The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Bolt, Lever, and Pump Action

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 25, 2021, 08:44 PM   #1
JJ45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2015
Posts: 799
Most effective 223 deer loads

In a bolt gun, which factory and handloads are best if taking the 223 deer hunting.

I know shot placement is most important with any cartridge/bullet but would like to know some opinions. The jury is still out in my mind on the 223 for deer. My home state of PA's game commission was going to outlaw 22 centerfires for deer last year but changed their minds after an avalanche of hunter complaints.
JJ45 is offline  
Old January 25, 2021, 09:25 PM   #2
Dranrab
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2016
Location: NOLA
Posts: 202
The 64 Grain Nosler Bonded, the 60 Grain Partition, the 62 grain Swift Scircocco, the 70 grain Accubond the 69 and 77 grain TMK for handloading. CFE 223 for powder. Fusion for factory ammo,
Dranrab is offline  
Old January 25, 2021, 10:00 PM   #3
jmr40
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 10,295
I would, and have used 223 to kill deer. It works, but I have other, better options. If a 223 was my only option I'd not stay home, but I'd not choose one as my only option.

Just about any expanding bullet 60 gr or heavier should work. Another option are the copper bullets from Barnes etc. The copper bullets will be in the 50-55 gr weight, but lighter copper bullets perform much more like heavier traditional bullets.

The one deer I took with a 223 was with an AR. The terrain I was planning to hunt was extremely thick and I knew shots would likely happen fast at very close range with the possibility of repeat shots being needed. The 16" barreled AR fit the terrain better.

It was last day of the season, deer had gone nocturnal and were spending their days in this thick patch. I figured my only chance was to go in after one. I was just outside waiting for sunrise when I caught a small buck getting home just a little too late. I shot him 25 minutes before sunrise, 5 minutes into legal time just before he got in the brush.
__________________
"If you're still doing things the same way you were doing them 10 years ago, you're doing it wrong"

Winston Churchill
jmr40 is offline  
Old January 26, 2021, 05:36 AM   #4
JJ45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2015
Posts: 799
Thinking about the above, my main concern is lack of blood on the ground....deer can be difficult, if not impossible to find, if there is no blood trail.....at least, where I hunt.
JJ45 is offline  
Old January 26, 2021, 10:19 AM   #5
taylorce1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2005
Location: On the Santa Fe Trail
Posts: 7,478
55 grain Barnes Vor-TX ammunition worked very well on the few deer my daughter shot with the .223. Broke the shoulders on all them and no tracking necessary.
__________________
NRA Life Member
taylorce1 is offline  
Old January 26, 2021, 10:25 AM   #6
Tallest
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 23, 2016
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
Posts: 414
I like the Federal Fusions, really accurate out of my Ruger 223. I also like the Nosler 60 Grain bonded, as I get much better accuracy from them than Partitions. 70 Grain Accubonds are probably my favorite when I can find them. But right now, everything is hard to come by.

I would also say this. Deer aren't hard to kill unless they're hard to hit. If you feel good about where you can put the shot, 223 is just fine. And if you don't feel good about where you can put the shot, no cartridge is good enough.
__________________
Matthew

"This is God's universe, and he has a plan. You might think that you have a better plan, but you don't have a universe." - Dr. J.V. McGee
Tallest is offline  
Old January 26, 2021, 10:57 AM   #7
jmhyer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 19, 2012
Location: MS - USA
Posts: 859
I've had good results (primarily with broadside shots, inside 150 yards) with the 62gr Federal Fusion and the 60gr Hornady American Whitetail loads. I think the American Whitetail load uses a Hornady InterLock projectile and I have only found them through Academy Sports.
jmhyer is offline  
Old January 26, 2021, 01:39 PM   #8
reinert
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 591
Another good bullet in a .223 handload is the Sierra 63 grn. SMP. 150 yards would pretty much be my extreme range on a whitetail using my .223.
reinert is offline  
Old January 26, 2021, 04:37 PM   #9
jrothWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2006
Posts: 2,454
Finn Aagarrad, was a columnist for the American Rifleman magazine and wrote a column regarding the .223Rem. [late 80's]

He decide that the WIN 64 gr PP ammo was sufficient for new hunters and light-statured people for the hunting whitetail deer.
jrothWA is offline  
Old January 29, 2021, 01:43 PM   #10
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 23,292
I would remind all that game laws are not about what a cartridge can DO, but more about what the bulk of people will do with it. And, what the state considers best for the SPORT, overall.

Also remember what existed, or was expected to exist soon, when the law was written. And what changes have been made since, if any.

Up until fairly recently, .22 centerfire rounds were either loaded with military FMJ (.223) or varmint bullets, very poorly suited to cleanly taking deer. There were a few heavier built bullets, but only a few and those were a handloading proposition. The guys using those weren't the problem, the concern was large numbers of the general public shooting with varmint ammo, resulting in lots of cripples and lost deer.

Generally speaking, you'll want a bullet 60gr or heavier, and one that isn't a match bullet or a varmint bullet. Everybody making things like that has somebody to answer their phone. Call them and ask what the bullet is made for.

Newer rifles with the fast twist are built to give best accuracy with the long heavy bullets, older guns with twist rates for the varmint bullets not so much, but MIGHT be good enough with certain bullets. Only testing by shooting will tell.

One of my rifles with the old slow twist rate will put the 55gr and under bullets into an inch or usually less @100yds. Shooting the Sierra 63gr semi spitzers (the old time "deer bullet") its best is just under 2" @100. Good enough for deer, at reasonable range but not good enough for small varmints with that bullet.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old January 30, 2021, 05:30 AM   #11
JJ45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2015
Posts: 799
Quote:
Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
I would remind all that game laws are not about what a cartridge can DO, but more about what the bulk of people will do with it. And, what the state considers best for the SPORT, overall.

Also remember what existed, or was expected to exist soon, when the law was written. And what changes have been made since, if any.

Up until fairly recently, .22 centerfire rounds were either loaded with military FMJ (.223) or varmint bullets, very poorly suited to cleanly taking deer. There were a few heavier built bullets, but only a few and those were a handloading proposition. The guys using those weren't the problem, the concern was large numbers of the general public shooting with varmint ammo, resulting in lots of cripples and lost deer.

Generally speaking, you'll want a bullet 60gr or heavier, and one that isn't a match bullet or a varmint bullet. Everybody making things like that has somebody to answer their phone. Call them and ask what the bullet is made for.

Newer rifles with the fast twist are built to give best accuracy with the long heavy bullets, older guns with twist rates for the varmint bullets not so much, but MIGHT be good enough with certain bullets. Only testing by shooting will tell.

One of my rifles with the old slow twist rate will put the 55gr and under bullets into an inch or usually less @100yds. Shooting the Sierra 63gr semi spitzers (the old time "deer bullet") its best is just under 2" @100. Good enough for deer, at reasonable range but not good enough for small varmints with that bullet.
44..a curious bureaucratic weirdness, I have never used a 22 centerfire for deer and bear here in Pa but 22 CFs have ALWAYS been legal!...Semi-Auto firearms have ALWAYS been illegal.

Since I didn't have a dog in the hunt I didn't pay too much attention to the whys and why nots but the Pa Game Commission was going to outlaw 22 CFs last year until a deluge of complaints by Pa hunters, who apparently have used 22 CFs effectively for years, changed their thinking.

Sounds jazz backwards, go figure! Why would the PGC want to do this when 22 bullet ballistics for deer have improved after years of mostly varmint and military bullets being available.
JJ45 is offline  
Old January 30, 2021, 05:53 AM   #12
stagpanther
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2014
Posts: 8,503
I knew an old timer hunter who swore by 60-something matchkings. I used to argue about thin-skinned target .223(4) suitability for hunting with him--but at the end of the season he always had multiple tagged deer. He swore that he could put the bullet right into the heart/lung area where it violently fragmented--basically pulverizing the crucial organs. I personally don't have that confidence.
__________________
If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!
stagpanther is offline  
Old January 30, 2021, 09:30 AM   #13
dahermit
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 28, 2006
Location: South Central Michigan...near
Posts: 6,265
Quote:
Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
I knew an old timer hunter who swore by 60-something matchkings. I used to argue about thin-skinned target .223(4) suitability for hunting with him--but at the end of the season he always had multiple tagged deer. He swore that he could put the bullet right into the heart/lung area where it violently fragmented--basically pulverizing the crucial organs. I personally don't have that confidence.
I experiment with 87 grain Hornadys in a 6mm Remington in regard to my then currrent belief was that, that varmint bullet would get past the hide, muscle, and ribs (inasmuch as the chest area on a deer is quite thin), and then blow-up showering the vitals with bits of the fragmented bullet. However, in actual practice, upon autopsy I found that the bullets did not "blow-up"...just shed their jackets with the core exiting out the off-side. Nevertheless, most of those deer dropped where they had been standing. So while they killed well, they were not actually blowing-up.
dahermit is offline  
Old January 30, 2021, 10:16 AM   #14
MarkCO
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 21, 1998
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 3,117
Barnes 62 grain TSX or TTSX. Limit the range so that the bullet stays above 2200 fps at impact and, IMHO, that is the best bet for Deer in .223. You can load them to 5.56 pressures and get over 3000 fps. I use TAC and run them just at 3100 MV.
__________________
Good Shooting, MarkCO
www.CarbonArms.us
MarkCO is offline  
Old January 30, 2021, 10:18 PM   #15
kymasabe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 10, 2005
Location: SW Florida
Posts: 2,527
Depends on your barrel twist. I'm running 75grain hp in my AR. I forget which bullet manufacturer, but I buy them from ammobypistolpete.
__________________
God's creatures big and small, eat them one, eat them all.
kymasabe is offline  
Old January 31, 2021, 07:42 AM   #16
std7mag
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 23, 2013
Location: Central Taxylvania..
Posts: 3,186
The biggest complaint wasn't from people using 223 Rem in Pennsylvania. It was from the people using their 22-250s for years.
Though the AR crowd is protesting loud about not being able to use that platform.

I loaded up some 60gr Partitions for a friends son in his bolt 223. Worked well for him for the past several years.

If your worried about the tracking part of things, i'd look at a 30-06 instead of a 223.
DRT, no tracking involved.
__________________
When our own government declares itself as "tyrannical", where does that leave us??!!
std7mag is offline  
Old February 1, 2021, 07:23 PM   #17
bacardisteve
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 5, 2006
Location: maryland
Posts: 593
My son used both 62gr gold dot as well as 75gr hornady bthp. Both did the job on broadside heart shots around 100yds. Be prepared to pass up hard quartering shots you would be willing to take with the 308 or 30-06 but it will certainly effectively harvest deer.
__________________
Kill em all and let God sort em out! USAF
bacardisteve is offline  
Old February 2, 2021, 01:09 PM   #18
upstate81
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 20, 2011
Location: NY
Posts: 780
I shot a large doe this past season with my savage .223. I used the barnes 55 grain copper load and it did the job nicely. One neck shot and it was all over. I have seen many deer shot with a .222 launching 50 grain soft points, they just toppled over.
upstate81 is offline  
Old February 3, 2021, 01:03 AM   #19
bamaranger
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 7,450
twist rate

The OP states that the projectile will be used in a bolt rifle. Many older bolt sporters in .223 cal have a slow twist rate of 1-12", possibly even 1-14", I am not going to take the time to check one of my manuals. Some of the heavier, longer projectiles being discussed, including the homogenous copper loads, are long for caliber and may not stabilize sufficiently to provide acceptable accuracy in slow twist rifles.

For that reason I am going to suggest that the OP take a hard look at the 60 gr Nosler Partition. Nosler took twist rates into consideration in developing the .223 Partition as a medium game bullet. The Nosler is a semi-spitzer, the ogive more blunt/ rounded with the intent purpose of minimizing the length of the projectile and increasing accuracy potential. I have not taken a deer (and do not intend to try) with the Nosler .223 Partition, but have worked up loads for a Mini-Mauser (.223) and a Ruger 77V (22-250) for bamaboy when he was gradeschool age. Both rifles delivered 1.5MOA with slow 1-12/1-14 twists.
bamaranger is offline  
Old February 4, 2021, 09:42 AM   #20
DaveJames
Junior Member
 
Join Date: April 17, 2020
Location: Hampton Roads VA
Posts: 10
Always had best luck with the Winchester 64 grain soft point out of my 788 in 223, but I was lucky. The 22-250 was a crap shoot with any thing above 55 grain, but I knew this kind of going in on it, as it was my chuck gun, had it re-barreled with a 24" 1x7 twist just so i could use the heavier slugs.
__________________
"A shot never fired,is always a miss"
DaveJames is offline  
Old February 4, 2021, 10:37 AM   #21
603Country
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 6, 2011
Location: Thornton, Texas
Posts: 3,782
I have killed deer and hogs with my 223, so I have some history on what works. If I intended to hunt deer (or pigs) regularly with my 223, I would use the 60 gr Nosler Partition. I want a blood trail if I lung shoot them. And, I have had some luck with the 65 gr Sierra Gameking, but it won’t penetrate like the Partition.
603Country is offline  
Old February 11, 2021, 10:53 PM   #22
jaysouth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2001
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 763
Ditto on the Nosler 60 gr. partition at 2900-3000 pfs.
jaysouth is offline  
Old February 11, 2021, 11:01 PM   #23
RC20
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 6,620
Its the bullet and the velocity. Powder is whatever works.

I see some good responses per above, go with it.
__________________
Science and Facts are True whether you believe it or not
RC20 is offline  
Old February 12, 2021, 10:33 PM   #24
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3,811
Plan B: Plan on shooting you're quarry more than once.
Although the 223 cartridge is legal in you're area. A hunters common sense often may suggest use otherwise.

Where I hunt deer are big in stature. Although the 223 is legal in this State also do to popularity. When asked to allow a 223 shooter onto my property. Such individual has a outstanding chance if he's a wounded Vet or just a Vet. I'll even guide him/her and that person >is going home with a deer! Anyone else other than? Depends on my attitude that day.
__________________
"JUST A OLD DEPLORABLE THAT'S IRREDEMABLE."
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old February 13, 2021, 02:00 PM   #25
Marco Califo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2011
Location: LA (Los Angeles)
Posts: 2,134
Speer makes a 70 grain SP that can be pushed over 3000 fps. Barnes also makes a 70 grain copper bullet.
Load data from Speer, Barnes, and Ramshot/Accurate (download the last reloading guide for free).
https://www.speer.com/reloading/rifle-data.html
https://www.accuratepowder.com/load-data/
https://www.barnesbullets.com/wp-con...mingtonWeb.pdf
__________________
............
Marco Califo is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2020 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.11014 seconds with 10 queries