AR 15 Cartridges – Part 2
AR 15 Cartridges – Part 2

AR 15 Cartridges – Part 2


The recent polls conducted on AR 15 cartridges yielded some interesting information. Obviously, these were not scientific polls but given there were in the neighborhood of 700 responses we could say they are an indication of trends.

Without question it seems obvious that the .223 Remington is thought to be the best general purpose, battle and varmint cartridge for the AR 15. What was interesting was how few of those surveyed thought it suitable for big game. I was also surprised to see how many chose the .458 SOCOM for big game; I seriously doubt that 100 of those surveyed own a .458 SOCOM or have ever shot one at anything, much less a big game animal.

The .25-45 Sharps is a very balanced cartridge capable of driving a 90 grain bullet to 2850 fps from a 16" AR 15.
The .25-45 Sharps is a very balanced cartridge capable of driving a 90 grain bullet to 2850 fps from a 16″ AR 15. However, it was virtually overlooked in a survey about AR 15 cartridges.

I’d venture to guess that the .223 Remington has killed more big game animals than all the other cartridges combined but yet it only received 6% of the votes. These results got me to wondering just exactly how many folks are actually big game hunting with an AR in any chambering.

When two cartridges as ballistically different as the .30 Remington AR and the .300 Blackout are rated equally. And, when a cartridge – the .458 SOCOM – with a trajectory doubtfully as flat as a football thrown by Brett Favre, yes even a retired Brett Favre, is considered the best; it would appear the responses to this question are more indicative of a theoretical assumption or reflective of the cartridge owned by those who voted.



With that in mind, here is another survey:

[poll id=”34″]

[poll id=”35″]

[poll id=”36″]

[poll id=”37″]

[poll id=”38″]


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  2. Jim Dodd

    I shot a klipspringer in Zimbabwe with the PH’s AR-15 in 5.56X45. This is a small animal and it died right there. I would like to hunt with the 6.5 Grendel as well, but I usually use a .308 Win for most non-dangerous game animals…jim

  3. I’m thinking the best Big game cartridge for the AR-15 is probably a 30 Remington AR loaded with a 160gr FTX bullet. It has the same MV as a 308 Marlin Express and has about a 375 yard effective hunting range. I’m thinking the second best would be a 140gr Nosler BT in a 24in Grendel. That round has got about a 350yard effective hunting range and some amazing Sectional Density.

  4. dagamore

    I have taken a few 100+lbs hogs with my ar in 223, at least one with plain old M885, it works, shot placement is very important with it.

    Spent about a year hunting hogs in Hawaii with my AR in 300blackout, and took 25 or so 200+lbs pigs with it. The 300black was not as picky about shot placement as the 223.

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  6. Knitepoet

    I’ve killed numerous deer with the AR15 platform, NONE with it in 223/5.56. All have been with either my 50 Beowulf or 6.5 Grendel uppers.

    I have carried a 223 deer hunting (It IS legal in my state) but haven’t had the opportunity.

    You also have to keep in mind that in some states, the minimum bullet diameter for deer hunting is .24″

    Taking a 223 rifle into the woods is an EASY way to get cited in those states.

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