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Lowest Caliber for Deer

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Aaryq, Jun 5, 2007.

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  1. Aaryq

    Aaryq Member

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    Howdy folks. In ND (my home state before I joined the Corps) they just changed the laws that say you CAN hunt deer with a .223. I've heard almost across the boards that a .223, unless you have great shot placement is no good for deer. For you deer hunters, what rifle caliber would you consider the bare minimum for putting down a deer safely and humanely at 50 to 150 yards?
     
  2. Chawbaccer

    Chawbaccer Member

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    I think the general concensus is that the 243= 6mmRem is about the minimum ethical round. In West Virginia we can use any centerfire round. 17 Rem, 22 Hornet etc.
     
  3. huntinstuff

    huntinstuff Member

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    I would x2 Chawbaccer on that one.....243/6mm minimum. Yes a well placed 223 will do the job, but I think we owe the animal a bit more than that.
     
  4. Kimber1911_06238

    Kimber1911_06238 Member

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    in CT .243/6mm is the minimum...i prefer a caliber that starts with a 3..... like .30-06
     
  5. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    3rd in the afirmative for the 6mm round as the commonly accepted minimum
     
  6. koja48

    koja48 member

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    6mm/.243 again.
     
  7. Clipper

    Clipper Member

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    Around here you'll get the hairy eyeball from everyone if you go under .243, but then, my uncle had 100% success for 30 years or so with neck shots from a .218 Bee...
     
  8. ~z

    ~z Member

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    .224s will do the job plenty well at the range you mentioned. I dont see where .019" and 30-40gn makes one that superior to the other. Shot placement it critical either way. If you feel the shot is not "doable" with a .223, I fail to see how .243 will make all the difference, sorry.
    ~z
     
  9. twoblink

    twoblink Member

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    I have always followed "Rule of 3" for Deer; use a caliber that starts with "3" minimum..
     
  10. Alagator

    Alagator Member

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    The problems I've seen with the .223 were due to the inexperience of the shooter. Because of the mild recoil, it is selected for a kid's first deer gun, usually with a full-length stock. A recipe for inhumane hits. I got called out one night to track down and finish a bad job like that.:( Talked the dad into getting a .243 with a cut-down stock, and buying lots of ammunition for the kid to practice.
    I had a friend, a professional coyote killer, who routinely dropped mule deer with a .22-250. The law can't tell the difference between the kid and the killer, and I would have to go with a minimum of .243/6mm just to prevent poor shot placement with the .223.
     
  11. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Lets see,

    I've taken one deer with a 222 Remington, one shot through the chest at 80 to 100 yards.

    I've taken two deer with a 22-250 Remington one of which was DRT at 360 yards.

    I think .224 caliber centerfires are perfectly adequate for deer as long as the correct bullets are use and placed well.

    Now, maybe I'll see how a 22 LR or 17 HMR does. A bullet from either placed in or behind the ear should work.
     
  12. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I've always had the attitude that if I saw a really good buck, I didn't want to worry about angling shot, neck shot or 90-degree cross-body--nor, to a reasonable degree, distance. So, I've tended to favor 30-caliber.

    If I impose certain limitations, I'll happily use lesser cartridges. I've killed a lot of deer with a .243, but I was really picky about my shots, and I never shot at a running deer.

    Today's bullets provide better material to work with, in the smaller diameters. In .22 stuff, there are now 70-grain (+/-) bullets that are dependable on deer. That said, however, I'd still limit myself against angling shots and longer distances.

    Overall, though, a lot depends on circumstance. I've had deer lie down beneath my tree stand. I 99.99% could have collected supper with a .22Short. (Did you know that an old doe's skin will just twitch like crazy when you drop little pieces of bark on her? It took five minutes of doing just that before she finally went away to nap somewhere else. :D )

    Art
     
  13. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

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    What?

    No offence, but I don’t know what type of deer that you are shooting at, but we have some of the largest in the north east and many have fell cleanly to sub 30 caliber rounds. I think that the .243, .257’s, 6mm’s, 6.5mm’s, .260’s, 270’s, 7mm's 280, et al do a fine job on deer. A 30-30 puts nowhere near the energy on target as most of those rounds, but should we never field them because they are sub-30? I think not.

    Back on topic, I think that the .243 is considered the minimum for “ethical harvesting” of deer.
     
  14. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    I don't hunt but dad brought home multiple clean kills every year with a Remington 760 chambered in .243 Winchester. I can recall a few that had second shots and a couple of "chased that deer all over creation" stories but the vast majority of them were either DRT or DRQ (dead real quick) hits.
     
  15. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    How is a 30-30 a sub-30 caliber?:confused:
     
  16. skeeter1

    skeeter1 Member

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    .243/6mm is a good choice and doubles as a decent varmint cartridge.

    If you like leverguns, a .357 Magnum would be the minimum, and a .44Mag would be better, and I don't think anyone ever went wrong with a .30-30.
     
  17. DogBonz

    DogBonz Member

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    It is not

    What I was saying was that a 150gr slug fired from a 30-30 is doing what? maybe 2000 fps? That equals about 1335 f/lbs at the muzzle.

    A 270 will fire a 140gr bullet clocking 2700 fps for 2265 f/lbs at the muzzle. Now, I’m no mathematician, but that means that a 270 will deliver 930 more f/lbs than the 30-30.

    What I was getting at was that just because a round was 30 cal or larger, does not mean that it will kill a deer any better or faster or cleaner or more humanely that a round that in sub 30 caliber… Meaning smaller, like .277 in the above example.

    Disclaimer: I am at work, so the fps numbers are off of the top of my head, but would not change enough to make the given example not true. This also was in no way meant to take away from the 30-30. I feel that it is a great round for the task at hand and has probably killed more deer than most other calibers combined. I love the 30-30 and have one in the safe that I have many, many fond memories of, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are other calibers out there that will kill deer just as dead that are smaller.
     
  18. hankpac

    hankpac Member

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    NOT recommending this, but I know that a LOT of deer have been taken with a 22 LR. It's vastly underpowered, but poachers, native americans, and all sorts of hunters have taken deer with this round. Often used in the backyard for winter larder replenishment. Never done it myself , of course.:D
    As to a .223, a 55 gr lead tip, jacketed round (commonly known as a soft point) will go clean through a deer's chest, hitting ribs on both sides, and exploding the heart. It will do the job.
    I prefer an arrow, after all is said and done, and haven't used any of my rifles for killing deer or elk in 10 years.
     
  19. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Yea, but an arrow just zips right through and doesn't expand at all.
     
  20. MudPuppy

    MudPuppy Member

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    For the goat sized deer that I've seen in this area, a .223 seems fine to me. My brother took two last year and they went down as quick as the ones hit with the 30.30.

    I use a 308 mainly, but that way more than I need for the size of game and the distances I shoot. (but I like that particular rifle an awful lot.)
     
  21. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, the over-population of deer in the general hill country area around Austin has them stunted down to near-varmint size. Through the 1960s, bucks to 140 pounds, field dressed, weren't all that uncommon. By the late 1970s, it was getting rare for one to dress out to 100 or more, and many were dressing out to around 70 pounds. A .223 is plenty big for those "greyhounds". :D

    Art
     
  22. stevelyn

    stevelyn Member

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    Folks out here in the bush kill caribou out to 200 yrds all the time with .223s. Neighbor lady did one last year. Just make you use a good bullet in the 55+ gr range and pick your shots.
     
  23. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I'm aware of one deer that was put down with a .22 Colibri. (!)

    I would absolutely NOT try it myself.

    People have been killing deer for thousands of years with pointy sticks, so I see no reason that a carefully placed shot with most .22 centerfires - including .223s - won't do. (Choose your bullet type carefully.)
     
  24. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    I deer hunt with a .243 and 7mm WSM most of the time and occasionally break out the old 30-06. I would say that the bare minimum for an inexperienced hunter should probably a .243 if the shooter can handle the recoil. That said, I have killed more than a few deer with rounds much weaker than a .223. Shot placement and shot selection are the keys.
     
  25. Shadow Shock

    Shadow Shock Member

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    I have killed nearly all my deer with the .223, however I have also used the
    .222. in my state of Texas, more deer have been taken with a .22lr than anything else. Second place goes to the much more potent .30-30
     
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