.308 vs .223 for Hunting Whitetail Deer :: Guns.com


The size distinction among .308 and .223 is substantial but do not let that fool you, each can take deer (Photo: Eric Jezierski/Guns.com)

For a lot of years intermediate calibers had been the name of the game when it came to picking the proper cartridge for hunting deer, but that is not necessarily the case any longer. Due to improvements in ammunition technologies and our understanding of the power a bullet carries with it, .223 Remington has turn out to be a preferred deer hunting cartridge. Even though a lot of hunters have been employing .308 Winchester for decades when taking whitetail deer, the increasing reputation of the .223 amongst shooters has produced a lot of look at employing the smaller sized projectile for their caliber of option. Let’s dive in and see if .223 is the greatest caliber for the job on your subsequent hunt.


For a lot of years, most states expected the use of an intermediate cartridge for whitetail deer hunting. There are nevertheless some states’ regulations that deem .223 as well modest, such as Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia to name a couple of. In states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, laws have been updated to enable the smaller sized, more quickly round to be utilized.

In contrast, .308 is a caliber that is universally identified as a wonderful deer hunting round in locations that enable rifles for the sport.

What You Will need to Take Whitetail Deer

A popular measure is that is utilized to decide no matter whether a round is strong adequate to take whitetail deer is the power the bullet delivers. 1,000 ft pounds of power is typically believed of as the minimum energy a bullet can carry to ethically take a significant game like deer.

Most .223 cartridges made for hunting use will have more than 1,200 foot-pounds of power when fired from a complete-length rifle barrel. This is contemplating that the projectile is roughly 62 grains or heavier, and the bullet if zipping along at a blazing three,000 feet per second. By these measurements, the .223 has a lot of energy to take down a whitetail deer ethically.

In comparison, a 175-grain projectile from a .308 caliber rifle will provide more than two,600 foot-pounds of power when traveling more than two,600 feet per second. Even though this is a lot more than double the power of the .223, it is worth noting that escalating bullet weight does not generally imply a lot more power delivered to the target. In reality, with most factory loads, the lighter weight bullets of .308 will ordinarily provide a lot more power upon effect.

It is also fascinating to note that comparing the effects either of these bullets have in ballistic tests, each rounds have comparable penetration depths. The .308, nevertheless, creates a wider wound channel.

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Why Pick out .223

One particular of the most preferred rifles currently is the AR-15. One particular cause for its elevated reputation is that the platform is reasonably priced, ergonomic, and lightweight. Yet another cause is that we have a significant population of veterans amongst us who are familiar with the platform, so they have a tendency to gravitate back to it. Because the .223/five.56 is the most popular chambering for the AR-15, it is no surprise that persons would want to use it to hunt with.

.223 is 1 of the most reasonably priced rifle cartridges obtainable currently. This indicates that it is affordable to assume that most of us have the propensity to train a lot more with our rifles chambered in the caliber. Aspect of taking a deer ethically is becoming capable to place a properly-aimed shot exactly where we intend to.

GET ALL YOUR .308 AMMO Ideal Right here!

Why Pick out .308

Even though .308 ammunition is a lot more high priced than .223, it is nevertheless comparatively low-cost and straightforward to practice with. Also, there is no doubt that .308 hits significantly tougher than .223. Lastly, .308 has a significantly higher powerful variety.

With a higher powerful variety, .308 may well be the clear option if you are hunting whitetail deer in a place exactly where you are expecting to take lengthy-variety shots.

What Ranges Could You Take Deer At?

At 200 yards you can anticipate a .308 bullet to drop about two inches. At the exact same distance, a common .223 hunting round will drop about 3 inches. Each rounds will commence to drop at an escalating price beyond the 200-yard mark, with heavier .308 bullets dropping slightly a lot more than the lighter .223.

One particular key concern is that .223 will shed power significantly more quickly than the .308. Beyond 100 yards, .223 will have power significantly less than 1,000 foot-pounds. This tells us that ethically .223 must be utilized at ranges of 100 yards or significantly less. For some hunters, this may perhaps not be a realistic selection, but for a lot of, a lot of these shots you may well get at a trophy whitetail are most likely to be properly inside that variety.

The increasing reputation of the AR platform has produced the .223 a a lot more popular hunting round (Photo: Eric Jezierski/Guns.com)

Whitetail deer are skittish creatures who favor to reside in dense forests exactly where they are properly-hidden from predators. If we look at the good results that bow hunters have with whitetail deer at ranges of 50 yards and in, abruptly 100 yards appears like a extremely affordable variety.

You will have to decide for oneself if you truly assume that you are going to have to have to variety out beyond that 100-yard mark to take your deer. This must be completed by way of a two-element approach. 1st, scout your hunting land to have an understanding of exactly where the deer are and exactly where your stand will be. Second, make a realistic assessment of how far you assume you can hit the modest target that is the important organs of the whitetail deer. Note that the final shooting position will most likely be distinctive from the bench rest you may well have zeroed your rifle on.

Selecting the Ideal Bullet

Regardless of the caliber you decide on, it is crucial to decide on the proper ammunition for the job. Soft points or hollow points must be utilized to ethically take a whitetail deer. These bullets are made to expand upon effect, stop more than-penetration, and lead to maximum harm to the important organs of the game when the shot finds its mark.

Final Thoughts

Each calibers are up to the challenge of taking a deer dwelling and assisting you place venison in the freezer. Even though .308 is a trusted caliber amongst deer hunters, .223 is speedily gaining a following amongst the neighborhood when employing the proper loads. If you are not at present employing .223, it is at least worth your consideration.


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