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Old March 22, 2024, 11:06 AM   #26
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When you ask the question about "effectiveness" I have to ask "Effective on what? Under what circumstance?"

Do folks argue about the effectiveness of the 5.56 as a battle cartridge?
If the rifles for battle were single shots with iron sights the 30-40 Krag might be pretty spiffy. A big part of "effective" is how many 30 round magazines can a troop carry . "Effectiveness" might be more about making the enemy duck till fire support shows up. Use a Hellfire missile to take out a sniper with a Moisin?
Sure!
Because we might lose 2 or 3 grunts using fire and movement to take out a sniper.
The choice to use a 5.56as a big game rifle is not about the effectiveness of the cartridge.
Its about using your "Modern Sporting Rifle" to hunt with.

Pretty much a similar logic applies to the 44 Magnum. The revolver GUN or the Lever action GUN or the 10-22 size Ruger GUN select the cartridge,

AND if the 5,56 or 44 magnum HUNTER does their part, these two cartridges are effective enough for success.

The same can be said for a muzzle stuffer 54 cal patched round ball flung from a flintlock.

Now ask me how they rate in effectiveness as 1) Medium game rifles 2) Lawfully taking Pronghorn through deer and elk 3 ) Generally using any of the cartridges and rifles developed from about 1893 on for warfighting and the families of necked up and down derivatives.

It can be argued a Ruger American in 7-08 is "More effective" than a 5.56 or 44 Magnum even figuring in list price.

But Grandpa (or Grandma) may have slapped venison to the cast iron with a Rem Model 25 in 25-20 .

Folks make do with what they have, and "The Folks" knowing the limitations and adapting is a large component of "effectiveness"

Near all of these "Whats the best" posts main value is discussion.

"The best" on Tuesday may not be "the best" on Friday. Wind,weather, open plains of dense doghair forest, cozy blind or humping uphill at 9000 feet, holster gun or do you just really like your AR-10 T ? (Even though you shoot well enough to carry a Ruger # 1 ?)
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Old March 22, 2024, 12:54 PM   #27
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When you ask the question about "effectiveness" I have to ask "Effective on what? Under what circumstance?"
This is a major, and often overlooked point.

What may be the best combination tool for task A, might serve adequately for tasks B, C, and D, but be ridiculously inefficient for task E.

You can drive tacks with a 9lb sledgehammer. Its not efficient, but it absolutely will do the job. You might be able to drive a fence post with a tack hammer, but its going to take a LOT of work...

Calculated bullet energy is only a means for comparison between rounds using a common standard to do so. It is not, by itself, a direct meaningful indicator of how well any bullet will perform a specific task.

You can load a .22-250 and a .45-70 to exactly the same ft/lbs of energy. Which one do you think will be more "effective" putting down a large animal?
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Old March 24, 2024, 08:43 PM   #28
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I am retired from the US COAST GUARD and was stationed in Kodiak, ALASKA, twice.
First time from 1975 - 1978, and the second time from 1983 - 1986.
The first time I was there every one carried a 44 Mag pistol when salmon fishing.
The second time I was there was different. Most of us carried either a 454 casull, or 480 pistol. Those two rounds put out almost tripple the energy of the 44 mag, with bigger bullets.
A couple of months ago, I traded for a 45 colt/454 casull Rossi R 92.
I figure what a 44 mag can do, I can do with a hot loaded 45 colt, or 454 casull, and maybe would not drop near as bad at 100 yards .
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Old March 24, 2024, 08:44 PM   #29
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And with the 20 inch barrel, would be more powerful than a pistol would be, and easier to shoot
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Old April 3, 2024, 03:53 PM   #30
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Hornady's 200 grain hollow tip produces very wide wound channels throughout a deer's chest organs. Bullet flattens out to approximately .80 diameter. Quick kills within reasonable shooting distances, say about 100 yards or less. Jack
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Old April 6, 2024, 07:05 PM   #31
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[QUOTE]Do folks argue about the effectiveness of the 5.56 as a battle cartridge?[QUOTE]

People have been arguing about the effectiveness of the 223/556 round ever since it came out. There is a reason there are so many different ammo and bullet selections for the round and why there are so many different rounds that have been shoehorned into the AR platform. All to make it more effective than it is.

Remember the 556 was part of a spec set by the military so that the gun and 200 rounds of ammo weighed a certain amount. The 556 was developed to meet that weight requirement and for nothing else. It wasn't chosen because it could shoot through barriers or would blow an enemy soldier off their feet. It was picked because it met a weight requirement. Thats all. Does it work? Sure, most of the time and when used against human targets. It was never intended to be a Big Game round. But with proper hunting bullets it will work. Most of the time.

When someone asked about a 223 compared to a 44 mag I suspect the person asking has never hunted, never killed a deer or other larger game. Or gutted and skinned out a deer to see just what a bullet does when it hits.

I have killed one deer with a 44 mag and helped my bud skin and gut about 5 deer he has killed with his 44 mag. Its an effective round as long as you respect the range. 100 yards and less and its nasty. Hit a bone and its extra nasty. It shatters and blows bone fragments into the meat. So does a reduced 45-70 load like I used on one deer. That was my quickest deer kill. It just fell over with its legs straight out.

I have killed deer with several rounds from 243 up to 45-70. The bigger rounds just seem to do more damage. I have killed most of my deer with a 7x57 and later a 7-08. Those are good deer rounds. I have killed one deer with a 30-30 at 60-70 yards and was really impressed with the damage a 170gr Remington soft point did.

I guess I am in the camp that I would rather have a bigger moderate speed bullet than a fast, lightweight bullet to hunt with. For where and how I hunt a flat shooting long range round isn't needed. You will never go wrong with a .270 or 30-06.
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Old April 6, 2024, 08:22 PM   #32
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I can't help but notice that .223/5.56 wasn't among the rounds you listed using for deer hunting, would it be inaccurate to assume that means you've never shot a deer with either and therefore you aren't qualified to comment on how effective .223/5.56 is for deer hunting?
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Old April 7, 2024, 02:17 AM   #33
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Remember the 556 was part of a spec set by the military so that the gun and 200 rounds of ammo weighed a certain amount. The 556 was developed to meet that weight requirement and for nothing else.
I don't believe that was why the 5.56mm was developed, and none of the books and Army documents I know of ever mentioned any requirement about the rifle plus 200 rnds weight.

What is discussed is that a faction in the Army, that didn't want the AR15 produced a ballistic requirement (certain velocity at a certain range) that the AR15 could not meet in its original chambering, which was .222 Remington.

That faction hoped that the requirement the .222 AR 15 could not meet would lead to the entire idea of the rifle as the service rifle being dropped.

The .222 Remington Magnum could meet the requirement, but was too long to fit in the AR15.

Another faction in the Army development section got around this by designing the 5.56mm round, short enough to fit into the AR15 but enough larger capacity than the .222 to meet the velocity requirement. And since the AR in 5.56mm could meet the requirement, we got the M16 and the 5.56 as our primary service rife round. There's a lot more to it, of course, but that's it in a nutshell.

Which, of course has nothing to do with the .223 for deer hunting, or the .223 vs. the .44 Magnum.

I wouldn't choose a .223 (with any bullet) for deer hunting, for two reasons. First is, I believe bigger bullets work better, but more importantly, the .223 isn't legal for deer hunting where I've lived and hunted.

For most of the last 60 years, about 2/3 of the states did not allow the .223 for deer hunting. In the last few decades, that number has changed, but there are still about 1/3 of the states where legal deer rifles must be .24 caliber or larger.

There is a world of difference between military use of the 5.56mm and big game sport hunting. Not the least of which is that sport hunting rules are based on what most people are most likely to do, not what trained soldiers with select fire weapons are able to do in combat.

To humanely take game, with any round, you need to be reasonably precise with your shot placement. The smaller the caliber gets the more precise you need to be.
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Old April 7, 2024, 07:50 AM   #34
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Its generally a mistake to paste a label on a whole group of people.

There are a lot of bow hunters and muzzle loader hunters that are good at what they do. My respects to them!

There are a number of people that have used their AR-15 or Mini-14 to successfully ,cleanly take their last 12 deer with no problem.

Its certainly possible to smack down a deer with a Super Blackhawk.Some folks are quite good at it.

Results matter. If you can deliver a clean, merciful with whatever tool you use, enjoy your meat.

For myself, I have never tried a 5.56 to hunt big game. I have used a Super Blackhawk .44. I got an instant kill but do select the right bullet.

For myself, I'm expecting the first shot to get business done. I have nothing against semi-autos, but in the context of big game hunting,volume of fire means very little.

I've written a lot about the Mexican 98 Mauser I built. With the 6x by 42 mm Leupold attached it weighs 7 lbs. It flings a 115 gr .257 Ballistic Tip at 3050 fps. Its effective on deer and pronghorn. I can't think of a reason ((for myself) to carry an AR-15 or a 5,56 rifle instead.

I'd confidently use the .257 on elk,but why? I prefer the 30-06.

You do what works for you.

What I cannot respect are the folks who think it might be fun to pull off a stunt where the game pays the price. Then they dismiss it with "The coyotes gotta eat too"

And FWIW,no,I'm not saying that is the 5.56 shooter.

It COULD be the .378 Weatherby shooter that closes his eyes and cringes just before the trigger breaks.
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Old April 7, 2024, 11:11 AM   #35
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A 22lr under perfect conditions will kill a deer but does that mean it’s a good choice?
The firearms industry for years started their deer/medium game cartridge offerings at .243/6mm. Remington even marketed their 24 cal (.244) as a varmint gun initially.
Today we have some controlled expansion loads in 223/556 and maybe some other 22 center fires but their ballistics fall far short of a 243 Win. Very little room for error, tree limb, questionable rest, etc. and these will be magnified using something like a 223.
If a hunter were buying a deer rifle, why would he cut his margin for success so close by purchasing something that was so low on the power spectrum?
If that’s all you have and your hungry, that’s a different story.

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Old April 7, 2024, 12:42 PM   #36
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I don't believe that was why the 5.56mm was developed, and none of the books and Army documents I know of ever mentioned any requirement about the rifle plus 200 rnds weight.
I found that in the Stoner tapes posted on You Tube when they interviewed Eugene Stoner and he talked about the parameters they were given when developing the AR rifle. Its free for anyone to watch and very interesting. IIRC there are 5 tapes in the series.

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I can't help but notice that .223/5.56 wasn't among the rounds you listed using for deer hunting, would it be inaccurate to assume that means you've never shot a deer with either and therefore you aren't qualified to comment on how effective .223/5.56 is for deer hunting?
Yesterday 07:05 PM
You are correct. I haven't hunted with a 223 and don't intend to. Why would I? I have far better rounds for deer hunting and like the poster above me (HiBC) stated the deer take all the risk if the shot doesn't kill. I have too much respect for the animal to play games with it when its just as easy to use a bigger round. There is a good reason some states don't allow it use. And I did state that "it will work. Most of the time".

I don't have to wound or lose a deer to be "Qualified" to speak on a rounds effectiveness. I have a friend who lives in deep East Texas who does hunt with a 223 and got tired of long tracking sessions. The guys at the gun store sold him a box of Barnes Triple Shock bullets and he said those did work better than the soft points he had been using. So a 223 will kill a deer. Hell a 22lr will kill a deer. But that doesn't make it a good choice for a deer round either.

Last edited by ThomasT; April 7, 2024 at 12:52 PM.
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Old April 7, 2024, 01:23 PM   #37
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OK here is the Stoner video. Go to the 13 minute mark and he talks about the Army Board wanting a 6 pound rifle when loaded with 20 rounds of ammo. Its been a couple of years since I watched this so was a little fuzzy on the details but the only way to meet the weight requirements was with a small bore round. He states the 222 was the obvious choice but of course got tweaked to become the 223 round. This round met the weight, size and penetration specs. Good anti personel round but still not designed as a big game hunting round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaIU0nCxwGg

The actual work done on the gun was interesting and very well thought out. I know why people consider Stoner a genius. Genius or n=ot he was extremely smart.

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Old April 7, 2024, 11:16 PM   #38
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Different knives for different cuts. I think the 44 is better for big game and for stopping power as a defensive carbine but the 223 has the edge when it comes to flatter trajectory and accuracy out to 200 or 300 yards where the 44 is dropping like a rock. Now if you were to have to carry 200 rounds of 44 mag vs 200 rounds of 5.56, the difference is probably significant and if you have to limit what you carry by weight, then it might be an advantage to have more ammo and not run out in combat. People are going to use what is best given the circumstances. I don't think hunting big game with a 223 is worth the loss in stopping power and I don't think the loss in accuracy is worth using 44 on small game or in combat where you might be shooting at a 6 inch circle 200 yards away.
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Old April 8, 2024, 01:48 AM   #39
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Different knives for different cuts.
There's a reason golfers have a whole bag of different clubs. (and why they often pay someone else to carry it...

The .44 Magnum was created so Elmer could increase the handguns effectiveness on game animals (and, of course, because he could). It gets a boost out of a carbine, but its still a handgun round, never made to be a long range thing.

The .223/5.56mm round was designed for military use in a select fire rifle. It was made to shoot people and its effective range is over 400 yards.

This is not an apples to apples comparison, not even close.
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Old April 8, 2024, 12:10 PM   #40
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The .223/5.56mm round was designed for military use in a select fire rifle. It was made to shoot people and its effective range is over 400 yards.

This is not an apples to apples comparison, not even close.
Excellent point. No the 44 mag from a RIFLE is really at it best used at 100 yards or less. The 223 will kill deer with a proper bullet properly placed. But its the bare minimum of a round. And why limit yourself when the world is filled with rounds that will easily take a deer cleanly at 300 or more yards?
I think most who talk about hunting deer with a 223 just really want to shoot a deer with their AR-15 rifle no matter how marginal the 223 round is for deer hunting.

I like my 44 mag rifle because its light to carry and I hunt some pretty thick woods where the ranges are short. But if I hunt where a shot might be at a hundred yards or more my 7-08 Remington model 7 is my first choice. I really consider a 243 to be a minimum round even though I made my only long range deer kill with one at 250 yards.

The OP asked a good question that deserves a good answer. I hope he has it now. This was a good discussion.
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Old April 8, 2024, 04:30 PM   #41
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The 223 will kill deer with a proper bullet properly placed. But its the bare minimum of a round.
There are many "less powerful" rounds that will also kill deer with a proper bullet, properly placed. And, like the .223, some are legal to use in some places and not in others. There are even places where some less powerful rounds are legal and the .223 is not. And, there are also some places where ARs (or other semi autos) are not legal for deer. And some places where no rifle is legal for deer but shotguns are.

Looking at my personal collection of .22 centerfires, my .223 would be my last choice for deer. If I had to, I would use one of my .22 Hornets, or .222s or even my .221, and certainly consider my .22-250 over my .223.

Because of the guns they are in. And by that I mean their accuracy and weight. I have .22 Hornet and .222 Remington in rifle and pistol, my .221 is a pistol, and my .22-250 is a varmint rifle. All are scoped, and capable of the precision needed for a head or neck shot within the cartridges efficient range.

My .223 is not. Its an older Ruger Mini 14 with iron sights, and not nearly as accurate as my other .22s. Which is a moot point, anyway since my state has a minimum .24 caliber requirement to be legal for deer.

I have never been a fan of any of the AR rifles for hunting. Not even the larger calibers. I hunt deer (and other big game) on foot, for sport and happily trade firepower (magazine capacity) for weight reduction. Even when made of wood and steel a bolt gun, a single shot, and several lever guns can weigh less in the same calibers as an AR pattern gun, and often has as much or more barrel length as well, if I choose that.

It's a personal choice, and I won't fault anyone who hunts with an AR type rifle, if that is their personal preference. Its just not my preference.
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Old April 9, 2024, 11:06 PM   #42
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A couple decades ago someone tried to explain the difference in high grain weight and lower velocity vs lower grain weight and higher velocity to me with a question:

If you had a break action rifle and one cartridge and had to kill a Buffalo would you take a .223 with a 55 grain bullet at 1200 lbs of energy or a .45 colt with a 255 grain bullet at 1000 lbs energy? One has 20% more energy but most people would take the other.
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Old April 12, 2024, 08:36 AM   #43
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@deadcoyote, I'd choose neither in your scenario. Both will surely kill a buffalo, though I think neither will do it dramatically if were talking broadside heart lung shots. The thing about both cartridges is that both might not travel in a fairly straight wound channel once they hit said animal. Light weight high velocity rounds as well as slow heavy projectiles don't always do whats expected at impact.

I don't think energy is ever a good indicator of killing performance on game. The bullet that creates the largest temporary and permanent wound channel into the vitals will always be the winner. On game larger than deer, I'd find both cartridges to be very inadequate. I wouldn't trust either to penetrate dense muscle or heavy bone at any range.
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Old April 12, 2024, 01:50 PM   #44
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Bullet energy is a calculatable value, and by itself is good for nothing except as a uniform standard for relative comparisons between cartridges.

Energy alone is no indicator of how effective a bullet will be for any given task. Other factors must be included, in order to draw any valid conclusions.

Where the bullet hits, and where it goes and what it does after impact are much more important factors than energy when shooting animals.

No matter what anyone claims, size does matter. How much size matters is a different question.

As I've said before, you can load a .22-250 and a .45-70 to identical energy (ft/lbs) numbers. It is the other factors that determine which one will be most effective on game. TO drop that buffalo "right now" after bullet placement, size and bullet construction matter more than energy.

I once saw a fellow shoot a skunk with a .357Mag carbine. Factory 158gr SWC .357 magnum. Energy was certainly more than enough for the task. He hit it, TWICE without putting it down. That time, he was not a good shot!!

First off, he gutshot it. TWICE. Second factor was that the SWC just sailed right through (naturally). Having a lot more than the needed amount of energy did not prevent failure. It never does.
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Old April 12, 2024, 06:19 PM   #45
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How come the 44mg is a pile driving killer in a revolver but once in carbine it’s flimsy? That is according to gun rags. So happens I’ve never killed a dear with a 44mg carbine, lost count of the kills with Ruger SBH. I was hunting in commercial apple orchards with new Ruger carbine back in 60s. Would have been ideal gun for in thickets, not worth spit for much over 100 yds. Only difference is average guy could shoot a carbine more accurately. If you are going to hunt different terrains the 44 or the 223 are both poor choices for deer hunting. 44 has no range the 223 has no knock down. The extended range of 223 comes with loss of killing power. In the Eastern deer woods where you run into thickets to open fields a 308 or 30/06 is much better choice.
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Old April 12, 2024, 07:06 PM   #46
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How come the 44mg is a pile driving killer in a revolver but once in carbine it’s flimsy? That is according to gun rags.
Same reason a .30-30 is a short range mediocre round in a rifle but a kick butt long range round from a single shot pistol.

Its the frame of reference.

Rifles include the big magnum rounds and go all the way up to elephant guns, so compared to them, the .44 Mag isn't a lot.

Frame of reference, and of course what gun rag writers want to put out.

Remember denigrating a popular and useful round creates dissent, and dissenters are still readers, and often will continue to be disagreeing readers, just to see what kind of crap the writer comes up with, next.
Which is what sells the magazines and PAYS the writers.
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Old April 12, 2024, 07:26 PM   #47
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well just to stur the pot a bit. there are places where a 338LM is not large enough to be legal to hunt deer with.

seriously!

has to be 20gage or larger and slugs only. go figure.
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Old April 12, 2024, 08:00 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Drm50
44 has no range the 223 has no knock down. The extended range of 223 comes with loss of killing power. In the Eastern deer woods where you run into thickets to open fields a 308 or 30/06 is much better choice.
I'll defer to you on the .44 Mag, I have almost zero experience with it. However, I don't have the same opinion of the .223 that you do. I've been around for a dozen or more white tail kills with the .223 as far out as 150 yards. Most were "knocked down" where they stood or after a very short run. As a caveat, all the .223 kills were done with mono metal bullets and they punch above their pay grade.

I know from experience that I'd rather use a .223 than a subsonic .300 BLK on deer. Even with the new bullets that are supposed to expand, they don't wound as well as the 55 grain TSX or CEB Raptor. Again my experience with .300 BLK is a lot more limited, one deer with 125 grain Sierra Pro Hunter, and one with a 190 grain Sub-X. The Sub-X wasn't impressive at all, but I recovered the deer.
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Old April 13, 2024, 01:40 AM   #49
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. 44 has no range the 223 has no knock down.
That's a pretty extreme opinion, and I have to disagree.

Especially the "no range" part for the .44.

Is 200yds "no range" in your opinion? I can ring the 200yd rifle gong with a .44 pistol, off hand, one handed, unsupported, and do it repeatedly. From a rest, I'm better, of course. The limiting factor is not the gun, or the round, it is the shooter. The fact that few people practice enough to learn how to make good hits at longer ranges with a .44 Magnum )or any other "pistol" round is not the fault of the gun, or the round.

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As a caveat, all the .223 kills were done with mono metal bullets and they punch above their pay grade.
have any idea what those bullets expanded to?? were any even still in the deer??

A .22 slug would have to double in diameter to be what the .44 starts out as, and I have never heard of any expanding to more than around .30ish and staying together.

The smaller the caliber, the more surgically precise bullet placement is needed for a humane kill on big game. This is the responsibility of the person pulling the trigger, no one else.
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Old April 13, 2024, 05:27 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP
have any idea what those bullets expanded to?? were any even still in the deer??
I've never recoverd a bullet from a deer shot with a Barnes or CEB bullet. I have found a couple of polymer tips when using a TTSX, and have found the petals from the Raptors. The Raptor bullet used was a brass fracturing bullet, but never caught the shank of the bullet. The Raptor is more devastating than the TSX/TTSX. Both brands of bullets will punch through both shoulders on an Oklahoma white tail deer.
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