While it’s very popular for varmint hunting, especially when chambered in a bigger cartridge, an AR-15 can also be very effective for deer hunting.
Primarily available in relatively small caliber–high velocity cartridges like the .223 Remington–AR-15s are very popular for hunting animals like coyotes and prairie dogs. However, many people understandably have reservations about using an AR-15 for deer hunting.
Most of those concerns are focused on the fact the .223 Remington is either illegal to use on big game in various places, or the apprehension some people have that the cartridge is not powerful enough to cleanly and ethically take big game like deer.
The details of that particular discussion is best left for another day and the arguments about the lethality of the .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO cartridges aren’t new.
Indeed, they’ve been around since the Vietnam era when the United States military first adopted the M-16 rifle. For this reason, many companies have devoted considerable resources toward designing and developing more powerful cartridges, such as the 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, the .458 SOCOM, and the .50 Beowulf, that will function in an AR platform.
Well, in the video below, we see a hunter who went deer hunting with an AR-15 chambered in 6.8 Remington SPC. Watch it and see how things turned out.
According to the hunter, he was using an AR-15 with a 16-inch barrel firing a 95-grain Barnes TTSX bullet. He made a good shot that hit the heart and lungs, so the doe only ran about 20 yards into the woods before expiring.
The hunter claims that he recovered the bullet on the doe’s opposite shoulder and it exhibited almost perfect expansion. At 280 yards, that wasn’t exactly a short shot, either.
As you can see, this video demonstrates that the 6.8 SPC will certainly do the job on a whitetail deer with good shot placement.
While he very likely would have killed that deer if he’d shot her in the same place with a smaller bullet from a .223 Remington, you can’t ask for much better performance than what we saw in this video.
If you were curious about going deer hunting with an AR-15, this looks like a compelling argument to use one of those larger and more powerful cartridges for the AR-15.