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Old May 5, 2017, 04:20 PM   #1
Big Tom
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.223 For Whitetail?

I know it's not a new topic and I have heard so many mixed things. Let me explain my situation. So have become disabled over the last 4 years (hopefully this changes). I am on a very limited income and my friend whom is a hunter offered to take me out for a whitetail hunt. I have always dreamed of being able to hunt and never had the pleasure to do so. I can't afford new firearm anymore on my fixed income and the biggest caliber rifle I currently have is a .223 with a 24" barrel. It's actually an unfired H&R Ultra Varmint rifle.

I've read that this gun starts out not too accurate but after firing about 200 rounds that changes. I've also read to use heavy for caliber .223, which as it turns out is what some who use .223 for dear hunting use. I was looking at a Hornady 75 grain hollow point load and was wondering if that would work. I want your opinion on the .223. I also want to know if I can get away with a 200 yard shot with it. Maryland has no bag limit, which means I can have plenty of food for the price of a box of hunting loads. So please share as much info with me as you can. Thanks guys!
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Old May 5, 2017, 04:39 PM   #2
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Big Tom, find a different bullet than the HP bullet. You need to use something that will penetrate a bit better. In my younger days (much younger) I shot a deer with a .22 center fire bullet and it literally exploded upon impact. I did get the deer, but it was definitely the wrong bullet for the job. I'd suggest something like a Speer 70 spitzer or Barnes TSX. I don't think it's the best caliber but if it's all you've got no sense in staying home. Place it well and good luck.
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Old May 5, 2017, 04:43 PM   #3
Big Tom
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I got some time before Deer Season again so I've got time to talk about it. Is there a particular company that you would recommend?

Also I use a Bushnell Banner Rifle Scope 3-9x 40mm MZ200 Reticle Matte
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/39...-reticle-matte

think it would be good for a 200 yard shot?


and is this a good round for deer then?
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/29...in-power-point
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Last edited by Big Tom; May 5, 2017 at 04:55 PM.
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Old May 5, 2017, 05:25 PM   #4
Jiggy300
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I have used a mini 14 for whitetail. Most of the kills were within 100 yards. 220 would be the limit but you better make sure the placement on the deer is a kill shot.
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Old May 5, 2017, 05:29 PM   #5
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Any ammo that uses the 62gr TTSX, 64gr Nosler BSB, 64gr Fusion, 64gr Scirocco will be plenty for deer. Choose whichever one shoots best in your rifle.
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Old May 5, 2017, 05:44 PM   #6
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I bet this is a topic that can stir things up.

Typically I would say get another gun. But if money is an issue, I would be very conservative in my shots, lung and heart. Maybe people have opinion on shoulder and neck.


I would buy premium ammo, since going with a light caliber.


I would not take iffy shots, which you could say is good advice any day.

That H&R also come in big calibers. You could see if you could trade it on Armslist or at dealer. That is the route, I personally would do.

Also make sure 223 is legal in your state for deer.
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Old May 5, 2017, 06:55 PM   #7
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If you could come up with just a little more money on the scope, I'd suggest looking at the Bushnell Trophy. It's lifetime guaranteed and actually a pretty decent scope for not a lot of money. I guess you'd call it the bottom end of their better scopes. The Banner is really a promo scope and probably won't hold up well in the long run. I think you can get a Trophy if you shop on line for just a bit over a hundred bucks on sale somewhere. I've owned a couple over the years and they were pretty clear scope with decent tracking on them. The warranty is the real selling point along with the fairly good glass....for the money. The bullet choice should work out well if you put the bullet in the heart lung area and don't take overly long shots. I'm not a fan of .22 for deer, but as I said....if it's all you got don't stay home. An older farmer friend of mine has always used a .222 for everything and he's killed a lot of deer. He just doesn't talk about the ones he didn't kill. I suspect there might be a couple.
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Old May 5, 2017, 07:17 PM   #8
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I would shoot some of those heavy bullets and see what happens. I have never dealt with an H&R Ultra Varmit, but the twist rate may not be compatible with heavy bullets. Best to see what it will handle first.
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Old May 5, 2017, 07:47 PM   #9
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The key is a bullet designed for big game hunting. Many 223 bullets are designed as target or varmint bullets. Some are FMJ and don't expand at all. Some Varmint bullets are designed for rapid expansion and don't penetrate well.

Something around 60-70 gr with a soft point should work great. Some bullets LOOK like a HP, but really aren't. The bullet you are considering is a match grade target bullet, not a hunting bullet.

Something like this would work

http://www.hornady.com/store/223-REM-60-GR-SP-AW/

Barrel twist is important to a point. But as long as you avoid the really lightweight 35-40 gr bullets and the real heavies 70gr+ most any twist will be acceptable.

The exception is the solid copper hunting bullets such as Barnes TTSX. Even the lighter 50-55 gr bullets work well on deer. They are expensive, but I'd look hard at them if hunting with 223.
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Old May 5, 2017, 09:45 PM   #10
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When we were kids and our Dads took us hunting we had calibers such as 218 Bee, 22 Hornet, 222 Rem, and one of had an old 32-20.

We all got our deer and never had to track anything.

I think the trick nowadays is shooting the right bullet.

As mentioned earlier, the Nosler 64 gr Bonded of the partition (when you can find them) are some of the best. I have used both.

You may not be able to shoot heavy for caliber bullets depending on your rifle twist rate.

Next, I would look at a Barnes X bullet of some kind, although I haven't shot any.
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Old May 5, 2017, 10:04 PM   #11
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"I was looking at a Hornady 75 grain hollow point load and was wondering if that would work."

IMHO That's the wrong bullet for the task. "heavy for caliber" isn't as important as bullet construction(and the purpose of it's design). I've found the Hornady 60 spire point does OK. Nosler Partition is a good choice but a little difficult to find. Nosler has a "bonded bullet" line of .223 ammo including a 64 grain selection. The Federal ammo loaded with Fusion or TSX bullets are purported to be good for game.
I'm not a fan of nor do I usually recommend the .223 as a deer cartridge because it requires a level of marksmanship and composure that many hunters don't have when the chips are down and/or buck fever kicks in. If you feel capable of the task, learn some deer anatomy and be sure you can put that dinky little bullet in the right place.
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Old May 6, 2017, 12:37 AM   #12
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https://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/...+223+Remington

Speer Gold Dot 64gr. & Federal Fusion MSR 62gr. are also good.
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Old May 6, 2017, 05:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
I have used a mini 14 for whitetail. Most of the kills were within 100 yards. 220 would be the limit but you better make sure the placement on the deer is a kill shot.
Why is exactly 220 yards the limit? Ask'en for a friend.
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Old May 6, 2017, 07:24 AM   #14
troyinidaho
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Look at something with a tougher bullet. Such as the Nosler Partition or Barnes TTSX. That small of caliber you don't want a lighter bullet that could just blow up and not penetrate. I've heard the Nosler Accubonds are great too, just no personal experience. You'll have to see if they make these in your caliber/weight. If you were reloading it'd be a different story.
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Old May 6, 2017, 08:38 AM   #15
Jiggy300
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Sorry, I was meaning 200 yards (fat fingers). Just personal preference, that small of caliber I would just want a kill shot and I had never hunted from a stand so all my whitetail shots were with them trotting or running so harder to get a kill shot with that small of caliber at that distance. Just my opinion. I would also use 55 gr hollow points.
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Old May 6, 2017, 09:25 AM   #16
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Yeah, numerous threads on this subject.

I go along with CarJunkie's list. Bullet makers' R&D efforts during these last fifteen years or so have turned the .223 into a reasonable deer-getter.

Personally, though, I wouldn't get too optimistic about how far out to Bambi that I would take the shot.

Try two or three brands in that 62/64-grain range of choice. Whatever groups inside of two inches at 100 yards should do just fine. The main thing is that the first shot from a cold barrel should be very close for point of aim and point of impact being the same.
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Old May 6, 2017, 01:00 PM   #17
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"...a topic that can stir things up..." Yep. Worse before there were lots of good deer suitable bullets available.
"...75 grain hollow point load..." Like Mobuck says, that's the wrong bullet. It's a match bullet. Doesn't expand. Assuming it's factory ammo or nothing, Hornady loads a 60 grain Interlock specifically for deer. They even call it American Whitetail ammo.
An Interlock is an SP that's made for penetration with controlled expansion. It's a deer bullet. Likely do some pretty spectacular things to a ground hog too. Varmint hunting with your deer rifle and load is great practice.
Your a Bushnell scope will be fine.
The real issue, given your circumstances(isn't just you), is not being able to try multiple brands and bullets to find the ammo your rifle shoots best. Cost of reloading kit means it won't help either. However, a deer rifle doesn't have to shoot one hole groups. Two to 3" at 100 will be fine. Then sight in about 1.5" high at 100 to be on target at 200. You'll be able to hold 'on' anywhere in between but roughly 8" low at 300.
"...Why is exactly 220 yards the limit?..." It's a Mini-14. snicker.
"...Whatever groups inside of two inches..." Three inches at 100 will do.
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Old May 6, 2017, 03:57 PM   #18
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I'll be using .223 for Mule deer this year.

Working up some loads for a couple bullet weights in Partitions and TSX, trying to find one that will shoot well in the AR and bolt action.

Be aware of the limitations of you as the shooter, and your rifle, and it'll be fine.

Just to be truthfull, I am taking a backup gun in case the .223 isn't up to the job.............so my .22 Hornet will be coming along as well.
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Old May 6, 2017, 05:34 PM   #19
Bill DeShivs
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Many states don't allow .223 for deer.
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Old May 6, 2017, 09:04 PM   #20
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big tom 200 yards is a stretch for most .223s. a 24 " barrel might give enough retained bullet energy for a clean ethical dispatch of a whitetail.
genetal rule is 1000 ft. lbs. for penetration and bullet expansion. the 62 gr fed fusion bullet energy listed on the box is 800 at 200. rifles velocity and retained energy levels differ. even the exact same models.
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Old May 6, 2017, 09:13 PM   #21
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As long as your state allows it, I would say go for it.
IMO you are on the right track with 75 grain hollow-points.
The rifle sounds like it would be fine for the job.
I have taken game with .223 out past 250 yards.
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Old May 8, 2017, 12:08 AM   #22
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Being Physically Challenged. If the 223 cartridge is legal to harvest Big Game in the State your hunting. "No reason not too hunt. " With one reservation. Don't shoot at animals beyond those distances your accustom too~ shooting. Especially so with a single shot firearm and having no practical hunting experience.
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Old May 8, 2017, 08:19 AM   #23
taylorce1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Tom
I can't afford new firearm anymore on my fixed income and the biggest caliber rifle I currently have is a .223 with a 24" barrel. It's actually an unfired H&R Ultra Varmint rifle.
First thing we need to discuss is your rifle, do you know the year of manufacture? The reason I ask is before 2007 the H&R Handi Rifles used a mixture of 1:12 and 1:9 twists, and this will make a big difference on the bullets you can use. After 2007 they only used 1:9 twists which will handle most bullets that are suitable for hunting.

Dufus is the only person who even has mentioned this. To figure out your year of manufacturer go to Graybeard Outdoors and go to the H&R FAQ page. If you have a pre-2007 rifle then you'll have to measure your twist, there is also instructions on that also in the H&R FAQ page.

I have the same rifle and it is a 1:12 twist and will not handle well any bullet over 55 grains except the 63 grain Sierra SMP, but I haven't tried the new 64 grain Bonded Performance from Nosler. My rifle will also not handle any mono metal bullets over 50 grains, the best shooting being the 45 grain TTSX. Solid copper bullets over 50 grains just keyhole at 100 yards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Tom
Also I use a Bushnell Banner Rifle Scope 3-9x 40mm MZ200 Reticle Matte
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/39...-reticle-matte

think it would be good for a 200 yard shot?


and is this a good round for deer then?
https://www.midwayusa.com/product/29...in-power-point
I'm sure that scope will work, but it's calibrated for a muzzle loader not a .223. This means the dots to compensate for drop will not match up to 200 yards like it's supposed to for a muzzle loader. You'll have to figure out where the dots do match up by shooting the rifle to figure out how the bullet drops match up. Using an app like Strelok Pro will help a lot to match up drops to the reticle.

The link won't work for me to see the ammo you are talking about. However, I can tell you that if you don't know your twist rate we can't tell you if the ammo will work. I've allowed my daughter to use the .223 for deer for a few years now, and can tell you I wouldn't use any bullet under 60 grains for deer that wasn't a bullet that wasn't a Nosler E-Tip, Barnes TTSX/TSX, or Hornady GMX.
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Old May 8, 2017, 08:22 AM   #24
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I've never hunting deer with a 223. Doesn't mean it wont work ( I have too many other rifles, my 223s just haven't had their turn).

I have seen a lot of critters killed with 223s and some a lot bigger then whitetails.

I use to be in the AK NG commanding an Alaska Native Guard Unit on the Bering Sea. These people feed their families by hunting. They don't have a lot of money, jobs are rare out there.

When qualifying, I'd order extra ammo and turned a blind eye if some would get lost.

Because they could get the ammo, they used it. I've seen a heck of a lot of caribou, seals and walrus's taken with the 223. All are a lot larger then White tails.

My brother got disabled from Vietnam. He wanted to hunt also. But he couldn't walk. He tried all sorts of rifles people recommended. None worked out. I told him to dump all the other crap and got him a 223. He could shoot it, he could handle it and he took several Arkansas WhiteTails with it.

If you can shoot your 223, it will work fine for white tails.

200 yards is well within the range of the 223. I disagree with many here saying its a short range rifle, having shot a lot of rifle matches, to 600 and even 1000 yards with the 223s.

W/proper 60-65 gr bullets it would be good to 400+ yards. If your rifle has a faster twist, you can extend that to 600 yards.

Good luck and good shooting.
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Old May 10, 2017, 05:29 PM   #25
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I have used 60 gn Nosler Partitions and 55 gn Barnes TSX out of a .223 on white tails and loaded the 60 gn partition for others. They are deadly if you do your part. If it's an option I would try to trade the Ultra for a cheap used bolt action .243, I koad soft loads for my wife and some other youngsters and recoil is minimal and the load is more capable than the .223. BUT it will certainly work.
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