223 energy?

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223 energy?

Postby MAX4Utah » Fri Feb 25, 2011 8:15 pm

Will a 223 effectivly take down a Mule Deer? I have an AR-15 and put in for a deer tag this year. I want to but a new rifle, but i dont think its in the cards this year. I have seen a few 75gr. bullets out there, but havent put any through my AR. Should i even attempt to kill a deer with my gun?
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby Sagebrush » Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:57 am

Depends on your barrel twist rate.

1 in 14 is made for 45 to 60 grain bullets for best accuracy with the nosler 60 and speer 70 grain the only
two bullets that might work if you can get them to group.

a 1 in 10 barrel is the best for the larger bullets that can take down deer like the 63 gr winchester which I think
can be purchased from the factory and you don't need to reload.

With this small bullet, a QUALITY bullet that will mushroom and stay together and get deep penetration to get to the Vitals, is
needed as well as a well placed shot behind the shoulder for a lung or heart shot, preferably ,both at 200 yards or less.

I have put "Varmit" type bullets into wet packs and water jugs and they don't penetrate enough or some times just blow up.....
not a good thing.

If I had a trophy Boone and Crocket at 200 yards or more, I would feel a lot better if I had a 6mm in my hands but under the right
conditions the 22 will work , just by the skin of its teeth, just ups the odds of a wounded deer if things don't work out.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby MAX4Utah » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:26 am

Thanks for the info! The last thing i want to do is wound the animal. I will try a few different bullets and see what results i get @ 100 and 200yrds. I may just use a buddys 30-06.

Keep the info or experiences coming if you have them.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby Sagebrush » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:31 am

the famous 30-06 does not need max velosity to kill deer.

I reduce the amout of wasted meat and clean up with these reduced loads that work out to 300 yards.
These are the lowest velosity per accuracy in my rifle and should not be reduced any more unless checking
a reloading manual.

150 gr imr 4064 @ 48 grains ...........2695 fps est
165 gr imr 4831 @ 55 grains ...........2560 fps est
180gr imr 4350 @ 51 grains ...........2550 fps est ( best acc c/o Win primer )
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby FMFdevildoc » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:18 am

I agree with Sagebrush on his take on the .223 - I have watched a mature white tail fall dead where he stood from a .223
However, it was a 62grain bi-metal projectile @ about 100 yards, with solid shot placement.

Plenty of guys use .223 / .243 for deer - yet it isn't a "choice" round - it would be a heartbreaker if you got the tag and had a huge deer, hung up at just over 200yds!

Good luck on the draw, you never know. If your luck is like mine, when you're resolved that you wont get the tag, you'll draw it.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby TomKat » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:17 am

MAX4Utah wrote:Will a 223 effectivly take down a Mule Deer? I have an AR-15 and put in for a deer tag this year. I want to but a new rifle, but i dont think its in the cards this year. I have seen a few 75gr. bullets out there, but havent put any through my AR. Should i even attempt to kill a deer with my gun?


Will a .22 short kill an elephant? Sure it will. But their are better choices to use in the field.

It is my opinion that the .223 is not the best choice for the job you describe. I would not set out to hunt mule deer with a .223
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby Sandman3400 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:55 am

It will do the job with the proper bullet. You can get factory loads with a 60gr Nosler Partition and 55gr. Barnes TSX that will do the job. The problem with it is that you will have to limit your range to 200 yards or less, and when hunting mule deer you are likely to be in open country where a long shot is likely. I occasionally use a .223 for whitetails, but that is in situations where I am unlikely to get a shot much more than 100 yards.

And I can't let the earlier .243 comment pass unchallenged. The .243 will kill deer as far as most of us can hit them with no doubt about it. Personally, I think it is just about the perfect deer cartridge.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby njonesy_07 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:15 am

IMO, 6.5mm is the perfect bullet to shoot deer. There are a variety of bullets out there to reload, down to 95grs to 160grs. I really like the 129gr. SSTs I'm loading right now for my .260. Very flat shooting and has plenty of energy to kill big bucks.

I wouldn't use a .223 for deer. Like said above, youre going to probably experience longer shots on mule deer and there are alot of factors playing against your light 55-65gr bullet. I would opt for at least a 6mm.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby mw46 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:21 pm

I would use something else, unless you can somewhat control the variables its too small, plus check local regulations as in some states its not even legal
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby TomKat » Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:05 am

A .243 is adequate, but I would prefer a .270 or .30-06

I own all three and shoot/load all 3. My .270 has taken a pile of deer....
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby tucker301 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:55 pm

MAX4Utah wrote:Will a 223 effectively take down a Mule Deer?


Yes, but shot placement becomes more critical than it would be with heavier projectiles.
The lighter bullets will also be more susceptible to wind drift and carry less down-range energy, so you're limiting yourself to shots within 200-250 yards or so. Possibly less, based on your skills.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby Sagebrush » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:32 pm

I'm not knocking the small calibers but I do know when I got 5 years straight , deer tags in Calif and Nevada,
my 270 dropped 18 deer and none went farther than 50 yards maximum and some droped in their tracks or even went
head in the air antlers over their butt, with the horns sticking in the dirt !!

The 30-06 is ok if I down load it with pills over 150 grains. I shot one Buck with a 200 grain boat tail at 250 yards just to see what would happen and I lost 10 pounds of meat on the far side ! Now if it had been a Bear or Elk, things would have worked out a lot better. So big is not always better....................

I just think that the "Correct bullet" with the velosity in your rifle is 90% of the battle. Performace counts.
A good bullet will make up for poor shot placement but a perfect shot with the wrong bullet sucks !!
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby Sandman3400 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:15 am

Sagebrush wrote:I'm not knocking the small calibers but I do know when I got 5 years straight , deer tags in Calif and Nevada,
my 270 dropped 18 deer and none went farther than 50 yards maximum and some droped in their tracks or even went
head in the air antlers over their butt, with the horns sticking in the dirt !!


I can say the same for my .243. :yes: When I go deer hunting, the larger calibers stay in the gun cabinet.
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Re: 223 energy?

Postby TomKat » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:26 pm

Sagebrush wrote:I'm not knocking the small calibers but I do know when I got 5 years straight , deer tags in Calif and Nevada,
my 270 dropped 18 deer and none went farther than 50 yards maximum and some droped in their tracks or even went
head in the air antlers over their butt, with the horns sticking in the dirt !!

The 30-06 is ok if I down load it with pills over 150 grains. I shot one Buck with a 200 grain boat tail at 250 yards just to see what would happen and I lost 10 pounds of meat on the far side ! Now if it had been a Bear or Elk, things would have worked out a lot better. So big is not always better....................

I just think that the "Correct bullet" with the velosity in your rifle is 90% of the battle. Performace counts.
A good bullet will make up for poor shot placement but a perfect shot with the wrong bullet sucks !!


I shot a doe with my .30-06 this fall, it was a total bang flop. I used a 180 grn Nosler Partition left over from bear hunting and it didn't really cause much damage. I think it was a penetrating bullet, with little expansion. Gotta love those bonded bullets.
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