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.223 for deer?

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Unread 12-19-2007, 07:10 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 2,369
Now that it has started here are some of my thoughts on deposited energy and hydrostatic shock.

They don't matter in the least when dealing with big game animals and typical hunting cartridges.

I would agree that if a chipmunk is struck with a bullet from a 223 Win and the bullet stops in the chipmunk there is some significant effect from deposited energy, similarly we would probably see this with a 5" round hitting a critter the size of a deer or person if the round stopped in the critter. For most big game animals the total energy from the round impact as compared to animal weight produces an insignificant effect, the effect of the wound channel is what is desired.

Hydrostatic shock... I don't know a solid definition of what folks intend by this but I often hear reference to the watermelon or gallon milk jug and the resultant 'explosion' when struck by a fast bullet. The objects most often put forward as examples of hydrostatic shock during discussion I'm familiar with are relatively in-elastic bodies with a high water content (non-compressible material). Animals, for the most part, are not contained within an in-elastic container, skin and tissue stretch to accommodate the passing of the projectile, some damage does remain from the temporary and of course permanent wound channels but there will be no 'explosion' of the beast UNLESS the temporary wound channel exceeds the stretch capacity of the organ, limb or bony structure (cranium in particular). Small rodent shot with high speed projectiles WILL 'explode' because the beast cannot stretch enough to contain the wound channel, a larger game animal will do likewise is struck with a VERY LARGE projectile with a significant impact velocity.
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Unread 12-20-2007, 12:56 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: May 2007
Location: I live in Canada on the prairies and shoot 5 or 6 deer a year.
Posts: 52
22's work fine on deer

I am not totally sure about a 223, but I had a 22-250 AI fast twist built for me and I took four deer with it this year. The longest one was taken at 450 yards with a 75grain vld. I should add that I am up north here and I am mostly hunting deer on snow so I can track the smallest drop of blood if I need to. I had my 300 rum with me in the truck but did not use it. I just Know when I point my 22-250 at something it hits it every time. If you are going to shoot a light gun on deer you need to know your gun and take your time. If I was not shooting on snow I would not shoot my 22-250 out past 200 and I would still be very careful where I put the shot. I took 7 deer in total this year and lost the 8th one it was with my 30-06 on a shoot I should not have taken so a bigger gun is no substitute for good hunting practice.
PS the Berger VLD bullets do a wonderful job as a hunting bullet
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Unread 12-21-2007, 08:30 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: mathias wv
Posts: 987
can't begin to tell how many deer I've took with a 223, used the 64 gr win pp's for awhile, then went with just plain ole' 55 gr sp's, shot placement, common sense and dicepline are the key, take the good old pretty sunday front leg foreward double lung shot, and they sprint 60 yards to a pile-up. sure takes 40 to 50 yrds to pick up a bloodtrail, but they will leave a trail exit or not.
Most of the blood you get from a lung shot deer with small to med calibers is blown from the nose and mouth as the lungs fill with blood. I use to help farmers cull deer from cornfields and my weapon of choice was a rem. 788, 223 with a 4x12x40 on it. doe season I would set up my RRA varminter and never had an ounce of trouble taking deer with the 223's.
There are better choices, as has been said before but the 223 is adequate.
Born to Hunt, Forced to Work!
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