.223 to hunt with.

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by f150howard, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. My daughter wants to hunt this year and wondering what y'all think. I thought I saw where they legalized that caliber recently. Trying not to have to buy another gun just for the kids to hunt with since I only have .223 and 30.06.
     
  2. bondhu

    bondhu 12 pointer

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    Here we go again, if you look back a month they just finished a thread like this. 223 is a great caliber for deer my father in law hunts with one. I started my daughter and son on a 223 but the deal was shot placement on a paper plate before they could go hunting. Now you will see 50/50 on this subject and really its about collateral damage a 30 cal. cartridge will break more bone and larger exit wounds. But a hole through the lungs is dead deer no matter if it was a sling shot. We hunted down on Sardus one time back in late 80's 15-20 shots where ringing out from farm next to the one we where hunting. They where doing a big deer drive. Scrub 7 point crosses the creek over on us. My cousin was settin up at the head of a holler the deer came up. He stopped to look at all the hunters behind him. My cousin shot him right through the lungs down he went. Every one chasing that one deer showed up to admire that scrub 7. That deer had 6 holes in him from 4 different shooters all from 30-06's. He had ran 2 ridges and 3 hollers before cousins shot.
     
  3. Dark Cloud

    Dark Cloud 12 pointer

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    Yes it's legal,just teach her where to shoot.
     
  4. kayak

    kayak Spike

    Is there a factory ammo for .223 that is good for whitetail?
     
  5. davers

    davers 12 pointer

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  6. JDMiller

    JDMiller 12 pointer

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    The 223 for deer discussion has been one of those things I've looked a little harder since picking up an AR back in the winter. Which no doubt prior to this I would have fell in the camp that thought the 223 would not be consistently effective.

    Needless to say I would have been plumb wrong on that mindset and as with a lot of calibers, bullet designs & offerings for the 223 have come a very long way. Which this doesn't mean a person shouldn't restrict range or impose some personal limitation with this small caliber. But the AR platform in itself, light recoil and cheap ammo to practice, there's no reason to not be extremely proficient. More so than any other caliber that we normally deer hunt with that we may only shoot a few times to check zero before gun season.

    Which I have no first hand deer killing experience with the 223. But with a bullet along the lines of nosler partition or several other bonded varieties... it's more than capable if the shooter does his part and puts one in the vitals.

    I also add with the 223 the twist rate of barrel of the gun your using is an important factor in choosing the weight of the bullet. Being a lot of bolt actions are 1 in 12 and would probably do better with under 60gr loads. As such in AR's, the twist rates are usually faster with 1:9, 1:8 or even 1:7.

    A 1:9 should be good around 60-68 gr weight loads, with the 1:8 or 1:7 giving you the advantage of the 70+ grain weights. As basically the heavier bulllets need a faster twist rate as a general rule of thumb.

    But all in all ... this is one of those subjects that give varying opinion. As no doubt there's better, more efficient choices and personally I'd still grab the 30-06 out of the safe come November. But with the proper bullet ... I'm not hesitant to say 223 will do the job if the shooter does theirs.
     
  7. KYT

    KYT 8 pointer

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    Here is something to think about when you are teaching a beginner about shot placement, which is so important with rounds like 223 for deer : The angle the deer is positioned from the shooter is not always obvious-- but super important. A deer may look broadside, but if you shoot it just behind the shoulder the bullet may completely miss the heart and lungs. Youngsters often have no concept of where in the body cavity the heart and lungs are, or how big or small they are. I had to show my 10 year old nephew where to place a shot on a stuffed animal toy horse that was angled toward him, angled away from him, etc. And I made sure he understood--sometimes, despite the fact you have a deer standing there, YOU HAVE NO SHOT--don't shoot.
     
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  8. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch 12 pointer

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    For what it's worth, the .223 has been legal for deer in Ky for many years. Heck, the 9mm, .380 Auto, and even the .25 Auto is all legal for deer.
     
  9. davers

    davers 12 pointer

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    A Friends' Son got his first Deer using a .218 Bee factory load. Seems strange to me as to why it's legal to use cartridges ptbrauch listed above on Deer, but it not legal to use small centerfire cartridges for hunting Squirrels.:confused:
     
  10. bdbrown66

    bdbrown66 8 pointer

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    Just because something is legal doesn't mean it's ethical or appropriate. To me, the .223 may well be lethal for deer, if appropriate shots are taken. But the margin for error is very small, especially with a young hunter. My kids all started hunting with a little single-shot .243 at about age 10. They had no problems whatsoever with recoil, and a .243 packs a significantly bigger punch than a .223, with a greater margin for error.
     
  11. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch 12 pointer

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    ^ there's one in every crowd, ain't there?

    Just because you don't think it's ok, doesn't mean you were elected to decide what anyone else does. Maybe you don't agree with it, but as long as it's legal, there's really not much you can do to stop anyone, now is there? Also, the whole, "my kids did it, so yours can too" argument is a pointless one. There's a lot you (and myself) don't know about his kids. What if his kid is only 6, can shoot tin cans off hand at 100 yards with an AR and had cancer and is not expected to live beyond January 2018? Are you willing to deny that moment he could have with his kid because you think you're morally superior to him?
     
  12. bdbrown66

    bdbrown66 8 pointer

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    Did I try to stop you or anyone else from using a .223? I gave my opinion, clearly stated as such, and an example of how I handled it when my kids were hunting. If it's legal, you have the right to do it, period. In my opinion, there are better options. And I am the world's foremost expert on my opinion...just as you are on yours.

    Plus, you can't argue with the facts that the .243 provides a greater margin of error and better chance for a clean kill than a .223. It's a matter of simple physics. A 100 gr. bullet at 3000 fps will create a more serious wound than a 65 gr bullet at 3000 fps. It's your opinion on where to draw the line.
     
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  13. WaterDog88

    WaterDog88 10 pointer

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    There's some good factory loads out there. Hornady, Winchester, and Barnes make some good deer rounds. I'd go for the heaviest bullet your rate of twist will shoot accurately. There's some good articles out there on this subject.
     
  14. JDMiller

    JDMiller 12 pointer

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    I started my daughter at 8 years old deer hunting on a 243 as well... needless to say ... she will be 25 in a couple months..lol. But honestly back then it was pretty much the accepted minimum with what was readily available.

    I can sincerely say that I was pretty close minded on the 223 until about 6 months ago. I bought my first AR in 5.56 / 223 and honestly been amazed with the variety of bullets and factory ammo in general. Which simply out of curiosity I got reading up on its use deer hunting and it opened my eyes a little to the "fact & fiction" of the caliber.

    Seems most negative opinion on deer sized game was based around bullet performance on what was available just a few short years ago. Being you either had the FMJ / military style ammo and you had quite a few option of frangible / varmint hunting ammo. No doubt some bad experiences were to be had by not using proper bullets that either blew up on bone contact or others simply passing through without expanding.

    But if you fast forward to now ... we've got choices with Nosler partitions , Hornady SST..... all kinds of bonded bullet designs imaginable. Which pending twist rates on the barrel.... you've got a lot of AR 223's that easily stabilize 70-80 grain bullet weights rivaling the mid-range of 243 offerings.

    In a nutshell..... what's available now has been a game changer on this small caliber. Which you mentioned wound channels ... I read an article comparing the 223 using Nosler partitions vs a 243 with standard soft pointed bullets thinking Winchester Power points. The results were the 223 with Nosler Partitions expanded to .75 while the 243 in the .54 range. Even penetration was on equal. So.... for the most part .... it's more of a bullet design thing than a heavier caliber is better type thing.

    As for the "margin of error" my philosophy on that is a piss poor shot is simply a piss poor shot. Been deer wounded, lost to every caliber man has ever used . A bad shot / non-vital hit is no better or worse with a 300 mag or 22 Hornet. The shooter didn't do his part plain and simple. Which the one edge the AR platform and 223 has.... its cheap to shoot in comparison to a 243 buying factory ammo. Being a young or new hunter can put a tremendous amount of range time to be proficient. Which the more confidence you can instill will relate to shot placement in the field.

    Which these are just my own thoughts... not trying sway opinion. Are there better options......to me that's both a yes and no. But at the end of the day there's a tremendous amount of deer hitting the dirt from a 223.
     
  15. bondhu

    bondhu 12 pointer

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    See what I meant when I said here we go again. He He
     
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