Hunting & Fishing  .223 on deer: head vs body shot

lennyo3034

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I'm going to be hunting next week with .223 because my regular hunting rifle is down. I am hunting in an area with neighbors so the ability to drop a deer is preferable. I can run the .223 suppressed as well which helps.

Shots will be at relatively short range, probably 50 yards max. I can shoot 77TMKs or 70 TSX.

I'm wondering what the best shot would be for the caliber? A headshot, heart/lung shot, or high shoulder? Would either bullet be preferred over the other?
 

Mullhead

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If you don't want them to run,shoot them in the face. I'd go with the 77's.
 

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myronman3

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a buddies dad shot a deer with a fucking vmax bullet last year. i have NEVER seen so much bloodshot and wasted meat in my life. i wouldnt do it personally, if i had to use a 223 i'd use a partition and be disciplined about the shot....slip it through the lungs and it's game over. definately avoid the shoulder bone. and the head? not real wild about that shot.....heads are always moving. but ya never know, sometimes they give you that shot.

i hunt northern wisconsin....big bodied deer here. i have no idea what state you hunt. do your part, and the 223 will kill.
 

lennyo3034

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I hunt in WV. Deer here aren't particularly large. I don't like the idea of the head shot either for the same reason (although I took one last year DRT).

Im not concerned about just killing it, I also prefer for it run minimal distance. Last year I took a buck with a shot to boiler room with 30-06. Took out both lungs and heart. Still ran 30+ yards.
 

Shadow knows

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I shot a deer once with my .223 because my in laws said an AR was worthless and I told them I could kill a deer with it. They are idiots, I killed my doe tag with a group of three trotting at me, took the shot at 40 yes straight on in the boiler. Come to find out I shot it with a fragment bullet due to coyote hunting earlier that afternoon. I killed the deer, I made my point, I never hunted deer with .223 again.
Yes it will kill the deer. I like the pumper shot however you risk shoulder. Personally I would pop it in the head. I popped one in the head at 200 yds with my 7mag due to size questioning, kinda messy and weird but does the job.
 

MTFalconer

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My girlfriend hunts our mountain with a .223...6 years, 6 deer DRT(dead right there) Double lung, heart, head it doesn't really matter. Is it optimal, no...does it work like a fucking champ? Yes, yes it does.
 

ggmanning

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    My son killed his first 19 deer with a .223 From does to a 143" buck. All shoulder shots with 53gr Barnes all copper bullets. The only one that went more than 30yds was shot through the lungs and many were DRT. Use the right bullet and put it in the shoulder and they go down.
     

    lennyo3034

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    My son killed his first 19 deer with a .223 From does to a 143" buck. All shoulder shots with 53gr Barnes all copper bullets. The only one that went more than 30yds was shot through the lungs and many were DRT. Use the right bullet and put it in the shoulder and they go down.

    That's good to know. I think the 70TSX would perform similar being all copper as well.
     

    rookie7

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    I have killed one doe with a 223 using a Barnes 55 gr TSX. Shoulder shot = DRT. It was 40 yards though.

    I have also shot deer just behind the eye ball which = dead (not 223). I am not an advocate of neck shots. I have seen 2 in 35 years of chasing deer in Georgia get up from a neck shot.

    1. I shot a doe in the 80's with a 100 gr Speer out of a Browning BLR 243. She fell, kicked, laid there for a few minutes, and then got up and ran off. 40 yard shot. Got a tracking dog and never found her.

    2. Another guy on a property we were hunting shot a big buck in the neck with a Jarrett 280 - less than 150 yards. Deer fell down and got up and ran off. That was September. He was killed later that year in December. He had a golf ball sized hole in his neck that was infected. That was South Carolina low country.

    Bullet failure? Yep. Shot placement? Nope.

    No point really in taking a neck shot if there are other choices - the last one being don't pull the trigger. JMO.
     

    WB300

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    If you are going to take the head shot, i suggest aiming for just behind the ear canal. I've dropped deer out to 200 yards with a 69 grain SMK. But you MUST have the ability to thread the needle. When you hit that ear canal area, they drop in their tracks. The mafia has proven this shot placement method for over 100 years. I have witnessed people shooting for the face just to see them blow off the bottom jaw, or nose...etc. Don't be one of those people. Ear shot is high risk high reward, if you and your equipment are up to the task.

    If you are not comfortable with that, then the TTSX to the body is your next best. I've seen mixed results with shoulder shots and solids in 223. Some dropped, some ran a SHORT ways, but i would NOT use the TMK to the shoulder if you are worried about close neighbors. Just my opinion based on past performance.

    Good luck. Update the thread with results.

     

    Scottie15

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    Are you married to the 70 grain TTSX?

    When switching to a copper bullet, you want to drop a weight class, so I'd suggest the 55 or 62 grain TTSX. Speed kills with copper - not as much of an issue when shots are limited to 50 yards, but the faster the better for bullet performance with the monos.
     

    ccasanova

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    Are you married to the 70 grain TTSX?

    When switching to a copper bullet, you want to drop a weight class, so I'd suggest the 55 or 62 grain TTSX. Speed kills with copper - not as much of an issue when shots are limited to 50 yards, but the faster the better for bullet performance with the monos.

    I'm not doubting you, but do you have more information to back up this position? I'm genuinely interested. I have 500+ loaded rounds with the 70gr ttsx because that's what ASYM offers. Everything else I shoot out of my ARs is 55gr...FMJ and VMAX. I'd prefer to keep it all 55gr to help with poi.

    OP I've killed a truckload of hogs with 55gr Vmax (multiple shots needed) and 70gr ttsx 1 shot kills. There's a thread on M4C where a guy has killed hundreds of hogs with the 70gr ttsx.
     

    Supersubes

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    I'm not doubting you, but do you have more information to back up this position? I'm genuinely interested. I have 500+ loaded rounds with the 70gr ttsx because that's what ASYM offers. Everything else I shoot out of my ARs is 55gr...FMJ and VMAX. I'd prefer to keep it all 55gr to help with poi.

    OP I've killed a truckload of hogs with 55gr Vmax (multiple shots needed) and 70gr ttsx 1 shot kills. There's a thread on M4C where a guy has killed hundreds of hogs with the 70gr ttsx.


    What he’s saying is kind of the lore that goes with barnes. I believe barnes recommends that for the purpose of keeping the bullet above their minimum velocity threshold(2000fps i think). You should be comfortably above that with the 70ttsx. Probably give you some insurance if you punch bone too.

     

    Scottie15

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    I'm not doubting you, but do you have more information to back up this position? I'm genuinely interested. I have 500+ loaded rounds with the 70gr ttsx because that's what ASYM offers. Everything else I shoot out of my ARs is 55gr...FMJ and VMAX. I'd prefer to keep it all 55gr to help with poi.

    Not saying you can't kill with the 70's, but your range becomes more limiting. IIRC, the minimum recommended impact velocity is 1800 fps with the TSX bullet (maybe 2000 fps for the TTSX?), so you're limited to a distance of ~275 yards assuming a MV of 2500 fps. With a 62 gr Tac X (my MV is 2750 fps), you don't drop below the 1800 fps threshold until over 325 yards.

    All this being said, if I'm going to shoot something >200 yards away, I won't be using a 223 unless it is a coyote or ground squirrel, and then, I'll probably be shooting a VMax...

    For rifles that I hunt bigger critters with, I've dropped from a 180 grain Nosler AB to the 168 gr TTSX, and from the 140 HVLD to the 127 LRX. Still chasing a load with the 127's though. In your shoes, I'd try the 55 grainers to see if their POI is similar to the leaded ammo.
     

    lennyo3034

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    I don't have a shot longer than 50 yards out of this particular stand. For hunting longer distances, I will hopefully have my 7 mag up by then.
     

    smacha538

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    I’ve dumped two deer using 62 grain fusion just behind the shoulder. Neither took more than a step or two.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    smacha538

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    2fd7c31bf4451265f00420b1a83fb631.jpg


    Here is what the round looks like after it passes through the vitals of a deer. On both, the round was recovered from the hide on the opposing side.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    gopherslayer

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    53 and 62 TSX are what I've used. Put it in the slats and they die just like every other cartridge. After shooting coffee cans and 2 liter bottles at 330 yards with 62s I'm not sure I'd g o farther. The performance was different from shot to shot. Some were great and others didn't have a lot of jump on impact. I've killed them at over 200 yards without an issue. Short runs from 5 yards to 40 yards.
     

    spaniel

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    Property owner where I hunt had good luck with a head shot so he tried it again. Deer twitched within bow range and the buck ran off with its lower jaw blown off, destined to starve to death.

    The ONLY way to stop a deer from running any distance is to disrupt the CNS. Problem is CNS hits are not routine and reliable. Next best bet is to bust up the shoulder, and a 223 is not the best choice for that.
     

    lennyo3034

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    So I ended up putting an optic on the 7mm Rem Mag and taking that instead. Took a large doe through the shoulder. DRT. Not sure if I would have had the same result with .223.

    Interestingly the bullet went through both shoulders and still didn't expand much. Exit was size of nickel with very little blood. 162 ELD-X at about 3100. Distance was about 10 yards.

    Unsuppressed. Ears are still ringing.
     

    Bakwa

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    Tactically, one is typically trained to not attempt head shots unless there are no other options.
    Vital organs are the way to go.

    Also, my father tells a story sometimes about how he tried to take a head shot and blew off the deer's jaw. It ran away and probably suffered to death.

     

    SRPowah

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    So I ended up putting an optic on the 7mm Rem Mag and taking that instead. Took a large doe through the shoulder. DRT. Not sure if I would have had the same result with .223.

    Interestingly the bullet went through both shoulders and still didn't expand much. Exit was size of nickel with very little blood. 162 ELD-X at about 3100. Distance was about 10 yards.

    Unsuppressed. Ears are still ringing.

    10 yards? I wonder if its possible for the bullet to be going too fast to expand properly! lol
     

    Mullhead

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    Bank on it .
     

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