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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I do not want an all out brawl on here but I do want to here yalls opinions. I have personally taken many deer with a .223 with a 100% kill rate. Most using the 55gr AMAX. Have started testing some heavier bullets to suit my new rifle. I want to know where yall stand on hunting with .223s in a civil thread.
 

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I took my AR out deer hunting last year with a 60 grain V-max round, and it did the job, though next time I do I think I will use a higher grain bullet, looking at experimenting with 75 grain A-max bullets. I personally thing the .223 is a perfect deer and antelope round, with the right ammo and good shot placement it will tear up the vital organs and leave all the meat intact leaving a nice clean kill. Its why it took me so long to buy a AR, In wyoming for the longest time .223 was illegal to hunt with, and I had a hard time justifying paying 4 figures on a varmint rifle, but when they made it legal to hunt with, well, I went and made me an AR. :D
 

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You already have a thread going about .223 deer hunting in the ammo and reloading forum!

I, personally, would not use a .223 for deer hunting, but I don't see any thing wrong with it. I have a friend who uses a .17HMR to kill them so the .223 should do the job just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree that it is the perfect round for deer. However a word of cation, I had issues with the 75 AMAX trying to seat to mag length without damaging the bullet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You already have a thread going about .223 deer hunting in the ammo and reloading forum!

I, personally, would not use a .223 for deer hunting, but I don't see any thing wrong with it. I have a friend who uses a .17HMR to kill them so the .223 should do the job just fine.
That was really for a specific bullet. And also I wanted a poll just to see yalls thoughts.
 

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I agree that it is the perfect round for deer. However a word of cation, I had issues with the 75 AMAX trying to seat to mag length without damaging the bullet.
i suspect thats a issue of experimentation with different powders and what not-im sure someone does it or they wouldnt sell them. :D
 

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I voted yes because your poll said medium game. IMHO a deer is a bit larger than medium game. I'm sure with the right round it'll do the job just fine but if I were wanting to take deer with a rifle (just now allowed to in Ohio with straight walled pistol cartriges) I'd opt for a larger caliber.
 
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Just personal preference I would use 243 at a minimum. I did see a large Montana mule deer taken last Nov. with a 17HMR. By large I mean dressed weight well over 200. So it is obvious the 223 can do the job just not my cup of tea.
 

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I take the AK out for deer just due to the heavier bullet and my shots here are inside 100 yards. If I didn't have the AK, I'd take one of the AR's out no problem, loaded with some of my coyote rounds using 68gr Hornady BTHP's.
 

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The 5.56 was designed to kill medium sized game with 2 legs...I see no problem adding legs if you use proper bullets.

The military uses FMJ for a reason, they hold up and penetrate a lot of hard stuff to kill people behind it. Probably not the best choice for deer.

Most hollow points are either match grade or varmint bullets and aren't tough enough for deer. The Hornady website recommends against using that 68 grain BTHP for hunting, it is a thin jacketed match grade bullet.

For deer, a controlled expansion bullet would be best. I would suggest the Hornady 68 grain GMX or the Sierra 65 grain SBT Gameking or something similar.
 

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The 5.56 was designed to kill medium sized game with 2 legs...I see no problem adding legs if you use proper bullets.

The military uses FMJ for a reason, they hold up and penetrate a lot of hard stuff to kill people behind it. Probably not the best choice for deer.

Most hollow points are either match grade or varmint bullets and aren't tough enough for deer. The Hornady website recommends against using that 68 grain BTHP for hunting, it is a thin jacketed match grade bullet.

For deer, a controlled expansion bullet would be best. I would suggest the Hornady 68 grain GMX or the Sierra 65 grain SBT Gameking or something similar.
Shot placement is key, last year I took down a mule deer with a 60 grain V-max, which is a varmint round. Took out a baseball sized chunk of its stomach with the first shot (bad broadside shot on my part) and its entire left lung on the second shot. (From the read on the run) if I had gotten the lung on that first shot it would have dropped where it stood. With that said I'm using a heavier bullet if I do it again.
 

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IMHO, the .223 simply is not enough gun/bullet to be considered as an ethical hunting round for deer. Will it kill deer? Yep, so will a .22LR. It's legal to get drunk in your own home, but should you do it?
 

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You asked for 'civil', and here's my little two pennies: With a good, clean kill expected, I see the .223 as too light of a round to do the job from MOST hunters. Of course, most hunters can't expect a clean 100% kill 100% of the time with any cartridge. They are not really expert enough with their shooting skills, and the shots are at moving game or long ranges.

When we used to run 'Hunter Sight In' at our Gun Club, I used to volunteer my time as a Range Officer. There must have been a couple of hundred non-club people who showed up to sight in before hunting season. Most of the time, shots fired at 100 yard targets off-the-bench were not "M.O.A." (Minute Of Angle) - they were "B.O.B." (Broadside Of Barn).

A friend of mine in Nam used to talk about shooting deer (poaching?) with his .22 in West Virginia. You CAN do it - but the odds are too high that the animal will suffer - at least in my humble opinion. You CAN kill a deer size animal with a .223, but if the shot isn't just perfect - the animal will suffer until you put it out of it's misery. I don't hunt anymore, but when I did if the shot wasn't going to be a clean, instant kill - I didn't take it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree that it does take good shot placement. That is part of why I like it, its a challenge, however if I do not feel 99%sure of my shot ill hold. I have a 100% kill rate so far with my .223s.
 

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im my experience most shooters who cant make a clean kill on a deer with a .223 at 100 yards, can't make a clean kill with any caliber at 100 yards. I have seen to many gut shots, leg shots etc. saw one hunter take a shot that glanced off a shoulder bone with a 30.06 and take out most of the hind section, leaving the deer plenty alive and losing half the meat. Now with that said, im sure most of us, who hunt regularly have at least one bad kill under our belts, especially when we first started hunting, it happens, best thing we can do is practice more and take measures to not repeat the mistake, none of us like seeing an animal suffer.

With me, if I was hunting at 250-400+ yards, I would not even dream of using a .223, but about 99% of my hunting is inside of 150, and im extremely accurate at that range, and being my .223 is an AR, if I do get a bad first shot, I can get a followup shot almost instantaneously. Use the right ammo, and its devastating to the animal while leaving the meat intact. The deer I took down last year with my AR was only at about 65-70 yards give or take.
 

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Ethics may be a somewhat individual measurement, that may be a good topic for another thread. To me, accurate shot placement with appropriate bullets at ranges within the capabilities of the shooter and the equipment being used are what I think is ethical when taking game. My goal is a clean one shot kill.

Will a .224 caliber bullet kill a deer or antelope, yes if the bullet placement is correct. I will stress that one should use bullets up to the task, not hollow points, varmint bullets, green tips or FMJ's. Get a bullet recommended for hunting the size game you're after.

Will a 180 grain .300 Winchester magnum wound a deer with a poor shot, of course. But a bigger heavier bullet will always give you more margin for error. And in my observation, most hunters need every bit of margin they can get.

Like Jim, I've worked many "sight in" days at our club. In my experience, the average hunter on those days couldn't hit the 10" ring at 100 yards offhand if they had to. Most don't ever fire a singe shot without sandbags. Most shoot a 5 inch 3 shot group off sandbags and think they're ready to roll. Many have no idea how to adjust their scopes and have no idea where their rifle is zeroed when they leave the range. Never mind estimating range, wind, uphill/downhill, or even knowing the ballistics of their ammo/rifle. In my opinion, this type of "hunter" has no business firing a rifle at a game animal, no matter what caliber.

Yes a .223 will kill a deer. In my opinion it isn't really an appropriate caliber, I would put the .243/6mm's as the smallest caliber that I would recommend.
 

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I agree with ideally, one shot one kill, and to decrease ones margin for error as much as possible. Ill admit, I have slightly shakey hands, and have difficulty doing a free standing shot. I can, but its difficult. I have better luck using a gun with light kick free standing, but regardless, what helps me take down an animal first shot, is using a bi-pod-which I use on nearly every rifle I own.

With that said, I practice with prairie dogs at 300+ yards with my AR and hit them consistently. Hitting a deer with it at 150 yards, is a walk in the park for me.
 

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im my experience most shooters who cant make a clean kill on a deer with a .223 at 100 yards, can't make a clean kill with any caliber at 100 yards. I have seen to many gut shots, leg shots etc. saw one hunter take a shot that glanced off a shoulder bone with a 30.06 and take out most of the hind section, leaving the deer plenty alive and losing half the meat. Now with that said, im sure most of us, who hunt regularly have at least one bad kill under our belts, especially when we first started hunting, it happens, best thing we can do is practice more and take measures to not repeat the mistake, none of us like seeing an animal suffer.

With me, if I was hunting at 250-400+ yards, I would not even dream of using a .223, but about 99% of my hunting is inside of 150, and im extremely accurate at that range, and being my .223 is an AR, if I do get a bad first shot, I can get a followup shot almost instantaneously. Use the right ammo, and its devastating to the animal while leaving the meat intact. The deer I took down last year with my AR was only at about 65-70 yards give or take.
The guy we're buying the boonie property from came down with a friend last year for opening day. Since we're still in the process of getting the place up to par and renting it for the first year, I tend to let him have the better hunting spots. He set up on the backside of the hill, we knew that the huge congregation of hunters on down the road would push the deer our way. (We live inside the Mark Twain National forest so get a bunch of "visiting hunters' the first weekend)

Sure enough about 20 minutes after we heard the initial "volley" of shots from the "hunter herd", I heard a shot in the direction where he had set up. Then another shot. And another. And yet another. AND....yep, another! I headed up his way from the back side to see if he had one deer with five holes in it, or five carcasses to haul back.

One doe, with one hole, shattered the spine. He was using a .30.06, great deer rifle...if you hit what you are aiming at. Lucky for him, the bunch of five does and one buck just STOOD there while he was shooting at them, obviously in shock from the sudden disruption of their usual lives. He said he had to actually chase the buck off away from the doe, of course he had only bought one tag for an antlerless. I had told him to bring down his rifle on a weekend and check the sighting of the scope, he never bothered, and still hasn't. I told him next year I'm sitting out with him and get second shot...
 

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Someday someone will invent a belt-fed deer rifle. With the number of shots some of my fellow hunters take - it sounds like Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg on opening day sometimes (and few - if any - camps have anything hanging the first day). How someone can only fire their rifle once a year and claim to be a 'hunter' is beyond me. If they DO fire their rifle, most likely it is from a shooting bench with a rest or sand bags.

The ONLY reason I add this to the discussion is that coupling a marginal caliber to a mag fed autoloader in the hands of someone who couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a base fiddle is getting away from what hunting ought to be - a humane, clean, quick kill. Bravo for those who can do it - and I don't doubt you one bit - but for the vast majority I'd still say no.
 

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In Iowa, the minimum bullet caliber for deer hunting was .24. I say was because the DNR decided to close the only season which allowed centerfire rifles to be used for hunting, providing you were in certain counties. Methods of take are now limited to: bow, handgun, muzzleloader, shotgun (slugs). :(

I don't have a problem with hunters using a 223 for deer, but I wouldn't choose it myself.
 
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