I have rifles in 35 rem. 358 w. 356 w. 44 cal. 30-30 W. 308expr. 338expr. 30-06 Spfd. 300 Win. 12 ga. I can use any of these calibers if choose too. But that's not my point. I read enough to realize the importance of the construction of a .224" bullet to be ethical used on deer. I bought a 35R-xlr and since then it has been my go to deer rifle. Now NYS southern zone where rifle are allowed deer aren't big and shots are close. Heck a doe would have stepped on my foot one season if don't move, no joke. Like I said I have been kicking using my Rem. 788 223 Rem for years and I'm interested in hearing about peoples experience and opinions. Do you have one?You said "backup deer rifle" So may I ask what's your primary deer rifle ? As to original question my answer is "If it's all I had"