I guess I realy dont know much about handgun recoil, the largest I have ever shot was a .44 magnum revolver with hot handloads, it was pretty stout I thought. I just dont have any experience with large caliber handguns, let me know your thoughts.
Anything larger than a 44mag espeicallly in a Encore with a 10"bbl with out a brake will have alot of recoil. A scope will add weight to the handgun, and that will help.
If going with a rifle cartridge, maybe a .243 would be better, still a 14"bbl in my opinion will serve better.
You have to look at it two ways, a Large bore handgun will knock something down with a larger, heavier bullet, they are made for shorter bbls but at the distances involved you need to become proficent at shooting a straightwalled case (ie: .44 mag, .357 Max, .45LC, or .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh even the .480 ruger & newer S&W .460 & .500's are excellent. But getting into those larger bbls a brake is almost manditory, if not for your arm and aim , but also for the scopes life.
The rifle cartridges shoot a lighter bullet much faster and could possibly have more "down range" power if not accuracy depending on your choice of calibers. Granted you are loosing a great deal of velocity in a 10"bbl vs a Rifle bbl. But a .308 class of case whether is be a .308, .243, .260, or 7-mm08, are certainly very good deer cartridges in a handgun. I just feel that they are handicaped more the shorter a bbl is. That is why I mention a 14"bbl, in a 10" bbl you will still be needing a brake whether you want it or not, but a 14" bull is much more managable.
I would suggest that you call SSK Industries or even EABCO and see what they have to say, They specialize in these things and would definately be a good source of advice.
I forgot to ask how you were going to be hunting with this handgun? From a Stand with a rest or free handing it? That would also help you to make up your mind.
When I had my Encore (I traded it and wished I had it back), I hunted with it using a backpack as a rest, this took planning when getting set up for shots and also worked well, With the .260 Rem bbl that had the integral brake, I had to be careful of the flash from the brake as it would start any thing made of cloth on fire. I ruined 2 backpacks that way. This is another reason why I never liked Braked handguns. The other was the muzzle blast and noise. 1 set of earplugs combined with muffs were'nt enough to tolerate the noise. I got rid of the braked bbl after making the mistake of shooting it without protection. My ears rang for 2 days and was really painful.
I never used it for deer hunting before I traded it off, but I used it on coyotes and Chucks. I would have liked to used it on deer, but never had the disipline (sp?) back then to stick to handgun hunting. I was in my mid-twentys when I had that one. Now that I'm older (mid thirtys) I'd like to try again.
I've had quite a few Single actions in .357 through .44 Rem Mag and I've Shot the big ones like the .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger, and 500 AE. I'vs also had access to Encores in larger chamberings. One was in a .458 Win Mag (that one was brutal), I've enjoyed shooting them all, but most of all I'd just like to have the .260 Remington Back with the 14" bull bbl. It was so much fun to shoot. I'll have to put some $$$ away and get another one.
Thanks for all the input guy's, I will contact SSK and EABCO, I'm not familiar with MGM, does anyone have contact info for them?
I stand hunt 99.9% of the time, two of my stands have rifle rests on them, the longest shot I have ever taken was about 150 yards with a rifle, I will just have to see how well I shoot a handgun, but I expect to use it less than 100 yards, at least as a beginner.
I am leaning tward the 357 maximum in a short barrel, if I go with a longer barrel, I will think about some rifle calibers, I have a friend that shoots long range rifle competition with a .260, he loves the .260 round.