This question is even more widespread than some may think: deserve to you hunt whitetail deer through a .22? Smaller bullets result in clean shots through extremely bit meat spoilage, however are the benefits worth sacrificing power and also velocity?


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Should any centerfire cartridge that shoots a .224-inch (.22) caliber bullet be used for whitetail deer? Many readers more than likely currently have actually an opinion, yet the real answer is both yes and also no. It’s all a matter of bullet weight, velocity and conditions.

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Bulallows in the .22-caliber family members run the gamut from the ultra-light 37-grain pure lead bullets moved as low as 900 fps (feet per second) in the subsonic long-rifle rimfire, to 80-grain jacketed bulallows pushed at over 3,500 fps from the likes of the .220 Swift and the Wildcat .224 TTH. Obviously, at those two extremes, the energy delivered and terminal performance vary substantially. On one end, the performance is completely insufficient and on the other, it has actually prcooktop to be marginally acceptable for smaller species of massive game. Smaller species include antelope and pint-sized whitetails. That’s where the controversy starts.

Clean Kills And Quick Drops

Heavier (62- to 80-grain) bullets pushed at speeds over 3,200 fps have taken scores of deer. In many type of ranches in Texas, state biologists will certainly recommend a population-thinning regimen to bring total deer numbers, and doe-to-buck ratios, in line with the land’s carrying capacity. They often recommend certain numbers of does and also smaller bucks be rerelocated and also worry special permits for those deer to be culled. Professional shooters are carried in, as are refrigerated trailers and skinners to process the meat.

I have participated in a number of of these hunts, and in many instances the skilled shooters’ caliber of option was either a .220 Swift or a hot-loaded .22-250, constantly loaded through hefty, jacketed, hunting-grade bulallows. The rationale? With well-put shots (the key), fatality was instantaneous and meat destruction was minimal. These were pros who can usage any type of caliber they wiburned. Targets were commonly does and also juvenile bucks weighing around 100 pounds. Shot placement was deliberate and also specific, and also double-lung shots were the prime objective. If the hunters couldn’t acquire the shot they wanted, they didn’t shoot! Not enough bullet, you say? Just around right?

I was the staff gun writer for a leading Texas deer-hunting magazine for about a decade. The subject of .22s for deer was consistently the chief topic of the calls, correspondence and basic talk. Many kind of hunters were making use of .22-250s and Swifts to take Texas deer, and because these rifles are commonly made through a 1:12 or 1:14 twist designed for varmint bullets, the off-the-shelf weapons wouldn’t take care of the heavier 62- to 80-grain stuff.

I came up via a 6mm Remington situation necked down to .224 and matched to a 1:9 twist barrel — the .224 TTH (Texas Trophy Hunter). Its prime goal wregarding drive heavy, well-created bulallows rapid. My thinking was, if you have to use a .22-caliber on deer, here’s one that maximizes the best deer bulallows. I took many deer and antelope while evaluating the round. It is still popular this day. Is it my initially deer choice? No. But a 1:9 twist barrel will certainly drive the Remington 62-grain CoreLokt, the Nosler 60-grain Partition, or the Barnes solids to 3,500 fps quickly, and with these, well-inserted shots smash smaller huge game with pretty spectacular results.

The Other Side

Of course, under right problems — favor those the cull hunters attempt to develop or when pets are smaller-bopassed away — practically any type of round, including the .22 rimfires, deserve to deliver a killing swarm. On a current hunt in north Alaska, I asked a neighborhood Inuit what cartridge he preferred for caribou. Caribou carefully complement whitetail in body dimension, and also the Inuit shoot quite many them each winter. His answer — a .22 Magnum. The approach used? Record the caribou crossing a river and also shoot for either the spine or the head. Hardly the problems the average whitetail hunter encounters, but thousands of caribou are killed that means yearly.

For a lot of of us, one shot is all we gain, and also it’s hardly ever a perfect setup. If a hit is the leastern little off from “appropriate,” just the big caliber and also power innate in a big case will provide the energy to kill on influence. In the situation of a marginal hit (which happens to all of us sooner or later on, let’s be honest), a lighter .224-caliber bullet would certainly a lot of likely have brought about a wreck, a miss out on or wounded shed game. I hunt in the actual world wbelow stuff happens, so given the option, I’ll always opt for even more horsepower.

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For the shooter that sits in a blind or stand, particularly over a food resource, and also knows to within a couple of yards wright here his tarobtain will appear, one who have the right to take delibeprice, unhurried care, a hot-loaded .22 will acquire it done. For any type of various other scenario, once we don’t know what to expect, even more power is great insurance.