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Old September 9, 2012, 09:18 PM   #1
rantingrelentlessly
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best .223 or 5.56 load for whitetail

Im sorry if this has been asked before but I don't have a lot of choice for a deer rifle this year. Looks like its going to be a Mini 14. I live in a heavily forrested area so my shot will probably be 70 yards or less. I do quite a bit of reloading. I know that a well placed shot is key but does anyone have suggestions for bullet weight/type? Would a ballistic tip have enough penetration? Would a double lung shot with an fmj drop it pretty quickly? I live in southern missouri so our whitetail arent exactly monsters. Thanks for any advice.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:32 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Best 223 bullet for deer?

http://www.barnesbullets.com/product...ed-tsx-bullet/

Use the heaviest one your twist rate will stabilize.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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1. Check with your F&G. Some states require 25 cal & up.
2. Check the twist rate of your rifle. You need 1:9 or 1:7 for heavy bullets.
3. Accurate Arms data for 2520 powder (best choice for these bullets):
Barrel: 24 • Twist 1-7 or 1-9
2520 65 SIE SBT 24.9 2,982 27.6 3,239 61,238 2.210
2520 70 BAR TSX 23.9 2,826 26.6 3,103 61,552 2.260 <--Copper bullet
Speer also makes a 70 gr lead SP
I shoot the Barnes 70 gr copper bullet through a 1:9 savage. It shoots fine.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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This looks great out to 200 ish. . .Well, looking at energy, I would hate to shoot over 150. Although they say the bullet will expand to 1800 fps which is about 400 yards.

This has a great bullet and a little more velocity. It's still a 100 - 150 yd max round.

Winchester has a similar option.. .

So I would go with the 70 gr.
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Old September 10, 2012, 07:00 AM   #5
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I shot one last year with my Bushmaster AR 15 to see if it would work. It did, with absolute certainty. It actually dropped the deer faster than my 300 WSM did. I shot it with a 55 grain spire point Midway Dogtown bullet travelling around 2800 fps. I won't hesitate to use it again if necessary. I shot a small doe at 100 yards, and she only weighed about 110 pounds on the hoof, so it's not like it was a monster, but never the less it worked very well.
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Old September 10, 2012, 07:18 AM   #6
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First, you need to check that what you intend to use is legal in your state. In some states, there is a minimum caliber, and that is usually greater than .224 where that restriction exists. Where there is no caliber restriction, there is sometimes a minimum muzzle energy required. In my state, that would not be met with a .223 Remington until the barrel is longer than the one on your Mini 14. And, there is also often a ban on using FMJ or non-expanding ammo for hunting.

I would think that a broadside shot through the lungs with a FMJ o.224" bullet would not put the animal down fast enough unless you happened to make shrapnell with the ribs in a way that did serious lung damage. You would probably lose the animal in the brush, if you are hunting in an area where you only expect shots out to 70 yards.

If long bullets are not stabilized well with your gun's twist, then the Barns X-bullets probably won't work for you, because they are very long for their weight. Nosler makes a 60 grain Partition bullet, that is designed for small deer, and that would be my choice. It is short for a 60 grain bullet, so it stabilizes well in most rifles. And, it has the combination of easy expansion plus certain penetration that is needed for what you want to do.

The next question is how accurate is your rifle at 70 yards with your chosen load? With a small bullet, you really need to place that bullet exactly where it will work. Can you hit the type of target you are shooting for (lungs, heart, spine, brain?) at 70 yards, using your deer load in your hunting rifle? Every time? I know you can shoot fast follow-up shots with a Mini 14, but those are likely to be much less accurate than the first shot.

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Old September 10, 2012, 09:15 AM   #7
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I just loaded up Sierra game kings in 65 grain for my AR (.223/5.56). I had previously tested Barnes TSX 62 grain and had a very hard time getting a tight group @ 100 yds. see my other post

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=500647
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Old September 10, 2012, 09:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
I shot it with a 55 grain spire point Midway Dogtown bullet travelling around 2800 fps.
Using varmit bullets on game can be unpredictable. Sometimes it will work just fine. Sometimes it will fail to penetrate, and you have a wounded animal.

You owe it to the animal to use an appropriate bullet, especially so when you are using a marginal caliber.
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Old September 10, 2012, 10:35 AM   #9
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I've seen varmint bullets work like lightning on deer too but that doesn't make it wise or predictable. I wouldn't have the slightest hesitation about using a properly loaded 223 on deer but there's HEAVY emphasis on "properly loaded".
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Old September 10, 2012, 12:11 PM   #10
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I tested my rifle (Stevens 200 .223) with a 60gr Nosler Partition. I came up with a good shooting load that was .3 grs under a max charge of H335. I was planning on doing the job with that, but I ended up buying a .30/06 before I got a chance to try it. If I need to loan the .30/06 out to someone else, I'm confident enough in my .223 to make the shot to 100 yards, but I won't go much farther. The newer barnes and the Sierra GameKing is on my list to try. Good luck!
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Old September 10, 2012, 12:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
I wouldn't have the slightest hesitation about using a properly loaded 223 on deer but there's HEAVY emphasis on "properly loaded".
Properly loaded is just part of the equation, Peetza .... many guys see the energy data on the side of a box of hunting ammo and neglect to note that it was developed in a 24" test barrel .... then stick it in a 16" barrelled carbine, from which it won't develop the advertised velocity or energy.




...or they try to launch heavy for caliber bullets out of a gun with a barrel twist for 55gr bullets ....
Quote:
Looks like its going to be a Mini 14.

Load up some 60gr Partitions or one of the TSX offerings and see what happens.....
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Old September 17, 2012, 09:32 AM   #12
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?????

Some of you commented that I was using bullets designed for varmints in my previous post. What makes you think that they were varmint bullets? Was it the weight (55 grains, which is heavier than some of the Barnes that are designed for whitetail hunting), was it the manufacturer (Midway Dogtown), or something else?

I'm not trying to be a smartaXX, but they are spire pointed lead tipped bullets which in no way to me indicate that they were designed for varmints. They look exactly like Remington core-lokt or Winchester PP bullets and the description does not say they are for varmint hunting, unlike V-max or Varmint Grenades which clearly states that that is all they should be used for.
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Old September 17, 2012, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Some of you commented that I was using bullets designed for varmints in my previous post. What makes you think that they were varmint bullets? Was it the weight (55 grains, which is heavier than some of the Barnes that are designed for whitetail hunting), was it the manufacturer (Midway Dogtown), or something else?

I'm not trying to be a smartaXX, but they are spire pointed lead tipped bullets which in no way to me indicate that they were designed for varmints. They look exactly like Remington core-lokt or Winchester PP bullets and the description does not say they are for varmint hunting, unlike V-max or Varmint Grenades which clearly states that that is all they should be used for.
The "look" of a bullet doesn't speak of it's structural integrity, jacket thickness, or intended purpose. I expect the Midway Dogtown bullet to be useful on small targets rather than large game. I guess I got to that conclusion via the "Dogtown" name, which would imply that it be used for a affordable option for a bullet to shoot prairie dogs with.
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Old September 17, 2012, 12:26 PM   #14
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Bring enough gun.

I spoke to a couple of bullet manufactures, Nosler and Sierra regarding their 22 bullets for deer. They said they were made for 22-250 or faster. 223 Rem was not recommended. Use more gun.
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Old September 17, 2012, 01:08 PM   #15
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judge

I spoke to a rep at Sierra and told him I wanted to use my AR-15 for deer, he said he had just the thing that he did the testing for. That is the Sierra gameking 65 grain sbt. http://www.sierrabullets.com/index.c...5&bullettype=0
He went on to tell me it was tested with a Colt AR with good results using H335 powder. I myself have now loaded that round and have a dime size grouping at 100yds. Im not sure who you talked to, but they must not all have the same info.
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Old September 17, 2012, 01:27 PM   #16
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The new Winchester PDX1's are available at a few places. Expensive as hell, but the tech makes sense. Half the bullet is explosive and the other half is bonded, so you should get a blood trail. Make em in 60 and 77gr depending on your twist rate.

One of the previous posters mentioned Asym. Mr. Chen (owner) makes some great ammo at reasonable prices for 223. The 75gr Hornady bullet with a cannelure is a steal.

Last edited by dorc-1; September 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM.
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Old September 17, 2012, 03:43 PM   #17
Qtiphky
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The Dogtown name is just that, a name. They are manufactured by Nosler for Midway USA and they just put the "Dogtown" name on them as that is their brand. It doesn't say they are varmint bullets, just soft nosed bullets for high volume shooters who need accuracy. Which they are, very accurate.

I haven't been able to get heavier bullets to shoot as accurately in my 3 guns and still don't feel that they are varmint bullets. I agree that there are significantly better choices, which I will continue to use, however, these did work well for my one shot test. Which is also not a significantly statistical survey by any means. So YMMV.
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Old September 17, 2012, 06:20 PM   #18
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Quote from Nosler Manual #6

"Some will look down their nose at those who use 22 calibers for hunting deer. Most assuredly, this disdain is due in part to a lack of experience with Nosler's smallest Partition. I have conducted extensive bullet expansion and penetration tests with this bullet and at 223 Remington 100-yard impact velocities it will perform on a par with any 30-30 Winchester load even if bone is struck. My favorite load for the 60-grain Partition is 24.5 grains of Ramshot Xterminator."

That was written by Richard Mann.

The load data for the manual does not include Xterminator as one of its powders.

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Old September 19, 2012, 01:26 AM   #19
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62gr Barnes x. Many of hog with this bullet. Not one has got away
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Old September 19, 2012, 12:46 PM   #20
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depending on the twist of your barrel I'd say a Berger VLD will work out just fine.I say this for I hunt with a 75gn Berger VLD in m 233 for deer.Nothing like a fast Berget getting to its target.

I too have had great results with a 55gn NBT out to 125 yards.Putting the bullet in the right spot is the key here.I will even add that since Nosler came out with the 60gn NBT my daughter is useing them for deer.
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Old September 19, 2012, 01:15 PM   #21
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http://www.winchester.com/Products/rifle-ammunition/Innovative/pdx1-defender-rifle/Pages
/default.aspx


For anyone wondering what a PDX1 looks like.

Here's a link to where I posted some results on some .223 testing I was doing.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=498711
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Old September 19, 2012, 06:05 PM   #22
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I would go with either the Barnes or the partition. Most 22 caliber bullets are obviously designed to expand rapidly on small game. While they can be very effective, they are not reliable, especially if you have a less than ideal shot. Absolutely stick with a tough bullet designed to reliably penetrate larger game. This is especially important at the relatively short distances you plan to hunt at.
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Old September 19, 2012, 06:22 PM   #23
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I've only seen one deer, a smallish buck, taken with a .223. Win 64 gr Powerpoint. It ran about 10 yards and piled up.
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Old September 19, 2012, 06:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Some of you commented that I was using bullets designed for varmints in my previous post. What makes you think that they were varmint bullets?
They're called Dogtown bullets, which might make anyone think that they're designed for prairie dogs. The very first thing I thought of when you mentioned Dogtown bullets is prairie dogs.

I admit without hesitation that I don't have a dawg in this hunt, as I've never used a .223 for whitetail deer. It might be the cat's meow and I'll not fault anyone who can cleanly take an animal with it. But, yeah, they're called Dogtown bullets, which makes me believe that they're meant for varmints.

I might be wrong, I frequently am.
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Old September 20, 2012, 03:02 AM   #25
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I hunt at the ranges and in the type of cover that the original poster mentions.

Over the years I have used the Speer 70gr semi spitzer for this type of.223 hunting. I found that 2700 fps to 2800 fps was the desired velocity range and allowed for controlled expansion and penetration of the animals. If I pushed 3000 fps I started seeing shallow penetration and more rapid expansion.

Every once in awhile I would be out of reloads and would use factory WW 64 gr power points with equal effectiveness.

The 70gr Speer will work in any twist rate, my SP-1 colts stabilize this bullet even with their slow twist.

Here are a few deer I have killed over the years with this bullet, average range 40 yds

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