The 6mm/.24 Caliber 1,000 Ft-Lbs Hunting Minimum For Beginners

minimum hunting caliber restrictions by state

A fairly common gun regulation that’s much less of a political talking point is the .24 caliber/1,000 ft-lb minimum for hunting cartridges. It’s imposed on big game hunting, meaning that a person can’t hunt certain animals using a firearm of less than .24 caliber (6mm) or with a cartridge with less than 1,000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy.

In other words, a number of states say you can’t use your .223/5.56 chambered AR to hunt.

The laws vary by state; some impose the .24 caliber minimum, others the 1,000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, and some – Colorado for instance – impose both. The nature of the caliber minimum also varies by state. Some impose it as a hard floor for pretty much anything larger than a coyote, and others are a little more flexible.

For instance, my home state of Washington imposes a .24 caliber minimum on all big game except “predators,” meaning coyotes and mountain lions, which can be hunted with centerfire cartridges no smaller than .22 caliber. Wyoming, by contrast, allows use of .22 caliber bullets that are at least two inches in overall length (meaning centerfire cartridges) with a 60-grain projectile for deer, antelope, mountain lions and gray wolves. All others require use of a .243 or bigger.

And so on and so forth.

The idea behind these regulations is ensuring an ethical harvest of an animal at distances where a modern rifle or hunting with a handgun would be employed, meaning beyond 100 yards or so. It’s felt that somewhere between 1,000 to 1,200 ft-lbs of energy is needed to reliably put down a deer-sized target.

Coyotes and mountain lions are smaller than deer and thus warrant a bit less consideration in this regard.

Granted, that doesn’t stop states that have those restrictions from having muzzleloader and archery seasons. Neither generates 1,000 ft-lbs of energy, though both require shots be taken at close range rather than at the sort of distances someone uses a rifle at. Additionally, these states don’t regulate shooting distance, as any rifle round will eventually dip below the 1,000 ft-lb minimum. How long that takes depends on the round in question; the traditional hunting bullets (.308, .270, 7mm Magnum, .30-06) usually don’t fall below it until 500 or more yards, depending.

Whether it’s necessary or not…is something of a sticky wicket, especially among the hunting crowd. Some think that the .24 caliber minimum is absolutely necessary, since marginal shot placement can result in mere wounding with a smaller bullet. Others, however, believe that the .223 is more capable than people give it credit for if used by someone who knows where to place it.

Hunting ethics have been undergoing some shifts in recent years. Ask a rifle hunter from 10 or 15 years ago about shooting at an animal at more than 400 yards and they’d tell you it was not only unethical, but irresponsible. Today, some guides bring shooting sleds for clients to take shots at animals at ranges of 500 yards or more. Whether that’s fair chase or not…well, that’s up to brighter minds.

What do you think though? Should there be caliber minimums? It it a reasonable matter of hunting ethics? Or is this all for the Fudds to work out while lounging around in their un-tacticool Buffalo plaid?

comments

  1. avatar el Possum Guapo Standartenfuher " they think we're making pizza's Oberst von Burn says:

    . The best shot I ever made was with a .243Win, 425 yards Turkey in the neck, right where I willed it.

    1. avatar Chadwick says:

      Did it still run away? I’m not sure if they’re like chickens in that regard or not.

      1. avatar Jake says:

        I sometimes hunt turkey with a benjiman discovery .22 air rifle that i have done a little work too. Ive taken a few birds between 90-110 yards. All head and neck shots and all fell dead with in 20 yards or so. But to answer the question they do flop for a min.

      2. avatar el Possum Guapo ect. says:

        It stretched ts left leg out and died. 110 yards with a pellet gun. That is some fine shooting, I wouldn’t think a pellet would have much energy that far.

      3. avatar Pollo loco says:

        I run like a chicken with my ding dong out, they call me pollo loco.

        1. avatar Peanut Butter Massages says:

          Pollo,.. I think I know you… IRL

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Those of us who cant use our Jedi powers of the Force have to play by a different set of rules.

    3. avatar Geoff says:

      Here in South Carolina only Birdshot is allowed for Turkey, and only for Toms, no hens allowed.
      Legal weapons – shotguns, muzzleloading shotguns, bows and crossbows. All other weapons or methods are prohibited including rifles, pistols, slugs, and buckshot
      Statewide limit of 3 gobblers, no more than 2 per day. Bearded hens are not legal.

  2. avatar RPGs says:

    What is the maximum muzzle energy/cartridge allowed?

    1. avatar Mantitude says:

      .50 caliber, ostensibly 50BMG.
      Because of federal destructive devices diktats.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        A shotgun is far larger than a .50 in caliber but not energy. A slug is a formidable round within 50 yards

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          In my limited deer hunting experience, I shot a 160 lb doe quartering away @ 60 yards with a 12ga slug once. It entered just in front of the hip, shredded one of the lungs and broke her shoulder on the way out. She still ran 2 miles before we caught up to her. For what it’s worth.

          Some deer just refuse to accept that they’re dead.

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          From the definition of ‘destructive device’: “(2) any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes;”
          So shotguns, while being destructive devices by definition, are specifically allowed.
          I believe this is because there were so many shotguns in the hands of hunters and farmers that the Secretary felt it was better to exempt them than have millions of pissed off people complaining.
          Compare and contrast with today’s politicians,who really don’t care how many people they piss off.

  3. avatar Chadwick says:

    I want to say Utah was something like minimum of 700lbs at 100yrds or something like that. Maybe that was if you use a handgun for big game. That sounds reasonable with all the options for rifle caliber handguns and the legal use of suppressors for hunting in Utah. I’m thinking a 12″barrel 6.5 Grendel AR with my 30cal can would be a nice and fairly compact hunting companion.

  4. avatar TomC says:

    These laws were all well-intended and generally based on a reasonable consideration of ballistics of common hunting ammunition at the time the law was enacted. But none of these laws are able to regulate stupidity or incompetence. A miss is still a miss — and more importantly a badly-placed hit is still a badly-placed hit.

    A hunter can follow these laws absolutely but might still take a shot that is beyond their personal ability or beyond the performance of their rifle and ammunition.

    None of these issues are really new. For some reason our great-grandparents didn’t feel it was necessary to regulate the distance at which a hunter could shoot at a deer with a .30-30 but instead they relied on a bit of common sense plus proper training (usually by the parent) plus peer pressure to ensure that any “hunter” who was taking 500 yard shots with a .30-30 wouldn’t find much welcome either at the hunting camp or at home.

    In more recent years, scientific “game managers” have decided that hunters are generally too stupid to be trusted in the field (and unfortunately there are too many cases supporting this belief). And, of course, no legislature ever saw a regulation that they couldn’t make just a bit more complicated before imposing it on the public.

    So of course we need laws to tell us that a 7.62mm M80 147gr FMJ producing 2437 ft lbs of muzzle energy or a 128 gr .45 caliber round lead ball producing 1187 ft lbs from a muzzleloader are both adequate for “big game” while a .223 50 gr GMX “full boar” producing 1235 ft lbs of muzzle energy isn’t big enough for whitetail deer in several states.

  5. avatar RCC says:

    Having helped put down buffalo (and other animals) a week after two idiots decided to “hunt” from a car with mini 14 and full metal jacket rounds I tend to go for minimum caliber. Too many “hunters” never practice and have no idea of shot placement.

    Personally I’ve shot feral pigs and other animals with .22 rimfire at close range and knowing where to shot. Also numerous foxes, goats etc with .223. But for red deer or bigger game I use 30-06

  6. avatar Daniel says:

    The laws have good intentions, but they do not take into consideration the advances in ammunition over the years nor the fact that more and more information and training is available to the general public on how to shoot and where to shoot when hunting “big” game.

    Generally speaking, the less laws, the better in regards to this.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Spot on Daniel.

    2. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

      Disagree, after watching animals suffer for weeks because A-holes unloaded their AR on them at long distance, I think the bare minimum should be Colorado’s stance. 1000 pounds and .24, there are to many people that believe in the supposed magic of modern firearms. There was plenty of game lost over the years to a hunter with .30-06 making a good shot at a good range. Wild animals can be surprisingly resilient, and they deserve our respect enough to allow them fair chase, and a clean quick death.

      1. avatar Tirod says:

        I saw on my very first field trip a hunter who was using a .22-250 on deer, and it was largely standing, gutted. He’s shot two and was dragging off the better one leaving it to suffer. It was taken by one of our sons who was hunting for meat.

        In that same conservation area – I’ve hunted it for 40 years – most of the shots taken are done with bolt actions in rapid fire slinging lead all over the horizon. There’s no mistaking the cadence and the results are easy to walk up on, a pile of brass and beer cans under a tree stand with the hunter asking “didja see any deer?” Yes, we did, with nary a mark on it, fleeing over the boundary.

        Us? We were hunting with war surplus German semi autos with blocked mags, I had a HK91 with ten shots. Our usual was a good shot and then a casual walk over to the deer which was DRT.

        We have all transistioned to AR’s precisely because we actually don’t need the massive recoil and ego centric games of “major caliber” hunters who all profess the need to fire a round at least 450 yards – In broken Ozark woodland where straight line vision under the canopy is limited to 80m and, again, with 40 years experience in those woods, most of the deer are successfully taken.

        Just like our predecessors with .30-30’s – who can’t adequately shoot 450m (ballistics, not skill) and who hunted up close and personal under the canopy. Nope, it’s the Great White Hunters of the 1950’s who really created this problem – using upgraded military surplus rifles and then eventually expensive custom ones. Which then required their rules to use hunting because they didn’t understand that a landowner on his back 40 was not bound to the customs of Africa on safari.

        I now hunt TWO seasons in MO with an AR pistol in 5.56 = 10.5″ barrel – and it puts out the minimum level of force needed out to 80m. Why 80? I can’t see any further in broken Ozark woodland, why would I punish myself with any more recoil to do the job – and also flinch in anticipation of it, plus lose my sight picture jacking up another round forcing my face off the weapon to do it? Nope, I will shoot semi autos where I can track and fire again – which fortunately, has not been necessary. You are not as likely to miss in the first place if you aren’t going to worry about the recoil.

        I have learned very much from the older hunters in this area, observe the masses and do the opposite. I refuse to operate under a liability firing weapons with excessive force needed for the conditions nor will I hamper myself operating one which impeded my ethical use of it.

        Two sides to the story of who is blasting away in the woods exercising better judgment.

        1. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

          Nothing you stated really disagrees with my point. You sound like a competent hunter. That being said, while an AR might work just fine at the ranges you describe, how about shooting at a herd of antelope with your .223 at 500 yards? I have also seen idiots sitting across a meadow waiting for elk to walk into the middle, all with traditional bolt action rifles in 06 and 7mm Mag. (Two groups came two hours after we were there, set up across from us and proceeded to smoke, drink, and talk. We left, not wanting to be muzzled or shot by a bunch of supposed hunters. They were the type I think your describing) I am fine with long range shooting if you can do it, I just have seen a new generation who think an AR is a laser gun that kills instantly on contact. My bet is our forefathers with a bow, a Kentucky rifle or a 30-30 were a lot better hunters than most of the people who “hunt” anymore.

        2. avatar Jeffrey says:

          What round have you had success with? I harvested a nice buck with a 223 but it was one of those all-copper Barnes rounds that was supposed to be the “best” 223/556 for taking a whitetail. I got lucky – he dropped after a short run but after lying there for 30 mins there was a blood spot the size of a dime underneath him, I decided never again.

          BUT that’s ok – now I have a 300blk pistol to shoot supers during main portion and alternative 🙂

      2. avatar JMR says:

        No hunting magazine bans in your area?

        1. avatar Jeffrey says:

          In MO you are limited to a 10 round mag – easy to do with the AR platform.

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      Well Iowa we have recently “modernized” to allow centerfire rifle. IF is a “straightwall” case so pretty much cutting edge tech. If GA Custer would recognize it you can hunt deer with in Iowa.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Kind of pathetic that my .30-30 is too modern for IA hunting.

        Someone should invent a straight wall cartridge that’s 6″ long in something 7mmish just for states like IA.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        .45-70 gov. for the win! Then again, that law would seem to allow a .30 Carbine too.

        1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          Isn’t .450 Bushmaster straight-walled?

    4. avatar Big Bill says:

      “That government is best which governs least…” (Thoreau in Civil Disobedience).

  7. avatar Southern Cross says:

    I always thought long-range shots on game were to be apologised for and not boasted about. I asked one person who boasted about long range hunts would they consider hunting with a .38 caliber revolver. He said he wouldn’t because it lacked power and was cruel. I asked him to consider the energy numbers of his hunting round at that distance he boasted about.

    And I prefer the 6.5s over the 6s. The extra mass and sectional density drives the bullets deep into the animal ensuring quick kills. 8s hit like a sledge hammer.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Southern Cross,

      The .243 Winchester cartridge (0.243 inches = 6.17 mm) is a popular cartridge for hunting antelope and deer in the United States and appears to be extremely effective out to ranges of about 330 yards (300 meters).

      To the extent that a hunter limited him/herself to medium game and shots under 330 yards, .243 Winchester is an excellent and extremely ethical cartridge choice.

      If someone wanted to shoot much beyond that or hunt game animals between 300 pounds (130 kg) and 500 pounds (225 kg), I agree that they should step up in caliber to at least .270 Winchester (6.8 mm).

      When it comes to seriously large game (e.g. 600+ pound bears, elk, moose), I personally believe really BIG calibers are in order, at least .35 caliber (8.9 mm) and preferably even larger.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I’m willing to wager that more Northeast white tails have been taken with the .243 than any other caliber except the .30-30.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I’d wager that the .30-30 has taken more northeastern (and eastern Canada) moose as well.

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Governor,

          Sure, a .30-30 rifle will kill a moose — eventually. I am referring to quick (e.g. “ethical”) kills.

          My neighbor was hunting moose with his rifle in .30-06 shooting quality 180 grain bullets. A moose stood broadside for him at about 120 yards. He shot once. The moose did not react. He shot a second time. The moose trotted off about 30 yards and stopped. He shot a third time. The moose trotted another 25 yards and stopped. The moose stood there. And my neighbor stopped shooting thinking that his scope was off-kilter. After a few minutes the moose finally fell over, dead. It turns out that all three of his shots were good heart shots. That is why I say that .30 caliber is inadequate for ethically killing big game — because it often takes multiple shots and it still takes several minutes for big game animal to die.

          Now imagine hitting that same moose with a 300 grain, .45 caliber hardcast lead bullet impacting at 1,500 fps. I don’t think that moose would be on its feet more than a few seconds, if at all. As the saying goes, there is no replacement for displacement — meaning there is no replacement for making HUGE holes in game animals.

        3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I’m not about to argue that .45-70 isn’t a better moose round than .30-30, but when it comes to ethical taking of animals it’s more complex than simply picking the cartridge that will do the most damage. For instance, if someone is recoil averse, that .338 Win mag may cause them to develop a flinch. And it’s certainly more ethical to heart shoot a moose with a .30-30 than to gut shoot a moose with a .338.

          When it comes down to a heart shot the biggest difference between a .223 and a .30-06 is how long it takes the dumb animal to realize he’s dead. Some animals are dumber in that respect than others. A 170gr. .30-30sp slug at <100yrds should be plenty to puncture both lungs on a broadside shot moose, so I don't know as if I'd claim it's unethical, but there's better choices. Of course a lot of those choices didn't exist in the 1930s, 1940s, etc. and northeastern hunters probably took hundreds of thousands of them with it.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        An old boss of mine has been successfully hunting elk every year in Montana for 30+ years with his trusty .270. It is more than sufficient. The issue with the moose you spoke of was not the caliber, but the amount of time it took for the blood pressure in the moose’s brain to drop. Charging lions in Africa have been known to maul the guy who shot them despite clean heart shots. They just don’t know they are dead until they become unconscious.

      3. avatar Southern Cross says:

        In my part of the world, deer are not common but feral pigs and goats are very common.

        .243 on pigs could be a good option but most people pick the ammunition that groups the tightest on the range and this tends to be varmint projectiles which fragment on impact with little penetration. With good appropriate projectiles .243 would be a good choice but a lot of people make the wrong choice.

        Compared to deer, pigs are thicker skinned and after wallowing in mud may have extra armour plating to punch through. A varmint projectile simply would not have any decent penetration in such a circumstance that happens quite often.

        .264 (6.5mm) on the other hand has good medium game hunting projectiles available and always delivers results. Ditto for the .270/.280, .30, and .32/.35 rifle cartridges.

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I support some sort of minimum caliber and velocity/energy for medium and large game hunting.

    Exactly what should the minimum be? Whatever provides a minimum impact velocity at the maximum range.

    If you are shooting a centerfire cartridge in the range of .24 to .30 caliber, I believe a minimum impact velocity of 1,800 fps is ethical. Drop below that and the bullet may not have enough velocity to expand reliably or to put the animal down quickly.

    If you are shooting something in the range of .43 to .73 caliber, I believe a minimum impact velocity of 1,200 fps is ethical.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Depends a bit on bullet construction. Most of the .243-.308 caliber bullets won’t reliably expand under 1800fps, but a .240gr. .429 (.44 magnum) SJHP bullet reliably expand at half that velocity. I’d say a .44 mag with at least 4″ of barrel and most any 240gr HP load is ethical out to at least 50 yards.

      Also, big difference between a broadside and a quartering shot. If you’re taking a quartering shot you need to factor sufficient penetration.

      1. avatar ACP_armed says:

        So the core of the discussion comes down to ‘it depends’.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Precisely.

  9. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    ‘Some think that the .24 caliber minimum is absolutely necessary, since marginal shot placement can result in mere wounding with a smaller bullet.’

    A little news flash; if you gut shoot a deer with a .50bmg he’s still going to run away and probably die from the infection 3 days later.

    I have various .30 calibers and a .260 (not it’s lame imitator). The .260 gives you a nice flat trajectory, light recoil and 1000ft/lbs+ out to 500 yards. And it’s legal in most every state except the one I live in.

  10. avatar Gurney Halleck says:

    Hey Dan, you’re wrong about the muzzleloaders lacking energy. According to Hornady their 250 grain sst bullet with 150 grains of powder has 2735 at the muzzle and still has 1070 at 250 yds.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      150 grains, I am pretty sure, is considered a magnum load, and you need a magnum rated muzzleloader to fire it. For deer, this is unnecessary; 70 to 100 grains of powder is more than sufficient. For example, the .58 cal Springfield was reliably killing men out to 300 yards with a Minie Ball over a 70 grain charge. The classic .45-70 was a .45 caliber projectile over 70 grains of powder, and can easily drop buffalo at extended distances.

  11. avatar New Continental Army says:

    Personally I tend to prefer larger rounds to allow more room for error. I get why there’s restrictions on smaller calibers because you would have more jackasses out there shooting bears and deer with .22s and .17s. I mean if you shoot a bear with a .22 you’ve earned what comes to you anyway.

    1. avatar JMR says:

      Yes that extra .019” is really going to make all the difference when comparing a .224” round and a .243” round.

      Meanwhile most hunters think that being able to hit a dinner plate at 100 yards is good enough.

      1. avatar New Continental Army says:

        Yeah… you totally forgot to add in things like cartridge capacity, cross sectional density, and bullet wieght. 7.62×39, .308, 30-06, and 300 WM all shoot the same diameter bullet. But all have wildly different ballistics. There’s way more to bullets then just caliber. Hence why I despise internet caliber wars.

        1. avatar JMR says:

          No I didn’t. You just don’t seem to know the difference between cartridges and calibers.

          Caliber is the diameter of a bullet, cartridge is the brass and dimensions of it.

          I’d much rather someone hunt with a .223 Remington, than a .380 auto even though .380 auto is much bigger than anything you’ve listed even.

          Likewise I’d much rather someone hunt deer with a .223 Remington with 55 grain GMX than a .243 Winchester with a 58 grain VMAX.

          The caliber is largely irrelevant, you’re not going to go big enough to make up for a bad shot.

        2. avatar JMR says:

          You’re saying the same thing as me (now) just I’m a way I think is really dumb.

        3. avatar New Continental Army says:

          I don’t think you get what I’m trying to say. You seem to assume I’m saying a wider caliber bullet is more effective. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I said “round”, not “bullet”.

        4. avatar JMR says:

          ” I get why there’s restrictions on smaller calibers because you would have more jackasses out there shooting bears and deer with .22s and .17s.”

          uhh…. yea you sure said round there… that’s why you said “I get why there’s restrictions on smaller calibers” because you meant rounds… even though you said calibers…

          Despise caliber wars, but you know okay with banning calibers, even though there’s more to this than just caliber, but you know we should ban certain calibers because…. reasons.

    2. avatar DesertDave says:

      I wouldn’t recommend it but the largest Grizzly on record was killed with a .22 up in CA.

  12. avatar BJI says:

    Please read December 2018 Guns Magazine article beginning on page 36: “.22 centerfires vs. BIG GAME”

  13. avatar Accur81 says:

    Well, there are little deer and big deer. I’ve seen the humble 5.56 NATO with the 62 grain Mk 318 Mod 0 equivalent used to great effect on whitetail. The .243 is a great round for beginners, but so is the .30-30. Frankly, we have so dang many laws that we don’t need more. The .357 mag can’t hit 1000 FPE from a revolver, and it is fine on deer inside 50-75 yards with a decent pistolero (revolverero?).

  14. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Women, girls, boys, and weaker or smaller men handle .243 WIN very well. Put a newbie behind the butt and one can still get good results.

  15. avatar JMR says:

    It’s all BS, 1000 for lbs at 100 yards for centerfire rifle, 500 ft lbs at 50 yards for a hand gun, bows only get draw weight consideration, of course some states allow you to spear animals. (Though the killing mechanics are different)

    Meanwhile poachers have been taking all kinds of animals with a 22LR since it’s been around and Indians killed buffalos with a crude stick bow and sharpened sticks for arrows.

    Put the shot where it counts and the animal will die.

    You can’t go big enough to make up for a bad shot, including 50 BMG.

    1. avatar New Continental Army says:

      Right. How many buffalo have you killed with a .22? I often see silly comments like yours posted by people who’ve never been hunting a day in their lives.

      1. avatar JMR says:

        … uhh what? Where did I say anything about using a 22 to kill a buffalo?

        I said Indians killed buffalo with crude bows and arrows, which is a fact.

        I also said poachers having been using a 22Lr to take game since it’s inception, another thing that can be proven.

        You’re the one who conflated the two things.

        I often see silly comments like yours by brain dead people who get emotionally offended, don’t have an actual argument but feel slightly so they make up things that were never said by the person offended by them.

        And I would love to see you prove I don’t hunt, that’s going to be a good one. Lmao.

        1. avatar New Continental Army says:

          I don’t really care to “prove” anything. I’m simply saying there’s a lot of internet bullshit out there slung around by people who don’t even hunt. Maybe that upsets you but it’s true.

        2. avatar JMR says:

          No, you accused me of not being a hunter to try and back your crazy ass non coherent post, so please, prove I don’t hunt.

          What happened is that I called you out on your complete BS caliber stuff, by pointing out the absurdity that .023″ makes any kind of difference (Something you seem to agree with which is interesting) but you got so butt hurt that someone would point that out that you found another one of my posts, made up an argument no one said, and now your walking it back.

      2. avatar Daisy says:

        New Continental army you’re so stupid. Your IQ must be 22.

        1. avatar New Continental Army says:

          Oh wow yeah nice one. Color me impressed. How many brain cells did you kill coming up with that one?

  16. avatar Bob Watson says:

    Everyone knows that local, state and federal government cannot trust any citizen of this country to use their own judgement about anything. Because one of our fellow citizens has acted irresponsibly or might act irresponsibly, we must all be entrapped in an ever increasing web of regulations, plus civil and criminal laws. Only then will all of our fellow citizens behave responsibly.
    This truly moronic argument can be used to justify any anti-civil rights bigotry from mandatory storage laws to bump stock bans to magazine size restrictions to gun owner insurance. Of course, draconian criminal and civil sanctions are also required to keep us all safe.

  17. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    Ohio has a straight-walled cartridge limitation for deer. This allows all sorts of low power rounds – you can legally hunt deer in Ohio with .38 Special handgun (5″ barrel min.) or carbine. I suppose it’s no worse than a bow if you take sub 50 yard shots.

    Supposedly the worry is that lots of Ohio is fairly populus and flat. While you may have the illusion of isolation in a patch of woods, there may be a hidden house or road a quarter mile past your target, so they want fairly short-range rounds. Even so, .45-70 can be dangerous for a long ways. Even .38 Special can if you’re careless about what is beyond your target.

    Meanwhile, you can use anything from .22lr to .50 BMG for coyote and groundhog. 🙂

  18. avatar John Clark says:

    I have shot many deer with my 6mm TCU all under 40 yards. For most it was like a lightning bolt from god. Shot placement is everything.

  19. avatar Pony boy says:

    I am not a tree hugger but you need to give earth some respect. I cannot stand morons who go shoot somewhere and leave it filthy. Or idiots who “hunt” without any common sense and decency.

  20. avatar Matt says:

    I mean, older mizzleloaders using actual BP don’t generate 1000ft-lb. the other thing is a lot of times it won’t drop a deer, or it’ll run 800yds before dying.

    My inline ML is about 1900fps with a 240gr .44 caliber bullet. That is roughly 2000ft-lbs of energy.

    Maryland it is 1200ft-lbs for rifles (ML it is a minimum 80gr charge, I don’t recall if there is a minimum bore diameter).

    Which means a .223 is legal. At least higher energy cartridges. My 20” AR-15 with a 75gr gold dot is about 1280ft-lbs…still haven’t taken a deer with one, but should drop it fine if I do my part.

    Can’t do the muzzle energy thing with bows. Just not relatable. A 20ft-lbs of energy crossbow bolt can still carve a 1.25” cutting width straight through a deer.

  21. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Just another reason to love 7.62×39

  22. avatar Tyler Kee says:

    FWIW, that deer was shot by Nick Leghorn at my family’s ranch with a 308 WIN. To my knowledge, he’s only ever killed animals at our ranch with 30 cals, either 300 BLK or 308 WIN.

    Dan killed his first deer out there with a 243 WIN using 95 gr. Ballistic Tips. The Nosler Ballistic Tips have been quite effective on small(ish) Hill Country whitetails as well as 200+ lb Axis. The Barnes TTSX did very little for me so I switched back to the Nosler BTs.

    I’ve seen DRTs with 5.56 SBRs and I’ve tracked deer fruitlessly shot with the mighty 30-06. Shot placement is everything.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Word up.

  23. avatar Clifford Mechels says:

    If a AR15 in 6.8 SPCII can drop a 13 (total) point buck at 248 yds with 1 shot, a 5.56MM can at 100 easily, the same as a 30-30.. Good shot placement counts more than caliber.

  24. avatar Karl says:

    My home state of Kentucky we can use any center fire rifle cartridge. I’ve used everything between a 22 hornet to a 458 socom to manage deer population on our farm. Most hunters I know use standard deer rifle calibers. It depends upon your confidence and discipline to know you can hit where you aim and pass on a bad shot. I hunt mostly out of permanent box blinds so taking some Does out at 50 yards with a solid rest is easy with a 22 hornet. There are better choices but it can work if done properly. That is the key. You owe it to your game to be prepared, make clean, quick kill, and have the discipline to pass on a less than perfect shot within the limitations of firearm you selected.

  25. avatar Jake Logan says:

    Colorado’s minimum of 1,000 ft-lbs requirement is NOT at the muzzle. It is at 100 yds.

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