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OK I'm not trying to ruffle your feather but I have been kicking this around a long time. The last time I read a NYS game regulation booklet it stated any center fire rifle for big game. I have a Remington 788 223 Rem. and always though of using it as a back up rifle for deer. I was browsing online for 223 ammo for deer and there are some good choices.
But would like to know your thoughts or experience deer hunting with small caliber center fire rifle.
 

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Oh boy. Hold on!

So, yes, if you can shoot a good bullet in good places. I would choose another option if I had one but if that's what you have, go with heavier hunting rounds and inside 200yds. That's me. Like I said, hold on. Opinions are inbound for sure.
 

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Speer makes a 70 gr. JSP that has proven effective - but I've picked my shots and haven't exceeded +/-150 yds. I am however, MUCH more comfortable with my .257 Roberts, 30-30, .308, 30-06, .41 mag. OR my 45-70.
The ONLY thing I hate worse than missing, is to wound a deer and have to track it!

WYT-P
Skyhunter
 

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Not a first choice but a decent one if you place your bullet. I've done it with 222 Rem, 223 Rem, and hopefully soon with a 218 Bee. I know the pitchforks will come out, but I have never lost an animal with a 22 CF. I'm 100% proficient with a 22 CF with deer. I cannot say the same with a bow, but I still bow hunt. So, start stabbing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I have worked up a load a few years ago using the Speer 70 gr. JSP 224" but drop the idea because the unknown results it would have on deer. I was rethinking of reloading the Spr. 70 gr again and thought I browse. It seems major ammunition manufacturers are all in on 223 Rem. for deer loads. I read an article on these 223 Rem. deer hunting ammo and it's very convincing.
 

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Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is one of those questions that if you have to ask, you need a lot more information than you realize.

I'll give it a shot.

The problem here is not the caliber, but the choice of the bullet. And not the bullet weight, but the strength of the bullet's construction. Some bullets are intended for small varmints and will expand so quickly that they essentially disintegrate in a prairie dog sized critter. These are likely to "blow up" before they penetrate deeply enough to reach the vitals, causing only a disabling wound but allowing the deer to escape. Others will not expand at all. What you would want is a bullet that will begin to expand after penetrating 6-8 inches and then stay intact to penetrate deep enough to pass through the other side of a deer sized animal.

Most bullets in the heavier range for a caliber are constructed more heavily than the lighter ones. But not always. You will need to research your bullet on the manufacturer's website, online, calling the manufacturer, or possibly online. Check several places for consistency.

Don't just pick a heavy bullet. You could end up with a VLD boat tail hollow point intended for shooting targets at 800-1000 yards. These will not reliably expand, and they are not even tested for expansion, even though they are in the 70-90gr range, heavy for the caliber. Nor are they likely to be accurate for you, unless your barrel is rifled with a fast 6-7" twist.

It is within the realm of acceptably ethical hunting practice to use a .223 for hunting whitetail deer if you use a proper bullet and select your shots.

But if you're not going to properly research and find a proper bullet, the answer is "No, the .223 is not suitable for hunting deer sized game."
 

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Not a first choice but a decent one if you place your bullet. I've done it with 222 Rem, 223 Rem, and hopefully soon with a 218 Bee. I know the pitchforks will come out, but I have never lost an animal with a 22 CF. I'm 100% proficient with a 22 CF with deer. I cannot say the same with a bow, but I still bow hunt. So, start stabbing.
Never lost one either. I've used 223 and 22/250 with the old Federal red box 55 grain soft point. Killed big mulies too. I have never had a problem. Most that doubt the effectiveness simply have never tried it. I've heard the same about my pet 243 load. 85 grain Sierra bthp game king. To small for rutted up mulies. Good thing all them bucks didn't know I was shooting that 243, they died as fast as the ones I've shot with a 270.
 

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Never lost one either. I've used 223 and 22/250 with the old Federal red box 55 grain soft point. Killed big mulies too. I have never had a problem. Most that doubt the effectiveness simply have never tried it. I've heard the same about my pet 243 load. 85 grain Sierra bthp game king. To small for rutted up mulies. Good thing all them bucks didn't know I was shooting that 243, they died as fast as the ones I've shot with a 270.
My turn to ruffle feathers.

I've tried it. In my opinion, a 223 is simply ineffective and irresponsible. There is a reason why some states have a minimum 25 caliber rifle cartridge for hunting deer. Without exception, every deer and hog I have shot or have seen shot with a 223, ran away. Many took multiple rounds and to many where never seen again. Even if, some brother's uncle's cousin's best friend's sister who is the most bestest awesomest deadliest sniper in the whole wide world, tried it once and it worked, why? I know it's the only gun they have. Well, why didn't they buy a real gun in the first place? Trade it in for something more appropriate.

I do know New York state has big deer problem. If you want to do is put bullets in them, then I guess the 223 will get that job done. If humane kills and meat in the freezer are the target, get something better suited. What is the old adage? Why use a caliber where everything has to go right? Instead use a caliper for when things go wrong.

the question is probably hypothetical anyways, I don't think we will be finding 223 ammo anytime soon.
 

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.223 - 65 grain V-Max out a 16" barrel on my DPMS - AR, at 50 yards... You shoot a critter in the ear, and all you will see in the scope when you squeeze the trigger, is a cloud of red vapor. And, when you walk over there, the top of it's head, and all of it's brains, will have vanished.

Damnedest thing I've ever seen looking through a scope!
 

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My turn to ruffle feathers.

I've tried it. In my opinion, a 223 is simply ineffective and irresponsible. There is a reason why some states have a minimum 25 caliber rifle cartridge for hunting deer. Without exception, every deer and hog I have shot or have seen shot with a 223, ran away. Many took multiple rounds and to many where never seen again.




Not to ruffle any feathers but do you recall what bullets were used on these deer and hog?
 

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I'm from the no side of the argument. No .22 Centerfires. We all know it's been done. But, no at this house. Deer cartridges start at 7mm, and on up from there. You've got to be able to shoot end-to-end through a big Black Hills buck, not every time, but should the need arise. Don't choose your hunting cartridge for the best case scenario, choose it for the emergency, the one in a thousand worst case situation. Even for backup rifle, a full caliber weapon is preferred.

Shot placement is always the most important factor in a kill. I can't stress that enough.
 
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