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Old 12-27-2017, 12:25 AM
hugger-4641 hugger-4641 is offline
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Default Deer down with Sport II.

Finally put a deer in the freezer with my AR-15. I have a friend who doesn't think .223 is enough for deer. I already had three in the freezer using my trusty Model 94, so to prove a point to my friend, I put one down with my Sport II @ 120 yds using Hornady Black 75gr BTHP. Entry was a little high behind the shoulder, shattered a rib and got the heart and lungs. No exit points, and blood trail was much better than I usually get with my 30-30. Maybe hitting the rib helped, but I've hit ribs and heart plenty of times n the past and not had so much blood to follow. Field dressed 121#s. I will say that it ran further after the shot than they usually do after a hit like this, but I had no trouble tracking. Anyone who has done much whitetail hunting knows that sometimes they go forever even after a perfect hit. I know there are other rounds with polymer tips or soft tips that are more recommended for game. I also intend to test some of these rounds as opportunity allows, but if nothing else, I have proved to myself that I can put em down with an AR-15.
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Old 12-27-2017, 02:12 AM
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did you take any pics with the deer?
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by hugger-4641 View Post
I will say that it ran further after the shot than they usually do after a hit like this, but I had no trouble tracking. Anyone who has done much whitetail hunting knows that sometimes they go forever even after a perfect hit.
I had a neighbor that took out the heart of an antelope, with a 300 Winchester Magnum, that ran well over 100 yards, before dropping. It happens, especially if they're full of adrenaline.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:15 AM
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You hit “high behind the shoulder” and got the heart? How does that happen?


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Old 12-27-2017, 09:09 AM
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You hit “high behind the shoulder” and got the heart? How does that happen?


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If he is shooting from an elevated stand, it is fairly easy.

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Old 12-27-2017, 09:32 AM
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With the right ammo it's very doable. I know of people who hunt hogs with 223. Some pretty big animals with distances ranging from 75 to 400 yards. All one shot kills.

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Old 12-27-2017, 10:28 AM
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If he is shooting from an elevated stand, it is fairly easy.

I understand that, but he was 120 yards away.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by KalamazooKid View Post
I understand that, but he was 120 yards away.
120 yards is far from a tough shot with a Sport, even with iron sights no less and even to the heart/lung area. Even easier with a dot or scope.

Nice shootin OP!
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Old 12-27-2017, 03:31 PM
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Entry was a little high behind the shoulder, shattered a rib and got the heart and lungs. No exit points, and blood trail was much better than I usually get with my 30-30. Maybe hitting the rib helped, but I've hit ribs and heart plenty of times n the past and not had so much blood to follow.
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You hit “high behind the shoulder” and got the heart? How does that happen?
If I had to hazard a guess without autopsying the animal I would figure the bullet fragged on impact because he was using a target type bullet. He also hit a rib. Because there was no exit hole, I'd bet that between the bullet fragments and bone fragments he probably scrambled everything in the chest cavity.

Bullets do strange thing when they contact flesh. One time I shot a whitetail with a 180gr 300 WSM broadside just behind right front shoulder. The bullet contacted the left side ribs and ended up in the right side ham. Things happen.

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Old 12-27-2017, 05:24 PM
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The stand I shot this deer from is 20' high on the point of a ridge.The ground in front slopes away to a creek 250yds away. The shot angle would not be different anywhere in this field unless the deer was right under me. I didn't remember to take pic of this one, hopefully I will get another chance this week .

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Old 12-27-2017, 05:46 PM
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Default Deer down with Sport II.

Congrats on the deer but I don’t agree with the thought process of “I already had 3 in the freezer, so to prove a point to my buddy I shot one with a 223”. Especially since you have other, much more effective means of getting the job done.

Just my opinion, take it or leave it.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:08 PM
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maybe 223 64gr SP Winchester woiuld be of use.
long time texas deer load.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:09 PM
hugger-4641 hugger-4641 is offline
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Thanks! I have some 55g V-max I'm going to try on the next one.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:19 PM
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Congrats on the deer, but I wouldn't use a 55 grain V-max on deer. Unless you get a perfect broadside heart/lung shot, you might have problems. The V-max is an explosive bullet. The 64 grain Winchester PP is a good choice, as is the Nosler partition, or the Barnes all copper bullet. The one and only whitetail I took with a .223 was using the Win. PP load, and it worked well.

Larry
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:01 PM
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Congrats on the deer, but I wouldn't use a 55 grain V-max on deer. Unless you get a perfect broadside heart/lung shot, you might have problems. The V-max is an explosive bullet. The 64 grain Winchester PP is a good choice, as is the Nosler partition, or the Barnes all copper bullet. The one and only whitetail I took with a .223 was using the Win. PP load, and it worked well.

Larry
^^^^^^^^^
What he said. Target bullets and varmint bullets should not be used on deer.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:34 PM
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I don't expect everyone to agree with my actions. Hell, I don't even agree with all of them. Be that as it may, I was pretty certain before I ever took the shot that those 75g bthp would be sufficiently lethal to bring down a deer given a reasonable shot placement. I am almost as confident that 55g v-max will be also. Obviosly, I don't expect the same results that I get with my 30-30, but I also had to do some trial and error with it to find my best options and I have occasionally had to make a second shot with it. I was pleased that I didn't need a second shot with the AR, but the next time could be different. I don't really intend to make a habit of deer hunting with my Sport II, but since I am in the mindset of doing some field tests with different rounds, I'll be happy to share the results and let everyone concur or criticize as they choose. The discussion won't offend me or change my mind one way or the other, my results will.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KalamazooKid View Post
Congrats on the deer but I don’t agree with the thought process of “I already had 3 in the freezer, so to prove a point to my buddy I shot one with a 223”. Especially since you have other, much more effective means of getting the job done.

Just my opinion, take it or leave it.
I appreciate your opinion. However, if I had started my season using my Sport II and/or didn't score, my friend might have had support for his opinion that .223 isn't viable for deer. I need about 4 to 5 deer in the freezer to get me through year to year. We eat deer in place of pork or beef. So, right or wrong, I'm not inclined to do any experimentation until I have 3 or 4 in the freezer. My trusty model 94 gets this job done first, and then I might hunt with something new to try it out. In recent years I've used my brother-in law's 300 win mag, 270, 7mm mag, Henry .44, and various others. This year I'll play with the Sport II and see what happens, but my 30-30 will always be my mainstay.

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Old 12-27-2017, 11:49 PM
hugger-4641 hugger-4641 is offline
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did you take any pics with the deer?
Sorry, I didn't have presence of mind to get a pic of the doe I took with the Sport II. But here's a pic of the last one I got with my 30-30.
He was an 8pt but one was broken off, so officially a 7pt. Regardless, he needed to come out of the gene pool so I took him.

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Old 12-30-2017, 07:29 PM
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I'm 7 kinds of fond of shooting deer in the neck when using a rifle.
Instant Drop. Basically can't run if they can't breathe
And it's either a clean hit, or a clean miss...the closer to the head, the better.
Doesn't mess up the skin as much...and I like making Buckskin clothing
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:56 PM
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I'm 7 kinds of fond of shooting deer in the neck when using a rifle. . . .

And it's either a clean hit, or a clean miss...)
Not always. An inch or 2 off and you cut the the esophagus. If you don't damage the juglar vein, you get a deer running off without bleeding and you think you missed. Meanwhile the deer starves to death after suffering for a few weeks.

I've found dead deer with wounds in the neck as well as in the nose. My father even killed a buck with one eye shot out.

No reason not to target heart/lung area. Larger target, still deadly when a few inches off or deer makes sudden movement.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:08 PM
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I do occasionally take a neck shot and more frequently have taken head shots. But the circumstances have to be right, otherwise I'm going for heart/lungs. I took a doe last year with a head shot, she was only 50yds away and had her head down eating accorns. She dropped and never even shivered.
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Old 03-01-2018, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Not always. An inch or 2 off and you cut the the esophagus. If you don't damage the juglar vein, you get a deer running off without bleeding and you think you missed. Meanwhile the deer starves to death after suffering for a few weeks.

I've found dead deer with wounds in the neck as well as in the nose. My father even killed a buck with one eye shot out.

No reason not to target heart/lung area. Larger target, still deadly when a few inches off or deer makes sudden movement.
^^^^^THIS^^^^^

You haven't lived until you see a deer running around in the woods with the lower jaw or muzzle shot away. I've seen enough mutilated deer at the processor to develop a distinctly strong dislike for those who take head shots and it has nothing to do with the shooter's marksmanship but rather the unpredictable nature of wild animals. I don't know what to say about using the .223 on deer except to say I prefer not to cut things to the very quick. Many old timers in northern Wisconsin switched from .30-30's to the .30-06 because they liked neck shots and they experienced too many lost animals with the .30-30. For my part, a heart lung shot makes the deer go down in short order and there is not significant meat loss unless you put one on the front shoulder. At that point why fool around with a head or neck shot?

Bruce

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Old 03-01-2018, 10:27 PM
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I guess it all depends on your definition of "fooling around". I fully agree with dispatching an animal quickly. If I do decide to take a head shot, I ain't fooling around. It will be a close range , high percentage shot, otherwise I take a heart shot. Been putting four to six deer in my freezer every year for about 30yrs now, 90% of them taken with my 30-30.
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:47 PM
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In the past, I preferred a heart/lung shot about 1/3 up just behind the leg. The animals usually ran about 80 yards, but minimal meat was wasted.

A couple of years ago my health deteriorated preventing my walking much distance, let alone through dense woods. I switched to high shoulder shots through both shoulder blades if possible, using premium bonded core bullets. The spinal cord usually gets hit by either the bullet or bone fragments. Some meat is wasted, but it is a minimal amount. Bang. Flop. No running.

I won't comment on head/neck shots except to say no shot should be taken unless it is 100%. That's why I have always favored shooting at the largest part of the deer that would produce a fatal shot. We owe our prey a quick death regardless of whether or not we are shooting game animals or vermin.
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Old 03-02-2018, 01:59 PM
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Well, in my opinion, no shot is "100%". However, a head shot under 50yds with either my 30-30 or my AR-15 is going to be 98% for me.
Most deer that are injured or lost were shots that never should have been taken. And yes , in my younger days, I made a few of these mistakes myself. Been a long time since it's happened to me, but nothing more frustrating than tracking for hours and not finding the animal, and then 2 days later the buzzards show you where it is.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:01 PM
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Why not buy a 300 blackout upper. It would I think pretty closely match ballistic performance as a 30-30 but in an AR package.
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:57 PM
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Why not buy a 300 blackout upper. It would I think pretty closely match ballistic performance as a 30-30 but in an AR package.
I am actually considering this, almost bought a Diamond Back .300 upper at a gun show last week that was priced really well!
But I'm kind of focused on playing with this ATN NV scope right now, so I restrained myself to buying some ammo and a new pistol for my wife.
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Old 04-30-2018, 01:50 AM
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^^^^^THIS^^^^^

You haven't lived until you see a deer running around in the woods with the lower jaw or muzzle shot away. I've seen enough mutilated deer at the processor to develop a distinctly strong dislike for those who take head shots and it has nothing to do with the shooter's marksmanship but rather the unpredictable nature of wild animals. I don't know what to say about using the .223 on deer except to say I prefer not to cut things to the very quick. Many old timers in northern Wisconsin switched from .30-30's to the .30-06 because they liked neck shots and they experienced too many lost animals with the .30-30. For my part, a heart lung shot makes the deer go down in short order and there is not significant meat loss unless you put one on the front shoulder. At that point why fool around with a head or neck shot?

Bruce
.243 or larger required in Washington State. There is a reason. Yes, you can take a deer with a .22LR, or a .22WMR, but it isn't a sure thing by any means.
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Old 04-30-2018, 07:35 AM
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Entry was a little high behind the shoulder, shattered a rib and got the heart and lungs.
Hi Hugger-4641:

In the military, this is known as "secondary and tertiary missile effect". Secondary missile effect is when the projectile fragments bone causing the bone fragments to damage soft tissues. Tertiary missile effect occurs when the projectile fragments bone, and the bone fragments fragment other bones, which then damage soft tissues. I've only shot one whitetail deer with my AR-15 (5.56mm). High shoulder shot at 100 yards with a 64 gr. Winchester JSP, and he dropped like he was hit by the Hammer of Thor.

Regards,

Dave
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Old 04-30-2018, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for the explanation, and I believe you are correct that the fragmented rib did as much damage as the lead. You are also correct that I probably shouldn't make a judgement based on one anecdotal kill. I have made heart shot in a deer with a .300 mag that shouldn't have taken another step, but it did. Most of the time my trusty .30-.30 drops them right like a brick, but occasionally they do get up and try to run a bit. When I shot this deer with my AR-15, she stumbled but didn't actually fall till she had run about 50yds or so.
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Old 04-30-2018, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingfool View Post
Why not buy a 300 blackout upper. It would I think pretty closely match ballistic performance as a 30-30 but in an AR package.
Or a 7.62x39 upper. That's why the AR/MSR platform is so fun and versatile. Just build one lower with a great trigger, and play Legos.

Shipping uppers is easy. Not the serialized part, untracked by "The Man" If you don't like it, you can resell it person to person, or ship it out of state too. Just a hunk of metal as far as Johnny Law is concerned.

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Old 05-25-2018, 07:16 AM
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Re: Op. Good shooting! Good result! It doesn't take a cannon to kill deer. It takes good hits and sometimes good tracking. Have shot enough stuff w/ the .223 to know it is a very fine round. Have yet to use one on deer simply b/c when I've been deer hunting I've always carried one of my other rifles ... M-1 Garand or 03/03-A3 Springfield. Never had a deer ever get up and walk much less run away after the first shot. If you know where things are in a deer, then depending on the angle of presentation, you can make shots that you might otherwise have to avoid. Hit in the right spot and you'll get to move on to dressing, etc. JMHO. Sincerely. bruce.
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Old 05-25-2018, 01:04 PM
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Arguing about caliber is silly. It's exactly the same in the self-defense world. Shot placement is more important than caliber.

At 120 yards the OP did the right thing by shooting the thoracic cavity. Lots of good targets in there. Also, hitting a little high and getting the heart is reasonable. The bullet will ricochet off bone or just tumble when it hits resistance. Not to mention fragmentation.

Again, any round that's capable of penetrating the skin, is good enough to take the intended animal.
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Old 05-25-2018, 01:55 PM
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Back in the 70's, I got a contract to do some control hunting on a military installation. I can't go into details but the critters were fairly large (350 to 500 lbs) and were frequenting the installation runway and causing havoc with air operations. I started off using a .30-06 but ended up using, quiet successfully an AR-15 carbine. All shots were 100-150 yards with M-193 ball and either head or point of shoulder. Every critter hit on the point of the shoulder went down in their tracks. I was initially amazed myself at the results and quickly came to the conclusion, upon inspection, that all kills were humane and cleanly done. Shot placement is still the most critical part of the equation with penetration being the second most important. I do wound ballistic workshops(for LE) for a major ammo company now and have shot a lot of gelatin. Bullet design and construction has made some remarkable advances in the last few years. There were no 7.62/.308's on AR platform rifles in those days, but I think I would have gone that direction if they had been. I still believe in using "Enough Gun" for the game being hunted.
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Old 05-25-2018, 02:09 PM
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You are absolutely correct, shot placement is much more important. You can get away with some poor shot placement when you hunt with a 300 magnum and I do think a lot of people use caliber to replace technique. Just my opinion.
In this case, I was up in a stand, so I did intentionally aim at a slightly higher point on the rib cage than I would if I was shooting from the ground. I do just the opposite when bow hunting for a different reason, but it's always worked for me. I hit this deer even a little higher than I intended and was surprised that it still got the heart.
I may or may not use my AR to hunt deer this coming season. But if I do, I'll post the results.
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Old 05-25-2018, 02:25 PM
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Hugger, you made a good clean shot and that's the most important factor. I'd much rather see a person using a rifle/cartridge combo they were comfortable with and could shoot, over an overbore magnum that gave you a detached retina every time you pulled the trigger. A gut shot deer with a .458 Win Mag is still a gut shot deer. A bad shot with any caliber will generally not do the job.
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:40 PM
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I'm sure I won't have many on my side but I'm sure glad your buddy didn't tell you he doubted that a .223 would take elk, moose or bear. We know the reason the .223 was adopted by the military. It wasn't to kill.....but to injure the enemy, tying up other soldiers to care for the wounded.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:06 AM
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I took a buck this past year and the year before with my S&W Sport chambered in .223 with just the MBUS sights that came with it. Both were just under 100 yards. I used Hog Hunter hollow points and dropped him where he stood. Quick, clean and ethical. The AR is a very viable rifle for hunting.
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Old 05-26-2018, 11:57 PM
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With the right shot placement, I have no doubt I could kill a bear or elk with an AR. But I agree that it would not be the best weapon to choose.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:12 AM
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I don't know for sure, but a bear will present penetration issues. An elk though is similar to a deer. It's more about penetration than caliber.

Also, I don't believe that using a larger caliber makes up for poor shooting.
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