.233 field performance report

Discussion in 'Deer Hunting' started by Powerquack2K, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Had several threads about taking deer with .223 so I thought I'd post a kinda review after taking my first deer with the round:

    Gun: Savage Predator 1-9 twist barrel
    Scope: Leupold 3-10X50
    Ammo: Federal Premium
    Bullet: Barnes TSX 55 Grain
    Range: ~80 Yards

    Performance: After a broadside shot the deer ran about 35 yards. There was no significant blood trail.

    View attachment 30211

    Conclusion: .233 will cleanly take deer with good shots, but I'm not taking it to a bad thicket anytime soon.
  2. Mule man

    Mule man Well-Known Member

    Did you have an exit? If so, what size exit? Did the bullet break any bones? How did the insides look?

  3. Exit wound is the one visible center shoulder in the photo. Unfortunately I had this deer processed and wasn't able to stay while he skinned the deer.
  4. Bryan Manning

    Bryan Manning Well-Known Member

    Both of the deer I killed this year were with my AR. First was a doe I shot at about 100yards ran app. 50yrds. slightly quartering away double lung shot as above no significant blood trail but destroyed both lungs. Second was a buck shot at about 55yrds in a fairly thick area I hit a little further back than I wanted but he was walking and I only had one opening and he didn't stop when I grunted. But it got 1 lung and it came out in pieces. He ran only 30yrds before laying over he did put his head up so I put one in his neck but he was done.

    Shooting s&w with 16" barrel with 1-9 twist
    Hornady vmax 55gr

    Not trying to hijack but this was also my first year hunting with the .223
  5. Mr. Chitlin

    Mr. Chitlin Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    NE Ark
    I'm really taking a liking those TSX bullets. I like the 64 grain Winchester Power Point but will start stocking up on either the 55 grain or 62 grain TSX's after the first of the year, depending on which shoots better out of my rifles.
  6. Your picture is more impressive than mine :up:

    I'm interested in hearing all the real world examples possible. With these modern bullets .233 looks to be just the ticket when you don't need, can't use, or don't want a land cannon.

    David Petzel of Field and Stream recommends only premium bullets and broad side shots under 200 yards. Those are probably good guidelines.
  7. Bryan Manning

    Bryan Manning Well-Known Member

    Well that is actually the best buck I have ever taken. I am usually just filling the freezer. But yes premium shot is the key I think. I was very impressed with the internal damage done but less then impressed with amount of bleed out. If they run any amount of distance I would think it would be a tough track job. I had a .300 mag that I bought when I was 18 like I really needed it! Decided I just didn't need to be that tough anymore.
  8. dkhern

    dkhern Well-Known Member

    i shot good bodied deer w/ ar 1-9 barns 62grhp tsx hit just back of left shoulder came out just before the last rib right side about 1" exit hole great bolld trail deer ran 40yds
  9. Greyhound

    Greyhound Well-Known Member

    Wow. This is a round I've never heard of :)
  10. Like the reaper himself
  11. Cjdavis618

    Cjdavis618 Well-Known Member

    My observations of hunting deer with a .223.

    1. You can make a bad shot with any caliber and loose game. That doesn't make the .223 any less effective.
    2. Out of all of the deer I have ever shot with a .223, none ran farther than 50 yards, This one dropped instantly to the ground at a distance of 300yds. (Although I have shot a few with a 300 Weatherby mag that ran 100 yards.
    3. When field dressing the deer, there is complete disintegration of the vital organs when using a hollow point bullet.
    4. Deer weigh out generally in the same range as humans and there is a good reason why the 5.56 was adopted by the military for human dispatch. (Plus it doesn't cost $50 for 20 rounds like my weatherby did.)
    5. Every deer I have killed fell in sight and didn't flinch. No trailing required.

    I just don't subscribe to the Mega - Maxi - Uber - Cannon Mentality. I don't even want to count how many critters have fell in front of my .223s. There is nothing in this state that I can't harvest with it save for an Elk and a Bear. The bear, I might step up to a .270 but the elk, .243 ought to do it. :biggrin:
  12. I'm not givin up on my 7mag for real rifle hunting but I'm planning to use the 233 a good bit in the future
  13. geslayton

    geslayton Well-Known Member

    I don't have pictures but the last couple years have made me a believer in the .223. I would rather have a deer shot with it than a .243 and kids will be able to shoot the .223 more often and not develop a flinch and not break the bank which makes you a better shooter.

    The deer I have seen shot have all had decent blood trails and none have made it past 50 yards. A couple of them were shot with 55 grain soft points and a couple with the 64 grain power point. I think the 64 grain power point is going to be my preferred choice for deer.

    Both these deer were killed with a .223, 1 with a 55 grain soft point, and 1 with a 64 grain power point. They both went less than 25 yards and both left blood trails that could be followed.

    IMG959957.jpg IMG953630.jpg
  14. Cjdavis618

    Cjdavis618 Well-Known Member

    If ya got it use it.. :biggrin:

    But lets think about this. Long ago, Indians were hunting with handmade arrows and stone arrowheads. A .223 is a HUGE improvement over that. :up:
  15. brushcreek

    brushcreek Well-Known Member

    .223 is fine for shots under 100 yards but I would not trust it beyond that.
  16. True. But we've got stands where shots are often over 200 yards in tight windows and surrounded by thick cover. I want a high power rifle for that.
  17. brushcreek

    brushcreek Well-Known Member

    So is a 22....
  18. Cjdavis618

    Cjdavis618 Well-Known Member

    So is a crossbow.. :fit:
  19. BigRon501

    BigRon501 Member<br>2011 Turkey Contest Winner

    thanks for the thread fellas.... I may end up buying some attachments for my AR and some shells and breaking my son in with it in several years for deer hunting. I was possibly going to sell the gun but may not if it performs well on deer.

    As stated above, my main concern are the pine thickets in my area and having to track one into them. Sounds like i need to buy the best hollow points i can to get the most effectiveness out of the gun.
    Thanks for the info. :up:
  20. Buck-Ridge

    Buck-Ridge Well-Known Member

    A deer can be killed with a 223 or even a 22. It is not ideal though. the smaller the gun the more precise your shooting has to be. Small guns leave lousy blood trails sometimes even shot through the heart or lungs. I know I'll probably get flamed for saying this but some states don't even allow a 243 for deer hunting much less something with a 1/3 less power. Not being able to find deer you shoot in the vitals because there isn't a good blood trail is depressing and no fun.