Anonymous asked in SportsOutdoor RecreationHunting · 1 decade ago

Deer hunting with an AR-15 rifle?

I am planning to go deer hunting this November. I have successfully completed and passed the Texas Hunter's Education Program. I am buying my Resident Hunter's License and Annual Public Hunting permit soon. I have also scheduled an annual hunting lease for $800 on a rancher's property 45 miles outside of Austin, Texas.

I own several guns at home, I now have a Bushmaster AR-15, a Century Arms Galil rifle, a Bulgarian AK-47, a Rossi .38 special revolver, a Colt 1911 .45 pistol, and a 1895 Nagant revolver. The most accurate gun of my collection is my AR-15 and I enjoy taking it to the range every weekend.

I spoke with the Game Warden and hunting with an AR-15 is legal here in the state of Texas. My rifle is equipped with a great telescope and bullet drop compensator and I also own a laser rangefinder to help me calculate the distance to my target.

Some people say that an AR-15's .223 remington round can't kill a deer. Yet most of these critics, have never hunted deer with the .223 round or even tried it. A lot of the guys who hunt in this place where I booked my lease, are using AR-15's and only 2 of them have an AR-10.

I spoke with them and they told me not to use the light 55 grain .223 round on deer. They recommended that I use the 64 grain soft point .223 round or the 77 grain soft point .223 round made by Sierra Matchking series. These heavier bullets delivered more foot lbs. of energy when they struck the deer, and a heavier .223 round is less likely to yaw and has greater penetration.

But of course, I learned that there was a disadvantage. For maximum effectiveness against whitetails and mule deer, they recommended that I shoot at deer from less than 120 yards away, because the heavier bullet tends to lose velocity at a greater rate than the lighter 55 grain round.

I am hunting from a deer stand that is at a 46 yard distance from an automatic corn feeder. If there is a .223 hunting load or make that you have used successfully to hunt deer, please tell me about it or please share your deer hunting experience with a .223 round.

27 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You missed one important detail... Whats the twist rate of your barrel?..... What ever its twist rate is -- will it stabilize the heavy grain bullet you suggested using?...

    Find out what the twist rate of your rifle barrel is and then see the below website for info to see if that bullet will be stabilized by your barrel..... 5th paragraph down should help....

    I'll spare you the lecture about using the .223 for deer....

    Consider purchasing an upper chambered in 7.62X39MM... Put that on your AR and hunt deer... Its a heavier .30 caliber bullet with ballistics similar to the old Winchester 30/30.... That would be better for deer hunting with your AR15.....

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Ar 15 Deer Hunting

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago


    Deer hunting with an AR-15 rifle?

    I am planning to go deer hunting this November. I have successfully completed and passed the Texas Hunter's Education Program. I am buying my Resident Hunter's License and Annual Public Hunting permit soon. I have also scheduled an annual hunting lease for $800 on a rancher's property 45 miles...

    Source(s): deer hunting ar 15 rifle:
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  • 1 decade ago

    What is your rifling twist?

    What is your chamber?

    If you have a 5.56NATO chamber, I would just get M855 ball ammo. It fragments pretty bad, and is loaded to a lot higher velocity than most commercial ammunition. The tungsten-steel core will give you the weight retension you need. It will work fine in a 1/9 twist barrel, as long as you have a 5.56NATO chamber.

    If you have a 1/7 rifling twist... you could try some of the really heavy loads that are available now. 75 or 77 grain would be great. I think it is called a Sierra Match King... really heavy bullet. That would probably do nicely.

    With the proper ammunition, and a shot in the kill-zone... a .223/5.56 is more than capable of taking a deer.

    People hunt deer with 30-30 all the time... and a good load of 5.56/.223 is MUCH more deadly than 30-30. 30-30 performs closely to 7.62x39mm, encase you didn't know.

    I will agree with your friends... 62 grain is the minimum I would try to use. 55 grain M193 fragments too much, for deer you need it to go deeper.

    My uncle took a deer decades ago with a .22 LR. He got a neck shot, at about 50 yards. It stumbled about 10 feet and fell. He was young then, and he wouldn't do it again, realizing now how careless it was.

    But, if a .22 LR can do it, a 5.56 definitely can.

    • Lv 4
      5 years agoReport

      FMJ and SMKs are NOT for hunting, as they provide erratic and unpredictable performance. Stick to video games kid.

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  • 6 years ago

    I recently purchased a savage Axis .223 and really enjoy shooting it I,m x military and have a very good background in firearms. I really get a little upset when every one gets down on a particular caliber we all know that we should try to be ethical hunters ,but as a kid in MS,and AL I have shot deer with a caliber that I was told for years you couldn't kill deer with not saying it was ethical I was a kid but I killed a lot of deer with it.I took my first deer with my new .223 12/28 /14 it was a spike buck at about 75yds. with a Rem.55 grn. FMJ shot it behind the front right shoulder exit low on left side took out both lungs and shatterd two or three ribs exit hole was about 2 inches. it went about 50 feet. I shot the nicest buck I've had the chance to last year with a Marlin 30-30 at 20 yrds.with a 150 grn. SP and had penetration through both sides and it knocked it down it spun around where I could see the exit hole and ran off not recovered was a sad three days of looking for that deer. I really am a advocate for proper shot placement according to nine years in the military and various other law enforcement groups that I've assisted training I'm an expert shot.Know the weapon you use and It's limitations practice proper shot placement and bullet selection and good hunting to you.

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  • DJ
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    The .223 CAN kill a deer. When I was a kid the poachers that lived out in the swamps and did not recognize wildlife laws would kill deer with .22 rimfire semi-autos so the W&F guys didn't hear them. They still killed many deer, although I understand it wasn't pretty.

    It's not a matter of if a .223 *WILL* kill a deer (it will, eventually), it's a matter of how effectively the caliber will drop the animal.

    We as hunters have a moral responsibility to use the tools and have the skills that are most effective to ensure a quick and humane kill of our prey.

    Using a caliber that is below the performance of what most deer hunters and many state laws say is necessary is just irresponsible, no matter what Texas law says. (I live in Texas)

    Nothing ruins a hunt faster than seeing a buck reel from your shot, then bolt off running and keep going into the brush.

    That moment of exhilaration you get after a good shot is quickly turned into a "Oh No! Here we go" as you get up and take off after him and sometimes go for hours, cold, wet, hungry and tired trying to find the deer you shot but is still running and alive, although his fate is surely death.

    Just hope you have the energy and fortitude (and understanding hunting buddies) to keep looking...... because if you lose him or you give up, it will bother you for a long time. Trust me, I've been there and so have many other hunters. It is not something I wish to happen again. I insure it doesn' using a proper caliber, which I consider .270 or a .30 caliber.

    (Match ammo = Target shooting, not hunting)

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  • 6 years ago

    Modern ballistics has changed the AR. I suspect those who shun their use for deer hunting are considering the old M193 55 grain cartridge that saw service with the original M16 fifty years ago. These are inappropriate for deer hunting, but the improved cartridges (65 - 77 grain) are ideal. Insure that your rifle is a match for these rounds.

    • david
      Lv 4
      6 years agoReport

      Better perhaps but not ideal. A 30/06 or .270 are much better and time proven rounds. Being restricted to only 100 yards or so, you might as well use a shotgun.

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  • 5 years ago

    Go For It! it sounds like a great idea. I love shooting a AR-15. but i go deer hunting with a 308.


    Me a my dad were sitting in a stand. two lanes on each side. after a couple of hours three doe came out. i went for the biggest/heather one. I was using my little 223. my dad had his 308. i start to aim for the doe.....i shoot....i miss. i sucked!

    Two hours later we decided to leave. we got on the four-wheeler and started to drive off. my dad came to a stop. and there were the three doe. my dad said "pick one.' holding up the 233 and 308. see i had never shot a 308 before. the deer were 300 yards away. we sniper crawled 200 yards. my dad got on all fours making a table top.

    i took that deer down with the 308!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    If someone I was guiding showed up with a .223 for anything other than varmints I'd send them home with no refund. Yes it can work, but it's horrible ethics to hope for the perfect shot and risk wounding an animal that's going to suffer to death over the next month. It's giving it's life to you and it deserves to go down instantly and as humanely as possible.

    I took my 1st deer with a .243. The deer was the largest mulie I've seen taken and the .243 didn't penetrate through the 1st rib. I got lucky and it still dropped, but the bullet performance was 1 in a million and I still can't figure out how it did what it did. I've never used a .243 for hunting again, and the .243 is much better than the .223.

    I've hunted with a minimum 30-06 or similar and better caliber ever since, make damn sure I have an excellent shot and my longest track to date has been an elk at 350 yards that covered 15 yards.

    I'd recommend a .270 or better for big game hunting. Leave the plinkers at home for this trip.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You may want to invest in a larger caliber upper for you r AR. I have heard the the 6.8 grendel is a good hunting round. Or you could go all the way and get the .50 beowulf. It shoots roughly the same round as the S&W 500 and has massive stopping power up to 200 yrds. if you go on you tube the guy from future weapons does a show on the beowulf. he claims its a good military weapon but I believe its original design was for hunting. I decided not to get one because Its expensive to just plink at the range. almost 2 bucks a round. There are quite a few different uppers in dif calibers for the AR platform. just google it and you will find many options. If money is an issue I would just go for a higher grain round to deliver a bit harder of a punch. Good luck hunting :)

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