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Old January 7, 2017, 11:20 PM   #51
dahermit
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Although they do not come right out and say it, most Gunwriters insinuate that it is not adequate for deer. I don't doubt they have never held one, let alone fired one. What we have here is nothing more than a campfire discussion. None of the "Facts" are provable. Nothing new to be learned.
I believe you are correct. As a matter of fact, that is what I was trying to get across by the original post. All those people who will unequivocally state that a particular cartridge is "too small for deer", have not shot even one with the cartridge they deem as inadequate let alone the many that they would need to shoot in order to have a basis for their opinion. They just seem to assume that it would not work because it looks too small in comparison to other cartridges.
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Old January 8, 2017, 02:15 AM   #52
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...nd what data can you cite for your choice for determining that minimum?
Here in Oregon the minimum legal caliber to hunt deer with is a "22 centerfire", no specification on actual caliber. yes, it does leave a lot open to interpretation technically a .380 auto is legal under that definition.

I do think its adequate but while it wouldn't be my first choice, personally I wouldn't go below a .223
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Old January 8, 2017, 02:52 AM   #53
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This question brings us back to many old proverbial problems. Which straw will break the back of the Camel? Which drop of Water will sink the ship. etc etc.
If we include all the proprietary, and Wildcat cartridges into the mix, we basically have individual straws and individual drops. Is it .22 cal? 6mm? .257?
Is it a total energy number that bullet dia. is simply a variable in? Is a .17 Cal appropriate? Would it be appropriate if an X bullet was made for it? What about if that X bullet was in a wildcat that pushed it 4300 fps?
My 6 year old has shot 3 deer with his .223 this year. A five point buck at 120 yards, a 10 point buck at 90 yards, and a large doe at 192 yards. The five point piled up DRT. The 10 Point dropped like a box of rocks and then got up and ran 30 yards and piled up dead. The doe never went down, ran 40 yards and died. All were pass through lung shot. The difference between the .223 and my usual rifle (7wsm) is the blood trail. The two deer that ran left no blood until they had run over 20 yards. The 7 WSM leaves a river of blood on the ground. I have not seen how the .223 would perform on a shoulder shot.
The .223 does the job, but I do not think I would want to go any smaller or slower than the .223 Winchester. (62 grain Fusion)
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Old January 8, 2017, 01:28 PM   #54
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Chainsaw I surely didn't mean that directly at you. There is a large number of people on here that get all bent out of shape when the word magnum comes up. I know u were trying to lighten the mood and be funny. I can appreciate that. But what I truely find funny is most (not all) of us start our kids out on a low recoil rifle and shotgun. I did it myself because my kids enjoy shooting and hunting. I wouldn't have turned them loose with any gun I wasn't 100% confident in. But buy them larger guns later as they grow. And as far as ourselves, as we get older we migrate back to those low recoil rifles. There are several on here that have scolded the 223 and 243 but allowed their kids to hunt with one. I guess maybe, just maybe, they are more confident in their kids abilities than their own.
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Old January 8, 2017, 03:37 PM   #55
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In hunting, it all depends on your technique. I have become more traditional in my practices but my brother and I used to shoot head and neck shots only. It is not difficult if you are a good shot but there are times you have to let an animal go because you can't get that head or neck shot. The good part of it is that you don't ruin much meat like you do with a shoulder shot. We hunt for food so that kind of hunting necessitates a light, explosive, bullet in just the right spot. The same bullet would be marginal, at best, for a body shot. So it is less a function of the power level as it is how it is used.
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Old January 8, 2017, 08:36 PM   #56
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Depending on the situation depends on what rifle I use. Still hunting gets a light 22-250 or .243 and a neck shot almost all DRT or very short track with tons of blood. I may or may not have also heard/seen the 22 WMR neck shots DRT or short track also. Deer drive gets the 30-06 or 12ga due to running shots that can be less than perfect hits.
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Old January 10, 2017, 02:52 PM   #57
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Okay then, with evidence:

I've shot 4 antelope, 2 mule deer, and one whitetail with the .233 and 64 grain soft points. All were heart/lung hits. One, just one, went down DRT. The others all went a ways, or stood there a while and laid down rather than falling over. One antelope took a double lunger and ran 75 yards before stopping, then another double lunger, then finally LAID down, but with its head up, following a heart shot. A fourth round was placed in its noggin, ending it.

These were northern deer which are large in body, and antelope which can be tough for their size.

The .257 or the 30-06 would have fared better, and 400 or so head of game taken by myself and those around me can attest to that.
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Old January 10, 2017, 03:39 PM   #58
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Okay then, with evidence:
I've shot 4 antelope, 2 mule deer, and one whitetail with the .233 and 64 grain soft points. All were heart/lung hits. One, just one, went down DRT. The others all went a ways, or stood there a while and laid down rather than falling over. One antelope took a double lunger and ran 75 yards before stopping, then another double lunger, then finally LAID down, but with its head up, following a heart shot. A fourth round was placed in its noggin, ending it.
These were northern deer which are large in body, and antelope which can be tough for their size.
The .257 or the 30-06 would have fared better, and 400 or so head of game taken by myself and those around me can attest to that.
Of the 4 antelope, 2 mule deer, and one whitetail you shot with the .233 [Sic, .223], how many were lost?

What does shooting 400 head of game with .257 and 30-06 got to do with the .223 being not as effective, ("...257 or the 30-06 would have fared better...") as the .257 or 30-06? Did you shoot 400 head of game with the .223 to compare to the effectiveness of .257 and 30-06 to enable you to conclude that the .223 is ineffective? The only relative experience here seems to be the 4 antelope, 2 mule deer, and one whitetail, which you evidently recovered, or at least you did not say you lost.
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Old January 10, 2017, 06:14 PM   #59
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I had a REAL bad experience with a .257 Roberts +P with a Hornady 117 Grain RN. It was a big doe trotting past and I thought I shot through the lung area. All she did was pick up speed. No indication of being hit. I was lucky and got another shot, through the shoulder. Surprise! The first shot went through the lungs like a target arrow. Two other people (Reliable) told me they had problems with the same bullet at close range. On the other hand, I never had a problem like that with 6MMs or smaller. I worked with a guy that went somewhere out west for antelope. He used a 25-06 and said the first one he shot just picked its head up and looked around. Thought he missed so he gave it another one. It jumped that time and stumbled and went down. I have used a 7.62x39 to hunt deer a lot of times, but have always loaded 30-30 bullets for expansion at the pressures it produces. I would say it is not so much the caliber as the bullet matched to it that makes the difference.
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Old January 11, 2017, 02:20 AM   #60
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No, I never lost an animal I'd shot with the .223, but it was apparent to me that I was risking just that. I guess it all depends on what you're looking for in a big game cartridge. I was always led to believe that reasonable steps should be taken to kill quickly and with as little suffering as possible. My limited experience with the .223 suggested that FOR ME and for the type of hunting I do, there might be better options. Do what you like.
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Old January 11, 2017, 12:39 PM   #61
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Gunplumber,

I re-read your .257 Roberts failure story today, and something strikes me as odd, namely the bullets failure to expand. The 117gr RN is meant for the 25-35, and its lower starting velocity. At speeds around 2900 one wouldn't expect that target-arrow hole. That isn't to say that I question your account. Not at all. I know it can happen because I saw 2 failures to expand in one season some years ago.

2 deer (recovered after 3/4 mile tracking jobs) that were hit with a 7mag/150 where the bullet just ice-picked through the critter. One was a WT doe at 400yards, and the bullet didn't take a rib coming or going, just poked a small hole in the lungs. Okay, longer range, slower impact velocity, sure....but the other was a mulie buck at about 75 yards, and it DID cleanly perforate a rib going in, but still performed like a FMJ. These were factory Rem Core Lok't bullets (early 2000's) showing little in the way of exposed lead to start expansion. A switch to Winchester PSP seemed to solve the problem. Leastwise it hasn't happened since.
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Old January 11, 2017, 07:13 PM   #62
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Old January 11, 2017, 11:25 PM   #63
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I will defend the .223, ...

citing the article authored by the Late Finn Aagraad, written for the American Rifleman, back in 1983. He as a guide in Texas, found that new /inexperinced shooter, had better shot PLACEMENT with the .223, with some deer running off some distance {about 70yds?}. He felt that the commercial WIn 64gr PP was the best available for deer.

I have known two hunters that used the .30 Carbine, one took two deer @ 35 and 65 yds and DRT, here in MI.

Another was from WI., and used the Carbine on drives, because the "dumping" five fast shots. [not my idea of hunting or proper round to be used.]
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Old January 12, 2017, 05:12 AM   #64
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If anything, the "Proof and data" in this thread presented to support a minimum cartridge for deer does just the opposite. Before the coming of the rifled shotgun barrel, the shot gun was one of the most deer wound and lose guns out there. Actually, until the gun and ammo companies got it together and focused on shotguns, the rifled barrels were not too great either. How do you explain that in terms of power on deer?
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Old January 12, 2017, 08:46 AM   #65
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In my experience .357 magnum and .223 remington are the low end. I have heard all the statements that deer are easy to kill and a .223 is all your need for black bear.

I will say this. A .223 will surely kill a big black bear same as a .22 short will kill a deer. The question is what works for your hunting situation. If you are comfortable with a marginal cartridge that probably will not exit leaving no blood trail then great. I had a .223 shatter on a fair size, not giant 8 points neck ( c spine) and not exit. Here in eastern NC I want to poke two holes and leave a blood trail. My shots are from 7 to 400 yards. I would consider using anything less than a 30 30 or 7.62 by 39 killing not hunting, so I will go with the Russian round as my personal minimum. That is here . Not everywhere. Deer are not armor plated but they can run and without a good blood trail they will run into the pocosin never to be seen again. Just my $.02

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Old January 12, 2017, 09:02 AM   #66
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If you are comfortable with a marginal cartridge that probably will not exit leaving no blood trail then great. Here in eastern NC I want to poke two holes and leave a blood trail.
With the new solid copper/gilding metal bullets, and a short broadside shot, you'll get two nice holes and a short blood trail with the .223. Don't try to break shoulder/leg bones with it. Don't attempt a "Texas Heart Shot" ...... don't attempt to shoot deer beyond Ft. Mudge. Used within it's limits, it works.
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Old January 12, 2017, 09:15 AM   #67
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Too many don'ts there. I can use a bow if I want to limit myself.I look at it like this. Waht if the biggest buck of my life was out. I font want to be holding a .223. I have seen a barnes 55 gr tsx deflect off a rib and angle straight towards the anus. F I understand it in one of the stomachs after a heck of a track with Harvey my buddies dog. Even the solid copper bullets can and will deflect.

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Old January 12, 2017, 11:45 AM   #68
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I'm not a fan of this thread because anything can kill a deer when the unknown happens. I believe you should use enough gun to get the job done and sometimes a bit more.

But since this is a minimum load thread I vote 12 gauge buckshot.

I have an uncle who was out hunting and somehow fell asleep under a tree when a big 8 point walked in front of him. He raised the gun and shot before it was shouldered. The deer turned and ran the opposite way right into a tree and broke its neck.
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Old January 12, 2017, 12:40 PM   #69
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For little whitetails, I think I'd settle on .25-20 or .22 Hornet at the low end.

For 'Bama bucks and Muleys, it's .223 Rem / 6x45mm or better.


No matter what I'm hunting and what cartridge I'm using, I must have the correct bullet for the job and the shot must be appropriate.
I wouldn't be taking chest shots with a 30 gr HP in .22 Hornet.
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Old January 13, 2017, 09:48 PM   #70
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Old January 14, 2017, 12:06 PM   #71
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I see a lot of "Blood trail" on this forum. The farthest I ever had to track a deer (With a good shot) was with a 30-30 double lung shot. The 7.62x39 a close second with the same kind of shot. Either deer I could have easily found without a blood trail. If I was that worried about a blood trail, I would aim somewhere else. Where is it written in stone that you have to shoot deer in the heart/lung area?
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Old January 14, 2017, 12:59 PM   #72
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I have been hunting deer for over 1/2 a century and done so in various states where several deer a year were allowed. So I can't count the number I have killed. I have killed them with arrows, handgun bullets, and rifle bullets as well as muzzle-loader bullets and round balls.

I have received crossways looks from others for using weapons that were "too big" (like 50-140 Sharps, 458s, 460s and 416s as well as 62 cal flintlock) and "too small" (like 357 magnum handguns,one time loaded with 38 specials, 45 ACP handguns and a wood arrow shot from a 42 pound bow.) I have never used a single weapon on any big game animal that I was unsuccessful with. Not one! This is not to say I have been 100% successful in every outing, but what I am saying is that EVERY weapon I have used, I have killed game with.

So what I know to be true is that it's the wound you inflict that kills. Not the gun. Not the shell, not even really the bullet.

It's the hole.

The deepest hole you can have any any animal is through and through lengthwise.

If you have a weapon that will give you sufficient penetration the only thing left to vary is the diameter of that wound. Those 2 things are the only 2 things that can be varied from weapon to weapon. We call them "Penetration" and "cavitation".

Every other variable is about the man shooting,(or choosing not to) not the weapon used.

I do not use super small rifles on deer just because it makes no sense to do if if I have something bigger. I do.
But I have no doubt that I could.

I have an acquaintance in Susanville Calif who is in his mid 80s now, and has killed so many deer with a 22 rim-fire that he had lost count before he was 30, and he's still doing it. He told me he only lost 3 in his life, and all of them were when he was a young teen before he learned where to hit them.

In my collection of rifles now, the smallest rifle I have that I will take for deer is my 6.5X54, my 30-30, my 7.62X39 or my 25-06.
Why? Because I have nothing to prove. I know I'd do fine with my 223s or even my 222, and probably would do well with a 22 LR, but I have nothing I feel I need to prove.

The 22 LR and the 222 Rem are not legal here and I see no reason to take a chance on getting a citation, but I know that if I needed to for some reason, I could kill a deer with a 22LR.

But pushing "right to the edge of the envelope" just doesn't make sense to me. I need to ask myself what I am trying to prove that is not already proven by thousands of men, over 100 years?

I have gone hunting with several men and women and a few kids who used 223s. In fact, I loaded the ammo for 4 of them. They all shot carefully and all have taken deer and antelope, and so far all have done it with one shot per animal. So far every one has given us an exit wound too. No antelope or deer shot with those 223s that I have seen killed went more than about 25 yards.



So this is all good material for banter back and forth, but in the final analysis it's always the shooter and his/her skill that makes up 99% of the equation.

The real trick to having a super high shots-to-kills rate is to NOT SHOOT when you should not shoot.
That's about ethical hunting, not what tool you have in your hands. Holding fire until you know you can kill is what it's all about.

That's how I have killed deer with 45 ACPs a 38 special round, and a wood arrow with a 2 blade broad head only 3/4" wide, shot from 42 pound bow.

When I shot I KNEW I was going to kill.

I didn't have to think "maybe I can do this".

The maybe's I turn down and I hold my fire. Not shooting is the key. Know when to NOT shoot and you'll do fine
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Old January 14, 2017, 01:43 PM   #73
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A 6mm that's where I would draw the line, maybe 25cal but that's me !!!
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Old January 16, 2017, 12:40 PM   #74
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^^ Wyosmith, I don't think that answer can be beaten.
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Old January 16, 2017, 03:02 PM   #75
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Spot on Wyosmith.
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