deer hunting with a 1911?


August 15, 2011, 09:35 AM
I am in Ohio, and stopped by the ODNR website last night to see when bow season starts, and saw a gun requirement for pistols and deer hunting that I never looked at before. The only requirements listed were that the barrel be 5 inches and the cartridge be straightwalled with no neck or shoulder. It also states that the cartridge be larger than .357.

Not that i'm convinced it's a good idea, but does that mean I can hunt with my 1911? Just seems odd, which is why I'm asking.


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August 15, 2011, 10:23 AM
I know people that have killed deer with a .45 acp, but I live in Alabama. I don't know about the legality of doing it in Ohio, but it is absolutely possible to kill a deer with the cartridge. That is if you keep the range inside what your accuracy allows.

Art Eatman
August 15, 2011, 11:11 AM
We've had posts with pictures of successful .45ACP hunts.

I'd certainly limit myself to archery distance, for all that I can hit the end of a beer can beyond that--which is my general limit.

I'd guess a semi-wadcutter bullet, loaded max. E.g., hard-cast 200-grain SWC to around 900+ ft/sec.

August 15, 2011, 12:50 PM
Ohio used to specify case length which excluded .45acp but I don't see that listed anymore

August 15, 2011, 02:54 PM
Can be done. I've done it. I don't recommend it unless you know the limitations of the equipment and the shooter.

August 15, 2011, 03:03 PM
Do you have to put some kind of mag stopper in or something to keep it down to 3 shots? MrCleanOK what load did you use?

August 15, 2011, 05:28 PM
Yes it is possible, but I do not think it is a great idea. That being said, it is capable if you can put multiple shots on target, keep the distance short...

August 15, 2011, 11:12 PM
I for one would not be caught dead hunting deer with a 45 ACP, well under the accepted minimums for energy and momentum. Real hunting handgun rounds are much more powerful. Can it be done....Sure, should it be done.....My vote is no. Not knocking the bigbore fans here, I feel the same way about people hunting deer with 223s. Seen it done, not impressed with the results.

August 15, 2011, 11:42 PM
If that's the only sidearm you have that meets minimum requirements, I'd say keep the shots broadside, within 25 yards for large Northern deer and use a good bullet like hornady xtp's. Otherwise, there are far better options out there.

August 16, 2011, 06:32 AM
The question was is it legal in Ohio to hunt deer with a 45 Auto with a 5 inch barrel. Yes, it's legal and there is no restriction on the number of rounds the magazine can hold.

It's also interesting that there are so many reservations about using a 45 Auto for deer hunting when the round is known as a man stopper in situations where someone is trying to kill you. Obviously, use said cartridge within the range of its limitations which applies to any instrument used for hunting.

August 16, 2011, 07:30 AM
MrCleanOK what load did you use?

A DoubleTap Ammo load that isn't on their website any more. 200gr Gold Dot JHP that they claimed did about 1100 fps.

41 Mag
August 17, 2011, 01:41 PM
a 45 ACP, well under the accepted minimums for energy and momentum.

Paper and figures do not equate to real situations, they are just like a suggested OAL, and mean about he same thing. A 45 ACP is going to put a .452 caliber hole though what ever it hits from the get go, it doesn't have to rely much on expansion, and it sure nuff ain't getting smaller.

Put he shot where it needs to go, from a reasonable distance, and it will drop game just as reliably as much more powerful calibers, just like the .223, but that has been beaten to death.

The 45 ACP loaded with a good bullet like the Gold Dot, Hydro Shok, or even a good flat nosed cast bullet will make a big hole, and disrupt most if not all of the vitals if put there.

August 17, 2011, 03:07 PM
I have witnessed a smallish doe shot through the boiler with a 45 ACP, it ran around confused after being hit, had it not run back past the stand a minute later it never would have been recoverd (no blood trail). Like I said not impressed AT ALL. 20+ years of hunting (with a real gun) and I have never lost a deer.
Here is a quick lesson on terminal ballistics, almost all soft tissue is very elastic (except liver) that 45cal hole you are dreaming of, closes up alot so you actual permenate wound canal is much smaller, in the FBI's test the wound canal volume was only 4.29 cu in (over 27 inches of in penatration) less then half of the volume temporary canal. The best performer in the FBIs ballistics gel test was the 230gr Gold Dot which still only had 6.32 cu in woud canal, those figures are pathetic for a hunting bullet. If you feel up to debating the results of ballistic gel tests just let me know I study this stuff all the time. Now here is another tid bit of useful information, since soft tissue is 90+% water a small calber bullet expanding inside a body at 2,700+ fps is a very dynamic event. I have seen a 25-06 bullet complelty destroy everything in a deer's boiler room and leave an exit wound that looked like a cannon ball went through it.

41 Mag
August 17, 2011, 05:31 PM
But for all of your 20 years of hunting you have studied paper logic, and applied principles of bullets through game.

While I will not argue the fact that most high velocity rounds will totally turn the innards of critters into mush, a cast bullet moving along at a modest velocity will reliably drop game as will a modestly moving 45 caliber bullet like the Gold Dot.

You seem to be fairly knowledgeable, but you also seem to lack the experience with handgun rounds with which I have plenty of. I have been putting lead through critters since I was 6, and am now pushing hard on 48. I have read literally tons of printed info and have been where you are, but during this time I also had folks form the slow moving camp who helped me to understand that velocity isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I can't even begin to count the testing I have done with this that or the other loads only to find out that hey something else is going on here. Case in point. I have a .308 with only a 16.5" barrel. Using the factory Remington 150gr CL I get just a tad over 2500fps from it. this said, and by your calculations, these would be a pretty piss pour preforming bullet at 400yds. According to my Exbal program and drop test preformed by me to confirm, the velocity at 400yds is roughly 1550fps for an energy ftlb of only 801. However I have reliably dropped feral hogs at this and further ranges with it getting complete pass throughs, and plenty of internal damage telling me that the written figures are just that.

I will also argue that the 45 ACP slug put through the lungs of a deer will not close up much if any, and the resulting damage will put them on the ground. While maybe not quite in the explosive fashion of a HV rifle round it will be effective.

I have hunted feral hogs with a Ruger BH in 30 Carbine, up through my 454, and several auto's thrown in for good measure. I can tell you that they are much harder to put on the ground with one shot than any deer I have ever shot. This said the 45 has done a admirable job when I did my part, as did the Carbine, the 10mm, and the 38 SPL. None of these used HV explosive rounds.

So while the 45 ACP might not be the "best" choice which the OP already admitted to, and I agree, it WILL do the job if used within it's limitations, with good ammo.

Feel free to look through all of the albums at the links under my sig. You will see plenty of proof that a slow bullet will put game on the ground. There's a few big hogs with me and my little .308. The one in the back hoe bucket was a 385yd one shot DRT. The one with my grandson standing next to me with his toy rifle was a 450yds shot DRT. There are quite a few on a trailer and 4wheeler of which several were dropped with one shot from my 10mm using 180gr GDs.

If you really feel compelled to learn about how well slow moving bullets work, look up Veral Smith at LBT bullets and give him a ring. He can put it into perspective for you.

August 17, 2011, 06:31 PM
I actualy have done alot of reserch on large caliber, relitivly slow moving projectiles. The key to making non expanding bullets deadly on game is using a large meplet (flat point) and having a reasonable impact speed. It is a well proven fact that a .45cal bullet with a 75% or greater meplet can create a permanate wound tract in excess of 1 inch in diamiter, but it will not do it at 850fps, it needs to be moveing at around 1800 fps to do that. The hardcast (large meplet) bullets are very efficient killers in fact the most efficient of all bullet designs since they expend no energy on expansion, but without a reasonable amout of speed they do little more then poke pencil holes on game. Why? The meplet works by forcing soft tissue outward at a right angle at high enough speed to tear the surrounding tisse, this by it's very nature is much more effective at speeds in excess of what a 45 ACP can genarate. Now a 45-70, 444 Marlin, or even the 44 mag loaded with large meplet hardcast bullets will do things that you simply would not beleve.
As far as your 308 goes that does not supprise me at all, 800 ft lbs of energy combined with a reasonable caliber 150gr bullet will still create plenty of soft tissue damage. Please note that that is still over twice the energy your run of the mill 230gr 45 ACP makes at the muzle. As far as the pass through shots go that also makes sence because expanding bullets usualy penatrate less at higher impact speeds since at higher speed they shed more weight in fragmentation and expand to a larger diamiter.
Please note that I did say the 45 ACP can in fact kill a deer, nobody would argue that, heck I have seen them put down with a 22LR but neither is a good idea for an etical hunter IMHO.

August 18, 2011, 11:50 AM
I have and carry a 1911. I'm probably not going to trade my crossbow and shotgun in for the thing come deer season, but I do trust my life with it. However, I'm probably not going to take a 50 yard shot in a self defense situation either, but I could probably make the shot if there weren't any obstructions. I shoot several hundred rounds a week through my 1911, and am comfortable with it to say the least. I just thought it was interesting that Ohio changed the law. Or at least I think they did. That said, if I get my deer early in bow season and gun season comes, as long as I'm waiting for a close range shot, and my freezer meat doesn't ride on my getting a close range shot, the gun I trust my life with had better drop a deer at 25 yards I would think? Maybe not. I also carry a smith bodyguard 380, and if it had a longer barrel, the 380 would also qualify under this law to hunt with. That I don't think would be ethical, but I still trust my life with the little thing. Interesting hunting ethics question, considering all things.

August 18, 2011, 12:02 PM
Deer have been taken with 22 rimfires but that doesn't make it a good deer round. And by the Ohio regs a 9mm or 38 SPL would be legal too.
But you won't see me trading my Contender for the 1911 when it's deer season here.

August 18, 2011, 08:31 PM
.45 acp can take a deer but I wouldn't recommend it

August 18, 2011, 09:18 PM
And by the Ohio regs a 9mm or 38 SPL would be legal too
9mm is .355, and 38 special is .357. According to the OP the regulations say that it must be larger than .357.

Art Eatman
August 18, 2011, 09:21 PM
The summary for this and many other threads on the subject is that the .45ACP will work if the shooter is skilled and has the self-control to not try shots much over bowshot distance.

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