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Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

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Unread 09-16-2006, 11:08 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hunt South TX Live in Central TX
Posts: 195
Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

I have read comments from other forums about the use of .224 calibers for whitetail deer. Some like the caliber & some dont. I'm undecided on which caliber to pick. I think the upper end would be the .260 ... This decision is for my daughter who is now 6, but would like to get her into hunting with us in the near future. I have read about using the small 22 with the barnes X 53gr bullets to the 129-140 gr. 260 remington. Battling decisions like: What about bullet placement - will I have picked out enough gun for her? Will there be too much recoil? Is the gun going to be too heavy? I reload so bullet choice can be expanded with caliber. Has anyone experienced what I'm up against? Also what's the best age to start a girl hunting? My daughter is not grossed out with blood and guts when I come home with a deer.

Also, If there is a previous discussion in this forum that anybody knows of could you let me know? I would like to read what has already taken place. I didn't know what subject to search for....
I hunt South Texas
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Unread 09-17-2006, 01:04 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Silverton Oregon
Posts: 70
Re: Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

I am in the same boat and have thought about this quite a bit and I've concluded that a Thompson may be the best choice: You can modify a stock easily enough to fit her, add spacers as she grows, and change barrels to a larger caliber as she gets older.

My caliber choice will be 223. It's just enough for light bodied deer as well as varmints and yet not enough recoil to scare 'em away from shooting.

(leagal age here is 12 yrs old for deer).

good luck with your selection.

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Unread 09-17-2006, 08:01 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
Re: Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

I'm currently building my boys gun which he'll recieve and start to shoot next year for his birthday (3) the action is a TC Encore , and the first barrel will be a light conture 16" 22lr , as he gets older his his first deer caliber will be a 250 Ackley which offers a little more bullet weight than a 243 and bit more punch and with less recoil.

The 243 is a great deer caliber loaded with a quality 80 gr bullet even marginal hits that kids often make will be fatal and more often that not offer a better blood trail than any 22 cal.
I have shot a several deer with a 22-250Ai and have never lost one but I always waited for a good broad side shot and the only bullet I've had exit was a 60gr Nosler partition and even that diden't leave to much blood.

so my vote goes to the 243 , the recoil will be very low and the power will be a big help with a un experianced shooter at the trigger
Si Vis Pacem Parabellum
Molon Labe
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Unread 09-17-2006, 06:29 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 748
Re: Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

Hi i would go for a 243 or 260rem. you have a lot of better projectiles available for both suitable for deer over the 22's. with the 243 a good 85-90gr projectile will work well with the 260 you will have about the same recoil with a 100gr projectile as the bore diameter is bigger it will also have a larger frontal impact area and you can use reduced loads with a 120gr projectile around 2700fps and it will do anything required then when larger game is on the menu you can load it up with 140gr projectiles at the same velocity i would look at a Rem model7 youth it is available in both 243 and 260 but if you would like the rifle to last a longer time with more hunting possibilitits my vote would go with the 260 and reduced loads. The 260 can also be loaded with 85gr varmint projectiles at around 3000 fps for an easy to shoot varmint or preditor rifle. i would get the synthetic stocked versian when your child is older you can then have a larger stock fitted and they could keep it all ther life.
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Unread 09-17-2006, 07:02 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: centre,alabama
Posts: 948
Re: Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

If you don't mind wildcat round the 6/06 Ackley Improved is really nice round,I have killed dozens of southern whitetail deer with mine...
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Unread 09-17-2006, 08:55 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 215
Re: Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

Another thought that goes just a shade bigger is the 7mm-08. I've never shot one but I hear that it's a very good cartridge for younger hunters or those that don't want the recoil. If it's anything like the 308 (which I have) the recoil isn't bad and the accuracy is great.

As an aside, both of my brothers shot their first few deer with a 22-250 with 55 gr. Hornady's (I believe the old interlock type, NOT vmax). You need to put the bullet in right in the vitals (just like any other small cartridge including the 243) and not a shoulder/neck shot.
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Unread 09-18-2006, 04:31 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Texas born and raised
Posts: 752
Re: Which Caliber for deer? .224 - .264

I started my daughter out when she was 6 shooting a pump Remmy in 243, that I aquired second hand. I put up a full sized deer target and she went to it. Recoil never seemed to be much of a problem even with 100gr loads, as we only shot it around 6-8 times per outing. She was shooting 3-4" groups with it right off the bat.

As luck would have it, we didn't get her on a deer till she was 9, and when the time came she waived off the .243, and took down her first little buck at 180yds with one shot from my 25/06.

Since then, I have to fight her off it every season, so be careful of what you let him shoot or you might have to fight for it. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

She took this one at just over 250yds from a kneeling position across our back pasture. Then was upset as the "big one" she was after slipped off through the woods after the shot.

Good luck with your daughter, it is a total rush when the time comes for the first shot on game. I could hardly sit still wanting to help out, but at the same time trying to let her do it all.
Mike / Tx

My Photo's

"Heck why would I lie, most folks don't believe the truth when I tell them"
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