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Old October 25th, 2012, 08:58 AM   #1
Bullhed78
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Deer hunting with .223

Instead of hijacking Big B Chevys AR15 wanted thread I figured I'd make a thread about deer hunting with .223 or other small caliber rifles. I personally hunt with "black rifles", "assault rifles", "modern sporting rifles", whatever you want to call them. I call them my AR's. I have personally shot a spike with a Bushmaster Predator 20 inch barrel using Winchester 64 grain power point ammunition. The deer was broadside around 50 yards away. Shot was placed in the chest cavity/vitals area. He ran about 15 yards and went down. It was a double lung shot, bullet exited the rib cage but did not make it through the hide on the opposite side. I could not believe the damage that the round did to the inside of that deer. The lungs were destroyed. I never caped the deer so I did not recover the bullet. I have shot deer with .338 win mags, 30-06, and .223. All of them did the job. Bullet selection and shot placement are critical with the .223 (not that it isn't important with other calibers) but it is definitely a capable deer round.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 09:22 AM   #2
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My favorite deer round is a .243. Yes, it is slightly larger than the .223, but not what most consider a large game round. I shoot 70 grain ballistic tip bullets, and they do the job well...at a little under 4k fps, it's a fast, flat shooting round that still packs a lot of punch.

The last deer that I shot with it was around 350 yards, and it dropped dead in his tracks. Double lung shot, which turned the upper portion of the lungs into mush.

I used to hunt whitetail with a .30-06, which I never had any issues with...but the .243 shoots much flatter and doesn't have near the recoil. I know they make .243 wssm uppers for the AR platform, which I may have to look into more ( I'm also a big AR fan).
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Old October 25th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #3
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I know they make .243 wssm uppers for the AR platform, which I may have to look into more ( I'm also a big AR fan).
I don't know about the .243 wssm but I do know they make a standard .243 in an AR10 type platform. I know for fact Remington has one in their R25 platform and I'm sure several other manufacturers make then also. I never knew .243 was that fast 4,000 ft/sec is movin'.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 09:39 AM   #4
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I'm not a fan of .223 for deer.

While it can definitely do the job, it's really dependent upon shot placement.

I get concerned that we'll have too many yahoos lacking the requisite skills and practice out there wounding deer or having a situation where they don't recover a mortally wounded deer that walks a great distance. Gives bunny huggers something to whine about - with good, gruesome visuals.

Essentially, I'd discourage it for all but the most skilled folks - if you have any doubts, go with something larger, in the 30 caliber zone.

And I gotta ask - a .338 Win Mag on deer? Really? Unless you headshot it, the front quarters are going to be a mess.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 09:43 AM   #5
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I don't know about the .243 wssm but I do know they make a standard .243 in an AR10 type platform. I know for fact Remington has one in their R25 platform and I'm sure several other manufacturers make then also. I never knew .243 was that fast 4,000 ft/sec is movin'.
Yeah, the case length on the .243 is a little too long to work in the ar-15 platform, so they started making the .243 wssm for it. I would love to do an ar-10 build eventually, but that's on a long list of wants.

And I made a mistake, the 70 grain bullets are closer to 3500 fps, the 55 grain which I used to use for 'yotes are closer to 4k.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 09:46 AM   #6
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I hunt with a 338-378 weatherby mag. It doesn't bruise or destroy any meat, but it tends to suck the chest cavity empty. base of skull/spine usually almost sever the noggin.

I like the ability to quickly shoot out to 500 yards with minimal droppage (say ~12" @ 500 w/ a 165 gr hpbt & 111.5 gr IMR7828). I work a lot and don't get to shoot as much as I'd like. Having quality tools that perform dead nuts every time take guess work out of the equation are important.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 10:17 AM   #7
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Essentially, I'd discourage it for all but the most skilled folks - if you have any doubts, go with something larger, in the 30 caliber zone.

And I gotta ask - a .338 Win Mag on deer? Really? Unless you headshot it, the front quarters are going to be a mess.
I agree that there are better rounds than .223 for deer. However, I also believe that it is plenty capable in the hands of a skilled hunter that knows his own capabilities/short comings as well as the rounds capabilities/short comings.

Yes. I hunted deer for many years with a .338 Win Mag. My father bought it for me as my first hunting rifle. It was a caliber that he did not have. I think it was one of those "If I get Scott a .338 for his first rifle I can borrow it if I need a large caliber rifle for a brown bear hunt." type decisions. Or maybe it was a I want my son to have the biggest & best type decisions. All I know is giving a 14 year old a .338 win mag as his first deer rifle will teach him 2 things.
1. When you pull the trigger it's gonna kick like hell so you flinch.
2. You never have to track a deer because they go down in a pile.

I am older now and shoot quite a bit. Firearms are one of my passions. I am confident in my abilities and my equipment. I believe that you have to practice continually to hone your skills and I also know that as much as you think you know there is much more to learn. Confidence is good, cocky ness will get you in trouble.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 10:46 AM   #8
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I agree that there are better rounds than .223 for deer. However, I also believe that it is plenty capable in the hands of a skilled hunter that knows his own capabilities/short comings as well as the rounds capabilities/short comings.

Yes. I hunted deer for many years with a .338 Win Mag. My father bought it for me as my first hunting rifle. It was a caliber that he did not have. I think it was one of those "If I get Scott a .338 for his first rifle I can borrow it if I need a large caliber rifle for a brown bear hunt." type decisions. Or maybe it was a I want my son to have the biggest & best type decisions. All I know is giving a 14 year old a .338 win mag as his first deer rifle will teach him 2 things.
1. When you pull the trigger it's gonna kick like hell so you flinch.
2. You never have to track a deer because they go down in a pile.

I am older now and shoot quite a bit. Firearms are one of my passions. I am confident in my abilities and my equipment. I believe that you have to practice continually to hone your skills and I also know that as much as you think you know there is much more to learn. Confidence is good, cocky ness will get you in trouble.
It DOES simplify tracking.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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I don't know about the .243 wssm but I do know they make a standard .243 in an AR10 type platform. I know for fact Remington has one in their R25 platform and I'm sure several other manufacturers make then also. I never knew .243 was that fast 4,000 ft/sec is movin'.
.243 is a necked down .308
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Old October 25th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #10
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Yeah, the case length on the .243 is a little too long to work in the ar-15 platform, so they started making the .243 wssm for it.
No it isn't. You can buy .243 uppers from most manufacturers for the AR-10 platform. Performs very well. .243 is also much cheaper to shoot.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:12 PM   #11
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No it isn't. You can buy .243 uppers from most manufacturers for the AR-10 platform. Performs very well. .243 is also much cheaper to shoot.
Read what I said...it is too long for the AR-15 platform, hence the .243 wssm uppers, not that standard .243 uppers being available (for the -15).

The AR-10 is a whole different ball game, much longer bolt, receiver and magazine well so you can shoot the longer cased rounds like the standard .243 and various .30 cal rounds.

But the WSSM is still a nasty little round, and I would love to have one some day.

.243 winchester super short mag vs standard .243
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:13 PM   #12
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Read what I said...it is too long for the AR-15 platform, hence the .243 wssm uppers, not that standard .243 uppers being available (for the -15).

The AR-10 is a whole different ball game, much longer bolt, receiver and magazine well so you can shoot the longer cased rounds like the standard .243 and various .30 cal rounds.

But the WSSM is still a nasty little round, and I would love to have one some day.

.243 vs .243 wssm.
I stand corrected good sir.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:25 PM   #13
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It all depends on your environment. I'm not going to worry about threading a .223 round through any sort of cover and risk hitting a twig that I don't see. I prefer a 12G slug, which is plenty accurate to 150+ yards (moss 695). I have never hunted anywhere that I would have a 500 yard shot...
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #14
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Isn't .223 illegal to hunt deer with in Michigan?
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Old October 25th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #15
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Isn't .223 illegal to hunt deer with in Michigan?
It is in most states but Michigan only outlaws .22s and other smaller rimfires for deer.

Why you would want to use a round that just barely does the job compared to the plethora of much more effective and appropriate calibers is beyond me.

What's so wrong with 30-30? It'll perform better in the ranges you would use a .223 in and the weapon is much much cheaper (and much nicer.)
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Old October 25th, 2012, 04:03 PM   #16
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The law for used to say "any centerfire rifle cartridge larger than .22 caliber". A while back it was revised to simply say "any centerfire cartridge" Which is silly because technically you could use a .218 bee to hunt with.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 05:00 PM   #17
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Ar

I have taken a few deer with one of my AR,s . I took one through the chest the hole corked up too fast and by the time I had found it the coyotes had gotten it so I do not do that anymore . I do however if hunting does have absolutely no second thoughts about shooting them in the head they drop immediately in their tracks I hunt from a tree stand and most all shots are within 30 to 50 yrds so no issues there . I have built an AR in 450 bushmaster that I am going to try now it should do the job nicely . 250 gr flex tip when you shoot that you definatley know its not a .223 .




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Old October 25th, 2012, 05:08 PM   #18
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It all depends on your environment. I'm not going to worry about threading a .223 round through any sort of cover and risk hitting a twig that I don't see. I prefer a 12G slug, which is plenty accurate to 150+ yards (moss 695). I have never hunted anywhere that I would have a 500 yard shot...
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It is in most states but Michigan only outlaws .22s and other smaller rimfires for deer.

Why you would want to use a round that just barely does the job compared to the plethora of much more effective and appropriate calibers is beyond me.

What's so wrong with 30-30? It'll perform better in the ranges you would use a .223 in and the weapon is much much cheaper (and much nicer.)
Both the 12 gauge and 30-30 are fantastic rounds for the deer woods. I would even say those are some Michigan deer hunting favorites. I didn't make this post to argue that .223 or other small bore rifles are supreme deer hunting calibers. I have seen posts on this forum and others that ask "Is .223 enough gun for deer?" I figured a thread dedicated to that question with real life experiences would be interesting and informative. I personally use 30 cal or larger for whitetail but have shot one with .223. Just wanted to share my experience and hear others.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #19
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I don't have anything that small yet. But I have a son and another on the way, so I will be looking for a small bore rifle soon. I think that my 30.06 and 50 cal black powder are a bit much for starter rifles. I also have a 7.65 AUG, but I like shooting it too much to give it to my son's just yet. I'm thinking of getting a .243 for them to start hunting with.

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Old October 25th, 2012, 06:57 PM   #20
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I have heard that .243 is a great starter round and by the sound of 04PSD's post your boys may never have to upgrade as long as they stick with whitetail sized game. DON'T start them with a .338 Win Mag
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