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?
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.
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.
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.
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.