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Handgun for Deer Hunting in Central Texas

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by LJH, May 10, 2009.

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  1. LJH

    LJH Member

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    I am open for suggestions on what would be a good pistol / caliber for deer hunting in central Texas. In my hunting patch, due to being way overgrown and covered with cedar, I won’t get a shot more than 30 yards. Our place is littered with deer, but they don’t get over 100lbs. So I don’t think I will need a mega magnum. I have no preference to revolver or auto. In my limited free time I have looked at a Glock 20 and Ruger GP 100. Is there anything else I should be considering?
     
  2. TIMC

    TIMC Member

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    S&W 686, S&W 629 would be 2 goood revolver choices.
     
  3. surjimmy

    surjimmy Member

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    I just got me a Longslide(6in) Springfield Omega 10mm. Where we hunt in Oklahoma there are several stands where the shot won't be over 25-40 yards. Can't wait to try and bag a deer with it. You never know what size of deer will show up. A 357 mag will sure do the job, but I like the 10mm since it's about equal to a 41 mag.
     
  4. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    [​IMG]

    Ruger Super Redhawk .44 7 1/2" barrel open sights. This pistol has taken 4 deer and two hogs so far.:D
     
  5. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Yes, Savage Striker, in .30-30 win, .260 rem, 7mm-08, etc.
     
  6. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Before you decide what to use, check the Texas hunting regulations regarding cartridges/handguns legal to hunt deer with. At least in Ohio, they have pesky rules like the barrel having to be at least 5 inches long, and in Pennsylvania, you can't use a semi-auto, etc.

    For the shot range you specify, iron sights would be sufficient and any cartridge from 357 Magnum on up should do fine.
     
  7. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    Agreed you are not shooting long ranges. The OP said something about a 10mm I don't know about Texas but that would not be a legal round in Kansas.

    above quote from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The places I hunt have opportunity for longer shots than 30 yards so I use an XP-100 in 7mm BR with success. Inside 50 yards you have a lot more choices, 44 mag would be on top of the list of the non super magnums 357 would be as small as I would go. I assume if your shots are limited to 30 yards it would be a bad thing if the deer ran 100 yards before expiring so I lean toward too much gun (no such thing) in those cases 45-70 is pretty hard to beat.
     
  9. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

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    Lemme just say these things, regardless of the range you are shooting/hunting at:

    UNLESS you are just trying specifically just to increase the challenge/difficulty:

    1. A rifle is ALWAYS preferred to a handgun, regardless of the barrel length of the rifle (SBR, carbine, rifle), due to the inherent extra stability of the use of the buttstock. If you're gonna use a handgun, you need a good rest. Handguns are pretty good for tree stands with a shelf to rest them on, but for walking-hunting, they are a very poor choice, again, regardless of range.

    2. A longer barrel is ALWAYS preferable to a shorter barrel, up to about 16"-18"with iron sights, and up to about 10"-12" with a scoped weapon - iron sights to 18" for the sight radius, and scoped gun to 12" for the extra velocity & bullet stability. These are just rough rules of thumb.

    3. To my way of thinking, a scope of good quality is ALWAYS preferable to iron sights when hunting, since the game you seek move the most at dusk and dawn, in low light conditions, and since a scope magnifies and enhances the image. A case can be made that use of a scope during low light, instead of iron sights, is actually MORE important in deep woods hunting (where ranges are short), than it is on the plains, since (a) the canopy makes it even darker, and (b) it is all the more important to pick out the small twigs & leaves and not hit them on the way to the target - a scope can do this where the naked eye cannot always. All of this is doubly true if you have less than perfect vision.

    So, to summarize, do yourself a favor and:
    -Used a scoped rifle
    -Failing that, use an iron sighted rifle
    -Failing that, use a long-barreled, scoped revolver or single shot
    -Failing that, use a long-barreled, iron-sighted revolver or single shot
    -Failing that, use a medium-barreled, iron sighted revolver or single shot
    -Failing that, you'd better have excellent skills, because you're gonna have to get really really close to not wound animals and not have to pass up a lot of shots.

    Again, UNLESS you are just trying specifically just to increase the challenge/difficulty.

    About the best walking-hunting rifle in the woods is a carbine (such as a 16" levergun), chambered in .30-30, .45 colt, .44 mag, etc., and topped with a 1-4x20 or 1.5-4.5x32 or similar. When walking, keep it on 1x, 1.5x, or 2x, and if you stop to set up ambush, crank it to 3 or 4.

    Combat handguns are for combat/defense, not hunting

    IMO.

    If you do go non-XP/Striker handgun, bullet choice is more important than caliber, but any of those mentioned will work - .357 mag, .44 mag, .45 colt. In .357 mag, you want to use a 158 gr or 180 gr soft point.

    FWIW, if I am tree-stand hunting for deer, and the setup is such that there's a real chance that the deer could walk almost underneath the stand, making a shot with a rifle awkward or impossible, then I will lug up into the stand, in addition to my rifle of choice, a revolver in .357 mag or .45 colt, with a 4-6" bbl, strictly for under-5 yard spine shots from above.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2009
  10. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    I think Dr. Tad summed it all up.

    I agree with him that if you are trying to add challenge to your hunt a handgun will definaltly give you that. I would not personally shoot the gun above iron sitghts at a game animal more than 40 yards away. I have another one indenticle to it with a 4x burris scope on it. I will take shots up to 60-70 max with it. Anything longer than that I would take my Encore 15" single shot in a rifle caliber. I have been handgun hunting for several years now and I can not or will not take a shot without some sort of rest. Shooting rail on my stand, steady stix, and tree a rock I don't care. The diffrence between 20 yards and 40 yards with a pistol is huge.
     
  11. nathan

    nathan Member

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    SKS !
     
  12. ~z

    ~z Member

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    I have hunted those hillcountry dog deer with a variety of handgun calibers from .38 to .44 in wheel guns and autos. If you can place your bullets well, and keep within your comfort zone all will work well. Personal favorites are .357, .45 acp and .41 mag. These animals are not armored.
    ~z
     
  13. LJH

    LJH Member

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    Grumlkin- Just got off the phone with Texas Parks and Wildlife, It is not restricted to use any of the mentioned calibers to hunt deer in Texas. The game manager I spoke with did not elaborate any further than that.

    Dr. Tad Hussein- I agree with your assessment of using a rifle, and to some degree I am increasing the challenge. But I should have been clearer in my OP. Due to the outstanding density of overgrown shrubs that are call cedar trees; there isn’t a spot on the entire property that even partial visibility is possible at 30 yards. And if I can’t see what I am shooting at……..

    Jbkebert- Very nice setup. I now have something new on my wish list.
    My wife does not thank you sir. :)
     
  14. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    If the range is 30 yards or less and if you decide to use a scope, it needs to be a low power one. Personally, I would go with iron sights, a red dot sight or a holosight for targets at those short ranges.
     
  15. flipajig

    flipajig Member

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    I do hunt in central texas with a hand gun i use a super blackhawk in 44mag load my own. with jhp or hardcast wc. 240grn Iron sights and pratice pratice and more pratice. my max range is where i can hit a 10in paper plate every time not just once but every time. right now its 50 yards. Im curntenly working on my contender to try to extend my range. im using a 7-30 waters. A 22 will kill a deer shot plasement is every thing you owe it to the game that your hunting. i also bow hunt the best thing i can tell you is aim small miss small. and pratice untill you think your good and then pratice some more.
     
  16. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    Me too this is why rifle hunting was no longer fun. I figure if I can take a deer from 10 to 30 yards with a bow. Why do I need a uber magnum rifle capable of taking a deer at 400 plus yards. Handgun hunting is not the same feeling as archery. It is however alot more gratifiy than rifle IMHO.
     
  17. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    You can legally use any center fire cartridge to hunt big game in texas. No minimum barrel lengths either. They pretty much leave it up to you here. Common handgun choices are 44 mag, 41 mag, 45 colt, 357 mag, 10mm etc. They will all easily work on central texas deer with shots under 50 yards(farther too, but past 50 yards or so if you have to ask about it you shouldn't try it) if the shooter can do his part. I am partial to the ruger redhawk in 44 mag but that is just my personal tastes.
     
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Rifles my butt. Handguns are fine at the yardage you're talking about. They do take more practice and you will want to limit your range with .357 and/or iron sights to 50 yards. I've shot two with the .357 using handloads.

    My go to gun for deer hunting is a scoped Contender in .30-30 Winchester, 12 inch compensated hunter barrel. I totally embarrass a lot of rifle shooter off the bench with it at the range. It is capable to 200 yards in my hands depending on the rest I have in the field. My shots rarely are more'n a hundred yards, though, as it's brush like you describe.

    I like the Ruger Blackhawks for traditional handgun shooting, no need for a DA and they are so easy on the shooter with heavy calibers. If I was really into revolver hunting, I'd get a superblackhawk hunter in .44 mag and I'd scope it. I have a .45 Blackhawk and a .357 Blackhawk that are iron sighted, very accurate handguns and very capable on central Texas whitetail, .357 OR .45 Colt.

    Rifle? Paleeeeeeease. :rolleyes: I don't need no stinkin' rifle! Some folks use sticks and strings, after all. Of course, the real challenge of the pistol is the steady rest, not the caliber. My Contender is like s stockless rifle ballistically.
     
  19. T.R.

    T.R. Member

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    I've taken several mulies at archery distances with my 357 MAG revolver. But for more reach, 44 MAG has what it takes. This blacktail was toppled at approx 90 yards with my Marlin 44 MAG carbine. The animal never knew what hit it!

    Good hunting to you.
    TR

    [​IMG]
     
  20. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    [​IMG]

    Yes that pretty much sums up what these are. I have taken more than a few dollars at the range with it. A couple guys just looked at me walking over to the 100 yard line and laughed. One bet me $10 that I could not even hit the paper at that distance.:rolleyes: The gun shot a better group than his model 70 winchester in 30/06
     
  21. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    [​IMG]That's a 1.5 inch group I shot at 200 yards with my T/C Encore in 460 S&W Magnum.
     
  22. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    "Skill is all." My father told the story of a hunt-gathering at a ranch near New Braunfels, maybe sixty years ago. The rancher noticed a one-armed man who had a revolver in a holster. He expressed concern about wounded deer. The guy smiled and asked if a demonstration might relieve concern.

    There was a benchrest by the front porch, and a target all set up at 100 yards. The guy took his K-model .38 Special and did a six-shot group of about four or five inches, offhand. The rancher just grinned and offered the comment that he'd seen rifle guys do worse than that.

    My notion is that my limit would be whatever distance was the end of my ability to reliably hit the end of a beer can.
     
  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Art, I can do that off a bench with my .357 Blackhawk, but not off hand, let alone one hand. :what: 50 yards, yeah. I have seen PPC guys that I bet could do that DA, though. I have seen some REAL impressive shooters like that.
     
  24. jbkebert

    jbkebert Member

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    Art
    I think my ability to hit a beer can one handed would end around 25 yards with a .44 Redhawk. That is pretty darn good shooting.
     
  25. publiuss

    publiuss Member

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    my 2 hunting sidearms are a 4 5/8 Blackhawk in .45 colt and 7 1/2 in. S&W 629. I never carry just a handgun, they accompany my rifle and are used for close shots just because it's fun.
     
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