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Best Ar15 Caliber for Wisconsin Deer Hunting in Brush

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by mjo72090, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. mjo72090

    mjo72090 Member

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    I recently bought a Ruger Ar556 MPR in .223 and absolutely love it. However, I would like to upgrade and get another upper for it dedicated to deer hunting. I almost never have a shot over 150 yards and usually hunt in thick areas. I mostly am looking for something to handle shooting into light brush if needed. I have basically narrowed it to 300 blackout, 6.5 grendel, 6.8 sp and 450 bushmaster. Im leaning towards the grendel and blackout. I love how little the .223 kicks and want to stay as close to that as possible but am willing to budge on that for performance. I have looked at pretty much all of the ballistics of the calibers but no one ever talks about capabilities in the brush. I want to be able to shoot through a few small branches and not have to worry about it. I have no experience with any of these calibers. Obviously cheaper ammo is better but i wont be plinking with it so thats not a big deal. I will be buying a whole new upper for whatever i bought. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Well I'd have to tell you that "brush busting" with bullets looks like it will often work "on paper", but when applied, you find in the real world the bullets do deflect more often than you'd think, or even when you tested them vs. a target in the "off" season. I think one reason is, with weather such a variable, if you are out in below freezing temp, and it was damp the night before, you're shooting through wood and ice from the moisture within the branches (yes I know sap slows way down but not completely until very cold) :D. Same thing if it's drizzling out but the ground air temp is low, and you're getting an ice coating, which you know can be Thick, on those twigs. ;)

    I'm surprised if you're considering .300 Blackout with 125 grain bullets or 110 grains..., you're not thinking about 7.62 Soviet (7.62 x 39mm) .

    My son has a Grendel, and supposedly they've fixed the extractor breakage problem but he bought extra extractors, nonetheless. I've been considering a .450 Bushmaster myself.., so personal choice for 150 yards and closer, for just shooting deer, and not chopping wood to get to the dear, would be either 7.62 Soviet OR .450 Bushmaster. But..., I'm an older dude and I like .40 caliber slugs and larger for small fields, and in the woods, on deer, and also the .30-30 and the 7.62 x 39mm is pretty similar to the .30-30.

    LD
     
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  3. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    The 450 for brush, but I would do the socom.
     
  4. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    Brush or no brush, of the ones you listed I like the Grendel.
     
  5. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    For some reason never seemed right to shoot through foliage in order to kill game. Maybe it's that Hunter Education training in me that says to know where your round is going before making the shot...and to make every effort for a clean precise kill. Somehow I envision rounds getting deflected by brush and loosing the confidence the round will be headed to the intended target. Not questioning whether it can be done, or whether it's right or wrong....it didn't seem right, not something I wanted to do.
     
  6. Choctaw

    Choctaw Member

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    You've never shot a deer in the woods?
     
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  7. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Hunted in woods for over 50 years.
     
  8. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    The best answer I have is to not shoot through barriers while hunting, no matter what you are using. As far as caliber for an AR for hunting, of the ones you listed, I would pick the BLK. FWIW, I've shot many deer with 223, with good results.
     
  9. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    All of them will kill deer at 150+ yards and all of them will be deflected by brush.
    The recoil of a 450 BM is considerably more than the .223.
    My choice would be the 6.5 Grendel.
     
  10. entropy

    entropy Member

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    My son is deliberating the same question, though in Indiana, as he moved from WI, which allows .223, to Indiana, which doesn't. I will make the same recommendation to you as I have to him; 6.5 Grendel.
     
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  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The best way to shoot through brush is with a rifle that has a flat trajectory, decent optics and is lazer beam accurate so you can see, and shoot through baseball size openings and avoid the brush. A 450 BM will deflect if it hits brush just as much as a 223 or any other round. Cartridges with arched trajectory are more likely to hit brush as they arc through the woods at even 50 yards. All of my brush guns have a trajectory that is never more than 1" above or below my line of sight out to about 120-130 yards and will hit a nickle at 100 yards.

    With the better bullets a 223 will kill deer, but given the option I like something bigger. If I were going bigger than 223 in an AR rifle the 6.5 Grendel is the one I'd choose right now. With the military making noise about going to some version of a 6.8mm rifle that may be the better option down the road.
     
  12. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Grendel with an honorable mention to SPC.
     
  13. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Maybe look into that .350 Legend thing............

    I'd go .450 BM though, just to have a thumper.

    AFAIC a "brush rifle" is something fast and handy.

    Often it's misunderstood to be something that is used to send bullets through obstacles.
    Nope. You may at times thread the needle. You never plow through stuff.

    I already have a 35 remington so.........yeah, .450 BM.
     
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  14. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Well, my son got back to me last night-he's decided on 6.5 Grendel.
     
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  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Even a shotgun slug will be destabilized by surprisingly small amounts of twigs it encounters on the way to the target. I've seen experiments done on this in the 'zines. Personally, I like my 7.62x39 OR my .308 and I wait until I have a clear shot at the shoulder. I don't fire either from an AR, though. I have an M4, but I've only shot 1 deer with it. I really didn't get it to hunt with. I was scared Hillary was going to be president. It was a political purchase. :D
     
  16. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    My son and I have each missed chip shots on deer when our bullets were deflected by branches we didn't even see. Mine was with a blunt, 570 grain minie, his with a 295 grain saboted jsp. Both purported brush busters. From when I was a pup I've read test after test after test on the fallacy of shooting through brush. It don't work. Normally.
    Now we'll wait for the five hundred and eleven stories of deer killed by a 55 grain bullet shot through forty yards of second growth scrub. Or how a 500 grain 45-70 will plow undeflected through a yard of saplings. Go for it.
     
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  17. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I have had excellent results with .223's on Minnesota deer up to around 300 lbs. I have posted pics of my 14 pt buck before. I do hunt mostly in woods. However, I understand wanting something bigger. I am thinking of 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel or .224 V. If they made a 6MM I'd look at that too. I am leaning toward the 6.8 due to bolt problems with the Grendel. Or for about the price of an upper you can get a bolt action rifle in 7-08 or other caliber that handles better and is lighter. That's what I did. Still considering another AR upper though because I can.
     
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  18. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    At 150 any of them could kill a deer.

    I shoot my Grendel further than that when I do shoot it and it’s longer than I like a “stalking” rifle, will use it next time I hunt from a blind, just because. Finally killed a little piggy with the 300, the week before last and I don’t think my 450 or 458 would have killed it any deader but I would say the last two would be better for hunting at such close ranges.
     
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  19. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    There's a 24 Nosler in the works SAAMI has specs and dies are available, I'm sure barrels will be soon. A 103gr ELDX @ 2550-2600 would be pretty sweet for deer.
     
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  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I was looking at 6.5 Grendel ballistics a bit ago. I'm unimpressed. I hunt woods from a blind with a 7.62x39 (SKS) for pigs and it works fine with a 154 grain soft point. I have a .308 bolt gun for deer. I totally agree that a good bolt gun beats an AR 6 ways to Sunday for handling. The one deer I shot with my .223 AR was from my box blind over the rest. The AR works fine from a box blind. It's just off hand handling that I prefer a traditional stock and ergos. My SKS has a choate sporter stock on it.

    I think if I get an upper, it'll be in .458 SOCOM likely...or maybe .450 Bushmaster, but I really don't see why I'd wanna spend that much just to use an AR. ARs are fun, but not the end all. I've killed a LOT of game in my 66 years with a regular old Remchester. :D
     
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  21. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I have been bustin' brush in Wisconsin for over 50 years, both for deer and coyote. I have read about tests done 40+ years ago by Outdoor Life, the one done by Box of Truth just a few years ago and dozens more in between. I also have some experience of my own. The conclusion I have come to is it's not about caliber, but more about velocity and bullet weight. Light for caliber bullets going fast tend to deflect more than heavy for caliber bullets going slow. Those calibers that that shoot flatter, tend to deflect more. Every stick in the woods is different. Ain't none of 'em 3/4 " hardwood dowels or 1/4x1 inch plaster lath like used in many of the tests. While leaves and grass are less dense than sticks/brush, I have see swamp grass deflect bullets just as easily as a white oak limb. Have seen deep snow deflect and/or stop bullets just as quick as sand. Bullets that are better stabilized tend to deflect less than bullets that come outta the barrel a tad ancy. Have shot deer standing in brush, that when butchered, had sticks in the wound channel. The farther behind the brush deer stand, the safer they are.

    What does all that dribble tell ya? That odds are it ain't gonna matter what caliber you go with. Shooting thru brush is gonna be iffy, no matter what you're using. Go with what tickles your fancy and stick with heavier bullets when hunting brush. While it's easy to sat avoid shooting in brush, if you're in the woods, you're in brush. Tough thing is when hunting in an elevated stand and using a scope, the scope tends to make those little twigs right in front of you disappear.
     
  22. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I’m curious as to why you weren’t impressed with the 6.5mm Grendel. I’ve looked over the ballistics way back when and was impressed. It was the flattest shooting cartridge that was able to get out there with a big enough bullet that I felt was adequate. I sort of liked the old 6x45mm too, but it paled in comparison.

    The .223 uses a bullet that I feel is marginal, especially at distance. The 6.8mm and 7.62mm (and .300 BO) uses shorter stubby bullets that don’t have a great BC. Maybe all of that isn’t a really big deal inside of 200 yds, but why limit yourself?

    I could see one who owns a 7.62x39mm and only using it at shorter ranges seeing no need to upgrade. But if one didn’t have anything to fit in this category and was looking I’d seriously consider the 6.5mm as the best, though I’ve read of some sort of bolt issues (haven’t a clue what that’s about).

    Now the .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM, and .50 Beowulf are a much different ballgame. Though not all that great for longer ranges they’d no doubt put a big whack on anything you shot at. I’d opt for the latter two I think unless maybe the .450 were cheaper and/or easier to find. Or maybe if you reload and have .452” bullets... I’d think cast bullets with wide meplats would be nice with any of these!
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Now days, I hunt woods where I can't even SEE a deer beyond 100 yards. For hunting pigs in these woods, I want big energy preferably behind a big bullet. I looked at the Grendel, muzzle energy is in the .30-30 and 7.62x39 range. No big improvement there. I'll stick with what I've got unless I can get major improvement. Now, if I wanna shoot long range, I have a 7mm Remington Magnum, my .308, or my .257 Roberts shooting a 100 grain game king at 3150 fps. Any of these FAR outclasses anything from a standard AR15 platform and handles better in the field to boot. When I had my lease out in pumpville, I often spot and stalked, killed game off hand usually with my 7mm Rem Mag since I hadn't gotten my .308, yet.

    To each his own, but I'm not married to the AR platform. I own one, neat gun and fun to shoot, but it's not optimum as a hunting gun and never will be. The AR10 has the power, but is heavy. It out weighs my Remington M7 by nearly 2 lbs. That matters when you're walking the ridge lines and putting on miles under the shoe leather.
     
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  24. der Teufel

    der Teufel Member

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    While I think the Grendel has pretty good performance, and I have nothing bad to say about it, just be sure you're considering barrel length when you look at ballistics. Quite often the numbers for the Grendel are taken with a 24 inch barrel. If you're using an AR pattern rifle you will more than likely be using a barrel that is 16 or 18 inches long.
     
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  25. spazzy

    spazzy Member

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    I built up a 7.62x39 for this very situation, Sub 150 yards deer hunting. It seemed to be the best fit for me. Cheap blasting ammo, reasonably priced hunting ammo. Ammo is available most places. Pretty good ballistics for my needs.
     
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