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AR-15 for Deer.

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by FatalMove, Jul 17, 2006.

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  1. FatalMove

    FatalMove Member

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    Game laws changed this year here in TN. Now we can use any caliber for deer so long as it is centerfire and No FMJ. So the question is what bullet specific weight or types will put em down out to 200 yards. Wanted to try the ar-15 cause it weighs as much as my bb gun and my AR-10 bull barrel 20" is one heavy bastard. Barrel is 1-9 twist. 16 in barrel.

    Anyway thanks in advance for info guys.


    Fatal][V][ove
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2006
  2. Minator

    Minator Member

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    60-70ish Gr and Hornandy has some pretty descent expanding ammo.
     
  3. zahc

    zahc Member

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    My father has a bean farm in OH and is issued crop damage permits for deer. He reports surprisingly good results with Black Hills FMJ .223 and rather poor performance with Hornady V-max varmint ammo. He scoffs at anyone who says .223 is not enough for whitetails.
     
  4. Twycross

    Twycross Member

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    .223 is not recommended, but it will preform well if the shooter does his job. I would choose a heavy bullet. Partitions, Accubonds, Core-Lokts, Interbonds, Bear Claws are examples of what I would choose. I would stay away from the more fragile varmint bullets.
     
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...poor performance with Hornady V-max varmint ammo..." Not surprising. Varmint bullets are not made for the penetration required for deer sized game. They tend to 'explode' on contact. FMJ's aren't made for deer either, but I suspect the BH bullets penetrate far more than any varmint bullet. FMJ's are illegal for deer hunting in most places as well. Mind you, your da isn't hunting deer. He's trying to save his crop. T'ain't the same thing.
    The right bullet is essential for using a .223 on deer. If you intend using an AR at 200 yards you'd best be very sure it's accurate enough at that distance. If it can't keep every round inside a 9" pie plate at 200, it's not accurate enough. You should developing a load or trying every non-varmint bullet you can to find the load that shoots best out of your AR. Most, but not all, factory .223 ammo is loaded with varmint bullets.
     
  6. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Member

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    i know a very successful hunter who swears by 52gr HP from black hills for nusance permits. sierra has a 69 gr hpbt that shoots great, and would probably be humane with solid shot placement
     
  7. FatalMove

    FatalMove Member

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    AR-15 for deer

    i have 64 grain soft point boat tails im gonna try this year. I havent experimented with heavier weight than that with my 1-9 inch twist. Have heard that the weights above 60ish have to have 1-7 in to stabilize. I know that the 60-64 grain range will shoot well in my rifle. Anyone have success shooting higher than 64 grains in a 1-9 inch twist? I know most of you are against shooting deer with .223 but have you ever carried a 15 pound AR-10 for a long period of time! Whew... tired just thinkin about it. My intentions with the AR-15 are still hunting situations where most shots will be close. Ill make a deal with you guys that feel that the .223 isnt powerful enuf for deer.........I wont just shoot one time ill shoot as many as it takes till the deer falls.:evil:

    Cause followups are alot easier with the ar-15 than the ar-10 .
     
  8. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I have had to explain to a few people there are a few differences when they read an article about a 'deer' rifle. Out here in Utah, we have mulies, which are significantly larger than white-tails. While a 30-30 is heralded as being the cartridge that has put more venison on the table than any other, (and the 7.62x39 is pretty much a ballistic equivalent,) they are talking about the EASTERN U.S. In Utah, the only law is, "A centerfire rifle capable of shooting expanding bullets", there has been much talk recently about changing the law to add caliber and or energy requirements.

    I have known a VERY few people who wanted to use a .223 for deer, mostly because they thought it was easier to just use a smaller gun than to get say, a .243 of significant weight to reduce felt recoil. I THINK, this is at the peril of increasing the liklihood of making an animal suffer. I have known more who will use a 22-250, and if any of them have had anything other than a perfect heart/lungs shot, they won't admit it. I suppose a .22lr will work if you know you can put one in the eye every single time. I suppose what will suffice for mule deer out here will work for white-tails out there.

    I have been talking to my dad a lot about going to Wyoming to hunt antelope, and my little brother in the army at Ft. Bliss/El Paso has suggested coming down there to shoot white-tails and javelina, and if I do, I might actually consider bringing out an AR using a heavy BTHP dedicated game bullet. (Or my SKS if I have found the right combination of stock and scope by then.)
     
  9. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I've had good success with Speer 70 grain Semi-Spitzers. I load them in a .222 Rem., a .223 Rem. & a .22-250 Rem. all with 1:12 twist barrels and get good accuracy with them. Using them I took a deer at 360 yards with the .22-250 and at about 100 yards with the .222; both one shot in one side and out the other kills.
     
  10. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Get a real hunting rifle and leave the tacticool for range use. :rolleyes:
     
  11. FatalMove

    FatalMove Member

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    Why are so many against .223 for deer?

    Most deer here in TN are no more than 150 pounds. My intentions are to harvest doe with the rifle and most does are no more than 12o pounds. You can harvest 3 doe a day here.There are some bigger bucks that are in the 200 pound range but mostly around the 150 pound range. What im trying to say is the .223 is used to kill men by the military. If the round can kill men then why are so many of you against shooting a deer that weighs as much as an average woman. Deer are not armor plated. All im asking is what specific bullet weights that people have successfully taken deer with. Dont need the deparaging remarks.
     
  12. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    70gr Barnes TSX
     
  13. ArmandTanzarian

    ArmandTanzarian Member

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    The average Tenn woman is 150 lbs? Hmmm, what are you feeding them? JK; I know what you're saying. :) In my state, the requirement is "centerfire .22, with 55 gr or heavier bullet" - this eliminates .22 hornet, pretty much, but allows .222/.223. The key here is the type of bullet. Something like a Winchester powerpoint 64 grain is going to be a controlled expansion bullet, and should work well on these eastern/southern whitetails. Or other simlilar heavy bullets that are softpoint and/or bonded or partitioned. Even HPs that are heavy, like a Black Hills 75 or 77 grainer (or 68 even) are going to be heavy enough that the core of the bullet will penetrate into the vitals, even if a lot of the bullet breaks up. The problem is peeps using varmint bullets - that's no bueno. It's inhumane to the animal, because it might die a slow horrible death if you don't hit the vitals hard. Stuff like 35, 40, 45, 50, 52 gr hollow points - these should be off-limits - in fact, I'd prefer it if the game regs required "64 grains or heavier" - this would exclude .mil ball ammo (55 & 62), but include 64 gr powerpoints on up, Some Hornady Tap, Black Hills, etc. Or at least "62 plus", rather than 55. Plus any variety of handloads with good heavy bullets will work. Like the man said, wouldn't try it on northern/midwestern whitetails or western mulies. .243 or .25 cal minimum for those.
     
  14. trapperjohn

    trapperjohn Member

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    So something that may be capable of better than 1 MOA is inadequate for hunting because it is not called a "hunting" rifle?? :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  15. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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  16. sumpnz

    sumpnz Member

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    Zak - Is that your 6.5 Grendel Upper on that AR? Was that a yearling bull or a cow? Or just a deer monsterous enough to look like an elk?

    FatalMove - Can you afford a couple/three hundred for a new/used rifle? If so you might want to consider a lever action in .30-30, .32Win Spc, .357, .44Mag, etc, or a bolt action in anything from .243 thru .35 Whelen. Any of those will be a whole lot lighter than your AR-10, and possibly little if any heavier than your AR.

    If you are too enamoured with the AR to use anything else, and can afford the several hundred dollars, consider a 6.5 Grendel, 6.8SPC, 7.62x39 or similar caliber upper to use instead of the .223 upper. Any of these will give a whole lot more margin for error that the .223, especially at 200 yards.

    If you must use the .223, then I'd agree with Zak on the use of Barnes X-bullets, though I would merely recommend figuring out the heaviest TSX, XLC, or regular X-bullet that will shoot accuratly though your rifle (they do now have 53 and 62gr TSX bullets). I was very pleased with the performance of the 6.5mm XLC I used a large cow elk last year, but that was also a 140gr bullet with a SD that beats the snot out any .224" bullet I've seen (equiv to a 100gr .224" bullet). Then again, we are talking southern whitetails, not AZ elk so SD isn't as critical.
     
  17. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    18" 6.8 SPC, 110gr Sierra Pro-Hunter. Big healthy Wisconsin doe.
     
  18. sumpnz

    sumpnz Member

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    Damn, Zak - That deer's as big as the yearling my partner shot on our elk hunt last year. At first I though it was an elk becuase of the size, then I looked closer and saw the hide and head didn't match an elk, but I didn't think a doe (even a western mulie) could get that big.
     
  19. gezzer

    gezzer Member

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    Barnes X-Bullets work great!

    As far as the Angel peeing in the flash hole a Knee protects from that as most flintlock huntares know!!:D :D
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I find military weapons heavy, usually worse than 1moa accurate, cumbersome. I don't like pistol grips afield, not very quick to the shoulder. I just don't like 'em. If you gotta have tacticool, fine, whatever floats your boat. I think it's rather stupid, but that's just MHO. Gimme a hunting rifle for hunting. Keep the M16s in the service.

    I've tried to sporterize military guns. I usually wound up spending more than the gun justified, had a heavy rifle that didn't shoot all that well, and sometime as with the SKS, in an inferior caliber. I sporterized a 7x57 (great old caliber). It was heavy, but rugged and short (Spanish Mauser). It would only shoot 175 grain round nose, though, due to a fast twist barrel. It was about the closest non-custom military gun I've had to useful mainly because it was old, beat up and I didn't worry about bangin' it around. I sold it to a friend, though. He uses it in tide land areas for hogs.

    You can buy a military Mauser action, like a 98, and rebarrel, restock it, drill and tap it, put a scope on it, put a decent single stage adjustable trigger in it, but you'll find a M700 Remington cheaper and just as good a hunting rifle. I just don't see the point in sporterizing military weapons anymore what with all the good sporting rifle choices.

    I mean, you can use an un-sporterized military gun to hunt with. It can be done. I just think it's less than optimum. If all you had was a match grade M14 or M1 Garand, though, you could do a lot worse. At least it has the accuracy required and is in a decent, well, actually, danged appropriate caliber. The ARs, I'd just hang 'em on the gun rack in the truck to scare the neighbors with, buy a Marlin 336 to hunt with. :rolleyes: However, I'll keep huntin' with my Remington M7 Stainless in .308, thanks.

    BTW, you sure that doe ain't a mulie????:eek: They sure don't get that big in Texas, despite what you might hear. :D
     
  21. 'Card

    'Card Member

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    No one is saying that .223 is inadequate for deer. Of course it's adequate with good shot placement. For that matter, a .22LR will kill a deer if you place the shot just right. But the fact that you can kill a deer with a .22 (or a .223) doesn't make either one of them a great hunting rifle, in my opinion.

    I consider myself a good shot and a good hunter, and I've killed a lot of deer, but I can't claim that every shot I've ever made went right into the sweet spot. In fact, I don't know any experienced hunters who would make that claim. Sometimes brush or branches between you and the deer (that you may not even be able to see through the scope) can make bullets (especially small bullets) do strange things. Being winded from the chase, or having to contort yourself into an odd position to shoot around a rock or tree can make your shooting less-than-perfect. All sorts of things complicate shooting in the woods, so you rarely get the kind of accuracy you get used to at the range.

    So as experienced as I am, I've gut-shot a few deer in my time. I even had one buck wind me and bolt just as I was pulling the trigger, and I ended up busting him in the ass. If I'd been hunting with a .223, that's one deer I probably would have lost. He might well have gotten away, only to die later from infection. Since I use a .30-06, there was enough tissue damage that the deer bled out and died pretty quickly.

    The point being that while a .223 will do the job, there isn't anything that it will do that a larger round won't do as well or better. So with all other things being equal, wouldn't you rather use a weapon that gives you the best possible odds for a conclusion you'll be happy about?
     
  22. bowfin

    bowfin Member

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    I guess I am not sure what a person GAINS by using a .223/5.56mm over a cartridge such as a .270 or .308. If that is all you have, then don't give it a second thought, just choose your shots carefully, and mind the wind.

    To me, the wind (we have lots of it here in Nebraska) plays as big a factor in choosing the cartridge as the game. Get a gusty 25 mph wind, and the my .220 Swift is no longer in the same league as my 7mm Remington Magnum in hitting the bullseye at 200 and 300 yards. A .223 would be even more discouraging, I would think.

    I think the recoil excuse for using lighter calibers is a red herring. If you are in sound shape and haven't shot enough to come to grips with the recoil of a .270 or .308 Winchester, then you probably haven't shot enough (period) to go afield with a deer permit in your pocket. If you can play touch football, you can handle a .270's recoil.

    Same with meat damage. Range, bullet type, and where it hits makes more of a difference than which cartridge and caliber. Slip a 7mm Mag. bullet through the ribs, and you won't lose enough meat to make a single Slim Jim. Catch both hams on a quartering away shot with anything that expands, and it's a disheartening mess.

    If you just plain like a .22 centerfire for deer hunting, then that is fine, no excuse is needed.
     
  23. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I've seen a bunch of rifles that would give one MOA from a benchrest. That's no big deal.

    I don't think I know anybody who can group one MOA out in the field from hasty-rest shooting positions...

    If my hunting were to be in an ambush-type situation, tree-stand or some such, I'd take a neck shot with a varmint gun at around up-close to maybe 50 or so yards out. It wouldn't be my preference, though...

    Art
     
  24. asknight

    asknight Member

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    My Remington 700 has been successful with deer and pigs using the Federal commercially loaded 55gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. Usually "through and through" penetration with an exit wound of approx 1" in diameter, but on the toughest of hogs the bullet was usually found just under the hide on the backside. The TBBC bullets are now available in component form at Gander Mtn and other places.

    The VMAX will not give you the required penetration, and a Match HP will be akin to using FMJ. That's how our .mil gets away with using it in excursions. It wasn't designed to expand. Use a tough (bonded is possible) soft point in a weight/length that your barrel likes.

    Please read this before handloading Bear Claw ammo.
     
  25. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    In Colorado the minimum legal caliber for deer is a .243 shooting an 85gr bullet.

    Will a .223 kill a deer? OF COURSE it will. And if you just have to do it I would think the Barnes would be a very good choice. The only caveat being that you must pick your shot, watch your angles and there is no room for error. And that there are far better choices out there for hunting big game. I can however understand the desire to use a rifle just to see how it will work if that is your intent. Been there done that.:) That desire is not going to make your AR into a great deer hunting rifle. It is what it is.

    My question to you is. Have you ever killed a big game animal before, and why do you want to use this rig over a better suited caliber?

    From what I have been reading about Iraq the 5.56 is giving less than great shot performance on human sized targets.
     
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