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Hunting sidearm

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by CApighunter, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. CApighunter

    CApighunter Well-Known Member

    I'm looking at getting my first handgun for a hunting sidearm/backup but where I hunt, there is the ever-present risk of running into a marijuana grow site. I have found them on several occasions, and with just my -06, I felt a pretty nervous as many of these grows are operated by cartels. I want something that is adequate at dispatching a hog or deer at close range, but with enough capacity if, god forbid, I surprised a group of angry growers. I'm going back at forth between a Rock Island Tactical 1911 in .45 acp and a ruger revolver in 357 or 45LC. I'm familiar with both semi autos and revolvers, and generally prefer revolvers for their accuracy and feel. The 1911 on the other hand has more holster options and lots of aftermarket parts. I'm in CA, so high cap magazines for a glock or similar handgun are not an option. What are your thoughts? I'm on a budget, but I do want a quality firearm that will last a lifetime.
  2. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

    Ruger Blackhawk Hunter in .44 mag or a S&W 25 in .45 Colt make good hunting guns. Horsepower aplenty and not too much under maximum number of rounds available given your magazine limits. Learn to shoot them well and you should be just fine.
  3. farm23

    farm23 Well-Known Member

    I would go with a 44. I have carried and dispatched most of NA big came with either a 44 or a 454. You might check as most states have rules on what can be carried for hunting. In many states a 45acp is not allowed [my son was stopped and given a warning by the game warden when he was carrying a 1911]. Second choice would be a 357.
  4. farm23

    farm23 Well-Known Member

    Another thought on a hunting sidearm. If you are hunting in cold weather and put a coat over the sidearm you need to check what CA says.
  5. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    S&W 19.. pick em up cheap and pretty darn rugged.
  6. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    I have carried 3 and 4" N frames, 3" K frames, and compact Glocks for hunting sidearms. I find I am fast and accurate with autoloaders, and I like tough finishes (Glock, S&W M&P) on working handguns. At close range, a good 9x19mm or .40 will put a wounded deer down just fine. A 3 or 4" .357 might work well, too, but I personally am much faster on multiple targets with an automatic.

  7. mhankins

    mhankins Member

    I would go with the auto,for faster reloads if nothing else.
    It is also easier to carry flat magazines than round speedloaders for me.
  8. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Well-Known Member

    There are 2 different scenarios at play here.

    1. Hunting handgun- I prefer a smith N frame in 41 or up or a ruger blackhawk.

    2. Defensive handgun if SHTF while hunting and stumbling across a grow site. First of all, get the heck out of dodge. Chances are you will be out numbered and outgunned. This is one of the main reasons I prefer private land and clubs. While public land has great hunting opportunity, gotta be really careful. Other than that, any handgun with 9mm or larger and high cap with multiple magazines

    Be safe. Hunt smart.
  9. jrdolall

    jrdolall Well-Known Member

    I have never hunted on public land so I can't empathize.
    Can you hunt with an AR? Given the choice of a sidearm or a full sized rifle for SD I would go with the rifle. Of course laws are different everywhere but in Alabama you could hunt deer with an AR-15, dispatch varmints with the same gun AND have enough fire power to give you a chance against drug folks. If you can't hunt with the .223 then maybe an AR-10?
    I have no knowledge of CA laws but I imagine the evil rifles are frowned upon.
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    If you are actually hunting game, a 6" or longer revolver chambered in 357, 41, 44, or 45. If you are more concerned about 2 legged predators a hi cap semi of you choice. Some of the areas I hunt require parking in pretty remote areas with encounters with questionable other users. I often carry my G-19. It is comforting when leaving, and arriving back at my truck in the dark.

    My G-20 in 10mm is a good compromise, and the gun I carry if bear are in the area. Loaded with 200 gr ammo @ 1300 fps it gives up nothing to a 357 mag, and very little to a 44 mag. With 16 rounds available in a gun an inch shorter and 3/4 lb lighter than my 3" magnum revolvers it makes a formidable SD weapon for 2 legged threats.
  11. CApighunter

    CApighunter Well-Known Member

    I would like to get an AR, but funds don't allow it at this time. I'm also of the mentality that while a .223 is a great defensive cartridge and is wonderful on varmints a such, it is less than ideal for big game. But back to handguns... I have thought about the 44 mag and that's an option as well. I do handload so ammo availibilty isn't a huge factor, but still kind of important. I like the .357 because I can shoot 38s at the range with less recoil. It really comes down to what I can find at a good price.
  12. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

    Hard call not knowing what your price range iss. A used sp101 would make a good backup pistol with federals 180gr HC loads. A used dan Wesson would also do.

    Pistols with your 10 round capacity limits ??? I have a RIA and like it. $468 bucks around here for a tactical fs 5" and it shoots any thing tried includeing swc hc loads with a +P rateing. Bump up the recoil spring and firing pin spring and that same pistol and barrel can shoot 450smc and 45 super for limited use.

    Check out underwood ammo for the 45 super and double tap for the 450smc ammo. Hot stuff. And a 10mm. Glock does have 10 round cap pistol in the model 29 and 30 if legal there.

    If your looking for a handgun to hunt with sometime as a main firearm then as covered by others. 6" plus barrel gp100, model 27s&w, DW 15-2 on up thru the so many 41 and 44 mags. I like a DA/SA revolver over a SA as you don't have to cock that sucker if you need it right now. Just pull the trigger. Holster are not hard to find for ether type. Buy pancake holster for a backup handgun with a retainer strap.
  13. lobo9er

    lobo9er Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
  14. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    Let me straighten you out on what you just said here by correcting an error in your posting:

    "...with just my -6, any person I encounter should feel pretty nervous that I am fully able to dispatch any living creature at my discretion, be it hog, deer, bad guy in body armor, but..."


    Given the choice between a rifle and a handgun, the rifle beats the handgun hands down in terms of range and effectiveness. (Let's not get into arguments like "what about a .22 rifle, then?" The OP has stated he's hunting with an -06, let's go with that.)

    Now, that said, there is value to having a good handgun whenever hunting, be it for four or two legged critters. For one, It's very difficult to climb a tree with a rifle in your hands when that p*ssed off hog you just wounded on your last rifle shot decides to try gnawing your leg off.

    As with all self-defense handgun issues, whatever you choose to carry should be something that fits YOUR hand, is RELIABLE, and has enough power to do what you want it to do...such as take down that angry wounded hog.

    Anything that will take down that angry, wounded hog is very likely well suited to taking down an angry two-legged critter, too.
  15. gazpacho

    gazpacho Well-Known Member

    As funds seem to an issue, what handguns do you currently own?

    In general, I would argue that a self defense handgun and a hunting handgun are two different prospects. One can fill the need of the other, but won't be ideal for it.

    For hunting, I like the Ruger Super Redhawk in 454.

    For self defense, I like the Springfield Armory XD9 Tactical in 9mm.
  16. CApighunter

    CApighunter Well-Known Member

    This will be my first handgun. I have shot other people's guns plenty of times, but I want to get my own. If I go with a revolver, I want the barrel length to be 4-5 inches. The RIA Tactical would be the full size 5 inch barrel. I'm not opposed to a single action revolvers, and prefer Rugers because they can handle a steady diet of hot loads better than most other revolvers. I'm not a big glock fan, just too much plastic and I think they have the ergonomics of a 2x4. As far as Rugers go, I've looked into the Blackhawks, Security sixs, and gp100s. I like them all and it will come down to what is the best price for me locally.

    Edit: I really can't afford to spend more than $600 on this gun. Under $500 would be better.
  17. AKElroy

    AKElroy Well-Known Member

    I have another thread going with essentially the same goal, but I am looking for a 6" 10mm. It looks like the EAA witness hunter may be my choice. Plenty of power and speed for bipeds or quadrupeds in my neck of the woods.
  18. pps

    pps Well-Known Member

    I hunt here in California, too. In addition to the ban on normal capacity magazines, AB711 will eliminate lead core bullets for all of the state, when it comes to hunting.

    I have opted for the Ruger Bisley Blackhawk in 45 Colt(I had lead in it this past weekend) that can use Buffalo Bore Barnes bullets 225 grains at 1500fps. That's some pretty good stopping power. 6 shots, only.


    If I had to switch to a sidearm for both 2 legged and 4 legged vermin I'd opt for a G20 and keep some Double Tap Lead Flat Nosed bullets in it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2013
  19. doc2rn

    doc2rn Well-Known Member

    I gotta go with a good ole GP100 given your criteria, .357 is a viable hunting round.
  20. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    In a situation such as you describe, I'd go with a rifle, either an M1A or an M1 Garand.

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