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View Poll Results: What Is The Smallest Caliber ADEQUATE For Whitetail Deer?
larger 0 0%
.30 8 4.55%
.270 4 2.27%
6.5mm 9 5.11%
6mm/.243 104 59.09%
.22 41 23.30%
.20 3 1.70%
.17 3 1.70%
.14 4 2.27%
Voters: 176. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 2, 2009, 08:23 AM   #1
ryalred
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What Is The Smallest Caliber ADEQUATE For Deer?

A similar poll was posted on another forum and I thought it would be interesting to see what this group says.

What do you believe is the smallest caliber ADEQUATE for whitetail size deer? I don't mean what do you like to hunt with, but honestly, which to you believe is the smallest caliber a decent hunter/shot could use for whitetail deer?

There are people who are extremely poor hunters and such poor marksmen that they nearly need a cannon to kill a deer, but I'm talking about the average good deer hunter. What could would be the smallest caliber sufficient for them to take whitetail size deer.

Personally, I know that deer have been killed with .22lr, 17HMR, and etc, but I don't personally feel they are really adequate for hunting whitetail deer. There are others who feel that you shouldn't hunt with anything under 30 caliber, but I honestly believe anything over 30 caliber is overkill; however, I would uphold anyone's right to use as large a caliber as they want to hunt with.

My choice for the smallest caliber adequate for the whitetail deer would be the 6mm/.243.
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Old January 2, 2009, 08:42 AM   #2
taylorce1
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Personally I think you should have probably used the search function in this forum and over in the "The Hunt". Then you probably wouldn't have had to ask this question. All this does is bring out a lot of flaming of posts about hunters ethics.

Quote:
Personally, I know that deer have been killed with .22lr, 17HMR, and etc, but I don't personally feel they are really adequate for hunting whitetail deer. There are others who feel that you shouldn't hunt with anything under 30 caliber, but I honestly believe anything over 30 caliber is overkill; however, I would uphold anyone's right to use as large a caliber as they want to hunt with
You already have your answer in your mind, but you are not even thinking broad enough. Over .30 cal is overkill? What about .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .303 Brit, .32 Win Spcl, .35 Rem, .356 Win, .375 Win, .38-55 Win, .45-70, and many many other rounds that don't have the power or range of a standard .308/.30-06 cartridge yet are of larger bore diameter? All these cartridges have taken deer and while not as popular anymore some hunters still like to use them.

Personally I say read your States hunting regulations, base your cartridge selection off of what is legal in the State you will be hunting in. Then use the cartridge that you can shoot the most accurately. Truth be told all legal cartridges will do the job with proper bullet selection and proper shot placement. Don't get hung up on what is underkill and overkill there is only one kind of dead.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:04 AM   #3
snuffynra
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i belong to a lot of these forums,have for MANY years.i always thought thats what the forums are for,talking about firearms.the flaming post about ethics,animal cruelty,firearms,and lots of other subjects is part of hunting and owning firearms .when you participate in a sport that is hated by many and misunderstood by most you have to deal with it.i had some wild safari hunting charges on you tube last year,i had 2 million views on them.you tube took them down because of a few antis complaining.the antis would say they hoped my children got cancer and died.you dont get mad and argue .i just told them, kids were great but i was worried about getting cancer in my trigger finger?they finally got ignored enough by everyone and left.so dont worry about what some will say about your post.in that note,i would go with the 243 and i do hunt with one sometimes,i have a friend that uses 22 250 all the time.but if you dont get the perfect shot (which is many times)i just dont feel it has enough mass to cause tremendous damage.but like you said many have done it with smaller.on the over kill issue,i dont believe there is really too much gun,well maybe if your using 577 nitro express.for many years i used a 300 win mag for everything.and have shot some game that left pencil hole in and pencil hole out.how comfortable you are with the gun is more important then size.

Last edited by snuffynra; January 2, 2009 at 09:19 AM.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:10 AM   #4
KMO
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taylorce1 wrote,
Quote:
Truth be told all legal cartridges will do the job with proper bullet selection and proper shot placement.
Well, since this thread raises the issue of "proper bullet selection," why do you object to the question? Why don't you offer a reasonable opinion on the subject rather than criticize the OP for provoking thought?
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:14 AM   #5
jmr40
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With good soft point bullets a .223 or 22-250 will handle most deer just fine. In some parts of the North and Canada the deer weigh quite a bit more and a larger caliber is needed.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:35 AM   #6
Lloyd Smale
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even though the centerfire 22s will do the job. My vote goes to the 6mms. they allow for a much heavier bullet and are defineately better penetrators.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:39 AM   #7
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I'm sure you'll get different answers from different parts of the country but around here I've got no problem using a .223.
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Old January 2, 2009, 09:58 AM   #8
Art Eatman
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kmoffitt, it's sorta difficult for me to believe that somebody who posts such a poll has never, ever, been in a gunstore and listened to any of the discussions, or talked to deer hunters about what they use. Or never, ever read any Internet discussions on the subject.

Hard to believe that anybody this side of Teddy Kennedy would think that the smallest caliber suitable for a deer would be larger than a thirty, as the poll offers.

Then you get to the "One size fits all" factor. If Bambi's momma is headed my way, I'll pop her between the running lights at ten yards with my .17 Mach II and then go to gutting. If the buck of the century is out there across a canyon at 500 yards, I'll go to praying that my 7mmMag or '06 is enough. But, last I heard, there ain't no one size fits all...
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:03 AM   #9
JagFarlane
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Quote:
I'm sure you'll get different answers from different parts of the country but around here I've got no problem using a .223.
I think you hit the nail on the head with that statement. One must consider in the size of deer around the country. Where down in the SouthEast whitetails are rather small, almost the size of coyotes, up in the North they're much larger, so bullet size will be much different.
Personally I believe a .243 is bare minimum, but then again, I was taught to hunt in NJ, decent sized animals up that way.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:04 AM   #10
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A .22 Hornet right behind the ear beats a .338 in the butt.

A .30-06 is most likely enough for any North American game up to and possibly including slaying dragons if the hunter knows his and the rifle's limits.

Last edited by Bud Helms; January 2, 2009 at 08:17 PM. Reason: offensive language
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:25 AM   #11
taylorce1
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Quote:
Well, since this thread raises the issue of "proper bullet selection," why do you object to the question? Why don't you offer a reasonable opinion on the subject rather than criticize the OP for provoking thought?
I'm not really criticizing him, I just think if he had looked he would see how many threads have already been started on this subject. Sorry if I came across that way, but at least once a month this subject is broached examples are:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=.223+for+deer
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=.223+for+deer
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=.223+for+deer
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=.223+for+deer
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=.223+for+deer
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...=.223+for+deer

I could probably find you another 50 or so threads just on this too light/lightest caliber for deer. I can understand a new member not knowing how to use the search option but a senior member should. This thread just brings nothing new to the table other than more flaming on hunters ethics. I know we can't all get along on this subject, and it is one of the more heated topics on this forum. I would rank it up there with Zombie, Bigfoot, EOWAWKI, and SHTF topics.

What I meant by proper bullet selection is if you go a light caliber for any game you just need a better constructed bullet than a varmint bullet to do the job. All major bullet makers make a properly constructed bullet for the .224 caliber for deer, place that bullet where it belongs and it will bring down a deer.

We should focus on what legal calibers are and not worry so much about if non legal calibers will work. Sure you can kill a deer with a .17 and .22 caliber rimfire rifles but is it legal in anywhere in the United States? If it is legal then we can discuss it by why talk about things we know are illegal to use in deer hunting.

Last edited by taylorce1; January 2, 2009 at 04:52 PM.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:30 AM   #12
Savage99
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ryalred,

I voted 6.5 mm as I don't want to be held back as to what shot I can take. Of course animals can be killed with less but anyone can shoot a reasonable caliber.
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Old January 2, 2009, 10:52 AM   #13
snuffynra
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in ny state only size regulation is it must be a center fire firearm.
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Old January 2, 2009, 01:34 PM   #14
troy_mclure
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ive seen 4 deer killed this season with .204 ruger.

all 4 were head shots from over 200m.

its amazing the amount of damage that little bullet will do to a skull.
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Old January 2, 2009, 02:24 PM   #15
texfar
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I haven't even read a post, and did not vote for a simple reason. My Texas hill country deer go down with a sling shot. My buddy in Michigan is contending with 200 pound animals. IMO it is apples and oranges as to what to use. When I read the title, I knew that there would be all sorts of replies. Pure in simple shoot for what YOU shoot. Not my 100 pound white tail. Just my .02.
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Old January 2, 2009, 02:44 PM   #16
deermaster
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i ----saw----- a deer get shot with a 17 hummer. 50 yards, between the eyes. he dropped like a sack o rocks. bullet exited the skull on the back side and his head felt like jelly. adequate? very, in a good shooters hands, with a fairly close shot.
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Old January 2, 2009, 03:48 PM   #17
FrankenMauser
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... A very inconclusive poll, in my opinion.


There are many species of deer in the U.S., the world (we have members world-wide, remember), and MANY different restrictions on firearms and ammunition across all these areas.

Members from the mid-west and northern east coast are going to be responding in reference to small white tails.

Members from the south could be responding in reference to massive Alabama white tails, small white tails, or coastal white tails.

Members from the west will likely be responding in reference to mule deer, possibly black tails, and maybe even hybrid muley/white tail deer.

There is a vast difference between a mature 300 pound mule deer buck, and a mature 100 pound coastal white tail buck.

My .380 Auto pistol was a legal weapon in the area I hunted in Florida. Honestly... I felt it would have been more than adequate. They were over-grown dogs.

Out west, I carry a .270 Winchester, 8x57 mauser, or 7.62x39. Quite the opposite from what I felt I needed in Florida.


Provided the hunter knows his limitations and those of the weapon; I don't care what caliber anyone uses, as long as they make it count.
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Old January 2, 2009, 03:55 PM   #18
ZeroJunk
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I've shot more 400 pound hogs of my own and the neighbors than I can remember with a 22 LR between the eyes. Means nothing.
If you want to limit your shots to 50 yard shots between the eyes then that vastly expands the choice of cartridges on the small side.

Like Art says, if you stumble on a 180 class 250 pound buck quartering at 250 yards, good luck with the little stuff. Oh, I forget. Ya'll all pass on those shots.
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Old January 2, 2009, 04:09 PM   #19
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I've taken a few deer with my old .17 Rem, but I also knew the range that I was hunting at and all were head shots at less than 75 yards. Would the same caliber be effective on elk or moose? Hell no, but these Texas whitetails arent really all that big, unlike some of the heavier deer up north.

I have taken deer with a .220 Swift as well, and used HP and SP bullets with great results, but nowadays they have the .22 caliber Partition bullets, 60 gr I believe, and I believe those would be great deer medicine in that caliber.
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Old January 2, 2009, 04:26 PM   #20
T. O'Heir
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"...good soft point bullets a .223 or 22-250 will handle most deer just fine...need a better constructed bullet than a varmint.." If the bullet is not a varmint bullet, like taylorce1 says. Most factory ammo is loaded with varmint bullets. Varmint bullets not suitable for deer of any size. Mind you, you need the right bullet construction in a .243 or any other rifle.
"...probably find you another 50 or so threads..." On every firearm/hunting forum. Up here, in Ontario, any centrefire is legal. Alberta has a 6mm minimum calibre.
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Old January 3, 2009, 07:46 AM   #21
ryalred
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From Taylforce1:
Quote:
You already have your answer in your mind, but you are not even thinking broad enough. Over .30 cal is overkill? What about .357 Mag, .41 Mag, .44 Mag, .45 Colt, .303 Brit, .32 Win Spcl, .35 Rem, .356 Win, .375 Win, .38-55 Win, .45-70, and many many other rounds that don't have the power or range of a standard .308/.30-06 cartridge yet are of larger bore diameter? All these cartridges have taken deer and while not as popular anymore some hunters still like to use them.
You make an excellent point and I had initially thought of including such calibers as exceptions to my over 30 caliber statements, but didn't because I didn't want the post to be too long. But you are absolutely correct.

I suppose I did have my answer in my mind, but I wanted to see what others were thinking. THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR RESPONSES!
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Old January 3, 2009, 09:00 AM   #22
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I pretty much agree with the regulation in my state reguarding this. .22 cal centerfire or larger.
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Old January 3, 2009, 10:14 AM   #23
KMO
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Art Eatman wrote,
Quote:
kmoffitt, it's sorta difficult for me to believe that somebody who posts such a poll has never, ever, been in a gunstore and listened to any of the discussions, or talked to deer hunters about what they use. Or never, ever read any Internet discussions on the subject.
Oh, so we should automatically disqualify his thread because it is redundant? You could whittle down new threads on the FL to no more than 1 or 2 per day if that is your standard here. You know, Art, the FL administrators would do better to focus in on the one-uppers & arm-chair quarterbacks whose haughty arrogance is dragging down your forum.
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Old January 3, 2009, 12:24 PM   #24
44 AMP
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simple answer, covering it all

What ever your local state game laws say is the minimum legal caliber for deer.

Period. End of discussion.

Now, if you want to talk about which is the most effective caliber, and under what conditions, that is another issue, and another thread.
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Old January 3, 2009, 12:27 PM   #25
taylorce1
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Quote:
What ever your local state game laws say is the minimum legal caliber for deer.

Period. End of discussion.

Now, if you want to talk about which is the most effective caliber, and under what conditions, that is another issue, and another thread.
Thank You!
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