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What can't .223 kill?

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Unread 05-13-2010, 09:19 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 17
What can't .223 kill?

I had a conversation with some guides on Sunday and the upshot was this: the guides love hunting with their .223s, everything from hogs to buffalo.

I was on a long trip and had six rifles with me. I was there to hunt razorbacks and I had intended on using my new Marlin .44 1894, but I was shooting Hornady Leverevolution for the first time and I just wasn't satisfied with my accuracy.

I had a Browning .308, a 1873 .357, and a Steyr .223. When I said .223, all the guides smiled and said "use the .223!" I had thought that .223 didn't have the stopping power for a big hog, but these fellows say they have hunted buffalo with them and they only use .223 on hogs.

I was shooting 150 yards on the range. I shot my .44 into some steel plates that were 1/4-inch thick. the .44 put a serious dent in the plates, but did not penetrate (same at 75 yards). The .223 didn't dent the plates at all, but just put clean holes through it.

I understand the stopping power of bigger caliber bullets. I understand that the bullet will do a lot more damage to the animal when it deforms. But that said, the .223 is going to penetrate anything, and when I examined the hole on my 400 lbs razorback...I mean cripes, it was a big hole with an exit wound.

And yet .223 is called a varmit round. What am I missing? Does anyone have examples of shooting .223 and failing to drop an animal? Any animal?
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Unread 05-13-2010, 03:30 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: cedar rapids Iowa
Posts: 241
Re: What can't .223 kill?

Viet Cong hopped up on drugs. Just Kidding
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Unread 05-13-2010, 04:05 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Mt., Id. , SD
Posts: 1,062
Re: What can't .223 kill?

Originally Posted by jdouglasj View Post

The .223 didn't dent the plates at all, but just put clean holes through it.

when I examined the hole on my 400 lbs razorback...I mean cripes, it was a big hole with an exit wound.
What bullet were you using? Sounds like a FMJ on the steel plate but that wouldn't leave a big hole on a pig. I'd be interested in finding a bullet to use on crop damage whitetails out of a .223 but always considered a .223 too small.
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Unread 05-13-2010, 04:22 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 17
Re: What can't .223 kill?

I was just using 5.56 x 45 55 gr FMJ. I suppose "big hole" is a judgement call, but when me, the guide and the butcher were examining the hog as the butcher skinned it, we all thought it was a big hole.
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Unread 05-13-2010, 06:22 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,233
Re: What can't .223 kill?

A 223 will probably kill anything on earth if shot in the right place and given enough
time and distance. But the right place and time are the problem.

We have plenty of hogs and if you want to kill one but don't wan't to bother with them
Gut shoot them and they will run off and die somewhere else.

If you want to harvest them for the meat then it becomes Iffy at best.

Hogs are tough cookies and need more cartrige than the 223 for quick one shot kills.

If you can head shoot them you will normally put them down but if you can't then be ready
to track and be careful when you find them because they can be real pissed of and want
to take it out on you.

The 223 is a good cartrige and has its strong points but it does have it's weaknesses and
large dangerous game is not its strong point.

It's like going to a gun fight with only a knife.(NOT A GOOD IDEA).

They are one of the most fun rifles you can shoot and maybe the cheapest but don't ask to
much of the 223 and you will never be dissapointed.

Just my opinion.

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Unread 05-14-2010, 07:48 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: A little south of Cowtown
Posts: 91
Re: What can't .223 kill?

I have hunted hogs many times with a 223/AR15.They work great on the smaller pigs-say 100lbs or less,the good eating size.

Bigger pigs are some very tough animals,and most people don't know the vital region of hogs,and shoot them like they were hunting deer. Then they wonder why the hog they shot,just runs off after being hit.

Shot placement is very important on a hog,unless you can headshot,then most just hit the ground.

I load 70gr soft point bullets for 223,smaller just doesn't work very well on them.

We usually have 2-3 hunters when we go,and shoot with different calibers-223,243,25/06,and 308. The 223 and 243 will take the smaller hogs,and the 25/06 and 308 shoot the bigger ones.
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Unread 05-26-2010, 01:29 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uvalde, Texas 78801
Posts: 8
Re: What can't .223 kill?

Ive shot many deer with a .223. All of died inside of 20 yards with good blood trails. However I had plenty of time to make a good heart shot. Sometimes I used 50 grain Vmax, but it made to much of a mess. As far as hogs we've used some 64 grain speer gold dot bonded soft points . They dropped within 10 yards or so with good lung shots at under 100yds. But if I am hunting a trophy and time, recovery, distance are important i'll use something bigger.
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