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Old February 16, 2015, 05:45 AM   #1
Hot Shot
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AR 15 in 5.56 cal.for deer hunting?

How effective is the 5.56 on deer? I have a bolt action 30-06 that I have used for deer for many years. I recently bought an AR 15 in 5.56 cal. Wonder if I should sell the 06?
Any thoughts?
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Old February 16, 2015, 05:56 AM   #2
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I wouldn't sell the 06, but if loaded with good bullets designed for deer a 223 will work as well as anything at reasonable ranges. Stay away from varmint bullets and FMJ, put the bullet in the lungs, keep the range under 200 yards, and have a sharp knife.

Don't try to hunt anything larger than deer and you'll be fine. The 30-06 offers a lot more versatility though. It'll work on much larger game and the only range limitation is your skills.
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Old February 16, 2015, 06:37 AM   #3
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Check your state laws. 5.56 is not legal for deer in some states. No reason to sell the 30-06. Even if you use the 5.56 for deer the 30-06 is always good to have.
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Old February 16, 2015, 06:53 AM   #4
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MO: Keep them both. Black Rifles are not always looked upon with fondness by private landowners who you hope will allow you to access their property as a hunting privilege. Its a common occurrence for some other to conjure up bad thoughts when observing a total stranger un-case such weaponry. >> ->bye bye


IMO: How effective a 223 is? In the hands of a experienced hunter. Very effective.
In the hands of a nervous individual. I strongly suggest the bringing of a lunch and/or a good flashlight with new batteries as he'll likely be doing some ground tracking.

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Old February 16, 2015, 09:48 AM   #5
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Keep the .30-06, buy or load some proper ammo for the .223, keep range reasonable, punch both lungs, and be ready to process a deer. I have had good success with Nosler 60 grain Partitions, Barnes X 55 grners, and others with 64 grain Fusions.
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Old February 16, 2015, 03:39 PM   #6
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A 223 can kill a deer, but odds are good there will be no blood trail, and that they may run a good distance before going down.

It's not the best choice for deer hunting, although many use it
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Old February 16, 2015, 04:10 PM   #7
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Strange mine left blood trails. The key is good bullets that exit. I have worked enough special hunts to say that there are no absolutes but good exit holes are more likely to leave blood trails.
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Old February 16, 2015, 04:31 PM   #8
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How effective is the .223/5.56 for deer?

Depends upon many things- the size of the deer, the load used, the barrel length of the firearm, typical range of shots ....... if everything is right, it'll work...... I think there are better options.
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Old February 16, 2015, 04:34 PM   #9
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If I was worried about a blood trail, I probably would never take a shot at a deer. I just use common sense and use the right gun in the area I hunt. If I am hunting in the slashings(Return growth after a clearcut) or heavy brush, I use something with a heavier bullet that can plow through brush. About the only time I do take my AR out is when it is raining and wet. It does not take the beating a wood stocked gun will when soaked. I have yet to shoot at one with the AR and have to track it. A big mistake people do(Me too) when looking for the deer is look closer than where it was standing when you shot at it. I guess it is because the last look you had was through the scope.
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Old February 16, 2015, 06:28 PM   #10
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I use something with a heavier bullet that can plow through brush.
There's no such bullet
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Old February 16, 2015, 08:52 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone good dialogue. I think I am going to keep the 06 for deer hunting and the AR 15 for self defense.
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Old February 16, 2015, 09:35 PM   #12
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Strange mine left blood trails. The key is good bullets that exit.
Getting bullets that exit can mean using heavy bullets (or solids/bonded/etc.)

Heavier bullets have less velocity, all else being equal.

The .223 normally relies heavily on it's very high velocity for it's killing power.....

Add in a shorter barrel than what the ammo makers generally use to generate velocity data ...... you can end up with a little 60 grain bullet running at the muzzle velocity a .30-06 bullet weighing 3 times as much starts with..... with a lower BC ..... out past 100 yards,you may not get an exit wound, especially if the deer is bigger than you expected.

I see the .223 for hunting kinda like the .410 or 28 guage for shotgunning: in perfectly controlled conditions, with the right load and gun ...... in the hands of an experienced shooter, yeah ....it's probably adequate.... but it's not something you want to take afield to maximize your chances, if something else is available .....
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Old February 16, 2015, 09:55 PM   #13
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The 5.56 with proper bullet selection is adequate for Whitetails. It is by far not my first choice, but it will work.
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Old February 17, 2015, 01:38 AM   #14
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A .270 is perfect for large whitetails, mule deer, and (yes) elk. A .243 is fine for deer within 300 yards if you can do it. Larger cartridges are fine IF the recoil does not prevent accurate shooting at your expected ranges. Smaller cartridges are fine IF the expected range assures a one shot kill. I would consider most cartridges from .243 to 7mm Mag to be fine for whitetail and mule deer. In my opinion, a .223 is not a good deer hunting cartridge - particularly with a short barrel.
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Old February 17, 2015, 04:34 AM   #15
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With the right bullet and shot placement, it will work just fine.
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Old February 17, 2015, 04:27 PM   #16
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Snyper, I have heard that nonsense about the "Pegboard test" and every other argument. I have never seen a pegboard in the woods, and if I did, I doubt it would have "Green" wood pegs in it. I, and at least one other person I hunted with have actually dug wood splinters (Shards?) out of deer when butchering because we hit a tree in front of it. One year I was swinging on a deer that was running past me and hit a green maple tree about 15 feet in front of me. The tree was about 6-7 inches thick and the bullet went through. 7x57 140 gr Corlokt. It was a pretty ragged exit hole, but it did go through. No, I did not get that deer. I used to bench test my rebarrels and sometimes used wood right in front of (about a foot) the muzzle. It is amazing how a soft point will go through something solid and barely deform the bullet. If you tightly pack/tie newspapers, you can easily retrieve the bullets to look at them.
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Old February 17, 2015, 05:13 PM   #17
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From what I remember of the umpteen different i read through it is a lot of chance, depends on distance of brush from target, size of said brush, whether the bullet hits square or nicks it, etc etc., . Accuracy and picking shots is best if that option is offered, otherwise you swing for the fence and take your chances, within reason.
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Old February 17, 2015, 05:31 PM   #18
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I live down here in the South and I used a 243 for a good many years and I am a decent enough shot. I will say that even at the relative close ranges normally associated with Southern hunting, the 243 was very marginal at best. I would consider the 223/5.56 to be even less effective but no doubt it will take down a deer. I dont think I would recommend it though.
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Old February 17, 2015, 05:43 PM   #19
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I live down here in the South and I used a 243 for a good many years and I am a decent enough shot. I will say that even at the relative close ranges normally associated with Southern hunting, the 243 was very marginal at best
What weight and type of bullet were you using in that .243, FF?

It has been my experience that really lightly constucted bullets of light for caliber weights can fail to penetrate at close ranges, making large shallow wounds sometimes. Other times, you get lucky, and they drop like hit by The Hammer of Thor......

... I try not to depend upon luck.
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Old February 17, 2015, 06:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Thanks everyone good dialogue. I think I am going to keep the 06 for deer hunting and the AR 15 for self defense.
I think that is the best choice. I believe that a 5.56 can take deer but I like the way JimBob put it best:

Quote:
I see the .223 for hunting kinda like the .410 or 28 guage for shotgunning: in perfectly controlled conditions, with the right load and gun ...... in the hands of an experienced shooter, yeah ....it's probably adequate.... but it's not something you want to take afield to maximize your chances, if something else is available
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Old February 17, 2015, 07:50 PM   #21
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Snyper, I have heard that nonsense about the "Pegboard test" and every other argument.
Then you should know those tests prove more than acecdotal evidence

Instead of trying to "plow through brush" you need to take good clear shots
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Old February 17, 2015, 07:54 PM   #22
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Gunplummer, the problem is not what a bullet will and will not pass through. The problem is deflection after the impact. Sometimes the bullet will keep traveling straight. Most times the bullet is deflected.
Last year I missed a yote a 75 yards because I hit a twig at 12 yards. 150 gr out of a 7WSM. Bullet got there, but deflected enough to miss. It dug a hole in the ground about 8 feet away from the yote. The reason I knew I hit a twig was because my wife was spotting for me and saw it fly.

Having said all that, lathe turned 50 BMG bullets do a pretty decent job at avoiding severe deflection.
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Old February 17, 2015, 09:42 PM   #23
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I'd say it's pretty effective if you know what you're doing with it.
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Old February 17, 2015, 09:49 PM   #24
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It's effective if used with discipline
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Old February 18, 2015, 08:20 AM   #25
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A lot of bullets will "bust through brush" but none of them will continue in the same direction after doing so. The closer it is to the gun barrel, the more it will affect final destination. The lighter the bullet, the more it will affact final destination. A single blade of grass 12" in front of a 30.06 muzzle will throw a bullet off several feet at 100 yards.
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