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Old April 5, 2018, 12:28 PM   #1
LilPewPew
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.223/5.56 For Hunting

So I know it is illegal to hunt deer with .223 in some states. But my question is what can I hunt with it and what round do you prefer? Extra info.. I have a 16" 1:7 twist barrel.
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Old April 5, 2018, 12:29 PM   #2
LilPewPew
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Also in some cases, I've heard people hunt hog with them?? I have an AR so would it be possible to hunt larger game with a quick 2 or 3 shot on them?
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Old April 5, 2018, 01:02 PM   #3
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"...possible to hunt larger game..." That has nothing to do with it being an AR or not.
The bullet weight and its construction matters most. There are lots of good .223" deer bullets around. Think in the 70 grain hunting bullet area for weight.
What you can hunt with a .223 depends on where you are. It's most States not some that disallow .223 for deer. The .223 is essentially a varmint cartridge in the States where it's illegal for deer sized game.
Hogs come in assorted sizes, so how big they get locally will determine how suitable a .223 will be for 'em. Porky can go to 400 lbs. in some places. More about shot placement and a bullet that'll penetrate(that's a deer bullet) vs expand rapidly upon impact(that's a varmint bullet).
Your 16" rifle needs to be up to the accuracy required for hunting varmints too. How accurate depends on the varmint. 2" or less at 100 for stuff like ground hogs and coyotes. With any rifle, it'll matter if you're reloading or not too. Milsurp FMJ ammo is not allowed in most places.
If you're not reloading, you'll have to try a box of as many brands as you can to find the ammo your rifle shoots best. The price of it means nothing either.
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Old April 5, 2018, 01:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
It's most States not some that disallow .223 for deer.
There are FOUR states that allow rifles for big game that do not allow 223 for big game. There are a few others that are muzzle loader/shotgun only, and a couple that allow only straight walled or pistol cartridges. The vast majority of states allow 223 for big game hunting. Check your local regulations.

With a 7 twist barrel you can take advantage of the heavier bullets. The 75 Gr Hornady interlock bullet will give you very good results on deer or hog. Most anything 60 gr or heavier with an expanding bullet will work too. The 55 gr Barnes solid copper bullets are probably the BEST option you can buy. Even with the lighter weight the copper bullets penetrate much better than lead.

Avoid FMJ and the lighter HP designs made for varmint hunting. If the bullet is designed for big game it'll kill any deer as well as anything else. If you use FMJ or varmint bullets in a 223 or 30-06 you'll get poor results. It's the bullet, not the caliber.
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Old April 5, 2018, 01:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jmr40
There are FOUR states that allow rifles for big game that do not allow 223 for big game.
I thought it was six, but I could be wrong. I knew Wyoming a few years ago started to allow .224 caliber rifles for pronghorn and deer. For the state's that don't allow the .223 you can simply neck it up to a 6mm (6X45mm) and be perfectly legal.

My daughter has a bit of experience with it on deer, and with a good bullet like a partition, bonded core, or mono metal it works well. However, don't expect good blood trails and be prepared for a quick follow up shot. I recommend that you keep your shots closer than 150 yards, inside of 100 yards would be a lot better. Still if you put a good bullet where it belongs the .223/5 56 is an efficient killer.
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Old April 5, 2018, 02:03 PM   #6
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The best deer bullet I have used in the .224 caliber is the Nosler 64 gr bonded.
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Old April 5, 2018, 04:31 PM   #7
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I've killed several deer and hogs with my 16" AR, it's not the optimal round but if you pick your shot it definitely will do the job and efficiently. I shoot deer and hogs with the Winchester 64gr and I feel it's the best thing I've tried so far. I am experimenting with the Hornady 75gr but haven't hunted with it yet. The accuracy seems to be good. I limit my shots on deer to 100 yards. Hope this helps.

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Old April 5, 2018, 07:34 PM   #8
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There's a BIG difference between what you CAN do and what you SHOULD do. I've shot some deer with a.223 and still say it's not something many people SHOULD try. Like driving 75 in a 45 zone, it may work fine or maybe not.
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Old April 5, 2018, 09:00 PM   #9
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I’ve only heard of one using the .223 or .222 (don’t recall which), but it was dismal and we have tiny deer in the Hill Country of Texas. But there’s been far too many taken nicely. I assume there’s just not much room for error. I don’t know the specifics but that deer took 5 shots and it was a small 1 1/2 year old buck. Of course they could have been using 50 grn varmint bullets as far as I know.
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Old April 5, 2018, 10:45 PM   #10
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Winchester Nosler Bonded 64gr. SP.
Federal Fusion MSR 62gr. SP.
Speer Gold Dot 75gr. GDSP.
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Old April 5, 2018, 11:54 PM   #11
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quick 2 or 3 shots

A quick "2 or 3 shots" on one animal is a bad plan and faulty logic. Hosing down a game animal with multiple rounds is not the way it's done, unless the critter intends you harm, or, the critter has been hit and did not go down with round one.

Such spray and pray tactics are exactly the argument used against black rifles for sport. I encourage you to rethink your approach to hunting......with a black rifle or anything else.
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Old April 6, 2018, 01:56 AM   #12
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I have been hunting for more than 50 years and as "bamaranger'' stated having to use 2 or 3 shots is faulty logic. To kill an animal in that manner is inhumane and very unsportsmanlike . I have passed up on beautiful deer simply because I did not have the proper shot or the backdrop of where the bullet might go was not suitable. As a hunter and a sportsman you must give respect to the animal and the sport of hunting. If you can not make a humane one shot kill than you are lacking in shooting skills and moral ethics.

I have gone hunting with an AR rifle but I know what I am doing and I load my own bullets. I know what my 75 grain bullets poi is from 50 yards to 600 yards. Like I said I have been hunting for more than 50 years. There will be times when a second shot may be required because the animal flinches at the last second but if you need to do 2 or 3 shots every time, you have no business hunting. The hunt is not about shooting the animal down from insane distances , it is about connecting with Mother Nature , tracking it, and getting to know your prey.
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Old April 6, 2018, 07:46 AM   #13
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In 2017, we used Nosler 55 grain GoldDot ammo on 2 deer. Both were near perfect broadside shots @ 75-100 yards. Results were adequate under these specific circumstances. A "backup shooter" was in place on both shots ready to follow up with a bigger gun and the terrain was open with plenty of room for that to happen.
Honestly, I've shot and seen shot with a .223 approx 40 deer and while most were good enough, there were also several that required follow up shots, longer than necessary trailing, or simply weren't recovered. Can I kill deer with a .223? Absolutely. Do I recommend the .223 for anyone to hunt deer under any conditions? Absolutely NOT.
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Old April 6, 2018, 08:57 AM   #14
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The 223 is legal in Wyoming for deer and antelope, but only with bullets of 60 grains and heavier. I well placed bullet of tough construction kills deer just fine.

The AR15s with tele-stocks are quite popular here especially for new hunters. One-size-fits-all and the super light recoil is a factor. I have seen a lot of kids and small women as well as a few big men that appreciate the ease of shooting accurately with the ARs.

I do not think the 223 cartridge hit the deer and antelope "as hard" as the 243s and 30-30s, (an so on) but they do fine. The wound channels are about 1" to 1.3" around and go clear through if you use a Nosler partition, Nosler bounded 64 grain, WW 64 grain Power point or 70 grain Barnes. Deer and antelope usually fall within 25 yards of the hit. Some drop at the shot.

I have killed numerous deer and antelope with handguns, 44 magnums, 357 magnums, 45s and 454 Casulls. With the 357s I get a wound channel of almost exactly the same size as I see with the 223s with correct bullets. So I have no heartburn about seeing 223s used as deer guns as long as the hunters can shoot them well.

But in every case I have seen so far, the kids and the little ladies shoot the ARs a lot better than they do the more powerful larger rifles, which is why nearly all 223 AR15 shooters are using them in the first place.

I have yet to speak to anyone using an AR in 223 that would argue that the cartridge is "better" then something bigger. All of them however do make the point that they shoot the AR better then they shoot a harder kicking rifle, so I can see their point very well.

In hunting, it's 98% the hunter and 2% what they shoot. Assuming a wound of 1" diameter with 100% penetration, I have to agree with them. Such ballistic performance is better than a 3" diameter wound with 100% penetration, if the smaller would is always placed perfectly and the larger one is not.

I would condemn the use of any bullet that fragments and acts erratically on game. That includes the big magnums too as a matter of fact. In my years of hunting I will say without any hesitation, that I have seen a LOT of horrid performance from "big guns" like 7MM Mags 300 Mags, but I am not calling for them to be condemned for hunting. All big game hunting should be done with bullets that go through and don't fragment and act erratically in my opinion. "Bomb-bullets" kill fine ---- until they don't. But good bullets kill fine too and don't give erratic performance. So why take the chance?

In the uses I have seen with the ARs so far I have seen only one bad performance, and that was because the 1 and 2nd shot hit the deer's guts. The 3rd shot hit it in the lungs and the deer ran about 60 yards farther after the 3rd hit and dropped. I have seen far worse quite a number of times from "big guns" in my 50 years of hunting and guiding. Most bad performance in due to bad placement and some is due to bad bullets. Good bullets are available in .224" and the lack of recoil and good fit of the length of pull to the shooter makes for good marksmanship in most cases. At least it has in the cases I have seen so far.

The less power you have available in your weapon, the better the projectile needs to be.

But the bullets I listed above do all you can ask of a 22 center fire, and they kill deer and antelope just fine.
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Old April 7, 2018, 06:17 AM   #15
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223 is legal here in PA.
Your AR is not.

Heck, my neighbor put 5 shots of 168gr from an 06 into a smallish buck last year before it finally stayed down.
What a mess that was!!
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Old April 7, 2018, 10:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Also in some cases, I've heard people hunt hog with them?? I have an AR so would it be possible to hunt larger game with a quick 2 or 3 shot on them?
Yeah, people hunt hogs with .223/5.56 AR15s. They also hunt them with .22 lr and .17 hmr. As noted above, the notion of getting multiple shots into an animal is faulty, though I don't believe it is necessarily unsportsmanlike or inhumane.

I can't think of any hogs that I have shot over the years that didn't take off like a bat out of hell, if they still had the ability to run, after being shot. I can't think of anyone that I have seen shooting fast with an AR15 .223/5.56 that was able to place rapid fire follow-up shots anywhere remotely close to being on target within being less than 10 yards away.

The problem with .223/5.56 isn't that it won't kill. The problems with the caliber have more to do with the shooter's training abilities and the speed of the kill. Too many hunters go with the "pie plate kill zone" theory and simply expect the hog or deer to fall over if their round hits anywhere in that area. If you don't hit CNS, don't expect a hog to be stopped. It will run. How far it runs is determined by how much damage was done to critical structures. Being small, the .223 caliber doesn't do a whole bunch of damage, so it behooves the shooter to know hog anatomy and to be able to not just place the shot on the outside of the body, but to know where to aim on the outside of the body to hit critical structures inside of the body. Too many hunters are not good at this.

Bottom line, if you use this caliber, choose a good penetrating and expanding ammunition. When possible, focus on CNS shots to the cranium, through the neck into the cranium, or heart/lung shots that miss the humerus (upper arm bone). If the latter, plan on tracking the hog and know that many hogs seal up after being shot, particularly with itty bitty calibers, and don't leave good blood trails.

Suggested bullet? Barnes all copper TSX 62 gr.

However, my real suggestion would be to get another upper in a larger caliber that will produce better terminal results. I like 6.5 Grendel, but there are many other calibers that will work very well and all are going to be better than .223.
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Old April 7, 2018, 12:41 PM   #17
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^
An upper in a more significant round is a much better idea, especially for hogs. Not sure if one can be had still in 6x45mm, but it’s a fairly good round allowing some of the heavier .243” bullets. I always felt the 6.5mm Grendel was about the best round for an AR sized magazine as it really holds up well for longer ranges. But the 6.8mm SPC is also pretty good. Even a 7.62x39mm would work nicely. Not to mention the big calibers like a .458 SOCOM, .45 Bushmaster, or .50 Beowulf if you really want to hammer them.
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Old April 7, 2018, 03:29 PM   #18
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I believe Double Night Spy hit the nail on the head. Knowing the anatomy of the prey is key, regardless of the caliber being used.
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Old April 7, 2018, 03:41 PM   #19
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.223

I may have come across a bit hard on my first response, but it was directed at the logic and not the cartridge.

My experience with the .223 on deer is limited to bamaboys first two white tails. Both were one shot kills, on using a 62 gr Federal tactical bonded load, the second with a 55 gr Federal tactical bonded. The rifle was a Interarms MiniMauser MarkX. Both were one shot kills, through the chest cavity. One deer ran about 30 yds and did not bleed a drop, no exit wound either. The other ran about 60 yds and bled heavy, everywhere. I do not recall what bullet weight was used on either shot, but on the no exit wound, the deer was close, like 25 yds, and I theorize the velocity was high enough that the bullet expanded sufficiently to be caught by the hide on the opposite side, where we found it perfectly mushroomed.

Conditions were ideal, we were in shooting house or blind, off sticks or support, and we had practiced shooting and rehearsed plenty. Even used my 3D archery target to discuss angles and shot placement. I was at his elbow coaching, he was 11 on the first deer. So the .223 will kill deer, and it is easy to shoot, and shoot well for a lot of folks that could not shoot anything much else any better. I personally believe that more gun is better, and a step up to x39mm (bolt) , or 30-30( not a lever) , or .243 is one in the right direction. I also think that the SA AR platform is not a good choice for youngsters (likely get flamed for that) , and the New England single shots offer an affordable alternative if you can find one.

I have no experience on hogs, but have no doubt hogs of the 100-150 lb variety will fall to a well placed, suitable .223 bullet. When you get up past 200 lbs, plus, I wonder. There seem to be a lot of folks killing hogs with .223, mostly with neck and head shots. Where to hit hogs seems to be a challenge for a lot of folks (like me) raised on deer.

I see the AR/.223 used in coyote shooting a good bit. Multiple 'yotes come in and the hunter rolls one, and gets shots at another due to the ease of second shot. I could see an advantage in a prairie dog town as well, not having to work the bolt would ease the strain of all day shooting (may we all be so cursed). The .223 is likely at its best as a varmint cartridge.
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Old April 7, 2018, 06:12 PM   #20
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I would say you need 2 uppers one in 223 and a 300 blackout the 300 will kill the deers OK it is a 30cal bullet and you can get them in different weight. This way you can save money by having 2 uppers
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Old April 8, 2018, 10:31 AM   #21
Don Fischer
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Why not just get another rifle in a more appropriate cartridge?
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