.223 Deer Hunting Loads?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by PTsouthpaw, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. PTsouthpaw

    PTsouthpaw New Member

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    When I purchased my first AR-15, my uncle's first question was if I could deer hunt with it. I looked into the topic a little bit, and discovered that those who did loaded their own rounds. I have always been interested in reloading, and now that I am putting together a second AR I decided to get the equipment and start.

    I have some other weapons that I eventually want to reload for, but .223 is definitely where I spend the most money. My new AR is going to have a 20" 1/9" barrel.

    I am not building the gun specifically for any purpose (I have a deer rifle), but I would like to hear from others who might be hunting deer with .223. Ideas for bullets and loads would be great just to get an idea. Thanks for the help!
     
  2. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    I'm sorry, I have to say that I don't think a 223 is enough for deer. Will it do the job? Probably but if you have a deer rifle why not use that and save the AR for something else? I personally wouldn't go any smaller then a 243, but that's me.
     

  3. PTsouthpaw

    PTsouthpaw New Member

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    No need to apologize, I should have mentioned that I also am looking for opinions of whether or not this is an adequate round for deer. My main hunting with my AR will probably be coyote hunting this winter. Favorite loads for coyotes would be helpful too.
     
  4. quigleysharps4570

    quigleysharps4570 New Member

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    Not legal here...but if that was what I were going to use I'd load that round with a 55 gr. Barnes TSX.
     
  5. patret

    patret New Member

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    My opinion is a 223 is not heavy enough for Whitetail deer. You could go for a head or neck shot. I have zapped one deer with a Mini-14 and I shot it in the heart. There was no blood at all so I could not have tracked it. I believe a 223 is a varmit round. Past all that, I also believe the 223 makes a horrible combat round. People do kill with it but they also wound a lot.

    patret
     
  6. PTsouthpaw

    PTsouthpaw New Member

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    I think I will stick with my 7mm08 for deer, and use the AR for coyote hunting. Thanks for the input.
     
  7. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

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    Sure a lot of deer are being killed with heavily constructed bullets in .223/5.56 but I personally feel it's a bit light on deer in general. The small bodied far south deer like in Fl would be better hunted with the .223 than northern bigger bodied deer. I'd still prefer something bigger.
     
  8. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    Ok lets get two things straight.

    1. the 556 is a great combat round. In combat it is meant to wound a wounded person takes 2 to 3 people to move him off the battle field. He then causes a drain on the supply chain. Taking 4 people out of the fight vs 1 is much better.

    2. If a 556 can kill 150+# people why can't it kill deer that size too? SHOT PLACEMENT IS KEY.

    Me if your going to use a 223 for deer arm yourself with 75gr Swift Scirocco II bullet. I would run it as close to a max load as I could get and still get good accuracy. I would also limit shots to no more than 200 yards.

    You can wound a deer just as easy with a 556 as you can with a 300 RUM. If you shoot a magnum and are a poor shot you are more unethical than taking a light recoiling round and placing your shot carefully. You also have to wait for the perfect broad side shot.

    At the least I would load a 65gr Sierra GameKing. I would also run this load near max and limit shots to under 200 yards with a good broad side shot or a neck shot.
     
  9. ninjatoth

    ninjatoth New Member

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    you can use a .223 and kill a deer but I guarantee it's runnin even with a perfect shot,plus it's easy to get sloppy with a semi auto.It always bugs me when I hear 5-10 shots in sequence on opening day,I prefer one round from my .444,no tracking.
     
  10. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

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    .224 Varmint loads??

    I like Hornady V-Max bullets for my varmint loads.
    .222 Rem. works good with 50gr. V-Max
    .22-250 Rem. works good with 55gr. V-Max.:)
     
  11. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

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    All I can is that politics aren't involved in hunting like they are in deciding which round an army uses in combat. 223 is a poor choice for human targets and is a poor choice for similar sized game such as white tail. Will a 223 kill a deer? Yes, without a doubt but I'm talking clean kills....fast, as little suffering as possible. A head shot removes all discussion but that is unlikely. I agree with tango in that shot placement is everything but why try to thread the needle when you don't have to. A 243 carries much more energy then a 223 at any distance.

    I own an AR with a 20" bull barrel, 1:9 twist and I would never hunt deer with it unless my life depended on it. Before that I would reach for my 30-06, 12ga, 16ga or 44 mag, shoot....even my 357 mag inside 50 yards.
     
  12. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

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    Poor shot placement with any caliber short of a 50bmg or a tank will wound any animal.

    Plus he never asked if it was ethical he asked if you could.

    Most states have a minimum caliber to hunt deer.

    If you want to get into ethics I say no. I don't even like the 243 for deer sized game. The smallest I would go is 257 cal.

    I know in california it was a minimum of 23 caliber to hunt deer.

    Same goes for Virginia.
    Texas is the only state that I know of first hand that allow 224 cal rounds for deer hunting. That is because in most areas of Texas the deer are the size of rabbits.

    All I am saying is if it is legal to hunt with in your state then it is legal to use.

    You are going to need premium bullets and you are going to have to limit your shots till they are perfect and well within range. Where if you are say a 308 or 30-06 you can take that quartering away shot when using a 223 you can't you have to wait till you get a good still side shot.

    If you shoot a deer in the *** your still going to wound it no matter if you use a 223 or a 400 loudenboomer super ultra mag.
     
  13. PTsouthpaw

    PTsouthpaw New Member

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    I understand the importance of a good ethical shot. Although I am young, I have been hunting since I was old enough to read the hunter's safety test. Correct shot placement is something my uncle and grandfather (my hunting mates) have always insisted on.

    I had read (on other sites) about people using .223 on deer. It seemed small to me, but I was curious about anyone else here. Sounds like my initial thought of it being too small of a caliber for ethically hunting deer is the common opinion here. Although I am confident in my shooting, I don't want to wound an animal just because I made a poor caliber choice.
     
  14. whtsmoke

    whtsmoke New Member

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    we can use the 223/556 or what ever you want to call it on deer, like has been said shot placement is the thing and if you PRACTICE which we dont do anymore with your weapon you can do it.
     
  15. Squirrel_Slayer

    Squirrel_Slayer New Member

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    I am not saying that I would, because I sure would not build an AR in .223 for deer, but if you are going to do that, get a quicker twist barrel than 1:9 so you can atleast shoot a heavier bullet to drop a deer. I have always considered the .223 to be a varminting round suitable for nothing larger than a coyote, but I think I am beating a dead horse here. OP sounds like he is going with a .243, which you can build an AR to shoot, Olympic Arms makes .243 WSSM uppers with 20" barrels on em...
     
  16. PTsouthpaw

    PTsouthpaw New Member

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    Thanks for the input, Squirrel slayer. I am still going to build my .223 AR, because the initial purpose was range shooting/coyote hunting, I just got curious after reading a few places that people were using .223 on deer. This year I am going to stick with my bolt action 7mm-08 on deer and perhaps down the road build an AR in .243 or some other more capable round.
     
  17. patret

    patret New Member

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    I firmily believe a 223 is to small for deer hunting. A 243 with ballistic tip is wonferfull for 257 thru 270. Past that, a ww pp is all you need.

    Patret
     
  18. sniper762

    sniper762 New Member

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    i have shot about 10 deer with a 223 (mini-14 and ar) from 25-200 yards, dropped in there tracks with first shot.

    i push pull m855 military rounds and replace the projo with 62gr. sp sierra's

    you can get similar factory loaded (sampson)
     
  19. dodge

    dodge New Member

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    Pa. also allows a 22 centerfire for deer. Personally I prefer something quite a bit heavier. I don't even like the .243 for deer. I know quite a few people use it with great success but with my style of hunting I like a bullet that will travel the length of a deer. I like a hole through both sides of the deer for better tracking if needed.
     
  20. sniper762

    sniper762 New Member

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    when hunting deer WITH A RIFLE, exit holes for more bleeding is not a factor. shock from the bullet kills them or internal bleeding.

    223 provides just that.