Deer Hunting with a Handgun

Deer Hunting with a Handgun

This is a discussion on Deer Hunting with a Handgun within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am considering deer hunting with a handgun next year. I live in Ohio, but have easy access to Kentucky and Indiana as well. Ohio's ...

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Thread: Deer Hunting with a Handgun

  1. #1
    VIP Member
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    Deer Hunting with a Handgun

    I am considering deer hunting with a handgun next year. I live in Ohio, but have easy access to Kentucky and Indiana as well. Ohio's minimums are a 5" barrel shooting no less than a .357 caliber bullet from a straight shell casing. Kentucky allows any center fire handgun, but not ball or tracer ammo.

    The only gun that I have that fits the Ohio code is a 1911. For Kentucky, I can use a .45, .40, .357, .38 or 9mm although I personally think the .38 & 9mm are a bit light. The .357 snubbie with 158 grain hunting loads is a handful to shoot, but then you should not have to shoot more than 1-2 rounds.

    I am interested in opinions from guys and gals that harvest deer with handguns. Specifically, I am looking for what gun you use and why. Also, input on the various calibers for deer hunting would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for your input.

    ETA - Indiana allows handguns that have a barrel at least 4 inches and that fire a bullet of .243-inch diameter or larger. The handgun cartridge case, without the bullet, must be at least 1.16 inches long and cannot fire FMJ ammo.
    Last edited by ksholder; January 18th, 2011 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Found Indiana's Handgun Rules
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    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Member Array Mr7point62's Avatar
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    my uncle hunts Indiana with a 44 magnum revolver... he killed a huge 14 point this past season! great pistol for it also. he can drop a deer out to like 75 yards with his setup....

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    Distinguished Member Array skysoldier29's Avatar
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    I've killed one deer using a 6 inch Ruger single six in .357 mag with the Double Tap hard cast lead. I chose that because that is what I had to use in Michigan and it worked just fine. I'm not sure about the laws where you will be hunting at, but in Michigan I'm pretty sure that they have a limited 7 round compactly for all firearms above .22 LR which would leave out almost all modern day autos. I remember being told that during hunters safety back in the day.

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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    I don't hunt with handguns, but have read a lot about people that do.

    It seems to be that as long as the hunter knows the limits of his weapon; he's good to go
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

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    Hi there! It kind of depends on what you feel comfortable with, and how far your shots are. I have used everything from a 9mm to a 44 mag. Deer are not hard to kill, but you do have to hit the vitals. If you are using a 45acp, limit shots to 20 yards, be able to hit a pie plate consistantly, and use 230 grain hollowpoints of reputable manafactuer.

    I use a 5 inch 629 S&W 44 mag, a 5.5 inch Blackhawk in 41 mag, a glock 20 in 10mm, 357 mag, 40s&w or even a 9mm.

    If I were you, I would get a 6 inch revolver in a caliber you are comfortable with, 357 mag most likely, and practice with full power loads in the 158-180 grain hollowpoint type and limit shots to 40 yards.

    I do not recommend anything below the 357 mag power range. The deer I have killed were with culling tags to get rid of nuisance deer, and I took the oppurtunity to experiment with different calibers and loads such as are popular for self defense to test their terminal performance, or to test my own loads and theories on.

    Handgun hunting is a discipline. You must be willing to let an animal walk if the shot is not a high percentage shot. You must be able to be a good judge of distance. Things look completely different in the woods, or from an elevated position.

    Hunting from a treestand gives you the best chance of getting a good shot at an animal that is relaxed. But beware of the shot angle from an elevated position.

    The use of hardcast bullets works well in non magnum calibers like the 44 spl and 45 Lc. However, they kill in a different way, and their best application is a shoulder shot , hopefully a double shoulder shot. This is the correct shot placement for dangerous game, as it imobilizes the animal, but works well on deer also as it prevents tracking.

    The 44 spl, 45lc and 10mm are my favorites. For some reason they seem to work best for me. They are easier to shoot, hit hard, and do it without the recoil, and blast
    of the magnums.

    Hope this helps.

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    Many of my pals hunt with handguns. The mostly use Ruger single action .44s.
    I havenít heard any of the journalists who volunteered to be waterboarded asking to have their fingernails wrenched out with pliers, or electrodes attached to their genitals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skysoldier29 View Post
    in Michigan I'm pretty sure that they have a limited 7 round compactly for all firearms above .22 LR which would leave out almost all modern day autos.
    I did not see a round limitation in Ohio's or Indiana's laws, but Kentucky has an 11 round limit. I would need to order a 10 round mag to use my G21, but I have 2 other .45s that already comply with the restriction, so I would use them if I went with a .45.

    I have been considering a S&W 627, but also am looking at the 629. For hunting, it looks like the 629 with a 6" or longer barrel may be the better choice between the two with the preferred round being the .44 Special round. Sounds like Michigan would not allow the S&W 627 because it has 8 rounds of .357 in the cylinder, interesting food for thought.

    Given that the shots are generally at relatively short range, I don't see the need for a scope although night sights may be nice given that hunting starts 30 minutes before sunrise in Ohio. What do you all use? Open iron sights, night sights, scopes or something else?
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    Many of my pals hunt with handguns. The mostly use Ruger single action .44s.
    Bingo. I've taken two deer, one buck and one doe, with a scoped Super Blackhawk using 180gr handloads. Both at around 60 yds, both facing me and killed with one shot. It's a solid performer.

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Open sites.

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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    The Super Blackhawk is a solid performer with open sights as well.

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    Ex Member Array Kerby's Avatar
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    I use a Redhawk 44 mag, recently been thinking of adding optics, does anyone on this tread use red dot or other; to help me narrow down what to look for??? Getting oler and my eyes are not what they were for 40-50 yd shots any longer...

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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I practice with the el cheapo 8" paper plates to determine my maximum range. If I cannot consistantly hit a paper plate at a given distance I will not take a shot a game at that distance.
    I prefer a 4 to 5 1/2 inch barrel. I know I give up a little in performance, but feel that it is a little handier for me.
    The areas you are talking about hunting in can have some large deer. I do not know anyone that has ever passed up a deer because they thought it was too large. You might want to consider making a gun trade or purchase. Ruger Blackhawks are very reasonable priced. A 44 Mag would suite your needs nicely.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

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    I have been looking at the Ruger and Smith .44 mags. They both look nice and appear to be similar in price. All my other revolvers are Smiths, so, unless I hear compelling arguments to the contrary, I would probably go that way. I am thinking a 629 with a 5 or 6 inch barrel. It needs to be 5" to be legal in OH.
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

    "When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

    You are only paranoid until you are right - then you are a visionary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerby View Post
    I use a Redhawk 44 mag, recently been thinking of adding optics, does anyone on this tread use red dot or other; to help me narrow down what to look for??? Getting oler and my eyes are not what they were for 40-50 yd shots any longer...
    Both of my friends use a Burris fast fire. they are very pleased.
    I havenít heard any of the journalists who volunteered to be waterboarded asking to have their fingernails wrenched out with pliers, or electrodes attached to their genitals.

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