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Hunting with a handgun

Old 08-28-2014, 01:34 PM
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Default Hunting with a handgun

I have been wanting to harvest a deer/hog with my Super Redhawk for a couple of years now. I just wondering if anybody else use a handgun to hunt with. I would like to here about ammo choices, if you go scoped or open sights, and distance you would take a ethical shot at. Would like to see pics too.
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:44 PM
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The distance for an ethical shot is not beyone the distance you can consistantly hit where you are aiming, not just the target, but where you want the bullet to hit. If you shoot beyond that distance, it is not an ethical shot.
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
The distance for an ethical shot is not beyone the distance you can consistantly hit where you are aiming, not just the target, but where you want the bullet to hit. If you shoot beyond that distance, it is not an ethical shot.
unless you're a really good shot and then it's still closer...
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
The distance for an ethical shot is not beyone the distance you can consistantly hit where you are aiming, not just the target, but where you want the bullet to hit. If you shoot beyond that distance, it is not an ethical shot.
Ok maybe ethical is not the best word to use. What I was wanting to know is the distance to shoot at and still have enough energy to harvest an animal mainly with a 44 rem mag. I understand about practice and shot placement and all that.

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Old 08-28-2014, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by jdb_77 View Post
Ok maybe ethical is not the best word to use. What I was wanting to know is the distance to shoot at and still have enough energy to harvest an animal mainly with a 44 rem mag. I understand about practice and shot placement and all that.
Look up the terminal ballistics of the round you're shooting, compare it to what the impact velocity is at the range your shooting and see if it's within specs as far as bullet performance.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:54 PM
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For factory loads, I have had good experiences with the 44mag Hornady 225grn FTX Leverevolution, 240grn XTP, and 300grn XTP loads. I killed a dozen or so deer back in the late 90's and early 00's with simple Winchester white box 240grn SJSP's, never had a complaint.

If you're rolling your own, I've become a big fan of the 300grn XTP, as well as the 270grn Speer Deep Curl. I rolled a LOT of 225grn Leverevolution FTX's for a couple years, still a big fan, I've just been playing with heavier jacketed bullets of late, favoring the momentum of 300grn pills. (I still haven't convinced myself to go back to lead pills).

A bit of a reality check: the 44mag will cleanly kill a deer at ranges beyond 100yrds, even from a revolver. The shooter's ability to deliver the shot is really the major limiting factor for 'effective range' in a 44mag revolver. A .357mag might find itself wanting for power beyond 50-75yrds or so, but the 44mag will typically have more energy left at 100yrds than the 357mag had at the muzzle - more than enough to put deer in the dirt with ease.

BUT...

Are you actually capable of delivering 4-6" groups consistently at 100yrds with a revolver in field shooting conditions? Probably not.

Street Doctor rightfully mentioned the expansion velocity specs for bullets, but in general, even big fat 300grn 44mag rounds will be over 1000fps at 100yrds, so again, plenty of velocity to promote reliable and efficient expansion.

I can't shoot nearly as well as I could a decade ago, but I still hang around. Making 50yrd shots on deer with my hunting revolvers isn't off of my table, but I know my 100yrd revolver deer hunting days are behind me.

I've been hauling this one afield for over 15yrs, taken dozens of meat doe, quite a few coyotes with it, and a handful of piggies.


Here's a couple recovered 225grn Hornady FTX Leverevolution slugs, plucked from the berm behind my targets in the yard. These are a bit more cleanly/evenly expanded and retained weight a bit better than what I expect from the same bullet on live game, but the expanded diameter is about the same:



If I don't cut the barrel down before deer season opens this year, I might take this 7.5" Vaquero 44mag out after deer (the nose job on the 5.5" Bisley has already started, and the lipo on its hind end is done already too!):


I took this 5.5" Super Redhawk after hogs back in June. Granted, it's a 454C, not a 44mag, but the second day I just used some hot loaded 45colt instead of the punishing 454's that were about on par with factory 44mag specs:


Again, without question, your accuracy FROM FIELD SHOOTING POSITIONS will dictate your effective range. I've seldom met non-competitive handgunners that could deliver 50-100yrd huntable accuracy from a revolver, so ultimately, the retained energy at range is moot.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:36 AM
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I've shot a couple of deer with a TC Contender in 7mm TCU. Mine is topped with a 2x Leupold pistol scope and groups about an inch and a half at 100 yards. I use a handloaded 120 gr Nosler BT. I try to keep my pistol shots to 50 yards but I wouldn't hesitate much to take a 100 yard shot if the animal was standing broadside.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:32 AM
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I primarily use scopes on my wheel guns, they are all zeroed in at 100 yds. My go to is the Smith 629 hand loaded with Swift 240 gr A-Frames.
The Ruger SRH .454 is hand loaded with 300 gr A-Frames, and the Smith 500 is hand loaded with Hornady 350 gr XTP Mags.
I limit myself to 40 yds. when using open sights, I use a Ruger BH 45LC hand loaded with 250gr Barnes or 265gr LBT solids.
I have no problem squeezing a bit past 100 yds. “ A Man's Got to Know his Limitations”

bb
a little pic heavy...























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Old 08-29-2014, 11:07 AM
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The longest shot on a deer that I ever made was a 90 yard shot on a buck with my OM Super Blackhawk .44. This shot was made with a 240 JHP but I prefer the 200 grain for revolver work. I never liked scoped revolvers so always used the issue sights. All the rest of the deer I've killed with various handguns were not over half that distance.
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:09 PM
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T/C Contender 30-30 with red dot. I'd shoot 75 yards max.

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