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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the biggest animal a .223 rifle could take down? I'm looking for a rifle for varmiting, plinking, and maybe a close-range deer gun. Would a .223 cover those areas or should I consider getting a different caliber?
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
A .223 is not a suitable rifle for deer. It is, in fact, illegal for deer hunting in some states (Minnesota is one I know of). There have been articles in the shooting and hunting magazines on just that subject, and the general consensus is that, properly placed, a .223 will kill a deer, but there is VERY little margin for error, and that unless you are an expert marksman, and are willing to pass up a less than perfect shot, you should not use a .223.

Varminting and plinking (other than really long-range stuff) are well suited to a .22 Long Rifle.... learn the trajectory, and you can take woodchucks and prairie dogs to 150 yards. And you can plink all day for a couple bucks.

For a deer rifle, I'd start with nothing smaller than a .243 Win. The .243 is also an excellent varmint rifle, and the cost isn't too bad if you reload.
 

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I would agree that the .223 is not suitable for deer, but where I'd have to disagree is the part on varminting. If by varminting you mean crows, squirrels, and stuff of that size to MAYBE 150 yards, then yes a .22LR is a good choice. It's also the ideal plinking cartridge. For everything else, .223 is the ultimate mid-range varmint cartridge. It's got plenty of oomph for 'yotes and bobcats, there's a staggering variety of ammo available for it, and it's accurate as all hell in the right rifle. If you wanted to do longer range varminting, then a .243 would be an excellent choice.
 

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i think the .223 is almost the all around perfect little bullet. custom loads are the answer. for big game, use a 72 gr bearclaw bullet, and for small game use a 40 gr.ballistic tip. the only thing that gets you, is distance. as long as you don't go past 150 yrds, it will do the job. big game- neck or head shot, varmints-head or mid-body.
 

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For the averge hunter I think the .223 is too small and under powered for consistent clean kills. I'm really not a fan of anything smaller than .25 cal - 6 mm for deer sized game. However, some of the "urban deer reduction sniper" guys use the .223 very effectively. From what I've read, they stick to high percentage head/neck shots.
 

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yeah, a ballistic tip at close range is devastating. the bullet just about explodes. and the heavier bullets expand with nasty sharp edges. i'm no sniper, but i can hit a deer in the head/neck easily at 100 yrds.
 

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I agree with most every one that the 223 is a great varmit caliber and I can't understand why the government went with a varmit round for defending a soldier.I understand that a new cartridge is on the books to look at for the near future,I have already forgotten the caliber but any thing would have to beat the present round.I talked to a soldier that returned from Iraq and he said the guys he shot ran almost aways before falling,getting off a few more shots before expiring.I understand weight and amount of rounds that a person can carry is considered but these young men need firepower!That being said,it is my opinion.223 is a great varmit round and I really want to get one some day.Drop-Shot
 

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They're a great varmint/plinking/target round. They're just plain fun, and they've got more usefulness than the .22LR due to the power difference. The new cartridge for the military is going to be similar to the .243 Winchester, from what I've heard. The next rifle I get is going to be either a .223 or a .243..... I'm having a hell of a time deciding which. Either way, I'll be selling off my current .223 coyote rig.
 

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Wired the 243 is a super round also,I used to have 2 but I traded the gunsmith that rebarrelled my 30/06 for part of the payment.I used to hunt coyotes in the mississippi hills and hollars with a 22 short.The woods were so thick I would place road kill or guts from the slaughter house about 20-25 feet from a tree,I would climb the tree and pick off the sentrys first and then the lead dogs.That was then and now I will be hunting coyotes in Montana in semi long areas so the 22 won't work as well.I want a 223 in a cooper rifle(made in montana.cooperrifles.com)to reach out and touch some thing.I have to save cause the cooper rifles are about 1400.00 for the base rifle.They are super accurate,I watched some one shoot prarie dogs at 200 yards and never missed.Drop-Shot
 

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I'm still kinda torn on the .243/.223 thing. I've got a .22LR to .308 spread, if I get rid of my coyote rifle. To fill that gap, either one would work fine, but I'm kinda leaning towards the .243 at this point. I dunno. Maybe when me 'n the little lady finally get hitched, I'll be able to get both. I'd get one for her and the other for me. That would solve the problem, for sure.
 

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Thanks Goldeyeslayer I have to write it down or it will go out of my head like all other important things.I was never told about the 50's,I forget almost everything,isn't that about like the 270?Drop-Shot
 

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hey drop-shot, the .223 was not designed to kill. it is meant to wound. it takes 4 plus people to care for a wounded soldier. it takes none to take care of the dead. you just let them lay there. we had the perfect rifle (m-14)first in 30-06, then later in .308 . it was heavier, and you couldn't carry as much ammo, but it was a killing machine. short or long range. lord knows why we ever got rid of it. ( govt. bullshit backscratching/ ass kissing) this new round is crap. just bring back the m-14. problem solved.
 

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what do mean ??? you dont just pull the trigger and wave the gun side to side???? 1 well placed shot is worth more than 100 unplaced/sprayed. 1 shot, 1 kill. is that ideal so complex????
 

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The 223 is TOO small for deer or antelope...PERIOD! Have more respect for the animal you are about to plug with hot lead, and make SURE it is adaquately hammered with sufficient force to nail it in place.

We hear all kinds of bragging Nimrods who use nothing bigger than one of the CF .22s to hunt all their deer. They never brag about all those horribly wounded and suffering animals that ran off with a .22 diameter entrance wound and NO exit wound, now do they? :?

This isn't meant to put anybody down, and it is not PETA BS; it is experience and common sense.

I love the 223 for smaller game and as a great varmint round. It doesn't do the job on a big game hunt... :(
 

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I think a lot of people go to the other extreme when they use .300 WinMag religiously for a deer rifle. In my opinion, that's too much. If you're gonna take them at over 500 yards it's a good choice..... but how often do you shoot at a deer that far away? I think anything over a .30-06 is too much for a deer rifle. Granted, using too much rifle is a lot better than using too little rifle. The thing is GUARANTEED to go down quick if you put a .416 Rigby in his vitals. Oh well. If ya got it, ya may as well use it (as long as it does the job cleanly).
 

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wired,

You got that in the X ring! The 300 magnums are wonderful calibers, however. At times I use my old Remington 300 H&H for deer hunting when I draw a wide open and somewhat flat area here in NV. That is if I even draw a tag... :? :? :x

Too many people are afraid of their guns, and should be using a 308 or 30-06 with 150s or 165s to keep recoil moderate. As I have mentioned, probably too many times here, the 30-06 is highly respected in Europe and Africa for its killing ability and flexibility. With all the alternatives I have, I still grab my 1936 Winchester Model 70 in '06 for most of my big game hunting. It is the best of the best, IMHO. :D :p

By the way, I have shot a couple of deer with the 416 Rigby...just because I wanted to...It didn't blood shoot the meat as bad as my 300 H&H and nailed the Bambies where they stood...hurt me a bit, too... :oops: As I am now on the side closer to 60, I tend to be using my lighter rifles more. I used a Valmet 412 in S. Africa in 2003 for small antelope species like steenbok, duiker and oribi. It was a 12 gauge over 223 combo that I took for the small antelope and bird hunting. The 223 worked well with 60 gr Nosler Partitions. These antelope weigh from 20 to 40 pounds and are tough hunting, since they are small and stick to cover.

When I guided antelope hunts here in NV I always liked to see the client show up with a well worn bolt action 30-06 and a moderate power scope stuck on top. :wink:
 

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Amen guys,between the 30/06 and 308 the nod would have to go with the 308,my dad just rolled over in his grave.He used the M1 garand in the Korean war and said it was the perfect rifle,he liked the M14 a little,said it was almost a 30/06 but admitted the 308 won more matches than the 30/06.223 is a great round if you want to wound some one, but not so good if you want to kill the enemy.One X soldier said he had to shoot the enemy severl times before they fall but liked the M16 because he could carry more ammo and other gear.I don't know anymore,I just feel if you have to shoot someone,you should not have to do it a bunch of times.Just an old mans opinion.Drop-Shot
 
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