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Thread: .223for Caribou crazy or not?

  1. #1
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default .223for Caribou crazy or not?

    Ok guys what started out as an exploration of ideas for a new barrel for my contender has turned into a knock down drag out brawl over Caribou calibers among my friends. They are basically devided into 2 camps.

    1) Any white tail round is a good pick and .223 is a OK choice. In fact this group points out that there are folks who've been hunting them for years with a 22lr. In another post I point out that I have taken Caribou with my conteder in 223.
    -or-
    2) The .223 is'nt big enough, your lucky you did'nt have too track yours for miles. And people who hunt them with a 22lr are taking undersized animals and are not making a humane kill.

    Where do you stand???
    (sorry if posting 2 simular topics in 2 spots is a no-no but I'd really like too know your opinion on this one, if so it wont happen again)

  2. #2

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    with a good bullet and a good shot it is doable, and plenty humane, with barrels like 243 and 7-08/7-30 why risk it?

  3. #3
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Not a handloader and have lots of posative experiance with the 223. Flatter shooting too. But I'm open to sugjestions how else do we learn

  4. #4

    Default .223

    The .223 is an outstanding round for what it was intended, and deer or caribou size game wasn't part of that. It is just too small a caliber. Sure, the natives in Alaska shoot hundreds a year with .22lr and .223, but the vast majority are shot while swimming and at very close range in the head. A MUCH better choice for your Contender is the .35 Remington, 7MM TCU, .30-30 or similiar caliber. For the Encore, the 7MM-08 is ideal. Been shooting a Contender for many years, and now have an Encore, too. I have taken a number of caribou with my .35 Remington.

    Remember, the .223 was developed by the military as a replacement for the 7.62 Nato (.308 Winchester). It was developed as a man-killer, not a hunting round, and has been adapted as one of the premier varmint rounds ever produced. A human is very easy to kill. Most deer-size and larger animals are not. They are much more tenacious and tougher. For example, no one with any smarts would go hunting caribou with a .38 Special handgun, but will in heartbeat with a .454 Casull. The .38 has killed millions of humans, but is not even remotely considered a viable hunting round for caribou. Same for the .223......
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  5. #5

    Thumbs up .223

    By the way, I have a .223 Contender barrel I use a lot. I have a .223 barrel for my Encore rifle that has taken many fox and coyotes. I have a .223 Ruger rifle that is just deadly. I reload 99% of everything I shoot.

    As I said in my other answer, it is an outstanding round for what it is intended. With this said, I would never take it caribou hunting for fear of wounding or crippling one. Not all shots are perfect, and that is where an approprite caliber comes into it's own......

    Yes, the best way to learn is to ask, and to listen...
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  6. #6
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    The gfolks who routinely hunt them with a .22 lr ain't making very long shots...pretty much pulling a boat alongside 'em , shooting 'em in the head, then dragging 'em aboard or to shore...as I understand it.

    I wouldn't use a .223 for caribou unless it was the only rifle I had and I was hungry...in those circumstances, I wouldn't hesitate!

  7. #7

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    Not to start an argument, but .223 is an excellent round for caribou, and anybody who says different hasn't shot many caribou. Caribou and moose both are such easy animals to kill, quite unlike elk and whitetails that will run for miles. I have killed caribou with a .44 Mag Ruger Blackhawk, a .22 Mag rifle, a .45 ACP Glock, a 60 lb recurve, and a Ruger M77 in .30/06, and they all dropped and died right where I shot them, usually heart and lung shots. I have shot a couple whitetails in Texas with a Ruger Mini 14 in .223 and both times, they ran off and I had a hard time finding them, one ran for over a mile shot through the heart, no joke. I think maybe it has something to do with the cold, the caribou and moose have such a hard life that when they get shot, they just know they are going to die and don't fight it. Another thing about caribou, at least every one I have ever shot from the 40 Mile herd, they are almost completely fatless.

  8. #8

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    But....if I had to choose, I would take a .243 any day of the week over a .223, I just wish someone would make a good assault rifle in .243.

  9. #9

    Default

    Depends on your willingness to wait for and work for just the right shot, then make it. Folks use the 223 all the time, but when they manage it, those are the rules they have to follow. No magic, just common sense, restraint and work.

  10. #10
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    I agree that once hit Caribou dont run near as far as white tail. I too have had too track deer for several hundered yards only to find the round had passed right through the hart and lung.

    A .243 would be sweet but dose'nt that round exceed the presssure capacity of the contender?

    The 30-30 is a good short range round but it drops off so dog gone fast. Then again Ive yet to have too shoot more than about 95 yards at anything up here.(Havent gone sheep or goat yet.)

  11. #11
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    Wink Gun size and Bou

    Lets keep in mind that the average caribou shot at up here in Unit 23 is 200-300 yards and many dropped well over 400 yards. Is you round going to travel that far and still have the knock down power that you will need to kill the bou clean?

    My thought is 1 shot clean, 2 if you misplaced the first. With that in mind a larger caliber would be a better choice. Last fall a pulled the trigger on a nice sized 4-year old bull at 465 yards, 1 shot and 1 kill. I donítí think a small caliber rifle would of done that but the .270 got the job done just fine. Itís like horsepower and boats, you never hate your self for having too much horsepower and the same goes with a gun.

    One mans opinion!
    Walt
    Northwest Alaska Back Country Rentals
    Kotzebue, AK
    www.northwestalaska.com

  12. #12
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Hey guys came to a decesion while helping the wife bring in grocreies. I'm asking too much of my poor old Contender, but would never part with it so I'm going to get a Encore in the spring!

    Northwestalaska I completly agree on the .270! Great round wish I had never sold the rugger no.1 I had.

    Now I just have too get a buyer for the old truck.

  13. #13
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    PS I wont bring this topic up again I think it's been beaten to death. Well all Gunthers being really cute and I onlly got 3 nights a week with his Mom home so I'm outta here.

  14. #14

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    Heinious, I just sat down and counted the caribou I have taken in nearly 22 years in Alaska. I have shot 23 caribou so far, and didn't hunt them for 6 of the years I have been here........... I have taken them with a .44 Magnum handgun, .280 Remington, .54 cal. Hawken rifle (hense my tag name), .30-06, .338, 55 pound compound, .35 Remington contender, .243 and a couple of other rounds.

    I have seen 3 caribou shot with a .223 by different people at real hunting ranges and they did not put them down. 2 of them were from roughly 125 yards and right in the shoulder. Both took multiple hits to bring down, and one only when I hit it with my .280. The third was in the neck from roughly 75 yards. It ran and we never found it, even on the open tundra of the North Slope.

    FYI, Panther Arms (DPMS, Inc), DOES make a semi-auto AR-15 in .243 Winchester caliber. Check them out. Google "Panther Arms" and go to their website. They are excellent weapons. I am going to buy one of the new left-hand AR-15's made by them soon. Can't wait. I have shot a right-hand AR-15 for years and the M-16 for 21 years in the military. I am very glad to be able to get one that doesn't eject in front of my face and splatter hot gasses in my face when I fire it.

    Hunt with the .223 if you wish and can get very close, but my experience and conscience won't allow me to.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  15. #15

    Default Encore

    Rick P, I did the same thing. I still have and use my Contender. I love it, but it really is restricted to what it can handle. I bought an Encore rifle and also an Encore handgun. I know, I could get by with just one and just change the stock and fore end from handgun to rifle, but decided not to....

    You will like it.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  16. #16

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    Thanks for the info Hawken54. I wasn't considering distance when endorsing the .223, although I have made 500 yard shots with a M16. Most of the caribou I have shot have been under 150 yards or so. Also, I think the T/C custom shop makes .243 barrels, but I could be wrong. I know they don't offer them as a standard option.

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    Default Nunivak Reindeer

    out here they have a reindeer company. They herd them up and their method of killing is a .223 to the head. all shots are around 75-125 yards. We are talking 1000 animals a year.

    .223 is an ok round, but if I was going on a fly out hunt or a high buck hunt, I would NOT take it along. Too many limitations.

  18. #18
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    I'm interested in Walt's "2-300 average shot" in unit 23. Where did the data for that average come from?
    I've found the 223, in a mini or AR, to be quite helpful when hunting on a snogo. Ranges under 100 yds, and multiple animals to drop make a 223 semi-auto a good choice.
    A quality rifle in the hands of a capable shooter, in 223, will do the job on bou. Probably wouldn't buy a gun or barrel in that caliber just for a bou hunt tho.
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  19. #19

    Thumbs up heart&lung shots

    Hummmm...animals dropping and dying instantly with heart and lung shots...velly enterestink.

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    Well I wonder why the big name bullet makers would make premium bullets in .224 caliber if it wasn't meant for hunting small thin skinned big game? Nosler, Barnes and Swift make big game bullets in .224 caliber.

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