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Old July 22, 2011, 11:13 PM   #1
BigShep85
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Deer hunting with an AR 223/5.56 practical?

I have always been a bow hunter and never much with a rifle but I have been on the fence of getting a n ew rifle and giving it a shot my two choices are an AR 223/5.56 or a remington 700 .308 for deer hunting. Rifle hunting has always seemed so easy to me I have been debating on getting an AR 223/5.56 with 1 in 9 twist and taking it hunting this year it seems to me this would hold a bit more of a challenge but I am not really sure if it would be practical or all of the downfalls it holds. any advice or suggestions?
Or does anybody hunt with an AR of this type?
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Old July 22, 2011, 11:28 PM   #2
nathaniel
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Yup I sure do, I use a DPMS AP4 with a nikon prostaff 3-9x40. I have two brothers that also use AR's. My oldest brother got a nice buck with his (the picture is floating around on this forum). If you keep it within a practical range and can shoot it well and its legal in your state then you shouldnt have any problems using it for deer.
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Old July 22, 2011, 11:33 PM   #3
SauerJackson
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No, not a great choice. There is alot of good bullet types out there, and you can kill a deer with one. But the last time I did that, I "missed" several big-uns because that little tiny bullet is so easily deflected. The Next year I went back out with my Tikka .308 n tagged a buck and doe that season from the same spots! I love my AR, but I'm never doing that again, at least not with the 5.56 upper......
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Old July 22, 2011, 11:37 PM   #4
m17s_guy
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^ +1

also, consider the weight factor. Most "Black" rifles weigh in a couple pounds more than their bolt action brothers. and lugging the extra 2 pounds around the woods can get tiresome.
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Old July 23, 2011, 12:34 AM   #5
BIG P
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YES I hunt with a Stag 20'' ar 15 556/223 and have for awhile now, the 1in9 works well up to about 70gr.in mine some may differ.bucks here go from 90 to 200lbs,doe's from 75 to 150.As long you stay inside 150 yards it does pretty well have taken guite a few & had to track a few. good shoot placement is a must.But most AR'S shoot real well if you do your part.They're different to hunt with but I enjoy it.
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Old July 23, 2011, 01:51 AM   #6
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I consider the 5.56 a varmint cartridge. I have a couple of AR-15s in 5.56 and several big game rifles in .308 Win, .30-06, and .303. The right tool for the right job. Others can disagree.
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Old July 23, 2011, 02:46 AM   #7
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I find that I am most effective hunting all big game (elk, pigs, deer for me) with the same rifle. Although the 5.56 may kill deer OK, I would prefer something a bit heavier for elk and large hogs. So if you like the familiarity of hunting with one rifle, and you may want to go after something larger than deer, I'd prefer the .308.
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Old July 23, 2011, 03:23 AM   #8
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Yes as others have said it can be done. It just makes shot placement more crucial than if you were using a bigger caliber.

I love how bow hunters always try and act like rifle hunting is so easy. Ever tried taking one at 300+yds (don't give me that crap "your not a real hunter if you can't get them to come in bow range" BLAH BLAH BLAH

I like taking them from the other side of a bean field, but that's just me.
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Old July 23, 2011, 05:56 AM   #9
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#1 is unethical and #2 it's illegal in many states.
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:16 AM   #10
Art Eatman
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The R&D in bullet technology has made .22 centerfires far more useful on deer-size animals than even ten years back. Even so, a user should exercise restraint as to distance and should be much more careful about the type of shot which is taken.

As example, I have killed some two-dozen bucks with my .243. I use the 85-grain Sierra HPBT, which is rather light for the cartridge and the bullet disintegrates rapidly. I limit myself to neck shots and cross-body heart/lung shots; no angling shots. And, generally, I figure on 200 yards or less--which is the most common sighting, anyway.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:51 AM   #11
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If you deer hunt with a .223, you are handicapping yourself; your weapon becomes the limiting factor similar to handgun, bow, and black powder hunting. You should plan for a minimum of 1000 ft/lbs of energy at the maximum range that you want to shoot. The .223 does have 1000 ft/lbs at 100 yards, but not much past that.
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:18 AM   #12
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Let’s see here. Will the .223 kill a deer? Yes, with the right bullet placement and at the right distance, if the shooter does his part. Will the .308 do a better job time and time again? You dang right, with less room for error. I have an AR in 6.8 SPC, but never have had the desire to try it on deer. One of my bolt guns from 7MM-08 to 300 WIN MAG is the firearm of choice in the thick woods where I hunt. If a hunter only owned an AR in .223 and wanted to try it, then it would be different. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against anyone using that caliber or an AR for deer. Different strokes for different folks, we have a choice in this country on many things and sometimes that just makes decisions harder.
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Old July 23, 2011, 11:55 AM   #13
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What sub-species of deer are you hunting?

Mule deer - HELL NO! Muleys are too big, and shots of 300 yds + are the norm, not the exception. I use a .270 in a 5 shot Browning semi auto.

White-tailed deer - maybe, definitely not ideal. Some areas where I hunt whiteys, you are shooting at an animal that weighs less than 200 lbs, and a shot that is 50 yards or less. Other areas, I'm shooting at a 250 lb whitey at 200 yrs or more. I use a .243 in a 5 shot Browning semi auto.

Black-tailed deer - you betcha. I live in Washington State and we have black-tailed deer. A big black tailed, soaking wet, might weigh 140 lbs, and often they are in thick cover = shorter shots. I've taken a few black tails with my AR-15, I actually prefer it because I think my .243 is overkill.
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Old July 23, 2011, 12:02 PM   #14
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As has already been stated here a .223 will kill a deer, even a 22LR will kill a deer, but shot placement is critical with both. A neighbor of mine always hunted with an AR, was an excellent shot and killed many deer with it. He was always careful to get just the right shot in the right place, unlike many who just shoot for deer. In his hands an AR was fine for deer hunting, but not so with others.

Over the years I’ve killed deer with everything from a 22LR to 45/70, but never used an AR, bolts and levers have always been my choice. Caliber choice for me has always been .243, .270 or 30/06, all adequate for the job at hand.
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Old July 23, 2011, 12:17 PM   #15
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I sure wouldn't recommend using the 223 for deer, though the Texas deer are a good bit smaller than the Louisiana deer that I used to hunt. But, if somebody is bound and determined to do it, use the 60 grain Nosler Partition or the Barnes bullet, or maybe the 65 gr Sierra Gameking (which I've used on some decent sized pigs). Either one of those should exit the deer and do the job for you, though you might need to do a little blood trailing. But if you're a poor shot and one of those guys that can't track a bleeding elephant through a snowdrift, get a bigger gun.
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Old July 23, 2011, 01:13 PM   #16
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In my state it is illegal to hunt deer with a .223 caliber.

While it certainly can be done, a larger caliber is likely to be more effective over a wider variety of field circumstances.

My hunting buddy uses an AR-15 rifle chambered for 6.8mm, which IS legal in my state. It is an effective deer rifle, my only critique is that 6.8mm ammunition is not easily found for sale in our area. If you need some, it may be difficult to find it quickly.

On the whole, the .308 is likely to be a better hunting round, simply because it is effective across a wider range of species (black bear, elk, mountain lion, etc.), ranges, and field conditions (quartering shots, etc.). A bolt action .308 is a pretty common rifle type, and ammunition is easily found nearly anywhere. (That said, I hunt with an AR rifle chambered for .308. It is a bit heavier than a bolt gun, but I consider the weight difference to be worth the other benefits that my rifle provides.)

Your mileage may vary.

Best,

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Old July 23, 2011, 01:35 PM   #17
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A 223 softpoint will kill any deer in North America within reasonable ranges, (200 or less for me). Yes you do have limitations, but there is absolutely nothing unethical about using a 223 with proper ammo. It is certainly a better killer on deer than a bow. And I'm a bow hunter as well.

Quote:
Most "Black" rifles weigh in a couple pounds more than their bolt action brothers. and lugging the extra 2 pounds around the woods can get tiresome.
Two of the 3 AR's I own are lightweights that will shoot Sub MOA to over 200 yards. The scoped rifle weighs 7 1/4 lbs. Less than most scoped bolt rifles. The unscoped rifle is 6.5 lbs. About 1/2 lb lighter than a Winchester 30-30.

I rarely use my AR's for hunting because most of the places where I hunt offer the opportunities for bear as well. If I were in a deer only location I'd have no problems using it.
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Old July 23, 2011, 01:38 PM   #18
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The 5.56mm is not for me when it comes to deer sized game. Yes, I know it can and has been done, but IMO there are better choices for the same weight in a rifle. My sporterized Swedish Mauser weighs only about 7.5 pounds
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Old July 23, 2011, 02:39 PM   #19
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During on Michigan bow season, my brother "took a dive" from about 30 feet up when the branch he was standing on broke. He injured his arm and broke ribs. He found when rifle season came, that he was still in too much pain to use his 30-06 for deer. So he positioned himself next to a blow-down log with the early AR-15 across it and proceeded to take a white tail shooting one handed. If a .223 can be expected to kill a human, it can be expected to kill deer. It just needs to used with the precision that all deer hunting should have applied. What is the problem? I have used my 6mm Remington and .257 Roberts in such a precise manner (only shoot through the ribs where the vital organs are (heart, liver, lungs), and you will not have to worry about "that little extra advantage", a poor shot gives a larger caliber.
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Old July 23, 2011, 03:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
It is certainly a better killer on deer than a bow.
^^^We will have to agree to disagree on this.


Will a 223 kill a deer? Yes it will, so will a 22, and you can beat on stuff with a wrench but that doesn't make it the right tool for the job.

As for comparing the use cartridges on people and deer, would you hunt deer with a 380 or a 32? A weapon for use on people has a different set of priorities than one used for hunting. I can only speak for myself but I see it as my responsibilty to put an animal down quickly with one shot. Without question, a 308 does that much better than a 223.

Here is a scenario for you. A big buck steps out at 200 yards right as it is getting dark and he is quartering towards you. Which rifle do you want?
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Old July 23, 2011, 03:20 PM   #21
buck460XVR
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Quote:
Rifle hunting has always seemed so easy to me
Rifle hunting for deer is easy. One reason I only hunt whitetails anymore with bow, handguns or carbines in handgun calibers. Even then it's not that difficult. If .223 is legal in your state, and you are aware of it's(and your) limitations, I say go for it. After all, in today's USA, where nobody needs to hunt to survive, it's all about the hunt and not the kill. Since the .223 is a very accurate round in most platforms, as long as you do your part, correct bullet placement should not be a problem.


Quote:
I love how bow hunters always try and act like rifle hunting is so easy. Ever tried taking one at 300+yds
300 yard shots on a target as big as a deer can be easily made with most any modern $400 gun with a $75 scope mounted on top. Not the challenge it used to be when all that was available was grandpa's .32 Winnie special or your Uncle's Model '97 filled with paper hulled slugs. Back in the days when I felt I NEEDED to make a kill in order to prove to others I was a viable hunter, I carried an old M1917 that rarely, if ever missed. Nowadays, I really have nuttin' to prove to others and coming home empty just means I get another chance to go back out. If one prefers to use a high powered rifle for deer, I have no problem. It's their hunt and their kill. But compared to even today's high tech compound bows, deer hunting with a modern high powered rifle is relatively easy.
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:41 PM   #22
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IMO there are alot more deer lost every year do to hunters/shooters not doing there part, than there is lost because the gun or size of bullet did'nt do its job.
I go to the cooler every year a few times on opening week to see what comes in,I'm sure you would be surprized about the number of deer that are either Gut shot,hind quater,front leg,back strap blown out.Just flat ass poor shooting.Then its go home for these guys get on the net & bad mouth the gun and round.Its easy to blame the equipment when its really poor hunting/shooting skills.Man thats hard to own up to aint it ?
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Old July 23, 2011, 10:03 PM   #23
jmr40
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Quote:
It is certainly a better killer on deer than a bow.

^^^We will have to agree to disagree on this.


Will a 223 kill a deer? Yes it will, so will a 22, and you can beat on stuff with a wrench but that doesn't make it the right tool for the job.

As for comparing the use cartridges on people and deer, would you hunt deer with a 380 or a 32? A weapon for use on people has a different set of priorities than one used for hunting. I can only speak for myself but I see it as my responsibilty to put an animal down quickly with one shot. Without question, a 308 does that much better than a 223.

Here is a scenario for you. A big buck steps out at 200 yards right as it is getting dark and he is quartering towards you. Which rifle do you want?
Every weapon has it's limitations. My bow, handguns, 308, even my 7mm Rem mag. I know those limitations and accept them when I walk into the woods with the weapon I've chosen for that day's hunt. I wouldn't attempt a 300 yard shot with the bow, handgun or a 223. With the 308 or 7 mag yes. A 223 with proper ammo is a MUCH better deer killer at 200 yards than any bow at 50 yards. I know guys who have sold off all their rifles and hunt exclusively with longbows. They have made a choice to place severe limitations on themselves. That is not for me, but I respect their choice.

The only folks who claim it won't relibly kill deer are those who haven't used one. Those who have seen the results have no reservations about using one. It wouldn't be my 1st choice in most cases either, but you better believe the round, with the right ammo will put any deer down, and quick with a good hit. A miss is a miss with anything and the end result is the same
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Old July 23, 2011, 10:38 PM   #24
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I wonder how many people take their tacticool AR out deer hunting, wound an animal, spend a few hours trying to track it but lose it and then come here to post about their colossal failure?
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Old July 23, 2011, 11:01 PM   #25
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Quote:
#1 is unethical and #2 it's illegal in many states.
If it is legal where you hunt, and you insist on doing it, use a good controlled expansion bullet, pushed as fast as you can push it and maintain accuracy, and kep the ranges short.

Some people do hunt with .223 successfully ..... and talk it up on the internet, thereby encouraging every idjit with an M-4gery and some surplus ammo think they have a great deer rifle ......
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