A lot of guys have taken deer with .223. As a qualification, the minimum in Kansas and Oklahoma is .243 and in New Mexico it's .270
I'm with Trigger Creep, however. I don't want one because I don't really have a use for it. Wouldn't mind having a .22WMR (got a .22LR, but the mags have a little more oomph) If that won't do it, I jump up to .243.
Young Impala ram taken with .223Rem in CZ with 55Grain Soft PMP (factory load).
Taken precisley in the centre of the shoulder smashing through the one and stopping just under skin on the other side. I waited for about ten minutes patiently for him to turn nicely for a broadside shot as he had absolutely no clue of my presence and was going nowhere for the rest of the day. Trying to approach would have given me away, wind had an attitude and landscape was open. One thing the .223 has is ACCURACY that is hard to beat, only that on long open windy ranges like Khalahari desert it is flaky after 300yrds if the wind is going stiff. Taken springbuck at these ranges with .223. Usually I like taking game an inch(more) behind where I shot this buck unless I have a .375 in hand - which is unplausible, because most cartridges from .243 up can be trusted to smash through enough pending distance and load and game species etc ( its only because I have learned how to do so successfully, im not making recommendations about shooting 'behind' the shoulder and suggest you take the advice of your ph about shot placement).
The estimated distance from me to the buck was about 150 yrds. Look at the background of the pic at the hill. I placed the rifle in the 'v' of a tree that was low enough for me to kneel and get comfortable, that was about 50 yrds from the base of the hill. At the shot the biltong dropped like a sack of potatoes... or as though he was thumped with a ten pound hammer! No kick no nothing just gone. The bullet was found on other side of shoulder mangled lead core seperated from copper jacketing and about 50%retention (PMP), I never do tests and never try to retrieve bullets, but when I find them I inspect out of interest sake. This was a perfect dispatch. We had to drag and carry the ram from the rocky top down to where the pic was taken. Dont undersetimate that hill, its not what we call a 'koppie'! Fun and rewarding as I remember the experience right now...not so fun half way through it!
The .223 can handle deer and if you handload and use premium bullets you can fare well (but not to compare this young ram to a larger deer, but only based on my experience with shooting other larger blesbuck and other larger game in Africa with the .223 successfully, and then relate that to average size of deer). But I would never recommend the .223 for deer as a first choice, I only used .223s at a time when my puny teeny shoulders couldnt handle the .375H&H. I think it will be good to start off with .243 as a minimum, and pending your laws of each state.
Kedman your brother has not made a gross error in purchasing that .223 for deer.
Happy hunting guys!
BTW that ram was just 'kaplonked!' on those rocks before we took the pic so it doesn't show a clear indication of the shot in the centre of the shoulder, the skin and body is being 'pulled' by the way it was placed on the rocky ground. If it were posed for a neat 'trophy pic' you would see a nice .223 wound in the centre.
Ok well first this is my first post on this site as I am new, so be gentle. However I have shot enough living things to know that the caliber of projectile is the least important part of the equation. The First is bullet placement, the second is bullet construction. Far to many people buy a caliber of rifle than assume that one bullet from their rifle will do anything the caliber is capiable of. I see nouthing wrong with hunting the North American White Tailed deer with a .223 Remington under the right condintions. First in an area were my shots would be under 100 meters, and second using the 62 Grain .223 Barnes TSX load. In fact I have hunting with that exact compination for WT's, though I did not get a shot with that rifle on a deer I did shoot a Feral pig that was 180 pounds. The shot was fired as the pig was facing at a distance of 20 meters. The bullet (62 gr. TSX from 16" AR-15 rifle with Trijicon TA31 ACOG) impacted slightly below and in between the eyes, passed through the full body of the pig, and exited one inch to the left of the anus. So would I shoot a white tail with it? Yes without question. Under 100 meter. Now in no way do I think that everyone is going to be making a good choice with the .223, but it can be done both eithicily and humainily. But when I go to Northern Michigan in the fall I will take my .308 Sako L579 as I do almost 90% of the time. I will still be using preimum bullets, but is is more that I might just run into a bear that does not like the way I look. Well My opinion and experince, take it for what its worth.
Can you sure. Should you probably not. Having shot 10s of 1000s of round of this caliber its a varmit round.
I've shot probably a dozen Calif coastal deer (140 lbs is a big one) with a .222 Mag (the round that went against the 223 for military testing). Never lost an animal, none went further than 100 yds before dropping. A couple were shot with 50 gr hollow points and that bullet took out both lungs like a shotgun when it came apart just inside the animal but nothing came out the other side. But none of the deer were real big animals. I'm sure with something like a Partition bullet it would do well on bigger game. Shot placement is the answer anytime the trigger is pulled. A 50 cal will take a leg off but you've still got to track it miles and miles with the bad shot.
ON Average someone drives drunk 87 times before there caught. you guys with your lust for 224 cal rifles just havent been caught yet but trust me it will happen.Been there done that got the tee shirt.
I'd bet far fewer animals would be wounded if the macho crowd touting their big 375's and such realized they really can't shoot them well ...I've shot deer with every thing from .22-250 on up thru a 12ga slug and .300 Weatherby....of the 3 that where shot with the .22-250AI and 62gr TSX 2 dropped on the spot the other went 20 yds. Deer ain't that big nor tuff.Have yet to see a bone on a deer contain a 62gr TSX near or far
Bullet construction and shot placement is what kills be it in the USA,Africa or all points and places in between
I knew a guy that used to drop rail road ties on WT deer in Miss. dose that make it ethical no practical no effective yes. The number one caliber in the us is.308 the #1 cartridge is 30 06 why because its the best compromise between recoil bullet weight trajetory ammo availability ect. If you ever want to mak that 500 yd shot on a deer in even modest winds your going to have to step up in caliber because we all know what happens to a .224 bullet after 300 yards. wind alone is a huge factor not to metion most .224 bullets have low BC's By the way I shoot sub moa gruops with my 375s a about techniec and practice no differance bettween a 223 and a 375H&H being a rifleman is more than just extermes small or large.