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.223 rem on whitetail deer?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by MinnesotaFats, May 20, 2013.

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  1. MinnesotaFats

    MinnesotaFats Member

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    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.
     
  2. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Member

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    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!
     
  3. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    .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.
     
  4. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    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.
     
  5. MinnesotaFats

    MinnesotaFats Member

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    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..
     
  6. idcurrie

    idcurrie Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  7. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    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.
     
  8. winchester1886

    winchester1886 Member

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    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.
     
  9. frankenstein406

    frankenstein406 Member

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    whats the barrel twist? unless you can reload the heavier grain bullets I think a cheap shotgun would be better.
     
  10. MinnesotaFats

    MinnesotaFats Member

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    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.
     
  11. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Nosler Partition and Barnes TSX are both very good rounds to use.
     
  12. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Lets get a few myths cleared up.

    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.

    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.
     
  13. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Member

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    .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.
     
  14. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    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.
     
  15. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Member

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    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!
     
  16. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Member

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    Never had to borrow a bigger gun to shoot em again either.
     
  17. j1

    j1 Member

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    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.:)
     
  18. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    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.
     
  19. idcurrie

    idcurrie Member

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    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.
     
  20. Takem406

    Takem406 Member

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    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
     

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  21. jrdolall

    jrdolall Member

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    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.
     
  22. idcurrie

    idcurrie Member

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    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  23. itsa pain

    itsa pain member

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    the 223 is the greatest round ever. it can shoot thru armored tanks, snipe at 1000 yds great for close quarters doesn't recoil you can carry 500 rounds (why you would need so many being it is so deadly) it is good for plinking home defense etc why wouldn't it be good for deer?
     
  24. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    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.
     
  25. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    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.
     
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