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Posted: 10/6/2004 7:26:30 PM EDT

I've got my first whitetail hunt coming up (woo hoo!) and the state I'll be in allows any centerfire with softpoint ammo.

I'd love to use my Bushie shorty, but I'm not really confident about the 5.56 humanely taking a deer. OTOH, I've been told that at the ranges we'll be shooting at (under 100 yards) the 5.56 has been used many times with consistent success.

Any experiences or advice would be welcome,


Link Posted: 10/6/2004 7:40:16 PM EDT
I have a friend who has shot several muledeer with a custom sako in 223, all clean kills. I however would not use this cartridge on deer.
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 7:43:04 PM EDT
Larry just do it http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=202768
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 7:54:33 PM EDT
No firsthand experience, but Nosler makes a .224" 60gr Partition that I'm sure would work great under 100 yards on whitetails out of a 5.56. If you don't handload though, I don't know if they are available as factory loads or not.
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 8:06:26 PM EDT
This is a topic where several people will say " I think" "I heard" "I read" dont hunt with this round. But I cant find one post where someone shot a deer and later retrived it and didnt think it was a very potent round for whitetail deer. That should be enough evidence for any naysayers.
I have shot over 100 deer with a .223 and it is an awesome round to hunt with. It will do incredible damage to the animal shot and with correct placement it will plant any whitetail on earth.
With all due respect to everyone who doesnt agree if you have not hunted with it or had a bad experience and were unable to retrieve the animal, you are only guessing. And I am guessing that either you are looking at the size of the round , looking at a chart, or reading someones opinion in a magazine. What you should look at is the inside of the rib cage of a deer.
I wish you all the luck on your first hunt. Just remember that shot placement is way more important than the size of the bullet going thru an animal.
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 8:13:44 PM EDT
I have humanely dispatched about a half a dozen whitetail with a .222 Remington, the smaller predecessor of the .223 Rem. The key to a clean kill is the neck or head. Go for the spinal column in the neck, of the bucks, and shoot doe in the head. If you are not confident in shooting at that level, then you will not have a clean kill. Mine were all taken with Hornady 55 grain soft points. All shots taken within 100 yds. My largest was a 5x5 buck weighing 207 lbs. A neck shot dropped him on the spot with no movement thereafter at 78 yds. Best wishes.
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 8:23:41 PM EDT
Since this is your first, I will tell you to shoot for the chest. Try to hit the heart or lungs, the shot MUST be forward of the diaphram in the body cavity. It would be good if you get a sideways shot. If its gut shot it will most likely run off and die somewhere, and good luck ever finding it. Don't even think of takeing a shot if you can't take a well aimed, clear, clean shot! That said I personaly have never felt comfortable with anything less than a .30 (.30-.30, .30'06, .308).
Be safe, and good luck to you. Let us know how it goes.
Link Posted: 10/6/2004 8:51:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sniperdoc:
I The key to a clean kill is the neck or head. Go for the spinal column in the neck, of the bucks, and shoot doe in the head.

Spine shot leaves NO room for error. Miss the spine and all you've done is greivously wound the animal and it will likely never be recovered.

Aim just behind the shoulder and about 1/3 of the way up the body and you'll take out the heart/lungs. Game OVER for critter

Neck shots, when they connect put the animal down instantly, they just are to uncertain to be an ethical shot when there are other options.

Link Posted: 10/6/2004 8:54:49 PM EDT
To answer the original question, while I haven't used one (YET, just got my first AR) I have seen and helped dress a number of whitetails shot with a .223. Good bullet placement and a quality hunting bullet and they'll do the job very well.

Link Posted: 10/6/2004 10:42:06 PM EDT
I have shot a Muledear with 5.56 and it was a clean kill. I plan on using it again this year. I see no reason why you can't take it and do well with it. I have seen guys with Cannon's on dear hunting trips and if they could easily haul one around they would probably use a .50 Cal. It doesn't take a morter or a claymore although they would add an intresting twist to hunting.

Semper Fi
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 3:00:29 AM EDT
krpind, you hit it right on the money. The 5.56 is a devistating round that will do it's job if you have the skills to do yours. If you don't have the skills, you won't take the deer with an RPG.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 3:05:36 AM EDT
I've taken 29 deer since 1979 with my AR carbine. All one shot one kill, all less than 100 yards, all neck shots. Never had one run more than 10 yards.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 4:44:18 AM EDT
Thanks for all the replies.

Jeez, if I saw that bear in the woods I'd just climb a tree and cry like a girl...hing
I'd like to use the AR, since I really like shooting it and seem to shoot it well. I'm also prepared to come home empty-handed if I can't get an ethical (read: 99% certain to hit the heart) shot at a deer. It seems the cartridge can humanely take the animal at close range (where I'll be) and shot placement is up to me-as it would be with any cartridge.

Still welcome any further opinions.


Link Posted: 10/7/2004 4:49:07 AM EDT
I wouldn't use a .223 on deer size game (some states even outlaw it) but it can be done as it has been done many times with just a .22LR. I currently use a Sauer 202 Supreme .300 WBY Mag and a 1894 .450 Marlin which is an overkill but I dont have any questions as to if it will work humanely. I personally wouldn't use anything under a .270 win for deer FWIW.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 9:48:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/7/2004 9:48:49 AM EDT by brewsky101]
Be careful, if you shoot a deer with .223 it will lay down and pretend to be dead.

When someone doesn't advocate .223 for deer it usualy has more to do with that person than it does with .223 for hunting. If you know your rifle/load you will have no problems. The proof is in Experience.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 7:40:04 PM EDT
Be sure to check if your state has a mag capacity limit for semi-autos, my state, OR., has a limit of five round cap. It took a while to find a 5round mag, I forget where I got it. Some states do have a minimum caliber limit for big game as well. My state publishes a real comprehensive reg book every year, check in your state.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 8:04:32 PM EDT
I would never use a .223/5.56 for Deer regardless of what anyone says here, but that's me. I have always used .308 or 30-06.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 8:14:55 PM EDT
i'm sorry but if that one guy knocked a bear out with two 77gr bullets... i sure as heck believe my carbine can kill a deer with a 68gr...

thats most likely what i would pick to kill a deer with... next year i'm going to go deer hunting... i'm going to hit it with 68gr right in the vitals... if its close enough and i feel that i can get a good head shot... i'll knock the antlers right off...

most of you 'only use 3006 or 308... depending on the ammo your using your using and depending on the distance... your damage might even be less than that of a fragmenting 556 round... feAR!

Link Posted: 10/7/2004 9:29:36 PM EDT
The 6.8x43mmspc would be a nice round to hunt deer. Hopefully the ammo will become cheaper and more plentiful.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:32:02 PM EDT
I've shot quite a few deer with just a .22LR. All head shots, all dropped in their tracks. I personally seen a deer dropped in it's tracks with 6 shot from a 20 gauge. I've also shot a few with the new core loct .12 gauge remingtom sabots slugs(385 grain?) that ran well over 100 yards with a good vital shot. I think it all comes down to bullet choice. A fragmenting or rapidly expanding 5.56 will do as much damage as those Rem sabots 8 times their size that don't expand at all and pass right through.(actually, one round killed and completely passed through two deer, complete waste of energy). If the ranges are under 100 yards like you said, a good fragmenting FMJ would be fine, but for much longer distances, I'd recommend something more along the lines of a winchester moly ballistic tip. I would not hesitate to use my AR on deer, and wouldn't worry about head or neck shots either, and would also not hessitate for ranges out to 300 yards(with good optics). Shoot for the lungs/heart and you'll be fine. Bowhunters should prove to everyone that it doesn't take a bazooka to kill a deer as it's a fair bet almost any 5.56 round will cause more tissue disruption and subsequent bleed out than an arrow. Place a pellet rifle in the right area and you'll drop almost anything. Unfortuanately for me, OHIO rules dictate shotgun slugs only, so I have to break out the Benelli SBE.
Link Posted: 10/7/2004 10:39:30 PM EDT
Brewsky101, that may just be the smallest bodied antlered deer I have ever seen in my life. Over in ohio, most deer are born that size, lmao. Is that a white tail or some other smaller species?
Link Posted: 10/8/2004 1:29:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ridley:
Brewsky101, that may just be the smallest bodied antlered deer I have ever seen in my life. Over in ohio, most deer are born that size, lmao. Is that a white tail or some other smaller species?

Oh contrair mon frair!

Neither of the deer pictured are mine. They are simply an example of deer taken with an AR, 16" AR at that.
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