.223 for deer?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Triggernosis, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

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    Would you hunt whitetail (southeastern) deer using .223 Remington and if you would, what load would you use?...max. range approx. 350 yds...most shots 200-300 yds..

    I'm considering it, but don't want to be a dumba$$. Yes, it's legal in my state of residence.
     
  2. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    No. See my sig.

    Tom
     

  3. linksmechanic

    linksmechanic Well-Known Member

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    Yes I would up to about 150 yards w/ good shot placement. Alot a guys shoot with .22 calibers. My buddy shot a 190 b&c mule deer last year .223
     
  4. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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    Uh-oh...never saw a short topic regarding small calibers for deer.
     
  5. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    Take a 223 with a 60 gr Partition, load it up to a good max velocity, keep ranges under 200 yards and insure surgical shot placement, any whitetail hit will die very quickly.

    Push the range out father, use fragile varmint bullets and make questionable hits, you will loose more then you take home. Oh wait, its that way with most any chambering.

    Simply put, used within its limitations, it would work fine. The larger 22 cals are even better and a 243 would be a much better choice but that is not the question at hand.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  6. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Yes I would.

    I've shot a fair number of deer with the 223 Rem and a few with a 22-250, not sure of the total number, probably better that 50 and less than 100. I believe I used 69 SMKs, 55s of varmint varieties, and a few odds and ends.

    Most deer aren't difficult to kill and a well placed shot certainly decreases the shot-to-dead time.



    My off on a tangent thoughts (happens to me sometimes).

    If being called a "dumba$$" is what's driving your cartridge decision you're gonna be very limited to who and how and with what you hunt. A 223 is fairly high on the list of cartridges that automatically draw a "dumba$$" remark from folks no matter the area of the country you're in.

    Examine the following chart of what "local" hunters could call an adequate (normal) deer cartridge. The area in dark blue could be considered "normal' for any particular hunting cartridge (deer hunting cartridge in this case). The normal zone could include the 30-30, 308, 30-06, 300 Win mag and 7mm. As soon as your cartridge selection includes the likes of 45-70, 444 Marlin, 243, 6mm you are probably in the section scientifically labeled "possible dumba$$", but you can be sure that if you use a 223, 22-250, 25-20 Win, 458 Win mag, 460 Weatherby or 505 Gibbs your selection is in the "dumba$$" section.

    [​IMG]


    Keep in mind that this distribution chart is based on nothing more scientific than what hunters are accustomed to hearing that other "successful" hunters are using as a cartridge. If a large number of hunters successfully bag deer with a 223, or a single very successful hunter bags deer with the 223, the 223 it will become a "normal" and acceptable cartridge (this may take several generations in some areas).

    My simple 2 cents worth.


    (No government money was spent conducting the presented 'study'.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2007
  7. Sig220

    Sig220 Member

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    I have shot a lot of deer with the .223. The first big surprise I found was that with most of my loads there was no exit hole!! I found that I had to slow the projectiles down in order to get a exit hole. But then you lose the "flat" trajectory.

    I like a through and through shot, if tracking comes into play you should have a better blood trail. I moved on to another caliber before that came into play, though.

    I don't think you will see the results you want at the ranges you speak of, I always limited my shots to under 150 yards. I did not trust it any further, as I did not want to lose any game.

    Being able to precisely place your shot, may mean having to pass up shots depending on the deers position with a .223.

    I second the .243, its flat shooting and range exceeds what you are looking for. But that wasn't the question was it?? :)

    Good Luck!
     
  8. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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    If I had a dollar everytime the hillbillies in Missouri told me my 45-70 was *&%^#@! stupid and I shouldn't use an "elephant gun" for deer, I would have Mr. Allen make me a rifle...
     
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    Have used a 223 with the 64gr win bullet. Go by at
    having no less than 1000ft lbs of energy ends close
    to 140 yards out of most barrels. Does shoot well in
    a1/12 twist as well as 1/9 barrels.
    Next is shot placement the most important.....
     
  10. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses, guys. At least here on this site I knew I would get some decent educated responses and I appreciate it.

    Dave King,
    I LOVE your normal distribution chart! I minored in statistics in college and can appreciate it fully. Perhaps there's some way to conduct an R-square analysis on the data to insure that the true dumbazzes are being captured by the sample.
     
  11. Wild_Bill

    Wild_Bill Well-Known Member

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    What twist?

    What twist is your rifle.

    Shoot the heaviest projectiles you can if the barrel is a 9 twist load the 65gr Siera SPBT if faster shoot as heavy as pssible if 7 twist 90gr MatchKings if 8 80gr MatchKings.

    You get the picture. you must however have good shot placement.
    we have rebarreled 7 223Rem Rem 700's to 6mmTCU we extend the mag box and the owners shoot 105gr A Max's in 8 twists around 2700fps they are a big step up in energy and the 107gr MatchKings also shoot well at heavier game.

    The owners use them as their kulling rifles for rabbits ,goats, pigs and deer aswel as other pests but I believe the 6.8SPC is a better all round for a property owner here in Australia.

    Cheers Bill
    Australia
     
  12. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    Trigger, I've enjoyed the replies you got on what could have easily degenerated to a pi$$ing contest. Several of the guys who use or endorse the use of a .223 (with caveats) have to be listened to. But I still don't recommend it for deer. I have killed several deer and have seen deer killed by others that had been wounded. Some were fresh wounds, some were old enough to be haired over, and weren't found until the deer were skinned and dressed. Recovered bullets and fragments were nearly all small cal, appearently .22 cal, (jacket bases, usually) with a couple of .243's, and one .30 carbine ! I've never seen or recovered a 7mm, .30 cal, .338, or .45 cal fragment from a previously wounded deer. I also have only killed one deer that had an old exit wound anywhere. That exception was a .243 jacket base with a little lead left in it that was lodged in the inside of a hind leg after passing low through the paunch. All 3 holes were partly haired over ! That deer also had a fresh superficial wound low on the front of his neck.

    I will concede that if it was the only rifle I had, I would use it, but not over 200 yds, and only then if I had a head shot on a deer that was standing still.

    Another big factor in my preference for larger calibers was a case of terrible shot placement on 2 does 10 yrs apart. Not my finest hour. I gut shot a doe at 285 yds with a .300 H&H (190 gr Smkhp). It knocked her down so hard that she died before she was able to get up. I watched her die. That sucks. Did it again 10 yrs later with a 7-08 at 140 yds. She didn't go down, stood still for a minute, then walked about 20 yds and fell over. That sucks too, (it ruined both hunts for me) but in both cases, neither deer made it out of my sight. With a .223, I doubt I would ever have found either one.

    My go-to gun is a .30 x .378, backup is a 7-08 or a .280 Rem. All can shoot better than I can, but the .30-by is an open can of whup-ass. BTW,I do have a very fine AR-15 that I carry with me in case I get a chance to hose some pigs. And I'm not a bit picky about the distance on them.

    I regret getting so long-winded, but to sum up, if you have a choice, I still don't recommend limiting your hunting with a caliber that has so many practical and ethical limitations.

    A comment for Dave King's bell curve. "That's funny, I don't care who you are". Just once though, I'd like to be in statistical control on ANY bell curve.

    Whatever you decide, good hunting, Tom
     
  13. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    In my younger/poorer days I killed a few deer to survive on with Stingers out of my 10-22. Perfect brainshots everytime resulted in instant bang flops. I'm sure the same bullet placement with a 223 loaded with Partitions would do the same thing. Bullet placement is supercucial to clean kills with the peashooters. I limit my range with the smallbores to as far as I can guarantee a < 1" group on that shot.
     
  14. Triggernosis

    Triggernosis Well-Known Member

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    I agree 100%.

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses, guys. I think I'll completely forego using the .223 for deer and step it up to at least .243.

    I'm looking for a round that I can enjoy shooting at the range, working up loads and such and still hunt with. I already have a .270, but it kicks like a mule (to me). I'm very recoil sensitive, and sometimes even my .243 even gives me a headache after a few shots.
    Maybe I should just stick with my .22 lr for the range and use the .270 when it comes to the "moment of truth".