have you ever taught a younger guy how to hunt with a revolver?

Discussion in 'handgun related' started by Grumpy, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    have you ever taught a younger guy how to hunt , or at least shoot accurately, with a revolver?
    back in the late 1970s I had several friends who decided they wanted to learn how to hunt with a revolver ,and start hand loading and casting their own bullets.
    its a damn shame that there are no longer vast areas of undeveloped land available to simply stroll out into and practice with a hand gun.
    when I was growing up there were miles of deserted dirt roads and thousands of square miles of area in the everglades that no one cared a bit about,
    and if you wanted to go out and shoot a few rocks, or cattails, or old tin cans, on the side of some levee, no one cared, you might on rare occasions have a local law enforcement type like a game warden, or fla highway patrolman, stop by to see what you were doing, and in many cases they might stop and watch and a few would even join in.
    that pro gun attitude among local law enforcement and the open land is no longer common.
    and thats a damn shame as its just not as much fun shooting at a range under tight supervision.
    it takes a good deal of practice to become a decent and consistent shot with a hand gun, and like most skills constant practice,and a constant expenditure of good ammo through a quality handgun over a known range at a real target you can actually measure the groups on, rather than shooting at a road side rock , and if you managed to hit near it occasionally you call it all good!.
    skilled handgun practice, being done correctly , hones that skill to a much higher level than something you try to do half ass,with a handful of old ammo, once or twice, every few years.
    don,t get discouraged if you can,t shoot a revolver as well as a rifle, its just a fact that the handgun requires different skills and more consistent practice.
    a lot of people seem to be overly concerned with the selected cartridges power level, the truth here is that its the projectile design and precise, shot placement , knowledge of the games anatomy, that are far more critical as even a 357 mag properly loaded and used accurately can drop most game decisively.
    (now the larger and more powerful cartridges do have advantages but you might be amazed at how effective a 357 or 41 mag in the hands of a good shot can be, and certainly a 44 mag,454 casull, 445 DWSM, and 480 ruger are devastating on deer , hogs and even elk in experienced hands, within reasonably close range (under 70-100 yards or so))

    I can say quite honestly, that I had a large part in the development of at least 8-9 serious hand gun hunters over the last 40 years or so!
    and at least 6 of them are serious hand loaders also.
    I decided early in the process of being an instructor that learning hand loading , would not take place until the guy showed some interest in both learning to shoot accurately and showed he would actually devote some time and effort into becoming a decent shot!
    At that time I was in my late 20s-early thirty's , and I had a reputation among, our local group as the guy too talk too about hunting with a revolver,
    as Id quite consistently been successful, hunting the local hogs and deer, using a ruger 44 mag single action 7.5" barreled revolver.
    now Ill state right off, that when I first started using a revolver I quickly realized practicing with a rather similar ruger single 6 22lr revolver might save me some money,
    and Id be the first to admit I ran through many many dozens of bricks of 22lr over that first 10-12 years,before I got any thing close to being a decent handgun shot, but back in those days a brick of 22lr ammo (500 cartridges) was not overly expensive , even now if you buy in bulk 500 cartridges can be purchased for under $30 or about 5 cents each.
    so the first thing I did was too buy a bunch of 3" orange target stick on dots, some spring close pins and a stack of blank typing paper to use as targets

    that the local stationary store used as price stickers and had the guys who were interested in learning the skills required buy several bricks of 22 lr ammo, and one of the local homes donated
    so we discussed the basics of proper grip, and signt pictures and started practice.
    now I was rather amazed to find most guys assumed that they were great shots and they quickly found that to consistently hit a red dot at even 25 yards it took a good deal of practice,
    and I noticed that ear muffs were mandatory, as it was not recoil but the muzzle blast that seemed to throw off consistent accuracy, even when we were using 22 lr.
    now when I started out learning revolver shooting I assumed it would take some effort, to master the skill, but many of the younger guys seemed to be rather depressed when they found that like most physical skills it takes constant practice to get decent results.
    once any of the guys showed they had the skills to consistently hit a 3" orange dot at 25 yards we moved the target out to 50 yards and started over ( this was always a very humbling experience)... once they could place at least 1/3 the shots in a 6 shot cylinder on a 3" dot at 50 yards I introduced them to a 6" model 28 S&W 357 revolver, loaded with mild 38 spc. hand loads and we stayed with that until they could produce a 3"-4" 50 yard group from at least a sitting field position.
    this process may sound simple and easy but, at the fastest pace I've seen, it takes several months for most people to become decent hand gun shots
    only once the guys could hit consistently with the 357 mag loaded with mild 38 spc ammo did I introduce the full power 357 mag ammo, once that power and accuracy level was mastered
    Id suggest both learning to cast bullets and learning hand loading skills and generally the guys would suggest going on local hunts.
    I was further surprised by several guys who purchased larger bore revolvers like a 45 LC or 44 mag that found they liked a 357 mag, much better.
    (and to my surprise, it was generally not recoil that was the problem, many of the guys just found that the n frame S&W revolvers, 6" & 8.375 and 7.5" ruger single action,revolvers, in 357 mag and 41 mag were what they shot the best)
    this was not always the case, as the 10" ruger single actions in 44 mag, seemed to have a strong following.
    It should be obvious, if your serious about big game hunting youll want to contact your local fish& game department to find out the local regulations and that you,ll need to pass your states hunter safety class and buy a hunting licence.
    youll also need to select a handgun thats legal to use in your state or the state you intend to hunt in.
    this varies between states, and theres minimum, and maximum, barrel length, minimum caliber and minimum bullet energy , lower limits, in many states , some states won,t allow anything but strait wall case cartridges.

    colorado requires 550 ft lbs at 50 yards , a 6" barrel yes the 357 mag and 41 mag with the hotter factory 210 grain loads is about minimum legally.

    For all big and trophy game species, legal firearms (HANDGUNS) also include any cartridge of at least .35 caliber and at least 1.5 inches in overall length, or a cartridge that generally delivers 500 foot-pounds of impact at 100 yards.
    yes 357 and 41 mag with the hotter factory loads qualifies





    you might find these related threads interesting









    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I had a fairly long and detailed discussion with one of the younger sons of one of the guys I hunt with occasionally ,
    we were at the range sighting in a couple hunting revolvers.
    He is one of the guys who is really looking forward to hunting, with a handgun,
    but on a limited budget
    (WHO IS NOT!!)
    his stated goal was to select a pistol/revolver that he could use effectively for both concealed carry and hunting use,
    that,s almost like looking for a unicorn in some respects simply because ,
    most concealed carry defensive weapon,applications,
    will be a compromise strongly favoring easy concealment, usually moderate power rapid multi shot capability, and,
    frequently higher magazine capacity as ranges will normally be under 20 yards as there might be multiple targets,
    while a weapon designed for hunting applications will generally require a bit more power,
    surely greater longer range (40-120 yards) much better accuracy and concealment is of very little concern.
    any choice will by necessity be a compromise in some area.
    theres no way I could pick what might be HIS ideal compromise.
    but a 4" -to-5" 357 or 41 mag revolver or a 10 mm pistol seems like a reasonable compromise,\
    obviously theres dozens of other options favoring one or the other extreme,
    but no compromise will be ideal for either application. that being said ,
    Its his choice and it will be interesting to see what develops

    if you watch this linked video keep in mind hes using jacketed hollow point ammo, you can generally get significantly deeper penetration with hard cast flat nose bullets in either caliber

    Ive shot a good many hogs in that basic area,
    JW corbett, bear island, sprit-of-the -wild management areas








    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I was recently asked
    "why I seem to prefer hunting with a larger bore revolver,
    but I carry a semi-auto pistol for concealed carry, personal, self defense."

    well the reasons basically that both situations or jobs to be accomplished are vastly different and require different tools,
    and while you could use either tool on either job the result of use of what would be in my opinion, the less well matched weapon,(tool for the expected job)
    would result in some rather serious mis-matches.
    never forget that the skill set and experience of the person holding a handgun has a huge effect on how effective any handgun will be in actual use.

    first lets look at use of a handgun for self defense ,
    it must be easy too carry concealed,reasonably light weight,
    it must be 100% reliable and a 8-16 shot capacity is seen as an advantage
    barrel length generally fall in the 3"-5" range
    a 3" 25 yard group is considered adequate.

    totally reliable rapid multi shot capacity is seen as an advantage
    effective at rapidly disabling any opponent, or group of several opponent's
    and its unlikely to be used at over about 30 ft and you don,t want projectiles exiting the antagonist,
    with a huge percentage of retained residual energy,

    allowing the potential for injuring un-intended and innocent people , well past the intended target.
    32-44 caliber , and over 300 ft lbs, but less than 700 ft lbs at the muzzle are common
    main stream choices with good track records
    38 spc, 9mm, 357 mag, 357 SIG, 40S&W, 10mm ,45acp , 41 mag


    Hunting, with a handgun is a vastly different playing

    a hunting handgun need not be concealed,
    accuracy at extended ranges must be reasonably good,
    barrel lengths tend to fall in the 6"-10" range,to get longer sight radia's
    and higher velocity, sights are generally better quality,
    3" groups, or better at 100 yards are preferred, and generally the goal.

    deep penetration, the ability to smash bone and almost zero concern with bullets exiting the game, are expected.
    ranges will frequently vary from 10 feet to 150 yards
    cartridge capacity of 5 rounds is considered adequate.

    44-50 caliber , and over 800 ft lbs, or greater at the muzzle are common
    rapid repeated shots are not considered quite as important as great accuracy and penetration.
    main stream choices with good track records
    44mag, 445 DWSM, 454 cassul, 480 ruger, 460 and 500 S&W


    a hunting revolver would be expected to be effective, at far longer ranges,and the game could easily weight 3-4 times what the average human adult weights

    with any decent quality hunting revolver, youll need a durable functional holster

    the 44 mag silhouette with adjustable front site and 10 5/8" barrel
    YES IT REQUIRES a shoulder holster to use comfortably
    while the energy levels produced by most big bore revolvers looks anemic when compared to most deer rifles , don,t be fooled a 44 mag, 454 casull, 445 dwsm , 480 ruger or 500 S&W may not have the energy of a 30/06 Springfield, but in practiced hands with the correct ammo and at reasonable ranges its every bit as lethal, if the hunter knows the games anatomy and understands his range and accuracy limitations


    btw its a tight fit but if you heat the holster with a hair dryer for a bit, and spray the revolver soaking wet with wd40, and then holster the revolver and let it cool in place it quickly custom forms to an exact match
    YES if you hand-load ammo and are willing to compromise on size a bit a good 357,41,or 44 magnum double action revolver with a 5"-6" barrel revolver or one of the better quality 10 mm semi-autos will do both jobs reasonably well.


    what a great many of these discussions lack is details on what projectile was used and where it impacted, how deeply it penetrated and what vital organ was missed or destroyed..
    anyone who has a decent quality 357 mag or larger bore revolver, or quality, 10 mm semi auto, loaded with the correct ammo and assuming your personal having the skills,the ability to place shots precisely has the required tool to kill any bear, elk, deer or hog, based on the fact that a properly loaded hard cast bullet, of the proper design, from a revolver like a 357 mag will without any doubt punch through a bears, elk, deer or hog,skull into the brain or through the chest wall into the heart/lung area.
    thats not the same thing as saying a 357 mag will instantly stop an infuriated bear full of Adrenalin,who might see your destruction as his only goal at that time.
    But if you start randomly punching holes in his anatomy.
    only hits to the brain,or forward central spine,from behind the head to the area between the shoulders will be likely to provide a nearly instant mobility stop, you can randomly punch an infuriated bear full of Adrenalin,as full of holes as a colander, used to strain water off spaghetti, if you don,t destroy the vitals and that bear will want to discuss your lack of proper marksmanship up close and personal, with you for well over the time he requires to bleed out.
    now a larger handgun caliber like a 44 mag, 480 ruger, 454 cassul, 500 S&W, will without doubt destroy far more tissue, with each shots impact, this does increase your odds of creating significant and lethal damage , and inflicting pain that may cause the animal to retreat., but the fact still remains that the vitals must be hit to provide an instant mobility or lethal damage stop.
    most people under stress can,t hit crap, and just shoot in the general direction of a threat, and you'll be lucky in most cases to get off more than one or two shots on a charging bear.

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I was going to a local outdoor pistol range the other day, when one of the local guys who, I've hunted deer with for decades,
    asked me about selecting a hunting revolver.
    now I've known this guy for decades and I know he carries a 9mm cz75 concealed,
    so its not like hes totally unfamiliar with firearms,
    but hes always,used a rifle, (usually a 308 win) and It never occurred too me he, had any interest in hunting with a handgun,as he had up until now never expressed any interest in hunting with a handgun.
    we discussed his intended use, budget and I suggested he try a few different options before making his choice,
    as he seemed to be ,looking at choices that I thought might not be ideal.
    probably due mostly to one of the other local guys I reload for talking about his 500 mag, and hunting.

    for some reason guys think you need massive power, the truth is that shot placement and selecting the correct hard cast projectile will allow even a 357 mag in experienced hands to be effective,
    if you place your shots correctly, and a 41 mag or 44 mag or 45 lc can be used,
    on almost any large game if ranges are under 100 yards and the shooter is skilled.
    yes more power and heavier projectiles potentially adds to the penetration, but even a 41-44 mag with proper ammo,
    will shoot completely through an elk or large hog, its your ability to precisely place shots,and your knowledge of game anatomy,
    not necessarily massive power thats critical here.

    the only handgun he owns is that 9mm semi auto and hes a decent shot, but thats not a hunting handgun.
    he was looking at a 500 mag revolver , similar to what one of the other local guy's has,

    no one can select another mans best handgun, or wife, we all see things a bit differently ,
    and we all need to be comfortable with our choices,
    thats why its best to be familiar with the choices ,
    rather than jumping into the situation without hands on experience.





    so I suggested he try shooting that 500 S&W mag and several other handguns before he spends his cash, and making a purchase.
    not unexpectedly his enthusiasm for the 500 S&W was some what reduced,
    after handling one and test shooting it, as I strongly suspect,
    a great number of those 500 S&W revolvers get purchased test tired and stuffed in a safe or resold,
    "no you don,t have to turn in your MAN CARD"
    if you find a 500 S&W is a bit larger heavier and has a bit more recoil that your comfortable carrying or using.
    I called several friends I hunt with that use handguns and we collected about 7 different revolvers, ruger, S&W, even taurus, in 41 mag, 480 ruger, 44 mag, 454 casull, and a 500 MAG, in both single and double action, for him to test fire, I think it was very much instructional and informative.
    after he tried several revolvers he found the 41 mag with a 8.375" barrel, similar to these pictures I found posted was about the most power/recoil he could consistently use, and still hit well with.

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=41 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Source=

    while this choice may not save him a great deal of cash, as those revolvers are expensive they are generally a bit less expensive than a 500 MAG and certainly much cheaper to reload for.
    honestly I doubt if even 1/2 of the 500 and 460 S&W magnums and most of the 454 cassul revolver's would be sold if the new owners,
    had fired a couple boxes of ammo through them BEFORE they were purchased!
    a 44 mag and 41 mag, revolver with a 6"-10" barrel with good quality hard cast bullets,
    loaded to near peak power levels, are fully capable of killing most larger game like deer, hogs, black bear, and elk with a single well placed shot,
    out to well past the range most people can place shots accurately.
    he tried a 357 mag S&W but although he shot it well,
    he felt he wanted a bit more power.

    he liked my 44 mag but the 10.6" barrel versions are now only available used, and recoil was about at or slightly more than he was comfortable with,
    and he shot noticeably more consistently tight groups with 210 grain hand loads in the S&W 41 mag vs,
    the 310 grain hand loads in my 44 mag (both loads are at near 1300 fps)
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=44 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=

    I thought he would like my GLOCK 10mm with the 6" aftermarket barrel but he felt it "just didn,t feel right"
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=10 mm&Weight=200&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=
    after trying my 445 DAN WESSON
    ,he found that was far too large to easily carry, too heavy and recoil was abusive, in his opinion.
    (he said it was much more abusive than the 44 mag)
    personally I find it only marginally more difficult to handle.


    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=445 Supermag&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=

    he only, handled and dry fired, and watched several other people fire the 500 S&W, and decided, only after some friendly couching/coaxing and after firing a couple shots it was no longer an option, Id point out that barrels less than about 6" have less than ideal sight radias , barrels longer than about 10" become a P.I.T.A. to carry easily, in a hunting revolver I think each of us needs to try out several different versions to find out what feels best.

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=500 SqqqW Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=

    with any decent quality hunting revolver, youll need a durable functional holster



    btw its a tight fit but if you heat the holster with a hair dryer for a bit, and spray the revolver soaking wet with wd40, and then holster the revolver and let it cool in place it quickly custom forms to an exact match
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
  5. T-Test

    T-Test reliable source of info

    Don't you just love it when people ask for advice and then don't take it or use it or just say that was not their intent?

    If they were ever confronted by a 400lb bear, the thought that might cross their mind is----WHY didn't I listen to him?
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I got the opportunity recently to shoot a 7.5" BFR in 480 ruger, my impression is its both well made and accurate and well worth the money!
    If I was just looking for , or lusting for a nice hunting revolver it would be near the top of the list! theres nothing in north America this revolver,
    with proper hard cast bullets would not flatten quickly ,
    with proper shot placement.
    its impressively more power than a 44 mag max load,
    and still noticeably lower recoil that max loads in a 500 S&W,
    but I doubt any game would know the difference with proper shot placement.
    so if your lusting after something in a single action revolver, with a bit more power than a 44 mag this would be a good option in my opinion.

    in my opinion HAND LOADING is MANDATORY if you hunt with a large bore revolver, as it allows you to exactly match the loads to your needs and recoil tolerance.
    If I ever hit the lotto, Id get one as a toy

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=480 Ruger&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Source

    ID look for a 370-420 grain hard cast, and preferably gas check bullet and a hand load to push it to about 1100 fps,
    the combo of velocity and bullet mass would be close to ideal for most close range hand gun iron sight, hunting.


    Magnum Research BFR BFR480/4707B
    Single Action Revolver
    .480 Ruger/.475 Linebaugh
    5 Rounds
    7.5" Barrel




    Last edited: Jul 8, 2018
  7. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    yes thats unfortunately a valid point, in that a great many people I've seen use handguns are rather pathetic ,
    as far as consistent accuracy with a handgun past about 20 yards is concerned, from what I see at most ranges,
    within reasonable range limitations handguns are certainly very lethal in skilled hands,but until hunters so equipped
    start seriously taking the effort to research the equipment and take the time and effort to practice regularly.
    the truth is that darn few people have developed the skills required to consistently hit a 3" diameter circle past 50 yards or so.
    yeah, damn near everyone thinks they are an expert shot....
    but if you put a 2" orange sticky dot on a 50-yard, or 3" orange sticky dot on a 75 yard target backer and suggest


    you both put $5 , into a pot and both take a shot,
    flip a coin for who gets first shot,
    each miss requires adding a dollar,
    first guy hitting the orange dot ,
    collects the pot contents.
    OBVIOUSLY the rules can be changed ,
    I frequently put three dots up about 6" apart,
    and too win the pot its first guy to hit all three sticky dots.
    use of three dots tends to eliminate the chance of a single lucky shot winning the contest.
    a miss requires a $1 donation too the pot,
    a hits a free pass to the next shot,but you take turns shooting,
    three hits, one on each dot, wins the pot
    shots must be taken standing with iron sights.
    you might be amazed at how many people will help pay your range fees with that game.
    and how effective a 8" 357 mag, or 44 mag revolver is at the game in practiced hands.
    Consistently producing this level of consistent accuracy from a handgun,
    sounds far easier to do than it is in practice,this takes a great deal of practice,
    good ammo and a more accurate pistol than most people are used to using.
    course the object is helping people realize theres value in learning to consistently hit a Target not to win a few dollars
    the game helps you find potential hunting partners and forces many guys to accept the need for more practice in reality,
    vs the imaginary world they may live in.
    One key to gaining the required skills is in
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I took one of the local guys who is in his mid 40s (age) out to the local indoor range this weekend,
    the object was to introduce him to the skill set of using a hand gun, for hunting.
    I brought a S&W revolver in 22 LR as a starting out in the sport , of hunting with a revolver ,
    tool too use to gain familiarity,
    as this gentlemen had zero experience using a handgun.
    I also brought a 357 mag S&W revolver
    almost everyone thinks they are a great pistol shot, or at least above average.......
    most of us require constant practice to retain the skill.
    the truth is that maintaining the skill takes constant practice,
    and good quality equipment, and good ammo.
    affording the ammo in quantity almost mandates learning to cast and reload your own ammo.
    like most guys, I've taught in the past, we found that he had difficulty keeping,
    all his 22 LR shots on a 3" dot at even 20 yards.
    I know I require constant practice, and indoor ranges with crappy lighting are a major P.I.T.A.
    once he did that marginally well, I let him try the 357 mag with reduced power loads.
    even that mild power increase was a bit detrimental at this initial stage.
    (this was expected.) learning how to use a revolver is one of the first steps I've always suggested,
    simply because most powerful handguns are revolvers/and practice,
    even with a 22 rim-fire is going to help with gaining the basics,
    of hold sights and trigger control.
    familiarity with the tools and practice are essential.
    Id strongly suggest anyone interested in learning to hunt with a revolver practice with a 22 lr all they can,
    and suggest a 357 mag with a 6"-8" revolver would be a good starting choice to master,
    in the early stages of learning the sport.
    shot placement is critical and far more important that increased power,
    and a good 158 grain-175 grain hard cast bullet is fine for deer and hogs at under about 60 yards,
    which is about the max range most beginning hunters can hope to hit well.
    theres a strong sense of satisfaction learned and earned,
    in the process in acquiring the skill to consistently hit a 3" dot at 50 yards.



    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 9:18 PM
    Maniacmechanic1 likes this.

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