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Old 09-30-2009, 09:24 PM
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petey petey is offline
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Question Best .223 bullet for deer?

Ok before we get off on a debate on why not to use the .223 and why you think it's unethical, I want real life experiences based off of facts not opinions. That of a scientific matter, that is. Now instead of running actual numbers myself I pulled a little snippet off the web from a Jeff Moats
Quote:

The general rule of thumb is that a cartridge needs to produce 1000 foot pounds of energy at a given distance to effectively take a whitetail deer. The .223 Remington firing a 60 grain Nosler Partition as loaded by Federal produces 3160 feet per second at the muzzle and 1330 foot pounds of energy. The energy at 100 yards is 998 foot pounds and at 200 yards is 736 foot pounds. (Ballistics from federalpremium.com) While this level of energy is not impressive to say the least, let's look at the numbers of the 30-30 Winchester. The 30-30 Winchester is a great deer cartridge that has filled innumerable tags over the years, yet its ballistics are not spectacular either. The 30-30 Winchester fires a 150 grain bullet at 2390 feet per second and generates 1902 foot pounds of energy. At 100 and 200 yards the energy numbers are 1296 and 858. While the 30-30 Winchester does produce better numbers than the .223 Remington, the difference is not that significant. (30-30 ballistics from remington.com) And then there is my .45 Flintlock whose round balls barely generate 1000 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, yet has killed about 20 deer. And then there are all the deer that fell to the .25-20 and .32-20 Winchester and the .44-40 Winchester, none of which even come close to 1000 foot pounds at the muzzle. While ballistics are interesting and are useful as a basis of comparison, they do not tell the whole story.
Interesting read...and to mainly keep away any flamers or opinionated posters that have no "real life" experience in the matter.

So back to the original question..what's the best bullet you've found? Me personally? Yes I've killed deer with a .223, several in fact, with 55 gr Nosler Balistic tips...all neck shots. Not my idea of a "good" bullet for lung shooting deer. Lets say for the sake of argument, all shots are under 100 yards, probably more like 30-50yds, and typical "behind the shoulder" shots. I'll elude to why here in a bit, but I'd like some honest factual feedback from some folks.

60gr Nosler Partitions
55gr trophy bonded bear claw
etc...

Any insight in the matter anyone?
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:31 AM
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I suppose "opinions" are welcomed as long as they are somewhat informative So why am I asking the question?

Well I'm building a custom fitted .223 for my 6 yr old to hunt deer with this year under our PA Youth Mentoring program. He's a heck of a shot with his Crickett, has already hunted spring gobbler with me. He'll be hunting squirrels in a few weeks when that opens up. B/c he's so small, I'm starting him out small. Obviously he's a good shot already otherwise I wouldn't be considering this...but I feel he's ready to take on some bigger game and I'm building a gun with very low recoil that we can plink with every day until November and getting him to the point where he can drive tacks every time at 100 yards.

Laugh now, but with me by his side, there isn't a pop can safe at 50 yards when he shoots his Crickett, handeling the gun by himself.

Ethical? You think he's too young, too small...I don't care about those comments. I'm building him the gun, he's probably already a better shot and twice as safe as than half the guys I work with (after listening to some of their hunting stories and missfires, etc..). I want a bullet that will get the job done for him when it's time to make it happen.
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:28 PM
Larryjk Larryjk is offline
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Petey, Since you don't care what people think, why do you ask their opinion about a bullet? You are already shooting the Nosler 60 grain Partition which is about as heavy as 1x12 rifling will stabilize. Shoot for the heart. Find drawings of where the heart is from different views. Hope for the best. If they get away, so what! There are lots of deer and your boy needs the experience.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:28 PM
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Actually my go to round in this gun is the 55 gr Nosler BT. It's taken numerous groundhogs, coyotes and a couple deer with some well placed shots. I want something a littler stouter. Where I'll have us set up, the shots are going to be more like archery shots, so the boy is well capable.

Opinions...well not really. I kind of wanted real life scientific information, if there is any. I know I'm not the only one that is using this round for deer. If no real life experiences, then I'll take some sound advice on what I should be pushing down the barrel. Oh yeah, a 150-180lb deer is a bigun' in my neck of the woods.

As far as the comment on "if they get away"....that's not how I work...and is my reason for asking the question in the first place. I want a bullet that won't fail on well placed shots. If he doesn't have the opportunity at such a shot, he won't be taking it...that's a gaurentee.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:02 PM
gd357 gd357 is offline
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Petey,

A very economical choice would be the SilverBear 62 grain hollowpoint or softpoint. I've got a friend who does a significant amount of culling each year. He absolutely swears by the 62 grain hollowpoints. He's taken dozens of deer with this round from up close out to 300 yards. Behind the shoulder, neck shots, head shots. Most of these deer were mature midwest whitetail does (up to 200 lbs or so). If you're wanting to use a factory load, this would be one that I'd recommend. If you'll be reloading, you can get a Partition or Barnes TSX, but the deer won't know the difference.

Another option would be a carbine in a pistol round if you know anyone who has one you could use. I've had great success with a T/C contender in .357 max. If not, no worries. The .223 will work well under the conditions that you've described.

As far as the youngster goes, more power to you! It's awesome that you're taking someone that age after their 1st deer. And I'd love to see the pictures.

gd
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:38 PM
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That's what I'm looking for gd. Thanks for the info. I figured a stout Partition or Barnes would be the best choice. Reloading of course, which is why I posted it here.

I'm not saying the Nosler BT won't work, and my current load puts 5 under 1/4" at 100 yards, but I think I want less of an "Explosive" bullet.

Yeah, they'll rip a hole in a coyote and take off a groundhog's head, but you may be able to retrieve just the base of the jacket when firing it into my sand box backstop.

I need a little weight retention here. Since I found my wonder pill for this gun probably more than 10 yrs ago, I've never really gone shopping for any other .22 cal bullets (other than V-MAX, but they are they same as the BT's)

As far as other guns I can start him out with, yeah I have plenty, but the stock is almost complete. Just need to do some final sanding, finishing, glass beding and start working up some new loads. I figured it the best choice compared to what he's already been shooting since Dec.

Turkey season, I cut down the stock on an old CVA single shot 20 gauge I had. Low brass and he was peppering the targets at 20-30 yards. I figured with the loads I had for him I'd keep the shots around 20 yards. He's hooked and has been talking about deer hunting since April. He's ready, stands are put together and need hung, he's got the gear and the right attitude (so does his dad) so now he just needs the perfect load and a lot of time behind the new gun to make dad confident in quick humane kills.
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:53 PM
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Rapier Rapier is offline
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Petey,
Good for you, building the gun and taking the boy out.

My hunting buddy used the same bullet, 55 Nos BT in his 222 Sako to teach his son and then his daughter to hunt deer. Between the three of them they piled up a pretty large number of deer. 99% were neck shots at 50-75 yards from a shooting house over food plots. The 222 is deadly at short range with the 55, as is the 223.

I have another buddy that hunts only with a Mini-14 and has done so for about 10-12 years now. He uses factory 62s (does not reload at all) and gets 6-8 deer per year. He shoots from a shooting house on a power line. Seventy yards to the right and 175 yards to the left. All one shot one kills. Most of his deer are behind the shoulder shots. So your idea of using a 60 or 62 gr partition should be golden.

I use a 22-250 myself, but with a fast twist barrel, I use 80s and 75. I know several fast twist shooters who use the 80 SMK. But that is all of no use to you if you are pushing pills out of a 1-12.
Best,
Ed
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:29 PM
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My barrel is a bit slower twist 1/12 so I believe the mid 60 gr bullets are about as good as I'll get with it. Here's a sneak peek of the boy's new rig. Stock is cut to his LOP...just need to do a little final sanding, put the outer finish on it to bring out and darken the colors and bed the action. I may switch out the scope and put lower rings on it. I have a 50MM on it (since it was one of my varmint guns) so more than likely it'll get a smaller tube on it too.

He'll be shooting it by probably early next week, once I get out and buy some heavier bullets and work up some loads. In between us doing some archery hunting. (him just coming with me of course)
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File Type: jpg 223.jpg (326.0 KB, 22478 views)
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Last edited by petey; 10-02-2009 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:11 PM
Ridge Runner Ridge Runner is offline
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petey,
I've taken probably over 100 with the 223, most were taken with a 64 gr PMC or 64 gr win. powerpoint. stay just behind the shoulder double lung them and the result is a 60-70 yard sprint to a pileup. Just don't expext much of a bloodtrail till they start blowing the crimson froth from the nose and mouth.
The last several years on our small deer I just use a standard ultramax reman 55 gr soft point. results mirror the partitions and powerpoints if the hit in the right place. I've said for years and gotten rideculed here and on other forums, but "its not the best choice but it is adequate"
RR

edited for: Petey, for fast twist 223's for deer hunting dead coyote makes a 70 gr bullet that is the same length as a 55 gr normal bullet and works well in 12 twist barrels.
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Last edited by Ridge Runner; 10-02-2009 at 08:14 PM. Reason: forgot to make a point
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Old 10-22-2009, 03:33 PM
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RR,
I thought the Dead Coyote bullets sounded intriguing so I looked them up. I only found mention of them in the 2007 time frame and nothing after that time, no load data and no bullets for sale. Now the only thing listed by them is heavy shot, shot shells and choke tubes.

I guess they are supposed to be made of heavy shot material. Do you know where they may be purchased? It seems like they would be the ticket for a Mini-14, unless they are like shooting a nail.
Best,
Ed
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:43 PM
Ridge Runner Ridge Runner is offline
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Ed, never bought or shot any, just read the tests, and the time frame is right, probably discontinued from lack of sales, don't fret though the 64 gr win. powerpoint and the 60 gr nosler partition are still in production and they do well for deer. When nosler developed the partition in .224, they were tested on cull hunts on deer ranches in tx. shooters were instructed on where to aim, all possible shot angles were taken and not one failure was recorded.
RR
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:52 PM
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bonded Bearclaws have a good rep.
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:39 AM
Okie Hog Okie Hog is offline
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I do not hunt deer with a .223. If I did, my bullet would be the 60 grain Partition. It drops big hogs in their tracks for me.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:56 AM
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RR,
Thanks for the response, thought I might have missed something. My conclusion was the same, that the bullets are no longer in production.
Best,
Ed
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:23 AM
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fabsroman fabsroman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petey View Post
Ethical? You think he's too young, too small...I don't care about those comments. I'm building him the gun, he's probably already a better shot and twice as safe as than half the guys I work with (after listening to some of their hunting stories and missfires, etc..). I want a bullet that will get the job done for him when it's time to make it happen.
Petey, the only one that is going to know whether or not he is mature enough and capable enough to do this is you. Everybody is different. I was hunting at age 6, and my dad left me alone to hunt with a single shot .410 at age 7. Meanwhile, I have seen kids today that I wouldn't want around me with a gun at age 18.

All I have to say is good for you and your son, and good luck. I hope that I can do the same thing with my daughter and son when they turn 6, assuming they can handle it. Of course, I think my wife and I will be debating whether they can handle it even if I think they can handle it.
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