White Tail Deer Hunting with AR-15 5.56x45

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by JosephMD, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. JosephMD

    JosephMD New Member

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    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 :)

    J
     
  2. marc29th

    marc29th New Member

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    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.
     

  3. Jagermeister

    Jagermeister New Member

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    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.
     
  4. crockett007

    crockett007 New Member

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    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 bullet...no problem at all. You can also "wound" a deer with a .300 win mag. If you "wound" anything...you can't freakin' shoot.

    That being said, I prefer the .308....
     
  5. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  6. JosephMD

    JosephMD New Member

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    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.
     
  7. crockett007

    crockett007 New Member

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    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
     
  8. JosephMD

    JosephMD New Member

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    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.

    J
     
  9. Jagermeister

    Jagermeister New Member

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    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!
     
  10. sparky17

    sparky17 New Member

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    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.
     
  11. sparky17

    sparky17 New Member

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    Oh yea, practice and then practice some more!
     
  12. Triumphman

    Triumphman Active Member

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    You need to check on your State Hunting Laws to see if Caliber is OK(some States specify a minimum caliber) and possible Ammo limit that can be in Weapon. Even if you load only 5 shells in a 30rd Mag, it would still be illegal as it's a 30rd Mag. To make it legal, you have to "block off Magazine" to only hold the specified amount of Ammo, or get correct type Ammo Magazine.
    If this is gonna be your only Hunting Rifle, then for a White Tail, I would practice doing a "Double Tap" to help bring down the Deer and not just wound it with such a small caliber. Smaller the Caliber, the smaller the Blood Trail.
    Even larger Calibers won't stop some Deer. I shot a big Buck last Year with a 30-06 w/150 CoreLok. Hit him good. Bullet went through both Lungs, severed off the whole top portion of the Heart, broke 3 Ribs exiting, and this Buck still turned around and ran back into the Brush and Trees---for about 10yds.
     
  13. bamashooter68

    bamashooter68 Member

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    You can kill a deer with a .223 easily with the right bullet. You also need to be a good shot so you can put the bullet where it needs to be since the .223 is less forgiving than other calibers. I have been shooting and reloading the .223 for 25yrs so I have become proficient with the caliber. Accuracy is the key so if you aren't shooting tiny groups consistently at your hunting range then I wouldn't do it. Practice shooting how you will shoot when you are hunting till its second nature then you should be good to go.
     
  14. gschnarr

    gschnarr New Member

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    My brother and I have been using the 5.56 for a number of years now. For us it has accounted for only about 15 deer. All have needed one and only oneshot. The farthest any have traveled was 50 yards or so which is in the same as with the other calibers we have used. Many were DRT. Both of us have been hunting deer for more than 45 years. As with any deer round, there are two very important issues.

    First and most important is that you must place the round where it is supposed to be placed. If that means you need to pass on a shot because of distance, brush or position of the deer, pass on it. The second is closely tied to the first, use a bullet that is designed for deer sized game. In the past number of years, bullet companies have developed and produced bullets with the abillity to expand and give adaquate penetration. Do your research find well made bullet that is accurate in your particular AR. The 5.56 will do its job if you do yours.

    As with anything, be sure that you do as much as possible to learn about deer hunting. From identifiying them, to tracking to habits, and evey facet of their life. Get out in the woods with an experienced hunter and learn everything you can. You owe this to the deer and to yourself. Stay proficient with your firearm.

    I have been fortunate enough to have been able to hunt for over the past 50+ years. During that time, I have taken more deer then I remember and have helped track, find and process many more for the family. The size of the bullet has some consideration but when you have an adequate round, are confident and good enough with your firearm, and have the maturity and knowledge to where to place the bullet and when to shoot, your effort will be rewarded with some of the best food Mother Nature has to offer. It's not the arrow that kills the deer but the Indian. So far in every case where I have had to track a deer for a long distance, it had been shot with a larger caliber rifle. In every case, the shot was poorly placed. Use your 5.56 with confidence.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013