Handgun for hunting Deer
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Thread: Handgun for hunting Deer

  1. #1

    Handgun for hunting Deer

    I am looking to get a Handgun and try hunting deer with it this year. I hunt now with a .30 .30 but i really want to try a handgun and get close.. What do you guys think is a good hangun for hunting bigger game... I would want to use a wheel gun for sure but what caliber and barrel length

  3. #2
    Can't go wrong with 50AE. Freedom Arms makes a single action in 50AE, I think it is the model 555. L.A.R. makes the Grizly which is an oversized 1911 design. A.M.T., now Galena Arms made the Automag V. And of course Magnum Research markets the Desert Eagle and the BFR single action.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Tacoma, Washington
    I would say a 44 magnum with a 8" barrel length. You can go with a shorter barrel length if you want to conceal it but 6" was the smallest length suggested to use for hunting. But to deal with bears a 4" or 5" barrel length was suggested.

    I agree with your first choices of 5.5 - 6 " barrel length.

    Also to expand on anapex's post:

    Even if a shorter barrel is ok in Texas, it may not be in another state if someday you want to hunt elsewhere. As an example, Georgia's 6" hunting minimum is what motivated Glock to make a 6" Glock 20 barrel. (Glock's USA location in Smyrna, GA was no doubt an influence.)

    FWIW, Tennesse's minimum barrel length for hunting is 4".

    Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.
    All I know is what I read on the internet.- update to Will Rogers
    This is from the high road I would post a link but don't want to be rude. So check what your state law says and go from there.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
    I would say a 44 magnum with a 8" barrel length.
    Agree...I've taken large western Muleys with a scoped 7½" Ruger Super Redhawk .44 Mag handloaded with hard cast Keith-style bullets. Plus javelina and boar as well.

    Anything larger results in unacceptable tissue damage for a meat hunter. Plus, after firing a friend's 50AE a few times, I find the recoil too great for accurate follow-ups. That might not be the case with you but I'd sure try one first before buying.

    3X PM

  6. #5
    I have taken deer with a redhawk 6 inch in .44 mag.. a super Red hawk 91/2 inch in .480 ruger and a T/C pro hunter pistol 15 inch in 25-06. If I had to pick one for deer it would be the T/C just because I can put other barrels on it. but for pure knockdown the.480 is a beast!

  7. My deer handgun is a S&W 610 with some Georgia Arms 180gr JHPs. The deer in Virginia rarely get even close to 200 lbs, so I'm not handicapped. If I were to go heavier, I'd get some Double-Tap 210gr hard cast lead ammo.

    Deer aren't big animals, you don't need a cannon to bring one down. I'd do a minimum 4" barreled revolver with a red reflex sight just because my eyes aren't what they used to be.


  8. I'd consider a .357mag with a 6 inch or longer barrel the bare minimum and that would be loaded with at least a full power Magnum load carrying an 158gr bullet if not a 180 (if the gun shoots one better than the other, go with the most accurate one, if it's close enough to even, go with the heavier bullet). This would be for ranges out to about 50 yards unless you know for certain that you can make the shot EVERY time further out.

    Personally, I think a .41Mag or a .44Mag (with a 6 inch barrel or longer) would be better and still the ranges would be limited to 50 or less unless I knew for a fact I could shoot it well enough out to 75 yards or so to insure a clean hit and kill. If we are talking about a Ruger (ie., the Redhawk or a Blackhawk on the older big frame) or Dan Wesson, you can throw in the .45 Colt as an option because they will stand up to the hot loaded '+P+' .45 Colt loads like those put out by CorBon or Buffalo Bore. There's a lot to be said about throwing a half an ounce or more of lead at Mach 1+ and any of the 3 big bore rounds I mentioned can do it with the proper gun, load and enough barrel length. Things tend to fall down pretty quick if you put that much lead in the right spot.

    Scoping the gun is up to you. I took the 2xEER that was on my 8 inch Dan Wesson barrel shroud off because I was more comfortable without it. Shooting a scoped hand gun takes a bit of getting used to and I found it more frustrating than helpful. I wasn't shooting it far enough to need a scope, in my opinion, so it was just added weight to hold up anyhow.

    My big reason for suggesting the longer barrel lengths is two fold. One, the longer the barrel is, the longer the sight plane is. The greater the sight plane, the shot can be made more accurately. Secondly, you get a increase in velocity with the longer barrel lengths. Higher the velocity is, the flatter the trajectory is. The flatter the trajectory is, the longer the range is that you can shoot accurately.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Bunker Hill, West Virginia, United States
    I use the T/C Encore pistol in 7/08 15" barrel and have taken two bucks with it both threw the heart one at 50yds and one at 70yrds. I reccomend either a red dot scope or a 1 power scope I use the 1 power sightron scope. I did have the 2 to 6 power trophy scope on for the first buck at 50 yrds but was to hard to acquire the target I had to lead like a bird. I only deer hunt with a this pistol and can shoot skeet clays propped up for targets at 200 meters with the 6 power scope never tried the 1 power scope that far they closed our range in Sleepy Creek WV. With this gun I wouldn't think twice about taking a deer at 150 yrds on a rest shot I use a bypod. I also have a taurus raging bull 444 I am deadly at 40 yrds with it with open sites but haven't used for hunting yet I just got it. An Encore with 15" barrel is extremely accurate the M16 only has a 16 inch barrel. Now by now everyone thinks I'm braging well here is the other thing I only carry one bullet while hunting. It is a WV thing lol

  10. #9
    I like the Ruger pistols,
    A .44 mag stops a deer in its tracks.
    Ruger actions are strong.
    Redhawk or Blackhawk they both work well.
    “An armed society is a polite society.”

  11. #10
    A .357, .41 magnum, or a .44 magnum in a 6 to 6.5 inch barrel is all you need for deer. There are larger calibers for certain, but they are overkill for your average deer. Personally, I favor the .41, it's worked well for me.

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