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Thread: Smallest caliber for deer?

  1. #1
    Marksman

    Smallest caliber for deer?

    What is the smallest caliber that can be used for deer? Thinking about buying a new rifle.

  2. #2
    Marksman
    I wouldn't suggest you get anything smalle than .243. I have killed a pretty nice sizd whitetail using a 22-250 but shot placement is the most important thing to remember.
    Why do you want such a small cal.?
    Don't forget your guns!!!

    "Good food is like good lovin'!"

  3. #3
    Stupid is 'posed to hurt scooterj's Avatar
    Must be .22 cal or larger and centerfire. The .204 Ruger is not legal.
    USPSA: TY-28619
    ICORE: LA1484
    Team Freedom GunWorks
    www.freedomgunworks.com
    You can't fix stupid and you can't teach common sense!

  4. #4
    Marksman
    I shoot a 270 now. Most of the shots on my lease are less than 100 yards, so I'm thinking about going smaller. Also want something with less recoil I can shoot more at the range.

  5. #5
    Marksman
    A 25-06 would be a fantastic rifle but, I'm not sure about the cost of ammo for doing a lot of range shooting.
    Don't forget your guns!!!

    "Good food is like good lovin'!"

  6. #6
    Stupid is 'posed to hurt scooterj's Avatar
    7mm-08 is at the top of my list.
    USPSA: TY-28619
    ICORE: LA1484
    Team Freedom GunWorks
    www.freedomgunworks.com
    You can't fix stupid and you can't teach common sense!

  7. #7
    CoonAss 3fifty7's Avatar
    Smallest that can be used would be a .222 I guess. Id suggest a .243 and up IMHO.
    Jason Ellis show on Faction Sirius/XM
    Red Dragons

  8. #8
    tactical hangover

    Premium Member
    themcfarland's Avatar
    Even though 223/556 is my favorite to hunt with, I would only suggest to use it for neck shots.. The goal is to get them to bleed out or do enough trauma to stop them.. Unless your very confident in your gun, go bigger.. you could get a 300 win mag and not even have to field dress them..

  9. #9
    Marksman

    Premium Member
    john17427's Avatar
    I whittled my deer caliber down to 243 many years ago, but lately have had some thoughts about 223 with the heavier bullets in a fast twist barrel. Just thoughts right now. The 243 does a good job; not sure I want to tempt fate and possibly lose one. I'll have to do more research before the thoughts get serious. I know people take deer all the time with 223, but I'll have to do the research before I get comfortable with it.
    Sara mo ki kara ochiru

  10. #10
    Stupid is 'posed to hurt scooterj's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by john17427 View Post
    I whittled my deer caliber down to 243 many years ago, but lately have had some thoughts about 223 with the heavier bullets in a fast twist barrel. Just thoughts right now. The 243 does a good job; not sure I want to tempt fate and possibly lose one. I'll have to do more research before the thoughts get serious. I know people take deer all the time with 223, but I'll have to do the research before I get comfortable with it.
    Most of the heavier bullets are designed for target shooting and will not perform after impact.
    USPSA: TY-28619
    ICORE: LA1484
    Team Freedom GunWorks
    www.freedomgunworks.com
    You can't fix stupid and you can't teach common sense!

  11. #11
    Marksman

    Premium Member
    john17427's Avatar
    Gotcha. Thanks.
    Sara mo ki kara ochiru

  12. #12
    Professional Amateur

    Gold Member
    oleheat's Avatar
    I'm a .270 / .30-06 guy myself- but a lot of people I know believe in the .243 or 7mm-08 for the kind of hunting you are talking about.....

    I personally wouldn't choose a .223 based on what I've seen while hunting in Texas (you better hit them well), but if it works for other folks more power to them! One of these days I'm going to look into a 6.8 SPC upper for my AR- that's basically a ".270 lite". Interesting.....
    Sam
    Central/Pride, Evil Black Rifle Parish(EBR), LA

    “Remember the first rule of gunfighting... ‘have a gun.’"
    -Col. Jeff Cooper

  13. #13
    Marksman JLouv's Avatar
    Agreed. The 223 will kill em....but IMO, the round works best when the target knows its been shot. you can't go wrong with anything in 30cal.

    I'm gonna change my rifle this season too.

    I (finally) came across a real nice bolt action carbine in 762x39. A cz-527 to be specific. It's going to fill all my needs for deer in Louisiana & Mississippi where I do a majority of my hunting. A 308 will fill the need for longer shots than provided by greenfields. And my trusty 7mag rounds it all out if I find myself chasing elk or mulies out west.

    Also gonna be adding a 35whelen & a 45-70 soon to extend my seasons....

    I have to disagree with the 300win mag joke....I used my 7mag for a few years and they'd ALWAYS run at least 50-200yds after a perfect heart shot. The round is too fast and our deer too skinny. I never found a round that would fully expand and transfer enough energy to cause the classic insta-kill. Heck, ive had a few not even leave a blood trail because the bullet never expanded. Pinkie sized entery AND exit holes. That's why I switched to the 308. It worked beautifully, bu like you, i got to thinking that at the ranges i usually shoot, its still too much rifle. So, now I'm looking forward to seeing the 762x39 in action. Book says it should hit like a 3030.
    "As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron."

    H.L. Mencken, The Baltimore Evening Sun,
    July 26, 1920

  14. #14
    Marksman
    Site Sponsor
    gmshooter's Avatar
    7MM-08 will do everything you need it to do. it is a .243/.308 case necked to a 7mm bullet. 223 will kill them but you need good shot placement. I have loaded some barnes 62 gr. TSX bullets for the wifes .223 and we will find out this year what they will do (i am hunting in mississippi).
    Last edited by gmshooter; March 12th, 2012 at 08:20 AM.
    James Louque
    Louques Firearms LLC.
    225-206-1908
    TY28804 USPSA

  15. #15
    Threadender tbone's Avatar
    I like the .270. I reload a 130 gr. Speer pointed soft point with the smallest charge of IMR 4350 recommended by the speer reloading manual. That combination creates a very large exit hole from close range out to 150 yds. It is accurate and has a light recoil to boot. I've been using it for about 30 years and have yet to lose a deer.
    I understand there are probably better bullets being made nowadays but, I hate to change from something that works. I've had friends that are very happy with the .243 but I never liked the idea of the smaller bullet weights in that caliber. That's just a personal preference, though.
    Live and learn. Die and forget it all.


  16. #16
    Marksman
    The most popular deer cal. has been and continues to be the 30-30.

  17. #17
    ® ™

    Gold Member
    Hitman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by scooterj View Post
    Must be .22 cal or larger and centerfire. The .204 Ruger is not legal.
    and the latest BayouBucks issue(March) featured a guy(54 yrs old) who got in trouble for just that! (LOTS OF TROUBLE!)
    b/c while he also killed the deer illegally with that caliber(.204), he also got charged with 4 counts of Contest Fraud for every contest he entered the Deer in!!!

    Oh yeah, and the deer was a 15 point scoring 229 6/8" B&C !!!
    (Deer taken in Catahoula Parish)
    __________________________________________________

    ~Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man
    and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it,
    never really care for anything else thereafter~ Ernest Hemingway


  18. #18
    SEND IT Barney88PDC's Avatar
    For less than 100 yards a 12GA with a slug is DEVESTATING! For longer shots or an all purpose deer rifle .260Rem / .308 Win / 7mm-08.
    Last edited by Barney88PDC; March 12th, 2012 at 08:17 AM.

  19. #19
    No sir, I ain't. Gus McCrae's Avatar
    Less than 100 yards? Why not consider a handgun caliber like .44 Mag or .357 Mag? One of the Ruger carbines in .44 Mag or a lever gun in either caliber would be a great little gun.
    What's good for me might not be good for the weak minded.

  20. #20
    On Target
    i second the 30-30 nod. its got little recoil, bullets are pretty cheap, and out to 150 yards its a good round to count on leaving a nice exit hole and have good knockdown power. i like the Leverrevolution by Hornady. i don't reload FYI.
    I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

    still learning...

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