4. re: deer hunting with 5.56/223.
I have no problem with the results that can be achieved in the hands of a cool shot who waits for the proper presentation. Who carries a .223 and thinks of it as a precision tool. There are modern bullets out there that can do amazing things. And shot placement is always number one, just number one "even more" in a smaller cartridge. I've used it myself on two occasions, once without planning and because I had to, and once as a normal deer stand rifle. In both cases, the deer went right down.
The problem I have is with just a blanket recommendation that ".223 is suitable for deer hunting." Like a general purpose, general use, just as effective as a .243 Win deer cartridge. I'm not comfortable doing that.
> The first reason is the obvious one, the bullet isn't very big. Ballistics are a step down from .243. Then the .223 gets even more of a problem in this same area by virtue of available factory ammo. If you could specify .223 with only the best premium bullets... I might be comfortable making it a general recommendation. But the public will bite you on this one every time. They will go into the gun store and buy a twenty round box of the cheapest soft points they have. They would pay the premium price for the great bullets for their 7mm Magnum but they just can't resist all the much cheaper ammo in 5.56 and .223.
> And the second reason one is actually the one I've noticed "in the field" personally. When they made .223 legal here and raised legal mag capacities, that sounded fine to me since I wouldn't have to try to find some kind of blocked mags or something. I could put a 15 round mag in my 6.8 AR even if I only loaded 5 rounds. But apparently Joe Average doesn't believe in carrying around all that "empty space" in his magazine. So you get the guys with Ruger Mini 14's and factory iron sights and fully loaded 30 round magazines. And .223 AK's. And lots of AR's. Which still should be ok.....
But in reality, how much time does Joe Average spend in the woods every year with a loaded rifle? Not talking about all you serious hunters. Not talking about people like me that live on our own property and hunt our own woods. But visit the public hunting areas that ring the major metro areas. I haven't done it in years and I'm not planning to go back. There are just too many city people that are overly excited about finally getting to carry their new rifle into the woods. But then get bored in no time at all when no deer conveniently show up. These are the guys who start shooting trees after a while just so they can enjoy shooting that rifle.
You put that type of hunter out in the woods by the thousands with .223 rifles and big mags and a whole lot of them end up shooting a whole string of fast shots at a running deer. Either missing it or actually injuring it but then it keeps going. These are the injured or dead deer I sometimes find on my property the first few days of deer season. Sure it's just anecdotal but these deer always seem to have _small_ holes in them. I never seem to find an injured a hiding deer and later find it has a 30/06 bullet somewhere in the body. It's always little holes that look like icepick stab wounds. One little deer had three of them and he still got away and hid on my land. Poor guy was trying hard to get away on three legs until I put a 5.56mm square into his brain and he died instantly.
Sorry, I rambled on and on. But if you are going to hunt with a .223... use the right bullet. And just because your magazine holds 20 or 30 rounds.... load it up with a lot less. And PLAN to only shoot one of them!! Don't be aiming that first shot and already prepping yourself inside for how fast you can get off your second or third shot!