Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:01 PM #1
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Anybody hunt deer with a .223? (AR15)

I'm sure I'm gonna get some flak for this one but here it goes...

After finishing my AR build, in which hunting was not in my realm of concern for it, I heard a few discussions about hunting whitetails with .223. The one I heard and believe is the most credible was on Tom Gresham's show last Sunday, he had stated that it was a perfectly ample cartridge to do the job, with the proper bullets of course. Also keeping in mind that the deer in md are not very big.

I then read my hunting guide book for this season and saw in the rifle regulations that there is no caliber restriction, just that 1200 ft/lbs of muzzle energy must be obtained. I found some data about a few loads, Nosler I think, where they had some creating over 1300 ft/lbs with the heavier soft point bullets.

So does anyone here hunt with a .223? Or have a resource where I can find some more information pertaining to velocities and barrel lengths? I have a 14.5" pinned barrel so it may be a little short. But I figured it was worth asking and the discussion.

Thoughts?
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:02 PM #2
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I don't like it but many here do.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:06 PM #3
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My .223 AR would be my absolute last resort even behind my muzzle loader. My .308 AR on the other hand is my go to.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:08 PM #4
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well it kills people but i would never use it on deer. with so many deer rifles and calibers (.270, .308, 30-06 or even .243, and of course buckshot and slugs) around, hope you end up using one of them. we owe it to the animals we hunt for food to have the most humane kill, and while shot placement is key, serious bullet diameter and energy matters too.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:13 PM #5
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A guy I work with hunts with his M4
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:23 PM #6
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I think the 14.5 barrel will cause you problems. This short barrel may not give you the bullet energy you need.

Do what you want but I think this might just wound deer and not putting them in the freezer.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:25 PM #7
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I made a thread about it a few years ago. Ill link you shortly.

http://www.mdshooters.com/showthread...ght=kill+bambi
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:39 PM #8
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I know a guy who hunts deer with .223. He says as long as there is not brush or obstructions and land the shot where it needs to than its fine.
I do not hunt, That is what he told me.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:41 PM #9
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Red face

Quote:
Originally Posted by vin View Post
I'm sure I'm gonna get some flak for this one but here it goes...

After finishing my AR build, in which hunting was not in my realm of concern for it, I heard a few discussions about hunting whitetails with .223. The one I heard and believe is the most credible was on Tom Gresham's show last Sunday, he had stated that it was a perfectly ample cartridge to do the job, with the proper bullets of course. Also keeping in mind that the deer in md are not very big.

Thoughts?
I have killed deer with a 223 and 22-250 ( three total) but they are far from my first choices (22-250 is a lot better). I think your barrel being short will affect the outcome as well.

That said I have also guided a new hunter to their first deer (in Tennessee) with a NEF Handi-Rifle in 223 the shot wasn't seventy yards text book broad side shot. The deer piled up after 50 or so yards. The rifle was used because she shot it a great deal better than the 243.

All I can say is if you are going to do it with a short barrel do not make the shot past 100 yards. More important is to choose a good bullet that will hold together. For above deer and the two killed with a 22-250 the bullet was a 55grain Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. I do not think the still make it but you may be able to find a box.

Both deer shot with 22-250 were about 100 yards and dropped immediately (both broad side). The 223 shot was at 70 yards (fired through a Bushmaster Varminter) that buck ran more than sixty yards and did not bleed much. Bullet was a Hornady 75 grain TAP another good choice.

All my barrels used were 22-24" and I think the longer barrel helped. Last advice is if you shoot them let them be (at least 45 minutes). This allows them to bleed out. A 22 hole can be plugged easy by leaves or mud when they lay down. That makes tracking very difficult.

You can do it with a 223 but are better served by borrowing a more suitable rifle. IMHO
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:41 PM #10
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I got Beowulf sighted in and ready for the Hunt, shoots quite well with a Nikon scope, 334 gr solid bullet.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:52 PM #11
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sounds like a good excuse to build a different upper!
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 06:57 PM #12
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Only shotgun hunting for me...
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:00 PM #13
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I'm pretty sure a .223 produces more energy than an arrow.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:12 PM #14
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Ok

Quote:
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I'm pretty sure a .223 produces more energy than an arrow.
Damn fine point.
I would not hunt with .223 for larger mammals as I feel there is not enough mass to down one if the shot goes awry.
Then again I do not hunt with a bow.
But at arrow distances I see how it would do the job.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:16 PM #15
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I'm pretty sure a .223 produces more energy than an arrow.
Do you think a .223 can kill an elephant or cape buffalo as fast as an arrow? Doubt it.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:27 PM #16
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Quote:
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Do you think a .223 can kill an elephant or cape buffalo as fast as an arrow? Doubt it.
How would I know? I've killed deer with both. Did you notice what bullets I was loading to hunt deer with? Expanding Solid copper with 100% weight retention. Not FMJ or Varmint bullets. That is the big difference.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:37 PM #17
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Quote:
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I'm pretty sure a .223 produces more energy than an arrow.
Sure it does but does it have 4 razor blades sticking out of the sides?
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:38 PM #18
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I'll chip my very limited experience in here. I'm not a hunter primarily. However I did have a nice and young 105-115 lbs. buck in my front yard not too long ago, about 45-50 yards out. I'd been craving some deer meat and jerky, so I grabbed the first loaded rifle and took a quick shot, rifle was a 16" AR-15, round was a 62 gr HP. Off-angle broadside shot, just ahead of the front shoulder at a slight downward angle. Took out heart and right lung, just shredded it. Buck made it maybe 25-30 feet before dropping and moving on to the next life.

I will agree with others, .223/5.56 will take a deer down, but I'd probably opt for a slightly bigger caliber just to make sure.

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Old November 23rd, 2011, 07:57 PM #19
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Quote:
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I'm pretty sure a .223 produces more energy than an arrow.
And IMO does far less damage. Ive seen Rage's rip deer apart far worse than any small caliber rifle.
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Old November 23rd, 2011, 08:02 PM #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rseymorejr View Post
sounds like a good excuse to build a different upper!
I think I like the sound of that!

Some interesting thoughts here, much appreciated. I should probably use a chrono to determine if the bullets have enough umph behind them in the short barrel.

Maybe I'll take a Mosin out until I learn more about the specifics of the AR. I just thought it could be fun, not to mention a whole lot nicer to carry around than a 91/30, and hunting ammo is easier to find.
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