Before everyone jumps down my throat yes it is legal in Virginia. In Virginia the requirements are that it is greater than 23caliber and more than 350ftlbs of energy.
Secondly we are talking small deer < 100lbs. I have been practicing for this for a very long time. My maximum range will be 25yards as that is the farthest distance that I can consistently keep all my rounds within a 6" circle. I will be hunting with a shotgun but if the deer gets close enough and presents a perfect broad side shot then I do plan on taking the shot.
If a hollow point then it needs to penetrate farther than most hollow points as deer are tougher than we are. For that reason I've settled on the Hornady American Gunner 124gr +P. Based on the tests I've seen these tend to penetrate to around 18" of ballistics gel.
Another round could be the Underwood 115hr +P Extreme Penetrator. I'm not sure if these rounds are all hype but the thought behind this round is that it would break any bone that it comes into contact with and would allow for a clean pass through insuring more rapid blood loss.
Lastly I'm considering just going with a Standard 124gr NATO spec round. This round should also allow for a pass through and should also Yaw creating a more devastating wound channel than the Extreme Penetrator.
I've tested all 3 of these rounds and I'm the most accurate with the Hornady load and closely followed by the NATO spec load. The least accurate for me is the Underwood but even it keeps all shots within the required 6" circle at 25 yards.
PS. Based on everything I can find there is no requirement to have an expanding round for hunting in VA like there is in some states.
Thanks in advance.
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