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Old June 4, 2022, 10:34 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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.223 / 5.56x45 for Deer?

I am researching a possible book in response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Can anyone tell me what states do and what states do not allow the .223 / 5.56x45 cartridge for hunting deer?

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Old June 4, 2022, 11:28 PM   #2
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Sorry, I can't give you a list. What I can tell you is that Washington state requires .24 caliber, or larger.

Back when the only ammo for the .223 was 55gr or varmint bullets, only some states allowed it for deer. I think the number was something like 16 or 18.

With the development of the fast twist barrels and bullets in the 70-80-90gr range, more states eventually allowed the .223 for deer, with the proper hunting bullets. I think the number is now over 30 states, but don't know for sure.

The .223 round is not a particularly powerful rifle round. No matter which politician claims otherwise.

Going by the definitions created during WWII, when the first assault rifle was fielded by Germany, the .223 is an "intermediate" power cartridge. It is more powerful that the standard pistol rounds and less powerful than the standard infantry rifle rounds. So are the 7.9x33, 7.62x39, .30 carbine, and some others.

This definition was created because of the appearance of the German Sturmgewhr (which literally translates to "assault rifle" or "storm rifle")
The rifle had a combination of features never before found in a service arm. The defining features were, magazine fed, selective fire, and using an intermediate power cartridge.

The definition of "intermediate power cartridge" are not Holy Writ or chiseled in stone, they were just a convenient way to describe a range of cartridges (in military use). In the US at the time, that meant more powerful than the .45acp and less powerful than the .30-06. With German rounds it would be more than the 9mm Luger and less than the 8x57mm Mauser. Soviet rounds would be between the 7.62mm Tokarev and the 7.62x54R Moisin Nagant rifle round.

There are a number of sporting rounds that would also fall within those parameters. Many are legal for deer in the US, while the .223 was often not, because it was too small a bore size to meet hunting regulations in many places.

I know this isn't specifically what you're looking for, but I hope there was something useful to you in the information I could provide.
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Old June 5, 2022, 06:22 AM   #3
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Last time i bothered to look you can hunt deer with a .223 ar in Wi (any centerfire larger than a .22). And no limit on mag capacity.
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Old June 5, 2022, 07:28 AM   #4
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We have people here in PA that hunt deer with that/those cartridges.
But it cannot be in a semi auto rifle.
Bolt, break open are what i see most.
The 60gr Partition seems to be the flavor of choice on bullets.

Don't forget the southern states using it for hog eradication.
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Old June 5, 2022, 08:15 AM   #5
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NH allows any centerfire cartridge for deer hunting, even the lowly "in my opinion" 22 Hornet.
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Old June 5, 2022, 11:34 AM   #6
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Gents, I'm not interested in what type of firearm, bag/tag limits, or anything like that. I'm working on an argument to refute the anti-gun claim that an AR-15 is a "high-powered military weapon of war." I found a list (from 2008) of states and what they allow or require for hunting. 14 states do not (or didn't, in 2008) allow .223/5.56x45. In addition, Colorado was listed as requiring 1,000 ft-lbs of energy at 100 yards -- which the M193 round I carried in Vietnam doesn't satisfy. I'm not sure about M855.

So if the round is too small or too lacking in power to be humane for hunting deer -- how is the same round a deadly, high-powered weapon of war when used against people?

As I hope we all know, the 5.56x45 and the 7.62x39 are generally considered to be "intermediate" rounds, which is defined as more powerful than a handgun but less powerful than a full-powered [standard] rifle.

So from that I extrapolate that 7.62x51 (.308) and .30-06 are "full" (standard) power rifle rounds. If those are full-powered or "standard," then what would legitimately be classified as "high-powered"? That would be the cartridges that big game hunters use when going after large and/or dangerous game. I'm hoping to come up with a list of three, four, or half a dozen really high-powered cartridges, rounds that are orders of magnitude more powerful (in terms of muzzle energy) than 5.56x45 or 7.62x39.

What's out there that's REALLY powerful, and that people actually use?

Thanks.
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Old June 5, 2022, 12:27 PM   #7
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You are still trying to reason with people, and that's fine if you can find reasonable people with whom to discuss the matter.

I am not - I simply have no time for people who are too intellectually lazy to take the smallest step to verify or refute emotion-laden statements they hear or read.

But if you want to play the game, start with a source most of those people will grudgingly accept - wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rifle_cartridges

The entry for 5.56x45 NATO is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO

The one for .223 Rem is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.223_Remington

Then pick some "typical deer rifle" cartridges that anyone who has ever been to a sporting goods store has seen or heard of: 30-30, 308, .243, 30-06, 7mm-08 - here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.30-30_Winchester
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.308_Winchester
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.243_Winchester
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.30-06_Springfield
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7mm-08_Remington

You can pick some other "common hunting rounds" if you want.

Then look at "dangerous game" cartridges - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.338_Lapua_Magnum

... and so on.

If you want to waste some of your own time, you could pull up those pages, copy the caliber, muzzle velocity, muzzle energy, and so forth, and put it all into a spreadsheet.

Except then the people with whom you are discussing the matter, if they are like the ones of their ilk I know, might be moved to accuse you of falsifying the data.

Better to give them the links and let them look at it on wiki and then maybe claim wiki is a 'right wing echo chamber' - sorry, I'm getting close to the edge and not wanting to go over the line.

I wish you luck in your endeavor but to me it is a fool's errand.

I've loaded some rounds with a new-to-me powder for the 300 prone match and I'll be testing them at 100 (I do not have a Shotmarker) tomorrow or Tuesday. It is more fun, more entertaining, less stressful, and I actually have something to gain (a new load with powder I actually have/can get) - while your endeavor reminds me of wrestling with a pig in the mud.
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Old June 5, 2022, 02:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
So if the round is too small or too lacking in power to be humane for hunting deer -- how is the same round a deadly, high-powered weapon of war when used against people?
I live in Oregon and I'm I've got the regulations in my hand at this very moment: The minimum centerfire caliber for Deer, Pronghorn, Black Bear, and Cougar is .22 caliber.
For Elk, Bighorn Sheep, and Rocky Mountain Goat, the minimum is .24 caliber.

Quote:
how is the same round a deadly, high-powered weapon of war when used against people?
You can take issue with your state's hunting regulations but not with the uncountable humans killed by it ever since the Vietnam conflict, right up to the present day. Those people are dead, no question about it. I don't doubt that many Deer have also been killed by it as well. It's still a standard NATO caliber, so it must be deadly. To argue otherwise tends to cast doubt upon any other valid points you might have.
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Old June 5, 2022, 02:38 PM   #9
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In Alabama, the regulation is "centerfire, mushroom ammunition". My minimum is 243 Win.
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Old June 5, 2022, 02:48 PM   #10
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You can take issue with your state's hunting regulations but not with the uncountable humans killed by it ever since the Vietnam conflict, right up to the present day. Those people are dead, no question about it. I don't doubt that many Deer have also been killed by it as well. It's still a standard NATO caliber, so it must be deadly. To argue otherwise tends to cast doubt upon any other valid points you might have.
I don't hear or see anyone arguing the .223 isn't deadly, what I hear (and agree with) is that it isn't correct to call it a high powered round, and especially when you do it outside a specific frame of reference.

Compared to the .22LR, it is a high powered round. Compared to many (but not all, today) pistol rounds, its a high power round. Compared to most larger rifle rounds (and there are a lot of them, including the service round 7.62 NATO, its not a high power round.

Certain politicians and other gun ban types are calling it a high power round in order to scare people who don't understand the subject. They are also calling certain guns "weapons of war" for the same reason and are also incorrect there, as well.

Many of state's game regulations are still holdovers from earlier times when there was a greater concern that unless prohibited many of the public would not use "enough" gun resulting in increased deer loss which could damage the overall population.

Several states have revised their older regs in recent decades, because the predicted lost game and its potential damage did not happen. So (in some places) lighter calibers are now allowed.

Each state sets their own game rules, and can change them when they feel they need to.
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Old June 5, 2022, 02:57 PM   #11
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The 5.56 x 45 NATO/.223 is one of the approved cartridges for NRA High Power Competition. Not trying to dissuade you from your endeavor, but an easy counter argument would be "if the 5.56/.223 isn't a high power cartridge, then why is it used in the NRA High Power Competitions?" How would you answer that question?

Sure, the 5.56 NATO is less powerful than the 7.62 NATO, 30-06. 30-40 Krag and 45-70 that preceded it, but will that point make much of a difference in public opinion?
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Old June 5, 2022, 07:42 PM   #12
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Missouri presently approves "Centerfire pistols, revolvers or rifles using expanding-type bullets; legal ammunition includes lead bullets, copper bullets and bullets made of other material designed to expand." Semis are restricted to a total capacity of 11 rounds, so we're limited to 10 round mags for hunting.

https://mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/...vember-portion
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Old June 5, 2022, 07:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP
Certain politicians and other gun ban types are calling it a high power round in order to scare people who don't understand the subject. They are also calling certain guns "weapons of war" for the same reason and are also incorrect there, as well.
That's exactly the point.

Quote:
Many of state's game regulations are still holdovers from earlier times when there was a greater concern that unless prohibited many of the public would not use "enough" gun resulting in increased deer loss which could damage the overall population.
The anti-gun side makes up "facts" and statistics to suit their purpose. I have no compunction whatsoever at using actual facts (such as state laws) to support my arguments. Whether the reasons for those state caliber laws are or ever were isn't important -- the laws are there, so I'll use them.
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Old June 5, 2022, 07:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeverGunFan
The 5.56 x 45 NATO/.223 is one of the approved cartridges for NRA High Power Competition. Not trying to dissuade you from your endeavor, but an easy counter argument would be "if the 5.56/.223 isn't a high power cartridge, then why is it used in the NRA High Power Competitions?" How would you answer that question?
Yes, I am well aware of that, and I don't have a good answer. Since I'm writing a book, not entering a debate, my plan was to ignore that. My target audience isn't the die-hard anti-gunners anyway. I'm hoping to reach [some of] the fence sitters, and probably not many of them will even be aware of the NRA High Power competitions.

If anyone has a better idea, please contact me by PM.
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Old June 5, 2022, 08:06 PM   #15
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The last time I looked at it there were only 4 states that DID NOT allow 223 that also allowed other centerfire cartridges. I can't recall all of them, but Montana and I think Wyoming were 2 of them IIRC. Several states have changed their regulations since 2008 with more allowing 223 than before.

There are a number of states that are shotgun/muzzle loader only. And a few more that have requirements for specific low powered rounds. If you include those the number may be closer to 10.

FWIW 223 is very effective on deer within certain range limitations. Bullet choice becomes more important. Many 223 loads are either FMJ or are designed for varmints. But a FMJ or varmint load fired from a 30-06 will fail just like a FMJ or varmint load from a 223.
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Old June 5, 2022, 08:07 PM   #16
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"if the 5.56/.223 isn't a high power cartridge, then why is it used in the NRA High Power Competitions?" How would you answer that question?
Here's your answer, the NRA High Power Competition predates the .223 by a long time, and has always been open to military service rifle cartridges.

The .223/5.56mm was allowed in because of it being a military service rifle round, not because of it being an actual high power round. They weren't going to change the name of the match because they allowed in a round that isn't actually a high power round but IS a service rifle round.

A target match, even a prestigious one changing their rules slightly to allow the .223 doesn't change what it actually is.

I remember a "news piece" from back in the 90s (prior to the 94AWB) the intent was to demonstrate the "high power" (what the news called it) round of the AK47. They filmed a guy shooting a watermelon on a post at about 20yds or so. He had a full auto AK and fired a 3 shot burst. The watermelon broke into several large pieces. Very good and impressive demonstration, but the news crew made a small mistake that negated the point they were trying to make.

They kept the camera rolling and the guy put another watermelon on the post, then shot it with a bolt action 7mm Rem Mag.
The watermelon literally vaporized....

That's a high power rifle round, graphically demonstrated.

A soft point or varmint bullet even from a .223 will come close to that, a .22-250 gets closer yet, but still isn't a 7mm Mag. 7.62x39 FMJ, not so much...
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Old June 6, 2022, 06:50 AM   #17
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https://info.stagarms.com/blog/bid/3...-You-Hunt-With

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Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey, Washington, and West Virginia require larger bullets to be used to hunt game. However, these laws are often changing, so it’s a good idea to check with your state to see if hunting with a .223 diameter bullet is still legal.
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Old June 6, 2022, 07:02 AM   #18
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DNS, that list is significantly shorter than the 2008 list I found. I guess I'll have to look up the regs for every state on the list to see if they have changed.
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Old June 6, 2022, 07:34 AM   #19
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In Maine--anything 22 WMR on up goes for deer.
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Old June 6, 2022, 08:01 PM   #20
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More states allow it than not. Some states just require it to be a centerfire cartridge, so .177 calbiers and smaller could be used. .223/5.56 with the right bullet makes a decent deer rifle.

I'm adding to my post because, hunting reasons should never be why we have AR-15 and .223/5.56 for deer hunting. It should be for what the 2A states in the BOR, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Any argument for the firearm ownership needs to be soley based in the 2A, hunting use and its application in that is secondary and has no buisness in the discussion.
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Old June 6, 2022, 08:36 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorce1
More states allow it than not. Some states just require it to be a centerfire cartridge, so .177 calbiers and smaller could be used. .223/5.56 with the right bullet makes a decent deer rifle.

I'm adding to my post because, hunting reasons should never be why we have AR-15 and .223/5.56 for deer hunting. It should be for what the 2A states in the BOR, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Any argument for the firearm ownership needs to be soley based in the 2A, hunting use and its application in that is secondary and has no buisness in the discussion.
I think you are missing the point.

As I stated in my opening post:
Quote:
I am researching a possible book in response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Can anyone tell me what states do and what states do not allow the .223 / 5.56x45 cartridge for hunting deer?
I'm not arguing what's appropriate for hunting. The gun grabbers are trying to ban AR-15s from private ownership on the basis that the .223 / 5.56x45 round is a "high-powered" military round suitable only for war. I want to use (as one of my counter-arguments) the fact that several states forbid the use of .223 / 5.56x45 for hunting deer, and the reason they do so is that it's not powerful enough to ensure clean kills.

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS ARGUMENT I don't care if that's a correct assessment , and I don't care if the Constitution allows states to limit hunting calibers. I want to use existing state regulations to support an argument in our favor ... but to avoid being caught making up or mis-citing statistics, I need to know which states still prohibit the use of .223 centerfire for hunting deer. The 2008 list I found is now 14 years out of date, but I haven't found a comprehensive summary that's any more recent.

I was hoping the hunters among us might be able to update my list.

The states on the 2008 list are:
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

In addition, Nebraska has (or had, in 2008) a requirement that the energy at 100 yards has to be not less than 900 ft-lbs. Depending on the load used, .223 / 5.56x45 may or may not make that. The M193 I carried in Vietnam generates 995 ft-lbs at 100 yards. I don't know if any commercial hunting rounds are wimpier than that.
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Old June 6, 2022, 09:52 PM   #22
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I checked the current regulations for each of the states on the 2008 list. I had to remove Connecticut, Kansas, and Minnesota. Wyoming also allows ,223, BUT ... their regulation allows centerfire, 22 caliber or greater (except .22 Hornet), 60-grain minimum bullet weight, COAL 2" or greater. This means the M193 ammunition is not legal, because the bullet is 55 grains, but M855 is legal because the bullet is 62 grains.

So, bottom line is that centerfire rifles using .223 / 5.56x45 ammunition are still not legal in 10 states.
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Old June 6, 2022, 11:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
So if the round is too small or too lacking in power to be humane for hunting deer -- how is the same round a deadly, high-powered weapon of war when used against people?
Quote:
I want to use existing state regulations to support an argument in our favor ... but to avoid being caught making up or mis-citing statistics, I need to know which states still prohibit the use of .223 centerfire for hunting deer.
Just to be clear, few states mention anything about power or energy in their regs. Also, the regs generally do not comment on matters such as why they are in place. They have X standards, but without justifications such as humaneness. To a point, Delaware is really weird in their standards. They won't allow centerfire rifle cartridges of any kind. So, rifle power, caliber size, or humaneness aren't issues being considered, apparently. They don't tell you why they have the standards they have and that is the problem with nearly all of the state regulations. "Why" is critical to your argument. If you don't want to mis-cite stats, then I am sure you don't want to mis-infer reasons. Finding the actual reasons for the regulations is going to be very tough.



Hunting and warfare aren't really the same and so can't be compared readily in terms of logic and ammunition use. In hunting, you get to use expanding ammunition and your goal (for game animals) is the recovery of the body and the easiest way to do that, usually, is to have it run a minimal distance after being shot or zero distance after being shot. In warfare, the goal isn't so much the killing of the enemy, but rendering them combat ineffective with killing being an excellent way to do that, but certainly not the only way to do that. In hunting, we don't want the animals to suffer. In warfare, you don't care if the enemy suffers or not.

Your 55 gr bullet you used in Vietnam was ball ammo and ball ammo of is often illegal for hunting game in most states, but the expanding bullets used for hunting are disallowed by the Hague Convention.

The caliber (out of an AR15) is certainly seen as a weapon of war. "High Powered" is problematic because it is not well defined and Yes the .223 is allowed in High Power matches which does not help your argument. Can you justify that .223 was allowed into High Power matches for reasons other than the caliber being high power? Is that documented somewhere? The name is endorsed by the NRA, which is sort of a huge hurdle.

Quote:
In addition, Nebraska has (or had, in 2008) a requirement that the energy at 100 yards has to be not less than 900 ft-lbs. Depending on the load used, .223 / 5.56x45 may or may not make that. The M193 I carried in Vietnam generates 995 ft-lbs at 100 yards. I don't know if any commercial hunting rounds are wimpier than that.
All of Hornady's 55 gr. and up .223 hunting ammo would meet that requirement, no problem.
https://press.hornady.com/assets/pct...tics-Chart.pdf

The same for Federal's offerings, even with some lighter bullets.
https://www.sportsmansguide.com/ball...23%20remington
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Old June 7, 2022, 01:08 AM   #24
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I didn't miss the point, I don't think hunting cartridge suitability should be brought up in a response to mass shootings. You need to know why the states chose not to allow them in the first place, before you use them in your argument. I don't know when CO established that the .22 centerfire was inadequate for big game, but it has been that way since I took hunters education nearly 40 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CO Big Game Regulation Reads
Rifles using center-fire cartridges of .24 caliber or larger, having expanding bullets of at
least seventy (70) grains in weight, except for elk and moose where the minimum bullet
weight is eighty-five (85) grains, and with a rated impact energy one hundred (100) yards
from the muzzle of at least one thousand (1000) foot pounds as determined by the
manufacturer's rating, and except for mountain lion where any center-fire rifle using
bullets of at least 45 grains and producing at least 400 foot pounds of energy at the
muzzle may be used. Provided further that any semiautomatic rifle used shall not hold
more than six (6) rounds in the magazine and chamber combined. A fully automatic rifle
is prohibited
.


Quote:
This means the M193 ammunition is not legal, because the bullet is 55 grains, but M855 is legal because the bullet is 62 grains.
Neither ammunition types legal for big game hunting in any state I know of. I'm not 100% sure on that, but I'll go out on a limb and say the majority of states require an expanding bullets. Your ammunition choices listed are both FMJ thus technically non-expanding.
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Old June 7, 2022, 03:24 AM   #25
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Any center fire is legal here in Ky. I personally know a guy (friend of the family) that successfully uses a .22 hornet every year. Wile I'd say his round choice is unethical, to my knowledge, he strictly limits his shots to inside 50 yards and has never lost a deer. CNS shots only.

On a side note AR platform firearms are wildly popular here for predator hunting.
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