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Thread: Deer Hunting with an M1 Carbine

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    TrafficsKindaBad is online now Junior Member
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    Deer Hunting with an M1 Carbine

    I'm trying to get into deer hunting and wanted your opinion on hunting whitetail with an m1 carbine. I won't be taking shots any longer than probably 100 yards. I want to use the carbine, but I also have a Mini-14 Ranch Rifle in 5.56. I've tried to read up on it, but is the 30 carbine round an ethical and effective way to take a deer? Thanks

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    GCBHM is offline Senior Member
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    I think so, given the parameters you stipulated. It isn't an ideal round, but should be adequate. It would be little different to using a 30/30, which is very popular for short range whitetail hunting.

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    M1 carbine round is probably the absolute minimum for deer-sized game. Is it ethical? Not if you have a better, more effective rifle/cartridge combo available. Some areas do not allow 22's (even centerfire) for deer-sized game, so check your local game regs. Is it effective? Only if you're a pretty good shot. Your chances of a non-lethal wound are much increased, especially unless you hand-load game-quality bullets. Do not use FMJ bullets on game. That is unethical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCBHM View Post
    I think so, given the parameters you stipulated. It isn't an ideal round, but should be adequate. It would be little different to using a 30/30, which is very popular for short range whitetail hunting.
    .30 carbine is much closer in ballistics to the 80gr 'Super X' .32-20. Much less cartridge than the .30-30. With a modern hunting bullet at less than 100 yards and well placed, it is "ethical and effective" for white-tail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hillman View Post
    .30 carbine is much closer in ballistics to the 80gr 'Super X' .32-20. Much less cartridge than the .30-30. With a modern hunting bullet at less than 100 yards and well placed, it is "ethical and effective" for white-tail.
    Yeah, I guess it would be closer to the .32-20. The .30-30 is the smallest deer sized rifle I would use, and was thinking the .30 would be the absolute smallest I'd use on deer. I'd use a 5.56 well before I'd go with a .30, but it would work if you had nothing else.

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    I would not shoot at a deer much beyond 50 yards with an M1 Carbine. It was designed for platoon leaders, mostly 2nd Lieutenants, to use instead of a pistol, because so many couldn't shoot a pistol well. At least that's what most WWII veterans believed. Ballistically speaking, it's in the ballpark with a .357 Magnum handgun, which ain't chopped liver, but it ain't a .30-30 either, which is recognized mostly as a 100 yard (plus) rifle. I love the M1 carbine, but it's an anemic hunting round for a deer rifle, and should be used up close.
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    Well, I don't think that trying to take a whitetail deer with the .30 Carbine round is an ethical proposition. Certainly, I wouldn't do it.

    The object of the exercise is to harvest meat without causing the animal to suffer any more than absolutely necessary. The .30 Carbine can't reliably accomplish that. There's a greater chance that you will merely cause injury, and will have to track and finish a wounded animal. Worse, you might even lose the track, and leave a wounded deer to painfully limp through the rest of his short life.

    (I wouldn't use a .223 for whitetail, either.)
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    GCBHM is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
    Well, I don't think that trying to take a whitetail deer with the .30 Carbine round is an ethical proposition. Certainly, I wouldn't do it.

    The object of the exercise is to harvest meat without causing the animal to suffer any more than absolutely necessary. The .30 Carbine can't reliably accomplish that. There's a greater chance that you will merely cause injury, and will have to track and finish a wounded animal. Worse, you might even lose the track, and leave a wounded deer to painfully limp through the rest of his short life.

    (I wouldn't use a .223 for whitetail, either.)
    A .223 would be just fine for whitetail in thick brush, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it for that purpose; however, I would not choose it with the many other options available. I would think that the .30 would be a suitable rifle for the same purpose, in thick brush within (but absolutely no further than) 100 yards. In those conditions, you're probably only going to have a realistic shooting range of about 25-50 yards at best.

    My caliber of choice for a GP whitetail rifle would be the .270, but if I could have only one rifle to hunt in my inventory, I would go with the 7mm magnum.

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    TrafficsKindaBad is online now Junior Member
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    We can use .223 here in NH, so I could go that route. I know people are divided about this issue and some are on the fence. I would certainly use a good quality bullet made for hunting in a factory load, or reload my own. I have yet to be convinced one way or the other, but I think it would be really cool to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrafficsKindaBad View Post
    We can use .223 here in NH, so I could go that route. I know people are divided about this issue and some are on the fence. I would certainly use a good quality bullet made for hunting in a factory load, or reload my own. I have yet to be convinced one way or the other, but I think it would be really cool to do.
    In either case there is a semiauto magazine capacity limit for deer hunting in NH, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCBHM View Post
    A .223 would be just fine for whitetail in thick brush, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it for that purpose; however, I would not choose it with the many other options available. I would think that the .30 would be a suitable rifle for the same purpose, in thick brush within (but absolutely no further than) 100 yards. In those conditions, you're probably only going to have a realistic shooting range of about 25-50 yards at best.

    My caliber of choice for a GP whitetail rifle would be the .270, but if I could have only one rifle to hunt in my inventory, I would go with the 7mm magnum.
    I have to differ with this a bit. Lighter bullets tend to deflect more than do heavier, slower moving bullets when they strike limbs and thick brush. One of the best brush busters here in the wooded hunting areas in the east is the .44 Magnum in either a handgun or even better... a lever action rifle.

    The M1 Carbine can take white tail deer BUT, the choice of the .30 caliber load is absolutely critical; as is the distance, the hunter's ability to deliver a killing shot, and a few other factors.

    I'm like some others with this in that there are better choices for white tail deer and the OP would be better served to consider something from that basket. Deer don't always do as one plans.

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    TrafficsKindaBad is online now Junior Member
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    Yeah, 5 rounds, I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    I have to differ with this a bit. Lighter bullets tend to deflect more than do heavier, slower moving bullets when they strike limbs and thick brush. One of the best brush busters here in the wooded hunting areas in the east is the .44 Magnum in either a handgun or even better... a lever action rifle.

    The M1 Carbine can take white tail deer BUT, the choice of the .30 caliber load is absolutely critical; as is the distance, the hunter's ability to deliver a killing shot, and a few other factors.

    I'm like some others with this in that there are better choices for white tail deer and the OP would be better served to consider something from that basket. Deer don't always do as one plans.
    I certainly agree there are better choices, and that there are better brush guns than a .223 or .30 cal, but it is up to the shooter to decide whether or not to take a shot whether it be through branches or an open shot at say 40 yards. Personally, I would choose to go with a heavier round, but I would shoot the .223 if it was all I had. My personal preference for thick brush would either be a shotgun with a slug or something like a .44 carbine. Something with open iron sights and short. The .30-30 would suffice, or a .35 Remington would be better.

    As to capacity, I believe you can get five round magazines for the .223, if I'm not mistaken.
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    GCBHM is offline Senior Member
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    The 444 is also a rather potent round which would work well as a brush gun. Suffice it to say that, as I said initially, the .30 carbine isn't the ideal round for hunting. It can work, but you'd have to be rather good. On second thought with the .223/5.56, I'd use it more for open greenfield shooting over brush shooting, although I do think the .223 would be an effective round. You'd probably be better served to choose another round. If you can find a .44 carbine, that is probably the quintessential short range brush gun, IMHO.

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    A whitetails toughness against gunfire can generally be judged along the same lines as one might judge a self-defense round to be used against a human - they aren't that hard to kill, but they have to be hit hard in the right place, to be stopped in their tracks. I hunted for years with a .30-06 using a 165 grain Nosler ballistic tip over a maximum load of RL-22 - way more than necessary, but I chose that particular load for its accuracy. The last three deer I shot were with this round, and none made it more than 30 yards from the point of impact, but only one dropped in its tracks. All three were heart-lung shots at 90 - 120 yards, with the POI not varying by more than an inch or two.

    Even with a great load, the .30 carbine is marginal, at any distance much beyond handgun ranges, unless you hit the brain or the spine, which is a low percentage shot with a carbine. It can be done, and probably is every year. But the odds of missing the sweet spot by an inch or so are high, and it just doesn't have that extra power that can compensate for a shot that was slightly off target. Of course, you can say the same for a bow and arrow shot, so there's a good argument for you, if you want to go ahead and risk it at longer ranges.

    Personally, I don't bow hunt because of the increased likelihood of missing a clean kill shot, but I don't fault anyone who does have enough confidence in their ability to do it. Same goes for using a carbine at 100 yards plus.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrafficsKindaBad View Post
    Yeah, 5 rounds, I think.
    VT was 4 I think last time I looked. What I'm concerned about is the availability of magazines (but they could be everywhere and I wouldn't know).

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCBHM View Post
    I certainly agree there are better choices, and that there are better brush guns than a .223 or .30 cal, but it is up to the shooter to decide whether or not to take a shot whether it be through branches or an open shot at say 40 yards. Personally, I would choose to go with a heavier round, but I would shoot the .223 if it was all I had. My personal preference for thick brush would either be a shotgun with a slug or something like a .44 carbine. Something with open iron sights and short. The .30-30 would suffice, or a .35 Remington would be better.

    As to capacity, I believe you can get five round magazines for the .223, if I'm not mistaken.
    Here in Virginia, when last I hunted, the minimum caliber size was/is .23 caliber with at least 350 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. If we had a SHTF scenario and you had to feed you and your family, then I would use anything I could get my hands on and with which I had ammunition. If that was a 5.56/.223 then so be it. Our deer here tend to grow fairly large and with the density of their wooded home areas, you do need something that will get the job done when conditions are not perfect, which they more often that not aren't.

    I agree with your list of a .44 Magnum carbine, a .30-30 lever or bolt action, or a .35 Remington. These are all excellent gun/caliber combos for my state.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCBHM View Post
    The 444 is also a rather potent round which would work well as a brush gun. Suffice it to say that, as I said initially, the .30 carbine isn't the ideal round for hunting. It can work, but you'd have to be rather good. On second thought with the .223/5.56, I'd use it more for open greenfield shooting over brush shooting, although I do think the .223 would be an effective round. You'd probably be better served to choose another round. If you can find a .44 carbine, that is probably the quintessential short range brush gun, IMHO.
    The .444 Marlin is great for bear. It does have a lot of recoil which can affect follpwup shots. I have a nephew who has taken quite a few deer with his.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    Here in Virginia, when last I hunted, the minimum caliber size was/is .23 caliber with at least 350 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. If we had a SHTF scenario and you had to feed you and your family, then I would use anything I could get my hands on and with which I had ammunition. If that was a 5.56/.223 then so be it. Our deer here tend to grow fairly large and with the density of their wooded home areas, you do need something that will get the job done when conditions are not perfect, which they more often that not aren't.

    I agree with your list of a .44 Magnum carbine, a .30-30 lever or bolt action, or a .35 Remington. These are all excellent gun/caliber combos for my state.
    Some years ago I read a report on a study of bullet deflection in brush. The upshot was that, if the bullet hits brush on the way to the target it will deflect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy View Post
    Here in Virginia, when last I hunted, the minimum caliber size was/is .23 caliber with at least 350 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. If we had a SHTF scenario and you had to feed you and your family, then I would use anything I could get my hands on and with which I had ammunition. If that was a 5.56/.223 then so be it. Our deer here tend to grow fairly large and with the density of their wooded home areas, you do need something that will get the job done when conditions are not perfect, which they more often that not aren't.

    I agree with your list of a .44 Magnum carbine, a .30-30 lever or bolt action, or a .35 Remington. These are all excellent gun/caliber combos for my state.
    I do agree the .223 is a light round, but I guess my thinking is that if an arrow can kill a deer then so can a well placed .223. I've seen several pics of rather large game, such as boar and big cats, dropped with a .223, so I would think it would suffice. That said, my preference would be something larger. I believe any of the three calibers above would be perfect for the brush hunter, but even at that, I would prefer either a .270 or 7mm Mag. Either of those would be great GP hunting guns for almost any game you want to take.

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