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Old September 12, 2012, 01:45 PM   #1
Wyoredman
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Wyoming G&F proposing Firearms Changes - .223 Legal for deer

http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/news-1000943.aspx

Hello all,

The wyoming Game and Fish Department is "proposing to allow pronghorn, deer, mountain lion, and gray wolf (where designated as trophy game) hunters to use calibers .22 and larger that have a cartridge of at least 2 inches in overall length. Bighorn sheep, elk, moose, mountain goat, black bear, and grizzly bear hunters would be required to use at least .24 caliber firearms with a cartridge at least 2 inches in overall length."

In other words, they are proposing to let us hunt deer with the .223 Remington (5.56 NATO).

I am having mixed feelings about this, so I thought I would throw it out here on the Forum and ask those who live in states where .223 is legal how it is working. Do you find that many people actually use a .223 for deer hunting? Do many animals get lost from wounding? What are the pros and cons to allowing .223 for deer?

I am going to attend the public meeting and would like a little background befor I go. Thanks again.
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:56 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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NY has no caliber restriction at all. The law is "center-fire rifle". As far as I can tell, the cartridge used is almost never the cause of lost and wounded animals. I have seen wounded, unrecovered animals that were shot with about everything, long bows, compound bows, 12ga/20ga/10ga slugs, buckshot, rifles.... about everything.

Far and away, I see two factors that influence wounded/lost animals. The first is bad luck. It be a bump the scope took that we didn't know, might be an animal jumping just as the shot breaks, might be a twig in the way that we didn't couldn't see. The second (far more common) is hunters taking shots that they shouldn't be taking. Too far, too small, wrong angle, rush, running animal, misjudging distance, etc. etc.

I can't think of a single instance wherein the hunter took a good and reasonable shot at an animal in a good shooting position/manner and lost the animal due to insufficient lethality of the chosen weapon. In fact, far as I can tell, those with the weakest weapons (archery) wound fewer deer than those with the most power (shotguns).
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:05 PM   #3
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So Brian,

If yo were attending one of the WGFD meetings next week, would you voice your oppinion in favor of the rule change? From you above post, it seems like you would. Have you ever used or been with someone who used a .223 on deer? Thaks for your input!

Redman
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:08 PM   #4
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Nothing wrong with the 223/5.56 for deer. In NM it's legal and although I don't hunt, I have friends that do and it works fine. Most have a twist of 1/9, and the Nosler Partition at 62gr drops them like a sack of potatoes in the neck or behind the shoulder.

My Colt AR has a 1/7 and using any Barnes Bullet ammo or 75gr Parti BTHP would do a great job. Hornady Superformance 75gr BTHP gets you up close to 1500 lbs muzzle energy, and I think it would drop the biggest buck that crosses your sights.

Grizzly is still on the endangered list, so they will only be hunted when they come off.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:13 PM   #5
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I haven't used or seen a 223 used on deer. I have seen lots of other weapons used and the results have always been as I described above.

If I could advise the agency, I would recommend that the 223 be legal. There are several reasons, not the least of which that I don't think the government should be criminalizing a perfectly acceptable behavior because of the possibility that SOMEONE might not "do it right".

As I said, of all the wounded animals of which I have been aware, NONE have been because of insufficient weaponry and the VAST majority have been hunter error and very often shots that should have not been taken with ANY weapon.

The difference between a 30-06, 223, 7mm08 or even 338Lapua is not going to make a bad shot into a good shot under virtually any circumstance. Yes, maybe 1 in 100 or something where maybe an extra inch or two of penetration might have mattered, but then, those are usually shots that shouldn't have been taken anyway if the result is that marginal.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:21 PM   #6
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Thanks Brian.

dorc-1,

You are correct that grizzly bears are listed under the Federal ESA as a protected animal, yet the Wyoming G&F regs have always classified them as Trophy Game. As such, they remain in the state regs and if ever de-listed, will be immediatly legal for hunting.

Thanks for the insight into the .223 as ahunting round for deer sized animals.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:56 PM   #7
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Interesting the .243 still is OK for big game in many states, but the .223/5.56 is not. Prvi's 75gr comes out of the 24" muzzle at close to 1800, and most of the other hunting rounds are 1300-1500.

The .243, 30x30, and 6.8 are really not that much better but are legal. New ammo and barrels have really closed the gap. States should really open up the 223/5.56 for big game.
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Old September 12, 2012, 03:37 PM   #8
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I have used the 6.8 SPC and the .223 on deer with no problem. A lot of guys seem to use heavy bullets. I usually hunt areas where the shots are close and quick. I just use Hornady factory loaded varmit ammo and it works fine in that situation. For many years I used a .22 Savage Hi-Power w/70 grain bullets for deer.
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Old September 12, 2012, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
I just use Hornady factory loaded varmit ammo and it works fine in that situation.
..... Until it doesn't ..... those varmit bullets are not designed for penetration, and are a recipe for a lost animal, IMO.
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Old September 12, 2012, 04:37 PM   #10
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I like the idea. But I'd like to see them put a minium bullet weight.

Quote:
In addition, for all the above species, hunters could also use: firearms of .35 caliber and larger with a cartridge of at least 1.5 inches
I like this one better. I've killed a heck of a lot of moose, and even a buffalo with a 357 using 150 grn LSWCs out of my 4 inch Model 28.

For you Wyoming folks, if you can't make one of the meetings, write and tell them your opinions.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:04 PM   #11
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Kraig,

I am leaning that way as well. I am a bit worried about someone trying to harvest a big Muley with a 55gr varmint bullet. But the other side of me asks "who am I to say what someone can use to hunt with?"

I shoot alot of coyotes with the .223 and some of the 55gr varmint bullets don't exit a coyote. Nice for saving skins, but bad for killing deer?

I'm going to the Sept. 18th meeting in Lander. Hope this thread gets a few more replies before then from guys who live in states where .223 is legal. What are their laws? Do they have bullet restrictions? What are the results?

I might like to shoot something (deer, antelope) with my AR someday, so you see my confliction?

Anyway, it's going to be an interesting meeting!

Thanks again.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:14 PM   #12
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The 223 has proven to be a reliable deer killer when used with deer bullets. Many who have seen failures were using bullets designed for varmits. On deer, it is at least as effective as a 30-30 at reasonable ranges. but not on game larger than being proposed in Wyoming. It is not a long range chambering either. With most chamberings you will probably run out of useable range before you run out of energy to kill game with. With the 223 it is easy to make hits at ranges where you no longer have the energy to make a clean kill. This seems like a fair compromise. I never could understand why a 243 would be legal for a 1500 lb. moose, and a 223 not legal for a 200 lb. deer.

There are in fact very few places where the 223 was not legal. Last time I looked there were about 38 states where it was legal. More than 1/2 of the 12 where it was not legal were shotgun only.

Most the 1/2 dozen or less states where rifles are legal, and the 223 was not did so because of larger game being hunted, such as in Wyoming. While it is a fine deer chambering, it is not a moose or elk round.

Quote:
I like the idea. But I'd like to see them put a minium bullet weight.
I agree, but such a law is unenforceable in the field. GA used to have a lot of complex laws on what was legal and not legal. All the wardens just shook their heads, how were they supposed to verify that a 357 mag revolver had 500 ft lbs of energy @100 yards. And why did it matter if the hunter never intended to shoot past 25 yards. They finally dropped all those unenforceable laws and leave good judgement up to hunters. To my knowledge there have been no problems.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:27 PM   #13
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jmr40,

Thank you. That is exactly the type of information and logic that I am looking for. I may use some of it at our meetings.
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Old September 12, 2012, 05:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
I am leaning that way as well. I am a bit worried about someone trying to harvest a big Muley with a 55gr varmint bullet. But the other side of me asks "who am I to say what someone can use to hunt with?"
Because the animals are a public resource, and if someone does not look after it, it gets abused like a rented mule.

About the time you harvest a deer with a couple of large shallow wounds several days old, ask yourself that question again.
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Old September 12, 2012, 06:17 PM   #15
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The trouble I find with the restrictions on things like bullet weight, caliber, cartridge length, kinetic energy and what not is that they are almost always unenforceable and arbitrary.

For example, New York law specifies that all archery equipment used for big game hunting must have a draw weight of at least 35 pounds.
No mention of compound versus recurve or longbow. No mention of arrow weight. No mention of kinetic energy. No maximum broadhead size for that draw weight.
A 35lb longbow would be lucky to generate 20 ft/lbs of kinetic energy. A 35lb 2012 PSE Supra would probably generate 40 ft/lbs KE. Both are "35 pound draw" but they are not equal.
Either of those bows shooting a 2" broadhead would be much worse than shooting one at 7/8"

Take it to rifles. They set a minimum diameter or a minimum bullet weight. Who's going to weigh the bullets? Is a 16" 357mag carbine loaded with powder puff SWC rounds better than a 24" 223 loaded to max charges with Barnes TTSX? Regardless, who's going to be verifying it?

In NY, where rifles are allowed, there is no caliber or cartridge limit at all. Only "center-fire rifle". I could use a 19Calhoun or a 17Rem but I've never heard of anyone doing it.

Sometimes you just can't legislate against the lowest common denominator.
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Old September 12, 2012, 11:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Pfleuger
NY has no caliber restriction at all. The law is "center-fire rifle". As far as I can tell, the cartridge used is almost never the cause of lost and wounded animals. I have seen wounded, unrecovered animals that were shot with about everything, long bows, compound bows, 12ga/20ga/10ga slugs, buckshot, rifles.... about everything.
(Edit: I see, in your last post, that we may be in 'political' agreement... even if our desires may differ.)

But, how many 400-800 yard shots have you seen?

Wyoming is a different world.

Although most ethical hunters in Wyoming will tell people that most shots over 200 yards just mean the shooter was too lazy to close the distance, a vast number of hunters in Wyoming love slinging lead at long range.

I just don't like the way the most .22s perform at those distances.

At 400 yards, a .223 Rem .251 BC 55 gr bullet that left the muzzle at 3,240 fps is only traveling 2,000-2,100 fps (depending on the altitude you're at in Wyoming). By the time it travels 800 yards, that little 55 gr pill is only doing 1,200-1,300 fps. If the BC is lower than that, you can trim even more velocity from the figures (100 fps for a .215; 50 fps for a .235). They don't have much energy left, and won't expand well, if at all. At 400 yards, for example, a 55 gr bullet traveling 2,100 fps doesn't even make it to 550 ft-lb of energy.

In addition, a .251 BC bullet fired at 3,240 fps into a (theoretically perfect) 10 mph crosswind will have almost 16 inches of wind drift at 400 yards, and just shy of 80 inches of wind drift at 800 yards.



The problem, though, is not the cartridge.
It's the moral dilemma:
I don't want to be telling people what they can and cannot use.
Yet, I also don't want some d-bag out banging away with his AR and a marginal cartridge, at a herd of Antelope that's 600-800 yards away. I see enough idiots doing it with iron sights or cartridges like .25-20, already. Giving them the option of doing so with their AR and 20-30 round magazines is not a pleasant thought.

In the last 4 years, I've taken 2 Antelope that were previously wounded by other hunters using marginal cartridges or a very poorly selected bullet. I don't see adding .22 caliber to the list as being an improvement.

But... my personal views just keep reminding me of a quote by Utah's Governor, earlier this year. He was commenting on how further restrictions on law-abiding citizens won't do anything to stop the d-bags from doing what they do:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Herbert
We can meet together and pass law after law after law. But you can't pass a law that outlaws stupid.
Such is life....
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:39 AM   #17
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Wyoming and Montana are like two sisters as far as game and geography. Now I know Montana tries to keep bureaucratic interference to a minimum, but I would think the Dept of F&G would clamp down on the .223/5.56 if gross negligence was anymore of problem than other calibers. Wyoming needs to look no further than Montana for their answer.
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:34 AM   #18
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FrankenMauser,

In NY, you may get a 100-200 yd shot, but that's rare. Added to that, the NYS DEC limits all long guns to a 5 rnd capacity (possibly 6, with 5+1), so even if you're using an AR, you've only got 5 shots.
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Old September 13, 2012, 07:58 AM   #19
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I think we are jumping the gun on perceived problems.

First off I doubt you'll see a mass rush of people buying 223s for deer or antelope hunting.

I know I wont be giving up my 257 Roberts.

I think the only people you'll see with 223s that would take advantage of this rule change would be ranchers or oil field workers who keep one in their trucks for coyotes 'n such.

A hunter with poor ethics that would blast away with a high cap AR magazine is the same guy that would blast away with any other rifle.

You can't legislate ethics. Those who violate "fair chase" are going to violate fair chase regardless of what rifle they use.
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Old September 13, 2012, 08:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Camper4Lyfe
In NY, you may get a 100-200 yd shot, but that's rare. Added to that, the NYS DEC limits all long guns to a 5 rnd capacity (possibly 6, with 5+1), so even if you're using an AR, you've only got 5 shots.
Well, that's a bit of stretch, no pun intended. There are certainly many spots that I hunt where even a 50 yard shot would be tough but I could put my climber in a tree a few hundred yards from that same spot and shoot 300 or 400 hundred yards. I hunt a property with a soybean field where shots could reach 500 yards, in theory.

We in NY, historically being limited to shotguns, often PICK places where long shots are not possible but that's not the same as there not BEING spots. I have untold dozens of spots where I could shoot 200 plus.

Frankenmauser,
I do believe we are in agreement. The long shots that you describe that people might take with unacceptable cartridges for those ranges are an example of stupid people doing stupid things. I'd wager that those guys aren't going to hit the vitals with any cartridge at that range because if they could shoot that far, they'd know enough not to do it with the inadequate cartridge. These are the same people that empty 5 rounds from their shotguns at a herd of running deer 200 yards out, hoping for a blood trail. Legal, and stupid. You just can't legislate stupid. You only hurt the non-stupid.
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Old September 13, 2012, 09:35 AM   #21
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Good discussion. I think this may be a preview of the actuall G&F meeting on the 18th!
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Old September 13, 2012, 09:49 AM   #22
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Brian,

That's a valid point. We're so used to not being able to that you don't look at the possibility of doing it differently, so you don't see it.

As a side note, I'm in the process of building an AR and had been tossing around the idea of using it for deer, but I'd never thought of the possibility of shooting 200+yds. I don't have the ability to practice at those distances, so it's really not an option past "I know I'm here at 100yds, so I should be hitting there at 200," which isn't high on my list of things to do.
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Old September 13, 2012, 11:31 AM   #23
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Here in Oregon, any center-fire .22 has been legal for deer for as long as I can remember. These little black tail deer we have are easy to drop assuming you can find one but it's still not very common to find a hunter using a .223.

It seems all the deer are living in or close to town these days and it's getting near impossible to find them out in the woods. I'm thinking seriously of giving up deer hunting.

Tony
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Old September 13, 2012, 12:09 PM   #24
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just my opinion, based on my observations and reasoning

The one person I know personally that used a .223 on a deer (Ruger Ranch Rifle) was shooting a blacktail buck in the Pacific NW ..... he has nothing nice to say about the round.

Properly loaded, out of a long barrel, with the right twist, .223 would be adequate for short range, and small deer.

Having done most of my hunting where wide open spaces are the norm, and the deer have all the food they can eat pretty much year round .... I think there are better tools for the job.

Having seen quite a few deer running around with wounds in the days after opening weekend, or dead and not recovered, I think hunters should really use the best tools they can get their hands on......
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Old September 13, 2012, 05:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
I think we are jumping the gun on perceived problems.

First off I doubt you'll see a mass rush of people buying 223s for deer or antelope hunting.
I don't see any "rush of people" buying .223s, either. They don't need to, because they already own them.
There are plenty of people out there that would like nothing more than to take their tacticool AR out on a big game hunt, but feared getting caught just enough to not do it in the past.


Quote:
A hunter with poor ethics that would blast away with a high cap AR magazine is the same guy that would blast away with any other rifle.

You can't legislate ethics. Those who violate "fair chase" are going to violate fair chase regardless of what rifle they use.
Yep. ...just as I discussed in the second half of my post.
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