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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was reading about the 30-30 cartridge on Wikipedia and noticed that its muzzle energy is roughly equal to the 5.56 NATO at about 1,800 ft*lbs at the muzzle.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56×45mm_NATO
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.30-30_Winchester

When people talk about an AR-15 for hunting they typically reference the ,223 Remington as the round being used (excluding 7.62 NATO, 300 AAC, etc). Now, since most AR-15's are chambered for the higher pressured 5.56 NATO round I see no reason why you wouldn't want to plan to hunt with a medium game bullet loaded to higher 5.56 pressures.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.223_Remington

Obviously, the 30-30 is a well respected deer round. So, why arn't people discussing using a heavy for caliber round loaded to 5.56 NATO pressures to produce energies matching the 30-30 when talking about hunting with an AR-15? Why do I only see threads talking about the ~28% weaker .223 Remington loading?

What am I missing guys? Educate me.

EDIT: I was informed that my #1 mistake was I misread the muzzle energy of the 5.56 as ~100 ft*lbs when it is, in fact, 1800 JOULES which is about 1300 ft*lbs, right in line with the .223 (as one would expect). This basically eliminates the entire question/argument.
 

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Well the biggest reason I can think of is the 5.56 is loaded with FMJ projectiles. Some reloading manuals offer service rifle data for 5.56x45. Those I've seen list the heavier match bullets which aren't acceptable for game hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I wasn't imply we should hunt with a non-expanding 5.56 NATO FMJ, but instead that we should take, say a 70 gr controlled expansion bullet and load it to the higher 5.56 NATO pressures to put more speed (and thus more energy) on it.

What do you think?
 

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Sectional density

Here is another article by Chuck Hawks that's more relevant to this topic. I do not believe that any 224 diameter bullets are adequate for hunting 100+ lb animals, they work well up to about 60lb light skinned game.
Sectional Density
 

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Before I knew better I slew a slew of mulies and whitetails with my 788's in both .222 and .223 using 50 grain Speers in the .222 and 55 grain Nosler solid base boat tails in the .223. But that was 30 plus odd years ago when I didn't know any better. Biggest whitey I ever seen kilt was with a pre64 M70, 220 Swift using 55 grain Remington's. On the Passamari it was, back in '78. Right behind the Alder schoolhouse. WAGH!

Did I mention I didn't know any better? Still don't and I'd do it today if it was legal in Colorado.

RJ
 
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I hunt with an AR-15 and sierra gameking 65 gr bullets over a stiff charge of AA2520. Last doe I shot (two weeks ago) never moved again after I pullet the trigger. The round is quite capable as a deer round.

Others may disagree, but I doubt they have much experience using premium .224 hunting bullets on deer.
 

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Back in the day I shot a 22-250 alot. I was very confident where the bullet was going to go at whatever range i was faced with. Since results was outstanding on varmints and prediators, I decided to use it on my antelope hunt. Well let me tell you a 60 grain Speer semi-spitzer isn't dependable antelope medicine. Whenever I get tempted to use a .22 caliber centerfire on big game I remember this experience.
 

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I've shot 2 antelope and deer with my swift, nosler partitions and barnes X's 5 shots total ,none passed all the way through, not impressed with the performance..There's a good reason why many states require bigger calibers, they work fine if everything goes exactly as planned, not so much if you don't make the perfect shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the responses. A dude on another forum pointed out that I misread the 5.56 wikipedia article as it listed the energy in Joules instead of ft*lbs. When converted back to ft*lbs the 5.56 energy sits around 1300 just like the .223. If I had noticed that initially I wouldn't have posted this question at all! hehe
 

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TOO LATE !!

I have killed quite a few deer and hogs with my Benelli MR1 chambered in 223Rem. I shoot a 55gr Barnes TSX at 3200fps and it kicks there arse. YMMV --- pruhdlr
 

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Thanks for the responses. A dude on another forum pointed out that I misread the 5.56 wikipedia article as it listed the energy in Joules instead of ft*lbs. When converted back to ft*lbs the 5.56 energy sits around 1300 just like the .223. If I had noticed that initially I wouldn't have posted this question at all! hehe

Yep, the standard muzzle energy for a 150gr 30-30 load is 1903 ft lbs of energy, and as you noted somewhere in the 1300 ft lb range for the .223/5.56 NATO. With the addition of the new Hornady LeverEvolution ammo the 30-30 is better than it's ever been. The 160gr FTX has 2046 ft lbs at the muzzle and still carries 1025 ft lbs at the 300 yard mark. The old standard 150gr load has about 550 ft lbs or so at 300 yards. There's certainly much better loads today ( and bullets ) for the .223 as well with GMX, TSX, TTSX, and others.
 

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I've shot 2 antelope and deer with my swift, nosler partitions and barnes X's 5 shots total ,none passed all the way through, not impressed with the performance..There's a good reason why many states require bigger calibers, they work fine if everything goes exactly as planned, not so much if you don't make the perfect shot.
That's odd... I get exit wounds that approximate a .243. Either way, there are a lot of good calibers to choose from so it isn't necessary to use a .223 if one doesn't feel comfortable with it (and your experience would make that understandable).
 

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The partition shot was on a good sized mule deer, it was under the hide on the far side, the antelope were taken with the old now unavailable standard 53 grain X bullet, they were pitiful even on 95lb doe antelope.
Barnes now makes the heavier triple shock X's which I have no experience with, they may be much better.
I have a lot of respect for the game I hunt and try and make the kills as fast as possible, the 140 7mm's kill very humanely.
 

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Back in the day when I used a .243 for deer and antelope, I used an 87 gr boat tail spire point as it retained more energy at longer ranges than a 100 gr flat base spire point bullet. I noticed however that with an MV of velocity of 3100 fps, it tended to damage more meat at shorter ranges than, for example, a .308 shooting a 165 gr BTSP at 2650 fps, if you hit the animal in the shoulder.

And, a heavier bullet gives you some rear quarter shot options that you don't have with a .243 or even worse a .223 where penetrating to the vitals from the rear quarter is unlikely.

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In other words, a .22 Hornet is effective enough to take deer - but only under some very narrow circumstances under near perfect conditions. The .223 expands that range of conditions slightly and the .243 opens it up a whole lot more as the bullet weight increases.

So it's really a matter of how little margin for error you are willing to live with and how disciplined you are to pass on the shots that don't fall within the narrow range of acceptable conditions for using the .223 to take deer (in states that don't specify .23 or .24 caliber or greater).
 

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Back in the day when I used a .243 for deer and antelope, I used an 87 gr boat tail spire point as it retained more energy at longer ranges than a 100 gr flat base spire point bullet. I noticed however that with an MV of velocity of 3100 fps, it tended to damage more meat at shorter ranges than, for example, a .308 shooting a 165 gr BTSP at 2650 fps, if you hit the animal in the shoulder.

And, a heavier bullet gives you some rear quarter shot options that you don't have with a .243 or even worse a .223 where penetrating to the vitals from the rear quarter is unlikely.

----

In other words, a .22 Hornet is effective enough to take deer - but only under some very narrow circumstances under near perfect conditions. The .223 expands that range of conditions slightly and the .243 opens it up a whole lot more as the bullet weight increases.

So it's really a matter of how little margin for error you are willing to live with and how disciplined you are to pass on the shots that don't fall within the narrow range of acceptable conditions for using the .223 to take deer (in states that don't specify .23 or .24 caliber or greater).
I don't recall which gun writer is was but he lived in Wyoming, on his list of favorite deer cartridges and rifles at the bottom was an old Winchester model 43 in 218 bee, he shot everything in the neck right at the base of the skull. He was an accomplished woodsman who spent many days in the field and picked his shots carefully, 40 years ago hunters did things like that, not so much anymore. It might have been Ken Waters.
 

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A couple of 7-08's I use for medium sized game, both 700's but with different scopes and different zero's, first one has a 4x12 and is zeroed at 200m, second gun has a 6x18 with target knobs and zero's at the silhouette distances, 200m,300m,385,500m.


 

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I don't recall which gun writer is was but he lived in Wyoming, on his list of favorite deer cartridges and rifles at the bottom was an old Winchester model 43 in 218 bee, he shot everything in the neck right at the base of the skull. He was an accomplished woodsman who spent many days in the field and picked his shots carefully, 40 years ago hunters did things like that, not so much anymore. It might have been Ken Waters.
Going bigger or smaller is often the appeal for a shooter who wants to become more of a hunter.

As an example, after shooting service rifle competition for several years, a 600 yard antelope was not much of a challenge with a flat shooting cartridge, especially with a range finder.

So going bigger and slower with a rainbow trajectory round like the .45-70, or going smaller with a .224 diameter bullet puts the sport back into it by forcing you to close the range through better hides, closer stalks, or both, to ensure more precise bullet placement with bullets that don't buck wind nearly as well.
 

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Going bigger or smaller is often the appeal for a shooter who wants to become more of a hunter.

As an example, after shooting service rifle competition for several years, a 600 yard antelope was not much of a challenge with a flat shooting cartridge, especially with a range finder.

So going bigger and slower with a rainbow trajectory round like the .45-70, or going smaller with a .224 diameter bullet puts the sport back into it by forcing you to close the range through better hides, closer stalks, or both, to ensure more precise bullet placement with bullets that don't buck wind nearly as well.
This is more the reason why I have used a .223 for hunting (my other deer rifle is an '06, which I still use on occasion).

I should probably clarify a few things. Where I live, shots are generally around the 100-200 yard range and sometimes much less. Most of the deer are on the smaller side. The shooting aspect of it gets a little lost with a high powered rifle and a scope, so an AR with iron sights adds a little challenge back to it.

I enjoy being picky about shots and working to put bullets exactly where I want them. I don't think I would recommend my setup to anyone looking to get into hunting or even as a general purpose deer rifle. I think it works quite well with a good shot and the right bullet, but it does require both of those (and close-ish range as your KE bleeds off fairly quickly).
 
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