Personally I wouldn't recommend the 223 for Mule deer. But if you absolutely must use the 223, at least use a bullet designed for big game. The 60 gr. Nosler Partition, the Barnes 53 gr. X bullet, should do the job if you are picky about the shot you take. And keep the range sane. I wouldn't want to take shots much over 100 yards with it. Another question that comes up is the accuracy potential of your Mini 14. Has it been accurized in any way?
I haven't personally used a 22 for deer. I have used the Barnes X bullet in my 300 mag, and 270 Win. I have used the Nosler partition in my 243 before it became a dedicated varmint rifle. The 223 would not be my choice to hunt deer simply because there are so many other calibers better suited for the job. If that is the only rifle you own, then my advice would be to try an assortment of big game bullets in your rifle and use the one that shoots the best. This means that you will probably have to hand load. I'm not aware of any factory loads for the 223 that feature these premium big game bullets.
I do have a number of other rifles but they are all in 30 calibers 30/06 and 300 savage I,am trying to take my daughter on her first deer hunt this coming up season but she is pretty picky on recoil and do'nt want to get behind much bigger then the .223 I do hand load and thought of maybe just making a light load just kind looking at all the option. :?
I would not recommend a .223 for deer. Those light bullets going around 3000 FPS just kinda blow up before they get the penetration needed, especially if the bullet strikes a shoulder.
it is just too likely that you will end up with a wounded deer.
Of course, if you are good enough to put that little pill in the brain, you have your deer, guaranteed. If you hunt deer with a .223, just disipline yourself to shoot the brain. Its no big deal, a deers head is as big a target as a jackrabit, and many a jack has been dispatched with a .223. Past 250 yards those little slugs drop off pretty fast too, so no 500 yard shots. OK?
I have a 222 Rem, which is very similar, and have killed deer with it. Twice I took body shots. One I hit the backbone about midships. That slowed the deer down since the back legs were out of commission. The other one was a little too long of shot maybe 250 yards, and I am sure I made a good hit aiming for the heart, but that one ran away. I tracked it till dark, but never caught up. After that I would only shoot at the head, with that little cartridge. I kinda lost count, but must have killed over a dozen deer with head shots using the 222 Rem. Then I got a 270.
Now I can shoot deer over 250 yards away.
Any deer standing still up to 200 yards is an easy kill with a head shot, with the 22 cal, and hitting something that large is no big shakes with a varmit rifle. Another plus, you have a nice clean carcas. No stinkin gut shot mess and no ruined meat.
I started out telling you I don't recommend the .223, now i'm telling you this????? Not sure if I'm talking you out of it or in to it.
It must be gettin late?
Get a .270 for deer! Hey the 270 makes good head kills too. It will mess up your antlers though, so maybe its best to hit the spot where the head hooks onto the neck? Bust that spinal cord and the deer is yours too. What, you don't want to mess up the cape? OK, so take a heart shot with a 270 or 30-06!
+1 that .223 is too light for deer and especially a beginner. I've seen 6mm Remington 80 grain bullets perform extremely poorly on mule deer when the angle wasn't exactly right. With a .223 you would have to be very close and highly accurate because those little bullets don't behave well when hitting bone or heavy shoulder muscles. My father once shot a very small doe with a .223 several times, and at least 2 of the bullets cratered on impact with heavy muscle and failed to penetrate.
For the recoil sensitive, I would strongly suggest something like a .243 or .257 Roberts. 7mm-08 is also a good option because there is a wide variety of factory loads and it is also easy to reload for. IMO 80 grains is probably the lightest bullet weight I would consider using, with 100+ grains preferred. The last thing you want from a first deer hunt is memories of a wounded deer.
The 300 Savage should serve quite well as a low recoil deer rifle. Get the young lady some good hearing protection and I'll bet she has no problem at all shooting it. Most flinching is caused by the muzzle blast, not from the gun's recoil. Adding a good recoil pad such as the Limbsaver or Remington R3 will make more difference than you would believe. If you have some 30 caliber rifles, I would suggest using the 223 for the coyotes and varmints, and leave it home during the deer hunt, especially for a beginner.
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