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Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers

Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« on: December 19, 2007, 08:13:12 AM »
Just wanted to get some feed back from everyone on using .223, .22-250, etc. for whitetail.  Personally, I'm against using small calibers, but wanted to hear other opinions.


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Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2007, 09:09:25 AM »
My opinion is use the caliber you are most comfortable with starting with .257 cal for deer. It is legal to use a .22 centerfire in ND for deer.  With the way bullets are made today you can use a smaller caliber bullet for larger game.  Some people use .257 caliber for elk.  Myself I like to use the largest caliber I am cofortable with.  I have a .257 wby, 7mm wby and a .338 win.  If I am going elk hunting the .338 win is going along.  I don't like the possibilities of wounding an animal and letting it suffer.  My .338 can print 3/4" groups at 100 yards and I can shoot it all after noon.  But thats me.
Any caliber with a perfectly placed shot will take game animals cleanly.  I believe there has been a case where a .22 has killed an elephant?  I know I read it somewhere, Capstick?  Anyway be comfortable with what you shoot and know the caliber/rifles limitations!

Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 02:27:40 PM »
One of the largest Whitetail bucks I've killed was with a Bushmaster 223.  I was using the Winchester Supreme 64 grain bullet.  I took a broadside shot @ 200 yards right behind his shoulder.  The bullet took out both lungs and the deer dropped in his tracks.  I couldn't believe it.  I thought I would have to trail it for some distance.  The small calibers will work, but shot placement is critical.
"I'd rather live by a man that owned a Weatherby rifle than shoot another brand!"


Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2007, 06:03:48 PM »
Killed a whitetail doe with .223 Remington using Federal Premium with 60gr Nosler Partitions...broad side clean kill at about 60 yrds...Don't think I would use .223 much past  100 yrds.

Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2007, 01:04:24 AM »
As others have said previously, shot placement is obviously the most important aspect when talking about killing a deer with a .22 caliber rifle.

With that being said, I believe the second most important aspect is the bullet makeup.  In south Texas, I have killed two Whitetails with a Wby SVM chambered in .22-250 with a 60 grain bonded bullet.  I believe the bonded bullets hold up to achieve the required lethal penetration depth when compared to hollow point or ballistic tip counterparts.  One deer had a complete shoulder to shoulder pass through and ran 35 yards, while the other deer had the front shoulder taken out and crawled about 15 yards before expiring.

As a last side note, south Texas deer regularly do not exceed 160 lbs.  If you are targeting Whitetails that are on the upper scale of size (Canada, Nebraska, Ohio, etc...) a larger caliber selection could only help your chances of efficiently killing the animal.
Chance favors the prepared mind

Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2007, 07:02:23 AM »
Over here in the uk we can use 22-250 on roe in scotland and centrefire .22 on chinese water deer and muntjac this has only just come in to our deer act. So far we have heard good things about using these calibers and it has opened up deer stalking to a lot more people which is also a good thing.
the only dangerous thing about a gun is the idiot using it


Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2007, 12:24:36 PM »
Hello Mr. 257 Fan;

For a long time, and even now from amongst my neighbors, I hear glowing success stories about using the .223 and taking deer cleanly.  Having heard all this, I decided to try it.

Here is my actual experience with the .223 Remington:

The projectile used was a 55 grain softpoint.

I shot the second largest deer I have ever seen at 80 yards -- squarely and with a well place bullet into the chest in the heart/lung area.

The deer fled the scene.  A few small (very small) drops of blood were found for about 1/4 mile sporatically.

The deer was never recovered.

The good news is that I am fairly certain the deer survived.  I am quite sure I saw that same deer later on in the year after the season was over.


I read with great interest what Mr. Magnum 7MM wrote about the 64 grain Winchesters as I currently have several boxes.  That is enouraging news!  I also read with interest about Federal Premium loading some sort of 60 something grain partition they claim deer capable.

My take now is that -- if one is going to try any of the ultra-light calibers on deer, use the TOUGHEST and MOST WELL CONSTRUCTED projectile you can get old of.  Place the shot with precision, and keep the range SHORT.


For what it's worth, the largest deer I ever shot at was shot with a 6MM Remingotn with a 100 grain core lock softpoint.  Again, about 80 yards squarely in the chest.  Deer fled and I did not recover it.  Someone else later got the same deer with a .308 Winchester.  My un-penetrated, well placed bullet was found at that time in the chest.

An earlier deer I shot earlier with the same 6MM Remington fell after a brief 40 yard run.

My conclusion -- perhaps a 100 grain partition would have been a better projectile selecion for this caliber.


Final conclusions -- the 25 caliber is my "bottom line" for hunting deer nowdays.

If you are shooting anything less than a 25 caliber on deer sized game -- best to "tread carefully".   

So, Mr. 257 Fan, I think you are very much on the correct path in adhering to the .257!  Good thinking on your part!



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Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2007, 06:21:28 PM »
For about ten years with the last being about ten years ago,I used my 224 Weatherby magnum exclusively on Whitetails. After losing several of my hunting places,I started having to buy a deer lease. I purposely set my deer feeder 300 paces from my stand on the other side of a large wheat field to test different ammo. I'll tell you why close shots don't penetrate as do long shots. It is because of the velocity and bullet construction. The bullets that did the best were the Nosler solid base which is a hollow point  and the Sierra game king. The Nosler at 50 grains is what I stuck with after using both on about 10 deer each. The hollow point always gave me good damage and the solid base was usually in the hide or under the opposite shoulder with very few exits over the 10 year period.The Sierra game king,I noticed,did the same thing ya'll are experiencing,which is light penetration at short distances. This has to be from higher velocities making it "blow up" at impact. Under running shots the 22 cal is poor for the same reasons. You get a scraping effect as the deer is moving and the bullet is coming apart,you get less penetration. While stalking on foot,you won't catch me using anything less than my 240 and I would be wishng that I had brought my 257WM for sure. They say that 22 long rifles and even shorts are used by Eskimos to kill polar bears with all the time.It all boils down to basically your self preference and experiance. Will the 22 cals kill deer? Yes. Is there something out there that will do it better? Definately!
Sorry... Yesterday was the last and final day for any and all complaints whatsoever.

I try to avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

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Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2007, 10:41:52 PM »
I personally,would not use a 22cal. on deer,that said,I know someone ,that regularly shoots deer with a ruger 10/22.He shoots them in the head,and they drop like rocks.This is at close range,but it shows that a 22 long rifle will definately kill a deer.Where I live,we are limited to shotgun or muzzleloader.When I used to hunt Me.I used a 30-06 or 308.The 22cal's have thier place,but I don't believe the deer woods is one of them.....

Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2008, 11:59:09 AM »
I have taken 5 deer with .22 calibers, all before the invention of bonded or partitioned bullets for .22 calibers.
1. The first was a buck.  I used a .220 Swift and a Sierra 55 grain bullet at 3600fps.  Shot in the neck at 90 yeards, it died on its feet.
2.  The second was a doe standing next to the above buck.  Shot in the neck, it fell, but tried to rise (the bullet missed the spine).  A second neck shot killed it cleanly.
3.  The third, using the above rifle and bullet, was on a previously wounded doe (by another hunter who asked for my assistance).  The deer was hiding in a heavy willow patch.  I finally located it at about 40 yeards looking at me.  I shot it in the eye.  When it hit the ground, it had no brains.
4.  The forth was on a day when the deer in the field I had permission to hunt in were chased into posted property by a pair of coyotes.  I traded my .270 for a 22-250, loaded with 52 grain Sierra HP's, and went coyote hunting.  Ten minuted later, I spotted a buck deer that was trying to sneak out the "back door".  When he turned directly toward me, I fired at the point of his neck-chest junction.  He just stood still, as if nothing had happened.  I fired the second round into his scull, which was instantly fatal.  Upon skinning, I found the first bullet had hit slightly low and struck the chest plate, disintegrating into small fragments, none of which penetrated into the chest cavity.
5.  The fifth was a doe who wandered into range during the deer season.  I was hunting squirrels and trying to find a suitable place to set up a ground blind for the following morning's deer hunt.  The brush was extremely thick.  I heard something moving toward me, so I sat down against a tree and waited.  When a doe stuck her head out into a small opening in the brush, I shot at her forehead with a TC .22 LR pistol.  She instantly fell.  I was unable to find an entrance hole nor any blood.

Based on 100+ deer harvested, I personally believe that .22's for deer are a bad idea, regardless of bullet used.  Shot place must be exact with the entrance located where deep penetration is not required.

Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2008, 10:45:08 PM »
Even if centerfire .22 rifles can kill deer under ideal conditions, why use them when so many better cartridges exist. Surely people old enough to hold up a rifle properly can withstand the recoil of a .243. I suspect some people use them to show their prowess; but if something goes wrong, the deer does the suffering.
Bill Salsman


Re: Opinions on deer hunting with .22 calibers
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2008, 06:19:39 PM »
I think you could kill a deer with a pocket knife, boat paddle, iron skillet or "hell a rock"
but why would you. I think it's our obligation as sportsmen to do an efficient job no matter what we use whether be a gun or a bow, you should know your limitation's!
shure I know I could kill a deer with a 223 or 22-250 but why would I when I have a 243,
270, 300, or 340. From my experence you need energy to be efficient and in my opion
a 243 is marginal. If recoil is an issue and you must shoot a small caliber be shure you
know your limitation.
map ;D