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223 for deer: never again!

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Macchina, Nov 22, 2020.

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  1. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    223 with the right (heavy) bullet is adequate for deer at moderate ranges but it isn't optimal. A 6.5 Grendel would be a lot better out of an AR platform. But 223 has taken a ton of deer and I don't think it's necessarily an unethical choice if properly thought out.
     
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  2. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

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    20200617_093035.jpg

    When these are invented deer will not run off!:evil:
     
  3. entropy

    entropy Member

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    This is why I sight in 'point blank'. I zero at 25 yards; with a known ballistics table (M193 ball, which is so close to my pet load that it works) I am confident out to 265 yards. Anything between that will never go over 5 inches high. I can fine tune within that range by having the trajectory within those yardages memorized. Beyond 265, it drops sharply. I would not shoot past 200 anyway, assuming a 20" barrel. WIth my 10.5" AR pistol, all bets are off past 100. I have shot it at 100, and can still keep it near enough to my target, the aorta, to do the job, but that gun also only has a red dot, so even 100 might be a stretch on a deer. The longest shot I have dropped a deer at is 125 yards, ironically with a .50 cal. BP. All of my rifle (and shotgun) deer shots have been 75 yards and under, 35 being the shortest.

    Unless you forget and leave it on 'stun'......
     
  4. Risky buisness

    Risky buisness Member

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    Macchina, I applaud your choice.
    Regardless of the anecdotal 'I've taken X many deer'
    comments touting the .223 as a premium deer cartridge, it falls into the personal choice and ethical category, if your not comfortable using a varmint cartridge as a deer round any longer for those reasons, by all means do so.
     
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  5. Macchina

    Macchina Member

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    This is pretty much where I'm at. This was my easiest shot at a deer I've ever had in 20 years of deer hunting. I've taken deer at just under 400 yards before (my max range) and have shot most all of my deer with 357 Mag rifles. To me the 223 will forever have the risk that even if I do everything right the deer won't bleed and won't drop.

    I do think the lungs were filling up with blood and there is most likely a blood trail somewhere in the woods starting a few hundred yards out. I walked back and fourth along the direction I saw the deer go and never saw a speck. I've just never had this happen before with any other cartridge or a bow after a known good hit.
     
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  6. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    I think it's the bullet's fault. I haven't heard much good about those 64 grn bullets. And 223 is a bit light for deer, it may have been a really tough deer. I always go for neck shots with smaller calibers to avoid your problem, but obviously you didn't do it wrong, it just didn't work out. I bet if it had been a 75 yard shot you'd have venison right now. But some deer are just really tenacious.

    Once shot a big blacktail buck with my 44 mag. First shot at about 70 yards, and sneaking up on him put another one in him at 20 yards. He jumped and ran for 100 yards or so and I was so excited by his rack that I followed. Found him standing against a tree with two visible holes exactly where they should be behind the shoulder. So the next one went in slightly rear quartering. He jumped, huffed, and wandered away. I was standing there amazed the this deer had a perfect 3 shot group through the vitals with a 44 and good expanding ammo. So I waited about two min and followed. Again found him standing and not breathing(cold afternoon and any breathe was visible). Enough was enough, I double tapped him at less than 20 yards, there was a perfect 5 shot 4" group looking like a target on his side, and he ran off. I sat down for the next 20 min as the sun went down, went to my truck and grabbed a flashlight, then went looking. After those last two shots there wasn't a drop of blood anywhere. I looked 3 hrs that night, and 3 of us looked all the next day. Some deer aren't meant to be had.
     
  7. CleanDean

    CleanDean Member

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    About 10 years ago a Range Officer at my Sportsman’s Club ... praised the qualities of .223 cal. In deer hunting.
    I was not a believer then , & did not heed heed his reviews of the 5.56 /.223 .
    I Do not believe that caliber is suited for anything in the woods, that is heavier than 60 lbs.( don’t care what grain bullet it is )
     
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  8. Hog huntin Harry

    Hog huntin Harry Member

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    I myself would be weary of any load with a bullet heavier than 55 grains in a 16 inch bbl for hunting medium game or larger due to reduced velocity. In my experience and knowledge I would stick with at least a 20 inch bbl, preferably 22 inch for hunting anywhere past rock slinging range if heavier loads are used.
     
  9. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    This^^

    If you lunged him, he's laying dead near where you shot him. If it were me, I'd get some help and go look again.

    When they aren't laying where they're "supposed to be" doubt creeps in. You start having conversations with yourself, "did I miss?" "He should be laying right here" "there should be blood". All of that mental activity can be distracting to the task.

    Again, if you can, go have a second crack at finding him
     
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  10. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    I’d argue that I have seen literally no difference in how fast deer/pigs expire with cartridges ranging from 223 to 30-06. The wounds certainly look different, but the deer die just as quickly when a bullet is placed high in the shoulder. Lights out, bang-flop or bang-short run-flop. I have absolutely no qualms with shooting deer with anything from a heavy .223 bullet all the way to a 300 Win Mag. Deer are not hard to kill.
     
  11. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    meh...I’ve killed a bunch of stuff with 69 gr Federal GMM from a 16” barreled AR.
     
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  12. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    Some years back I hit a medium size buck head on at 30 yards with a 12 gauge with a 3” magnum Remington Copper Solid. They had four petals that would spin off like miniature buzz saws. 485 grains and probably .50 caliber at 2,100 FPS. Think elephant rifle.

    At the shot, the deer wheeled and ran a big circle in the hay field we were in. I expected him to drop at the shot. Probably 200 yards total and fell just before reaching the woods.

    The slug had destroyed about 1/3rd of the left lung, nearly all the right lung, and blown off the top 2/3rds of his heart. Exited just in front of the left ham.

    Had we been next to the woods, I might never have found him. Some deer just don’t know they’re dead.
     
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  13. dranrab

    dranrab Member

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    Class, can we point to a picture of a deer on the box?

    2258.jpg free image upload
     
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  14. JDeere

    JDeere Member

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    If that works for you so be it. I personally would never take a shot into the shoulder and waste good meat. Right behind the shoulder is actually where the vitals are...
     
  15. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    4AE987A1-1A95-47A2-AFE8-CFAC39752B90.jpeg

    Do I get an ‘A’?

    :D
     
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  16. dranrab

    dranrab Member

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    Meat that does an 80 yard death dash into an impenetrable thicket in the last 5 minutes of legal shooting light may very well be 100% waste. Breaking an animal down right where it stands, even if it "wastes" a little meat, may be the best option based on the whole of the circumstances.
     
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  17. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    Thats why we search ammo. Bonded bullets do alot berrer 70902.jpg
     
  18. dranrab

    dranrab Member

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    I am pretty sure that Nature Boy thinks this ammo is suitable for horses.
     
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  19. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    Are you calling me "nature boy"? If that was referring to me, I would not used that ammo on Horses. I use ammo like that on 150 lbs deer in under 100 yards with great results. 16" 1/7 twist barrel.
     
  20. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    Deer are a nuisance. I'll repeat that one more time deer are a nuisance that's what the farmers that surround me will tell you. Some will make remarks that .22RF is adequate to rid them selves of a problem of crop damage. The major complaint is the the state regulates hunting on all land be it public or private. Yes you can obtain a permit dependent on the degree of crop damage inflicted. With that said the average hunters marksmanship leaves a lot to be desired. Those that I allow on the property must hunt from tree stands. I don't get involved in the caliber wars but shot placement/penetration has a lot to do with effectiveness. This is the last season I'm allowing hunting on the property as we've had trespassing issues.
     
  21. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    I would never shoot a horse. My daughter would kill me

    gqeZGIc.jpg
     
  22. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I have killed several deer with a .223 using 55 Gr soft points and some with 67 gr Fusion ammo. Never an issue. I don't know what happened to the op's deer. The only deer I ever lost were shot with a slug gun and made it into a wet swamp. Maybe I hit them too low. I once shot a deer with a 30-06 several of us searched and others gave up. I finally found him where he crawled under a log and died. Sadly deer are lost sometimes. I don't blame the Op for being upset. I would be too.
     
  23. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    One thing, it doesn't always work but tracking means reading tracks, not just finding blood. I have tracked shot deer on dry ground for nearly a mile. It was still alive and hiding in tall grass. Shot 4 or 5 times with slugs. It is not always possible but it is an important skill.
     
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  24. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Doesn't show a human on there either, but a heckuva lot of them have been killed with .223/5.56mm also.
     
  25. Picher

    Picher Member

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    I rarely had any deer shot with a .270 Win take a step when hit well in the lungs/shoulder. I'm careful to use proven bullets in my handloads and are about max velocity for the cartridge. The 6mm Rem has also worked well for several deer shot in the lungs out to 300 yards, but loses punch quickly beyond that.
     
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