24 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 11/22/2004
Posts: 1
Handgun hunting choice

I am new to handgun hunting and need some help. I have hunted all types of game with rifles and bows but recently decided to try handguns. I have read that to hunt big game (dear, elk, and wild boar) you need at least a 44 mag handgun. I was looking at purchaseing a taurus with a vented barrle, when a person in the the store asked if the gun would be used for anything other than hunting. I said no, and he suggested that I take a look at a thompson G2 Contender. I looked at it and liked the idea of the interchangeable barels for different game. Any ideas you have would be helpful.

Offline
Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

You are really looking at two different schools of thought here.

For a strictly hunting sidearm, a contender type pistol would be desirable for the reasons you cited. In addition to being able to select other calibers to use later on with the simple change of a barrel, which by the way allows you to even use rifle ammo, you can generally shoot much hotter loads of pistol ammo as well. For instance, that 44 magnum will do another 200 to 300 fps in a contender over and above what the stoutest revolvers are capable of, provided you load hotter for the stronger action/longer barrel.

Therein lies the dilemma. While the contender is a big jump in performance, it is also a bit more to lug around, and also only one shot at a time. If you might want a sidearm that can also be used for self defense, then the contender is not the best choice. Also, I dunno if I'd want just a contender when hunting or possibly encountering dangerous game. If you get that first shot off and it is placed right, then everything's cool, but if you miss, or if the beast gets the jump on you, look out! You may not have time to aim perfectly, and a wounded animal can be a tough one to have to club off with an empty firearm. Multiple lesser hits from a 44 mag will incapacitate all but the largest of north american game, one may only get the fight started.

In my experience, I've always preferred a 44 mag revolver for hunting with pistols. A 357 magnum will get the job done a lot of the time, and a 41 mag is almost as powerful as a standard 44 mag. But I reload mine, and I can extract as much performance out of my Super Redhawk as I would ever need in a hunting situation I would be willing to use a pistol for. Back at home, it is more than adequate for fending off two legged varmints as well, once I load my home defense rounds in place of my hunting fodder.

I view contender type firearms as too specialized for gp hunting. They are great firearms, but not where I would send a beginning handgun hunter. I know some who use only a contender for all their hunting activities, which is fine for them, but they represent the minority of handgun hunters.

The Taurus isn't too bad. I've always been partial to Ruger revolvers, but that's just my experience. Any more, quality control of most major firearms mfrs is not going to allow for a poor quality model to get out on the market.

There are a lot of other great major caliber revolvers out there. You'll just have to experiment for yourself to determine what you can live with. 44 mag may even be too much for you. Good luck finding out, though.

Offline
Joined: 10/30/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

For a carry backup gun I carry and shoot the Scandium 329PD from smith. Light, 44 mag power. Very accurate. I can hit the deer silhuoette in the lungs each shot at 100 yards from sitting or prone.

For strictly handgun specialty type hunting I like the Contender type series. While not as strong as the XP100 types, its very versatile.

Jeff

Offline
Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

Now I heard that those scandium mag revolvers have problems with hard extraction of fired cases using full power loads. The story was that the cylinder walls stretched and contracted back more than the brass, and made the brass sieze in the cylinder. Personally, I think I'd have some trouble shooting my handloaded 300 grainers out of a 23 oz revolver. Of course that 12 oz 357 scandium would be even worse with high power loads (yikes!!!).

Offline
Joined: 10/30/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

I shoot 180 jhp for deer. And use Federals hard cast 300 grainers for bear. Both are accurate. Both have similar felt recoil. I have not had any trouble extracting rounds.

BUT I do NOT use this as an everday plinking pistol. I have others for that job. This is a carry/hunting gun and only sees a few shots here and there. When I do shoot it some for practice its with 240 lead reloads. But you don't need to always shoot that one gun. I shoot a bit of bullseye iron sight matches and a lot of IDPA and stay tuned in that way. The fundamentals are all the same.

Recoil is simply subjective. I've actually had a few folks tell me they think the lighter gun recoils less and with less torque than my redhawk ever did. I also had a fellow howl and swear at my 44 bulldog with normal 44 special puny ammo.

Jeff

Offline
Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

Well, that is good to hear that the cases in your gun aren't sticking. I like innovation. Performance rumors can really suck. I might still be challenged a bit by the recoil, but I guess I will just have to try one out sometime and see. It can't be any worse than shooting that TC with 45-70s, and that was doable, at least a little bit.

If I knew I could take the recoil, that would be a darned nice sidearm to tote around at elk camp.

Offline
Joined: 10/30/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

FWIW my wife, at 4'10" and 120 pounds has shot it a number of times and says its not mild but very liveable. It was her choice as a packing backup gun this past weekend in our swamp hunt. Never used it but she would have if she had to.

Get one and try it out. For what its used for I think its super.

Jeff

Offline
Location: International Falls, Minnesota
Joined: 06/29/2004
Posts: 59
Handgun hunting choice

I carry a Ruger Vaquaro in 44mag but Im going to replace it with the new S&W 500,50 cal. One of the guy here got one and drop a large moose right now with it this fall in NE MN
As guide for bear I want all there is as a backup looking for wounded animal and while baitingThe unexpected is always lurking out there some where

Offline
Joined: 10/30/2004
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

Looking for a wounded black bear , I would use nothing less than a short barrel 12ga with slugs.

Change that to Brown bear and look at 458 plus.

I like the idea of the 500. For backup its just so big and friggin heavy. The ones I"ve picked up, would only be a bit easier to wield than my 12ga. But if you are crawling in a thicket, that can change things a bit too.

Just my 2 cents.

Offline
Location: International Falls, Minnesota
Joined: 06/29/2004
Posts: 59
Handgun hunting choice

I know what your saying but a shotgun or rifle is very difficult when your crawling nearly on you hands and knees in thick underbrush intertwined with blackberry brush or in the tagalder swamp under brush, If you going to hunt bear then you had better know where to place the shot,and at what distance,For the begaining bear hunter thats what I recomend is 12ga slug prferably 3" I use the Marlin 1895 Guide Gun in 45-70 with the Garrett Hamerhead ammo, hat barrel end on S7W 500 looks abmost like the 45-70 barrel hole.

Offline
Location: Pipestone, MN
Joined: 01/02/2008
Posts: 117
Handgun hunting choice

Nothing is more versatile than a TC

or addicting

While handgun hunting isn't for everybody, in a TC there is a chambering that'll work for any game animal.
That being said, I wouldn't carry it alone, into a potentially dangerous situation. Either somebody else would be backing me, or I would carry a second firearm.

In heavy timber, still hunting, I would rather have a revolver. But when ranges get past 50yds, give me a TC!

Dave

Related Forum Threads You Might Like

ThreadThread StarterRepliesLast Updated
Hunting HandgunsVA YOUNG BUCK501/20/2004 14:07 pm
new handgun is it ok for deerjeremiah1409/06/2007 14:16 pm
Handgun OpinionBundy910/20/2014 23:25 pm
Any handgun whitetail hunters?mcb201/25/2004 10:46 am
Best way to carry handgun for backup?mzimmers1603/25/2006 23:37 pm