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223 factory ammo for deer ?

01 Nov 2012
@ 10:34 pm (GMT)

Craig Henard

Hi ,i am new here and came across the site while browsing the net for effective 223 factory loads for deer.I have always heard that FMJ were not for hunting but after reading the database on the 223 and seeing the pic I am starting to change my mind !
I have deer hunted all my life and used all different calibers as well as black powder and Homemade hickory bows and arrows. handgun hunted exclusively for 12 years.
With that out of the way ,I have a CZ 527 carbine chambered in 223.
I really like the rifle and would like to use it to take a few deer with.
The twist rate is 1 in 12 and 18 inches of barrel.
I had originally thought the Federal Factory load featuring a nosler 60 grain partition would be what i need(shots from point blank to perhaps 150 yards self imposed limit.I bought some and they will shoot into less than 2 inches at 150 yards.
Now I am interested in the FMJ after reading the article and I want that type of performance !
I have reloaded a lot in my life but choose not to now instead focusing on factory loads.
I buy online mostly from Midwayusa and in looking at the Fmj Loads that they offer I see no norinco loads,Following are some of the FMJ loads they offer and i am curious as to which ammo would come closest to duplicating the performance of the norinco load and the thumb pic shown in the article ,out of my rifle under the conditions I will be operating under?
I will list them as best I can.
Federal american eagle 62 Gr FMJ,Armscor 55 Gr FMJ,Federal American eagle 55 gr FMJ Boattail,Blackgun industries 55 Gr FMJ Boattail,armscor 62 grain FMJ ,prvi Partizan 55 grFMJ Boattail,Remington umc 55 gr FMJ,Fiochi 62 gr FMJ Boattail,Fiochi 55 gr FMJ,Silver bear 55 gr FMJ(bi metal)Winchester 62 gr FMJ prvi 62 gr FMJ Winchester 55 FMJ,Fiochi 62 gr FMJ,Double tap m855 ss109 Penetrator FMJ Boat tail,Remington 62 gr closed tip flat base,lapua 55 gr fmj,Double tap 55 FMJ Boattail.
I would really appreciate your input as I do not have the resources(money !) to try all of them to get the desired result.

Thanks a lot


04 Nov 2012
@ 04:34 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
Hi Craig, I have not had a lot of time to test current FMJ loads. Those that I have tested have been very stable unfortunately. Someone will have to carry the candle for me in this regard.

The closest budget ammo is now Barnaul 62gr HPBT ammunition. This is steel jacketed and zinc plated (The competing Russian Wolf brand is copper plated). The Barnaul load is very stout due to the steel jacket and on impact, after the ogive collapses, the projectiles tend to tumble rather than expand, giving a mixture of wide (relative to the caliber) wounding combined with deep penetration.

But in all honesty, to actually produce identical wounding results to Norinco ammunition or Stoners original loads (which never saw combat), you would need to adopt a 6.5x55/.260 Rem or .25-06 at the minimum.

So, no easy answers sorry. It may simply be best to keep on going with your Partition load for now while at the same time experimenting with other projectiles as time allows.

05 Nov 2012
@ 12:49 am (GMT)

Craig Henard

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
Can you tell me any more Nathan.

PS can I use pay pal to buy your book On long range hunting ?
Thanks again
06 Nov 2012
@ 11:14 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
Hi Craig, I would like to offer more results but I do not have a 1:12 twist .223 on hand at this time. I am also a bit pushed for time time at the moment. To this end, I can offer you ideas for experimenting, but cannot at this stage obtain new solid data without purchasing a test rifle and fresh components. You are in a better position than me to experiment at this time.

The Barnaul ammunition will tumble, this is something you can exploit immediately. The main difference between this and Norinco (yellow packet) or original Stoner loads, was that when the ammo tumbled, the lead gradually came out of the base. With Barnaul, the bullet just tumbles but the jacket is too stout to fall apart (and the base is closed). Penetration is generally in a straight line. It is most likely possible to exploit this further, such as dremel cutting notches in the ogive or opening up the hollow point a touch.

I was able to get some 62gr FMJ ammunition (American Eagle) to tumble in a 1:12 twist barrel but the results were not repeatable, especially with rear lung shots.

To duplicate Norinco/Stoner performance with hand loads using the twist rate of the CZ (1:12), you would need to load 75-80 grain bullets. The Berger VLD bullets would be the best for this experimentation. Unfortunately, the heavy Hornady A-Max bullets are too frangible. The bullet needs to be slightly delayed in action to obtain the repeatable results I obtained and the results you are wanting.

But again, experimentation would be required.


The CZ rifles of late are hit and miss, some have good bores, others have only so so bores. The rifles are however capable of sizzling velocities. If experimenting with a heavy VLD, there is a great possibility that accuracy will be poor due to the unsuitable twist rate. The trick is to develop a load which is 'just stable', producing accuracy around 1" at 100 yards.

Load development is the first step. The second step is to try and ensure that the ogive of the VLD collapses on impact. Annealing or meplat trimming are two methods that can be exploited to promote eventual fragmentation of the VLD. Again, the fragmentation needs to be slightly delayed. This differs from the type of expansion or fragmentation we should expect from higher powered cartridges. In this instance, the delay is used to help over come the short comings of the .223 cartridge when used on medium game.

Hope that all makes sense.

Yes, we use paypal on the site.
06 Nov 2012
@ 11:53 pm (GMT)

Craig Henard

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
Hi Nathan,thank you very much for the explanation ,best I can assertain from you is that the goal is just barely stabilize the bullet so that almost as soon as impact is made it starts to tumble ?
Nathan could a loaded round be "annealed" so to speak by placing in a warm enviroment ? Hotbox ,vehicle with windows rolled up etc?
I like the idea of using the dremel on the jackets of the Barnaul ammo.
Wonder if it would be best to make the notches around the bullet or lenth of the bullet ?
Thanks a lot Nathan
Regards Craig

PS ,I will be ordering your book about Longrange shooting and hunting within the next few hours and look forward to recieving and studying it.
07 Nov 2012
@ 01:59 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
Yes that's it exactly, just stable.

You could run the dremel around the ogive rather than notch the length of the ogive (like a notched Winchester Powerpoint).

You would have to make a call as to whether it would be best to run the dremel right around the middle of the ogive or create three or four indentations. Running right around the ogive does pose a risk as far as weakening the ogive to the point of having it collapse in the barrel which would be very dangerous.

The Barnaul really only needs a slight weakening. The goal will be to try and maintain the properties of the steel projectile which penetrates quite well while encouraging fragmentation- but not so much that performance is the same as the A-Max. I think it is all very do-able and would be quite an enjoyable experiment, especially considering the price of Barnaul.

Sun porching loaded ammo will anneal the projectile over time. But I am not sure what the effects of the this would be on the powder. Cutting around the circ of the ogive with a dremel (while keeping the job cool) from 1 to 5 O'clock and from 7 to 11 O'clock to a predetermined depth could be worth pursuing. A single box of Federal American eagle (62gr) would be all that is required to perform this test- assuming this load is accurate in your rifle.

If you are interested, you will need to perform ballistic medium tests. You will need to use wet newsprint but not the same way you have seen it in magazines or on the net, those tests are not very useful. What is required is an inconsistent medium. Take 1.5 to 2" of news papers, soak it in a trough of water. Next, you'll need either a box of wetted lawn clippings or soft foam, about 8-12" thick. Following this, you can then pack in about 8-12" of wet newsprint as a final backer and trap. Bungee or tie the whole kit and kaboodle together and make sure it is set up against a dirt bank etc.

The problem with traditional wet newsprint or ballistic gel is that it is too consistent with no changes in density. With the above test, after firing, you can carefully study the first layer and look for changes after impact (eg pin hole versus tumbling), then study the rear newsprint layer to see how the bullet entered it (was it tumbling when it entered the rear layer).
As for the middle section, it is hard to read the middle section if it was made of lawn clippings as the cavity will often collapse. But by reading how the bullet impacted the rear layer (newsprint), you can ascertain whether the bullet entered the rear layer in stable form (pin hole) or whether it was tumbling.

If you absolutely must explore middle wound cavity diameters (i.e, do not fully trust results or don't want to interpolate data based on how the bullet entered the rear newsprint layer), a single newspaper (not a single sheet- I mean a single daily news paper) can be set mid way through the lawn clippings or soft foam. But I would prefer that you stick to the standard example, then interpolate data. The next step, once you have obtained desirable results is live game testing.

The above is the only way I know of creating a test medium that provides somewhat useful data, based on my own tests. That said, I use live game (or dead game for preliminary testing). I used to experiment with test mediums many years ago but do not anymore. nevertheless, they can be useful for preliminary work- as long as the medium is loosely packed, well soaked and features changes in density.

Bones (dog bones etc) can be used for penetration tests if need be, set mid way through the first layer of paper. Thin ply can be used to mimic ribs. But for your .223 tests, you will want to test performance under light resistance, not heavy or hard resistance. This will ensure that your bullet will do its job in the worst case scenario of not striking bone which might otherwise promote/encourage yaw (tumbling).

I hope you enjoy your book.

13 Nov 2012
@ 12:22 am (GMT)

John Smith

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
In the state of Washington the .223 would be illegal for deer. .240 is the minimum legal caliber for deer.
13 Nov 2012
@ 09:49 am (GMT)

Craig Henard

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
In Arkansas it is legal.
I do believe it is legal in way more states than it is illegal.
13 Nov 2012
@ 08:03 pm (GMT)

Jim Moseley

Re: 223 factory ammo for deer ?
The 223 is legal in South Carolina. My friend's 14 yr old son has been using a 223 wsm, 55gr BT's for 3 years now and has dropped 60 some odd deer. The kid has only lost one deer that made into a flooded swamp. He stays 300 yds and under, and only shoots head and neck shots.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.