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What's the least powerful legal caliber you ever shot a deer with .

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What's the least powerful legal caliber you ever shot a deer with . And how far did it get before recovery .

 

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I shot a nice mature 8 point buck in 2012 with a .243 Win. The buck was walking towards me through some thick woods and I waited until he got into my shooting lane. I put the crosshairs behind his right shoulder and squeezed off the shot. He dropped dead right there. Pic is Euro mount I had done on him.                    valoroutdoors.com 

20190616_060547.jpg

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I shot a 4 point years ago with my .30 Carbine that was 30 yards away standing broadside.  The bullet was a 110 grain soft point.  The shot took out both lungs.  It ran 50 yards and fell over.

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.222 Rem.....Neck shot..She went 2 feet straight down...

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Same as Pygmy, a 222 Remington, 4 pt Buck, 70 yds, neck shot, fell where it stood. My first Deer.

Al

Edited by airedale
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Serious Dogs For Serious Work

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.223 (handgun)with a headshot at about 70 yards on a doe. Any shot other than the head was out of the question as she was right on the edge of a deep ravine that would have required substantial machinery for recovery.


"It's fun to win elections." -- Bill Whittle

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7mm\08 less than fifty yards. Dead right there. Not even a twitch. On multiple mature bucks. 

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357 mag from a black hawk for me . 60 yards with a 180 grain hard cast through both shoulders, she went maybe 40 yards. 

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I have shot 6 deer with a .223/60 grain v-max. The longest shot was 225 yards and the closest was 75 yards. All dropped in their tracks or went less than 50 yards. It has often been criticized for being to small of a round and caliber but for me results matter.

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I havent shot deer with more than 2 calibers so I guess the 20 guage is the least powerful caliber? Shot 4 with it and all but one dropped on the spot. The other one ran about 50 yards and piled up.

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Either a .25-20 Marlin 1894CL or a .357 revolver. Both doe shot at around 40 yards.

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The least powerful gun, that I killed deer with (around a dozen actually) is my 50 cal ML with 100 grains of pyrodex or triple 7 powder.    All (12) of those were hit right about where I intended and about half dropped right where they stood when hit.   Those that ran off (usually hit thru both lungs) went an average of 50 yards.  The one that I did not recover was likely single-lunged (he was quartering away at 175 yards when struck and made it about 300 yards).  I found him a week later (well after the coyotes did) with the help of the crows.  

I learned two important lessons from that loss: #1) Assume every shot is a hit until PROVEN otherwise.   The best way to prove a miss is to bring the deer down quick with a follow-up shot.   For that reason (and #2), I no longer use a ML outside of ML season.  More power, and more importantly - more quick followup shots, is always good.   #2) That weapon gets too low on power, at about 150 yards,  for any shot other than a broadside  & behind-the-shoulder shot.  

I am about 90 % certain that I suffered my first miss on a deer with that ML last winter up in the northern zone.   I located the branch that deflected the shot and I tracked the big doe in good snow for over a mile after the "miss".  I found no blood, or hair near the spot she stood when I fired, or in the place she bedded down later.  Hopefully, the good Lord was saving her to make a nice buck or two for somebody (maybe me) some day   

The next least powerful would probably be my 30/06 with 150 grain ammo, with which I have killed (3), all dropping dead in their tracks (assuming that comes out a bit lower in the energy department- at least at the muzzle, than a 16 gauge foster slug which has killed a few dozen for me, and definitely short of a 12 gauge sabot slug which has got the job done a few dozen more times.   The way I judge the energy of a gun is by how hard it kicks and that 30/06 feels like a pop-gun compared to my slug guns.   

Hopefully, I will get a chance at a deer with a couple of new candidates in the "low-energy" department this season.  Although my 30/06 has put all three deer that I shot it at down dead in their tracks, it is just too big and heavy to lug around up in the mountains.  I sighted in my father in laws new-in-box, Marlin 336, 30/30 last fall.  I hope he will let me take it out when the weather is fair.  When the weather is rough, with rain, sleet, or snow, I will be lugging my own new Marlin 336BL, which I recently oufitted and sighted in with fiber optic open sights.    

I think that testing the limits on low power to "challenge oneself" is a very dumb move.  I feel comfortable dropping down to the 30/30, because it has likely killed more deer in NY state than any other weapon.  Why anyone would want to drop too much below that level of power is beyond my understanding.   In the quest for a "better" Adirondack deer rifle than my 30/06, I considered a .243, but I ruled that out after seeing the amount of meat that it destroyed on a buck that a buddy gave me last fall.   Lower speed and more mass in a bullet is the key to less meat loss and the 30/30 wins that battle over the .243 by a big margin.   The .243 might be a very good pick for the recoil-shy "trophy-hunter" guys and gals, but it leaves us "meat hunters" a bit lacking.       

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4 hours ago, wolc123 said:

I think that testing the limits on low power to "challenge oneself" is a very dumb move.

I assume you don't do any bow hunting then?

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Wolc123 said : 

I think that testing the limits on low power to "challenge oneself" is a very dumb move.

That's a question the state laws decides really  up to them .  Personally the only reason I would use less gun then what is normally recommended is if I wanted to  buy a certain model  gun  that was only made in certain lower powerd calibers .  But I wouldn't  use it for a primary deer gun . Especially if I know I'm hunting in a place that there are chances for long shots. 

 

 

 

 

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I guess my 50 cal. ml with patched ball, 90 grains black powder. dropped right on the spot (several times). Although relatively slow moving the big round balls actually transmit their power very efficiently. 

Otherwise, I have always been a very firm believer in owing it to the animal to be sure of a clean kill....not "challenging" myself. I was raised hunting with pumpkin balls out of smoothbores in the southern tier, and although a 12 gauge slug appropriately applied has devastating power, a deers will to live can be amazing...multiple heart shots /boiler maker shots that the deer have gone very considerable distances. I believe shot placement is by far the most important part of taking a deer, but even premium bullets don't have the say in all circumstances once they leave the barrel. 

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I've shot several deer with a Model 70 chambered in .243. Still one of my favorite guns to carry in the woods.

 

Some of my extended family shoot does with 22-250 or 223 rem, but they are only taking standing neck/head shots to fill nuisance tags. 

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21 hours ago, Steve D said:

I have shot 6 deer with a .223/60 grain v-max. The longest shot was 225 yards and the closest was 75 yards. All dropped in their tracks or went less than 50 yards. It has often been criticized for being to small of a round and caliber but for me results matter.

i've wondered if it's hold together well enough for a deer. i use that round on woodchucks ever summer. seems it'd be behind the shoulder double lung or heart shot. wouldn't try sending it through bone. pieces would probably be every where in the deer i'd think.

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