Backup handgun for surprise close hunting situations.

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by entoptics, Mar 10, 2019.


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  1. entoptics

    entoptics Well-Known Member

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    Just spent the afternoon shooting revolvers, the smallest being a 4 5/8" Blackhawk in 44 mag, and the biggest being a 8 3/8" 500 SW. Kinda weird to consider 475 Linebaugh and 454 Casull as "intermediate handgun cartridges", but that was how the day went.

    Anyway, got me thinking about a backup gun for close range "surprised in the timber" situations. I can hit a 12" plate, offhand, 8 outa 10 at 100 yds with all my big revolvers (give me a fence post or tree, and that's 10/10). It occurred to me that they'd be excellent for shooting in tight spaces that my 300 WM would just be terrible for.

    Anyone here have handgun hunting experience? I'm curious what sort of "minimum values" are ethical for something like elk with a big bore handgun.

    1) Impact Energy
    2) Impact Velocity
    3) Sectional Density

    I have a 4 3/4" Freedom Arms 454 Casull, and it chucks a 300 gr XTP mag at about 1550 fps. It's a handy "little" gun that's perfectly suitable for hip carry and shoots 3" at 20 yds offhand. My gut instinct suggests that would still flatten an elk at 100 yds (4" drop, 1100 ftlbs, 1400 fps), but I have absolutely ZERO experience with handgun terminal performance.
     
  2. eklarsen

    eklarsen Well-Known Member

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    I have seen wounded deer take 3-4 shots from a 44 mag at close range and not drop, I have also seen deer dropped with a 357 at 20 yards so it still all about placement. whatever you can shoot accurately above 44 Mag with suffice.
     
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  3. entoptics

    entoptics Well-Known Member

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    Roger that. I was assuming it was understood that "boiler room" placement was a given.
     
  4. dfanonymous

    dfanonymous Well-Known Member

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    On the flip side I was watching this YouTube stuff trying to see if there was any real world defense gopro footage or something of someone using a 10mm against a brown bear about the time that started gaining popularity in Alaska. There was none by the way, but there was this younger shockey looking dude who apparently had a hard on for 10mm’s and was going around killing big African game with a 1911.
    Take away...it’s doable...I guess..
     
  5. entoptics

    entoptics Well-Known Member

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    I'm definitely not talking about "doable" or self defense. I'm talking about ethical, 1 or 2 shots, fell over somewhere nearby, hunting results.
     
  6. dfanonymous

    dfanonymous Well-Known Member

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    That’s what the whole story was about. This guy was doing it (hunting) with a 10mm. Am I suggesting it? No. Just relaying. But if the combo of ammo, shot placement and distance worked for a wilderbeast or whatever it was, I think your magnums will work just find in the same combo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  7. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Revolver...

    .44 Rem Mag
    .41 Rem Mag
    .460 S&W
    .357 Mag

    If you want power with capacity (semi-auto)...

    .400 Corbon
    10mm Auto
    .357 Sig
     
  8. deerhunt01

    deerhunt01 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much any caliber from 45 ACP up will stop them, is this gonna be a back up surprise close defensive Handgun or a hunting round for a Sidearm also It would depend how I wanted to carry it belt or chest rig If hunting is the primary concern I'd take a longer 4-6" barreled 41 or 44 magnum.
     
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  9. 45steve

    45steve Member

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    Try a penetration test. I carry a Ruger Bisley Blackhawk in 45 Colt. I have a 300-grain bullet going 1350 fps. I screwed 12 pieces of 3/4 plywood together and shot the 45. It went through 8 pieces. Again bullet placement is key but it was interesting to see how the different calibers penetrated.
     
  10. stirner

    stirner Well-Known Member

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    If you are talking about meeting something that's willing to challenge your position on top of the food chain, your best bet is a can of bear spray.
     
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  11. H82MISS

    H82MISS Active Member

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    I have used Barnes factory 250 gr. Vor-tx ammo in 454 Casull to take bison at 110 yards, and elk sized animals at a ranch in TX, and all dropped within 20 yards after hit.
    This round has twice energy of comparable 44 mag., at 50 and 100 yards, and is flat shooting out to 100 yards. My Freedom Arms has 7.5" barrel, and these factory loads were pushing around 1695 fps. near muzzle. FWIW
     
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  12. H82MISS

    H82MISS Active Member

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    Now I should tell you I have a Deltapoint Pro on mine. Quick and deadly reference point with 2.5 MOA dot. Easy to shoot with both eyes open.
     
  13. memtb

    memtb Well-Known Member

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    MO! You don’t really look at energy, when talking handgun. You go with the largest bore diameter you can shoot....quickly, comfortably, and accurately! Go with a heavy for caliber, hard cast, wide metplat bullet! These bullets have been proven many times over, with large, heavy muscled, and often dangerous animals. memtb
     
  14. xsn10s

    xsn10s Well-Known Member

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    My hunting protection handgun was a 4 inch S&W M29 loaded with 300gr big metplat bullets. But I gave that to a friend, so now I carry my 4 inch 686. I'll probably make some 180gr loads for it.
     
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