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Moose-Hunter

.22 centerfire now LEGAL for big game: Your thoughts?

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I just read that .22 centerfire is now the legal minimum for big game in Minnesota.

Sec. 39. Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 97B.031, subdivision 1, is amended to read:

Firearms and ammunition that may be used to take big game. A person may take big game with a firearm only if:

(1) the rifle, shotgun, and handgun used is a caliber of at least .22 inches and with centerfire ignition

(2) the firearm is loaded only with single projectile ammunition

(3) a projectile used is a caliber of at least .22 inches and has a soft point or is an expanding bullet type

(4) the ammunition has a case length of at least 1.285 inches

What are your thoughts?

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I donno, sounds like there's gonna be a few more deer lost. I'm all for smaller calibers, but a 22-250? There's gonna be alotta people thinking that since they can hit a bullseye at 500 yards they can kill a deer at that range w/ a .22, not a good idea

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I'll bet you see alot of assult style weapons in the woods with magazines maxed out.There fast and lots of energy but the idea for taking big game?? I think its a mistake to approve thes Cals.

I also think deer hunting just got a bit more dangerous with the output of ammo.

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I really don't think there will be much change. Most people have their deer guns from years past, and will continue to use them.

My dad shot mulies back in the 50's with a 220 swift. With good quality bullets it worked very well. Then again, he was an excellent shot who practiced a lot. More importantly, he knew when to NOT take a shot.

I still have that old 220, along with a Ruger #1 in the same caliber. Although the thought of using them on deer intrigues me, I will stick to my .338.

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I know, I know, it's overkill. I just cant stand the trigger on my old Remington 742 semi-auto. The 338 puts the bullet where I want it, and it does not tear them up any more than my 30-06 did.

One of these years I will be in posession of a Ruger 77 in 6.5 x 55 for deer.

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I hunt in slug zone, picked up a 243 from a friend for a good price, and I have an AR-15 in .223 I think with a 75 grain bullet, and a range of no more than say 200 yards with good optics, a 223 will put a deer down if the shooter does their job. If I ever hunt in the rifle zone I would opt for my 243 with an 87 gr. Barnes triple x bullet. Anyone who goes out in the woods with a .22 caliber rifle and a light bullet (less than 65 grains) is not going to have a perfect set up for their shot. For youths, I think the 243 is the best route.

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Thoughts ... Thinking I just trimmed some 22-250 brass ...

Think I will start working up loads with 53 gr TSX's in the near future. Ought to make for a dandy dual purpose load for venado and fur friendliness. Can't see one of those failing at a reasonable (sub 300 or so) range if launched in the mid 3K's.

Also think that the stores that sell 22 cal centerfire ammo ought to do everyone a favor and somehow mark those boxes that are recommended for Big Game vs Vermin or Predators. There are those that don't know a VMax from a solid, but would make the right bullet choice if their ammo monger voluntarily posted recommendations. Besides, very few folks will be taking to the field with a 22 centerfire as a "first choice". Think the changed law is much ado about nothing.

I'll not have an issue if somebody has a .224 bore TSX, Partition, or even the 64 gr Winchester Power Point in the chamber if they are squeezing trigger on a deer.

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I'm anxious to hear reports on the effectiveness. I believe that if you understand what you are working with and how to use it, you'll be alright. But it limits the margin of error.

Like Gissert, my preferred rifle is in the assumed overkill category, but I like my .300 and it works. A 200 gr trophy bonded doesn't do even as much damage as the soft point shelf ammo in 150 gr for the .308. That was a suprise to me.

Blair points out the different bullet construction. I think that and energy for penetration mean more than caliber size personally. I've studied ballistics a little and examine wounds from different ammo and different hits. That doesn't make me an expert, but it does give me something to base my decisions on.

I've always wanted a reason to buy something like a .22-250 or .223, etc. Pending a couple years of feedback, I just may have my reason. As some already know and some disagree with, I prefer head/neck shots anyway when at a reasonable distance.

That lighter recoil just may help some be more accurate too. Just remember --Two for flinching!--.

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With the new change that I read in the paper about allowing children age 10-11 to hunt deer as well, I think the smaller calibers go hand in hand. With proper teaching and restraint a kid will be better prepared to make a good shot with a mild recoiling rifle at reasonable ranges than with a more powerful round. Proper bullet design and placement being equally important.

My daughter is a pretty good shot with her BB gun, .22 rifle and handgun, because she has confidence in them. Her 20 gauge shotgun still seems to scare the **** out of her and would not be a good choice for her. Confidence and restraint with a mild recoiling rifle will translate into better shots on game. This is a good way for kids to make the transition to big game hunting.

Adults is another story. I shoot a 7mm Remington Mag and a Remington 1100 rifled slug gun with sabots for deer. Both are heavy on recoil but I want the power and recoil doesn't bother me. That is not to say that all adults feel the same way about recoil.

Adults that choose to shoot one of the .22 caliber guns may look at it as a limiting factor the same as an archery or muzzleloader hunter looks at the increased challenge. I just hope it doesn't turn into a long range shooting match. These calibers and the available bullets have their limitations it is just up to the shooter to know what they are.

That being said I have seen a number of animals harvested out west using a .223 some were pretty impressive and some not so much.

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I own several smaller caliber rifles like the .223, 22-250 and others. I believe that I can shoot fairly well but I would not consider shooting these calibers as there is no margin for error. I do believe that there will be an increase of wounded animals and thats extra fuel for the PETA fire.

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Mr. Lee,

I have to respectfully disagree with your assertion that there is less margin of error with hot 22 and good bullets than a (insert your favorite chambering here).

A gut shot deer is a gut shot deer. In fact a persuasive argument can be made that a deer gut shot with an explosive varmint bullet is more likely to expire on the spot than one hit "a little back" with a big magnum and a "hard" bullet that may pencil through. "Ba-Zorp" - P.O. Ackley.

I DO believe that a woods full of Jim Zumbo's feared "Black Rifles" and banana clips may increase "spray and pray" wounding and the PETA propaganda but that reality has been with us since the Remington 740 and its progeny have been called "Minnesota Machine Guns". Spray and Pray has little, if anything, to do with cartridge choice and everything to do with undisciplined hunting. A PETA type would consider my M70 as nothing more than another noxious "sniper rifle". ;-)

Considering that the vast majority of Minnesota deer are taken within 200 yards and that the vital area of a WTD is about the size of a basketball, I think that leaves PLENTY of error margin for shooting the typical deer with a good bullet. Especially from a rested stand.

I can see the hot 22 centerfires getting more use than expected this fall with the 10 and 11 year olds being allowed to hunt right next to a parent or guardian. If my boy decides to hunt and commits himself to practice, I have no qualms about putting a comb riser on the stock and having him holding the 22-250 on a stand or sitting in some hay bales. Especially because I can load down to Hornet/22 RF Mag velocities (and recoil) for practice and ease the lad into recoil/muzzle blast tolerance for the season.

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Personally, I'm swaying to the plus side of this issue. However, I'm still a bit undecided...

On one hand, I know the "lethality" of a potent .223. A decent load combined with the lighter recoil makes for a effective, yet comfortable gun to shoot. If the gun is comfortable to shoot, you'll shoot more often and hopefully build up your skill level to be able to shoot within that "reduced margin for error". Thus being the case of my girlfriend.

At the range, she shoots clay pigeons out to 200 yards with surprising regularity with one of my .223's. And I'm sure, she could shoot "minute of deer" out beyond that. She's handy with the rifle, but knows nothing in regards to ammo. For her first season out, I'll either find a proper factory load or work one up myself. Then she would not only have the skills, but the correct tools as well.

On the other hand, the same rifle that my GF intends to use for her first season out, would be a nightmare in the mits of the "uninformed" hack hunter. This "hack" wouldn't spend the time getting to know his/her firearm. They would not realize that the same cheapo FMJ's they bought for plinking are not always the best choice for harvesting big game. This in itself will/may increase wounding and further fuel the PETA fires.

The ethical hunter, who cares about a safe, humane harvest will go that extra mile to eliminate as many variables as possible. In the hands of a educated, disiplined hunter, the hot .22's will be quite effective.

The "hack" will always be a "hack regardless of the caliber. Without the proper tools and good shot placemenet, as Blair stated, "A gut shot deer is a gut shot deer". The smaller caliber just gives them more toys to play with...

(Note: I hope the above made some kind of sense. I'm working on only one cup of coffee today... crazy )

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A gut shot deer is a gut shot deer.... an explosive varmint bullet... a "hard" bullet...

apples and oranges...explosive bullet vs. hard bullet

Blair Nelson, you have likely already forgotten more about ballistics than I will ever know. Is one gut shot deer really the same as any other gut shot deer? My experience this last year with my 300 WSM ballistic silvertips consisted of three dead deer. The two that were double-lunged had the expected results, crappie flops. The third deer was gut shot at 150 yards, and made it a whole 50 yards before expiring. I have thought that if I was shooting a small caliber that that deer would have gone much further, and been less likely to be recovered. Do you really believe a small caliber soft tip would of had similar results?

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Jameson,

My "gut shot hypothesis" makes a few assumptions. First that the Shooter known as "Hot 22" is using something other than FMJ Mil Surp or the equivalent. Say a 223 or 22-250 loaded with a varmint/predator bullet ... hitting the deer at about 3200 - 3400 fps. Shooter known as "Belted Mag" has read lots of magazines and internet forums and knows that what is good for Elk is necessary for "Big Northern Deer" so is shooting a 30/378 WBY and a 180 gr Partition or 165 TSX at the same impact speed.

A lightly constructed varmint bullet will likely fragment all to Hades in the cavity and cause massive internal messiness and internal bleeding. The deer is going to die, but is unlikely to leave much of a blood trail will no exit wound. Could be a slow death but with the spray of trauma it very well could be instantaeous. Ugly to butcher and God knows what damage is done to the loin cuts ... but DRT.

An argument can be made that a larger bullet that is better constructed is much more likely to pass through and leave a blood (and bile) trail. Fewer random angry pieces of shrapnel in the cavity would logically make for less internal damage. Deer is going to die, is more trackable, could go further. Much further.

A deer hit by Hot 22 with a similarly constructed bullet to Belted Mag's will likely have significantly less damage to the guts. However, anybody that takes a Hot 22 and knows enough to use a TSX/Partition etc ... is likely to know what they are doing and will punch the deer in the basketball and be hanging it in short order.

Your gut shot deer with the 300 Wizzum and Ballistic Silvertips (Nosler Ballistic Tips relabeled) was probably hit pretty fast and had explosive bullet performance, much like I'd expect with a Hot 22 and a varmint bullet.

My point here is NOT to advocate gut shooting, Nor shooting deer with varmint bullets (tho a VMax can do likewise horrible things to a lung, it can have serious issues penetrating the vitals from the other side of a shoulder), instead that the "Margin of Error" argument between Belted Mag and Hot 22 regarding bullets and placement is a bit of a red herring.

Hit the basketball with a well constructed bullet at a velocity within it's design parameters and notch your tag.

A Hot 22 can and will do that reliably on deer.

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Blair

All of what you are stating is fine for an expierenced rifleman that takes his time to learn the ballistics and the rifle. That is a very small percentage and I truely believe that the majority of these guns will be shooting the incorrect ammo.

My father use to have to guys come to the ranch and hunt every year and they hunted with 22-250's. All they did was wound deer and were asked to not come back.

So, yes in the right hands a smaller caliber can be effective but that is a very small group of hunters.

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First of all you need to get the facts right! The law says .23 so a .22 rim fire would not be a legal gun.

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You may be right as far as a gut shot deer, and I'm sure you know alot more along the lines of ballistics and what not than I do, but what about a shoulder? I've always been a fan of smaller cartridges, I started w/ a 243 and moved up to a 25-06. I've had no problems with either and have yet to loose a deer (knock on wood). If you're shooting a soft bullet so it fragments well, wouldn't it just expolode on the shoulder and have little penetration? When I pull the trigger, I usually don't wait for the front leg to be fully extended forward, I like to actually clip part of the shoulder so when it hits the vitals the bullet is already fully expanded and does as much damage as possible. With a smaller caliber you'd need to have something that would do a decent amount of penetration but will still expand enough to kill.

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With a smaller caliber you'd need to have something that would do a decent amount of penetration but will still expand enough to kill.

I'm in total agreement. I would like to see someone (maybe MDHA) create a list of "recommended" and "discouraged" factory ammo for those who will use combination big game/varmint cartridges deer hunting and distribute the list through the membership to stores that sell ammunition.

Nobody thinks of themself as a slob hunter. Most folks will make reasonable ammo choices if they are educated without being preached to.

The consensus here ... people who know what they are doing can effectively hunt deer with Hot 22's loaded with good bullets ... is probably why the DNR recommended the change.

Killing a deer is not rocket science but ammo selection is more than buying bottle rockets.

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First of all you need to get the facts right! The law says .23 so a .22 rim fire would not be a legal gun.

pm,

take easy here.

The law was just changed so it's not in "publication" yet that I'm aware of. Another thing to understand is the difference between "RIMFIRE" and "CENTERFIRE". As the name of this topic implies, the change is to allow centerfire .22 caliber rounds to be used for deer, not rimfires that people use for squirrel hunting. Centerfire catridges must be a minium of 1.285" in length of which a .22 short, long, or magnum (all rimfires) do not meet this requirement.

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Sweet!!! First chance I get at a deer with my AR i'm going to walk a bump fired spray of bullets at them. Flock shooting deer sounds great!

Of course I'm just kidding. I'll leave the .223 at home and bring my good old dialed in 270.

I'm not completely against the use of 22 caliber center fires. An ethical shot with the proper bullet in the vitals should take down any deer quickly. Its just not going to be my first choice in the woods.

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Thoughts ... Thinking I just trimmed some 22-250 brass ...

Think I will start working up loads with 53 gr TSX's in the near future. Ought to make for a dandy dual purpose load for venado and fur friendliness. Can't see one of those failing at a reasonable (sub 300 or so) range if launched in the mid 3K's.

Also think that the stores that sell 22 cal centerfire ammo ought to do everyone a favor and somehow mark those boxes that are recommended for Big Game vs Vermin or Predators. There are those that don't know a VMax from a solid, but would make the right bullet choice if their ammo monger voluntarily posted recommendations. Besides, very few folks will be taking to the field with a 22 centerfire as a "first choice". Think the changed law is much ado about nothing.

I'll not have an issue if somebody has a .224 bore TSX, Partition, or even the 64 gr Winchester Power Point in the chamber if they are squeezing trigger on a deer.

I'm one that don't know a thing about copper. Solid or Jacketed...well except jacketed means to cover another element like lead. As I see it having solid copper isn't good for deer...But I sure ain't the one to say.

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I just read that .22 centerfire is now the legal minimum for big game in Minnesota.

Sec. 39. Minnesota Statutes 2007 Supplement, section 97B.031, subdivision 1, is amended to read:

Firearms and ammunition that may be used to take big game. A person may take big game with a firearm only if:

(1) the rifle, shotgun, and handgun used is a caliber of at least .22 inches and with centerfire ignition

(2) the firearm is loaded only with single projectile ammunition

(3) a projectile used is a caliber of at least .22 inches and has a soft point or is an expanding bullet type

(4) the ammunition has a case length of at least 1.285 inches

What are your thoughts?

I think all this tinkering with allowable firearms in the last few years is B as in B, S as in S. My opinion is that the DNR is doing it because they want to sell more licenses and certain hunters are buying inexpensive weapons i.e. SKS, .30 cal M1. Now they want to decrease the minimum caliber probably so younger people won't have to shoot bigger calibers. It's just a bad idea. People will end up using rounds with bullets with low sectional density because they don't know any better and because they are cheaper. A quick check online and I found .22-250 40 grain for $22 and 60 grain for $35. Which one will unknowledgeable people buy and which one will provide a quicker clean kill? The one with a SD of .118 or .177? BTW both are considered low for medium size game in everything I've read.

From Chuck Hawks "Sectional Density ~ As a general guide, the following SD's are recommended for hunting bullets of suitable construction. For 5 to 50 pound animals (varmints and small predators), a SD of .130 or higher. For medium size big game of 75-350 pounds, which includes most deer and antelope, a SD of .215 or higher (a SD of about .225 is good). For large game weighing over 500 pounds (elk, alg, moose, and greater kudu), a SD of .230 for the big bore rifles over .40 caliber, and a SD of .260 for rifles under .40 caliber. For huge thick skinned animals like buffalo, rhino, and elephant, a SD of .300 or better."

Also they say that this is for big game. That includes black bear, moose and elk, not just deer.

Rant off.

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