View Full Version : best factory deer load in 223

April 11, 2005, 10:24 AM
no interested in a debate on the validity of 223 in the deer woods. i am interested in what the BEST factory load would be for deer in the 150 lb. @ 150 yards and under would be. weapon is 19", 1 in 9 twist bolt gun that is sub .5" accurate.

April 12, 2005, 11:34 AM
IMO,Winchester silver ballistic tip, 65gr. Or Black Hills JHP 65gr. Bring a flashlight, 'cause you'll probl'y be tracking him for a while :D

I'm not sure if Federal loads a Nosler in .223?

April 16, 2005, 05:05 PM
the biggest heaviest premium bullets you can find may work. .23 is the smallest legal caliber here in Sask so all you can buy round' here is .223 varmint and milsurp.

April 16, 2005, 08:38 PM
if you can shoot a .5 you don't have a thing to worry about! Any bullet will work you just need to know where to put it.

I have killed many deer with a 222. One shot drop kills! shoot at the base of the skull at the top of the neck. Some people may say what about this and what about that. Never had any of those problems! Just good clean kills.

You can also make a double lung shot. Easy shot to make. The deer will run off but not to far. If you only get one lung the deer will run off and you may never see it again. But that can happen with any cal. It has to be a good braudside shot!

Good luck! I don't have any problems hunting deer with a 223.

April 17, 2005, 08:00 PM
if you can shoot a .5 you don't have a thing to worry about! Any bullet will work you just need to know where to put it.

i could shoot .5 off of a perfectbench in perfect conditions at a paper target too. the thing is, if its freezing out, you're shiverng, frozen, the wind is blowing and its cloudy shooting offhand at a bad angle i dont care what you shoot off of a bench you have to hit that deer hard enough and with a big enough bullet to knock it over as fast as humanly possible.

Now im not knocking the .223 but lets be serious its not now and isnt ever going to be a deer round. if you simply must use it do so with extreme caution and KNOW that the deer is going to die in the fastest most humane way possible.

If you're not fully and completely confident and competent DO NOT use a .223 for a deer rifle go buy a .270

April 17, 2005, 10:45 PM
Jseime if you can't handle the hunt! don't hunt! I have sean people wound deer with 7 mags, 300 win mags! Accuracy and knowing your trajectory is everything! Don't think because you have a 270 you are going to make a humane kill! If you think that you are dead wrong. And I'm down here where deer are small! By the way I changed from a 222 to a 270 just because the gun is so accurate and people like you gave me crap about shooting a small caliber gun. To tell you the truth I did better with the 222! My next deer gun if it is accurate is the 221 that I'm building now.

Yes I guess that was a rant!

April 18, 2005, 02:37 PM
My choice would be a Federal 60 grain Partition, catalog #P223Q, and you may also want to consider their 55 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw load, #P223T2, though I would be loathe to give up a single grain of bullet weight when we are discussing .224" bullets for deer.

I am not sure how a rifle being sub .5" accurate would be relevant for deer hunting. Most hunters, if given a magic marker and a lifesized deer target would not mark his ideal hit within a half inch of each other if asked to do it repeatedly. Even if he did, most guys could not truthfully say they which part of the heart (within a half inch) is guaranteed more lethal, a ventricle or an auricle, or which lobe of the brain. At longer ranges, the inherent accuracy would be useful, but there is no such thing as a long range .224" caliber deer rifle. (For the sake of argument, I am ignoring the question of whether there is such a thing as an any range .224" caliber deer rifle).

The only half inch I would be worried about would be the last half inch of deer the bullet needed to penetrate before exiting.

April 18, 2005, 02:57 PM
impact, you are making the mistake of using your hunts as a template of what every other deer hunter would face when he goes out to hunt, and judging everyone accordingly.

We have does here in Nebraska that would outweigh most all of the trophy bucks swaggering around Texas by a goodly amount, so forgive me if I like a more imposing caliber because my deer cannot be picked up with one strong hand. A person shooting from a deluxe blind with a built in benchrest at a deer preoccupied by a feed station would feel a lot more cocky about a .222 Remington than a guy who is pushing deer in a drive. A guy on crowded public land doesn't have the luxury of waiting for a 40 yard broadside shot at an undisturbed motionless deer. I can hunt deer in places where they can be seen from more than a half mile off, and I have hunted deer when the wind was blowing at an average of more than 25 mph, with gusts close to 40, ALL DAY LONG!

So, are you going to shoot offhand at a 250 pound buck trotting briskly at 200 yards with a 25 mph. wind with your .222? If so, bring your trailing hound and a good flashlight with extra batteries.

April 18, 2005, 07:50 PM
when i say that a .223 isnt a deer gun im not talking about deer the size of coyotes im talking about big bad 250 pound plus mulies with 6X6 antlers (oh yeah we've got em). now im not sure what you shoot in texas but if im going to be taking a 200 yard shot on a once in a lifetime buck im not gonna do it with a varmint caliber rifle, i'll take my .270 and make sure that badboy falls over..... first time, every time.

June 21, 2009, 08:31 AM
I hunt mostly in Michigan. I have to say after hunting a 270 from 15 through 25, I am not a huge fan - especially with tough bullets like nosler partitions, at short distance - the round seems to overpenetrate deer and not deliver much energy. I have seen at least two occasions where mortally hit (center chest area) deer have run over 200 yards dropping very little blood. Took excellent tracking to find them. I have also shot a deer with a 270 in the head with a trophy bonded bear claw. The deer dropped in its tracks but the bullet didn't exit the skull? Very strange. This caliber is now on my bad voodo list. Any of the 7mms perfrom much better. 08, 280 7mag take your pick. The 7 is just a magic bullet.

As far as the .223 goes, I have killed deer with it too but its not really a good choice for hunting, obviously. Frankly, if your state allows it, go with a fmj mil surplus. You want the penetration. You are not going to kill the deer with ft pounds of energy with the round - heck its military twin the 556 does such a poor job of that on people that they are going to replace it soon with something in the 6 to 7 range. You want to pick your shots and get as much penetration as you can. Don't take sketchy shots - its just not fair to the animal and makes us hunters look bad.

June 21, 2009, 09:25 AM
I hunt Utah and Idaho. We regularly get mule deer well over 200 pounds, a 300 pound buck is not uncommon. That said, I know many people who have killed deer humanely and quickly with small stuff, they are also good shots and dont take questionable shots. My buddy's mom used nothing but a mini-14 for years and killed numerous deer, antelope and a few elk. She used 55 grain softpoints and only had one animal that took two shots, it was an antelope. She knew the guns limitations and her own. I have seen deer run off after being hit with 300 mags, found some and some were never seen again. I watched a neighbor shoot a cow elk in the but right in the top of the pelvis between both hips with a 300 ultra mag. That cow was found, 2 days and over a mile later, it was his first year with that gun and he was scared of it because of the recoil. If you know what your rifle can or cannot do and stick to those limitations as well as your own it really doesn't matter if your shooting a 338 or a 218 bee, dead is dead and wounded sucks. I use a 270 win. and have been extremely happy with it, but I don't think there is a perfect caliber for everyone in every place, use what you like and use it well, the game will never know or care that it wasn't a 577 tyranosaur.

James R. Burke
June 21, 2009, 12:46 PM
The only time I used the .223 was in the Army. I think it is alittle light for deer but not saying it can not be done. It can. I would use a heavy bullet if you are going factory. Like everyone is saying shot placement needs to be perfect. If it is not you need to pass on the shot like any rifle. A wounded deer with a .223 is the same as a wounded deer with a bigger caliber. My wife has a .243, and I have her taking just doulbe lung shots or neck shots. She got two one each way. I would prefer the double lung with the .223. Sorry I can not be of much help, except heavy grain bullet, and good shot placement. Good luck!

Art Eatman
June 21, 2009, 08:51 PM
Bullet R&D over this last dozen or so years has made a big difference in using centerfire .22s as deer rifles. While I don't consider them the optimum choice, precise shot placement makes them quite usable.

Bullets around 65 to 70 grains. Neck shots/head shots will work quite well. I limit my .243 to cross-body only for heart/lung shots; I'd do the same with any centerfire .22. No angling shots, trying to reach through some distance in the animal to get into a kill zone.

June 22, 2009, 10:50 AM
55 grain softpoints from Georgia Arms:


June 23, 2009, 08:42 PM
55 gr remington core lokt, factory. Reloads, 55 grain hornady interlocks. Both have worked well for me. flyboy

June 23, 2009, 08:57 PM
i use hornady 69 grain hpbt bullets, 25 grains of ramshot tac powder

June 24, 2009, 06:47 PM
Apparently some people didn't read the first sentence of your post.

June 24, 2009, 06:49 PM
Black Hills has a couple loadings with the triple skock, if they shoot ok in your gun they would be a good choice.

June 24, 2009, 09:14 PM
Hey what do you guys think about the brown bear 62gr. soft point for deer. My stag shoots it great and it seems to do some pretty good damage to the wood we shoot and bends the rebar as well. Most of the stuff I shoot gets called "crap" on here, but I though maybe somebody would have a 1st hand knowledge. thanks

June 24, 2009, 09:16 PM
If it shoots good in your gun, put it in a good spot and enjoy a freezer full of meat.

June 24, 2009, 09:30 PM
thats my thought as well, just wanted to know if anyone knew of any prob with that bullet, ie. jacket seperation ect...

June 24, 2009, 09:39 PM
Alot of the "cheaper" stuff will come apart, but I have no first hand experience with that particular ammo. Get 3 or 4 phone books and put a couple wraps of duct tape around them, soak overnight in water, line them up and shoot a few rounds into them. If they will hold together in wet phone books a deer is no problem. Its not the best ballistic test media, but it will give you an idea of what your workin with.

June 24, 2009, 09:43 PM
Thanks, sounds like that will be fun also! I'll give it a try, thanks again

Jack O'Conner
June 25, 2009, 11:38 AM
Ignore the negative comments. These well intentioned hunters have not been shooting dixie cup sized targets with ease all summer. They can't envision shooting precisely into the chest with a small bullet that causes such ghastly damage.

WINCHESTER SUPER X 64 grain ammo is what we've used for mulies. If it didn't work we'd stop. This fact alone is a legitimate experience factor that can not be denied or ignored.

This is my daughter with her 2nd muley. Rifle is my Savage 12 in .223 with 4X - 16X scope.




Big Ugly Tall Texan
June 25, 2009, 11:41 AM
I would say the heaviest hollowpoint you could find.

You don't want opinions on the .223 for deer or this post would be a lot longer.

June 25, 2009, 12:11 PM
What about Varmint Grenades?

June 25, 2009, 01:16 PM
I use 55gr Remington High Velo. loads and 60gr hand load with my 22-250; the 223 would be about the same. Soft points or hollow points both work good. I would say use at least 55 gr, although 50gr would do the job.

June 25, 2009, 01:36 PM
[email protected]#^ this is an old thread! Better late than never.

June 26, 2009, 08:32 AM
No seanie, don't even try the "varmint grenade" type bullets on deer. They will not give deep enough penetration. They will, however make a nasty looking wound on the surface....

June 26, 2009, 09:36 AM
I agree with many that the 223 is not the best round to use on deer unless you are one of our new Kordish Overlords.

I know many people who have killed deer humanely
I just love it when people use the term humanely when describing the 223 for hunting. We shoot a whole lot of humans with it. Some in the gut, some in the legs, a couple in the hips. I have to assume that all of these shots are humane as it is a human shooting a human. They certainly can't be bovine shots.

June 26, 2009, 08:41 PM
I am considering the Winchester Power Point 64 gr PSP. It is rated for CXP2 game and looks to be the ticket...Also the Remington Ultra Core-Lokt 62gr

June 28, 2009, 02:54 PM
I have using Weatherby 257 for many years. Speed kills 100 gr. bal.tip.3500 fps.What will the 223 do?:D

July 9, 2009, 09:30 PM
The 223 is a varmint round plain and simple.Yeah it will kill a deer.But why take the chance.

July 9, 2009, 09:58 PM
;) I used to hunt a little with my .223 using Winchester 64 grain soft point bullets. I killed everydeer I shot (3 of them) but never felt really comfortable with using that gun. Probably because I listened to all the other guys telling me I was foolish to hunt with a .223 rifle.

As far as having to trail a deer after shooting one with a .223, I know a lot of folks who had to look for deer after shooting them with a .30-06 or .270. So, if you can shoot a .5 group with your .223, then by all means go for it, (head of neck shots if possible) less meat damage too.
Good luck.

July 30, 2009, 03:54 AM
In Washington state, my home state, the minimum caliber for deer hunting is 24 caliber. As a result the .223 Rem, which is 22 caliber, would be illegal!

In South Carolina the minimum caliber for deer hunting is .243 caliber, at least according to my son who lives there, again, as a result the .223 Rem, which is 22 caliber, would be illegal!

I can't speak for game laws in all the other states, but I wouldn't be surprised to see similar restriction, some states on the eastern seaboard require rifled shotgun slugs only.


July 30, 2009, 05:45 AM
Wyoming does not allow .223 cal for big game,.24 cal min. Thank God reasonable people prevail here.