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October 01, 2008


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There is no doubt that there are better calibers for deer hunting than the 223. However, the 223, even at 200 yrds. is far superior to any arrow and no one questions an arrows ability to harvest a deer. If a 223 was all I had, I would not hesitate even a second if using a well constructed bullet and self imposed yardage limits (150 yrds.).

There is no way a .223 is far superior to an arrow. In what way would that be?

While I don't claim to be an expert, I believe you are trying to compare apples to oranges.

Bullets kill by shock and tissue damage, broadhead tipped arrows kill by hemorrhaging.

Perhaps someone with medical training could give a more complete answer.


And I hope to find out about that whole "hemorrhaging" thing this evening when I go out for the first time this season to hunt deer!


every deer I have ever shot with gun or arrow has bled (hemorrhaged). A 223 bullet will penetrate further, and surely would leave a wound channel of at least an inch in diameter same as most broadheads).

I used to hunt with a .222 in norhtern Manitoba and im pretty sure that the deer are not as big in florida. And i had no problem taking down a whitetail deer with the 222 so i think the 223 would be perfectly fine for florida deer as long as you hit them well. None of my deer went further then 50 to 100 yards. And if u want to up your chances of better recovery use ballistic tips like i used they worked really well and did exstensive damage


While I have no experience with the .223, I DO have some with the .243 and will agree that it is an EXCELLENT light deer cartridge.

I've shot several deer with a .243 using 100 gr bullets and have had the same result everytime. BANG-FLOP! I don't think a deer traveled more than 1 or 2 steps before going down.

not even gonna touch this one lol

I get complete pass-throughs with arrows.
I rarely get a complete pass-through with a bullet because it turns to shrapnel upon impact, thus less penetration.

maybe less penetration, but more tissue damage (hemorrhaging), more hydrostatic shock, more transfer of energy. Not to mention, if one were to ever hit shoulder with an arrow, much less both, there is no pass through. I am by no means arguing that an arrow is not an effective weapon. I am just saying that if we do not question the effectiveness/ethicality (made up word) of an arrow from a long bow, much less a compound, why would we question that of a 223. Furthermore, no one has ever questioned the effectiveness of a 12 foster slug. A 223 has more ft pounds of energy at 100 yards than a foster slug, and creates hydrostatic shock which a 12 ga does not do at any range because of lack of velocity. The same can be said about the older muzzleloader.

Will a .223 kill a deer? Often times, yes- when placed in the right spot. Most .22 caliber bullets are designed for thin-skinned game such as varmits. The probem is that they are too frangible to be used effectively on medium sized game such as deer. The bullets, traveling at 3,000+ fps, are not designed/constructed to PENETRATE the hide of a whitetail, let alone any serious bone mass or the rib cage. Mythbusters did a segment on this with shooting into water and proved that an old musket penetrated deeper into water than a .223.

Arrows, on the other hand, while traveling much, much slower, have considerably more mass (front loaded with the broad-head). An arrow penetrates deeply due to design (when not impeded by bone) and yes, kills the deer by causing it to bleed to death.

Just my 2 cents, but I like to see people err on the side of overkill, and use a larger caliber. Nobody that I know finds a .243(which I would classify as a "minimum" deer caliber) too much gun (hell, my sister used one to kill her first deer at 12, and she weighed 85 lbs. at the time).

Sorry for the long post, guys...

Can it be done?...sure...

Can the .22 rimfire get the job done?...sure...

would i suggest either...not really...

the 55 grain bullet is in my opinion too small, and too fragile to be a highly effective round for the whitetail...

Lets keep the argument somewhat apples to apples and leave the stick and string out of it because they are totally different instruments in the deer woods, that can be debated later...

There are rifles capable of much better ballistic coefficents at a given range relative to the grain weight of the projectile, without being a shoulder thumper. They provide the same upside in low recoil, and pack twice the wallop at the point of impact...

High speed filming of various rounds has shown that even a blade of grass can cause bullet deformation...a 140 gr slug can take a little deformation...55 gr...i'd be afraid of if hitting a mosquito on the way to its target...

if penetration was everything, or what killed, we would use full metal jackets, whether for 223 or 300 win mag; guaranteed full pass through. I agree with all that has been said about the 223 not being a good choice, but if it is all that someone has, it will work. additionally, lets look at the original question: "Is the .223 enough of a round to bring down a Florida deer without danger of just wounding it if the shot is well-placed?" It is enough to bring down a small deer with a well placed shot and a GOOD Non-frangible bullet. Our military uses it to bring down the most dangerous game of all. Alright, I am done, my .02 cents ran up long ago

My .02 cents, too. No. Nothing less than a .243 which I have used for years and never had to track anything. (Neck shots) Ok, Ok, let's hear the boos. Now my .25 WSSM is the rifle of choice. I shot a 7mag in last year for my son-in-law and used the new 140 gr. 1/2 recoil bullets by Remington and liked that a lot. Thinking about getting one. Recoil is high on my list of things to avoid but IMHO .223 is just too small to risk. A little off and you've got a wounded deer that you'll probably never find.



As a matter of fact I have extensive experience shooting deer with a .223. I shot deer for years with this cartridge and it is an excellent cartridge for killing deer- they don't go very far. It explodes inside the deer and causes massive internal damage. The only reason you would not want to use it, is in situations where brush or limbs may come into play. In that case the bullet will fragment and you will only see a bouncing white tail. Don't expect to get a very good blood trail, though. There will often not be an exit wound, but when they only go 30 yards, you don't have a very hard tracking job.

Anyone have any experience using Barnes .223 62g TSX?

ya a 223 is big enough for shooting deer. u dont need a bigger bullet to shoot little or even bigger deer all u need is spped and that is what a 223 gives u. when i first started to deer hunt i used a 222 and it was legal. all the deer i shot with the 222 dropped dead in their track or ran a few feet then dropped. and oh ya we have much bigger bucks in south dakota then you do in flordia.

I believe the .223 is a perfectly adequate cartridge(where legal) for deer hunting. In North Carolina where I live, I have killed(all one shot kills) several deer with a .222 Remington and have never lost a deer or had one run off wounded. If shots are well placed the .222 and .223 are both adequate for taking whitetails cleanly.

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