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Discussion Starter #21
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"
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?
 

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Discussion Starter #22
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.
839370
 

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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.
I will disagree on the 7mm min as the 6.5's are pretty solid deer numbers. As good as anything I have seen. Tried a 243 and got deer with it and had one failure on a shoulder shot an don't use one anymore. Bullet was a Nosler partition. Then there is the issue of white tails themselves. Midwestern whitetails like we encounter and are being referred to can get pretty hefty. Whitetails I generally shoot also have a very heavy winter coat and a buildup of fat. Don't leave blood good blood trails. Due to the size with weights getting up over 250 on some bucks, I prefer not to use the small cartridges like a 223. I think the popularity of the AR's determined their legality as now in MN if its a center fire you can use it. Before they were not legal. It is one of those issues where I basically have no need to use one. I have too many backup rifles already. Some states especially in the hotter climates have smaller deer and i admit that we have permit deer or non antlered deer as options. I just see no need to use one.

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I love the indignation of people telling others what they should or shouldn't do or what is or isn't responsible.

But "primitive" weapons seasons are fine even though we've come a long way from those terrible options of silly peoples of the past. I mean just because you CAN shoot a deer with an arrow DOESN'T mean you should!

A well constructed, high velocity bullet put in the vitals will bring down a deer. So will driving them off a cliff, hit with a rock, spear, arrow, flint lock, percussion cap, rim fire and now center fire firearms. Now I am sure we can ALL reserve any indignation and start a new thread on the fools who shoot deer with pistols/revolvers. I mean fer realz. Jeez!

The OP has lots of options. One of them is an interesting exercise he intends to research and execute. Update the thread. Post pics!
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Thanks for having a sense of humor! The photo reminds me of the screech owl we had growing up. What he lacked size, he made up for with attitude. Apropos for this thread?
Thanks for taking my reply as humorist it was meant as so.
 

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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.
I read about an old-timer who shot more than 30 elk---one shot kills--using the Savage 250-3000 with 60 grain bullets. Ballisics not too different from a .223 with 60grain. The guy who owns Longshot hunted African game with a 220 swift---https://m.facebook.com/longshotammo/--check out his mounts.
 

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I wouldn't hesitate to reccomend the 60gr. Nosler Partition or Barnes 50 to 55 gr. TSX as I have used both on deer and hogs. Keep it under 200 yds. or so and be able to place it where it should go. I've never recovered one from an animal because they were all in and out. Here's a 60gr. Partition on the left and 53gr. TSX on the right from Bullet Test Tubes. One of the largest hogs I've ever taken was with a Rem700 223 and 60gr. Partition. She was running full speed right to left at about 50 yds. At the shot she stumbled 3 or 4 more steps and went down in a cloud of dust. In the left shoulder and out behind the ribs on the right side. She weighed almost 300 lbs! The 223 is easy to shoot well- just use a good bullet.
 

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In years gone by I shot many Roe Deer with a 22-250 with 55gr bullets speer and Nosler. This was a heavy barreled double triggered varmint rifle, now with an 26" Douglas match grade varmint barrel in 22-250 ai. A rifle I have supreme confidence in. I never lost a deer, but do I use it now NO, its set up as my daylight fox rifle with 52gr hp molly coated at 4100fps. Am I a better shot now as back then probably not, in those days I thought I could walk on water..
I take a great deal of interest in terminal ballistics in the game larder and hand load all my CF ammo. If I were just sitting up a tree stand for a fox or roe deer, 243 would get the nod. Just for deer 7x57, 270 light bullets, 30-30, 308. I have a good dog to track but as has been said use enough gun for when things go wrong. Your call Gar.
 

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Discussion Starter #32 (Edited)
Guys I grow up in a time when hunters were buying 30-06 for deer hunting and the 30-30 was thought as inadequate. My godfather swore by his BAR 308 to be just right for deer. He told my brother's friend how inadequate his Win. 94 30-30 was. Well after a long day posted in a wonderful damp cool place I heard what sound like a semi- auto rifle. It was already getting dark so walked out to the car. There was my brothers, godfather and friend [ yes they were all alive then] and the deer all shot up. Someone asked Larry why did you shoot so many times? He replied, Sonny [my godfather] for the past two day told me how inadequate a 30-30 was I thought the bullets would bounce off. True story.

I wonder what my godfather would say today?
 

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I love the indignation of people telling others what they should or shouldn't do or what is or isn't responsible.

But "primitive" weapons seasons are fine even though we've come a long way from those terrible options of silly peoples of the past. I mean just because you CAN shoot a deer with an arrow DOESN'T mean you should!

A well constructed, high velocity bullet put in the vitals will bring down a deer. So will driving them off a cliff, hit with a rock, spear, arrow, flint lock, percussion cap, rim fire and now center fire firearms. Now I am sure we can ALL reserve any indignation and start a new thread on the fools who shoot deer with pistols/revolvers. I mean fer realz. Jeez!

The OP has lots of options. One of them is an interesting exercise he intends to research and execute. Update the thread. Post pics!
No need for name calling. Some of your points I agree with. My primitive sharp stick can, will and have been driven through a cape buffalo. Show me the 223 Remington hunting bullet that can do that.

Guess I'd be a super fool in your book. I have not shot any deer, yet, with a 357 Magnum but I have hogs and elk. Both the hog and elk where previously shot with small calibers, 243 win and 6.5 Creed respectively. It's easy to shrug off an animal that runs away. It's different when you witness firsthand the cruel wounding of an irresponsible choice.
 

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I should have used the sarcasm font. Or emojis.
 
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So much emotion in the thread, so little actual experience. 30 years ago I took my CAR-15 to Kodiak Island for deer. I took five deer with six shots, shot the first one twice “just to make sure” but it really didn’t need a second hit. The load was a Nosler 60-grain SolidBase (predecessor to the BallisticTip) at 2772 fps. Distances ranged from 50 yards to 150 yards, all hits were in the heart/lung area. Except for one which dropped at the shot, the rest didn’t react to the hit and just continued what they had been doing - for about five seconds when they tipped over. Tracking wasn’t an issue, and only one bullet was recovered (at 150 yards it went through the lungs stopping under the hide on the off side - perfectly expanded).

Odd animal reactions compared with what I was used to, but effective under these conditions: stationary deer; perfect broadside shots; not in thick brush. I’ve never used a .223 since and I don’t recommend it, but who the he!! am I to tell someone else what they can or cannot use to hunt deer?




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I question whether many of the heavy bullets would work in an old 788 Remington. Might be an old 1-14 twist or so. Made for the 55 grain grain standard load. Some claim the Barnes 50 grain will work but the 55 will not. As for the 220 Swift in Africa, read Rourke. Inspired him to write Use Enough Gun. He crippled a few animals with his Swift and quit using it. Bullets blew up. A good 55 grain in a 223 would probably work but and has taken game. Guy by the name Finn Aagard wrote on his experiences seeing a 223 used when he was guiding. Claimed that it killed pretty fair but tracking was difficult as it left poor trails. This was on Texas deer which are smaller than midwestern deer.

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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.
I absolutely hate the thought.......let me say that again, I “ABSOLUTELY” hate the thought.

Wyoming, legalized a .223 Rem for use on some big game animals with bullet weight restrictions. A .223 Rem., using a bullet of decent quality, properly placed will kill a deer.However, the world is “chocked-full” of mental incompetents....that will use varmint bullets or follow the “spray and pray” school of non-ethical, non-thought when shooting big game! Yes.....that can also be said about any firearm user! However, the majority of cartridges of larger calibers have bullets better designed for animals larger than varmints.....giving the unethical shooter (notice I did not say hunter) a higher probability of recovering game shot! JMO! memtb
 

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So much emotion in the thread, so little actual experience. 30 years ago I took my CAR-15 to Kodiak Island for deer. I took five deer with six shots, shot the first one twice “just to make sure” but it really didn’t need a second hit. The load was a Nosler 60-grain SolidBase (predecessor to the BallisticTip) at 2772 fps. Distances ranged from 50 yards to 150 yards, all hits were in the heart/lung area. Except for one which dropped at the shot, the rest didn’t react to the hit and just continued what they had been doing - for about five seconds when they tipped over. Tracking wasn’t an issue, and only one bullet was recovered (at 150 yards it went through the lungs stopping under the hide on the off side - perfectly expanded).

Odd animal reactions compared with what I was used to, but effective under these conditions: stationary deer; perfect broadside shots; not in thick brush. I’ve never used a .223 since and I don’t recommend it, but who the he!! am I to tell someone else what they can or cannot use to hunt deer?




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Gotta disagree on the experience statement. Some of the posters in this thread and in the other 223 Rem MO threads have outlined their actual hunting experiences. I can't hunt big game with a 22 caliber cartridge in my state--so I don't have an opinion. I am enjoying the discussion though. Only big game I was allowed to hunt with a 223/5.56 were bad guys in AF/IZ.
 

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One other thing to mention. The 223 might be too efficient for its power level. Its a very flat shooting cartridge and might get used at ranges exceeding its reasonable punch. I could easily live off the land with a 223 if the seasons were more liberal for instance. I saw two deer shot with a 222 and they both died pretty quick. Shot a smaller bear with a 22 hornet and broke its neck. Saw a deer downed with a hornet using a neck shot.
I am talking mostly about using a cartridge in a deer season where sometimes just getting one deer may be tough. I have generally shot two a year but last year was tough, it was warm, and they were not moving until after dark. Saw one shootable deer and got him with the 6.5CM. My zone is bucks only and I saw a couple of does but they were not legal. Hunted at my in laws farm and did not see any. That is why I prefer to use something requiring a little less precision. One of my favorite loads for the 6.5 is the Hornady GMX 120 grain monolith. I can purposely break shoulder with it as it hangs together for that kind of work.

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I think I must be one of the few that still thinks energy, not just velocity, matters.

The highest energy .223 has around 1,300 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle. Few .223 loads have over 1,000 ft lbs of energy at 100 yard, and none have it at 200 yards that I know of. Most are in the >750 ft lbs of energy range at 200 yards. To me, it spells trouble when it comes to reliably expanding the kind of bullet you should be using and transferring enough energy to create the kind of trauma needed to bring the animal down quickly. It can be done, but I think the .223 is a poor choice for deer. Keeping it under 100 yards and using a well constructed expanding bullet and placing the shot precisely in the vitals and it might be okay.
 
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