ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hunting Big Deer with Small Bullets

Updated on May 20, 2012

For a while now, it has been no secret that .22 centerfires can kill deer.  However, until recently, most states have prohibited in most states.

Why?  Because the .22s - from .222 Remington up through .220 Swift - required a near perfect shot.  Unless a deer was shot at a relatively close range, and unless you hit the animal in a perfect location, and unless the bullets held together long enough to penetrate the skin and create fatal damage, the animal would just receive a horrible would that would indeed kill it, but not until it has already ran away.  No responsible hunter wants this.

Nowadays, we have .22 centerfire bullets that are made for big game and can hold together on large animals.  Some examples of these bullets are the 60-grain Nosler Partition, the 55-grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, and the 50-grain Barnes TSX solid copper slugs.  These provide some room for error since they don't blow apart upon impact.  They also have the ability to penetrate.  Some factory cartridges include Norma .222 62-grain Soft Point, .223 Black Hills 60-grain Soft Point, .223 Cor-Bon DPX Hunter 62-grain, .223 Remington Premium 62-grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded, and a handful of others.


Hunting deer with a .22 centerfire is roughly the same as hunting birds with a .410 shotgun. There are two kinds of hunters that ethically do it. The first kind is a person who can not tolerate the recoil of a larger firearm, and those marksmen hunters who pick their shots and accept the limitations of the small bullets.

Don't even consider long range. The .220 Swift that tags prairie dogs at 400 yards loses steam so quickly that it is not much of a deer load beyond 200 yards or so. It's the same story with the .222, .223, and .22/250. They simply do not have the power beyond the two football field mark.

And there's only two shots you have as options. You can hit them on the broadside in the ribs, or directly in the chest if the animal is headed at you. If you can't get the angles for either of these shots, either wait it out, or start tracking another deer. Don't risk the shot of wounding an animal. Either drop it in it's tracks, or don't take the shot.

Big-game bullets and varmint bullets in .224 are not interchangeable. The former are built far more solidly than the latter. They will go straight through a prairie dog and into the wind to possibly create all kinds of problems. Varmint bullets will just explode on big game and not do you any good.

Special attention should be paid to .223 ammo. If it's military ball, don't use it. These bullets are meant to penetrate body armor and are capable of bouncing off the ground and into someone's home or camp. Nor will the bullet expand, which basically rules it out for deer hunting. Some .223 ammo is loaded with match bullets; though they're full-metal-jackets like the military ball stuff, they're too expensive for varmints and way too fragile for deer. Use them for shooting paper targets only.

Long story short, hunting big game with a .22 centerfire is a precision game. Choose your shots wisely.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)