What is a better hunting handgun?


December 30, 2010, 11:17 AM
What is the better choice for hunting?

-8.5 inch barreled Smith and Wesson model 25-5 in .45 long colt


-6 inch barreled Dan Wesson Model 44 magnum

Ammo prices/availability aside, which is the better choice?

If you enjoyed reading about "What is a better hunting handgun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 30, 2010, 12:35 PM
Well if your pushing the limits the DW 44mag it is a much stronger revolver than the smith but the smith does have a longer site radius and a with that couple inch more barrel would make a real nice hunter. Just stay away from the +P loads for it. I have a 8" on my DW and love the gun. have a red dot on it a currently shot some double taps at 1500fps and groups them tight. Shoot the one you shoot best if deer hunting at long bow ranges they both will work.

December 30, 2010, 01:08 PM
44 Mag trumps the 45 colt in every way for a hunting bullet. 45 Colt is on the puney side for hunting anything larger then a javelina in my book. I have heard the stories of guys loading the 45 LC to near 44Mag speed/energy but why load overpressure when the 44 Mag does it under pressure spec.

Art Eatman
December 30, 2010, 01:54 PM
I'll agree with kachok about not overloading the .45, but it's still plenty good out to fifty yards or thereabouts. The longer sight radius might be a deciding factor, actually.

Whichever of them gives you the best performance at very-reliably hitting the end of a beer can seems to me to be the determinant. That's your distance limit, as well...

FWIW, my loading data handbooks show some fairly stout loads for the .45 which won't be too high for the 25-5.

December 30, 2010, 06:59 PM
The reason the 45 is mainly loaded to low and slow is because of all the old colts and BP class revolvers still out there. 1300+fps with a 325 gr bullet is not takeing a back set to any 44mag. But would not want to shoot that type of load in your SW in 45 or 44mag.

December 30, 2010, 09:06 PM
I love my .45 colts and you can load them to surpass the .44 mag in a revolver that will handle the load...just tradition minded I guess...

December 30, 2010, 10:53 PM
I dont have much experince with a 45 but for the 44 I have some both will get the job done providing that you do yours

December 31, 2010, 06:32 AM
Just a couple of weeks ago, I used a S&W 25-5 with the 8 3/8" barrel to take a deer at 50 yards. (Iron sights on this one.) I listened to the experienced folk on this forum and used a hard cast lead swc with a big ole flat nose loaded to around 900 fps.

I hit the 100# deer mid-left shoulder and it exited about 3 ribs from the back on the other side-complete pass through (like I like it). She didn't go far.

I have also taken several deer with the .44 mag. at various ranges. (4X scope on this one.) I used 240 gr JHP's loaded to Ruger levels. Killed them dead too, but with the jhp's, I didn't always get a full pass through. Like I said, it killed them but they had only one hole to leak from which can make the tracking harder-just in case it is needed. I may change the bullet I use in my .44 since the lswc worked so well for me in the .45.

Either will work. I, like has already been said, prefer longer barrels if using iron sights.

December 31, 2010, 10:35 AM
you do not state what you are hunting, so i think most of us here are ASSUMING it is around the whitetail deer size of animal. i can tell you that i hunt with a 6" s&w 629 44 mag. i can also tell you that i have harvested a whitetail with a 6" 357 mag as well. the big two things about handgun hunting are....1) distance you are capable of accuratly shooting. and 2) the bullet has to be matched to the velocity of the cartridge, AND the game you are shooting. in my state, you can LEGALLY shoot a whitetail deer with a .380 automatic! no one in 1/4th of a right mind would ever do that, but it is legal. i suppose, if you were within 10 feet, AND could get a good clear brain shot, it should kill a deer in its tracks. but every moon and star in the universe would have to be aligned just right for that to happen. i think that either a 45 colt, or a 44 magnum, used within their effective range, would cleanly take a whitetail sized animal. i doubt that it would be a drt. but i think that they would do a good job. the 44 mag, if you are capable, would extend the range over a 45lc. but some people can only shoot effectively out to 20 yards or so. in that case, either would do just fine. right now, with open sights, i am a 30 yard guy. my eyes are a bit fuzzy,so i limit myself to what i know i can hit. my 44 mag WILL have a scope on it before season next fall!

December 31, 2010, 06:11 PM
x wrench I to have killed seveal deer with a 357 and did not like hps with that caliber. Found that soft points worked well along with barnes x Killed many hogs with 180gr Hardcast. The 44 is loaded with some 240gr soft points again but weather kinda messed up breaking it in. If you scope look at some of the small sized red dot scope or reflex. I can't see sites well enought and have shoot with dots on my hunting revolvers for 25 years. They give you a fast on target view and if the dot is on so is the bullet. A regular scope is more accurate but slow on target and you have to have a much steadier site picture. Longest shoot was 80 yards on a deer with the 357 on flat level groud and a good rest. For me that is a long revolver shot.

December 31, 2010, 06:34 PM
No doubt the 45LC can be loaded to match the 44Rem Mag. As said above, the 45LC is a very formidable round when hanloaded beyond levels necessitated by ancient firearms. In modern revolvers, this round can match or better the 44 mag.

If you enjoy handloading, the 45 is a great hunting choice.

December 31, 2010, 09:17 PM
I have killed deer with my Hawes 44 Mag and my 357 Maximum T. Contender. I have not fired a 45 Colt but in equal firearms, I'm sure the 44 Mag and 45 Colt should give similar results, with the 44 Mag having the ballistic edge.
My 357 Maximum T. Contender is a flat shooting pistol, and with a 180gr Hornady Single Shot Pistol bullet at 1600 fps it's about equal to the other two in energy, but with much longer range with a Bushnell 2.5x Phantom zeroed at 125yds.


December 31, 2010, 09:29 PM
The best and most cost effective package for hot .45 Colt is the Ruger Bisley. That's not just my opinion, but the opinion of just about every custom revolver builder.

But... the Ruger Bisley itself is a fine package without any custom work. It'll do anything you want it to do, with some very hot loads. The Bisley grip shape is simply outstanding for recoil reduction and they are plenty accurate right out of the box.


December 31, 2010, 09:45 PM
mine is the blackhawk Bisley, 7 1/2 barrel .45 colt and with 300 grain Buffalo Bore cast bullets is a helluva pistol (and I do shoot .44 mags) big hogs go down in their tracks with this bad boy, plus I love the "peacemaker" even if it is on steroids....

December 31, 2010, 09:47 PM
The 45 LC loads listed in my Lyman manual specifically for Contenders and Modern Rugers is for all practical purposes equal to the 44 Mag. Not sure why one would consider it overpressure when it comes straight out of the manual.

December 31, 2010, 10:04 PM
The 45 LC loads listed in my Lyman manual specifically for Contenders and Modern Rugers is for all practical purposes equal to the 44 Mag.

They surpass the .44 mag by quite a margin.

December 31, 2010, 10:33 PM
If you dont reload get the 44 mag. Better quality of bullets are available for the 44. Preferrably in a Ruger or Smith. Either will last 3 lifetimes.

January 1, 2011, 01:03 PM
which do you shoot bettter? put the shot where it counts and.... dead deer.

January 1, 2011, 11:36 PM
Another vote for the Bisley


If you enjoyed reading about "What is a better hunting handgun?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!