A buddy's 7mm Mag hits my shoulder harder than my .330WM, but it could be because it's a tad lighter. Either is more than enough for an Elk, and with heavier Partitions could probably field dress a small deer with a front-on chest shot. (That's a trick I'd like to see)
As far as .223, I agree that it is the minimum, not the ideal. .243/6mm is probably the safer choice, and is very popular up here in the PNW. I shoot .308 (7.62NATO) and use 150s on deer and 165/180s on Elk unless I'm taking the 77 all weather in .300.
375 H&H, now that provides a nice bump, and a 458 Lott will definatly get your attention .
Contrary to popular belief, the boomers actualy do less meat damage than the small calibers do, as the projectles are designed to go much deeper before expanding (makes sense when you remember that the hide they're designed to punch through is often thicker than a entire deer body is)
Ignore "Douche Tofu" he has zero experience, owns no guns, and has nothing worthwhile to add. He's just lonely, worthless, and needs someone to talk to
I'm not worried about him.
My "go-to" deer wacker is the plain old Turty-ought-6. Where I set up, it's closer to your "Bean Field" hunting conditions.
Last year I blooded my 375 by tipping over a doe at about 250yd. She watched 2 of us walk across 300yd of open field before I took the shot, while poking the rifle in one window and out the other window of my blind.
This year I'll see how the 300 Tomahawk (300 RUM Improved) does.
400yd to the corner of the woods, viewed over top of my -06
I've been hunting deer for the last 4 years;
1st one an 8 point buck 67yards = 30-06 dropped dead in his tracks (split the heart in 3 pieces),lost 1/2 the meat of 1 shoulder due to bone shatter.
2nd 20yards and 3rd 40?yards - both does = 270, more damage to meat in front shoulders than the 30-06. Both deer ran less than 30 yard with a lung shot.
This year I'm going to try a 30-30 (marlin 336w).
30-30 has taken more deer than any other caliber!!
In the tight woods of northern central New York I prefer the 45-70 in my Guide Gun where a shot over 25 yards would be the exception. It works. In the hills of the southern tier, I prefer the longer range afforded by the 6.8 SPC.
I voted .223, with reservations. Oregon says that the .223 is enough cartridge to take deer and black bear. While I agree that the .223 can and does kill deer, I prefer something larger for bear. We all know it really about bullet placement, and there is a lot to be said about shooting a rifle that you can shoot accuratly. I live on the westren side of Oregon, and hunt mainly Blacktail deer. Once you cross the Cascades, you're in Mule Deer country, and once again I'd prefer a larger caliber for them.
I think the .223 with a proper bullet is about as modest in power levels as you can get an still make a humane kill at a reasonable distance on deer. While that would really be pushing the limit on a big corn fed Mule Deer from the bread basket of the US at 100 yards, it wouldnt on a Texas White Tail making his way across a sendero until you get about 300 yards out. There is also a huge difference in using a 55 gr FMJ and a 60gr Nosler Partitian! Improper shot placement with just about any caliber is going to leave you lacking. The smaller the caliber and the lower the power level the more pronounced poor shot placement will be.
The 223 easily generates as much FPE as a 158gr SJP 357 Mag does at 25 yards but few will question the 357's ability to put down a deer at 25 yards.
Do I prefer something with a little more bullet weight and frontal area not to mention gas in the tank, You betcha! Thats why I normally take a 308 Winchester. But I also have a 224 TTH that will zing a 80gr bullet out the muzzle at 3600 plus fps and wouldnt hesitate to take a shot on a Muley way out there if thats what I had in my hands when Oppertunity knocked. With a 200 yard zero its no more than 4 inches high or low from the muzzle out to 400 yards.
.223 is a varmint load. Always has been. Always will be. This load is not even a human load for military. 308 aka 7.62 is the minimum for humane military.
Deer are at least as big as people. Stand one up on its hind legs and see how tall it is. Taller than an NBA athlete. Deer easily weigh as much as people too. They just dont pack on half a ton of body fat like we do.
The least humane round for a deer is 30-06.
Although 300 RUM works much much better. They don't run they drop right in their tracks.
Well knives work - I've taken 2 does with an old Western hunting knife - sliced across the throat. Well I slowed the first one down with an F150, the other I saw the guy hit it with his mini van - had to put the deer down - didn't want to see them suffer.