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Thread: The 5.56/.223 AR...does it have it's place hunting big game in Alaska?

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    Default The 5.56/.223 AR...does it have it's place hunting big game in Alaska?

    Has this horse been flogged already..if so so please indulge me a little...saw a Alaska show last night where a guy with an AR pole axed a moose at 50 yards... A guy I worked with uncle brought him an AR from the early 70's and he has been hunting with it since. How do you tell someone like that he is huntin big game with a 300 yard at best varmint rifle? The guy at work was tellin me how he emptied a magazine at a caribou at 600 yards, broke it's leg and disemboweled it..didn't know what to say so I didn't say anything?

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    Member highestview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneriver View Post
    Has this horse been flogged already..if so so please indulge me a little...saw a Alaska show last night where a guy with an AR pole axed a moose at 50 yards... A guy I worked with uncle brought him an AR from the early 70's and he has been hunting with it since. How do you tell someone like that he is huntin big game with a 300 yard at best varmint rifle? The guy at work was tellin me how he emptied a magazine at a caribou at 600 yards, broke it's leg and disemboweled it..didn't know what to say so I didn't say anything?
    I would hope your face said "you moron". AR's are a good gun for caribou if you hunt them, rather than just shoot at them. Within 200 yards, an AR is sufficient to kill a caribou, especially since you can put a follow up shot in him quickly. I'd use heavier than 55 grain bullets, more like 77's.
    Born in Alaska: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    It has it's place if used accordingly. The 7.62 or .308 Ar10 would be a better choice for larger then caribou animals like the moose.
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Well heck...sure you can hunt big game with a .223/5.56. But there are so many overwhelmingly better choices out there- why would you want to?
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    It's hard to tell the AR10 from the Ar15 at any distance. If you are talking the show "Yukon Men" I gave them the benefit of the doubt & assumed it was chambered in 308. If that's the case it's no less effective or appropriate than a Browning or Remington semi-auto in 308.

    My brother in laws both started their kids with 223s (Mini-14s) for caribou & deer when the kids were 10-12yrs old & kept the range short (100yds or less) with dad there as backup. As soon as the kids could handle it they moved up to heavier calibers.
    In my eyes the AR in 223 is a fine varmint rifle but nothing more.
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    It's not the AR I have a problem with...it's the .223.....big stretch between the .223 and the 308. I know moose , caribou and bear have been taken with the .223, but why hunt with a caliber that is down on the lower end of power....? Lack of understanding?

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    Sadly people use "POWER" to compensate for a lack of hunting skill. If a person has 30 years of successful hunting with only a Bow & Arrows, and has never even seen a firearm, It seems unfounded to say he would be using a "TOOL" that was Under POWERED by shifting to the use of 5.56X45

    Quote Originally Posted by Oneriver View Post
    It's not the AR I have a problem with...it's the .223.....big stretch between the .223 and the 308. I know moose , caribou and bear have been taken with the .223, but why hunt with a caliber that is down on the lower end of power....? Lack of understanding?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Sadly people use "POWER" to compensate for a lack of hunting skill. If a person has 30 years of successful hunting with only a Bow & Arrows, and has never even seen a firearm, It seems unfounded to say he would be using a "TOOL" that was Under POWERED by shifting to the use of 5.56X45
    You are on the outer rim of logic.......
    If I'm good with a knife and fast on my feet then my knife is the right tool for the job? Not really concerned with debating hunting skills or long range shooting due to lack of stalking skills....not impressed with folks that proudly announce that take mostly head shots...why would anyone pick a caliber with such a thin margin of "POWER" when killing a big game animal...?

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    If that's all I have....better believe I'm using it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneriver View Post
    Has this horse been flogged already..if so so please indulge me a little...saw a Alaska show last night where a guy with an AR pole axed a moose at 50 yards... A guy I worked with uncle brought him an AR from the early 70's and he has been hunting with it since. How do you tell someone like that he is huntin big game with a 300 yard at best varmint rifle? The guy at work was tellin me how he emptied a magazine at a caribou at 600 yards, broke it's leg and disemboweled it..didn't know what to say so I didn't say anything?
    he's been using it since the 70's????
    I think I'd have had to say something........it would probably start out; "Listen up *****hole...."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneriver View Post
    It's not the AR I have a problem with...it's the .223.....big stretch between the .223 and the 308. I know moose , caribou and bear have been taken with the .223, but why hunt with a caliber that is down on the lower end of power....? Lack of understanding?
    When considering using the .223 for any type of game it's important to maintain distinctions in the types of bullets that are used. There are lots of available bullets that make a .223 very effective on large game. That may be tough to believe, but it's true nonetheless. There's a lack of understanding, but not necessarily on the part of .223 users......
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    There is a lot of big game taken in Alaska with the 223, more then a lot of people would want to admit to. If one keeps the distance with-in reason, proper bullet and good shot placement, all goes well. Part of the problem is that too many people attempt to make the 223 into a long range weapon to harvest game. My wife has an AR-M4 that she uses in winter hunts with when we use the snow machines. It is loaded with a 64 grain Barnes bullet and it does the job just fine, as long as we keep the shots at 150 yards or less.
    As far as shooting big game in the head, we have taken most of our caribou and moose with heads shots. We, again make sure that the range is some what short, the animal is not moving and we have a good rest. We have never lost and animal and loose very little meat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    he's been using it since the 70's????
    I think I'd have had to say something........it would probably start out; "Listen up *****hole...."
    He shot a small grizzly with it 2 years ago...Rem. soft point...not sure what grain.....I think 55 gr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    When considering using the .223 for any type of game it's important to maintain distinctions in the types of bullets that are used. There are lots of available bullets that make a .223 very effective on large game. That may be tough to believe, but it's true nonetheless. There's a lack of understanding, but not necessarily on the part of .223 users......
    True...in the last few years bullet design has come a very long way...For instance myself, I CCW a 9mm with a round that I think through all my research levels the playing field with the popular defense calibers. Just reloaded a batch of Barns TSX copper bullets (30 06) for pig hunting in California.....shot one 2 years ago with copper bullet and was very impressed...............

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    There is a lot of big game taken in Alaska with the 223, more then a lot of people would want to admit to. If one keeps the distance with-in reason, proper bullet and good shot placement, all goes well. Part of the problem is that too many people attempt to make the 223 into a long range weapon to harvest game. My wife has an AR-M4 that she uses in winter hunts with when we use the snow machines. It is loaded with a 64 grain Barnes bullet and it does the job just fine, as long as we keep the shots at 150 yards or less.
    As far as shooting big game in the head, we have taken most of our caribou and moose with heads shots. We, again make sure that the range is some what short, the animal is not moving and we have a good rest. We have never lost and animal and loose very little meat.
    I would call you a ethical hunter....

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    Member tyrex13's Avatar
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    The Winchester Power Point 64 Grain has 1,000 ft lbs of energy at 100 yards. I would consider .223 more than adequate for lung shots on deer, caribou and black bear. I probably would not use one on moose, but to each his own. I think a well placed shot would do the job.

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    Member Meanderthal's Avatar
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    Nowdays an AR-15 can be chambered for cartidges which are far more deadly on big game than the .223/5.56.

    The 6.8 SPC and the 6.5 Grendel are both capable of launching a 120 grain bullet to about 2700 FPS at the muzzle and carrying 1000 foot pounds of energy past 250 yards.

    They are gaining popularity among hunters fast too. I haven't seen many out in the field but there must be a reason that Cabela's, Sportman's, 3 Bears, Boondocks, Great Northern Guns etc. are keeping a variety of factory ammo for them on the shelves. I don't think the plinkers and target shooters are buying the Barnes X and Nosler Accubonds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneriver View Post
    Has this horse been flogged already..if so so please indulge me a little...saw a Alaska show last night where a guy with an AR pole axed a moose at 50 yards... A guy I worked with uncle brought him an AR from the early 70's and he has been hunting with it since. How do you tell someone like that he is huntin big game with a 300 yard at best varmint rifle? The guy at work was tellin me how he emptied a magazine at a caribou at 600 yards, broke it's leg and disemboweled it..didn't know what to say so I didn't say anything?
    That gun coil have been a 6.8, 7.62x39, .458 or .50 in an ar-15 platform, any number of calibers in an ar-10 platform.

    I assume it was one if those when I watched the show. To me the barrel appeared to be something like the .458/.50.

    In any case to add my two cents to the original question, 5.56 would not be amongst first several choices for hunting big game up here, I have a few other more traditional choices that I'd reach for first.

    Can it be done, yes, several guys on here could post pictures to prove it.

    I DO carry an AR in 5.56 exclusively for predators. I love the ability to fling quick follow ups when the potential exists for calling in multiple animals. I've developed a pair of loads using "premium" bullets (TTSX and Nosler bonded) that I believe make the caliber suitable for wolves, haven't proved it yet though!


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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    Sadly people use "POWER" to compensate for a lack of hunting skill. If a person has 30 years of successful hunting with only a Bow & Arrows, and has never even seen a firearm, It seems unfounded to say he would be using a "TOOL" that was Under POWERED by shifting to the use of 5.56X45
    I assume the .223 may be fine on larger game in Alaska or wherever for someone who can make a really good shot, but that doesn't mean that pushing the lower limit of available cartridges is ideal either. If I had a .223 and a .308, and was hunting bear, I can't think of a reason to use the .223, unless just to say I could do it. By analogy, anyone can put a human down with a .22LR with a well-placed shot, but there is a reason the .22LR isn't used by police or military. It's also not ideal to use a .223 on squirrels. There are better intermediate options.

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    LONG before the .223 Remington was born, Skilled hunters (Alaskan Natives & Eskimo's) used the .222 Remington to successfully harvest Big Game.

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