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Old June 16, 2007, 09:49 AM   #1
dbgun
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Deer hunt w/.223

Anyone hunt deer with .223 caliber rifle? I have a Mini-14
that I'd like to use this coming deer season. I normally hunt
with a Remington .270 (5-shot/1.25" groups/100yds). All
the shots that I can take from my deer stand aren't past
100 yds.

If you do use .223 rifle, do you take head or neck shots?
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Old June 16, 2007, 10:49 AM   #2
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I have seen more deer shot with the .223 than with any other cartridge. Some people consider it a neck shot only deal, but I'm not in that camp. If you use an adequate bullet, it will perform just fine using it as you would any other caliber.

Within 100 yards, it will make short work of any deer found in Texas (probably any other place as well.) I would limit myself to 300 yard shots with an accurate rifle, but that is pretty much the outside of my abilities with any other rifle either.

I know many people think it is inferior for medium-sized game, but I have seen it work too many times to buy that. I have never personally used it, because I'm not set up to. But if I had one with an adequate twist for heavier bullets, I'd use it in a heartbeat.
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Old June 16, 2007, 02:50 PM   #3
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It's fine...you are getting ready to stir up a hornets nest conversation on hunting ethics though...so Don't say i didn't warn you...The only down side is the lack of blood trail if you don't get an exit. If you do get an exit, the wound is very significant. The key is using the right TYPE of bullet. Most bullets manufactured in that caliber are designed for varnments, and are designed to blow into a gagillion pieces of tiney shrapnel. You don't want to use those. Use a good soft point, or federal's hpbt using Sierra Game King bullets. The jacket is thicker and should do it's job. I hunt w/ a 22-250. If you search my posts, you'll see some graphic pix of a little deer I shot this past season w/ it. granted, the 22-250 has a bit more umph behind it, but the 223 is still good.
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Old June 16, 2007, 08:28 PM   #4
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Castnblast said it true, you probably just got alot of people itchin to state that the 223 is not enough gun for a 200 pound white tail. Trust me it will put one down. Use the heaviest bullet that you can get and shoot normal. Rumor has it that it will also stop a 200 pound insurgent on opium that also shoots back. I just never understood why it is ok to use this round on people but not good enough on deer.
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Old June 16, 2007, 09:50 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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As has been commented in numerous other threads on this subject, modern bullet technology has made it feasible to use centerfire .22s on deer.

Yes, I'd limit myself to head or neck shots, and possibly cross-body shots on smaller deer at relatively close range. I'd not take angling shots where deep penetration is a requisite, nor take running shots. That's been my style for some 35+ year with a .243; why change?

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Old June 16, 2007, 11:15 PM   #6
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Folks up here including myself (sometimes) hunt caribou with a .223. Just use a good bullet and pass on marginal shots.
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Old June 17, 2007, 12:20 AM   #7
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Use the ...

Winchester mfg'd 64 gr spire point for hunting.
Take time and wait for a GOOD shot, no spray&pray.
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Old June 18, 2007, 03:39 PM   #8
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I've shot a couple of doe's with my Mini 14 and I just aim for their ear. Puts them right down. 2 1/2 months till dove season opens. Can't hardly wait.
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Old June 18, 2007, 06:44 PM   #9
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The key, key factor, other than shot placement, is bullet construction. The reason that .223 is ordinarily such a bad choice for deer hunting is not because it's too weak - it's marginal perhaps, but not too weak - the reason is because uneducated people will use milsurp ball ammo in 55 or 62 gr bullets, or light varminter bullets, instead of good hunting bullets - the ball or fragmenting ammo is the culprit which causes poor performance and wounding. You'll get strong opinions on both sides, but I have changed my tune in the last few years and think that .223 is enough for our smaller southern deer, *IF*, and ONLY IF you are using expanding soft point (or ballistic tip) hunting bullets. Even with vitals shots. Still, if/when I hunt deer with my .223, as I plan to, I'm going to use neck shots only just in case, and use Win Powerpoint 64 grain ammo, or handloads. Oddly enough, I'd rather have a .223 than a .22-250 *IF* making a vitals shot on a deer, because it can penetrate better (being both slower and having a better choice of heavy bullets due to common twist rates of 1 in 9 and such). But *IF* on the other hand, I was going for neck shots only, I'd prefer a .22-250 with a light fast bullet, over a .223. Still, if all I have is a .223, and no .22-250, then all things being equal, I'd rather take the neck shot over the vitals shot, in case it's quartering toward - don't want to have to go through bone. All depends on the specifics.

So bottom line, go for it - but please please use good quality bullets/ammo - NOT military ball (spire point) or varminter ammo. Use a 62-75 grain hunting bullet. As I say, the Winchester PowerPoint 64 is a decent deer load. If you do shoot at a deer's vital zone, wait for the broadside or preferably, the *slightly* quartering away shot - not quartering toward, and not heavily quartering away (more than about 30 degree angle) . If the deer is broadside, take the shot when the near leg moves forward, to move the bone out of the way, in case you shoot too far forward accidentally.

Now, if I ever make it to Alberta, CAN, or anywhere up that far, I'm going to use a .243 bare minimum, and probably a .270. Them deer get up to 300 lbs!! The biggest deer I've shot around here was only 123 lbs field-dressed (in Eastern OK), and most does are only 85-90 lbs mature. Now they do get quite a bit bigger in Western OK, however....

Last edited by FirstFreedom; June 19, 2007 at 07:39 PM.
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Old June 18, 2007, 08:25 PM   #10
Jack O'Conner
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Oh yes, I've seen first hand what a well placed high velocity 64 grain bullet does to deer chest innerds.

FACT: The chest wall thickness of even a really big muley buck is shallow compared to elk or moose. Doesn't take a lot of bullet to knock through a rib and destroy both lungs.

FACT: Most folks can hit an apple size target at 100 yards every time using a good .223 rifle and very little coaching. Understand that this is from a concrete bench rest.

FACT: Winchester's 64 grain bullet and Nosler's 60 grain Partition hold together like good big game bullets should. Penetration is nothing short of amazing!

But I agree that bad angle shots must be avoided. Ideally, the .223 hunter takes a broadside presentation and passes all other shooting angles. For the hunter who lacks this discipline, I strongly recommend a larger cartridge such as the moderate recoil 30-30 or 44 MAG carbine.

Good hunting to you.
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Last edited by Jack O'Conner; June 18, 2007 at 08:25 PM. Reason: small error
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Old June 18, 2007, 11:17 PM   #11
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Also keep in mind its illegal in some states like here in WA. A .24 cal or larger is required. Personaly I dont see the problem. If we consider it good enough to kill people then it should be good enough for deer. And it is.
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Old June 19, 2007, 09:16 AM   #12
Art Eatman
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jhg, laws don't change as fast as technology. Remember, really adequate bullets haven't been available all that long.

The next problem, from the standpoint of the wildlife folks, is knowledge among the .223 users: Not everybody yet realizes the difference between the varmint-style 50- and 55-grain bullets compared to the ones mentioned by Jack, above.

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Old June 19, 2007, 02:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
The key, key factor, other than shot placement, is bullet construction.
+1

You'd be best off with a premuim hunting bullet like a Nosler Partition (federal), Barnes X (Cor-bon). Those are built to do the job. Other bullets will work, but with these you reduce the risk of a wounded deer.
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Old June 19, 2007, 02:22 PM   #14
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I volunteer to be the dissenting voice. Most hunters should avoid 223 for medium game hunting.
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Old June 19, 2007, 06:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
I volunteer to be the dissenting voice. Most hunters should avoid 223 for medium game hunting
Yea, but the .223 has around 800 ft-lbs KE at 200 yrs. 800 ft-lbs is considered minimum for deer sized game. Why shouln't anyone use it within its range?
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Old June 19, 2007, 06:39 PM   #16
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Why do you think there is a minimum? I've nicked ribs and had 7mm ballistic tip do obscene things. I sure ain't gonna try that with a 223. I think there are a bunch of apologists steppin' up to the plate on this one.
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Old June 19, 2007, 07:02 PM   #17
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The object is to dispatch the animal as quickly as possible.The notion that your .223 will work as efficiently as your 270 on inevitable marginal shots defies physics.Of course those who claim they can shoot 1 inch groups free standing at 200 yards in a hurricane are exempt from accepted minimums.
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Old June 20, 2007, 12:59 AM   #18
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Old June 20, 2007, 03:12 AM   #19
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Granted, one should know their limitations, but I've dropped deer with a 223. I only go for head shots with that caliber, but that's a completely different can of worms.
I doubt I'd ever take a shot over 150 yards though.
Quote:
Of course those who claim they can shoot 1 inch groups free standing at 200 yards in a hurricane are exempt from accepted minimums.
That's easy, I can do that shooting from the hip.
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Old June 20, 2007, 02:38 PM   #20
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Last year I was sort of forced into using a .22-250 and .223 for deer. The .308 was kind of acting up. I took down a buck and a doe both within 150 yards. They dropped and didn't move a whole lot after that. On the buck I had to take a spine shot. The doe got it in the lungs/heart.
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Old June 20, 2007, 07:36 PM   #21
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A friend of mines daughter uses a 223, and has yet to not take a deer (buck) for the last 3 years. I also know of an a-hole that has shot deer with a 17 cal., i say a-hole because its against the law in Okla..The .22 cal. is legal, but shes a little bigger now an ready for a 243, we think. My own daughter is thinking of deer hunting (and for a 14 year old she is a very tiny girl) and the 223 may get passed around, if so there will not be ant varmint bullets being shot, or fmjs. The legal weight here is 55gr, heavier is better.
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Old June 21, 2007, 03:44 PM   #22
dbgun
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DEER HUNT w/.223

Thanks for the opinons & advice. As I mentioned before, all
my shots are at/inside 100 yrds. I was planning on using the 75 grain hollow point boat-tail ammunition from Hornady. Most of the deer on are lease run in the 80 to 110
pound range, which should be a problem with a well placed
neck or head shot.
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Old June 22, 2007, 11:23 AM   #23
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My family in is the U.P. of Michigan. Deer up there are bigger than the deer in Texas. My mom has hunted with a .222 for the past 18 years and has nevere failed to fall a deer. Everyone in my family only shoot neck shots and we very rarely have to track down our deer, it's usually DRT but no more than 15-20 yards away. As has been said it all comes to shot placement and your comfort with your abilities. The last deer I took 11/2006 was with my dads .243(I usually use my Marlin 30-30 but had to leave it in AZ), dressed out at about 150lbs., neck shot DRT.
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Old June 22, 2007, 11:43 AM   #24
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My wife took a doe @ 55 yards with a .223 60 gr NP in the boiler room. It ran 50 yards, piled up and died within a minute.
Quote:
Why do you think there is a minimum? I've nicked ribs and had 7mm ballistic tip do obscene things. I sure ain't gonna try that with a 223. I think there are a bunch of apologists steppin' up to the plate on this one.
No apologies here. You're right, there is a mimum for a reason. But the 223 is above that minimum until around 150 - 200 yards depending on the load. And what you're describing is bullet failure, not cartidge failure. Ballistic tips are made to expand fast and have been known to over-expand and fail to penetrate.

dbgun - I'd strongly recommend you go with a premuim hunting bullet like a Nosler partition or Barnes X. That hollow point design might over-expand or fragment if you take a shot at close range. IMHO it's the premium bullet that allows the .223 to be an acceptable deer cartridge within its range.
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Old June 22, 2007, 11:58 AM   #25
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Wayfaring Stranger-got your pm. Just sent reply, regards.
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