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  #1  
Old 04-19-2004, 12:37 PM
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Question Max Effective Range - .223 Rem and .308 Win


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This might have been asked before, but where can I find maximum effective ranges for .223 and .308? Is that kind of stuff documented somewhere? By effective, I mean capable of taking down a whitetail, not punching a piece of paper.

Thanks!

Krowe
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  #2  
Old 04-19-2004, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krowe
This might have been asked before, but where can I find maximum effective ranges for .223 and .308? Is that kind of stuff documented somewhere? By effective, I mean capable of taking down a whitetail, not punching a piece of paper.

Thanks!

Krowe
.223 for white tail? I'd rethink that, but that's just me.
.223 is effective for varmint to 5-600 yards, but that depends on conditions and the platform launching the projectile.

.308 on the other hand, should be effective to 500 yards depending on the shooter, the launching platform and the environmental conditions. I personally would not take a 500 yard shot for a whitetail, Boone & Crockett or not...
as far as listed ballistics for both calibers, I'd go to the specific manufacturer for the ballistics for the specific ammunition you are planning to use.

if you are hand-loading, a 150, 165 or 180 loaded with Hodgdon's varget or Imr's 4064 should get you speed in the area of 25-2700fps, I'm not sure of the ME, but if you use the Ball. corner on this site it should put you in the ballpark.

Just my .02, hope it helps.
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Old 04-19-2004, 03:38 PM
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.223 - not far, IMHO.

.308 - most soft points will expand reliably down to about 2,000fps or so. Below that it gets iffy. Some of the plastic-tipped bullets will expand at lower velocities still.

Check your trajectory tables; most reloading manuals have them, and report remaining velocity every hundred yards or so. It'll vary by particular bullet, actual muzzle velocity, and also weather conditions.
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  #4  
Old 04-19-2004, 07:10 PM
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When I was on Active Duty, we were told that .223 (5.56mm) was effective to 450 meters. I feel this is entirely false where deer are concerned. My family has toppled several mulies using the excellent 64 grain Winchester bullet. But I'd suggest a shot no farther than 200 yards or so. Wait for an ideal broadside shot into both lungs.

.308 is an entirely different cartridge. I've "sawn" thigh diameter trees in half at 600 meters with the M-60 more than once. Accurasy with this cartridge is truely outstanding. But question is, "What is the highest midrange point for an accurate 600 yard kill shot"? In my opinion, this type of zero is not feasible for most big game hunting situations. Instead, the old sight-in standby of 3 inches high at 100 yards will deliver a potent bullet all the way out past 300 yards. For a somewhat "flatter" trajectory sight in 4 inches high at 150 yards. Bullet is still rising at 200 yards (sort of) so remember to aim a little low at this distance. Way out there at 350 yards the bullet is right on, at least with my high mount scope set up.

Secret to accurate long range shooting is not necessarily the rifle or cartridge, in my opinion. It's all about trigger control, breath control, sight picture, cross wind, and concentration.

I've had much good luck with Sierra flat based soft tips. They're quite accurate! Hornady SST looks promising and Nosler's Ballistic Tip also worth looking into as well.

Hope this is helpful. Good hunting to you.
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  #5  
Old 04-20-2004, 06:10 PM
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Krowe,

You'll get some good advise on your question from a lot of the guys. I however can offer some trivia. I was asked to calculate some pure "maximum range" figures for safety reasons at our shooting range recently. I did this for both the .223 and the .308. Here they are with a few others for comparison.


Caliber, Load, Bullet wt., Muzzle Vel., Max. range, Terminal Energy

22LR, CCI Green Tags, 40 gr., 1070 ft/s, 1458 yards, 5 ft-lbs
.223, Federal AE223, 55 gr., 3420 ft/s, 4304 yards, 20 ft-lbs
.308, Federal GM308M, 168 gr., 2600 ft/s, 4988 yards, 81 ft-lbs
.338 WM, Federal P338B2, 250 gr., 2660 ft/s, 5168 yards, 125 ft-lbs
.50 BMG, A-Max, 750 gr., 2800 ft/s, 8444 yards, 718 ft-lbs



PS: Try looking up the range at which loads can deliver 1000 ft-lbs of energy. This yardage has been quoted as rule-of-thumb for a maximum effective deer range. Note that the .50 BMG can almost do this at 8000 yards!
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Last edited by RaySendero; 04-20-2004 at 06:15 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2012, 05:54 PM
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Im a little new to this website and have been using it for alot of research but I do know the effective killing range for a 222 for whitetail is 300 yards any farther and bullet drop becomes a major issue. I have seen deer drop in there tracks at 300 yards with a well placed shot. So im sure .223 will have at least a 300 yard killing distance
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2012, 11:13 PM
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A Standard 50gr load for the 222 with a actual hunting bullet and not a varmint bullet only has approximately 300 ft lbs of energy at 300 yards, the 223 won't be much higher than that and for me IMHO I would not shoot a deer at 300 yards with either one. The deer deserve as much thought and consideration when hunting them as do any game animals being hunted. If you handload and your twist rate is higher than standard you can certainly use a much better bullet, the two calibers just don't produce the velocity and don't have the B.C. and S.D. needed to maintain their speed well enough to keep the energy high enough to quickly put down a deer and long ranges. JMHP, YMMV !
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2012, 08:48 AM
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The effective range for varmints using a .223 would probably be as far as you could hit them. I've taken prairie dogs in excess of 400 yards. Personally I'd never use one on a deer unless it was a life or death situation. I know there has been pages of posts written telling how effective 22 caliber centerfires are at taking deer. It's just not for me, I have way more suitable tools for doing that job.

For the .308 I'd let the ability to hit a paper plate everytime from field positions determine that distance for me. A .308 will have more than enough power to drop a whitetail further than most people can accurately shoot.
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Last edited by MontyF; 12-24-2012 at 08:50 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-24-2012, 12:12 PM
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A 223 is a very deadly deer round if you use the right bullet and shot placement, if you dont think so just go to the thread that I posted pictures of a very large deer that I killed with a 223 using 60gr. Nosler partitions at 186 yards this year. The 223 is effective at 200+ yards on deer size game, the 308 is effective out to 500 yards, depending on bullet and the shooter.


If you read the 223 section of the Nosler loading manual you will find the author states the 223 with 60gr. Partition is as deadly as ANY load out of a 30-30.
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  #10  
Old 12-24-2012, 02:02 PM
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I'm not getting into the why not use a 223 for deer debate this time because I see nothing wrong with it, just know yours and the rifles capabilities.

I will however add a little something to what the military rated the 5.56 at. Part of the logic of the 5.56 round for the military was not as much to kill as it was to wound. If you killed a person, you took one person out of the fight. If you wounded a person, you average taking three people out of the fight to attend to the wounded person. So, if you even entertain a shot at 450 meters, are you wanting to kill or wound a deer.
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  #11  
Old 12-24-2012, 02:47 PM
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That's a really great point, BKeith. At the same time, if someone will limit themselves to ~200 yards, and make SURE to use a controlled expansion bullet, one that is heavy-for-caliber, the hot 22's can be pressed into service as deer cartridges.

I will say this much, though: If I've got a 308 and a 223, I'll never find out how good the 223 would work on deer...cuz I'll choose the 308 each and every time, no question.
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  #12  
Old 12-24-2012, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKeith View Post
I'm not getting into the why not use a 223 for deer debate this time because I see nothing wrong with it, just know yours and the rifles capabilities.

I will however add a little something to what the military rated the 5.56 at. Part of the logic of the 5.56 round for the military was not as much to kill as it was to wound. If you killed a person, you took one person out of the fight. If you wounded a person, you average taking three people out of the fight to attend to the wounded person. So, if you even entertain a shot at 450 meters, are you wanting to kill or wound a deer.
True, but you seem to forget the military uses a FMJ, not a expanding bullet. That makes all the differnce in the world between wounding or killing. Why do you think it is illeagle to use FMJ's to hunt with? They are designed to wound, not kill, regaurdless of the caliber.

The military adopted the 5.56 not because of its ability to wound over the 7.62 but because the rifles and ammo was alot lighter, therefor it was easier to carry and you could tote more ammo.

Last edited by fritz1; 12-24-2012 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:29 PM
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I just said "PART" of the reason. Yes, the bullets were a lot smaller and lighter so more could be carried, the weapons could be made a lot smaller and lighter so they weren't so bad to carry. Just because the military's was FMJ's don't discount their capability to kill. Just yesterday, I saw an episode on Mythe Busters with military FMJ bullets shooting in water, they didn't believe diving under water would be a safe defense. Even with the 50 cal, I think they were shooting at about a 30 degree angle, they would penetrate less than two feet. They totally fragemented by that depth. Low velocity pistol bullets and black powder weapons did way better than the high velocity ones.

I once loaded some FMJ's for my dad to shoot turkey with his 222. He accidently loaded those to deer hunt. His shot hit a rib going in and the exit hole was massive. I looked to see what he shot it with and saw the FMJ's so I figure it must have tumbled on impact. I know they claim the M-16 were suppose to be I'm not laying claim to that statement, because I never shot anyone, other than with the MILES gear which was laser's, for proof. I just know they had that statement in the lesson plans I had to use when teaching the class room portion of M16 special fire techniques.

Last edited by BKeith; 12-24-2012 at 06:33 PM.
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  #14  
Old 12-27-2012, 04:34 AM
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I once posted the 200 yard energy for the 223rem 60gr Core lokt Ultra, the 6.8 SPS 115gr CL ultra and the 30-30win 170gr CL. In short the 223rem is wimpy compard to these two, and the 30-30win wins hands down.

Check out these on remingtons web site.
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2012, 10:03 PM
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I see the energy calculator brought-up, finally...

HOW do you define killing? THAT is the real question.
PROVIDED you want damaged tissue, and not holes that may eventually bleed-out; the ONLY way to know is 2 sources.

1) Your Chronograph
2) The bullet makers

People like to talk about bullet energy, which is fine and dandy; but not entirely useful, ESPECIALLY when using Barnes.
CALL the bullet makers, and ASK them for the specific OPERATIONAL VELOCITY of a specific bullet that you would use.

You will find out 2 more things.
1)Some bullet makers don't have a frigging clue, and will either tell you: "Eh....Dude our stuff is awesome, so just shoot it" OR
"Here is about the lowest velocity to ensure proper bullet function"

The velocity windows may be higher than you thought; and will be MUCH higher with the Barnes bullets. So your distances will suddenly become clear to you.
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  #16  
Old 12-29-2012, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkker View Post
I see the energy calculator brought-up, finally...

HOW do you define killing? THAT is the real question.
PROVIDED you want damaged tissue, and not holes that may eventually bleed-out; the ONLY way to know is 2 sources.

1) Your Chronograph
2) The bullet makers

People like to talk about bullet energy, which is fine and dandy; but not entirely useful, ESPECIALLY when using Barnes.
CALL the bullet makers, and ASK them for the specific OPERATIONAL VELOCITY of a specific bullet that you would use.

You will find out 2 more things.
1)Some bullet makers don't have a frigging clue, and will either tell you: "Eh....Dude our stuff is awesome, so just shoot it" OR
"Here is about the lowest velocity to ensure proper bullet function"

The velocity windows may be higher than you thought; and will be MUCH higher with the Barnes bullets. So your distances will suddenly become clear to you.
Good points
1. Terminal damage is what counts, not energy tables. For a broadhead, it is all about penetration and a good cut all along the way, for a handgun with a cast bullet, again penetration and a looong and effective wound channel. For a 223 & 308, it's remaining vel & terminal damage of the bullet and penetration at a specific range.
2. The chronograph is a great teacher & offers many surprises, some loads are faster than expected & some slower, in my experience slower more often. You have to know the vel. in YOUR gun and the REAL BC before any ballistic info can be plotted, but getting a little too deep for the original question.

To the OP, you need to know the max. distance that you will be shooting Deer where YOU hunt. There are alot of differences in these 2 rounds for alot of reasons. I would not be without either round, but what are your needs?

Last edited by nomosendero; 12-29-2012 at 08:56 AM.
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