View Full Version : Deer with 223

December 10, 2011, 04:50 PM
For you guys who hunt deer with 223, what rounds are you using? I'm set up to handload but will probably just buy factory if it's for deer.

December 10, 2011, 05:15 PM
first i have to admit, I dont hunt with a .223, Illinois law prohibits rifle hunting, so check caliber restrictions in your state.

That being said, When I was in the Marine Corps, we used a 62 grain bullet traveling aproximatly 3000fps. Considering a deer is a human sized animal, I suppose this would be sufficiant with good placement of the round. Being that the 62 grain bullet still has some power restrictions, I would bump that up to a 75 grain bullet traveling at least 2800fps. I'm sure there are plenty of factory loads in this range. What makes that better is that I'm sure many of these come in a hollow point configurations.

All of that taken into account, shot placemet is far more important. Heck, there are records of people taking Elephants with high speed .22 type bullets by placing the shot in the brain.

Hope that helps!

December 10, 2011, 06:13 PM
The first deer I ever shot was with a savage model 10 in .223. I was using hand loaded combined technology silver ballistic tips. It broke ribs on the way in and out and also destroyed both lungs.

December 10, 2011, 06:41 PM
I'd look at the Barnes TSX or some other solid copper bullet if hunting big deer or at ranges over 150 yards or so. For normal deer at typical ranges any 60gr+ softpoint that shoots well in your gun will do just fine.

December 10, 2011, 10:47 PM
I shoot pigs with my 223 load, but prefer to shoot deer with a larger caliber. The 223 load is a 65 grain Sierra Gameking over about a max load of AA2230 powder and CCI primers. I must not be the only one using that 65 gr Gameking, because every time I try to reorder, I wind up being backordered for a month. If you're going to use that bullet, buy plenty of them up front.

December 10, 2011, 10:59 PM
Keep in mind that many, if not most, hollow point rifle bullets are not designed for hunting. The jacket is thick and the bullet is not meant to expand.

Look for a heavy bullet with an exposed lead tip. The bullet description should have game, locked (lokt), bonded, etc in the name and it shouldn't say varmint anywhere on the box.

December 11, 2011, 01:10 AM
The Barnes all copper bullets [www.corbon.com] and the Nosler Partition [Federal] have proven to be good performers.

December 11, 2011, 01:56 AM
Handloaded Hornady 55 gr. V-max. Killed 5-6 last three years all headshots. Most shots around 100 yards and don't shoot on windy days and if i can't get a good head shot I don't shoot. But they work great. Shot placement is very critical and don't worry so much to bullet as you do the accuracy has gotta be perfect

December 11, 2011, 02:08 AM
Keep in mind that many, if not most, hollow point rifle bullets are not designed for hunting. The jacket is thick and the bullet is not meant to expand.Incorrect. Hollow point bullets, with the exception of those designed for target, have thin jackets and expand violently...A.K.A., the varmint bullet.

December 11, 2011, 04:12 AM
Right. But varmint bullets aren't recommended for deer hunting, are they?

It was partially misconception on my part. All of my HP rifle bullets are meant for targets. I don't do any varmint shooting and I thought most of those had polymer tips of some kind to speed the expansion.

Art Eatman
December 11, 2011, 10:19 AM
Hollow point match bullets are pretty-much labelled on the box. Uniformity is the most important design feature, not expansion.

In general for hunting bullets, hollow points have thinner jackets. Same deal for most boat-tails. Soft points and flat-based bullets are generally designed for controlled expansion.

In the FWIW department, I have found that thin-jacketed bullets can be driven too fast for controlled expansion when it's "up close and personal", but they work well on out at longer ranges. My best example is in thirty-caliber: A Sierra 150-grain SPBT with a muzzle velocity around 3,100 ft/sec blew up in a deer's neck at around 25 yards. It always did just what I wanted for penetration and expansion, out beyond a hundred yards.

December 11, 2011, 07:02 PM
I shot an 8 point buck this year with my 16" Rock River M4 shooting 223 Federal Premium ammo loaded with 60 gr. Nosler Partition bullets. One shot and he was down in about 20 yards. Both lungs and heart were completely destroyed. I will use it again.

December 11, 2011, 08:59 PM
I uses 55 gr. Sierra gamekings,hornady 60gr.taps For my Doe's neck& headshots inside 100yds.Most are DRT or real close.Again shot placement is very important.

December 11, 2011, 10:02 PM
I dont hunt dear with .223 but if I did maybe this: http://www.hornady.com/store/223-Rem-75-gr-FPD/

Im pretty sure dear are .24 and above animals but I guess a .223 would easily outpower a .357 magnum and some people hunt dear with that.

I like .270

December 12, 2011, 10:55 AM
I use a .223 depending where I am at. I like mine for close thick stuff because it is a carbine and light to carry and move around with. My shots are under 100 yards and I use factory Hornady 55 grain V-MAX Molly Coated. I shot one this year and it only went about 40 yards, pretty good considering I jumped it out of a bed and it was already moving. It destroyed a lung and the heart but those bullets usually don't leave much of a trail. Small hole in and small out, if any. They don't go far on a good hit anyway. It puts them down a lot better than my .257 Roberts does.

December 12, 2011, 08:51 PM
I started my boy w/ a .223. Very controlled setting, shooting house, green fields, me at his side coaching. He had shot .22 alot, and at age 11 we took the miniMauser .223 for deer.

He killed exactly two, both with Federal bonded "tactical" loads. One exited, the other did not. On the one that did not exit, there was zero blood trail, though the deer did not go far.

I would strongly recommend a premium, "hard" bullet for .223 and deer. The Nosler Partition, the various bonded bullets, and the Barnes etc.

The ballistic tip, standard hollowpoints and SP are a gamble w/'223 and deer.
They are varmint bullets and may not hold up on a deer shoulder.

December 12, 2011, 09:21 PM
had Finn Aagard do a article of the .223 for deer.

He recommended use of the Winchester .223Rem using the 64gr Powerpoint bullet.

He thought the .223 was best for beginners due to the recoil and thus the better shot placement.

Deja vu
December 12, 2011, 11:46 PM
I hunt deer with a 357 magnum Carbine frequently.I would venture to guess I have taken between 15-20 Deer with the 357 magnum. I am sure the 223 can do its part if the shooter can do theres

December 13, 2011, 09:23 AM
One or two lucky shots with inferior bullets and relatively low-powered cartridges don't mean that every future shot will result in a quick kill. If a person must hunt moderate to larger deer with a .223 Rem (or other cartridge with similar projectile/energy) I hope they'd use the best deer-sized game bullets available. Nosler Partitions and Barnes TSX would be high on my list.

Kill zones and killing shot angles are more limited with lighter projectiles because they can more easily be rendered ineffective, especially by bone impact, than more powerful generally-recognized deer rounds. Head shots are particularly risky because it's a small target that moves more than any other part of the animal.

Quartering shots should also be passed up with smaller projectiles. Going-away shots are usually a bad idea for any bullet, but much worse with a light bullet. I've seen a hind-quarter shot that made a mess of a hindquarter, but the small doe managed to run a half-mile, only to be killed by someone from another party...who kept it. A fellow hunter (B-I-L) hadn't followed instructions. Although I'd stopped using it myself, that episode resulted in shelving the .22-250 Rem for deer hunting. The experience caused the guy to never hunt again. A 30-06 and a good deer bullet would probably have killed the deer with that relatively poor shot.

Carefully placed shots in the lower neck or heart/lung, from a .223 Rem, using good game bullets at reasonable range (preferably under 200 yards) should be fine. Professional deer-management contractors in Maine successfully use .223 Rem rounds with silenced rifles and night-vision scopes at reasonably short range (over bait). Your results may vary.

December 13, 2011, 01:23 PM
About any bullet will work fine under a 100 yards. When I was a kid, I was up on a mountain and stopped to talk to a guy with a pretty fancy rig. I asked what he was shooting and he replied "6MM Remington". Well, being young and dumb I asked if he did not think that was a little light for deer. He said "Hell no! I shot at a doe last year and and blew a front leg clean off! For years that stuck in my mind and I would not drop below a .30 caliber. Eventually I figured out you had to hit a deer correctly to drop or kill it.

December 13, 2011, 01:35 PM
.223, in my opinion, is not a deer round. 243 is a bare minimum. I know some of you will strongly disagree and it's still a free country but I prefere to knock hell out of them. 30/30, 308, 30-06, heck, even a 7mm mag... these are deer rounds. I like massive blood trails should they run a bit.
Granted, a 223 will do the job with a perfect hit but I still get the fever and hate to lose an animal. I hit a nice buck once @ 60 yds with my 6mm right in the shoulder and never found him for lack of a blood trail. Since then I prefere more gun, especially for those long shots.
Just my opinion and you know they are just like bung holes, we all have them & they all stink.

December 14, 2011, 05:58 PM
post 21...I say you missed that deer at 60 YARDS....

Art Eatman
December 14, 2011, 08:02 PM
Post #19 seems like as good a closing statement as any, and better than most. :)