Deer Hunting with .223??

Discussion in 'Hunting North America' started by johndavid, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. johndavid

    johndavid New Member

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    :thumb:It’s time to bring some answers to an ongoing internet debate. Can the .223 be used for deer hunting? Well here we go…..

    The short and easy answer is yes it can kill a deer. Is it the best round for deer hunting? Probly not, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be used. The people arguing that a .223 shouldn’t be used for deer hunting are concerned that it won’t give the deer a quick clean kill. However, the majority of the people arguing this point have never used a .223 for deer hunting. Most of the hunters that do use a .223 think its completely fine. When it comes to clean kills, shot placement is much more important than caliber.

    The next question would be weather or not it’s legal in your state. I’ve hunted with a .223 in Hawaii and in California legally so I’d assume it’s ok for the majority of the states but of course you should double check. To hunt with a .223 in California you have to use a grain that shoots with high enough foot pounds. Plus, several companies are now producing rounds specifically for deer hunting for the .223.

    So the answer is Yes, a .223 can be used for deer hunting and can cleanly take it down if you put it in the right spot. If you’re buying a rifle specifically for deer hunting then I’d suggest a 300wsm or a 30-06. But if you want a fun gun for cheap target shooting that you can still use for hunting then a .223 will work.:thumb:
     
  2. owenowen

    owenowen AH Veteran

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    Hey welcome to AH and nice post. I really like the 223 and we have one 223 remmington, its spot on and deadly. Mainly use it for all our small antelope and vermin hunts but because of its accuracy we have taken some larger animals with placement shots like kudu obviously in the head. A friend of mine shot his first leopard back in the days with one shot in the neck just under the chin.
     
  3. johndavid

    johndavid New Member

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    Hey thanks for your appreciation..and keep posting..:)
     
  4. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Not if you can, but if you should, would be a better question. A 223 will kill a deer, no doubt in my mind, IMO the game deserves more respect, it is not worth taking the chance of wounding a big game animal with a varmint round.
     
  5. michaelhh375

    michaelhh375 AH Veteran

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    Mike.
    I fully agree with you. In Scandinavia its even illegal to hunt a deer or larger animals than roedeer with this caliber, and for a reason....
     
  6. jepetto62

    jepetto62 AH Veteran

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    Also, agree.
    .223 is a very small caliber. Yes, it will kill a deer with a heart shot but it leaves absolutely no margin for error.
    It is also illegal caliber in Switzerland and for good reasons (too many lost animals...).
     
  7. teenhunter

    teenhunter AH Veteran

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    223 will do it on a deer but its maybe a bit too small:huntingrifle: :elch:
     
  8. saeng101

    saeng101 AH Veteran

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    It would be too small to be legal in the States that I know of, 243 is the minimum.
     
  9. kedman

    kedman New Member

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    well I have had this discussion at length with my brother. He bought a .223 CZ last summer for deer hunting. He has found the gun to be extremely accurate and attests that to the reason he feels comfortable with it. He did kill a medium sized buck about 125lb field dressed this season with it. However it fell over immediately then got up and ran about 100 yards before finally dropping over. I made the same shot(quartering to the left) on a larger buck of about 150lb field dressed with a 30/06 and mine went 30 yards. Both deer ended up dead though, which is the ultimate goal.

    But my brother shoots Barnes TSX bullets which I think is the main factor in his ability to hunt deer with the gun. Most over the counter .223 bullets will be more along the lines of varmint bullets and wont stay together after hitting a deer and will not give enough penetration.

    I would say yes, providing you hunt smaller deer like in the south where bucks rarely get over 150lb, but those 200lb Iowa deer, and the 250lb giants of saskatchewan would most likely laugh at a .223
     
  10. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Welcome to AH JohnDavid!

    Saeng in the state of Alaska and Alabama as well as several others any center fire rifle is Legal I myself have seen Alaska Yukon Moose taken with a .223 I may not hunt with one but it doesn't make it illegal. In Germany a .223 is legal for Roedeer and smaller game as with all shots, shot placement counts if someone thinks they can't hit the kill zone even if as stated above "in the head" with a .223 then what makes them think they can hit it with a 300 Win Mag thats going to kick the crap out of them. I'm a firm believer in the .223 and our Soldiers lives depend on them.
     
  11. kedman

    kedman New Member

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    I think that is one reason there is a big influx in .223 these days. Both my brother-in-laws are veterans of the current wars and love there .223 AR's. They are both very accurate with them, I guess after sending thousands of rounds downrange you get a feel for a gun.

    Armalite has been making some AR-like guns for hunting that turn our very accurate results and are very customizable and cheap to shoot.
     
  12. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    The 223 is a fine little round, and even though I would not intentionally hunt deer with it, I will not tell anyone they shouldn't. I have read the stories about the feats the 223 has accomplished.

    Then again, when you are talking military, the US special forces requested something with a little more A$$, hence the birth of the 6.8...
     
  13. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    that is very true, hence the US special forces the few the US Armed forces the many.
     
  14. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    In Wyoming a .223 is illegal to hunt big game with. I had a friend in Idaho who was ex-military. He used a 22-250 and got 1 shot kills. He shot only whitetails and I doubt that they were over 160 lbs on the hoof. I killed a nice 4X5 whitetail with a 22-250 a number of years ago. Deer went less than 20 yards. They can do the job. Just not ideal. Wind pushes the bullets quite a bit. Not enough foot pounds of energy and bullet weight to make it reliable. You really need to pick and choose your shots to use it. I like the .270 for deer. More recoil, but a lot better margin for error on a poor shot. Bruce
     
  15. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I have no doubts a 223 or 22-250 could kill a deer. Most people complain if you hunt with anything less than a 6mm. I tend to think the 243 Win or 6mm should be the bare minimum for ethical big game hunting. Too many things can go wrong.
     
  16. adgunner

    adgunner SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    As a soldier i love the .223 for work, it has lightweight rounds, so I can carry more (has been useful more than once). It is easy to shoot and more importantly easy to train lots of folks who haven't fired a rifle before. In FJ it tumble and creates nasty wound cavities, makes four guys carry one off the battlefield. Would i hunt with it for deer size game? No. If placed in the right spot it does the job, but we are all human and the right spot doesn't happen every time, therfore i believe we owe it to the game to step it up a notch.
     
  17. trigger creep

    trigger creep AH Enthusiast

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    Same goes for Pennsylvania. You can hunt deer with a .17 Rem if you want too, just no rimfires.
     
  18. trigger creep

    trigger creep AH Enthusiast

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    I have no beef with people hunting deer with .22 cf's, as long as they use the right bullet. I personally wouldn't, but too each their own.
     
  19. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Hi,

    Today im a .375 man, but when I started shooting I used a 22-250, .22, and .223...took quite a bit of large game with the .223 including Zebra, Red Hartebeest, and Kudu. But I was well trained with the little CZ fullstock. The problem I found with the .223 even though successful with it, is that I always had to 'be careful' and I always opted to wait for broadside shots very tight 'behind' the shoulder to avoid possible problems, as I also never hand-loaded with premium quality bullets. Smaller game like steenbuck or impala would go down first time, but larger game like blesbuck and up would almost certainly dash off for another 100yrds even heart shot and you can lose the animal like this in thick bush with a bad trail to follow. I avoided frontal shots like the plague. In this sense it was restrictive for me. However, if someone said they were using it for deer I wouldnt even bat an eyelid because I know the capabilities of the .223 from practical experience and I think it is ok for deer, but I would not recommend it as a first choice for deer because as a few have said it leaves no room for error. For me the problem with the .223 is it just doesnt leave a good wound channel, and when fate steps in or human error then you want a larger wound channel for at least a good blood trail to follow, something the .223 lacks if you are a bit off the mark.

    Cheers,
     
  20. shangwari

    shangwari

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    I think the 223 is a excelent cartridge,have culled thousands off duiker,steenbuck and took some kudu with it.It shoots pretty straight on long shots in open country but is a little wind sensitive on windy days.I would recomend only up to springbuck size game but in the right hands it is a killing machine.
    I have oppted for a 243 Win these days for my small game hunting,it is just a little more versatile but would any day shoot the 223 again.
    new regulations stipulate the usage off this calibre on certain species here in south africa.
    the 223 can be enjoyed but young and old,in various types off shooting with no recoil for yougsters,so i recon it have a place in your battery.
     

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