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View Poll Results: What is the smallest caliber that is effective and humane for hunting white tail deer
.204 Ruger 5 2.49%
.223 or greater 78 38.81%
.243 or greater 94 46.77%
Other 24 11.94%
Voters: 201. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-17-2008, 14:29   #26
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Originally Posted by mykool View Post
At 300 meters, a 5.56 with 55 grain (AKA .223) can down a man(180lb-200 lb) with a center mass shot. Therefore I feel It can handle a 180 or lower lb Whitetail. 150 yards and in with a 22 hornet (.224) if you place it the same as an arrow shot, you know, let him move that front leg forward and let me have that double lung with optional heart upgrade. But thats just one man opinion.
Why don't you go talk to some varmit hunters. "The 223 Remington can be classed as an excellent medium range varmint cartridge at ranges out to 250 yards."
Key words here....
1.medium range
2. varmit
3. out to 250 yards

You have to realize that the goal of the modern military infantryman is not for him to kill the enemy infantry, but to WOUND them. A wounded soldier takes at least one other soldier to drag him off field, one to tend to his wounds, etc, etc. This uses much more resourses than a dead infantryman. If we wanted to kill our enemies, we would have kept the 7.62mm as the standard military cartrige.

And now to really start a fight, but not only do I feel that .223 is completely inadequate, I also feel that .243 is not a good choice for deer either. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. A slightly off shot with .243 sending the bullet through the not so vitals on a deer, ends up with a wounded deer, running off. The harder you hit them, the better the chances of a humane kill, good shot placment, or not so good shot placment.

Look, I am not saying you cannot kill deer with either of these rounds. .22lr to the temple will kill a deer every time. Does that make it a good round for the job. Absolutely not. Why not? Because the second you think you have this mastered, when that BIG buck steps out, he is definately going to show you how tough deer are. Unless you put that shot on the money, he is going to run off, and survive, for now......

IMHO, at least a decent round of .25 caliber should be used. .25-06, .257 bee, .257 roberts, and not at 800 yards either. Hell, I would even allow .240 bee mag, but that would be about the only 6mm I would allow.
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Old 04-17-2008, 18:56   #27
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You out to see the effect a 22-250AI (220Swift class) has on a deers lungs at 400yd, but at the same time it dosn't have a very large margin of error (IE don't try a quartering shot). That's all my one bud uses for P-dogs to deer.

On the flip side, I've seen well shot deer go 200+ yards with a golf ball sized hole in their heart, and over 50 yards with 2 busted front shoulders, after taking a hit from a 150gr Ballistic tip that was launched at 3000fps from less than 100yd away
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Old 04-17-2008, 21:50   #28
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Der verge. Im not sure where your getting your stats on 223. Its effective range is 300yds on humans with correct bullet. Up to that distance the round has enough velocity to tumble and cause serious trauma upon penetration. Beyond that distance it is a wounding round.
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Old 04-18-2008, 12:52   #29
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I ended up voting other. It's the indian, not the arrow.
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Old 04-18-2008, 14:45   #30
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Originally Posted by Splinter View Post
Der verge. Im not sure where your getting your stats on 223. Its effective range is 300yds on humans with correct bullet. Up to that distance the round has enough velocity to tumble and cause serious trauma upon penetration. Beyond that distance it is a wounding round.
300 yards on humans, ok, fine. I will give you that one, even though most varimiters don't like it on ground hog past 250. Besides, I believe deer are tougher than most humans....

"You out to see the effect a 22-250AI (220Swift class) has on a deers lungs at 400yd, but at the same time it dosn't have a very large margin of error (IE don't try a quartering shot). "

Two things....
1. Though .223 and .22-250 use the same size bullet, a velocity gain of 400-500 fps by the .22-250 makes is a far superrior deer round to the .223, yet inferrior to .243, 25-06, etc.

2. As you stated "it doesn't have a very large margin of error" and "It's the indian, not the arrow"

Am I a good shot? Better than most. Do I ever miss? You bet your a--. You miss some times too. Maybe not a miss, but you did not put the bullet quite where you intended. Here is the deal. You take a 300 yard shot on a 10pt buck. The shot ends up a little higher than you hoped, hitting both lungs, but right at the top. Your trusty .223 pokes a little hole, about 1/2" round in both. That monster buck races off toward the swamp. Blood filling his lungs does not reach the bullet wound untill he collapses in the thicket. Does he die? Yes. Humanely? Most likely. Do you have a blood trail to follow? NO. Were you able to watch him the entire time he ran that 300 or so yards? NO. Do you have a clue where he ended up? NO. Do you find him? probably not........

Same situation, same gun, except this time, it is in long action configuration, with a .300 win. mag in the chamber. Same deer, same shot. Bullet enters the chest cavity, liquifies the tops of both lungs, and sends enough energy to the spine to at least shock it. Exit wound is, compared to the .223 wound, MASSIVE. Say 3 to 4 times the size. With a hole that big, the deer cannot get any air in to the lungs, and quickly begins to suffer from suffication. He runs off, but makes it only 40 yards. Blood trail? No, but you watch him fall over. Meat in the freezer, and a 10pt rack on the wall.

Like I said, can it be done with .223, sure. But there are so many better options. Far better options.
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Old 04-18-2008, 14:52   #31
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A 300 yard shot would not be my first choice. Why am I so far away? BTW Where am I hunting? Must be open plains? Or am I shooting from one small mountain to another?
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:49   #32
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Originally Posted by Risasi View Post
A 300 yard shot would not be my first choice. Why am I so far away? BTW Where am I hunting? Must be open plains? Or am I shooting from one small mountain to another?
It's 175yd to the near trees, and 440yd to the corner (just above the turret). Activity is normally in the first/last 15 minutes of legal hunting hours.


Notice what the rifle is resting on? Someone always makes the silly statement "I've never seen any benches out in the woods"
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Old 04-19-2008, 05:56   #33
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Yea TG, that is a bench. Also, that rifle is NOT of the .22 caliber variety.

I am not going to comment on this anymore. You can all use what ever caliber you would like. The beauty of a free country. If .223 is all you have, then you have to do, what you have to do. If you have something bigger, I urge you to use it. I am sure you will like the results.
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:18   #34
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Originally Posted by Splinter View Post
Der verge. Im not sure where your getting your stats on 223. Its effective range is 300yds on humans with correct bullet. Up to that distance the round has enough velocity to tumble and cause serious trauma upon penetration. Beyond that distance it is a wounding round.

You are also forgetting that the military uses FMJ ammo. Hunters usually use Soft Points, Hollow Points, Nosler Ballistic Tips(My fave), etc. These bullets are waaaay more effective (on soft targets) than your typical FMJ round.

If they only made nato spec 5.56 with a NBT bullet....
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:20   #35
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Originally Posted by Der Verge View Post
Yea TG, that is a bench. Also, that rifle is NOT of the .22 caliber variety.

I am not going to comment on this anymore. You can all use what ever caliber you would like. The beauty of a free country. If .223 is all you have, then you have to do, what you have to do. If you have something bigger, I urge you to use it. I am sure you will like the results.
You can see what caliber it is???? Could be a Heavy Barrel....
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:24   #36
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Originally Posted by deersniper6 View Post
You can see what caliber it is???? Could be a Heavy Barrel....
He's held it in his hands. And your both correct, it's a 30-06 with a 25" #5 contour Shilen barrel. The photo was taken from the same blind my bud uses his 22-250AI out of.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:05   #37
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Originally Posted by Tailgunner View Post
He's held it in his hands. And your both correct, it's a 30-06 with a 25" #5 contour Shilen barrel. The photo was taken from the same blind my bud uses his 22-250AI out of.
That makes more sense then.

My old enfield .303 hits deer like a mack truck...its like they get pulled down to the ground. Im sure a 30-06 is even worse since it has more energy.

If a person uses proper ammo and is competent, a .223 will drop a deer more often than not. If you shoot FMJ, it will tend to bore a hole right through them and some will even stand there like they didnt even get hit. This is why they dont allow FMJs for hunting because it will pass through them like paper. When i get a Nuisance permit this summer, i plan on using the Mini if i am allowed to, I dont remember what IL allows on rifle calibers. If not i guess i will use a .243 or the .303 if i feel like carrying it around.
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Old 04-19-2008, 12:31   #38
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I've been a member here for almost five years,and every year this topic surfaces again,and the results never seem to change!Imhfo-shoot em if you got em,and if you don't feel comfortable with your fav gun then buy another that will satisfy your ego!I'm starting to believe that to some on this board that the only gun they would deem adequate would be this new bolt action 20 mm rifle! http://www.anzioironworks.com/MAG-FED-20MM-RIFLE.htm
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Old 04-19-2008, 18:22   #39
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Originally Posted by magnomark View Post
I've been a member here for almost five years,and every year this topic surfaces again,and the results never seem to change!Imhfo-shoot em if you got em,and if you don't feel comfortable with your fav gun then buy another that will satisfy your ego!I'm starting to believe that to some on this board that the only gun they would deem adequate would be this new bolt action 20 mm rifle! http://www.anzioironworks.com/MAG-FED-20MM-RIFLE.htm
Magnomark, repeat after me, "You can never have too many guns."
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:08   #40
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Okay Tailgunner,

For that kind of hunting it makes more sense. However that's still not my cup of tea. I'm in NE/KS/SD, SW IA and NW MO. Though we have open plains, the deer are plenty thick around here. And we have plenty of tree stands, gullies, etc. I prefer stalking (for sport).
Heck you can't swing a cat without hitting a herd of the vermin. Anyway, many hunt deer at 100 yards or less. And we have more than our fair share of bow hunters too. So there's not much reason to take a very long shot on a deer around here.

.223 is a bit small, but if I had the right shot, at a short distance, with the right bullet design, I would have no reservations. I just get a little hesitant when some arbitrarily call for some minimum round.
Personally I prefer a little larger bullet myself. I've sort of settled into .264 as my mainstay round.
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:03   #41
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Cobradoc-How did you know my mantra?Have you been sneeking a peek?I would be the first,or maybe second to say that I would need another gun-even that 20 mike-mike,but at seven in 223 I will say that I find it totally adequate for deer-including mulies that I have taken with the"wounding caliber".And I definately I would'nt use the 20mm for deer hunting!I have 24's and 25's,and 27's and 28's and a few in 30's ,and some even larger all the way up to the 45's-but I have learned the anatomy of my prey and have found that the 223 mouse gun works just fine when the bullet is put in the right spot the first shot.Something that may also help is patience and consentration,and not getting "buck fever"-like some 13 yr old kid with his first H@rd on!Sometimes people just need to revisit history and find out what our forefathers had to kill game with;25-20's,32-20's,even the old 32 caliber kentucky squirrel guns have accounted for many deer through the early times in this country.I don't believe that evolution has made the deer any more armor plated since the last 200 yrs!
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:05   #42
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Again, I did not say .223 could not do it. But, if you have the money, why would you drive a Camaro, when you could have a Aston Martin?
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Old 05-23-2008, 20:45   #43
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I n texas 22 centerfires are legal, personally i don't like anything smaller than 25 cal,.257 Roberts being the minimum. I have heard of the 22 hornet being used, but I also wonder how many have been wounded and not recovered, and yes shot placement counts.
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Old 06-03-2008, 01:35   #44
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I think many here are missing the point of thwe question. The original post asked what was the smallest caliber that could "consistantly and humanly" tale a whitetail deer "assuming adiquite shot placement".

The question isn't what is a minimum caliber that should be used to regularly hunt deer.......but what will work. I'd add to the adiquite shot placement statement and include "at a reasonable range for the caliber". With that thought in mind.....I'd vote for the .22 LR and certainly the .223 (and it does NOT require a "lucky" shot to take deer with the LR......just good placement at a reasonably close range.

I feel that the .243 is very marginal for a full-time deer rifle and would feel much better with a .257 or better. However, there are times when a deer basically decides to commit suicide when....and you may not have the "perfect" rifle close at hand. In those times the question is what is the minimum caliber that CAN be used after concidering the range and placement.

Under good conditions I have used such "weak" rounds as the .22 LR, .22 Hornet, .25-20, and .32-20 to take deer cleanly. I wouldn't choose those rounds if I'd known ahead of time that I would be shooting deer......but they worked just fine when that's what I had with me.

The .223 is certainly adiquite and I'd even include the .204......except that caliber is loaded with fragile varmit bullets only. If someone loaded.....say a 40 grain Nosler partition in this caliber......I'd not hesitate to take a deer at 100 yards or so.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:26   #45
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Originally Posted by Rifleman55 View Post
I n texas 22 centerfires are legal, personally i don't like anything smaller than 25 cal,.257 Roberts being the minimum. I have heard of the 22 hornet being used, but I also wonder how many have been wounded and not recovered, and yes shot placement counts.
Here in Michigan, it's ANY centerfire cartridge (yes, something like a 25ACP necked down to 12cal would be a legal deer round here) or any rimfire cartridge OVER 22cal (sorry 17HMR guys).
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Old 06-10-2008, 23:21   #46
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Bait a deer(where legal) or stalk close, and you can put a 22 LR in their ear,brain or neck and they drop "dayd" on the spot. Your freezer and belly will always be full of venison and your wife and kids will think you are the great white hunter of all times. Like my dad used to say,'John,you cain't eat those horns
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:21   #47
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People use bow and arrows which hit the deer and cut and twist through their bodies leaving them to bleed out which could take a few seconds if the hit was good, or could kill the deer slowly over a couple days or weeks. I think any firearm is more humane than that. Saying a .223 is inhumane is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. A .22 with hollow points is as good as a bow.
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Old 06-23-2008, 07:42   #48
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I like my deer ammo to start with at least a .3 or a 7.62.

That's why I decided to forgo the 14 and go with a 30.
Whitetail was my #1 reason.

.223 is fine if you are extremely confident with your shooting.
While I'm pretty confident, I prefer a little wiggle room just in case.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:14   #49
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Originally Posted by beardenbc View Post
I like my deer ammo to start with at least a .3 or a 7.62.

That's why I decided to forgo the 14 and go with a 30.
Whitetail was my #1 reason.

.223 is fine if you are extremely confident with your shooting.
While I'm pretty confident, I prefer a little wiggle room just in case.
Even better is if it starts with a .4 or a 10, real fun however dosn't start until there is a .5 or a 12 (and I don't mean gauge) at the begining
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Old 06-24-2008, 15:22   #50
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I feel the same way bout the 7.62x 39 as a hunting round as I feel about the 40 S&W being a replacement for my 10......Bleah!
I have 2 deer on my mini, both one shot kills.
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