Handgun Hunting

Handgun Hunting

This is a discussion on Handgun Hunting within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I didn't know what forum to ask this question, and it's not Combat related, but here goes. I'm considering taking up Handgun Hunting and was ...

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  1. #1
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Handgun Hunting

    I didn't know what forum to ask this question, and it's not Combat related, but here goes.

    I'm considering taking up Handgun Hunting and was wondering if a 44 Mag was enough gun for Mule Deer, Javalina and Black Bear with maybe an occaisional Elk thrown in?

    I'm also lost on what type of sight to put on a handgun. I'm thinking something zeroed at 100 yards with 150 yards being my maximum shot.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

    Biker


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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    the elk might be iffy but it has been done

    I limit my shots to less than 100 yards with a hand gun usually 50 max

    Red dots are nice but in low light there useless and i also find the small handgun scope in the same category they just don't let in enough light at dusk

    and counting i usually shoot in the last 10-15 mins of shooting time its important to me

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    I use a 629 8 3/8" barrel, with a Leupold 4x scope, I like to stay within 75 yards, 50 even better. I have dropped a 175lb whitetail where they stand. Using the proper bullet I would have no problem using it on your list of animals, except maybe the Elk, these things get huge and can put a world of hurt on you if you piss him off, as well as a bear. Give yourself plenty of distance to allow for a follow shot with these animals. I wouldn't think of shooting a large bear within 25 ft or so. In the end there is nothing like hunting with a handgun, you will put your long guns away after you do it one time. Good luck!!
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    Senior Member Array Steve48's Avatar
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    If your close enough, the 44 mag will be enough. Steve48

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    44 mag on Elk is a no-go. They are tough and can cover lots of ground once shot, so your chance of losing your game is quite high. I would highly recommend against it. I have shot wild boar (europeans in California), black bear and mule deer with a 44 mag. The boar with the handgun, deer and bear with a Mod 92 rifle and a scoped Ruger super blackhawk 7.5" barrel. Shot placement is crucial and range for the pistol is reduced to, IMHO, no more than 75 yards and rifle to no more than 100 yards.
    Not one went down immediately and one took significant tracking (mule deer with rifle, first shot didn't penetrate shoulder at 100 yards) Closer the shot, the more noticeable the result, and the more confidant I was of finding the game dead.

    All this was back in my youth when I was ranching and the pistols (mod 629 on hip and Ruger with scope in the truck) and rifle (truck and scabbard on horse) were my carry guns. I only use the mod 29 now as back-up in big bear country or when hunting bears. I do not hunt with them as primary weapons anymore, because, quite frankly, as I look back, the round can be marginal at best for a primary hunting weapon and I am just too damn old to spend hours tracking wounded game.

    But NCHornet is right, hunting with a handgun is a hoot.

    Just my experience, but seriously think that your mileage may NOT vary, in this case.
    Last edited by Chorizo; February 16th, 2007 at 10:46 AM.
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    For your mentioned species I feel .44 mag is right at the bottom end of ''OK''.... even at closer ranges. Not to say it cannot work because with dead-on shot placement it could.

    I do feel you need to up the power level such that you can be closer to a one shot stop. You may not have the luxury of a leisurely sighting.

    My choices would hover around the S&W 500, or the 460. From my own available choices it'd be the .454 Casull, or perhaps my BFR in 45-70. These will be good around 50 to 75 yards for good results.

    Don't get me wrong, 44 mag is an excellent hunting round but IMO here - below what you really need to stay safe and get a result.
    Chris - P95
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    44 Mag is just fine for elk. Use a hardcast bullet and put it in the right spot. Cast bullets outpenetrate jacketed bullets.

    Don't suffer this latest and greatest heavy hitter marketing. The stand-by's are stand-by's for a good reason. They work. The .357 Magnum, the 44 Magnum, and the 454 Casull are all the revolver anyone needs for NA game. On elk, keep shots within 100y with a handgun of any cartridge. Plan on shooting twice. Hit 'em once in the vitals, then hit 'em again.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Ditto on the cast bullets.

    Elmer Keith killed several mule deer at over 500 yards with cast bullets...with a pistol. Of course, he lived with his gun and knew what it would do, I dont reccommend shooting out past a couple of hundred and that only if you shoot alot.

    With the cast bullets, you shoot at the shoulder and break it. The cast bullet, usally 240-250 grains will usaully blow right through and out. Ive seen two black bears that were shot with a 240 grained Keith style semiwadcutters, one though the sholders and one angling away that shot longways through the bear and both exited.

    Of course, it all goes along with personal skill. If you're one of the guys that can knock down steel targets all day long at 200 yards, you'll have no problem with range. If you're the kind of guy that shoots only occasionaly, I'd limit my shots to 50 yards or so.

    Like the "outlaw" Josey Wales once said...
    a mans got to know his limitations...
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Freakshow10MM,

    I don't know how many elk you have shot ( I am not flaming you as all I can speak from is experience and yours may be different), but in my experience with them (and I have shot over 15 with firearms and a couple with a bow) that the 454 is just about the min. I would use. I even upgraded to a .338 win Mag and the 45/70 with Buffalo Boar ammo because of what I see as their inate toughness. I will NOT carry a 357 mag for back-up with any game other than rabbits. I have shot boar and bear with them and they don't even flinch or slow down until long after they wouldn't be a threat and took follow-up rounds every time.

    As far as Elmer Keith shooting mule deer at over 500 yards with a 44 mag pistol, I am not the first person along with others that are famous shooting sports writers and others that knew him personally that called BS on some of his claims. Elmer had the tendency to stretch his distances and expand his results for others that were less experienced than he, because he could and they wouldn't challenge him.
    Last edited by Chorizo; February 16th, 2007 at 11:03 AM.
    21 years and 21 days, United States Marine Corps & NRA Life Member since 1972

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    You knew him huh ?

    Did YOU challenge him ?

    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  11. #11
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    Nope, didn't even know the man.

    No, I didn't know him, nor did I challenge him face to face. You don't need to know someone to call BS on them, just like you just did to me . Read enough about the man and what others wrote as well as what he wrote about himself and you will devine he had a very dry and wicked sense of humor and just loved to pull your tail if he could. Just look at the ballistics attached below and tell me what you think:

    250 gr bullet; 1830 fps muzzle ; drop 100 yds +7.3; 300 yds -31.4; 400 yds -95.4; 500 yds -199.4 (16.5 feet! that is almost a power pole tall)

    Did he actually hit a deer or two at that range, maybe after hundreds of attempts. Is it ethical and right to attempt? I say no.

    As for the 357 mag, yes it has a great "one stop shot" record. But we are talking two different things. One is stopping a thin skinned 200 lb threat at 21 feet from further attacking you no matter the cost, the other is about ethically killing a very large (deer 200lb, bear 300lb, elk 700 lb) medium skinned game animal at 150 to 300 feet ( or at 1500 feet for an Elmer shot) for sport. Huge difference bewtween the two on the situation and desired outcome.

    My point, just because it is in print (even my words) or was spoken by someone that became famous for his OPINIONS doesn't mean it is so.

    Using a critical thought process based upon experience, my readings and data indicates to me, that yes, Elmer's claims were greatly exaggerated in these cases.
    Last edited by Chorizo; February 16th, 2007 at 11:53 AM.
    21 years and 21 days, United States Marine Corps & NRA Life Member since 1972

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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chorizo View Post
    Freakshow10MM,

    I don't know how many elk you have shot ( I am not flaming you as all I can speak from is experience and yours may be different),
    Hunting enviornment: 2 elk, each shot with 7mm-08 and a 140gr CT Fail Safe (factory loads). First one at about 75y, second one at a hair over 200y. Each took one shot to the heart. Max distance traveled was 45y before it keeled over.

    Game farm enviornment: 3. A coworker's cousin has an elk farm and needed to cull some from the herd. One was shot with my 45/70 Guide Gun using PMC 350gr FNSP, one was shot with a 20ga 5/8oz slug from a NEF Pardner smoothbore 26", the last one was a 45 Colt with hardcast bullet from a Uberti Cattleman 4 5/8". All shots this time were within 75y. The elk that took the 45 Colt was shot once in the shoulder to break it down and once in the heart. The animal died within 20secs of the heart shot and never tried to get up after the first shot broke the shoulder.


    My experiences certainly don't match yours. I am not going to get into "well a 22LR will kill an elephant" type tiffs. The guide that I was with swore that the .338 Win Mag was minimum for elk and cringed when I said I had a 7mm-08 with me. He has since changed his mind.

    I see too much of the tendency to recommend heavier cartridges than what is needed. Far too many people are recommended larger calibers to make up for lack of skill when this will only inhibit accuracy. I have read many accounts of this on boards and in magazines. You don't need a 375 for an elk. It may be nice to have if you can shoot it accurately and handle it well, but most shoot better with something on the milder side. I've seen to many hunters buy what their mentor hunters have, the 300Win Mag, the Weatherby mags, and after swallowing their pride and icing their shoulder fall back to the good proven 308s and 30-'06s.

    The 357/44/454 lineup is similar to the 308/300/338 lineup. The 308 and 357 are good for most medium game, although the 357 is a little light for elk and I do not recommend it. The 300 and 44 are good mediums for a balance of power and recoil and are to elk what the '06 is to deer. The 454 and 338 are the heavier hitters that work wonders on elk and moose, generate a little more recoil than most can handle.

    I'd rather a hunter show up with a smaller cartridge that they shoot well and can handle like an extention of their body rather than a larger cartridge that scares them into flinching. The hunter with the smaller, better handling cartridge is a more effective hunter and is more lethal.

    I am a young one at almost 26. I have been hunting since I was 12 and have done lots of reading and learning over the years. I am sure you have been hunting longer than I have been alive. Some say only experience counts. What I lack in experience I make up for in rational thought and my boyish charm.

    I took no offense to your post. We are here to learn from each other.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

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    Just because you are young, doesn't mean you don't have experience. Most of my experience I quoted came before the age of 26. Ah, youth, time to play and the physical ability to do so.

    I think the 7mm-08 is an adequate gun for elk as is the 270. I think that maybe they might be at the margins, but a well placed shot will do the trick.

    And I used my share of smaller calibers over the years. As I get older, I have less desire to not know in advance what the outcome will be when I shoot something, hence the desire for larger and more potent calibers.

    I welcome your experiences, I might be old, but I can still learn.

    I enjoyed our discourse.

    Mitch
    21 years and 21 days, United States Marine Corps & NRA Life Member since 1972

    "The trouble is with the increasingly widespread problem of idiots prancing around out there confusing their opinions with actual facts." peckman28

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    Two things, "the shot" was estimated at 600 yards and was witnessed by Paul Kriley. It was not a cold shot and it was not one shot.

    Paul Kriley and I hunted up Clear Creek on the right side where it is partly open bunch grass meadows and partly patches of timber. We hunted all day, and although we saw several does at 80-90 yards, one at 60, that I could have killed. We passed them up, as I wanted a buck. Toward evening we topped out on a ridge. There was a swale between us and another small ridge on the side of the mountain slope about 300-400 yards away. Beyond that, out on the open sidehill, no doubt on account of the cougar, were about 20 mule deer, feeding. Two big bucks were in the band, and some lesser ones, the rest were does and long fawns. As it was getting late and the last day of the season, I wanted one of those bucks for meat. Being a half-mile away, I told Paul, “Take the .300 Magnum and duck back through this swale to that next ridge and that should put you within about 500 yards of them. I’ll stay here (the deer had seen us), let them watch me for a decoy.” Paul said, “You take the rifle.”
    “I said, how is it sighted?”
    He said, “one inch high at a hundred yards.” I told him to go ahead because I wouldn’t know where to hold it. I always sighted a .300 Magnum 3 inches high at a hundred and I wouldn’t know where to hold it at 500.
    I said, “You go ahead and kill the biggest buck in the bunch for me.” Paul took off, went across the swale and climbed the ridge, laid down and crawled up to the top. He shot. The lower of the two bucks, which he later said was the biggest one, dropped and rolled down the mountain. I then took off across the swale to join him. Just before I climbed up the ridge to where he was lying, he started shooting again.

    When I came up on top, the band of deer was pretty well long gone. They’d gone out to the next ridge top, turned up it slightly and went over. But the old buck was up following their trail, one front leg a-swinging. Paul had hit it. I asked Paul, “Is there any harm in me getting into this show?” He said, “No, go ahead.”

    I had to lay down prone, because if I crawled over the hill to assume my old backside positioning, then the blast of his gun would be right in my ear. Shooting prone with a .44 Magnum is something I don’t like at all. The concussion is terrific. It will just about bust your ear drums every time. At any rate Paul shot and missed. I held all of the front sight up, or practically all of it, and perched the running deer on top of the front sight and squeezed one off. Paul said, “I saw it through my scope. It hit in the mud and snow right below him.” There was possibly six inches of wet snow, with muddy ground underneath. I told him “I won’t be low the next shot.” Paul shot again and missed with his .300 Magnum. The next time I held all of the front sight up and a bit of the ramp, just perched the deer on top. After the shot the gun came down out of recoil and the bullet had evidently landed. The buck made a high buck-jump, swapped ends, and came back toward us, shaking his head. I told Paul I must have hit a horn. I asked him to let the buck come back until he was right on us if he would, let him come as close as he would and I’d jump up and kill him. When he came back to where Paul had first rolled him, out about 500 yards, Paul said, “I could hit him now, I think.”

    “Well,” I said, “I don’t like to see a deer run on three legs. Go ahead.” He shot again and missed. The buck swapped ends and turned around and went back right over the same trail. Paul said, “I’m out of ammunition. Empty.” I told him to reload, duck back out of sight, go on around the hill and head the old buck off, and I’d chase him on around. Paul took off on a run to go around this bunch-grass hill and get up above the buck and on top. He was young, husky, and could run like a deer himself. I got on the old buck again with all of the front sight and a trifle of the ramp up. Just as I was going to squeeze it off when he got to the ridge, he turned up it just as the band of deer had done. So I moved the sight picture in front of him and shot. After an interval he went down and out of sight. I didn’t think anything of it, thought he had just tipped over the ridge. It took me about half an hour to get across. When I got over there to the ridge, I saw where he’d rolled down the hill about fifty yards, bleeding badly, and then he’d gotten up and walked from the tracks to the ridge in front of us. There were a few pine trees down below, so I cut across to intercept his tracks. I could see he was bleeding out both sides.

    Just before I got to the top of the ridge, I heard a shot up above me and then another shot, and I yelled and asked if it was Paul. He answered. I asked, “Did you get him?” He said, “Yes, he’s down there by that big pine tree below you. Climb a little higher and you can see him.” Paul came down and we went down to the buck. Paul said the buck was walking along all humped up very slowly. He held back of the shoulders as he was quartering away. The first shot went between his forelegs and threw up snow. Then he said the buck turned a little more away from him and he held higher and dropped him. Finally we parted the hair in the right flank and found where the 180-grain needle-pointed Remington spitzer had gone in. Later I determined it blew up and lodged in the left shoulder. At any rate I looked his horns over, trying to see where I’d hit a horn. No sign of it. Finally I found a bullet hole back of the right jaw and it came out of the top of his nose. That was the shot I’d hit him with out at 600 yards. Then Paul said, “Who shot him through the lungs broadside? I didn’t, never had that kind of shot at all.” There was an entrance hole fairly high on the right side of the rib cage just under the spine and an exit just about three or four inches lower on the other side. The deer had been approximately the same elevation as I was when I fired that last shot at him. We dressed him, drug him down the trail on Clear Creek, hung him up, and went on down to the ranch. The next day a man named Posy and I came back with a pack horse, loaded him and took him in. I took a few pictures of him hanging in the woodshed along with the Smith & Wesson .44 Mag.

    I took him home and hung him up in the garage. About ten days later my son Ted came home from college and I told him, “Ted, go out and skin that big buck and get us some chops. They should be well-ripened and about right for dinner tonight.” After awhile Ted came in and he laid the part jacket of a Remington bullet on the table beside me and he said, “Dad, I found this right beside the exit hole on the left side of that buck’s ribs.” Then I knew that I had hit him at that long range two out of four times. I believe I missed the first shot, we didn’t see it at all, and it was on the second that Paul said he saw snow and mud fly up at his heels. I wrote it up and I’ve been called a liar ever since, but Paul Kriley is still alive and able to vouch for the facts.

    Elmer Keith
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    Good Post Chorizo..

    Actually, I never doubted that you knew him and I wasnt really calling BS on your claim.

    Well, not too much anyway....


    Anhow...I dont doubt it could be done. I once took a .45 Long Colt Ruger Blackhawk and hit a 9 inch diameter plate at 600 measured yards. Yes it took me several cylinder fulls to hit it, but using the puffs of dirt kicked up all over the place as a guide and using a point on a rock considerablly above the target, I eventually "walked" it in and hit it...and yes there were several witnesses. Once we figured out where to hold it wasnt just real hard to slap that gong. We couldnt do it everytime, but we did it enough to keep trying till we ran out of ammo...and had a blast doing it.

    I know that lots of people cant imagine that happening and I would have been sceptical of someone making a claim like that myself, and up until then I would have called BS.

    Using a critical thought process based upon experience, my readings and data indicates to me, that yes, Elmer's claims were greatly exaggerated in these cases.
    I did learn to not doubt that something could be done just because I couldnt do it myself.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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