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Handgun hunting questions

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by horsey300, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Sooooooooo not looking for cartridge wars, platform contests etc, I've hunted my whole life, but other than small game, always with a long gun. I run a .41 Blackhawk, the missus is planning on a 10mm 1911 and a .357 or .41 redhawk. I plan on adding a 10 mm or two as well. In other states regs are more or less forgiving but in Nebraska, minimum of 400 ft-lbs at 50 yds, according to everything I've looked up thus far, my .41 has no issues with several loadings making this threshold, the .357 also handles the threshold decently can't recall the 158 numbers but definitely doable with a 180 pushed harder. The 10 mm for the missus will likely be a single stack 1911, whereas I favor double stacks. At this point, anything heavier than .41 is not likely to be considered. Distances will be determined after field testing for loads vs media and accuracy. The advice I'm looking for here expansive I suppose. ..
    1. In a semiauto (10mm) which platform suits hunting well? Eaa? Sig? 1911? (No 10 mm revolvers)
    2. How often are scopes truly needed or is this user preference? (I like the look of a scoped revolver) (considering a reflex sight backed up by irons, but if only 1 is an option, which one?)
    3. Especially in the .357/10 mm arena, using top loads, (10 mm 220 1200 fps types, equally heavy in .357) how heavy of game is the limit? (I.e. what s.d. do we put per game animal? In my .41 210 rem factory loads are harder than preferred for deer sized game)
    4. I see plenty of references to hard cast for serious business, but even a 158 non bonded hp performs nicely on deer, what is the ideal bullet shape for a healthy mix of penetration and expansion? (Different critter examples acceptable)
    I'm not wandering into the Rockies or Alaska with only a .327 for firepower, I plan on always having a rifle handy, can't help it. I like a good challenge, as does the missus, but we both believe in doing something properly, so trying to learn the smart not hard way here....
     
  2. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Which ever one fits the best. For me, it's either Glock or Sig.

    That all depends on the range, the talent of the shooter and accuracy potential of the handgun. For 50 yard shots on a deer sized animal, I don't think they're needed. On the other hand, I have an Encore that will put three shots into 1.5 inches at 200 yards with a scope. That would never happen with irons at least for me. My longest hunting shot with the Encore was about 180 yards on a klipspringer (large dog sized).

    It depends on where you hit the animal. My personal choice with the above cartridges would be jacked hollow points and I would prefer to limit myself to deer sized game with those cartridges.

    I think penetration is more important than expansion. I shot a 600 lb. kudu with an Encore 444 Marlin. The bullet went in one shoulder and out the other with little sign of expansion and the animal was dead within about 20 feet. The only cast bullets I've used on animals were with a 44 Magnum on rabbits and they worked fine. Kills with bullets that fragment (some would call this failure) are more dramatic provided penetration is good enough to reach vital organs. Since I use jacketed bullets almost exclusively, fragmentation will only occur at higher velocities such as the 2,350 fps I get with a 460 S&W Magnum.
     
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  3. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    I hunt exclusively with a .357 magnum mainly because I shoot my 8 3/8" Model 686 much better than I do my 8 3/8" Model 29. For deer I've had equal success with 158gr JHP and the 185gr Lead HP from GT Bullets both loaded to close to maximum based on data from Hodgdon and Alliant. I limit my shooting to 75 yards and have never lost one animal (knock on wood). For Hogs, I use a 180gr Coated Lead Bullet from Missouri loaded to the max with H110 to get better penetration. I limit my shooting to around 50 yards on a hog of any size and will stretch my range out to around 75 for a small pig. The 41, 44 and 10mm would be better calibers to hunt with if you can shoot just as accurate as the .357. I don't, so I go with the smaller caliber and limit my ranges accordingly. Good luck with your choices.
     
  4. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Here in The People's Republic of Maryland the handgun for hunting deer threshold is 700 ftlbs. as well as a 6" barrel. Standard Glocks and 1911A1 platforms would then be "out". :confused: So folks wanting to use something like a 10mm semi-auto sometimes resort to a 1911A1 platform, with an after-market 6" barrel. The Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping also reads "Consult ammunition guides for ballistic information." So I guess that means what does the manufacturer list as the foot-pounds on the box, or what is the listed bullet weight and muzzle velocity so the buyer can calculate the foot-pounds?

    Except most of the manufacturers use the most widely sold models of several factory handguns to give that data.... and thus the foot-pound data for a stock 10mm Glock or a 1911A1 Government will be less than from something with an after-market 6" barrel. In fact a couple brands are only about 75 fps below what would be needed for their load to top 700 ftlbs. and that extra inch might do "the trick". Not that it's going to matter to the deer, but the DNR officer might not understand that there is enough of a difference with the longer barrel and what's printed on the box for Brand X ammo, and cite the hunter. :scrutiny:

    LD
     
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  5. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Certainly what you have and what you are planning to have, is plenty for anything you have in Nebraska. The question is are you and the missus enough? The biggest issue for handgun hunters is accuracy. If optics/red-dots will help, than go for it. But one needs to practice and practice a lot before entering the field with a handgun and thinking of shooting anything beyond 25 yards. Some of the platforms you are talking about will limit both optics and distance, but in reality, what platform is best, is a moot point. I see no need for a double stack for hunting deer, but if the profile fits your hands better, than again, go for it. As for projectiles, most any quality hard cast or jacketed/bonded bullet designed for hunting deer sized game will work if and when kept within their intended parameters. Again, proper shot placement is more important than type of projectile. Most folks can keep a good pattern with their handgun of bags at 25 yards. I regularly practice at 70 minimum with most my handguns that I use for hunting. With the .357s, 40 is minimum. With the .44s and .460 I also shoot 100 yards regularly. I practice off bags, freehand and off shooting sticks. Anything past 40 yards generally is going to need to be rested somehow.

    Anyone can take a handgun hunting. Not everyone is a handgun hunter. JMHO.
     
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  6. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    Practice, practice, practice. When shooting beyond 25 yards use a rest like the mono pod or a nearby tree. Shot placement is the most important thing when hand gun hunting. Use enough gun that you can shoot well, and limit your range to less than 75 yards. Less than 50 yards would be even better.
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    10mm with hardcast has taken cape buffalo and brown bear. But for "normal" size game JHP seems to put them down faster. Hardcast gives max penetration for larger animals.

    GA used to have the silly ft lbs of energy @ 50 yards law, but it was thrown out years ago as unenforceable. The state game wardens were the most vocal group opposed to the law. The only way they could prove you're not meeting specs is to confiscate your firearm,the ammo, and send it to the state crime lab for testing. With a 6-9 month backlog trying to match guns to murder victims no one is going to waste the time doing that. And I don't think any of the better 10mm loads will have any trouble meeting 400 ftlbs at 50 yards anyway.

    I don't handgun hunt, but do carry a Glock 20 or 29 quite often when hunting or just in the woods. I could hit a deer size target pretty reliably at 25-30 yards with either of them, but if I were looking for a dedicated hunting pistol would probably go 1911 for the better trigger.

    I'm not 100% sold yet, but I'm beginning to come around to the concept of reflex sights. Especially on handguns. Trying one is one on my to do list. I still prefer a small, low powered scope on rifles, but want to try one on a handgun.
     
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  8. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Thank you!!! We're contemplating maybe a ffiii for a 1911 mount, it seems that one will see use first, the holographic sights seem to use batteries faster, but ultimately the pros outweigh the cons. Not sure what scope will wind up on a revolver just yet though.....my current Blackhawk keeps the groups tiny as is so I'm loathe to change anything except maybe paint the sights to make them more visible, but on a redhawk...... seems like they just deserve a scope lol.
     
  9. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    The very first thing you need to establish is



    I think when folks talk about handgun cartridges and their relative "power", they lose perspective. If I headed off to the African savanna for cape buffalo or the Alaskan coast for brown bear with my 130 year old 1873 Winchester 38 WCF, people would think I'd lost my mind. But blackpowder handloads out of these rifles exceed the ballistics of the 10mm (190 gr. cast FN bullet at 1400+ fps).

    Regarding bullets type, my experiences HP's out of handguns has been that penetration is greatly reduced. I've killed only two deer using HP bullets and recovered both bullets. Conversely of all the game I've killed with SWC's, the only bullet I've recovered was a 258 gr. cast SWC that penetrated from the left flank to the neck of a whitetail buck.

    35W
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
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  10. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    @horsey300 - in choosing among 357mag, 41mag, and 10mm, I can only recommend the 41mag. The 357mag and 10mm are able to kill game, but carry a burden of heavy concessions which do not afflict the 41mag and larger cartridges. The 10mm might be the King for factory semiauto pistol hunting cartridges, but it’s a slouch when it comes to game taking compared to the 40+ caliber revolver magnums.

    I would have confidence you will be able to shoot well enough to deliver a killing blow beyond the distances a .357mag or 10mm can ethically handle the game.

    Since I appreciate your structured investigation:

    1) I have been through a lot of 10mm pistols. The Sig is the only one I think of any more. I was thoroughly tempted by a Ruger 10mm SR1911 Competition last year, but the Sig P220 is where my money would go if I were starting over. If “the missus’s” hands don’t favor the 220, the Ruger Competition SR1911 would be my second choice in 2019.

    2) Personally, I don’t hunt big game with iron-sights any longer. The error margin is simply too great. A common 1/8” wide sight blade is ~16MOA at the business end, and it’s just too simple to let your POA drift across that blade at range. Even if you pretend you’re holding the middle 1/4 of the blade where you want it on a deer, non-magnified, we’re still talking about walking your impact 4” without a means of resolution. Not acceptable for me. A common red dot can be 2-4moa, much better refinement than a front sight blade, and a magnified optic reticle will offer the ultimate confirmation of POA. An open-style RDS is my minimum acceptable sight for hunting, with a scope preferred. A cantilevered frame mount holding a Leupold VX3 2-8x on a Sig P220 would be a very effective weapon. At least an Ultradot Matchdot. I have also enjoyed the Trijicon RMR with the triangle reticle, such I can sight my POI to the tip of the triangle - a dead hold on a fast shot, “dot on target” still hits the prize, but slow, deliberate, aimed fire lets me sit the target at the tip of the triangle and deliver very precise POA. So that’s how I rank my 3 preferred options. VX3, Ultradot, RMR.

    3) It’s not so much the game size, but rather the distance which limits the 357mag and 10mm. Lore of slaying dragons with slingshots does exist, but for reliable use, year in, year out, the 357mag is really a 50yard proposition, with an occasional stretch on white tails out to about 75yards. They WILL run farther, and you WILL have to be more selective in your impact angles than you would be with a 41 mag or 44mag. 10mm, same same. It has the bullet weight to dig deep if you’re close enough to hit with sufficient velocity, but it doesn’t have quite enough “mass in the ass” to punch through at even moderate ranges. Recall - a 44mag hits harder at 100yrds than a 357mag does at the muzzle. That’s not without meaning in hunting woods. But 50-75 yards is responsible with these two options. Double that for your 41mag option.

    4) Deer aren’t that hard to kill. I’ve killed many deer with the XTP, several with the FTX, and many, many before that with simple Winchester White Box half jacket JSP’s. They’re just not that hard to kill. Hardcast or monometals are wasted on deer. Personally, my optimal expanding bullet for whitetails is the Swift A-Frame. It’s an absolutely outstanding pistol and revolver bullet. It’ll open and give greater temporary cavity for fast killing, like a JHP, but will punch its way through the backside, more like a hardcast bullet. It’s on the “too much” side for just hunting deer, but if you’re interested in insurance, the Swift A-Frame is a responsible balance.
     
  11. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Thank you! The information you provided is exactly what I was looking for! And to everyone in general, I appreciate concerns over accuracy, practice, dedication, ethical distances, and I do take them seriously. To that end, I'll note that with our rifles, (from .243- .338 and everything in between) in the last 5 years nobody in my parties has had to shoot a muley or whitetail over 40 yards. We can afford the time and practice necessary to become proficient, and we can afford to pass on iffy shots. I haven't personally put a deer in my sights in over 7 years for lack of challenge, not saying that the .41 may not run into 1 eventually but I really just like helping friends and family execute a well planned stalk and bag a victory. More likely, it will see hogs and black bear before a deer. I will put further effort into looking at sight alternatives for now, and tomorrow we'll see about easing the boss lady into another .41, but even if she likes it, it'll likely be at least another year to get her approval for purchase lol.
    As far as optics......on my Blackhawk is the weigand(?) mount worth entertaining?
     
  12. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I assume you mean the Weigand no drill mount, which is rather similar to the Weaver 301. I’ve used the Weaver for maybe 20yrs? They work fine, even if they look a bit like bolting an overcab camper on top of a Chevy S-10. Jack doesn’t screw up on products very often, so I would expect his version of the No-Drill is every bit as good as the Weaver, likely better. I line the barrel collar of the Weavers with tape to create a tighter fit and pad the barrel from scarring - this of course on stainless revolvers where touching up scratches or bright spots from rub marks is simple.

    Jack brought out a new micro mount for the Rugers a few years ago which only uses the rear sight screw, made for open type red dot sights. JP also makes a fantastic no drill RDS mount which replaces the rear sight, which I strongly prefer for the lower profile.
     
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  13. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    That is some of the best advice I have seen from you. Good show.

    I can say, out to fifty yards, an Ultradot is far better than irons. And I think a tube is better than the huge screen you find on rifle sights. I tried this rifle sight, because I had it,

    XDe298d.jpg

    and it was simply too big to center the dot. My scores at 2700 Bullseye were poor and so, I installed an Ultradot

    m7LLcAh.jpg

    You have to center the dot in whatever you are looking through and the tube was a better solution. A bright red dot is easily observable in low light.

    Scopes that are on competition pistols, and these are very few, are low power

    YaP8Rba.jpg

    I don't remember the magnification on bud's scope, but it might have been one power, or 1.5 power. Everyone shoots optical sights better than irons. Period.
     
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  14. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    034A7967-ECFA-43FF-801F-C45A4BEB7516.jpeg

    This is a Weaver 301 I had on top of one of my SBH’s for probably 15yrs. Despite the low cost, both the mount and the Simmons Prohunter scope held up to thousands of rounds of an irresponsibly large charge weight of H110 under 300grn XTP’s and A-Frames, loaded out to cylinder length. 300grn at 1350fps will happily manage about anything you can run it into.
     
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  15. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    For hunting I prefer a tube. I have found the Bushnell Trophy and the Simmons Red Dot Tube to be very good and so far they have held up will with .357 and 44 mags. These are not expensive at all, in fact I think I bought 3-4 of the Simmons on a sale at Natchez for around $40 each if I remember correctly and the Bushnell is around $100. There are much more expensive ones out there, but so far these have worked well for me. The Bushnell has green and red dots and the Simmons only red, but you can also change the dot size on the Simmons from a 3 moa to t 10 moa I think
     
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  16. BKS

    BKS Member

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    I have several 10mm handguns for hunting. It is a 50 yard gun, and I feel a lot more comfortable if they are closer. If you are looking for a single stack 1911 pattern, I have two RIA 6" 1911s that shoot really good. In a double stack handgun my favorite is my EAA witness hunter, 6" barrel, 14 rounds, beautiful blue and wood steel gun. In my experience it is the most accurate one I have ever tried.
    If I hunt with one of my 10mms it most likely will be hard cast to ensure complete penetration. Full penetration makes tracking easier.
    I also prefer some type of optic on my hunting handguns.
     
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  17. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    So what mount do you use on your 1911?
     
  18. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    I don't hunt with revolvers much and none of them are scoped. My favorite hunting pistols are XP-100s which I have 4 of. All are scoped with Leupold or Burris scopes and mounts.

    My favorite hunting revolver is a SS Blackhawk in .45 Colt.

    IMG_0418web.jpg
     
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  19. BKS

    BKS Member

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    My 1911s have LPA sights on them and EGW sells a mount to replace them. The mount fits a small red dot, like a Leupold Delta Point.
    My favorite hunting revolver is my S&W XVR 460. It has a Leupold 2x8 handgun scope on it. The farthest I have killed a deer with it is 110 yards. I would feel comfortable shooting 150 with it from a field rest. Simply the most accurate revolver I have ever shot. But it doesnt hold a candle to say an XP100 or an Encore.
     
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  20. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    I've been a dedicated handgun hunter for 20+ years now. I started with a scoped Super Redhawk in ..44 Magnum and have taken several deer with this gun. But for the last few years I've been hunting with scoped single shot T/C Contenders in 7-30 Waters and .44 Magnum. I've taken several deer with the 7-30 Waters, working on taking something with the T/C .44 Magnum. All my scoped handgun are sighted in to be dead on at 100 yards. My longest shot was a measured 80 yards on a nice PA buck two years ago with the 7-30 Waters.

    I also hunt with a non-scoped Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum. This is my short range handgun where 50 yard shots would be the norm. I've added a Burris Fastfire 3 red dot to this handgun because with aging eyes it was getting harder to see the front sight cleanly.

    I have several handguns in .357 Magnum, but I have not hunted with them. I would have no issues hunting with a .357 Magnum. Plenty of power to cleanly take a deer and a somewhat larger game with a good bullet and shot placement.
     
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  21. MaxP

    MaxP Member

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    1) Of all of the listed semi-auto platforms, I like the ergonomics of the 1911 best, but that's just me.
    2) As I've gotten older, my up-close vision has gotten progressively worse, making iron sights more and more difficult to use well. I still use them on back-up revolvers, but on my primary hunting revolvers, I prefer a red dot. They are great in low light and really quick to acquire, particularly over a handgun scope which has loooooooong eye relief. Of course, no matter what you choose, you will have to get used to that p[articular optic, including red dots.
    3) I believe the bullet is the most important factor in determining the answer to your question. We have to assume proper placement and remove that factor from the discussion. Some really big game has fallen to both the .357 and the 10mm. I have seen the 10mm used on Cape buffalo and with good placement and the right bullet, you will collect your animal. That being said, I believe both are more than adequate for whitetail. For bigger stuff, I prefer a larger margin of error. Deer are not hard to kill and they don't require deep penetration.
    4) I have used hardcast bullets on many animals up to and over 2,000 lbs in weight. I have also experienced some spectacular failures with cast bullets. The material is the limiting factor and once you wipe the nose off, penetration and wound size suffer as a result. I have moved on to monolithic solids for those applications, however, with deer and other deer-sized game, a good expanding bullet is your huckleberry. Deer are particularly susceptible to the effects of violent expansion. You don't need the penetrative abilities of a hardcast bullet (unless it was designed to expand) on whitetail. JMHO.

    Lose the rifle and commit! I begins with leaving the at rifle home...
     
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