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sp's make even the short 223 pretty damned effective. they perform on deer about like 6" .44 mags, using really good loads in the .44. Since such .44's have taken every species that walks, there's really no reason to bother with "more power". The 223 can brain any large animal, altho I'd want solid bronze, hollowbased slugs, if I had to deal with elephant. The poachers, however, just use M16's and ball ammo. They get within 10m, a fire 1-2 short bursts into the 3 ft circle of the lung, wait 24 hours, and look for buzzards. :) By firing 6-10 shots, they are sure to get 3-4 past the ribs, and that many holes in a lung mean that the tusker coughs up blood, which it then aspirates into the other lung, and the tusker drowns in its own blood. So if you HAVE to, you can make the 223 work. Just like guys have driven 300 gr swc .44's thru both lungs, waited an hour or so, and followed the easily seen trail to the dead elephant. It's just a question of knowing how to make the tool work. You can drive tacks with a sledgehammer, if you are man enough, and know how to go about it. If shtf, you aint gonna GET to say "time out" and go get the "ideal" longarm for the job. You will be STUCK with whatever you are carrying. So you'd best have the most VERSATILE, most likely to be NEEDED gear. That is a 223 autoloader, with a .22lr conversion unit.

There's more cattle than elk, more small game, dogs, cats than deer. .22lr suffices for livestock, dogs, and even for deer, if you know enough to use bait, jacklight, etc. Once you get into a firefight with that noisy, flashing bolt action 375, you will be dead in short order.
 

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I haven't been able to scare up any Black Hills 60 grain Noslers so I'll be starting out this deer season with the Winchester 64 gr PP's. Hopefully get to test some more and see if they don't perform better than the neck shot buck last year.

It dropped him in his tracks but he needed a finishing shot. Bullet did not break his neck although hit right on the spine. Made an ugly wound though. Only found a little jacketing. Seemed to have bounced right back out!

May also try Hornady 75 grain OTM which is supposed to be DA BOMB on terrorists.
 

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I bought some Hornady 55 V-max moly at the last show; probably what I'll use for deer this year.

I'm leery of the heavy 68-77 grain bullets due to my gun's short barrel; could be a mistake on my part. If I was using a 20-24 inch gun, I'd probably go with the heavier bullets.
 

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John, FWIW, the first deer I shot with my 16" barreled Bushmaster was a medium sized whitetail doe with a single Black Hills 68 grain OTM, through the lungs behind the shoulder at around 20 yards. She lit out and ran smack into a tree about 15 yards away and was down and out. In field dressing I found a few small pieces of jacketing and plenty of flakes of lead. Left small .35 cal exit wound from some piece.

Both lungs were completely scrambled. I mean they all rolled out like so much pink scrambled eggs. The heart was shredded open into finger sized petals like a big flower - only attached together at the bottom. Astounding damage.
 

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I admit I probably over-worry about 'this bullet vs. that bullet' when it comes to hunting with the .223; I'm just used to bigger rifle calibers in the woods.

"Terminal Performance Anxiety" is one way I've heard it put. :cool:

I've read probably a dozen ".223 whitetail" accounts like yours, with ammo ranging from low-end 55-grain remington softpoints, VMax, partition, ballistic tip, OTM, and the winchester 64 PP and PP+ loads. Frankly, they're all almost identical to yours.

Decent penetration, and internal damage described as "scrambled", "eviscerated", "pudding", and "like a grenade went off in there".

And to be fair, I once hit one with a .308 as he was jumping & turning, and the hornady Light Magnum (terminal performance anxiety again) went in his left front quarter and out his left rear quarter, full through-body penetration front to back, destroying two quarters and one lung; and he still ran 30 yards or more after that. So with any normal caliber, they're almost certain to run some, unless you destroy the cns.

In my area, anything other than the obvious varmint (sub-55-grain) loads would probably serve just fine for our size deer. Worrying and babbling about it just gives me something to do until season opens next month. :)
 
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