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Handgun for hunting

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Carbon_15, Sep 23, 2007.

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  1. Carbon_15

    Carbon_15 Member

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    Help me pick a good handgun for deer hunting. Shots would be 50 yards or less with a slight chance at a 50-80 yard shot. Here are my needs:
    -easy to scope or red-dot
    -economical caliber (.357, .44 etc) Yes I reload, but still
    -Multi-shot (no Contenders)
    -resonalby svelt and easy top pack
    -ACCURATE
    -6-7 1/2 inch barrel


    On the top of my list right now is the Ruger Superblackhawk Hunter .44 or a D/A Smith .357

    Pictures of your rig always apreciated
     
  2. ChristopherG

    ChristopherG Member

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    Having shot both DA S&W's and SA Rugers in .4- magnum calibers, I find I like the SA's better by a good deal, for this application. Particularly Bisley-gripped ones. So, that'd be my vote. Something like this:

    http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=831&return=Y

    Except, my particular choice is a 5.5" .41 mag version in Stainless. But for a dedicated huntin' gun, the extra length would be worthwhile, I believe.
     
  3. Jimmy Newman

    Jimmy Newman Member

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    I am now an official handgun hunter, having taken a deer last season with this S&W Model 57-1 .41 magnum revolver (It's pretty scuffed up in this picture, mechanically it's in good shape but I bought it used and there was a fair bit of finish wear. It just got done at the beauty parlor and should look a lot better when I go pick it up):

    [​IMG]

    I sure like the .41 - shoots flat, lots of energy. Ammo is a little more expensive than .44, though. I just personally wanted a little more than a .357 for deer hunting.

    I'm not sure how easy it is to scope/red dot a S&W, but I know people do it.

    I suspect any modern revolver in good shape from a decent manufacturer (S&W and Ruger both qualify) will be plenty accurate for you to hunt with... the limitation with handguns is usually the shooter. I know it is for me :).

    I really like this revolver, except for the grips, which I find uncomfortable to shoot with because they get so fat towards the bottom (I know I'll get ridiculed for saying that :)). I'm planning on getting some Ahrends or Badger fingergroove grips for it.
     
  4. SoCalShooter

    SoCalShooter Member

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    That's for me to know and not you!
    Well I use a Ruger Super Black Hawk 7 1/2in charrel .44magnum. I use the weapon for Javelina hunting. My friend and I use some of Elmer Keiths loads. Unfortunetly we have not loaded in a while.

    [​IMG]

    I use a galco cross draw holster (basically a shoulder rig) Works great except I never got to use it on the last hunt cause it took them 10 weeks to get it to me.

    BTW it came with the scope rings. I intend to get the leupold pistol scope. just do not have the money for it yet.
     
  5. campbell

    campbell Member

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    I'd say go with the bigger bore stuff, if you can shoot them well. .357 will take deer, but the .44 and .45's will do it much easier.

    If you reload, .45 Colt is also worth a look. Reloading .45 Colt costs the same as reloading .44 mag, but you can get the same performance with significantly less pressure. I've both a .45 Colt Ruger Bisley, and the 7.5'' Super Redhawk in .454. Either will fit the bill for your needs well. The Bisleys are cheaper, but the Super Reds are far easier to scope. Frame is pre milled for the rings, and comes with a good set of stainless rings. I'd make the same suggestions for .44 mag. Blackhawk or a Super Redhawk.

    I should also add, if you can, try out a couple of models. As always, grips, felt recoil, etc. are very subjective. Most favor Bisley over Blackhawk in the SA's for recoil control, but both of those will buck more than the Super Redhawk.
     
  6. springmom

    springmom Member

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    I have a Ruger SRH in .44mag that I intend to take out this year. Got it last year and took it out a few times but with no joy. I got the 9 1/2 barrel :uhoh: but I really wanted the least recoil (arthritis in my hands). It still is a handful, but it's also got good accuracy at reasonable ranges (I'd not take a shot over about 35 yards, I don't think...but then, in east Texas scrub, that's a long shot anyway).

    You can get one in 7 1/2 or less. Great gun. Hopefully it'll bring home Bambi this year.

    Springmom
     
  7. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    Don't forget to look into an S&W 629. Easily scopped, plenty of power.
     
  8. john1911

    john1911 Member

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    http://ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdRes...riation=Satin Stainless&bct=Yes&type=Revolver
    http://ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=862&return=Y
    http://ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=860&return=Y

    Any of these should fit your criteria.

    I use a Blackhawk in .41 mag with a 4 5/8" bbl. I also bought a 4" Redhawk earlier this year I intend to try out in the woods. I like the way the short barrels carry. Most of my shots are within 35 yards. I feel confident enough taking those shots with either of my handguns.

    I started out handgun hunting with a 10 1/2" bbl SBH. I then switched to a T/C Contender with a 14" bbl. Both of those guns were very accurate, but for their size, it was almost the same as packing a shotgun or muzzleloader.

    I really like the .41 mag cartridge. I'm not too fond of the .357 mag as a deer round. Lots of people kill deer with it, but it's a little less than I want to hunt with.

    Unless you reload, .44 mag is probably the best choice as far as ammo variety and availability.
     
  9. unreal45

    unreal45 Member

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    I vote for a 7 1/2 ruger super redhawk in 44 mag for the following reasons:

    1. It is the easiest revolver to scope with the included rings.

    2. It has the ability to remove and replace the scope with minimal lose of zero
    with nothing more than a 50 cent piece.

    3. It is built stronger than other double action revolvers, and has the ability to
    handle heavy loads from Garrett, Buffalo Bore, and others.

    4. The sight blades are easily replaced with minimal effort.

    5. Quality gun leather for the redhawk is easy to find.

    6. 44 magnum is easily obtainable and has all the power you will need for deer out to
    100 yards.

    7. The 7 1/2 barrel is easy to pack in a crossdraw or shoulder holster, but provides good velocity.
     
  10. glockman19

    glockman19 Member

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    I have a S&W 686 .357 mag & 629 .44 mag. I'd use either. .44 mag more effective for larger game.
     
  11. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    The S&W 629 can handle stouter loads. Don't get caught up in the old tale that Rugers are indestructable. Yes, comparing old rugers to old smiths, the rugers were a tad bit stronger. But with modern practices in production, the smiths will last just as long. I doubt the shooter will have the money to put enough super-blaster rounds through a smith until it breaks. S&W revolvers come pre-tapped for a weaver-style base, as well.
     
  12. qbpc

    qbpc Member

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    Here is my rig. Ruger Redhawk have a scope base in place of factory rings for use of a red dot at times.

    May be selling soon for a new gun for IPSC

    BB
     

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  13. Dale53

    Dale53 Member

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    I have taken a half dozen deer with one of two .44 magnums:
    My favorite "Fair Weather" revolver is an S&W Model 29 83/8" barreled with a Burris Handgun scope with a large dot. It has a custom mount requiring drillling and tapping the barrel. This is a most happy arrangement as the scope is between the sights giving me perfect balance. It is really a good set up. The newer Smiths are already drilled and tapped. I recently installed a B-Square base on my new S&W 625 JM and it is another VERY nice setup using Weaver Style Rings. The mount is inexpensive, good looking and quite sturdy. Today, I would definitely get a stainless Smith for this work.

    My "Foul Weather" revolver is a Ruger Red Hawk with the Ruger bases milled into the barrel using Ruger Rings. This is a very satisfactory set up (also has the scope between the sights).

    Both revolvers are equally accurate (3-4" at 100 yards off a rest). The Smith has a much better trigger but the Ruger can be tuned to be "as good as need be". I can do about equally well standing two handed with either.

    I have no interest in having a handgun with less power for big game (including deer) than a .44 magnum. On the other hand, you really don't need anything more powerful than .44 magnum for deer or elk. It will just flat do the job. My loads have always been my personally cast bullets (all but the last one have been Keith style bullets with an appropriate charge of H110 or WC 820). The last one (ten point buck) was killed with a Lee C430-310 RF bullet.

    Dale53
     
  14. campbell

    campbell Member

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    There's lots of happy 629 owners out there, but this is just not true. The fundamental design of the N frame has been pretty static, and was/is not as strong a design as the Redhawks and Super Redhawks.
     
  15. MPanova

    MPanova Member

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  16. critter

    critter Member

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    I own (and have owned/used) Smith's, Redhawks, etc. and have settled on the "one" for me. It is a Ruger Bisley Blackhawk Hunter in stainless with the 7.5" barrel in .44 mag. PLENTY of power, SUPER accurate, easy enough to carry, handles recoil of heavy loads really well, plenty of ammo choices easily available, and I have a 4X scope on mine.

    Last year, I took a whitetail buck at 65 yards with it. Hit it exactly where I had the crosshairs and got a one-shot stop. It was a double lung shot and it ran a small distance but left a fine blood trail.

    Good luck with finding something you like. Handgun hunting is really a lot of fun, challenging and rewarding.
     
  17. NCHornet

    NCHornet Member

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    What I use is a 629 8 3/8" barrell with a 2X Leupold scope. It has dropped many whitetails out to 100 yards.
     
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    In revolvers, I'd definitely go with a Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter. You don't need DA and an SA gun is simpler and stronger. Some say the DA's SA is better, but they're just so full of it. :D A DA has the theoretical advantage of a few nanoseconds quicker lock time, but that never messed ME up.

    Me? I hunt with a Contender, usually, at least when I use a scope. They ain't made the revolver yet that can challenge the Contender's combination of power and accuracy for hunting. And, it only takes one well placed shot.
     
  19. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    Campbell,

    The N frame design is not as strong as the Ruger SB design, that's a given. However, I find it hard to believe that going by straight number of rounds put downrange that the difference is so great that a handgun hunter could tell the difference. If a Ruger fails after 8000 hot rounds and an S&W fails after 7700 rounds (pulled the numbers out of the air for a simple visual, don't jump me), I don't see it as much of a difference at all.

    Plainly stated, it should not be the defining factor when purchasing a handgun for this purpose. User fit and ease of handling should, and that depends soley on the individual.
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I've hunted with DA's, SAs, contenders, never worried about "fit". If they didn't "fit", I went grip shopping. I have a Pachmayr Presentation on the TC, an odd zebra wood finger grove grip on one of my blackhawks (feels real good for shooting, though it doesn't look traditional), a set of Ajax stags on my .45 Blackhawk, and usually Hogue monogrips in rubber on my DA guns or a Pachmayr Gripper. They are all different, but I shoot 'em all well enough. I adapt to the platform. Be a dull life if all I owned were Smith N frames. I really like SA guns for the way they handle recoil. A hot .454 Casull out of a SA gun is easier for me to shoot than a .44 mag out of an N frame. The gun just rolls in the hand on recoil.

    That gun fit thing, I could never figure out why people were so set on "fit". It ain't like a shotgun. You can change your grip. I can shoot glocks, 1911s, revolvers of all types, even P08 Lugers. Ain't dropped one in the mud, yet, because I couldn't grip it properly. A gun should point naturally for self defense, but for hunting, you're not point shooting, you're AIMING and usually through a SCOPE! Being used to the grip of a self defense handgun is important for quick draw and sight acquisition, but on a hunting handgun, I care more about how the grip handles the recoil of powerful loads than how it "fits" my hand.:rolleyes: Contender grips can be awful in this regard, but my .30-30 12" hunter barrel is compensated. While it's loud, it kicks about like a .38 +P in a K frame.
     
  21. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    Well you and I are different, MC. For me, the N frame doesn't seem to kick as much as a blackhawk or any of the various flavors of single actions. Maybe because I started shooting revolvers with an N frame 625, I don't know. But that's what I meant by fit.
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    With a single action, I loop my little finger under the grip. When fired, the gun rolls back in the hand and my little finger flips it back down as I cock the hammer for the second shot.

    I think a lot of it is what you started with as to what you get used to. I started with a Hawes .22/.22mag single action convertible, but did shoot my uncles K22 masterpiece a lot. My first centerfire was a Security Six which I later traded for my .357 Blackhawk. :D

    I think most would concur with me that a SA absorbs recoil better with that plow handle grip. But, you'll never get 100 percent consensus on anything, even whether the earth is round or flat. :D Me, when I get rich, I'm getting a Freedom Arms in .454. :D

    Since you're from College Station, I'll relate this. I belonged to the gun club there when I was a student in the early 70s. I was out at the range one day (out at the old annex where they crashed the cars, old air force base) and a guy was there with a blackhawk and a TC both in .44 mag. .44 was all the rage, was just after Dirty Harry came out. That TC had the old masochistic DA revolver profile grip. It HURT the palm of my hand while the blackhawk just rolled with the punch. Right then and there, I was a SA fan with heavy calibers. Thank God Ruger got rid of that squared off trigger guard, though.
     
  23. Neophyte1

    Neophyte1 Member

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    Ruger

    MCgunner: Sir; that squared off trigger guard:)

    Carbon_15: Sir; the Redhawk, Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk, Super Redhawk
    Sir; .357-.41-44 Bambi beware:)

    MCgunner: Sir; I must confess; I seek out the Square.:eek:

    Kinda like the way they look.

    Carbon_15; good luck=good shooting.
     
  24. Clipper

    Clipper Member

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    I used a 6" .357 blackhawk for everything for 30+ years. .38 wadcutters provide a mild small game/plinking round that actually will do less tissue damage to a rabbit or squirrel than a .22 hollowpoint, and full boogie magnum rounds will do the job on deer and black bear. It's cheap enough to practice a lot with, and though I can shoot accurately with the .44mag SBH, I didn't ENJOY shooting it like I did the .357. Also, I found that that squared-off triggerguard will sometimes give a painful knock to the middle finger knuckle with heavy loads, though that can be remedied by the application of a standard blackhawk grip frame.
     
  25. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    I enjoy shooting the SA Rugers, but I'm not that big a fan of them...I much prefer DA wheelguns. If I were to choose a wheelgun for hunting, I would get a Ruger Super Redhawk in 454 casull. As I understand it, I can practice & get use to the trigger using 45 colt & use the bigger ammo for hunting.
     
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