (mainly due to not having a scope :o ) but also because it dosent have the same feeling

kingcheese
May 21, 2013, 08:11 AM
in Indiana its not legal for use on deer, but if it was, id load up some 69grain amax and have it it up to 200yards, if the rifle handles well up close, then you can always push distances farther, as always it comes down to using the right bullet, and getting it in the right plscr

scaatylobo
May 21, 2013, 08:58 AM
Point was well taken and well spoken.
This reminds me of the CONSTANT arguments that I hear in my state [ NY ] from the NYbowhunting assoc as to not allowing crossbows.
They can and do kill, that is THE point .
So if your an ethical hunter [ and ALL should be ] then it has NOTHING to do with caliber --- SHOT PLACEMENT is all that matters.
I have white tail deer hunted with a handhun for about 30 years and that means I take ETHICAL shots only.
I truly enjoy this and I am proud to say I have not lost a deer that I shot at -- yes I passed up shots as I was being ethical.
Now that I am older and 'almost' to a stage where the .308 Ruger scout rifle is seen as too much [ in the future ] I see no reason to not use a cartridge that can and HAS dropped deer reliably !!!,.
If any choose to not like that round ---- its a free country [ so far ] and you are free to choose another caliber,heck use a .50 caliber Ma Duece if that is your druthers and the game law allows it in your state.
I wont complain at all.
I have hunted with a 12 bore for many years and seen deer run off after a heart shot with a ONE OUNCE SLUG through them,so I can and will continue to enjoy shooting and using MANY different calibers ,through a handgun and rifle -- thank you !.

BoilerUP
May 21, 2013, 09:14 AM
Shot a doe in KY last fall at 65yd with an 80gr Amax from a 223AI @ 2900fps.

Head shot, and bullet left a fist-sized hole from inner part of right eye to right ear.

I'd probably shoot a Partition or new 64gr Bonded if hunting regularly with it, but that being said, I would not feel under-gunned taking a boiler room shot on a B&C buck with the 80gr Amax.

Certainly do more damage than a broadhead...

Geno
May 21, 2013, 10:43 AM
Seeing how well Hornady's GMX bullets have performed, I don't think one would have any difficulty ethically harvesting whitetail deer with either of the following projectiles with a .223 Rem, a 5.56 NATO. However, for my likes, I would opt for a .22-250 Rem simply for the ultra-flat trajectory.

Hornady GMX 55 grains:
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/834080/hornady-gilding-metal-expanding-bullets-22-caliber-224-diameter-55-grain-gmx-lead-free-box-of-50

Hornady GMX 70 grains:
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/513709/hornady-gilding-metal-expanding-bullets-22-caliber-224-diameter-70-grain-gmx-lead-free-box-of-50

For what it's worth, Hornady bills their 165 grain GMX bullet in .300 Win Mag, as being capable of taking any game in North America. At 95%+ weight retention, I am inclined to believe that, and believe that the .224 caliber projectiles will ethically harvest whitetail deer at reasonable distances.

Geno

jrdolall
May 21, 2013, 11:08 AM
The 6.5 x 55 is becoming my favorite round. I have a sporterized Swede that I got real cheap and had drilled and tapped and man it is a tack driver with VERY little recoil. I will probably kill a deer with one of the .223s this year because I can. Alabama changed the magazine restriction so now I don't need a 5 rounder for the AR.

idcurrie
May 21, 2013, 12:05 PM
Bringing up other big game animals brings absolutely nothing to this discussion.

Why not? Many of us get our Moose, Elk, and Deer tags all for use in the same 3 weeks in the same location.

It doesn't matter anyway, 223 is just as unethical and unpowered for deer as it is for moose and elk. You can easily tell by the way people use terms like "if you stay close enough", "if shot placement is JUST right", "if you choose your shots more carefully."

These are all phrases used to justify the use of a cartridge which is too small for the task at hand.

jrdolall
May 21, 2013, 12:25 PM
These are all phrases used to justify the use of a cartridge which is too small for the task at hand.
Or to justify the use of a cartridge that is more than adequate to do the job at hand.
Maybe someone can come up with a nice .50 cal with no recoil so we can make sure these deer are real dead when we shoot them. By your arguments you seem to think that bigger is better so why use a .308 when much better rounds are available?

BoilerUP
May 21, 2013, 12:39 PM
It doesn't matter anyway, 223 is just as unethical and unpowered for deer as it is for moose and elk.

One might wonder how these three armor-plated game animals are EVER cleanly and ethically harvested using a bow.

jimmyraythomason
May 21, 2013, 12:48 PM
Alabama changed the magazine restriction so now I don't need a 5 rounder for the AR. I don't remember Alabama ever having a magazine restriction for private land and I've lived and hunted Alabama all of my life(I'm 60).

Certaindeaf
May 21, 2013, 12:49 PM
I thought it interesting on "Mountain Man" or something about a year ago, one of the kids popped a marauding griz with an old-school AR.. in the dark. One shot, one dead bear.

sixgunner455
May 21, 2013, 12:50 PM
That only works if you stay close enough and your shot placement is just right, BoilerUP. :D

Art Eatman
May 21, 2013, 12:54 PM
If you shoot and Bambi falls down dead, what difference does it make what cartridge you used? How is any clean kill not ethical?

Considering how many folks have been quite successful in killing deer with a .223 using modern bullets, it's rather silly to talk as though such effort is as difficult as making love in a hammock while standing up.

Dr T
May 21, 2013, 02:00 PM
For me, the question boils down to margin for error. This last year, I killed a whitetail in West Texas with a 308 that would have died just as quickly if the same shot placement had been made with a 22 short (solid, not hollow point). HOWEVER, the 22 short would not have had enough margin for error for a clean kill if the shot had been 1/2 inch off in any direction. The 308 did have that much margin.

While I personally would not use a 223 for deer (the only deer I have ever lost was shot with a 223) unless a super-premium bullet designed for the task at hand was used, I know many who have.

So, if the OP were hunting in a wooded area, from a stand with a good rest, and had a clear shot (no bushes or leaves in the way) at a well defined vital area that he was pretty sure he could hit within 3 inches of point of aim at a modest distance (certainly less than 100 yards), it would work. I would be temped to do it (but I would limit my shot to 50 yards with a something like a Barnes Xbullet or Nosler partition. As long as it is legal to use the gun on those big northern whitetails...

mcdonl
May 21, 2013, 02:00 PM
If you shoot and Bambi falls down dead, what difference does it make what cartridge you used? How is any clean kill not ethical?

Considering how many folks have been quite successful in killing deer with a .223 using modern bullets, it's rather silly to talk as though such effort is as difficult as making love in a hammock while standing up.

That was funny Art...

My comment was related to the fact he has guns that are of a more traditional caliber but he does not want to scratch them. I think that if all things are equal regarding ability to put the round where you want it that protecting a gun from being scratched should not factor into caliber selection.

He asked the question, and he got answers. I assume the OP asked the question because he had reservations and feels that his other rifle would be better suited, but does not want to scratch it.

Geno
May 21, 2013, 07:22 PM
Art said:

Considering how many folks have been quite successful in killing deer with a .223 using modern bullets, it's rather silly to talk as though such effort is as difficult as making love in a hammock while standing up.

Wow, just when I think I have no more items to add to my bucket list... :D

Geno

Ar180shooter
May 21, 2013, 10:14 PM
Actually you can forfeit anything that you used while hunting. This includes your TRUCK. Large monetary fine, hunting ban and criminal record. Here in AB, anyway.

That's for poaching.

In season with a valid tag and in an area where you may use rifles to hunt would likely mean an inhumane hunting charge, or something similar which is less serious than poaching. There is a fair amount of discretion on the part of the CO too.

K1500
May 21, 2013, 11:09 PM
[QUOTE][Lets get a few myths cleared up.

Quote:
.22 calibers are legal in some states,
A 223 is legal in 40 of the 50 states, of the 10 where it is not legal, 5-6 are shotgun only. So only 4-5 states where rifles are allowed do not allow the 223. There have been 2 states within the last year that have changed their laws.

Most of the failures that you read about are from folks using varmit bullets in their 223 on deer. Use varmit bullets in a 7mm magnum and you will see failures on deer. Use a bullet designed for big game hunting in either a 7 mag or a 223 and either will drop any deer in the USA.

A 223 is a shorter range round, but any deer within 150-200 yards is in trouble if you can shoot, and use good bullets. In a 223 I'd be using a 60 gr Nosler Partitions, or a 55-62 gr Barnes TTSX. You won't find any people who have actually used a 223 with good bullets tell you you need a bigger gun. Used with good bullets, and at reasonable ranges it is a fine deer round.

Quote:
go with a 30-30 and for closer range a .44 mag is deadly to 100 yards plus a few more.
I disagree. NOTHING will reliably shoot THROUGH brush. A 30-30 or 44 magnum will deflect just as badly as any other round if they hit brush. The ideal brush gun is accurate and flat shooting enough to shoot though tiny openings in the brush. A a scoped, lightweight, accurate bolt rifle in a flat shooting cartridge is the ideal brush gun. The traditional lever action calibers will be several inches above or below your line of sight even at 100 yards. When shooting at a deer 75 yards away the bullet could easily hit braches as it flies in an arched trajectory. A 223, your 308, or any modern flat shooting round can be zeroed at 100 yards and never be more than 1/2" high or low between 50yards and 150 yards. Being able to shoot through a baseball sized opening at 50-75 yards is how you shoot thorough brush./QUOTE]

^^^ This guy is dead on.

Rugerspyderon
May 21, 2013, 11:17 PM
Lucky. I have to use slugs on Ohio.

TCB in TN
May 21, 2013, 11:40 PM
Here in Tn we have a wide range of deer sizes and a wide range of hunting environments. The biggest deer I have ever personally killed was on an either sex hunt, she dressed 186 lbs. Just last year a friend of mine's son killed a 10 pt that dressed in the 240 range. Some places I have hunted one would be lucky to see.a deer over 150 lbs on the hoof.

As for what to shoot, well the Indians used bows.that were far less.accurate and far.less powerful that the 5,56. Our fore father's muskets were as a rule far less accurate and even in modern history rounds that were.far less powerful than the.5,56 were commonly used. History taught those who.lived through it to adjust their tactics range and shot selection to the tool.at hand. Personally I would much rather see hunters with 5,56 rifles than any handgun. The same goes for a bow. On average a.modern rifle in any caliber, is far more likely to put the projectile in the wheelhouse.

Btw.apologies for the typing, I hate touch screens. :(

Clippers
May 22, 2013, 12:21 AM
I had always said that a .223 was too small of a caliber to be shooting deer with, that is until my 8 year old daughter wanted to deer hunt with me. I bought her a .223 bolt action and she's been using it to shoot 2-3 deer a year with it for 5 years. She only lost one of those deer, drawing blood, but never finding it. Every other deer that she shot died within 20-30 yards. She has proven to me that it doesn't matter whether you're shooting a .223 or a .300 caliber round, shot placement is key.

sixgunner455
May 22, 2013, 12:57 AM
Good for you, and her, Clippers.

Davek1977
May 22, 2013, 03:19 AM
Apparently, experiences be darned, the .223 WILL NOT kill deer reliably. Nevermind the fact numerous people here have used the .223 with success many times over. Sure, you will find a few peope who admit to losing a deer when using the .223....the same could be said of the 243....the 30-30...the 6.5x55.....the 270, the o6's.....you can wound a deer with a 7mm mag just like you can a .223. Power doesn't make up for shot placement. A deer shot in the leg or gut is going to hobble off regardless of what you shoot it with. A deer with a bullet through its heart or lungs is going to die, whether that bullet is a 62 gr softpoint or a 50 caliber musket ball or a .30 caliber spitzer.

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 03:38 AM
Deer hunting with a 223 is like towing a 30 foot camper with an S10, yeah I have seen it done, but why would you do it if you had a bigger truck designed for that task? That is the part I don't understand there is nothing a 223 could do to a deer that a 7mm-08 could not do twice as well, and since meat damage is mostly a function of velocity probably with less gunshot meat too. The 223s have huge disadvantages I really fail to see what the appeal is unless you are just trying to see how small you can do and still kill something, if so you can count me out of that contest, I want no part of it.
BTW I have never seen a deer lost to a vital shot with a 6.5x55, 30-06, or 7mm Rem Mag, to imply that the 223 could do the same job just as well is beyond silly, anyone who would believe such needs to study the very basics of terminal ballistics.

Davek1977
May 22, 2013, 03:55 AM
Are you saying that a bullet of .223 through the heart or lungs of a deer won't kill it? How dead is dead? I don't need to understand terminal ballistics (though I do) to realize that turning the heart to pulp, which the .223 can do, kills animals dead. To argue otherwise is silly. How many deer to you see running around w/o a heart? If you put the bullet where the bullet should go...regardless of what caliber you choose to use....you'll have a dead deer. Gutshoot it or take out a lower leg, and it doesn't matter what you are shooting, you have a wounded critter on your hands. Just like I wouldn't take a 100 yard shot with a bow or a 200 yard shot with a smoothbore 12 gauge, I certainly wouldn't take a 300 yard shot on a deer with a .223. Put that same deer (Nothern, Southern, Mulie, Whitetail, makes no difference) at 100 yards, and I'll kill it dead every time, if I wait for the right shot...which we all should do 100 % of the time anyway. If you are the sort of hunter who has no patience, who has to take a shot "right now" because "it may be the only chance I get".....the .223 probably isn't your ideal choice. I can openly admit that. I don't have such issues where I hunt, often seeing over 100 deer a day. If my goal is to simply kill deer, achieving it isn't much of a challenge, and that means, I can pick and choose my shots. If you can't, or aren't willing to, my personal opinion is that you shouldnt be hunting at all, but if you must, the .223 isn't the gun for you most likely

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 04:22 AM
Are you saying that a bullet of .223 through the heart or lungs of a deer won't kill it? How dead is dead? I don't need to understand terminal ballistics (though I do) to realize that turning the heart to pulp, which the .223 can do, kills animals dead. To argue otherwise is silly. How many deer to you see running around w/o a heart? If you put the bullet where the bullet should go...regardless of what caliber you choose to use....you'll have a dead deer. Gutshoot it or take out a lower leg, and it doesn't matter what you are shooting, you have a wounded critter on your hands. Just like I wouldn't take a 100 yard shot with a bow or a 200 yard shot with a smoothbore 12 gauge, I certainly wouldn't take a 300 yard shot on a deer with a .223. Put that same deer (Nothern, Southern, Mulie, Whitetail, makes no difference) at 100 yards, and I'll kill it dead every time, if I wait for the right shot...which we all should do 100 % of the time anyway. If you are the sort of hunter who has no patience, who has to take a shot "right now" because "it may be the only chance I get".....the .223 probably isn't your ideal choice. I can openly admit that. I don't have such issues where I hunt, often seeing over 100 deer a day. If my goal is to simply kill deer, achieving it isn't much of a challenge, and that means, I can pick and choose my shots. If you can't, or aren't willing to, my personal opinion is that you shouldnt be hunting at all, but if you must, the .223 isn't the gun for you most likely
No I am saying that the vast majority of hunters are not going to be able to put it in the heart every single time myself included, and to be honest I have never met the hunter who has, and when you do miss the heart which will almost certainly happen you rely on the soft tissue damage that your bullet can make to damage the organ remotely THAT is where having an adequate cartridge comes into play, I just told this story on another thread but I will say it again here, last year my brother pulled a shot striking a doe in the guts, had he been using a 223 or even a 243 that poor thing would have likely run off and taken hours to die, but seeing as he was using my really nasty 165gr SGK handloads the lungs that were several inches from the path of the bullet were pulverized and the heart was damaged (prasumably by a bullet fragment) she did not quite get 20 feet from where she was shot before falling over dead, another case that happened recently was a friend of mine pulled a shot and struck a 140lbs doe at the very front edge of her shoulder with my 6.5x55, again did not strike any of the vitals directly (not even close really) but the remote damage was so severe that she fell over inside 10 feet, I don't condone marginal shot placement either but even the best of us have hit a few inches off our mark at times, and being completely reliant on surgical shot placement is a fools game in my book, if you have placed every shot you ever took within an inch of your mark then sir I bow to your marksmanship but I can assure you the vast majority of hunters cannot. Even if you are that good to put you shot through their left ventricle every time I still fail to see the appeal of the 223, because just stopping the heart does not kill them instantly you still need some impact to get a bang flop kill.
I have seen numerous 223 ballistic gel tests, and the one thing they all had in common was a VERY narrow wound tract several inches in, on a couple occasions the wound tract was not even visible it was so small, when you see that you have to know that would not be imparting much remote damage to surrounding organs, tests from real hunting calibers have shown much more substantial wounding after the initial shock cavity.
BTW I have seen several deer shot with 223s in the past, and in every case (except for a spine shot) I have seen the deer have run off and required tracking, I never have been impressed by results like that, have also seen someone try a 223 on a feral hog, it took several shots to put him down and a couple more to the head to finish him off, again I am just not impressed at all, nor are most people in the Army we were all hoping they would bring the 7.62s back.

Davek1977
May 22, 2013, 04:55 AM
I'm not discounting your experience, but others have had vastly different results than you describe. IF I had seen the .223 be a notorious wounder, I wouldn't use it. That, however, hasn't been my experience. I've seen deer marginally hit with other calibers escape, but I've never seen a .223 to the vitals fail to do its job. Again, I've never felt the need to rush a shot when using the .223, and have and will again pass up shots I'd easily make with my 7mm. Its not the end all, be all deer round, and I'm not promoting it as such. What I am saying is that an experienced hunter who can afford to wiat for ideal shot placement within reasonable yardages for the caliber and one's personal experience/skill level, should have absolutely no issue killing deer, whether it be with a .223 or a .50 bmg.

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 05:18 AM
OK I think we are on the same page then, or at leased close to it, if you are passing up on deer because of shot distance and angle you are abiding by the limitations that I was talking about earlier, in your case you very well may be able to get away with a 223, but most people I know are not that patient to wait for ideal shots, I am more of a meat hunter, not that I don't enjoy deer hunting because I really do, but when the freezer needs filling I hate having to pass up on clean shots that may be a less then ideal angle or 300+ yards out. That is why I love my Swede so much, a light kicking flat shooting long ranged rifle that will shoot through a deer any way but lengthwise with impressive trauma throughout, getting to go hunting is enough of a challenge for me I don't need to make it any more challenging when I am out there :)
For hunters in general though I have to agree with the guys at Brass fetcher (the people who do all the ballistics gel testing)
"The 223 Remington cartridge is a powerful varmint cartridge and is useful for self-defense against hostile human beings. We do not recommend using it for harvesting medium game animals such as deer and wild hogs, unless you have no other alternative."

BoilerUP
May 22, 2013, 07:58 AM
Heard a story of a guy who hit a large whitetail with a 7RM, loaded with 140gr Matchkings at some hypersonic velocity because it would cause massive hydrostatic shock.

Well, dude hit the deer in the shoulder instead of the boiler room, and it ran a half mile on three good legs before expiring. The front left leg could be rotated 360 degrees, but the wound was very shallow.

I've also seen the biggest buck ever taken on my family's land as a DRT lower neck shot with a 223 by a very small framed 13 year old boy with a Handi rifle.

The difference? Shot placement and bullet selection.

I had a 54cal muzzleloader hang-fire a few years ago, and ended up gut shooting a doe with a 300gr slug. Tracked that deer for about a quarter mile before losing the blood trail.

Big, heavy projectile didn't help me there.

Again...shot placement and bullet selection.

HexHead
May 22, 2013, 10:25 AM
Having read four pages of this, it's clear to me that while .223 can get the job done, it's marginal. There are much better options that don't necessarily rely on optimal conditions to get the kill.

MAGGUNS44
May 22, 2013, 10:46 AM
Have had good luck with remington factory 55gr soft points out to two hundred yards with neck shots.

fallout mike
May 22, 2013, 12:01 PM
.223 will NOT kill deer ethically. Just disregard all the evidence stated here in this thread. You must have a magnum in .30 caliber in accomplish the near impossible feat of killing a deer.

Art Eatman
May 22, 2013, 01:41 PM
I regard my .223 as marginal. So what? I'm equally picky about the use of my .243, since I am lazy and only load the 85-grain Sierra HPBT for it, for coyotes and deer. I limit myself for where on Bambi I want to hit, and limit the range at which I make the shoot/pass decision.

I have a different mindset when using my 7mm08 or my .30-'06. With them, I'd take an angling shot and be willing to reach out further.

Howsomever, since my Dear Ol' Daddy told me to hit Bambi in the white spot as a way of life for a deer hunter, I haven't had to worry a lot about trailing. :D

scaatylobo
May 22, 2013, 04:23 PM
WAY too small a caliber--- either a Ma Deuce 50 or dont even try it.

You could try a lighter 458 Win Mag ,but only with the best shot placement that Wyatt Earp could muster.

I got a good giggle from all the know it alls that 'really' have the skinny and IGNORE the actual kills made by hunters, that enjoy the challenge of shot placement.

silicosys4
May 22, 2013, 04:52 PM
WAY too small a caliber--- either a Ma Deuce 50 or dont even try it.

You could try a lighter 458 Win Mag ,but only with the best shot placement that Wyatt Earp could muster.

I got a good giggle from all the know it alls that 'really' have the skinny and IGNORE the actual kills made by hunters, that enjoy the challenge of shot placement.

Yup, I refuse to use a .223 on a deer that I might or might not have to take an angling away shot on at 300 yards, or shoot through a pine bough....that's likely the only buck I will see all season given where I am....because I am a know it all and am ignoring all the kills made with it.
Its a varmint cartridge that can be loaded to adequately take deer. No thanks, I'll take a big game cartridge that is loaded to more than adequately take big game, and to have as few caveats as possible. I don't look at hunting as a sport though, its a meat thing for me, and animals that run after being shot taste bad.

The "challenge" of shot placement....sorry, I've seen what happens when someone is not up to the challenge of making that shot, and I'm not going to stroke my ego at the expense of needless suffering and gamey, adrenalin filled meat if I don't make the challenge. I'll save the challenge for throwing darts, or shooting at targets or clays.

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 05:00 PM
WAY too small a caliber--- either a Ma Deuce 50 or dont even try it.

You could try a lighter 458 Win Mag ,but only with the best shot placement that Wyatt Earp could muster.

I got a good giggle from all the know it alls that 'really' have the skinny and IGNORE the actual kills made by hunters, that enjoy the challenge of shot placement.
I don't ignore the actual kills made by hunters, nor do I ignore the people I know who have wounded/lost deer with a 223, and yes I know several of them. We can sit back and criticize saying they should have used this bullet or that bullet, or they should have shot him in the neck/spine/brain whatever but at the end of the day for anyone who has to ask I tell them it is a bad idea, because the people who know their marksmanship, rifle, bullets, and shot placement don't have to ask, they know. Even for the best marksman/handloader/hunter I see absolutely no advantage to a 223 unless you are so recoil shy a 243 hurts you. The 223 does nothing a 308, 270, 243.....etc does not but my 30-06 can do things your whole 30 round magazine of 223 would never dream of.
I know an old man who has taken more deer then I could ever hope to with a 22 rimfire, does that make the 22LR a great deer rifle.... HELL NO! But put it in the hands of someone who can hit the CNS on a regular basis and it is as lethal as anything. He quit poaching a long time ago and has since switched to a 270 Win.

scaatylobo
May 22, 2013, 10:09 PM
And I have helped try to find deer that were hit badly [ some not so badly ] with a 12 bore slug.Lost more than a few !!!!.

Shot placement and the RIGHT to challenge myself is the reason I try to change it up.

I was told for decades that using a pistol was silly and not as productive as a shotgun or rifle.

Its the thrill of the hunt and the ability to do it 'your' way that made me prove them wrong.

I have not taken a shot with the handgun that did not drop a deer,and yes I passed up many.

If you want all to hunt with a cannon because YOU feel they wont take a "proper" shot then you need to petition the DEC to change the hunting laws to suit your idea of a 'correct' round.

Meanwhile I say practice and shoot what is still, your FREE right to use.

holdencm9
May 22, 2013, 10:36 PM
This is my favorite kind of thread. Lots of anecdotal evidence and little scientific or empirical. Of course, since hunters don't keep detailed logs of all the data pertaining to a kill. And even if a few did, you'd need a huge database to collect all the different results and come to any meaningful conclusions.

Obviously, the .223 can take deer. It certainly suffers from the stories like, "my buddy told me he shot a little doe right through the heart with a .223 and it took off like a dart and he lost it." When in reality it may have been a 50gr FMJ combined with bad shot placement. But your hypothetical buddy won't typically own up to the latter fact. The most important thing is that you are comfortable with taking the shot. One myth I wish would just die is the "brush gun" concept...as has been mentioned elsewhere: any bullet that hits a branch or even a twig WILL deflect.

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 10:51 PM
Oh I am not advocating a cannon either, as I have said on here many times before I have quit using my 30-06 because it will ruin the whole front half of our smallish southern whitetails at full stroke (yeah it is that bad) and my 270 WSM only comes out of the safe if I am shooting deer in WIDE open fields. My 308 likes them a bit more mild (150gr at 2700fps) so it might see some action next year, but my main two are my 6.5x55 and my 7mm-08 I don't think anyone would consider either one of those to be a cannon but I don't know anyone (except for maybe the ghost of Elmer Keith) who thinks either one of them is inadequate for deer either, no they don't set any speed records, nor do they get much press but by golly they get the job done even without perfect shot angle or close range, and do it all with a minimum of recoil, muzzle blast, and gunshot meat. I'll take that over a 223 ANYDAY!

idcurrie
May 22, 2013, 11:08 PM
It ruins the whole front half? Wow! That's new! I have not experienced that on any size game including some small fawns (these are tagged here because half die throughout the winter anyway since not enough food. Mule Deer Does have two fawns per year). Of course, because we get tags for the same time period for Moose and Elk as for deer, our rifles tend to be loaded with some strong bullets like an accubond, GMX, TSX, etc.

Perhaps it's the bullet you're using. If it's very frangible like a gameking it might cause the effect you're seeing. If you wish, you could try a bullet with a slightly stronger constitution.

any bullet that hits a branch or even a twig WILL deflect.

YES! However - that's more reason to shoot a larger cartridge.

I have witnessed my father shoot and kill a large alberta Mule Deer. When we recovered the animal, the .308 diameter 168gr TSX fired from a 30'06 was found lodged against the offside hide without expansion. The petals were all bent in a single direction and the bullet was kind of shaped like a banana. We think that the bullet struck some of the bush in between the rifle and the target and toppled. It entered the deer at, say, a 45 degree angle or worse which is why the entire front section is bent in one direction and why there was no expansion. You'd think that with no expansion such a bullet would certainly exit the animal but because it was tumbling, it had a tremendous amount of surface area to slow it down and keep it in the animal. For what it's worth, the wound channel from the tumbling bullet was actually MORE gruesome than from a properly expanded TSX. If something had to go wrong, I'm glad he was using such a capable bullet and chambering. Although the bullet had hit an obstruction on its way to target it still got the job done. Would a bullet which is less than 1/3 its size and weight have held together or had enough energy to penetrate well and make the kill? I don't know but I like the odds the 30'06 gives over 223 in this situation.


The more mass that a projectile has, the more likely it is to continue on its path when it encounters an obstacle. A bullet weighing 1/3 as much hitting the SAME obstacle is much more likely to have its trajectory altered by a greater amount and then less likely to do as much damage if it enters the game at any angle other than straight on.

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 11:20 PM
It ruins the whole front half? Wow! That's new! I have not experienced that on any size game including some small fawns (these are tagged here because half die throughout the winter anyway since not enough food. Mule Deer Does have two fawns per year). Of course, because we get tags for the same time period for Moose and Elk as for deer, our rifles tend to be loaded with some strong bullets like an accubond, GMX, TSX, etc.

Perhaps it's the bullet you're using. If it's very frangible like a gameking it might cause the effect you're seeing. If you wish, you could try a bullet with a slightly stronger constitution.



YES! However - that's more reason to shoot a larger cartridge.

I have witnessed my father shoot and kill a large alberta Mule Deer. When we recovered the animal, the .308 diameter 168gr TSX fired from a 30'06 was found lodged against the offside hide without expansion. The petals were all bent in a single direction and the bullet was kind of shaped like a banana. We think that the bullet struck some of the bush in between the rifle and the target and toppled. It entered the deer at, say, a 45 degree angle or worse which is why the entire front section is bent in one direction and why there was no expansion. You'd think that with no expansion such a bullet would certainly exit the animal but because it was tumbling, it had a tremendous amount of surface area to slow it down and keep it in the animal. For what it's worth, the wound channel from the tumbling bullet was actually MORE gruesome than from a properly expanded TSX. If something had to go wrong, I'm glad he was using such a capable bullet and chambering. Although the bullet had hit an obstruction on its way to target it still got the job done. Would a bullet which is less than 1/3 its size and weight have held together or had enough energy to penetrate well and make the kill? I don't know but I like the odds the 30'06 gives over 223 in this situation.
165gr Sierra Game King at 2,900fps 37 yard shot on a small southern whitetail, went in through the front of the neck and splat, bambi all over the place, both front shoulders and the front half of the backstrap gunshot and peppered with bullet fragments, exit wound was the size of my 9.5 boot, the damage was so extensive we had to hang the poor thing by it's hind legs to skin it since skin was the only thing holding it's head on. Yeah I call that just a wee bit excessive.

Art Eatman
May 22, 2013, 11:21 PM
Getting drifty. Absent something sorta new, this thread won't last much longer...

idcurrie
May 22, 2013, 11:24 PM
165gr Sierra Game King at 2,900fps 37 yard shot on a small southern whitetail, went in through the front of the neck and splat, bambi all over the place, both front shoulders and the front half of the backstrap gunshot and peppered with bullet fragments, exit wound was the size of my 9.5 boot, the damage was so extensive we had to hang the poor thing by it's hind legs to skin it since skin was the only thing holding it's head on. Yeah I call that just a wee but excessive.


I had a feeling that it was a bullet like that. It's not really surprising. That's a very high velocity for that bullet. It's not really rated for that speed. It's actually a very hot load for that '06. If you plan to shoot through both shoulders, you should probably load up a more stout bullet, particularly at those velocities ;) - or lower your velocity to match the characteristics of your bullet -

DON'T SHOOT IT IN THE MEAT! (sorry couldn't resist)

Kachok
May 22, 2013, 11:34 PM
I had a feeling that it was a bullet like that. It's not really surprising. That's a very high velocity for that bullet. It's not really rated for that speed. It's actually a very hot load for that '06. If you plan to shoot through both shoulders, you should probably load up a more stout bullet, particularly at those velocities ;) - or lower your velocity to match the characteristics of your bullet -

DON'T SHOOT IT IN THE MEAT! (sorry couldn't resist)
Not my idea, my brother wanted something for the 06 he could hunt with or blow yotes to pieces with, well I gave him just that only it worked a little too well, going to try and back that down a couple hundred fps and see if that cuts down the meat damage, right now it is really extreme on close shots, like I was saying you don't need a cannon on deer either in fact it can sometimes be downright wasteful.

idcurrie
May 23, 2013, 02:17 AM
....especially if you shoot it in the meat. ;)

Lj1941
May 23, 2013, 12:03 PM
This thread started out good but~~~~~:)

Arkansas Paul
May 23, 2013, 12:14 PM
This thread started out good but~~~~~

But it went down the same road it has the other 48574892043875620489 times it's been discussed.

Kachok
May 23, 2013, 12:25 PM
But it went down the same road it has the other 48574892043875620489 times it's been discussed.
Yep some people wanting to promote the 223 as some kind of perfect legendary deer slayer and other people like me trying to give the AR fanatics a reality check or at leased make sure they understand the limitations before a bunch of them go to giving hunters a bad name. I have nothing against ARs/M16 or the 223/5.56x45 goodness knows between the Army and law enforcement I have sure used enough of them.

Sav .250
May 23, 2013, 12:32 PM
If your DNR says it`s legal...........

BoilerUP
May 23, 2013, 12:43 PM
Yep some people wanting to promote the 223 as some kind of perfect legendary deer slayer

Not once has a single person written or even insinuated that in this thread.

j1
May 23, 2013, 12:45 PM
Shoot a heavier slower bullet. Less expansion.

jrdolall
May 23, 2013, 02:20 PM
I haven't read a single post claiming that the .223 is the best deer round available. I have read multiple posts from people claiming that they have been very successful taking deer with the round. There are a couple of people that just insist on pointing out that it is either inadequate(despite the claims by many) OR that there are much better options.

One thing we all agree on is that it is probably not the absolute best caliber for deer hunting. MOST agree that it is perfectly adequate assuming proper shot placement and bullet selection. My personal opinion is that the 30-06 is BY FAR the best cartridge ever made for deer.

I bet the 30-06 vs everything else topic has never come up.

Kachok
May 23, 2013, 02:55 PM
While I would agree that the 06 is a good one you don't need that much either, I have had acceptable results with calibers as small as a 243 and I would comfortably hunt with a moderately powered .257-.284 cal without feeling handicapped at all.

ngnrd
May 23, 2013, 07:41 PM
My personal opinion is that the 30-06 is BY FAR the best cartridge ever made for deer.

I think I hear Jack O'Connor rolling in his grave... :evil:

jack44
May 23, 2013, 09:05 PM
If there a steady rest to lay the gun on take a head shot!

Art Eatman
May 23, 2013, 10:12 PM
jack44, I figure this poor ol' hoss feels like he's been hit with way too many head shots.

Nuff fer this go-round. Rest assured it will come up again. :)

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