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View Full Version : What is the smallest caliber you deer hunt with?


chambers270
11-28-2008, 09:05 PM
Just wondering, I got a 22-250 in trade from a buddy who deerhunted with it. He has never lost a deer with it and I know of a few people who hunt this area (SE GA) with a 223.

So what is the smallest gun you use and/or have killed with?

By the way he used Hornady 60gr Soft Points, and I saw 3 of the deer he shot with it. Tore the vitals up

K80
11-28-2008, 09:11 PM
100 grain 6mm.

Wyat Earp
11-28-2008, 09:13 PM
22-250, today was the first time I had a deer run after being hit with the 22-250 I hit her a little low and she went about 80yds all the others fell DRT [dead right there]

Greene728
11-28-2008, 09:21 PM
Got a 223 that is a deer dropping machine!! Neck shots and its lights out. But I DO NOT take marginal or quick shots with it cause its not worth it. I generally only take it doe hunting also cause while im still buck hunting I just dont want to take any chances, altough I have killed a couple bucks with no problems. A 22-250 is a super flat shooting deer gun that is plenty of rifle it just needs to be in the hands of an experienced and patient hunter because marginal shots with it just like the 223 will yield marginal results. But that is the case with practically any cartridge its just magnified with the small caliber and small grain projectiles of these calibers.

chambers270
11-28-2008, 09:25 PM
I am by no means a match shooter, but I have put a lot of time in behind a rifle. I have shot this gun many times, we used to set up cans, bottles, and other smaller targets at 100 yards and plink away. It is amazing how accurate it is.

Dustin Pate
11-28-2008, 09:39 PM
My main deer rifle is a .243..one mean machine on deer. 100 gr. bullets.

JUSTIN37HUNT
11-28-2008, 09:43 PM
Shot a .223 yesterday for the first time. Absolutely amazing the accuracy behind that gun..I was stacking shots at 150 yds in a 2" circle. If I got a chance I would hunt with it-plenty of gun if you put the bullet where it needs to be.

Rabbitslayer97
11-28-2008, 09:45 PM
smallest i ever used was a .243shot at my first buck 3 times before it ran found a little hair but no deer

BBD 25
11-28-2008, 09:45 PM
I know of quite a few people thats killed em with a 22 hornet. I havent; but i also dont own a hornet. I live in north GA and alot of people start there kids with one. And thats SMALL. And if that will kill a deer then........:bounce: (this is where im going to start a argument:banginghe:whip:.) NOT THAT I EVER WOULD; OR SEEN ANYBODY...... But a 204 could as well with a 40gr bullet screeming in at 1000fps more than the 45gr hornet. and TWICE The energy. (almost). I know I know its not legal and a 22 could do the trick if the shot was perfect but YOU JUST dont do it. I know. Just putting it out there. Now go ahead all you people that think it takes a cannon and :smash: me; i want to hear it...:cool:

shadow2
11-28-2008, 10:46 PM
223 for me

dgr416
11-28-2008, 11:00 PM
On a squirrel hunt afout 30 years ago a few friends that hunted with us got attacked by a herd of deer that were in rut.No kidding they ran into the middle of them and tried to get them with their horns.They shot one buck with a pistol with 22 shorts and the other guy shot one with # 8 birdshot.They shot a buck also that had a arrowhead in its back and had been shot with a muzzle loader they also shot it.I shot the same deer with buckshot a month later and had to jump on it to kill it wioth my bare hands because I no more shells.I didnt hunt with buckshot again.

Ga-Bullet
11-28-2008, 11:10 PM
I've Killed a Few With My 22Dasher{6MM Br Necked Down to a 22 Cal}. 50Gr B.T. at 4011Fps. Punch'm Behind The Shoulder, Looks Like a Bomb Went Off Inside Them.

boothy
11-28-2008, 11:17 PM
the smallest i have ever used was a 30-30 when i was first starting to hunt. today i mostly bowhunt but when i do take a gun its the 30-06.

dchfm123
11-28-2008, 11:24 PM
These small calibers that you guys speak of will kill a deer, but why risk it. Do the right thing and use a caliber that is more suited for large game animals. .243 is prob the smallest that I would consider shooting a deer with. If I am going to take an animals life, I want to give it the respect of a quick kill and not use a cartridge that even with the best placed shots will not dispatch the animal quickly.

jmfdakaniterider2
11-28-2008, 11:26 PM
Saw a doe that had been shot in the head with a 17hmr ,it was not a pretty sight . I shoot a 243 and only have had to track 1 over 25 yds .

Jeff Phillips
11-29-2008, 12:20 AM
IMO - The smallest ethical caliber is the .243. My son shoots a .260 and that is the smallest of my guns.

Unless you have some sort of handicap, I just do not see any reason to use marginal weapons:huh:

Georgiadawgs78
11-29-2008, 02:39 AM
Well i have only shot three does so far this year all with a Browning 223 WSM with the ballistic tips and have dropped all three of them in their tracks. Two in the head and one in the neck. This is the first year I have hunted with anything besides my 270 and have to say that the 223 IMHO is plenty of gun for a deer with the right placement. But i wouldnt hunt with a 17 for the mere fact that if a buck came out I would be afraid to try and shoot it in the vitals

Wyat Earp
11-29-2008, 03:37 AM
These small calibers that you guys speak of will kill a deer, but why risk it. Do the right thing and use a caliber that is more suited for large game animals. .243 is prob the smallest that I would consider shooting a deer with. If I am going to take an animals life, I want to give it the respect of a quick kill and not use a cartridge that even with the best placed shots will not dispatch the animal quickly.


learning to shoot, being patient an knowing your equipment is more respectful of the animal than blasting a 100 pound deer with something having the energy to kill moose and destroying meat and still having to track it 200 yds, a little more ethical than some of the "sniper wannabes" shooting moose and elk cartridges at deer at 500-600 yds when they couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle don't you think?

Wyat Earp
11-29-2008, 03:40 AM
Got a 223 that is a deer dropping machine!! Neck shots and its lights out. But I DO NOT take marginal or quick shots with it cause its not worth it. I generally only take it doe hunting also cause while im still buck hunting I just dont want to take any chances, altough I have killed a couple bucks with no problems. A 22-250 is a super flat shooting deer gun that is plenty of rifle it just needs to be in the hands of an experienced and patient hunter because marginal shots with it just like the 223 will yield marginal results. But that is the case with practically any cartridge its just magnified with the small caliber and small grain projectiles of these calibers.

+ 100 well said my friend :banana:

christianhunter
11-29-2008, 06:57 AM
I know of quite a few people thats killed em with a 22 hornet. I havent; but i also dont own a hornet. I live in north GA and alot of people start there kids with one. And thats SMALL. And if that will kill a deer then........:bounce: (this is where im going to start a argument:banginghe:whip:.) NOT THAT I EVER WOULD; OR SEEN ANYBODY...... But a 204 could as well with a 40gr bullet screeming in at 1000fps more than the 45gr hornet. and TWICE The energy. (almost). I know I know its not legal and a 22 could do the trick if the shot was perfect but YOU JUST dont do it. I know. Just putting it out there. Now go ahead all you people that think it takes a cannon and :smash: me; i want to hear it...:cool:

I agree,everyone who used a smaller caliber,said things,like "be patient","marginal",doe gun,etc;.Be ethical.
You can kill a deer,with a .22 rimfire,if you shoot it in the head.All of the calibers mentioned,will kill a deer eventually,but will you find it?Some bullets offer ballistic tips,that makes it worse,explosive(usually no exit),small entry wound,no exit,NO BLOOD TRAIL!
The smallest calibers,that I've ever heard the experts agree on are the .243,and 6mm,almost the same gun.Shot placement is crucial with any gun.My best friend lost a small doe,with a .300 WSM.Using anything less than a .243,and you are risking killing,or maming a deer,and not finding it.All of the guns mentioned are legal(center fires),agree with me or not,you are setting yourself up for losing more deer,that is not opinion,that is fact.Just trying to help out,and I know tail feathers will be ruffled,and there,are going to be plenty,who will post "I've used a .222,.223,22-250,etc;,etc;,all my life and never lost one.I shot a 216 pound 9 pointer,in 2003.With a 165 gr.bullet,from a
.30/06.He ran over 100 yds,shot through the shoulders,both lungs,and heart,that looked like mush.He only left tiny little droplets.of blood every 10 yds or so,and then stopped bleeding.I found him by circling,in 50 yd.circles,with my brother and nephews help.I've killed one 150 class+ when I was 16,a 100 class 8 pointer,and the 110 class 9 pointer mentioned above,all with .30 caliber guns,they ran,all three double lung,shoulder shots.I'm no expert,don't claim to be,I have been hunting 37 years though,and with time comes experience.

redneckcamo
11-29-2008, 07:10 AM
my taxidermist uses a 22-250 for deer an swears by it !

dhardegree
11-29-2008, 09:00 AM
winchester model 70 243 w/ bull barrel

or

Remington model 7 243. 100 gr federals in each gun

WTM45
11-29-2008, 09:56 AM
.270 Winchester is the smallest in my deer arsenal.

Dead Eye Eddy
11-29-2008, 10:02 AM
These small calibers that you guys speak of will kill a deer, but why risk it. Do the right thing and use a caliber that is more suited for large game animals. .243 is prob the smallest that I would consider shooting a deer with. If I am going to take an animals life, I want to give it the respect of a quick kill and not use a cartridge that even with the best placed shots will not dispatch the animal quickly.

Exactly. I've hunted with a .243 in the past. I probably never will, but if I ever did again, I would only take neck and head shots. I don't like tracking, and they run too far shot in the lungs with a small caliber. The .25-06 with a 120 grain bullet is about as small as I'd want to go now. My hunting buddy uses one, and it does a job on em.

hammerz71
11-29-2008, 10:08 AM
I've never taken (or hunted) deer with anything that wasn't at least a .30 cal or larger.
The "weakest" round I've killed a deer with is 7.62x39. My "everyday" deer gun is a Ruger M77 MKII in .30-06. I've also taken them with a .50 Hawken and 12 ga. slug...
Not that I don't believe in using smaller calibers for deer, I own two mini-14s, but I've never considered using anything that small...

emusmacker
11-29-2008, 10:25 AM
First of all, The ballistic tips are more accurate, and shoot flatter. I think a lot of people try to be "marksmen" and prove themselves by taking head shots or neck shots. And to contradict an earlier statement, bigger cals don't always tear up more meat. I used to work in a processing plant and the smaller cals, tore up and jellied more meat then a larger caliber. I shoot a 280 and a 7mag, a shot thru the front shoulders usually anchors them right there. I've been hunting and shooting for about 32 yrs, and have learned and experimented with different calibers. And no I don't shoot a mag because I'm not profecient with my gun, I pride myself on being extremely accurate with any gun. I don't care if it's a 338 win mag or the 22hornet, I don't compromise on accuracy.

Wyat Earp
11-29-2008, 11:21 AM
First of all, The ballistic tips are more accurate, and shoot flatter. I think a lot of people try to be "marksmen" and prove themselves by taking head shots or neck shots. And to contradict an earlier statement, bigger cals don't always tear up more meat. I used to work in a processing plant and the smaller cals, tore up and jellied more meat then a larger caliber. I shoot a 280 and a 7mag, a shot thru the front shoulders usually anchors them right there. I've been hunting and shooting for about 32 yrs, and have learned and experimented with different calibers. And no I don't shoot a mag because I'm not profecient with my gun, I pride myself on being extremely accurate with any gun. I don't care if it's a 338 win mag or the 22hornet, I don't compromise on accuracy.

spent about 8 years in a deer cooler/processing plant and I must say that as a general rule larger cal do more damage due to a larger frontal area but magnums destroy more meat than do slower velocity rounds, just yesterday my oldest granddaughter said she wanted to kill a deer but we did not go because all I have ready is the 22-250 and I don't think she is ready to shoot a deer with it but I am gonna get her something to hunt with

chambers270
11-29-2008, 11:26 AM
If your not competent to make the shot accurately under all conditions,then by using a 460 Weatherby will not compensate for the operators lack of skill when shooting under pressure.


Mike

I agree 100%, it might give you a little more room for error, but does not always equal a kill.

BANDT
11-29-2008, 11:29 AM
.243

JUSTIN37HUNT
11-29-2008, 12:19 PM
I think we can all agree that you can KILL deer with very small calibers...but will you find them??? With that being said, how many people have or know someone who has shot a deer with a large caliber with great shot placement and not found any blood??? I think in general the larger caliber do more damage, but the cartridge does make a huge difference.

Simply said...shoot the largest caliber that you feel comfortable with and can shoot with the best accuracy. I shoot a .308 over my 30-06 simply because I am more accurate and confident with it. I am shooting Winchester Ballistic Silvertips in 150gr and the combination works well for me.

southGAlefty
11-29-2008, 12:26 PM
I load up the 12 pound cannon when I head to the deer woods and will shoot nothing smaller...just wait till there's a herd in the oat patch about 2 clicks out and rain a little death down upon em! Works like a charm and NO tracking jobs!

Craig Knight
11-29-2008, 01:44 PM
223 dropped 4 with it this year and still going.

bross07
11-29-2008, 02:28 PM
.243

dad238
11-29-2008, 03:12 PM
i have a 22 hornet dont hunt much with it but i have killed 2 nice bucks and 3 does none of them went over 30 yrds. shot everyone of them in the boiler room. when i opened them up to gut there was nothing left of the heart or lungs also just for the record i got this gun when i had a broken coller bone and 4 ribs. will probally give tthis gun to my son. hes 7

Bowyer29
11-29-2008, 03:20 PM
learning to shoot, being patient an knowing your equipment is more respectful of the animal than blasting a 100 pound deer with something having the energy to kill moose and destroying meat and still having to track it 200 yds, a little more ethical than some of the "sniper wannabes" shooting moose and elk cartridges at deer at 500-600 yds when they couldn't hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle don't you think?

No. I hunt with DEER cartridges, 260 and up. They can and thousands have been killed with a 22 rimfire, but why do that.

Rich Kaminski
11-29-2008, 03:34 PM
Once I shot a deer with my 243 Ruger using a 100 gr winchester bullet. The deer was quartering away from me and the bullet bounced off a rib. Then that same bullet hit the deer in the neck and it tore off half of the deers neck. Now I will only take head on shots or broadside shots at a deer with that rifle.
Mostly I use larger caliber rifles for deer hunting.

tcward
11-29-2008, 03:36 PM
IMO - The smallest ethical caliber is the .243. My son shoots a .260 and that is the smallest of my guns.

Unless you have some sort of handicap, I just do not see any reason to use marginal weapons:huh:

I agree---.24 caliber should be bare minimum!

will hunt 4 food
11-29-2008, 07:55 PM
Not that I condone their use, I knew someone:huh: who used a 22lr when I was younger and never had a deer run out of sight. It was definitely superior to a bow at 100% kill recover record. I don't think it should be legal by any means, but the 22 centerfires are plenty adequite if used responsibly.
That said I use a 45 & 50 cal. most of the time:bounce::bounce::bounce:
The smallest I have ever taken a deer with is 22 cal.

WTM45
11-29-2008, 07:59 PM
I agree---.24 caliber should be bare minimum!


Some states have made that the law!:bounce:

WaltL1
11-29-2008, 08:14 PM
I shoot a Ruger 6.5x55 but smallest I have taken a deer with is a friends .243 I borrowed one time.