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JosephMD 06-21-2013 06:21 PM

White Tail Deer Hunting with AR-15 5.56x45
I will be hunting for the first time in the fall.

I would like to get opinions from experienced hunters on using an AR-15 for white tail deer hunting. I know that it is legal where I plan to hunt, but is it a good idea?

My thought process on the matter:

I've become a pretty good 100 meter shooter with my AR-15 standing and at rest. I've borrowed a Remington 770 3006 and it shoots OK from the bench, but I really suck with it when standing. I will be hunting from the ground in Appalachian mountain area terrain, other than that, I really don't know what to expect, so I think I should assume that I may have to take a standing shot at range. Again, not an experience hunter here :)


marc29th 06-21-2013 06:45 PM

The 5.56/.223 isn't a very good hunting round. You're more likely to wound the deer than kill it. I'd recommend a rifle in a hunting caliber .270, 30-30, .308 etc. You have plenty of time over the summer to get better shooting a new rifle or shotgun.

Jagermeister 06-21-2013 06:57 PM

I believe it is more humane to use an AR in .308. You will have a high chance of just injuring the deer, or allowing for a slower death when dropped. That is very cruel. I am a very experienced hunter, and can vouch for the .308 stopping power. You will not damage the meat with a neck (spine) or heart shot. The animal will die very quickly. The 5.56 is designed for two-legged animals. In fact, the 5.56 was created to maim and not kill. This would cause the enemy to retrieve their wounded, and personnel would be occupied with treating their comrades. A logistic nightmare for the enemy.

crockett007 06-21-2013 07:00 PM

So, we're OK with the 5.56 on a 200lb man, but we're afraid that we will "wound" a deer? I've hunted Mule deer with .223, and if you use the correct problem at all. You can also "wound" a deer with a .300 win mag. If you "wound" can't freakin' shoot.

That being said, I prefer the .308....

c3shooter 06-21-2013 07:02 PM

Not legal here in VA- the round is simply too light to assure a quick, clean kill.

CAN it kill a deer? Oh HELL yeah! Is it also likely to wound more than it should? Yup.

Standing offhand is the least accurate shooting position. Avoid it whenever you can. You may want to look ito some shooting sticks.

JosephMD 06-21-2013 07:07 PM

Thanks, I've heard that about the round, but I've also heard that it is fine and that "back in the day" it wasn't uncommon for people to hunt deer with a .22LR.

My original plan was to buy a Remington 700 .308. But I've been trying to focus the funds on things that will be illegal or more difficult to obtain in my state after October 1. An M1A is on the list, but I doubt I'd be able to get enough practice in before the season.

The range near me doesn't allow standing with rifles, so I get limited practice. My guess is that the AR-15 is just easier to shoot standing because even on my first try I did pretty well.

crockett007 06-21-2013 07:11 PM

I think your going to be just fine. Just be aware that in almost all states there is a magazine restriction for semi auto rifles. In Alabama. you have to use a 5 rounder

JosephMD 06-21-2013 07:13 PM


Originally Posted by c3shooter (Post 1282642)
Standing offhand is the least accurate shooting position. Avoid it whenever you can. You may want to look ito some shooting sticks.

Not familiar with shooting sticks, sounds like a good idea. Plan was to try and avoid standing if I could, but want to be prepared.

Hope to live in Va some day :) or Wv, that'd word for me too, that's where I'll be hunting. WV's rule is any centerfire rifle cartridge.


Jagermeister 06-21-2013 07:23 PM

We use shooting sticks in Germany, or shoot supported by a tree. Do not place the barrel on the tree, because it messes with the harmonics. Also, since you are using an AR, be mindful that the casings can be cleared without hitting the tree. You might experience a jam. It is always better to get as much support as possible when hunting. Find a way to steady that rifle!

sparky17 06-21-2013 08:13 PM

In my experience hunting in Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming, there is almost always some kind of natural rest to use. Like Jaeger said a tree works well. I would only take a standing shot as a last resort. Hunting in an area like you will be, if the deer see you first you probably won't get a shot anyway. Hunting from the ground you will need to move slowly and see them first. You should be able to get a solid rest. That's important no matter what rifle you're shooting. Shot placement is most important. That being said I would opt for the '06, better chance of a humane kill if the shot isn't perfect.

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