what would be the biggest animal you would be able to take down with an 5.56mm m4 carbine. I was thinking about buying on for an all-purpose type of weapon. Do you think you could take down a whitetale?
I shot a nice eight pointer with an AR-15 once. I believe the shot needs to be close and without major bone in the way. I got lucky and shattered the front leg (running toward me) and he collapsed, and I shot him twice more as he was trying to get up. After reflection, I decided not to do it again. I could very easily have just poked a hole in him and watched him run away. If you're mostly having standing shots where you can take your pick, then its not bad, but how often is that the case? Also, finding bullets that are designed for deer is harder. Most are varmint bullets. Having said all that, I was still impressed with what those rounds did to that deer. Deer was about 200 lbs live weight. Fairly heavy deer.
Yeah, I would say the 5.56 (.223) is marginal for whitetail. You would have to restrict yourself to near-perfect, standing, broadside shots. If you have enough discipline to limit yourself that way, then it's probably adequate.
It's a fine caliber for coyotes and hogs, and would probably be adequate for antelope.
From the books that I have read, there is a lot of importance in knowing every nook and cranny of your hunting territory as well as the animal that you are hunting. So scouting as much as possible, just walking the land, will give you a good idea of what's around the corner or what's on the other side of a hill. Which can be very beneficial.
Making your own maps of human and deer trails, and different types of foliage such as group of pines,...