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Shot my first deer with the .223

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by MCgunner, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    It had good weight on it for around here, but only a 5 point. It didn't have any brow points on it.

    I rode my ATV back to the trail to my blind, walked the 40 or so yards on the trail to the blind. When I got there, there was a blue tick coon hound with a red collar sniffing around the sendero that my blind sits on. Then I saw another dog about 100 yards away back by the back fence. Hmm, well, I figured at least I'm hear. Can't kill anything if you're watching TV in the house. :D

    I was going to take my .308 as per normal, but I couldn't find my ammo for the gun. It'll show up, no doubt, after season. I'd been wanting to try the M4, anyway, and this was as good as any excuse to do so. It's first blood for the M4, which was really a political purchase rather than bought for hunting. But, it seems it can do the job.....at least at 30 yards. :D Ranges out here in the woods do not exceed 50 yards normally and I can't even see further than 100 yards except down the sendero on the neighbor's place.

    So, about 5 minutes after all this dog action, I hear something run right by my blind. It was the 5 point, ran out into the sendero about 30 yards and stopped. I put the M4 right on the point of his shoulder and the shot was angled, exited the back ribs on the other side. The exit wound was impressive for a .22. :D I'm handloading the Barnes 62 grain TSX and it's a MOA shooter in my Bushmaster which has a 1:8 twist barrel.

    The deer ran about 25 yards and stopped/fell over dead. Before you mention it, I got a pic on my phone and I'm too lazy to e-mail it to my other e-m addy and go through all that. :D The deer ain't impressive, anyway. I might have let it go, but I need the meat and I wanted to try the M4 on it.
     
  2. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Good job. The last 3 deer I killed were with 223- factory Hornady 75 grain BTHP match. 2 DRT, 1 ran 50 yards and went down for the count. For those who say the 223 isn't up to the task with deer, it seems you, me and plenty of other people have freezers full of venison that proves that theory as wrong.
     
  3. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Congratulations. I would rather shoot a deer with one point and a lot of weight because it means more meat than a deer with a lot of points and no meat. I have been hunting for more than 50 years and have never had the desire to mount any of them even the 12 pointer which has been my biggest. I've taken about 8 deer with my AR over the years and my go to round has been what FL-NC stated, the Hornady 75 gr BTHP match when it come to deer and hog hunting.
     
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  4. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    My experience also. The .223 does an excellent job on deer. You do not need an elephant gun to kill deer.
     
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  5. Paul7

    Paul7 Member

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    Good luck shooting a big northern whitetail with a .223.
     
  6. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Why does the size matter? They are anatomically identical. Even if the northern deer outweighs the Southern deer by 100 pounds, that mass isn't all concentrated on the vitals- its spread out over the larger surface area.
     
  7. ridgerunner1965

    ridgerunner1965 Member

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    a big deer can be much thicker and more heavily muscled than a smaller type deer. on perfect broadside shots at medium range this isn't always a problem.but it still can be..on quartering shots you may lack the penetration of a heavier bullet.resulting in lack of blood trail.

    big northern deer are often clad in thick layer of fat and very thick fur. the fat and fur can seal a smaller exit wound making blood trailing difficult

    I have shot several deer with a 223 and don't doubt its effectiveness. but when a big burly buck steps out at 300 yrds I want to be well armed for the occasion. I have killed several larger bucks at ranges that if armed with a 223 I would not of even pulled the trigger because I would not of ethically been able to do it.
     
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  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, range is important and as I've stated, ranges are short here. Also, this is Texas, not Saskatchewan. :D

    I normally hunt with a .308 if I use a modern rifle. This was my first with a .223. For years I poo fawed the .223 as inadequate. But, all the first hand testimony that it works plus the knowledge of the newer magic bullets, controlled expansion bullets, I've changed my mind, at least so long as ranges don't go much over 100 yards and with good shot placement.

    Anyway, now with a sample size of ONE, my testing is positive so far. :D
     
  9. entropy

    entropy Member

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    You're in the wrong state for that! :D Come up here; my first deer in 1980 in MN was a spike that weighed @180. Second ('81) was a forkhorn that weighed 220. When I lived down in TX, I saw many 10 and 12 pointers, but they looked about the size of a dog.
    I have yet to take a deer with .223, but my son has taken many, with 55 gr. V-max bullets.
     
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  10. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, guess what. I looked BACK in the SAME closet in the mud room that I KNOW I checked and, well, there was my 50 round box of .308 loaded up.

    Dangit, I hate getting old.
     
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  11. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    FWIW, I wouldn't push any 223, and probably not a 243 (my favorite deer round) past 300 yards due to energy bleed- not because my gun and I aren't up to it. I have seen the effects of the heavy 223 bullets on humans at ranges from less than 10 feet out to 400 meters, with good hits in the "bowling pin". The terminal effects greatly differ as energy is lost- even if you can hit the target. Fortunately, bad guys don't run as far or as fast as deer when hit before balling up, for the most part. Plus, they were bad guys- so ethical kill.
     
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  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    FWIW, I wouldn't push any 223, and probably not a 243 (my favorite deer round) past 300 yards due to energy bleed- not because my gun and I aren't up to it. I have seen the effects of the heavy 223 bullets on humans at ranges from less than 10 feet out to 400 meters, with good hits in the "bowling pin". The terminal effects greatly differ as energy is lost- even if you can hit the target. Fortunately, bad guys don't run as far or as fast as deer when hit before balling up, for the most part. Plus, they were bad guys- so ethical kill.
     
  13. entropy

    entropy Member

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    My son has done it 15 times, with 2 different guns, at ranges from 10 to 225 yards. All deer recovered after having gone no more than 50 yards. and all these shot with 55 gr. V-Max's, a bullet many wouldn't even consider for deer.
     
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  14. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I think people are realizing that .223 with the right bullet is a medium game round and not a just a varmint round.
     
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  15. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Wish the deer here grew that big. Most of my hunts are in West Texas and on occasion they get big but it is a roll of the dice. My biggest deer was a 12 pointer that weighted about 250 pounds. I hunt close to the Big Bend National Park where my brothers have land. We have some elk also but have not had any luck taking any here in Texas only in Montana and Colorado.
     
  16. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Wish the deer here grew that big. Most of my hunts are in West Texas and on occasion they get big but it is a roll of the dice. My biggest deer was a 12 pointer that weighted about 250 pounds. I hunt close to the Big Bend National Park where my brothers have land. We have some elk also but have not had any luck taking any here in Texas only in Montana and Colorado and New Mexico.
     
  17. ms6852

    ms6852 Member

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    Wish the deer here grew that big. Most of my hunts are in West Texas and on occasion they get big but it is a roll of the dice. My biggest deer was a 12 pointer that weighted about 250 pounds. I hunt close to the Big Bend National Park where my brothers have land. We have some elk also but have not had any luck taking any here in Texas only in Montana and Colorado and New Mexico.
     
  18. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    LOL, I should have mentioned that nearly all the deer I shoot are big deer. I hunt in Minnesota and have shot some pretty big deer. Several in the 250-300 range. I have posted a pic of a 14 pt. buck I shot and the .223 I shot it with. We don't shoot rabbits with antlers here. The very biggest deer are about 15 inches wide at the shoulders, the widest part. Most deer are under 12 inches in the ribs. Look at deer head on. Even the biggest deer are pretty skinny. I do limit my shots when I use a .223 to under 200 yards and don't take front quartering shots but those are not common shots anyway. To be sure I prefer a larger caliber usually. Whatever you hit the heart with will kill it caliber doesn't matter. If you just get a lung the .223 with a proper soft point expanding bullet does very well as it turns the lungs to mush. Big slow bullets like the slugs I sometimes use just make a big hole with much less tissue damage. Just the same. No caliber is a substitute for good shot placement.
     
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  19. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I never hunted the northern monster deer, but as I understand it, they are just bigger versions of our Southern deer, and I'm glad that you confirmed that this is true, since you have successfully shot and recovered these mutant deer with the 223. To hear some speak of them, they are the size of mastodons and wear level 4 body armor.
     
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  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Yes, exactly what happened with this deer, lungs came out as liquid. I'd only seen this before with the 7 mag at short range and, well, you sort of expect it. I wasn't expecting this with the .223. My shot was quartering, but I placed it perfectly on the point of the shoulder, came out the back ribs on the opposite side with a good exit wound. Range was only 30 yards. I could have picked out the tick I wanted to hit on his shoulder from that range. :D That Barnes bullet worked as advertised. :D

    Add to that, not much meat damage....unlike the previously mentioned 7 mag at 50 yards. However, my .257 and my .308 don't tear up much, either, great calibers and I'll likely take the .308 STILL as a matter of routine, now that I've found my ammo for it.

    Another reason I wanted to try the .223 at this time is recoil. I just came off cataract surgery on my other eye and wasn't supposed to be shooting a heavy recoil gun that early. Could have taken the 7.62x39, but I wanted to try the new M4. I've killed a couple already with the 7.62x39. There are those who think IT won't work, either. Well, it has for me. Everyone has their opinions. I don't have to tell you what opinions are like, right? :D
     
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  21. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    The .223 becomes far more capable with quality bullets.TSX being a prime example. As mentioned the limiting your range is a smart idea.
     
  22. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    223 has taken elephant, polar bear and grizzly, no deer on the planet is going to be a problem if bullets designed for big game are used and ranges are kept sensible.
     
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  23. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    As for the x39, I've killed deer with the SKS (had to sell my "good" guns at one point to pay lawyer's fees) and once with a mini 30 but the issues I had with it (in both guns) were poor accuracy and terminal performance (never got an exit wound with any soft point ammo I tried). I have had MUCH better luck with 223 in both areas.
     
  24. zdc1775

    zdc1775 Member

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    I too have had good luck using .223 for whitetails (6) and feral hogs (about 25). Shots from about 15 to 200 ish yards. Mostly 64 gr Winchester Power-Points. 5 of the deer were DRT, 1 ran about 50 yards. About 50/50 with the hogs.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Wolf/Tulammo 154 soft point is death to hogs. Never shot a deer with it, but my 135 Sierra Pro Hunter handloads killed 2 quite dead. Accuracy is...meh...with the 135 Sierra (which is no longer made) as it was a .308" bullet. It shot 3.5 MOA which will kill any deer to 100 yards. Now days, if I really wanted to work up another load, there are better choices in .311" soft point hunting bullets for the x39 than there were 25 years ago when I worked the previously mentioned load up.

    Accuracy on the 154 Wolf is 2.5 MOA from my SKS. Since it's readily available and cheap, I haven't messed with trying different handload bullets with this rifle. The 154 wolf is cheap and effective. I have relegated this rifle to night hunting duties for hogs and ranges will not be long.

    http://www.sgammo.com/product/tula/100-round-lot-762x39-soft-point-154-grain-non-corrosive-tula-ammo
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017 at 6:35 PM
  26. Geno
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    Geno Member

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    Congrats on a successful hunt! It sounds like a great, ethical shot, and it added meat to your diet...win-win!

    Geno
     

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