selecting a handgun for hunting hogs, deer,ELK

Discussion in 'handgun related' started by grumpyvette, Jul 4, 2009.

  1. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    the above,basically covered the subject rather well.
    I had used both a 8 3/8" 357 mag and 8 3/8"44 mag revolver for several decades before the 445 DWSM came out , I bought one, with a 10" barrel and its an excellent pistol, I also bought a 454 cassul with a 8" barrel a few years later, both have significantly more power than the 44 mag, which pushes a lee 310 grain to about 1250 fps in my 10" S&W revolver, each can push a similar weight bullet at least 300 fps faster, but the net result did not change, a good hit with any of the 44-45 caliber revolvers kills deer and hogs very effectively but you seldom get the instant kills that a 308 win or 270 win provide, with similar hits, this does not make them less fatal, to the game, but it may take a different mind set, hand gun hunting is a bit more like archery in that you normally need to get into under 50-70 yards for quick easy shots and game tends to run, a short distance then drop.
    theres no real disadvantage or advantage in using the larger more powerful calibers other than increased recoil and noise and the pistols are larger and heavier, but in exchange you get a bit flatter trajectory, and at least on paper more damage on target, but because even a 44 mag loaded to 1250 fps punches clean thru deer and hogs and produces a very dependable fatal wound Ive found little advantage in the larger and more powerful calibers
     
  2. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    I hunt in florida frequently with a revolver,and of course my experience may not match other peoples, Ive used several calibers and revolvers I personally like the S&W 29 44 mag with either a 8 3/8 or 10 5/8" barrel the load a 310 grain lee over 21 grains of H110.
    [​IMG]
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    hunting with a hand gun always involves your being forced to make some compromises, a revolver with iron sites will be limited by both your eye sight and the distance between the front & rear sights. this ability to hit exactly where you want with open sights limits the effective range.
    a revolver is generally going to use strait case cartridges starting with a 357 mag and dependent on the shooter preferences anywhere up to a 500 S&W , the 41-44 mags and 45 colt and 454 cassul are all very able to kill deer at 120-140 yards or so rather easily with the correct loads, most people I know have found the larger revolvers like the 445 DWSM and the 460 and 500 S&W a bit larger and heavier than ideal, but there are guys who enjoy those but it takes extensive practice and ammos much more expensive.
    [​IMG]
    now if your willing to use optical sights like a scope or red dot optical sites your going to extend that range limitation but make the easy handling of a revolver noticeably less handy.
    yes theres zero question that theres a few single shot break action and bolt action hand guns that will mount a scope and are more accurate , but most are at least in my opinion less handy, but also very effective IF your willing to put up with the size and weight penalty.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Ive always felt if your willing to put up with that size and weight you might as well buy and use a light carbine

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ns-power-accuracy-effective-range-cost.13280/
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2017
  3. grumpyvette

    grumpyvette Administrator Staff Member

    just a point of info!
    about 20 years back I purchased a DAN WESSON 445 SUPER MAG,with a 10" barrel and added a muzzle brake its very VERY accurate!
    it will push a 310 grain lee cast bullet to 1400 fps PLUS easily ,and theres zero doubt its extremely effective, but its heavy and brass expensive,
    https://www.starlinebrass.com/brass-cases/445-Super-Mag-Brass/
    [​IMG]

    44mag vs 445 mag
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    http://www.ewkarms.com/zen8/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29&products_id=93
    it kills very well but don,t think the increase in power over the 44 mag makes it vastly superior , its a bit like the difference between a 308 vs a 30/06, and its noticeably larger and heavier than a S&W 29
    In my elk hunt club theres now 4 guys who have taken ELK with a hand gun, three use a 44 mag, two of them used my 310 grain hard cast bullets loaded over 21 grains of H110 so a 44 mag is fully up to the job

    http://dfuse.us/COhandgunhunting.html
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member









    One of my long time hunting buddies recently purchased a 8 3/8" 500 S&W pistol, similar to this picture,now I freely admit the idea of owning one of these pistols is rather interesting but having shot one and already owning a dan wesson 445 super mag revolver I don,t see the need as the dan wesson 445 super mag easily shoots out to any range Ill ever hunt at with a handgun and has the proven power to shoot clear through an elk.
    obviously a 500 S&W has more power , but at some point a balance is reached where adding more power has very little if any effect on the weapons killing power. and even a 44 mag has the power to kill the largest game animals under reasonable conditions if the correct ammo is selected, and a reasonably skilled and experienced hunter is using the revolver.
    [​IMG]
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    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=500 SqqqW Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source

    http://www.vintagepistols.com/500_and_460_load_data.html

    http://www.reloadammo.com/500sw.htm


    [​IMG]
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    http://www.sixguns.com/range/supermags.htm

    the formula to calculate bullet energy is
    bullet weight in grains x vel x vel /450240= ft lbs of muzzle energy
    the 445 dan wesson can get to 1600 ft lbs with several loads with 310 hard cast, while its not the 2500 ft lbs of the 500 S&W its still a very effective combo in experienced hands,
    trajectory's are similar.

    http://www.handloads.com/misc/linebaugh.penetration.tests.asp
    knowing your games anatomy, and where the vital organs are located and having the skill for proper shot placements, obviously critical to effective use of any hand gun, for big game hunting

    [​IMG]

    "have you ever felt under armed with a hunting handgun? or have you ever needed to pass on a shot because you knew it was out of your realistic range limitation and ability to place a shot accurately?"
    I was loading some ammo for my 445 dan wesson super mag revolver and had a friend over thats never hunted with a handgun as his only weapon, hes used his rifles for all big game hunts and he asked me that question.
    now Ive used a 44mag or 445 dwsm handgun for decades,and while Ive certainly seen game at ranges exceeding my self imposed ,hand gun accuracy comfort zone of about 120 yards Ive never thought it was much of a handicap, I just figured out how to get closer until I was comfortable making the shot.
    If the archery guys can collect as much game as they do with about a 40-50 yard effective range limitation certainly having twice that effective range is hardly the limitation that will ruin your hunts chances of collecting game!
    and after dressing out game hit with a 44 mag or 445 dwsm I don,t see them as any limit on game as to limited lethality , once your getting complete pass through from shots with 300 grain hard cast bullets I doubt lethality is a big issue
    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member





    every caliber and hand gun design is a compromise in several areas, weight, length,ease of handling, potential strength, accuracy range etc. the 44 mag has been in use for over 50 years and correctly loaded and used in skilled experienced hands has taken everything in big game in north America, the big bore hand gun field , keeps expanding as the sport becomes more popular.
    Ive test fired most of these pistols and own a few, theres always a balance or compromise to be achieved and if you hunt with a hand gun youll eventually develop your own personal list of requirements and list of features or characteristics you look for and things you want to avoid like, a REALLY UGLY a hooker with AIDS.
    personally I, want a high quality dependable iron sighted revolver,
    I feel the 44 mag is as low in the power range as I'd care to use,
    I want at least a minimum 6" barrel length , and anything over about 12"
    is nearly UN-usable in the field, and adding a scope kills off about 90% of the ease of rapid handling, making its use on running game in heavy cover very impractical.
    now you may feel differently but too me hand gun hunting is a fairly shorter range type of experience and Ive rarely needed to take a shot over 70-80 yards, and I prefer a shoulder holster, in the field, the ability to cast , and hand load my own projectiles, to keep costs semi reasonable
    .
    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=500 SqqqW Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source
    http://www.ruger.com/products/newModelSuperBlackhawk/overview.html
    (this stainless ruger 480 caliber single action makes an excellent hunting revolver)
    a properly cast 325 grain bullet in a ruger 480 revolver will handle anything youll hunt in north America in a lighter weight, easier to handle pistol than my 445 DWSM with similar power, 1375 FPS at lower pressures than the same bullet speed with the same bullet weight as the DWSM

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

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/6...gh-476-diameter-325-grain-flat-nose-gas-check

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...-the-reluctance-to-use-cast-projectiles.9875/

    while its certainly not in the 500 S&W power class its also not going to cost that much and since I know that even a properly loaded 44 mag throwing a 310 grain hard cast bullet at 1200 fps punches clean through an ELKS chest, the larger ruger bullet (.476 vs .430-44 mag) certainly has a slight edge in power.

    youll need a durable functional holster

    [​IMG]
    http://www.opticsplanet.com/desantis-right-hand-black-black-mamba-m40ba05z0.html
    just a comparison here of
    commonly used revolver cast bullet hand loads
    for hunting,Id point out that operator skill and experience matters a great deal.
    even the properly hand loaded 357 mag will prove lethal to deer and hogs and even elk in skilled hands,
    but its generally considered marginal on the larger game at ranges over 50 yards

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    357 mag .357 diam......170 grain projectile at 1400 fps 750 ft lbs
    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=357 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=

    41 mag....410 diam.....210 grain projectile at 1400 fps 914 ft lbs

    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=41 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=
    44 mag....430 diam.....310 grain projectile at 1300 fps 1160 ft lbs

    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=44 Magnum&Weight=300&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=

    these last five will take a great deal more practice as muzzle blast,and recoil levels are noticeable, the 480 rugers a great compromise between power and recoil

    445 DWSM mag....430 diam.....310 grain projectile at 1570fps 1690 ft lbs

    http://sixguns.com/tests/tt445sm.htm

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

    454 cassul....454 diam.....335 grain projectile at 1500 fps 1675 ft lbs

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=454 Casull&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Source

    460 S&W......454 diam. 360 grain projectile at 1600 fps 2046 ft lbs

    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=460 SqqqW Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=

    480 ruger.....476 diam......325 grain projectile at 1375 fps 1365 ft lbs

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

    500 S&W.....500 diam. 400 grain projectile at 1600 fps 2274 ft lbs

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=500 SqqqW Magnum&Weight=All

    http://garage.grumpysperformance.co...ns-power-accuracy-effective-range-cost.13280/
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    at times I can,t help but grin at the discussions I read through on the internet ,
    look at the energy figures and bullet weights being quoted for those big bore revolvers,
    everything up to and including elephants and cape buffalo have been taken with those big bore revolvers,
    if your paying attention youll see 350 grain to 500 grain bullets from the various calibers,
    pushed to generally under 2000 fps and generally under 2500 ft lbs of energy
    (sometimes well under) were used.





    now think about all the discussions you read discussing, the suitability of certain rifle calibers, for use on deer elk etc.
    most of them having far higher energy levels
    and much greater range and accuracy,

    making many of the stated conclusions in those discussions ludicrous
    a thinking hunter will be forced to conclude that the weapon used,
    is not the limitation its been thought to be,
    but rather the hunter and his skill with that weapon in hand ,
    and his familiarity with its strong points or limitations,
    should be the point in those discussions.
    then if you remember your history youll remember that 60 million plus American bison were killed with rifles like the 45/70 and 50 sharps , both of which pushed heavy bullets at WELL under 1600 fps in normal factory ammo.
    the 500 S&W revolver and its ammo ,can easily duplicate or exceed the civil war era sharps rifle ballistics.

    modern "HUNTERS" have become far less skilled, at getting close to game, knowing its anatomy, and much more dependent on technology rather than hunting skill.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016
  7. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    the AMMO used has a HUGE effect on the results, because ONLY the bullet and its correct placement will directly effect the target,
    so selecting a caliber also requires selecting the correct ammo.Ive found that ammo makes a huge difference in a glock 20 accuracy
    Ive also found the better aftermarket 6" barrels DO aid accuracy, and BLUE DOT powder and a 180 grain seem to be a sweet combo in my pistol
    [​IMG]
    theres now a factory 10mm glock and aftermarket glock 6" and 9" barrel versions

    http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=852672&CAT=240



    http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Products.aspx?CAT=240

    http://cz-usa.com/product/dan-wesson-rz-10-sportsman/
    DAN WESSON AND OTHERS MAKE REALLY NICE HUNTING AUTOS IN 10MM
    http://chuckhawks.com/eaa_witness_10mm.htm

    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]
    http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Detail.aspx?PROD=942

    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/197373 ... box-of-100

    http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalo ... 1e62ab7005

    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/defau ... er&Source=
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    https://www.shootersforum.com/handgun-cartridges/46256-357-mag-takes-elk.html

    I got asked if a 6" 357 revolver might be a good choice for deer and hog hunting?
    well I've used my 8" S&W 686 357 mag revolver,

    [​IMG]
    several times with good results, but Id have too point out that the bullet you use and the shot placement will have a huge effect on your results.
    its not a lack of power or accuracy that limits the 357 mag, as both the 357 mag and 44 mag I've used with hard cast bullets commonly shoot completely through deer and hogs and exit the far side from broad side angle shots, but the larger heavier bullets of the 44 mag, 445 DWSM, and 500 S&W do have a noticeable advantage from the results I've seen)
    I've used hard cast 170 grain bullets and they are fully up to the job in skilled hands.
    I think youll be best served to think of hunting with any revolver as being a bit like archery hunting ,in that even a perfectly hit and mortally wounded animal is unlikely to drop instantly on bullet impact, and a short trailing job is common.
    Yes you can and may frequently get "DEAD RIGHT THERE" results but they are not to be expected, as the norm.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    a good knowledge of a deers or elks anatomy is also mandatory ,
    remember an arrow or revolver bullet kills by rapid blood loss and critical organ failure,so accurate hits are mandatory for rapid results
    you can,t just slice, or punch holes in random parts of the games anatomy and get rapid kills.
    some of the faster velocity rifle bullets , and larger diameter pistol bullets add an additional factor, of hydro-static shock , especially when a bullet impacts at about 2200 fps- or higher velocity and it has either a flat melpat (nose or it expands on impact)

    , theres an energy shock wave that travels through the internals and this crushes and rips tissue the bullet itself never touched.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    http://www.neihandtools.com/catalog/index.html
    [​IMG]
    a properly placed shot with good ammo will be lethal, theres no question there ,
    but the fact is that many people are not excellent handgun shots and many people don,t use the best available ammo nor do they hand load or practice constantly.
    I've made what I thought were perfectly placed shots with a 357 mag and had deer run off as if un-touched , only to watch them drop stone dead after running 70-80 yards a few times, so Id suggest the 41 mag and 44 mag are a bit better choices.
    (but lets keep that in perspective with the time that takes, a frightened & MORTALLY wounded deer can often cover that distance in well under 12 seconds)
    Thus I would suggest that having used one,(a 357 mag with hard cast bullets) and also having used the 44 mag with a lee 310 grain hard cast that theres been a rather noticeable improvement in how rapidly , AND FREQUENTLY,the bullets impact had effect with the larger and heavier projectile, GOT MARGINALLY BETTER RESULTS.
    both CALIBERS ARE, 100% lethal, WITH WELL PLACED HITS, but the time it takes for a deer or hog to drop will obviously depend mostly on proper shot placement and what organs or internal damage is done so having a larger projectile with more energy certainly won,t hurt your effective results if the shot placements not ideal!

    357 mag
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=357 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun
    41 mag
    http://www.handloads.org/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=41 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=
    44 mag
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=44 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun
    445 DWSM
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/t...&Weight=All&type=Handgun&Order=Powder&Source=
    500 S&W
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=500 SqqqW Magnum&Weight=All
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  9. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    I got a call from my friend Jack a few hours ago, he told me he got his first hog this season using a S&W 357 mag revolver similar to these pictures
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I asked how it worked out, and Jack said he had no problem,
    he had rapidly double tapped a large boar about 40 yards out, one shot hit the chest high over the heart,as the hog reacted, too the first bullet impact, the second hit angled in from the rear rib angling forward into a lung, the hog squealed and ran but dropped inside of 30 yards.
    I asked what load he used ,
    it was a common 10.4 grains of blue dot under a hard cast 158 grain bullet.
    THIS is an exceptionally accurate load in my 357 mag
    15 grains of 2400 powder guive you about 150 fps more velocity with the same 158 grain hard cast bullet but in my revolver the groups at 50 yards go from about 2" with the blue dot to 3" with the 2400, and I know jack had similar results (YOU MAY OR MAY NOT)

    he said the only real difficulty was in dragging the hog over 1200 yards to a dirt road.
    theres always a trade-off in easy handling and your individual ability to handle recoil, the 357 mag allows a practiced shot to hit rapidly in succession,and ammo cost allows a good deal of practice, use of a more powerful revolver, where you might not be able to duplicate that rapidity with something like a 454 casul or 500 S&W, but the trade-off is the larger calibers hit noticeably harder.
    I know several of the guys I hunt with have tried the 44 mag and 454 cassul and reverted to their 357 mag revolvers, as they are much easier to hit accurately with in the hands of the guys that don,t want to practice constantly every month and yet they still get the job done remarkably well!
    a good knowledge of a deers or elks anatomy is also mandatory ,
    remember an arrow or revolver bullet kills by rapid blood loss and critical organ failure,so accurate hits are mandatory for rapid results
    you can,t just slice, or punch holes in random parts of the games anatomy and get rapid kills.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    https://www.midsouthshooterssupply....t-mould-number-358156-38357-caliber-155-grain
    http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=357 Magnum&Weight=All&type=Handgun
    BTW NEI makes a couple really effective molds for the 357 for hunting
    158 grain
    [​IMG]

    I prefer the 170-175 grain versions
    I find them more accurate and cast from 95% lead and 5% tin they penetrate noticeably better
    use 16 grains of H110 powder
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    http://www.neihandtools.com/catalog/index.html

    http://www.guns.com/2015/10/07/is-the-357-magnum-enough-for-deer-hunting/

    http://www.castbullet.com/hunting/th.htm

    http://www.realtree.com/guns-and-shooting/articles/get-into-handgun-hunting

    https://www.americanhunter.org/articles/2013/9/6/the-almost-forgotten-357-mag/
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  10. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

  11. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

  12. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    I'm sure there's several members here that have extensive experience hunting with larger bore size revolvers,
    and I'd like them to post their experiences.
    but I'll put my 2 cents worth in as I've been hunting with larger bore size revolvers and cast bullets for over 45 years now.
    you may or may not agree with my experience, but before you discount that experience ,
    keep in mind, I'm taking the time here, mostly because, I see a good many people who don,t seem to grasp the strong and weak points of using a common iron sight equipped, revolver as a tool to hunt with effectively, so while your experience may differ and you may want to add, too this thread, or discuss a few points I doubt you'll find too much to argue with.
    first, Id strongly suggest you may want to think of an iron sight revolver as a fairly short range proposition, as its very rare in my experience to find someone who can consistently ,(and from field positions )place their first shot, out at ranges past about 100 yards in a 6" paper plate
    (simulating a large game vital area.) this limits the range most people can ethically use a revolver and make consistent kills.
    within reasonable limits power is not a serious issue as even a properly loaded 357 mag can, and certainly a properly loaded 44-50 caliber hard cast bullet will, deliver a lethal wound out at 100 yards if the person using it has the skills to accurately place his shots and knows the targets anatomy.
    theres always a compromise between, accuracy, bullet weight, velocity , and recoil, generally you'll want too use a heavy projectile for caliber thats moving at least 1200 fps-1600 fps.
    keep in mind you can,t predict the range or conditions under which you'll get a shot at game, and it will rarely be a well defined, well lighted , stationary target
    I,ve seen several deer and hogs , very effectively killed, almost every year, with a 357 mag or 41 mag,and 44 mag, revolvers,
    that were properly loaded.
    once you can easily and consistently punch holes completely through the intended game, and leave exits, from most angles and from reasonable ranges added power gains you little more.
    even the older standard magnums , if loaded properly, have a very good record, so you certainly don,t need a 454 casull or 500 magnum

    one of the big and rather common mistakes I see are guys that are either not familiar with the revolver they hunt with, or not practicing regularly, most would be hard pressed too place two consecutive shots on a stationary 6" paper plate at 80 yards from field positions in under 6 seconds.
    Id strongly suggest you select a 357 mag, 41 mag, or a 44 mag rather than a more powerful revolver until you've mastered the art of consistent and accurate hand gun use ,
    (if you can,t consistently place 2-3 shots on a 6" paper plate , in under 10-12 seconds ,from field positions,
    out at hunting ranges you need much more practice,
    and for darn sure the first shot better be on the plate.)
    If your going to hunt with a revolver , you need to practice regularly and it helps a great deal if you hand-load and cast your own bullets.
    gas check bullet designs cast from 95% WW alloy and 5% pure tin works exceptionally well.
    bullets sized and well lubed, at least .001 over bore diam tend to be more accurate.
    barrel lengths between 6"-10" with iron sights are generally preferred.
    but the key to successful hunting, is the skill of the person using the revolver, and his ability to get close to game and how effectively he can place shots on vital anatomy.


    357 mag= 158 grain-180 grain
    41 mag= 220 grain-250 grain
    44 mag= 270 grain-320 grain
    45 caliber -300 grain-350 grain
    480 caliber 350 grain-400 grain
    50 caliber 400 grain-480 grain
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017

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