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Old June 22, 2021, 07:27 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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.223 / 5.56 for deer hunting?

I remember hearing that some states don't allow the .223 / 5.56x45 cartridge for hunting deer. Is there a current list of what states don't allow it for deer?
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Old June 22, 2021, 10:51 PM   #2
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Unless some ambitious soul has checked every state's regulations, it might be easier to check the regs in the state(s) you are interested in. Colorado requires minimum .24 caliber bullet and 1000 ft. Lb energy at 100 yards.
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Old June 23, 2021, 12:23 AM   #3
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I'm not interested in any particular state. I'm working on an article and I need to know which states still don't allow .223 /5.56x45 for hunting deer.
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Old June 23, 2021, 04:15 AM   #4
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Never seen a list like that, not saying it doesn't exist, but you may be breaking new ground here.

Perhaps choose a few and if they do, then you can simply say "several states" (don't allow..)
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Old June 23, 2021, 05:03 AM   #5
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I find it difficult to believe that no one has ever compiled a list like this. It must have come up as a topic somewhere before.

I think I'll check with the NSSF and see if they have anything to offer.
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Old June 24, 2021, 05:44 AM   #6
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Some states don't, but most states do. I believe it is about 78% of states that allow deer hunting with a rifle allow the .223.
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Old June 24, 2021, 07:58 AM   #7
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The NSSF has a very comprehensive tabulation, which they were kind enough to share with me since I'm a member. It was compiled in 2014 so not current, but I doubt the landscape has changed all that much. I'm happy to note that the situation is not as bad as I had thought.

.223 is legal for hunting deer in 38 states, it's not allowed in 6 states, and there were 6 states for which they didn't have data. Naturally, my state is not one of the 38 where it's allowed, which helps explain why I thought that to be more common.
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Old June 24, 2021, 09:12 AM   #8
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It’s still pretty instructive and compelling that several states don’t allow .223 for the reason that it isn’t deemed powerful enough for humane taking of a deer, which I assume may have been the argument you were researching. I too thought that restriction would have been more ubiquitous among states.
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Old June 24, 2021, 11:48 AM   #9
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Not sure why you want a list, but if you're looking to justify using the .223 on deer, you need to look at when those states that allow it began to allow it.

TODAY we have a majority of states that allow it, but that wasn't always the case. And, while I don't have the info, I'm certain my memory isn't totallty wrong that, back when I was a lad, more states didn't allow it, than did.

I think some of it has to do with specific wording, not the actual suitabllity of the ,223 for deer. The regulations are about what is believed to best serve the sport, the game population, promote humane taking of game and overall safety.

Several states have rules that prohibit .22 caliber rifles. ALL of them. And they've had that rule for a LONG time. Probably dating from the era when the only common .22 caliber rifles were rimfires or the Hornet.

some places I know are (or were) shotgun ONLY.

Back when I went into the Army, the standing joke was "the Army sends us to war with a rifle that isn't legal for deer hunting in most of the country...but they say its ok for shooting people..."
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Old June 24, 2021, 10:06 PM   #10
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In IL no rifles allowed at all.

Here in the deeply democratic state of IL, we are not allowed to deer hunt with a centerfire rifle. Shot guns slug and muzzle loader only. And for me, given where I hunt, those two do the deed just fine. In fact best deer I've ever taken was with a crossbow in archery season. So . . .
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P.S. I don't think being a dem state has much to do with what's allowed for deer hunting . . .
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Old June 25, 2021, 01:26 AM   #11
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In PA You can use anything larger than .22 to hunt deer. Semi-auto is not allowed. Nope you can't use your AR for big game. You can use it for small game. no magazine size limit for small game except for shotguns.

Note: As the .223 or 5.56 is greater than .22 your good to go. I knew a guy who used a 22-250 for deer. I don't think he ever didn't bag his deer. He was an exceptional shot.
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Old June 25, 2021, 06:30 AM   #12
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Here in crazy Oregon you can use any .22 center fire or larger for deer and any .24 or larger for elk. Semi-auto rifles are limited to 5 rounds and like on a shotgun, a restricter plug in the mag is sufficient.

Back when SKS's were cheap, there were a many that used them for deer hunting. Even though a wood wedge was easy to remove from the mag well, the state police didn't care. Here the state police are also the fish and game officers...

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Old June 25, 2021, 07:44 AM   #13
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I think you're going to have to brute force that answer. I know that Indiana has a limit on the length of hunting rifle cartridges that limits the shooter to basically 357 magnum length. As mentioned above, Colorado has a basic requirement based on minimum caliber.
Good luck.
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Old June 25, 2021, 08:22 AM   #14
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Pretty wide open here in KY

Kentucky MODERN GUN EQUIPMENT Deer Hunting

Any caliber centerfire rifle or centerfire handgun.
Rifle or handgun magazines may not be capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
Rifles or handguns may not be fully-automatic (capable of firing more than one round with one trigger pull).
Full metal jacketed or tracer bullet ammunition is prohibited.
Shotguns, no larger than 10-gauge, shooting slug ammunition only (includes saboted bullets).
Muzzle-loading rifles, handguns, or shotguns shooting round balls, conical bullets, or saboted bullets.
Air guns of .35 caliber or larger charged by an external tank, shooting single projectile ammunition designed to expand upon impact.
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Old June 25, 2021, 11:22 AM   #15
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When I lived in NH, rifles used for hunting deer must be larger than .22 caliber. I'm not sure if that is still the case. With a good bullet and shot placement, even that is capable of administering a humane kill though.
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Old June 25, 2021, 11:54 AM   #16
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According to the NSSF spreadsheet, the requirement for New Hampshire (as of 2014) was just "centerfire." So I put NH in the "Yes" column.

Kentucky is listed as "Centerfire, any caliber."

Colorado is listed as "Centerfire, .24 caliber or larger.

Indiana is listed as "Unrestricted.""
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Old June 25, 2021, 12:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof Young
Here in the deeply democratic state of IL, we are not allowed to deer hunt with a centerfire rifle. Shot guns slug and muzzle loader only. And for me, given where I hunt, those two do the deed just fine. In fact best deer I've ever taken was with a crossbow in archery season. So . . .
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P.S. I don't think being a dem state has much to do with what's allowed for deer hunting . . .
I'm not a hunter, but I believe the same is true in Ohio. The reasoning I was told is that a rifle bullet carries much farther than a slug.

I would not attribute Ohio's history on firearms laws to democrat party dominance.
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Old June 26, 2021, 08:52 PM   #18
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Not legal in Va.
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Old June 26, 2021, 09:40 PM   #19
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I took another look at the NSSF tabulation. I mis-read it. Six states just had an "x" for rifle caliber, and I interpreted that to mean no data. Digging further, those states all have listings for shotguns and bow & arrow for deer, so the "x" doesn't mean no data -- it means no rifles for hunting deer.

So that makes the score 38 states that allow .223 (centerfire) for deer, and 12 that don't. Roughly a 3:1 breakdown -- 12/38 is 31.7%.
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Old June 26, 2021, 10:21 PM   #20
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Washington state requires centerfire .240" (6mm) or larger, 85gr or heavier bullet and it must be a soft point or expanding type bullet. They used to also have a ft/lb energy requirement, but dropped that over a decade ago.
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Old June 27, 2021, 09:47 AM   #21
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44 brings up an interesting aspect of the regulations I had not thought of . I always assumed the regulations were about the 223 Rem but the idea that they likely started out as simply being a 22cal restriction makes more sense . I'm sure they didn't want guys shooting large game with 22LR or the like so they just said no 22 caliber bullets . I mean a 22-250 with a heavy expanding bullet is likely more then enough to take a deer "humanly" so the 22cal restrictions seem like a grandfathered idea rather then a semi modern restriction .

I think that's a very interesting aspect of this and a article about the restrictions of 22cal bullets could benefit from a deeper dive on that aspect . Lets hope you are not handcuffed with the same problem the media has at the moment . That is not enough time to do a proper analysis before your deadline .
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Old June 27, 2021, 09:59 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I find it difficult to believe that no one has ever compiled a list like this. It must have come up as a topic somewhere before.

I think I'll check with the NSSF and see if they have anything to offer.
Why would they? Oh, maybe the guy that plans on hunting in all fifty states? Is anyone that ambitious?

Also, caliber can vary from county to county within a given state.
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Old June 27, 2021, 12:24 PM   #23
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From the turn of the century (1900) till the US dropped production to support the war (1942ish) the choices of .22 caliber centerfires was small, and nearly non-existent until the 1930s.

This is also about the time when many game law requirements were put in place.

None of the .22 cal rounds available before WWII were ever considered to be acceptable deer rounds, with the possible exception of the .228 Savage High Power, and that one was distinctly different from the rest.

And also, aside from the Savage with its unique .228" bullet, all of the .22 cal bullets were varmint bullets. ,22 Hornet (32-33) .220 Swift (35), .218 Bee and .219 Zipper (37) were the factory rounds and the wildcat .22-250 showed up in the mid 30s, all were intended as varmint rounds, not deer rounds.

I've always thought that the prohibition against using .22 caliber rifles for deer was to prevent use of the .22 rimfires, primarily, and was no big deal for generations, as there were no .22 cal factory rounds made with suitable bullets, even if the cartridge had sufficient power, until decades after WWII.
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Old June 27, 2021, 12:38 PM   #24
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I keep current in states I hunt !!!

Quote:
I find it difficult to believe that no one has ever compiled a list like this. It must have come up as a topic somewhere before.
Perhaps until now, you might be the only interested in finding this out for your project. I have hunted in a handful of states but currently, only hunt three. Before I go into another state, My only interest is to get current for that coming year as the laws constantly, changing.. .....


I assume you are referring to Whitetails and equal size. May I suggest contacting Whitetails-Unlimited National and perhaps they might be able to provide some input. .....

Be Safe !!!
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Old June 27, 2021, 01:59 PM   #25
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As I indicated several posts above, I found the information I was looking for, and (as might be expected) it was compiled by an industry organization -- the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation).

No, the regulations aren't just about .223/5.56x45. I'll see if I can post a screen shot of part of the NSSF spreadsheet. Basically, most states don't allow rimfire for deer, and many stipulate a minimum caliber, expanding ammunition, or both.



So, for example, California requires centerfire and expanding, soft-point ammo. But there's no minimum caliber, so .22 Hornet would be allowed. Indiana is unrestricted, so -- apparently -- in Indiana you can hunt deer with ,22 Magnum or even .22 Long Rifle. Ditto for Michigan.

There's absolutely no consistency to it, so clearly the states are not basing their requirements on any kind of "settled science," but just on what somone in that state thought was the right thing to do when the regulations were written. The NSSF study didn't delve into when the regulations were written or why, so some of these requirements may be decades old and may never have been re-evaluated since they were originally promulgated.
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