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good first handgun...

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good first handgun...

Old 01-26-2014, 01:06 PM
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Not at all to be argumentative here, just offering up a different perspective on the topic. This is how I came to my recommendations, which way any given shooter goes is up to them...

I understand the theory of matching your practice 22lr handgun to your primary hunting handgun, but the application in PRACTICE is pretty hard to justify for me.

The idea is that your muscle memory develops so you are 100% familiar with your firearms functions. I'm fairly certain this theory actually dates back to the NRA youth shooting programs, where they used 22lr versions of military bolt action rifles to train kids to shoot. The idea was that they'd know how to shoot, and be familiar with the weapons by the time they got old enough to enlist, or be drafted. The weapons included should give you an idea of how old that theory is, since it's been more than a couple weeks since we issued bolt action rifles to our soldiers.

But I'll offer a few counter points as to why I don't necessarily encourage the new handgunners I've instructed over the last decade to follow that "match-em-up" rule:
  1. Biggest hurdle: Price. You won't find a .22lr revolver that matches your hunting revolver of the same quality as a Ruger Mark III for the same price. A Mark III can be had new for $250-350, whereas the Single Six goes for $450-700, Taurus Tracker is $500, S&W is $600+. The Charter, Rossi, cheap Taurus's, Braztech, Puma, Heritage, etc Imports are all cheap POS's.
  2. Size/Balance: The theory of matching your practice .22lr with your hunting handgun is great, but they don't really match. I have a Single Six Hunter .22lr that's 10oz (20%) lighter than my Super Blackhawk, and has a smaller grip frame. We just picked up an SP-101 .22lr for my wife to practice with, in place of her .357mag. But it's actually heavier, has different sights, and balances WAY more forward than her 2.25" snubby, and 3 extra shots kinda messes with your head (she automatically thinks she's out after 5 from previous training). Function on them are the same as their bigger counterparts, but function is easy to remember with minimal practice. Unfortunately, the feel and balance are still different, so why did we spend an extra $200 trying to match it?
  3. Counterpoint: If I only ever drive an automatic car, I may not be able to drive a stickshift should the need arise (can't help but think about my sister here). But if I practice regularly on both an automatic and a manual vehicle, I'm more diverse. If a new shooter gets only single action revolvers, they'll never have an opportunity to practice safe clear techniques for a semiauto pistol. Owning both makes them a more diversely experienced handgunner, and therefore by extension, a safer handgunner.

Value of following the rule:

For me, is next to nothing. The value of having a .22lr to practice with is 1) the affordability of ammunition to practice with, and 2) the lack of recoil to let you develop good shooting habits, without developing bad ones. It's like running bump-off plays at football practice in school, or making test laps at a race track. A hunting pistol doesn't have a "take it easy" button to let you focus on your trigger control.

In this case, we're talking about HUNTING. If you're a competitive shooter, then matching up muscle memory for speed reloads on the clock is an entirely different ballgame, but that's not what we're talking about.

We're also talking about OWNING both weapons. Not owning one, practicing with it, then picking up the other one as he drove out to go hunting. The shooter will be familiar and practiced with both weapons, just have more trigger time on the lighter recoiling version.

Here are a few parallel examples:

I learned how to ride a single speed, pedal brake bike as a kid. When I got a 10spd with handbrakes, I had to learn new controls, but 90% of what I knew about riding a bike transferred over.

I learned how to drive in an old stickshift GMC pick up. Sure, when I jumped in an automatic the first time, I instinctively tried to press the clutch and reached for the empty floorboard, until I realized the controls were different, but I still knew how to drive it, 90% of what I knew about driving transferred over.

I have ridden sportbikes for over a decade. When I had to ride my father-in-law's Harley Electroglide 780miles to Sturgis for him a few years ago (while he drove the follow truck with my sportbike in the bed), he had to show me how the radio worked, but I still knew how to ride it. 90% of what I knew about riding motorcycles transferred over.

And as an exact example, I learned how to shoot handguns with a Ruger Mark II semiauto pistol. When I swapped over to shooting a 1911, or that Ruger Super Blackhawk, I had to pay attention to cock the hammer before I fired, and had to learn a different way to release the mag, or empty the cylinder. But 90% of what I knew about shooting handguns accurately and safely transferred over.

So ultimately those are the reasons I don't coach new handgunners that I've instructed over the years to paint themselves into a corner and end up spending an extra $200 or more for a practice 22lr revolver, or buying a low grade revolver, just to make it match my hunting revolver.

Last edited by Nomercy448; 01-26-2014 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Added disclaimer at beginning, kinda sounded like a d!ck when I read it back...
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Pawildman View Post
As far as caliber/cartridge, I just love the .41 Mag. I also have a SBH with 10 1/2" bbl in .44Mag, and enjoy the .41 far better (Blackhawk as well). That .41 will knock the stuffin's out of a deer as well...
May have to go used on a .41mag, and I might be reconsidering buying one right now. I was just telling my wife last week that I'd like to get her a Ruger SBH Hunter 41mag, or Super Redhawk 41mag, but when I went looking around, it doesn't seem like anyone still makes a 41 for hunting?

The only .41mag on Ruger's site now is the Bisley SBH Hunter, listed as a distributor exclusive, not a regular production piece. Taurus shows all of their .41's as discontinued/archived. S&W only shows one model on their site that isn't in the "Archive", the 57, which is more of a service-type revolver than a hunter, but at least it's a 6".

Only had 2 boxes of .41mag at Gander mountain last night (gold dot's I believe), none at Cabelas today.

WTF happened?
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:26 AM
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Can a 13 year old own a pistol in your state?
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:03 AM
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I don't know that ANY state allows 13yr old kids to "own" any firearm, let alone a handgun, but "ownership" is a loose term at that age. I "owned" around 40 firearms on my 18th birthday, half of them handguns.

Most states respect the parent's rights to purchase firearms for their children, regardless of age, as does the FED. i.e. purchasing a firearm for your under-aged child does not constitute a straw purchase.


I'd venture that IL is more strict than most states, especially when it comes to handguns, but in KS, we could legally hunt solo at the age of 12, but I believe had to be 18 before we can possess a handgun without parental supervision, and this was ONLY under certain conditions - shooting competition or hunting, or the active practice of such, or in transportation to or from.

I didn't put 2 and 2 together about your age nor location in some of your other threads, regarding the .410 or .22mag for coyotes threads, for example. IL has very strict, and frankly, strange laws about what you can hunt with and where, so please keep that in mind as you take advice for what to buy or to hunt with, as what's legal in most areas may not be legal in yours.

So all that said, IL may not allow hunting with centerfire handguns in many areas, may not allow solo hunting with or possession of a handgun by an unsupervised minor-child at all, etc etc.

How are you getting to and from hunting on your own at 13? I was fortunate to live near my hunting spots so I could ride horseback or ATV to get to my hunting spots until I got a "farm permit" at 14. When I hunted with a handgun from 14-18yrs old, the hunting and transporting wasn't actually legal. I got pulled over a couple times, luckily in rural America at that time, a kid having a gun in their car in case they saw coyotes while feeding calves in the mornings was still a legitimate reason.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:49 AM
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About where have the .41's gone.. Good question. I own two of them in Blackhawk. I bought one NIB many years ago at a gun show.. think it was somewhere in the early '80's.. Still have it in unfired condition. I picked up my shooter shortly before that used at a local gunshop for a nice price..somewhere in the $250 range, if I remember right. You still see them once in awhile at some gun shows, but not nearly as often as you run into the .357's and 44 Mags. The one I call my "shooter" is deadly accurate at 50 yds. if I do my part.

As far as ammo goes, I bought a bunch of new brass and dies a long time ago, and I roll my own. I would have to go downstairs and check, but I'm sure I probably have 200 - 300 loaded up now, and a box or two of empty brass that needs loaded. I haven't been doing anywhere near as much shooting as I used to, and need to get back on the range and get the rust knocked off.

Back to the availability of Rugers or any other handguns in .41 Mag, last time I checked on GunBroker there were some available. However, as you know, you can't hold them in your hand, visually inspect as you would like, check for cylinder slop, throat erosion, etc, etc. The best you can hope for is have the seller agree to a 3-day inspection for your satisfaction, and free return shipping if isn't up to your expectations. Most honest sellers won't have a problem with that. I have personally bought quite a few long guns and handguns thru GunBroker, and only remember having trouble with one sale but it got resolved favorably. Good luck in your quest..
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Old 01-28-2014, 05:05 PM
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I got a Blackhawk and a GP-100 in .357 mag. Both of these revolvers handle max loaded ammo with ease, everyone knows Ruger builds a durable piece. I don't know if a 13 year old would enjoy a magnum handguns recoil and noise or the legality of a minor with a handgun. Barrel length is always something an individual should determine, I personally like the 4-4 1/2 inch revolvers barrel length for ease of carry. For sure it cost range and power but I only shoot handguns at archery distances.

I have seen plenty of kids with pistol caliber rifles. One would be easier to shoot accurately and with added velocity over a wheel gun.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:21 PM
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Really hoping that this is just a circumstance of the recent climate, and not a foreboding message about the future of the .41mag.

As a .44mag and .454 cassull hunter, and a .357mag defensive pistoleer, I've seldom had enough justification to buy a .41mag, but I'd love to have one for my wife - specifically a .41mag Ruger Super Redhawk, or full shroud/lug N-Frame S&W. Or a 3-4" 5 shot K-frame.

Love to have one for myself, just can't put the money towards it.

.41mag is probably the .243win of hunting revolvers. Often overlooked by folks that think they need something bigger, but likely the ideal balance of shooter-friendliness and huntable killing power.
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:47 AM
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Nomercy, you're looking for a Ruger Redhawk in .41mag, not a Super Redhawk. I LOVE my 5.5" blued model, have had it for years. The Redhawks and Super Redhawks have vastly different lockwork. The Redhawks feature 1 spring for both mainspring and trigger return spring whereas the Super has more conventional lockwork with 2 springs. What that means is the Redhawk offers exceptionally smooth double action pull that don't stack up like the S&W or the Super Redhawk. With a spring kit and some polishing the Redhawk action rivals the famous Colt Python's slickness. As to the S&W models, the 58 is the service version whereas the 57 & 657 have adjustable sight and target hammer/trigger. They make (or did) a Performance Center version of the 657.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:42 AM
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I have a 10mm auto that I would use if I was in archery range. I do not have a revolver but I plan to outfit my G20 with a 6" barrel and slide soon. I know people have hunted with them before. .40 cal bullet with a bit more pow than a .40 S&W. Might be something to look into. But if you wanted something specifically for hunting, I would go with what Nomercy448 said. I use my G20 for more than just carrying in the woods.
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:00 PM
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Blazer, my first handgun was a stainless Ruger GP100 with 6" barrel in .357. I shot mild .38 wadcutters and got comfortable with the revolver, and then shot .357 Mag ammo until I was proficient with it. A quality made gun like that will last forever, has the weight and barrel length to be accurate and a kitten to shoot with .38 ammo, and once you've gotten comfortable with shooting .38s, you can practice with .357 ammo that can take deer. The best part for someone on a budget is you're buying one reasonably priced revolver that babies the newbie and can later serve as a hunting gun.
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