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Different "kinds" of deer and cartridge/bullet choice

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Random 8, Nov 8, 2020.

  1. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    I see it all the time, from discussion here to online forums to respectable magazines and advertising from major makers. XYZ ammo/cartridge/bullet is the best! We, as more savvy hunters know, that the whitetail deer has significant morphological differences across its range, and is found in widely varying terrain. Different choices will be needed in different scenarios. I cringe when match bullets or the 223 cartridge are recommended, but that is colored by my experience. Deer in Northern MN are large with heavy hair and fat and often hunted in close cover where quickly aiming and firing is the norm. Just wondering how these factors affect your choices for your deer.
     
  2. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    I agree with you. The area of the country where you hunt will be the determining factor on which type of firearm you use, and what caliber.
     
  3. WisBorn

    WisBorn Member

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    I agree! As far as match bullets that are not designed for game they should not be used. Yes some will work, but with highly accurate hunting bullets why would you use target ammo.

    I'm not a fan of 22 caliber for deer there has been improvements in bullet design, but in my experience after having to shoot two wounded deer. One was shot with 22-250 and one with a 223. It is not a good choice.

    Yes where legal it's that, but ethical????
     
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  4. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I agree in practice but I disagree in philosophy.

    For example, I am known to hunt in MI and GA. The firearms I use tend to be on the large end of what is considered normal for deer. ie: 12 and 20 ga slugs, 450 Bushmaster, 44 Magnum. I suppose my situations dictate the use of heavy handed guns and projectiles because I hunt thicker areas and property lines and if my quarry wants to make a death run, I dont want it to go far.

    In the end though, deer can be killed and usually found with 224 cal on up in any situation. I know a fellow who routinely kills mule deer with 243 out west and lives in northern MI where he also uses 243 in the thick woods on a completely different species of deer.

    As far as I am concerned, it is more about personal preference and local laws rather than terrain or morphological differences in whitetails.

    As for me, hypothetically, if I were to go and get a new firearm for the purpose of taking whitetails, a number of factors would play a part in my decision. For instance, I hunt in MI in the limited firearms zone so that means straight wall less than 1.8" case length. I also hunt SE GA. I need a gun that can be used in both these areas. There is a shotgun only zone I also hunt down here.

    If I were to buy one deer gun it would have to be a shotgun!! Granted I have more than one gun. But my other would be another that would overlap my areas of operation as much as it could so it would be a straight wall round legal in MI but still fine for GA.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  5. Palladan44

    Palladan44 Member

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    My Wisconsin selections:
    Winchester 94 .30-30 - heavy wooded stands from tree stand or blind. Or on drives.

    Winchester 70. 300 WSM. Anywhere more open than that.

    Reasons not ballistic performance, but rather the mobility, deployability and portability of the gun itself.

    A firearm one trains/practices with and gets to know is the most important factor.

    IVE seen deer hunters with weapons built for the African savannah go several seasons and a few shots and produce no deer. I went on a stretch with my open sighted 30- 30 in the early 2000s with 6 shots producing 6 deer kills. Whether 120lb doe or 250 lb buck in full rut, the 30-30 kills when you do your part.
    Good luck this season!
     
  6. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    "New and Improved" has been a selling mantra for about two centuries. It's the opinion of the seller trying to make the sale in many cases, from what I've seen.


    YET a 225 grain, .530 diameter, patched round ball has been harvesting whitetails, mule deer, elk, and moose for hundreds of years, with very humane results. Still works quite well today (personal experience).
    Out to 150 yards, no worries. ;)

    Patched Round Ball.jpg

    IF you really want something that looks modern..., you can always up the lead by a mere 75 grains ....,

    Lee 300 grain REAL bullet
    LEE 300 54cal.jpg



    I intend to try the below bullet out of a .450 bushmaster cartridge this year in a single shot rifle. My county now allows straight walled cartridges for deer in "regular gun" deer season when in the past it was only shotgun or muzzle loader. I opted decades ago for muzzle loader because shotguns back then were slugs in a smoothbore "slug barrel", and I wanted better accuracy past 50 yards.

    Yes the Eastern whitetail in Maryland is about 40% smaller than those up in PA. Still I think this slug going at 1500 fps from the .450 bushmaster in a hand-loaded cartridge will work fine out to 100 yards, and I hunt in heavy brush. I bet it would work on whitetails anywhere (IF I got close enough I admit). It's smaller diameter than my round ball, but it's 25 grains heavier, and the hollow point may help it expand, BUT if it doesn't..., it's still a big hole.

    250 grain .452 PHP (Pentagon Hollow Point)
    250 Grain Pentagon HOLLOW POINT.JPG

    Now you folks using smaller diameter, lighter, longer bullets pushing above 1600 fps are going to need a gas check or a copper jacket to keep the leading down, even when a hard lead alloy is available. But as long as the bullet that you folks are using is going to give you some expansion but stay intact after impact...,

    I think you do better much better to concern yourself with how accurate you and your rifle are with your cartridge, than what the cartridge is going to do for you with terminal ballistics. :thumbup:

    LD
     
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  7. entropy

    entropy Member

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    The one thing that is the same about all deer species in the US is the internal organs are all in the same location, even on moose. (They are much larger, but still in the same place. ) Learn where the organ(s) you are shooting at are when looking at the big patch of brown, from any angle you intend to shoot from, and cartridge size becomes less relevant. A .223 put in the aorta makes for a nice quick harvest, unless the game is at full alert and chock full of adrenaline; in that case all bets are off. A .300 Super Duper Gun Magazine Special Magnum in the guts is going to mean a long day of tracking, and less than prime venison, even if that deer had no idea you were there, and was peacefully grazing.

    Loyalist Dave sums it up nicely:
    Bullet placement is paramount.
     
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  8. George P

    George P Member

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    When I lived in northern NV, it was my 7mm mag and a 160 partition or Sierra GK
     
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  9. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    I like big bore, cast bullet guns for deer. Less bloodshot meat.
    My .458 is my bolt action 45/70. Of course, My 45/70 is good too.

    tr10.jpg tang sights.jpg
     
  10. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Mule deer country (terrain) in Idaho varies from “thick and steep” where even seeing, much less shooting a mule deer 100 yards away can be difficult, to wide open and flat desert country (or grain stubble fields) where 300+ yard shots are common. I’ve almost always relied on pointy, 165gr bullets in various 30 caliber rifles for mule deer in all types of Idaho terrain. Although, I’ll admit I never felt either “under-gunned” or “over-gunned” when I was hunting Idaho mule deer with a 270 Winchester and pointy, 130 grain bullets.
     
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  11. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    With modern cartridges anything 26 caliber and up will take any animal in North America with proper bullet choice. The 22 centerfires are smaller than I like, but I've seen too many dead deer killed with one to discount it. I've only taken one deer with a 223 and it was just as dead and traveled no farther than the ones shot with 30-06. But as a rule I have better options and use them.

    Any of the 24 and 25 calibers are probably ideal deer cartridges. And while they can be used for larger game I just think there are better choices. I feel about the same using 24's and 25's on bigger stuff as I do 22 centerfires on deer. If it were all I had I wouldn't stay home, but I'd not buy a 22 centerfire for deer nor a 24 or 25 to use on elk.

    Just because a bullet is marketed as a match bullet doesn't discount it's ability to work just fine as a hunting bullet. In some cases the only differences between a manufacturers match bullets and their hunting bullets are very minor. There are some bullets marketed as match bullets that have proven to be as good, if not better than most bullets marketed as hunting bullets.
     
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  12. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    The Remington Core-Lokt was invented in 1933 and in most surveys is stilled listed in the top 3 bullets still used today. That being said, In two hunting groups I 've been with, one in Wisconsin and one in the U.P. of Michigan the common gun among 10 hunters is a 30.06; Remington pumps and bolt actions and a Garand . Of course, some people shoot Dad's old gun, and they are good at it. Those include 30/30 Win. .303 British, 7mm mag, .270 Win., .243 and 300 Win mag.
     
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  13. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I live in Minnesota and have shot deer in the 300 lb. range with a .223 with excellent results. However one must choose your shots and be accurate. I prefer my 7-08 though.
     
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  14. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    HECK, I made the mistake once, with my nice big, slow moving bullet, of shooting at a nice buck that had been forced over onto the farm where I was hunting, by a pack of fox hounds and mounted hunters. The ball went through the buck's lungs and out the far side at 60 yards, but adrenaline is amazing stuff. Took me two hours to find him.... :confused:

    LD
     
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  15. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I hit one in the aorta through both lungs with a 165 Partition, that had been chased through a swamp by another hunter. It ran 75 yards, then ducked under a log. Found him the next morning.
     
  16. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Adrenalized deer are very interesting animals. I put 3 x 154 SSTs from my .280 Rem into the heart/lungs a large buck who was escaping a hail of gunfire from the neighboring parcel from powder burn distance to 80 yards. The 3rd quartered through to the off-side shoulder, knocking him down and a 4th to the base of the skull made it permanent. He made it 75 yards with soup for lungs and heart, and was still trying to run after the shoulder impact. He also had a hole in the ear and a grazing wound above the shoulder from the neighbor, whom I later found out was a 13 year old with a serious case of buck fever and a semi-auto Remington.

    Back in the deer drive days of my youth, blood trailing skills and heavy for (.30) caliber bullets were a must to ensure pass-throughs, as those deer typically ran after good hits. I kind of upset the apple cart with 150 gr 308s, but they did the same job as the 180s from 30-06's, IMHO a little better even. Mine still went through but I got fewer runners.
     
  17. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    The Core-Lokt is king. I puzzle at all the people that spend tons of $$$ on Nosler (and other mega-buck projectiles) bullets, when they'd be better off with a round nose Remington Core-Lokt at moderate velocities.

    I've taken a lot of deer with a Ruger .44Mag Carbine, don't see why a .450 Bush-whacker would not work just as perfectly. Just keep the lead soft, or as soft as possible.
     
  18. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    I shoot pretty much what ever I feel like. Location and game animal may affect those choices, but end of the day I'm likely to default to something like a 162gr .284 at 3000ish fps.
    If hunting an area or animals I'm unfamiliar with, I'll probably run a heavier than necessary cartridge.
    I've killed enough critters to have opinions on equipment, but they certainly shouldn't be taken as a recommendation. If ASKED, what Im likely to recommend is often contrary to what I personally chose to shoot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  19. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    A couple of years ago I took three deer using Berger VLDs. All were DRT; even the one with the lung shot. I disagree with the no match bullet dogma.

    Though I think it's a bit light, I took a deer at a bit over 200 yards with a 204 Ruger shooting "heavy" 45 grain bullets. It went maybe 20 feet. Ohio deer aren't small at least compared to South Carolina deer.

    This year I took two deer with Sierra 55 grain Varminter bullets. Neither were DRT but the didn't go far.

    I took a rabbit with a 458 Lott. It was DRT.

    I took a ground hog with a 300 Winchester Magnum. It was DRT.

    Too much is made of "premium" and "hunting" bullets. Know the limitations of what you're using and shoot accordingly. If you're not sure, go big.
     
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  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I have a 6.5 CM I fire Federal 140 nontypicals thru, which I would put against any kind of deer.
     
  21. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    Where I hunt the cover is very thick laurel, and even a mortally wounded deer that can go 75 to 100 yards and will require several hours of crawling on hands and knees to recover. I want to drop the deer in its tracks. As shooting ranges are usually less than 50 yards, I use a .58 caliber muzzle loader and aim to break both shoulders. Since I started shooting with the 58 with that aim point I have not had to trail any deer (going on 16 deer now). I may lose some meat, but not having to blood trail the deer is worth it to me.
     
  22. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    I bet the .58 still doesn't lose as much meat as any of the modern cartridges, and drops them just as fast. I am a fan of the .58. However, I hunt about 90% of the time with my .62" flintlock (Jeager) which pretty much instantly drops anything, with minimal meat damage. But, I always take one of my .58" cap guns with me, just in case conditions get really wet, and I feel too lazy to keep my pan dry. My "rain-guns". (yes, I can keep my powder dry, in the rain, with a flintlock, when I really want to, or have to.) Anyhow, when I do hunt modern 10% of the time, (when I go with my son or a friend hunting modern season, and look for a cougar or bear while they look for deer or elk)(my deer and elk tags are both ML) usually something in .30WCF, or again, I'm very fond of my Trapdoor rifle and carbine which I only shoot with BP. But again, with a 7.92, .303, .30US, 7.65, a heavy round nose bullet is what works for me.
     
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  23. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    The only things I've seen shot with the larger Muzzleloaders have been feral goats, which while not very large (ok small), are irritatingly tough. I was impressed with how well the big round balls worked on those guys as long as they hit bone. I'd like to see how they fair on other game, but lacking any real desire to own one I'll have to wait till I see someone else using one.
     
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  24. Ugly Sauce

    Ugly Sauce Member

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    I hear ya, getting good results with muzzleloaders requires some time, patience, attention to detail, art, magic and the desire to do so!!! All surrounded by misinformation, bad advice, sub-standard or poor quality firearms, 62flash.jpg and re-processed opinions. :) But the rewards are great. That's my .62".
     
  25. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I'd be willing to bet neither shot was placed correctly.
    If it's brushy. I like larger bore guns. If it's far out. I like 6.5 or 7 mm.
     
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