View Full Version : Broadhead vs. 223 Rem.

February 22, 2009, 02:37 PM
I recently heard an argument from a .223 Rem owner who liked his chances better at close-in shots on deer than that of a capable archer. Any thoughts? Lets assume for the sake of argument:

1) typical archery range
2) 223 utilizing an appropriate well-constructed bullet for the job
3) "average-sized" whitetail
4) clear broadside shot
5) both hunters experienced and decent shots capable of placing their projectiles in the kill zone.

Para Bellum
February 22, 2009, 02:47 PM
I am an avid archer but never hunted with it, so this post is rather theoretical on my side, but

...the wounding potential of a .223 outperforms the bow anytime, especially with a M193 yawing and fragmenting bullet. But that's not what we use for hunting since we want to have some meat left on the deer.

But just take a look at the wound channels from .223 bullets thrrough varous mediums here:


Couldn't do that with a bow that just cuts his way throgh with a 1" diameter.

February 22, 2009, 03:09 PM
Bullets and broadheads use different mechanics to create a wound channel. Bullets use kinetic energy and hydrostatic shock to create a wound channel (1/2 mass X velocity squared), arrows use momentum (mass X velocity) and a sharp edge to make a wound channel. This makes it very difficult to make a valid comparison. The most valid comparison you can make is between the two at 25 yds and then again at 100 yds. Either will kill a deer at 25 yds, but at 100 yds it becomes very challenging for the arrow to hit its mark, even though the wound would be very serious.

February 22, 2009, 04:16 PM
What's the question?

Either one will kill the deer cleanly in the above scenario, so I'm not sure what I'm trying to answer?


February 22, 2009, 05:43 PM
With the scenario you have stated in your thread, (all things being equal) they both will kill deer. However, I would choose the arrow with a sharp broadhead if it were me in this situation. As an avid deer hunter for the past 40+years, I have been fortunate to harvest many deer using both a rifle and a bow/arrow. Some comments on your question:

A couple years ago, I shot two deer (6 pt. and a doe) using my cousin's Remington Model Seven in .223 (Winchester 64 grain soft point bullet). The buck dropped on the spot and the doe did not go very far. This was the first time in all my years of hunting that I had used a .223 for deer. I wasn't that comfortable before the hunt but was impressed with the bullet's ability to take these deer. My cousin usually tries for neck shots with this gun....
But even now, I am really not that confident with this caliber for hunting whitetails. Reason? All of those shots were under 50 yards and I was fortunate to make perfect broadside hit on these deer. However, if they had been quartering away, were bigger size deer, behind any cover, a little farther out, etc, I don't think I would have taken the shot on them with this particular caliber. With that said, a .223 will kill a deer! Especially from 25 yards and closer, per the question presented.

However, with a bow and arrow and using a very sharp broadhead, you can take most any game here in North America (especially deer) with a well placed arrow. Especially the quartering away shots as it kills by hemmoraging and not by shock, etc. There is no size whitetail in the world, that a sharp broadhead can't put down, (if you do do your part and make the proper shot placement). I have experienced that that many times with my Mathews bow and a sharp (Rage 2-blade) and/or Muzzy broadhead. At 25 yards and closer, I would choose the arrow. Besides, to me it is a lot more challenging and more exciting when you harvest a whitetail by bow, (just my opinion). With that said, you need to practice a lot with your archery/hunting equipment before the hunt (to be fair to your game you are hunting). I love to hunt with both my rifle and archery equipment. However, when bowhunting season ends, I will pull out my trusty 6.5x55 for whitetails and leave the .223 to others for deer hunting. .

February 22, 2009, 06:05 PM
Average sized deer are not hard to kill. I bow hunt but feel a 223 loaded with proper ammo will put a deer down quicker and more reliably. On larger animals the broadhead of an arrow would be a better choice.

February 23, 2009, 12:34 AM
If both hit broadside at 25 yards both will kill equally.
Deer can not jump a .223 but can jump a arrow.
If I was looking to fill my freeze I would take the .223.
If I was looking to occupy my time and challenge my self it would be the bow.

February 23, 2009, 10:08 AM
I'm with Dayrl. What's the question?

I think the only one who could actually make a fair judgement on what they would perfer, is an acurate reliable archer who is also a good shot with his rifle. Both will kill a deer. Depending on shot placement the argument is six one way, half a dozen the other.

My broadheads open up to 1 3/8-2 inches depending on what I'm shooting. I know that I'm going to find my deer within (at max) 60 yds from site of shot.

It all depends, If I was hunting for the survival of the family and it meant starving if I didn't bring home meat, I would carry the .223 and plug the deer in the brain. But if I wasn't/couldn't spine shoot the deer or head/neck shoot it, I would most definately trust my broadhead behind the shoulder.