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A 223 with a proper bullet is more than sufficient for a whitetail. With most 1-14" or 1-12" twist barrels you are limited to the lighter bullets. A 1-8" or 1-9" lets you use the 60 grain and up stuff, which are where the really good .224" bullets are. If you don't reload, look for some Federal factory Barnes Tripe Shocks (TSX), Partitions, or soft points.
 

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BarnesX.308 said:
I'm sure it's great for broadside deer when shot through the lungs.

What happens when that buck of a lifetime gives you that fleeting shot. He's 300lbs and it's a quartering-to shot? Or head on? Your 222 might cost you an opportunity you will never get back. Ever. But, your 30-06 will punch him stem to stern and you'll have that buck.

Varmint rounds. It's like trying to catch a 200lb tuna on 4lb test line. Can it be done? I guess.
The answer to this problem is in the quoted's user name. Enough said....

ETA: It ain't the number 308 either...
 

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DaveT said:
It's funny.....but with the popularity of post forums since the internet has become so popular, this question (gun caliber size for deer or any big game) comes around every year.

And the answers are usually the same. Some for, some against, and some like Switzerland, very neutral..and don't really care one way or the other.

A few years back one of our gun club members shot a doe from a tree stand with his .223. He hit her in the head at about 50 yards and she droped like a bag of bricks. He stayed in the stand for about 15 minutes as there was a drive on. As the drivers approached.....the doe lifted her head....then jumped up and ran down over the hill as if nothing ever happened!!! What was determined was the bullet struck the heavy part of her skull and must not have penetrated, but simply knocked her out.

For me, I'll take my 6.5 Swede...44 Magnum, or 45-70. Shot placement is through the boiler room. Take the air out, and they drop pretty quick. Head shots are too iffy.

MHO

Dave
I'd guess the problem wasn't the cartridge, but probably using the wrong bullet for the task at hand. Varmint bullets aren't meant for big game. That's why it is critical for users of 22 caliber rifles to hunt with bullets like Partitions, TSX's, Scirrocco's, etc. At the same time, I'm not much of an advocate of headshots. Drill both shoulders, and without the running gear, the animal won't be going too far..
 

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I'd swear from some of the comments on here that nothing less than a TOW anti-tank missile would be satisfactory for whitetails. Folks, no matter how difficult we try to make this argument, deer are deer. They are thin-skinned, and for the most part not difficult to kill, especially with modern bullets.

In the past, it was often necessary for hunters to use 'larger' caliber rifles like the 30-06 with 180 grain bullets because they needed the extra bullet mass to overcome poor bullet designs. That all started to change when John Nosler introduced the Nosler Partition, and continues today with offerings like the Nosler Accubond, Barnes TSX family, and Swift Scirrocco, among others. It really cracks me up when even the 243 was questioned for deer in this thread, as that is definitely more than enough mojo to smoke bambi.

Here's an interesting thread from another site I frequent. If you think a 22 caliber centerfire isn't enough for a lowly whitetail, I can only begin to imagine what some would think of a 7mm-08 for Alaska-Yukon moose. I'd say this one is as dead as if he'd been killed with a 338 WM.

I'll steal a quote from someone much more experienced than I. "Barring extremes, cartridge choice is moot providing a good bullet is used. Drill shoulders and the deer dies."

I'm thinking that in most cases, it's the not the rifle or cartridge that is too blame for wounding a deer. It's usually the nut behind the bolt who is at fault.

http://24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/3324716/1/First_Moose
 

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In a 223, I'd say 3000fps is easily attainable. The problem with most 222 and 223 rifles is they are either 1-12 or 1-14 twists which make them too slow of a twist to stabilize the majority of heavy bullets. There might not be many gun writers who recommend a 22 caliber rifle over another for deer, though I'm sure there are plenty who wouldn't criticize the use of one or say it's inadequate.

I know of a guy that uses a 223 Ackley Improved for a lot of his deer hunting and has had success with bullets from 52-75 grains in a 1-8" twist barrel. Almost all photos I've seen of the deer were complete pass throughs, and all looked very much dead. The deer were Sitka blacktails in Alaska, and were comparable in size to our whitetails, maybe a bit larger.
 

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moosemike said:
I would not want to hunt Sitka Blacktails with a .22 caliber anything. I know what size Bears inhabit those islands!
I hear you! The same guy often used a 250 Savage for his black bear hunting there. Don't believe I ever saw he, or any of his pards kill a brownie.
 
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