Handgun Optics for deer hunting


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italian biker
August 31, 2010, 10:30 PM
Hey all.
I'm looking for experienced opinions on optics for deer hunting. I'm going to get my revolver tapped and threaded and I'm trying to decide if I should go with a holographic red dot, or a hand gun scope. I expect my shots to be no more then 50 to 60 yards. Thanks in advance.

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jbkebert
August 31, 2010, 11:00 PM
At that distance I would personally go with a good red dot. Get one with the smallest MOA dot possible.

hoghunting
September 1, 2010, 01:30 AM
A red dot or a fixed 2X scope will work well. The scope will allow you to see better in lower light.

dakotasin
September 1, 2010, 01:55 AM
i run a 2x nikon on my 480 ruger and a 6 moa red dot nikon on my 50 desert eagle.

the scope is ok, but difficult to set up for a shot in field conditions, and tougher to hold steady w/ a good field of view. the red dot is much more user friendly, and i like it much better than a scope for hunting uses. the scope is far more precise - i can get groups out of my 480 at 125-150 yards that will make some rifle shooters blush. the red dot will kill targets just fine at those ranges, but they sure aren't groups.

my next hunting handgun will feature a red dot. that purchase is imminent, actually - as soon as i can find something i like (a 7.5" ruger blackhawk in 41 mag just might do it)... maybe even a smith 500..?

Grumulkin
September 1, 2010, 07:05 AM
Since a red dot gives minimal magnification if any, I would use iron sights before a red dot but that's just me.

For precise shooting in a gun accurate enough to justify it, go with a scope. Most of mine are Leupold 2.5-8X handgun scopes.

hardluk1
September 1, 2010, 09:39 AM
I have used a red dot on a 357 dan wesson for 20+ years and just installed a burris 35mm dot on my DW 44 mag for this comeing deer season. The dot does allow quicker pick up of targets and out to what most concider hunting ranges of up to 60 yards make it harder to shoot badly. I hunted hogs mainly with the 357 with a couple deer taken . At the bench with 357 i could shoot 3" groups at 100 yards, never could come close to that with open sites. Thats why i installed the dot. To buddies have installed 512 EOtech's on there red hawks for this year and they are brand new to handguns. Both are now very good out to 75 yards with around a 110 rounds down range each. I setup both buddies guns for them and benched both and to me it does not matter between a halo and a dot. To me, with a scope you must focus more on lineing up the scope to see the crodd hair and may or may not be able to shoot it with open eyes. Just a bit slower. Price are close to the same. My dot was around 230 bucks and the halo's were near 400. A scope is in between. Good luck choiceing

Legionnaire
September 1, 2010, 01:48 PM
I like red dots and 2X fixed scopes on revolvers. Have a 2-7X on an Encore. Think I favor the scopes over the red dot, but either will work.

One word of advice: If you're considering a magnified red dot, check the parallax. I tried an inexpensive (Tru-Glo?) 3X red dot for a while, and the parallax was so bad as to be distracting. Seems to me the whole point of a red dot is that you should be able to put the dot on the target and pull the trigger. But with that cheap 3X, move your head and the dot wandered all over the target. Since shot placement is close to everything when hunting with a handgun, it wasn't for me. So check parallax before laying down for a magnified red dot scope.

italian biker
September 2, 2010, 12:32 AM
Hardluk, when you're talking about a red dot, do you mean a red dot scope, or a holographic with a red dot.

hardluk1
September 2, 2010, 03:06 PM
Between myself and 2 buddies we are shooting both. I have only owned red dots and used one for 20 years. About 3 months ago a bought a much better dot from burris, a 35mm with a 3 mil red dot. Works great on the 44 DW, My 2 hunting buddies both bought riger SRH's and EOtech Holographic sites and i set all of them up. Both types work very well at the range with the 512 EO haveing a 1: dot with a 60" circle and as real quick to get on target. Size of both are basicly the same as far as wieght, height and lenght with the Eotech is a different design. I like the EO just as well . DON"T buy junk and that is sometimes hard to tell good from junk. Just read up on reviews of products and any problems typicaly come to the surface. If range is limited to under ,say, your 60 to even 75 yards a 1X red dot sould be quicker on target. Both are adjustable for brightness. They also allows some cheating as far as haveing to look down the center of the site. More or less if the dot is on the target you got it,even if the dot is up near a corner at the shorter ranges you look to be hunting. With ether, a good 6 x 32 up to 8 x 40 bino's would be needed to watch those deer. Uncle Mikes has a low priced but good basic cross chest holster for a scoped handgun too. Abit slow to answer you.

Captcurt
September 2, 2010, 05:11 PM
Hardluk, when you're talking about a red dot, do you mean a red dot scope, or a holographic with a red dot.
I have taken several whitetails with my GP100 357 with a Pro PointII. It is good past 50 yards. I had a 221 Fireball with a 2X Leupold but the red dot is a little faster to use. If you want precision go with the scope. If you want faster target requisition go with the Red Dot. I'm still undecided on the Holographic sites. I have 2 or 3 but they haven't wowed me yet.

hardluk1
September 2, 2010, 07:58 PM
Captcut. Those holo sites are on many competive shooters with a few dots and I do want to see how they work with my friend. Just for me close to 400 bucks is ,well alot of bucks. Now if i hunted near a field where long shots where a higher chance then maybe a 2x7 power in a 7-08. A friend that has passed had a contender with 2x7 in 7-30 waters and he did not have much success at distance longer than i shot with the dot. You see guys on tv hunting open country with scoped tc's in major calibers ? I'll take a rifle. That old 357 and dot has banged a lot of hogs in days gone by.

Captcurt
September 2, 2010, 09:26 PM
Hardluk,

I hear you about the long shots. If I need to shoot much over 60 yards, I'll have a rifle. I bowhunt a lot and have a bad habit of setting my stands too close to trails. That is why most of my deer are in pistol range.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
September 2, 2010, 09:49 PM
I hear you about the long shots. If I need to shoot much over 60 yards, I'll have a rifle. I bowhunt a lot and have a bad habit of setting my stands too close to trails. That is why most of my deer are in pistol range.

Oh what a problem to have!!!! :neener::neener:

my next hunting handgun will feature a red dot. that purchase is imminent, actually - as soon as i can find something i like (a 7.5" ruger blackhawk in 41 mag just might do it)... maybe even a smith 500..?

If for hunting, go with that .500 S&W. Drops deer like a bad habit at 100 yards and will do a pretty darn skippy number on hogs as well. I love mine!! I've never scoped a pistol yet but my eyes aren't getting any younger and those open sight shots out past 50 yards are getting a little rough for these old eyes :banghead:

flipajig
September 3, 2010, 09:44 AM
I would go with a red dot or a 4x. I have a friend that has a red dot on a 41mag tender barrel that works great on it. I have seen him shoot at 100 yds with impresive groups
this was at a pice of papper. I have a 4x on my 44mag barrel that works for me. but make shoure that it is EER.

hardluk1
September 3, 2010, 10:06 AM
flipajig I have to say it is easier to cheat with a dot at the range. Use a target ,say at 50 yards thats covers just a couple inchs more in size than the redot. Most dots cover 3 to 4 inchs at 100 yards. At 50 that would be 1 1/2 to 2" so shoot at a 3" black dot and you will see a bit of the ring around the red dot and it makes for a easy target to get some really impressive groups.

jaybirdjtski
September 3, 2010, 01:30 PM
I've pretty much stuck with 2x and no higher for deer. Field of view is a big issue with me and the variables don't compare with a 2x Leupold for example which is actually 1.7x If you are going to experiment with loads for accuracy, I think you'll need the scope. You may think you'll limit your shots to 60 yards but I would prepare for 150. I always hunt with bullet drop and wind deflection 10 and 20 mph taped to the handle/stock. I've hunted with a T/C in 223, 30/30 and 44 mag and a higher power variable and it was a royal pain picking up a smallish moving target like a coyote. Never could get used to the small field of view.

For the hunting you describe, a dot sounds like a good plan. I will add that Leupold has a "no b/s" lifetime warranty and used handgun scopes, like the 2x EER can be found on auction sites for under $150. I just mailed them a 3.5 x 10x that I've had for 30 years!

Sorry if I sound biased but I've only had Leopold and Zeiss scopes so I'm certainly no authority!

Lastly, "italian biker", Ducati or Aprilia....or Moto Guzzi? Gotta love the Ducs! Just got back from Italy and Corsica. Corsica is a major destination for bike touring. 5 hours on a ferry from Livorno and you are in a veritable paradise for outdoor adventure!

hardluk1
September 4, 2010, 04:41 PM
Good idea to practice at longer ranges. I practice out to and use a 100 yards and learn what the chosen round does at shorter ranges. If you have the caliber for longer shots better go with a scope. Still never shot at than longer distance but atleaast you would know if you can do it given a good rest.

oldbanjo
September 4, 2010, 05:05 PM
I gave a relative my 44 Mag Ruger Red Hawk with a scope because it was too heavy.

hardluk1
September 4, 2010, 05:15 PM
Yes 44's can be on the heavy side for sure. I have a 8" DW that is going to stand hunt with me this season and it tips the scales around 67oz with red dot but no ammo. I use a cross chest holster so that atleast leaves boths hands free to catch myself when i fall down. My old 357 8" DW small frame was under 44oz with a dot.

italian biker
September 5, 2010, 03:16 PM
Jay,
I don't own an Italian made bike. I ride a Zuki. My heritage is Italian. Also, thanks on your input.

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