Deer and the .45acp


May 27, 2003, 01:05 PM
I'm new here and I thought I would start my first post with something I have wondered about for awhile.
Being from the "old school" I have used revolvers for many years for hunting. They always preformed well for me. As I get older I find the weight and bulk of a S&W 29 or a Ruger Blackhawk more tireing than years gone by so I have started carrying a .45acp. I find it a great gun to carry for hunting, flat and lighter and just as accurate (if not more so) than my revolvers. The thing I am wondering about is the caliber. Not very fast and not noted for penetration. Recently I was offered only one shot at a deer with my .45 but I missed--I think, no blood. I tracked for awhile in the fresh snow but only tracks. Oddly my reloading book calls for a .355 dia bullet 147 gr. as ok for deer but not any .45acp bullet.

I realize that the range would have to be short, probably no more than 25 yards or so, but I"m wondering if its a good enough caliber for deer and if so what would be the best bullet to use. Can anybody here enlighten me? Thanks in advance....

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May 27, 2003, 02:42 PM
It wouldn't be legal in some states. I have seen a small whitetail buck taken at about 25 yards with a factory Black Talon. It was a broadside chest shot. I don't know if it was DRT, but it didn't go far. Personally, I would want more power, even for a short shot.

May 27, 2003, 06:20 PM
Have you thought about the 10mm instead?

May 27, 2003, 06:34 PM
If it is legal in your state, and you keep shots to within 50 yards or less and you can put the bullets where they should go, I don't know why the Hornady XTPs, or even 200 Gr LSWC in a pinch, wouldn't be capable of taking a deer. Don't think defensive rounds would be my first choice though.

May 27, 2003, 06:59 PM
I bought a 10mm glock for this purpose and carried it one year but its too blocky/thick. Shoots real good. As for the .45 yes I can keep them easily in the kill zone at 50 yrds with either the glock or the colt. All in the x ring mayb just a couple in the 9 ring of a b27 at 50 yrds. Also, the .45 is legal in my state (any centerfire).

Art Eatman
May 27, 2003, 07:19 PM
After a badly healed broken ankle from having a horse fall with him, my uncle decided that working his cattle with an old Harley-Davidson 45 WW II surplus critter would do. "When you're not workin' it, you're not feedin' it."

He carried a 1911 on the handlebar, in an old GI holster. The deer on his place were so used to the motorcycle, they'd just hang around and look at him. Big mistake. He loaded his own, with pure lead 230-grain cast bullets. His comment was, "Aw, it just sorta wraps around'em."

I guess it's like a lot of marginal packages: Be picky on your shots, and limit your range...

:), Art

May 27, 2003, 08:05 PM
I have shot a 3x3 mule deer buck with a 45 acp, it was maybe 225-250 pounds live weight. Shot was 30 yards and a darn fine rifleman was 20 steps away ready to go, he was to shoot the instant after I did if the deer did not drop. I shot it at the base of the neck, just forward of the shoulders. Ammo was 230 grain Federal Hydrashock. The deer turned nearly 90 degrees as it was going down, from broadside to facing away. It was DRT, GYD , STONE dead, whatever you want to call it that deer never even twitched. TWO complete vertabrae were totally gone, and the two outside them were damaged heavily. Entrance wound was big, seemed larger than 45 but I don't know how it could have been. Exit was HUGE, like softball sized in diameter easily. Blood spray out of the exit was extensive along with tissue, but I found blood nearly 15 feet away on the entrance side. A geyser came out at impact that I saw, or I never would have looked. I had not noticed blood on the entrance side of an animal before. A double lung shot on the downed dead animal before field dressing was also very damaging to the organs, as I expected with the range only being 3 feet or so. It also completely penetrated the deer, and could not be found in the dirt within 6" of the surface.

I did it because I could do it ethically, have the skill, and wanted to test it to see exactly how well or poorly it would work.

45 acp is a whole lot more gun than I gave it credit for. IF I had the right shot, AND I had the right 45 in my hand, AND the deer was cooperating, AND the weather was cooperating, AND it was legal I would shoot another deer with the 45 acp.

May 27, 2003, 09:14 PM
I was making shots on a dinner plate-sized target yesterday and Saturday with 1911's. Both I and my shooting partner paced off the distance (I used my pace count to measure 50 meters; he claimed 50 yards; I have to use my pace count in the infantry for land nav, and he says he used to be a surveyor)...

With the right round, I would take reasonable shots. When I lived in AL, I carried stoutly loaded 230-grain Gold Dots (what Cor-bon used to load their 230-grainers with) in my Glock 21, for brief excursions on hunting land after work. Before carry, I tested the rounds in target media. They both penetrated deeply and expanded well.


May 27, 2003, 09:26 PM
You could look at the .460 Rowland conversion kit for your 1911 if you wanted more range and "punch". It's sold by Clark Custom Guns, and pushes the 1911 into something like .41 Magnum territory. See here ( for details.

June 5, 2003, 07:57 PM
I have taken a nice buck with a .45 ACP 230 gr. JHP. The range was 7 yards and it was a standing broadside shot. Bullet lodged just under the hide on the off side, and he ran about 50 yards before expiring.

June 13, 2003, 06:44 PM
I knew a guy who took a good size doe with a 185 HP .45 round.
He stepped into the yard and saw it eating his ornamental bushes. Pulled his .45 and took a lung shot. Range was under 20 yards, might have been 11. He said the deer dropped on the spot.

This was during the November deer season and he had a doe permit.

Art Eatman
June 13, 2003, 08:16 PM
And so we're back to skill level, location of hit and a range such that adequate penetration occurs.

Thread-drift vignette: Back in the 1950s, a guest hunter showed up at a deer lease near New Braunfels, Texas. A one-armed guy. The rancher asked what he was planning to use to shoot Bambi. The guy showed a K-38, .38 Special. The rancher was dubious and inquired as to the hunter's ability.

The hunter looked down toward the 100-yard benchrest target, and demonstrated. Six rounds of fairly rapid fire, all in about a six-inch circle.
The rancher grinned and nodded, and walked off...

:), Art

June 13, 2003, 09:14 PM
If you question whether a 45acp is aadequate to drop a 200 and something pound deer; do you question it's ability to stop a 200 and something pound man?

Art Eatman
June 14, 2003, 12:42 AM
Smoke, when I'm hunting Bambi, a major concern it the ethics of a quick and clean kill. With Bad Guys, it's solely whether or not he quit being bad. I'm unconcerned about his other problems; clean, dirty, pain & agony--doesn't matter.

:), Art

February 5, 2008, 09:36 AM
i love to see debates like this

ive killed many a deer with the 45 acp, and many a deer with the 45 super. while the 45 super is a much better round to do the job,the 45 acp has no problem putting a big buck down. id also have to agree.....if the 45 acp is touted as being an outstanding '1 shot stop" weapon on a man, why would anyone even question its effectiveness on a deer.

it also makes me chuckle when i hear all of the "quick clean humane kill" stuff. people debate this in length when it comes to rifle calibers ( i hunt with a 222,223 and 22 hornet...i killed my buck last year with a 22 hornet neck shot at 75 yards, and he never twitched) and pistol calibers, complain that certain bullets and weights,calibers are noy adequate for deer because they dont offer a quick clean humane kill...what about bow hunting?....ive seen deer heart shot and lung shot with a bow with 4 blade broadheads, and watched as they ran 300-400 yards, then hit the ground and thrashed around for 30 minutes. how is that a quick humane kill? california,where im at, ANY CENTERFIRE CARTRIDGE is LEGAL FOR DEER HUNTING,meaning, legally you could hunt deer with a little 25 auto if you wanted.

now dont get me wrong, im not advocating taking a 100 yard shot with a 45 acp for deer, but any distance you can effectively shoot with a 45 would be fine. i have an older custom springfield target 1911 from the custom shop that will shoot 1 hole groups at 50 yards with 45 super, and shoot 2" groups at 30 yards with standard 45 acp hard ball. im comforatble shooting deer with either.

February 6, 2008, 11:45 AM
Something to consider:

The original design spec that the 1911 (45ACP) was commisioned by the army to meet read, " Must be able to cause a charging calvalry-trained horse to falter"

The round was designed back when the calvery still really rode horses, and it was designed to be affective against those horses. - Now granted; it was designed to be a defensive weapon at short range... but still...

To be honest, I've never hunted with a 45, but since it was designed to defend against charging horses, I'd personally have no hesitation on using it against wandering deer. - but only (as previously mentioned) at appropriate ranges.

February 6, 2008, 11:51 AM
45 acp works fine for deer within range...Heres the story of mine this past year...

February 7, 2008, 09:32 PM
I've heard so many people on other forums say that a .45 auto was totally inadequate for deer.

I simply cannot understand that logic, it can't kill a 180-200 pound deer but its still such a great man stopper?

I carried my XD45 along with my .30-06 during rifle deer season this year because I figured I could probably draw and fire the XD much faster if I had the rifle slung and got a chance at a nice, close shot.

I almost used it to put down a deer struck by a car on the way home but it started running off and appeared to be fine.

February 8, 2008, 11:51 AM
The number one problem I have with the .45 and hunting is that, often times, people are not the good shots they think they are. My first recommendation is to by a laser range finder and practice with it, so that you get used to juding TRUE ranges. Many people see 25 - 30 yards and say it is 60 yards away. Some folks shoot at 150 yards and think it is 300+ away. Sometimes the reverse is true, meaning 60+ yards looks like 25 to them.

As you can see, if I took a shot I assumed was 25 yards off and it was really 50+ that would crucially impact my shot placement and bullet performance.

IF... IF YOU can judge the distance accurately and consistently put the bullets in place, then a .45 a .38 a 9mm or .40 will do fine. A .357 a .44+ will be even better.

I would focus on "double tap" shots and practice that way. First bullet, a well constucted hollow point second bullet an FMJ or hard cast for penetration. At those distances (25 or so yards) you should be able to fire a double tap.

Witness this video:

February 8, 2008, 01:14 PM
mbt2001, most places it is illegal to hunt FMJ, but you could use lead. I shot at a deer with my 9mm this year.

I shot a deer, and rushed it (the deer not the shot). I actually was tracking it, and looked down beside me. He was about 3 feet away. He was near dead, but when we made eye contact he jumped. I had my 9mm with me. I upholstered it and shot. He went down.

I was using 124 grain HydraShocks. He was about dead anyway. I just rushed the trailing. It was my fault. In another few minutes he would have expired.

Snapping Twig
February 8, 2008, 05:19 PM
Lee makes a nice 230g TC mould. I bought the 6 gang version and they shoot to POA like a ball round does with the additional feature of a large metplat for hunting.

Try them, they may be just what you're looking for.

February 8, 2008, 05:29 PM
my dad knew a guy out in california in the 50s that used his 1911 for boar

he would use his beagle to sniff out the den then get them while they slept

or atleast thats what he said lol

February 10, 2008, 09:38 PM
mbt2001, most places it is illegal to hunt FMJ, but you could use lead. I shot at a deer with my 9mm this year.

I keep hearing in that. I live in Texas... I have checked and have never run into that issue. Seems weird, as hard cast bullets do not expand at all and they are "legal". FMJ's will disrupt sometimes, like when they hit bone. Anyway, I thank you for the correction, as it could be illegal in some places, but the advice, One exanding round, one penetration round is sound.

February 10, 2008, 09:56 PM
A .45 caliber chunk of hard cast lead moving along at about the speed of sound has been killing deer deader than rocks for a couple three century's now, the ACP at the end of the caliber doesn't make any kind of difference.

Art Eatman
February 11, 2008, 12:11 AM
mbt2001 summed it up pretty well. Sure, .22LR, .45ACP, other "little critter" cartridges insofar as power: They'll work, but you better be pretty doggoned good as a "hitter". Anybody can be a "shooter"; all that takes is pulling the trigger.

Will Fennell
February 11, 2008, 12:52 AM
I've taken deer with .45 acp, and with 10mm. Both worked, but the 10mm works better. Noticeably better.

February 11, 2008, 09:26 AM
John Taffin had an article about 45 ACP loads with big Keith SWC's that replicated the original 45 LC loads that have been killing deer and bigger for lots and lots of years...


February 12, 2008, 05:08 AM
i would suggest buying a 26-30# recoil spring and some 45 super brass...

sure .45 acp will work (with good shot placement and range), but i feel the super just gives u that much of an advantage.

November 29, 2008, 11:13 AM
45 super would be the way to go, but a 25-30# recoil spring is WAY over doing it, youd spend more time trying to cock the weapon than shooting it. i run a 18 1/2lb spring in mine with a full length guide rod, and after over 2000+ rounds of hot 45 super flying thru it, i dont have one single solitary sign of any kind of frame and/or slide battering, and have had absolutely no problems what soever. when i originally put mine together, i used the called for 22# (i think it was) spring, and it was way over sprung. hard to cock the slide,the occasional stovepipe,etc. once i switched to the 18 1/2lb spring, no problems at all even with the hottest 45 super.

you decide what spring you would use yourself of course, but personally 18 1/2 is all mine needs

November 29, 2008, 01:31 PM
If you question whether a 45acp is aadequate to drop a 200 and something pound deer; do you question it's ability to stop a 200 and something pound man?
It's hard to understand why at least 3 posters on this thread have this opinion, given how much more difficult it is to kill a deer than a person. I shot a 150 lb. buck (actualy weight) thru both lungs with a .30-06 and it still ran 50 yards, and this is typical. On this forum you see reports of deer doing incredible things after receiving good hits by high power rifles. There is no comparison between what a deer can absorb and keep on ticking versus a man.

November 30, 2008, 10:47 PM
Hell, you can use a good penetrating 9mm hollowpoint for the deer down south if you're a good shot with it.

Marlin 45 carbine
November 30, 2008, 11:46 PM
I shot a wild/feral hog about 300 lbs with my Marlin Camp .45acp loaded with +P Golden Sabre 185gr. took a good chunk of skull and brain tissue off. DRT.

November 30, 2008, 11:58 PM
This thread reminds me of that episode of The Sopranos where Paulie and Chris got lost in the woods after chasing after a Russian in pajamas.

In one scene they start firing at what they thought was the Russian and wind up killing a deer instead.

December 1, 2008, 08:43 AM
i have not had an oppertunity to shoot a deer yet with mine, but it goes with me every year. it is not my primary weapon. but i bring it for those really close, on the right side of me shots where i would have to do a lot of moving to make with a rifle. those shots almost never work out with a rifle, because the deer either see's you or hears you moving, and take flight. with the pistol, you just pick it up, and aim it. i sincerly believe that a 45 acp will do a decent job, as long as the shot placement is good. also, i load alternating FMJ, and JHP loads in the magazine. i hope to get two quick shots into it before it runs off. one for penetration, and one to deliver hydraulic shock. JHP is what is in the chamber.

35 Whelen
December 2, 2008, 02:41 AM
I've never shot a deer with mine, but I used to load 255 gr. Keith typr SWC's. I'd bet the farm that this bullet or any other heavy (230 gr. +) SWC or TC is going to completely penetrate on a broadside shot. Let's not forget that the 45ACP pretty much duplicates the original 45 Colt ballistics and I don't think there's any question as to it's merits when it comes to killing whitetails.

December 2, 2008, 05:03 AM
I killed a corsican ram using a 255grain RNFP design going about 650fps shot from my .454 airgun. Went right thru him and he went down pretty fast. Also took a small wild boars' brain out with a 228grainSWC going about 700fps out of the same air rifle.

Lots of Whitetails were taken this year using .45 airguns with similiar ballistics to the .45ACP/.45Colt. A guy just last week killed a 420lb. Red Stag with an airgun shooting 250grainers at 850fps.

A big, slow slug can do some pretty impressive things. Just be able to put that slug right where it needs to be, rather than just putting the shot in a big ol' "pie plate". A big meplat is a good idea as well.

December 2, 2008, 09:21 PM
Am I missing something? Is there another meaning of airgun? Are you seriously pushing a 250grn bullet to 800fps without gunpowder? That's really impressive if you are.

December 2, 2008, 10:11 PM
My present rifle isn't quite as powerful as some other bigbores. That book in the picture above was hit at 25 meters with a 260grainer shot from my .454 airgun, going around 650fps. It is the single tubed version of my SamYang 909 .454 air rifle that can be modified to shoot 250grains at 850fps.

I get around 245-260fpe with most of the slugs I shoot. Maybe more as I need to do more testing at different fill pressures. Using the right slug, it's definitely enough for complete penetration on a broadside heart/lung shot on deer at 50 yards.

There are airguns out there a lot more powerful than that though.

My next bigbore airgun will be a .452 tuned to shoot 260grainers at about 900 fps, duplicating the ballistics of the original .45Colt load. I'll be getting either a 20gauge air shotgun, or a .54 caliber muzzleloading airgun after that. Can't decide.

I shot a .458 caliber air rifle that could throw a 500grain slug 735fps for 600fpe. The actual slug I shot out of it was a 405grainer producing around 550fpe, and the recoil was very impressive!

My buddy just killed a whitetail doe with a 200grain Devastator HP going about 950fps out of his .452 air rifle. So I have to think that the .45Colt/.45ACP will do the trick at short range.

Here's a slideshow, and a link.

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