Bow vs Pistol...Poll...Another fight night.

Minimum pistol with bow lethality

  • 9mm Luger

    Votes: 8 14.8%
  • 40 S&W

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • 357 Magnum

    Votes: 16 29.6%
  • 10 mm (the best mm)

    Votes: 11 20.4%
  • 44 Mag (do you feel lucky?)

    Votes: 11 20.4%
  • 475 Linebaugh

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 454 Casull

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 500 S&W

    Votes: 2 3.7%
  • Less than 9mm? Seriously? You gonna vote here?

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • More than 500 S&W? Seriously? You gonna vote here?

    Votes: 4 7.4%

  • Total voters
    54

entoptics

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Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
651
Another Fight Night!!

At what point does a pistol exceed a bow (not crossbow) in lethality?

For the best fairness, no "optics" beyond iron sights on the pistol and "conventional" bow sights (pins?). No red dots, scopes, thermals, or lasers on either platform. "Ethical" ranges also. Hit a deer vitals at 40, elk at 50 perhaps. Let's call it 20 MOA.

Forget about handiness, forget about convenience, just considering killing power and ability to hit the boiler room with a reasonably practiced shooter. Good shot = animal dead nearby (<100 yds)

Go ahead and consider ideal loads though. Heavy arrows, good slicers, etc. Good hard cast, hollow points, etc. Heavy draw weight and heavy charge weight.

This isn't a which "pistol is best" poll. Your vote should go to the minimum pistol round, from a non-speciallty "full size" pistol (4"-6") that you think will beat a well setup bow at 40-50 yds, for leaving an elk/deer "hoof side up" without much of a chase.
 

dfanonymous

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Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Messages
1,488
This should just be a thread vs a poll. I’m about to fight you on a few things.

The comparison of lethality, which has been discussed here before is a lengthy conversation. Starting at how to quantify it, and it some regards qualify it. For the purposes of this, we can qualify that dead is dead. So enough on that.

However to quantify, I mean to what standard do you hold in comparison, archery equipment vs firearms when they means to quantify a specific value to lethality is different?

Archery, while I’m aware a heavy arrow has KE, is not the primary factor that drives lethality, penetration and cutting diameter is if shot placement is all the same, given the outlined example in the OP.

Firearms (in general) are incorrectly judged by the higher amount of KE they can put out alone. This coupled with bullet type and construction, as you’re aware, as well as mean velocity at terminus have a completely different outcome in how it effects mammals. Hydrostatic shock, tissue displacement and tissue shock are more common to firearms even though they share with archery, penetration.

Anyone that’s ever shot (living) anything or one with a handgun can probably tell you the effect is underwhelming. Of the most common handgun cartridges used for defense, none of them really provide much of any of those characteristics outline above. However, its still the purpose of them when used with hollow points for defensive purposes. It’s still not really comparable, as it’s not relying solely on penetration. Manufactures of this ammo, and tacticians understand this, hence why the follow up shot or 5 is highly practiced.

Basic stuff.

So, what’s the standard? These two things are apples vs oranges. Do we quantify this by measure of the bullet that will have the best penetration and cutting diameter? Which would put the 500 mag on the table..

Or do we go by best penetrating, but low KE like a .380? Actually less. Which would put the .22 on the table. A hot .25 acp would be in the ball park of most IBOs in archery.

Or do we just argue and bicker over 9mm vs .45 and go with one in the middle…because either will give a larger diameter cut, has the potential to penetrate, and produces higher KE then most bows?
 

robsas

New Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2021
Messages
1
Location
Joliet, IL
First: I REALLY enjoy handgun hunting and have been doing it for over twenty years.
Second: Why is this a fight at all? Handgun vs Bow is just another way to extend and or enjoy the hunting season.
I have done both and enjoy both bow and handgun season here in Illinois and on a few western hunts.
As far as equipment that can be used, well this is regulated by the state you are hunting in and as long as you follow the rules, to meet their minimum (and sometimes maximum) standards, all should be good.
Both forms have much in common as they both require the ability to get close, which for me is the fun part, and as with all hunting shot placement is King. So to be ethical, be proficient in whatever weapon you choose. The big thing is to know your ability and stay within them.

For Illinois from their DNR site:
Legal Archery Equipment: Long, recurve, or compound bows with a minimum draw weight of 30 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw length. Minimum arrow length is 20 inches and broadheads must be used. Electronic arrow tracking devices are illegal. Broadheads may have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces, but they must have a minimum 7/8-inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-knapped; broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal.
Legal Handgun Firearms: Centerfire revolvers or centerfire single-shot handguns of .30 caliber or larger with a minimum barrel length of 4 inches. For handguns, a bottleneck centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger with a case length not exceeding 1.4 inches, or a straight-walled centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger, both of which must be available as a factory load with the published ballistic tables of the manufacturer showing a capability of at least 500 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. Note: There is no case length limit for straight-walled cartridges.

But each state, and country have their own rules. And Yes, a lot of them do not always make sense, which I guess you can understand if you realize that often a lot of non-hunters are making up the rules, but we have to live within what we have.

My opinion on entopt's presumed optics restriction is they do not change the lethality of a weapon, they just aid in making it more accurate.
If you want to match up energy of a bow vs a handgun, well that is just a math problem, plug in the numbers chug them out.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
1,332
Location
Lizton, IN
1) In my book 10mm/357Mag range is the minimal effective handgun and I'm comfortable with them. Just built a 10mm 6" longslide 1911. Bullets in this velocity range are starting to get to the point they cause really ancillary damage. I've seen deer shot with 40SW/9mm....not impressive at all. 44Mag is a legitimate step up and entirely satisfying.

I guess it depends what archery gear you are comparing to. In my younger years I got lured into the speed/lightweight/expanding broadhead story...for a single season. I had several entirely adequate shots turn bad due to lack of penetration. Some due to arrow weight, some due to angle with the expanding heads. I went back to fixed broadheads and heavy arrows and have never had a repeat issue and never looked back.

One can't directly compare the two on any real metric...energy etc...they kill differently. No pistol bullet as a 1-1.25" cutting diameter from entry to exit, for example.
 

entoptics

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Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
651
This should just be a thread vs a poll. I’m about to fight you on a few things...So, what’s the standard? These two things are apples vs oranges. Do we quantify this by measure of the bullet that will have the best penetration and cutting diameter? Which would put the 500 mag on the table..

Or do we go by best penetrating, but low KE like a .380? Actually less. Which would put the .22 on the table. A hot .25 acp would be in the ball park of most IBOs in archery...

The metric, as my OP stated, was which handgun cartridge will put a deer/elk on the floor as fast as a good bow. Apples and Apples. Don't really care what mechanism gets the results.

First: I REALLY enjoy handgun hunting and have been doing it for over twenty years.
Second: Why is this a fight at all? Handgun vs Bow is just another way to extend and or enjoy the hunting season...

Cause it's fight night! Seriously though, it was just a question in my mind. I've not shot game with a bow or a pistol, and figured there might be folks here who'd have done both and would have some insight.

It certainly would not qualify as a "minimum" anything, but my favorite hunting pistol was left off and is the extremely versatile/venerable 460 S&W. Planning to take an elk with it this yr. If the elk play along. ;)

460 should get it done! I've got a 454 Casull, and it's a serious beast. 460 just takes it a step further!

...One can't directly compare the two on any real metric...energy etc...they kill differently. No pistol bullet as a 1-1.25" cutting diameter from entry to exit, for example.

I think I get what you're trying to say, but I'd maintain they aren't different where it matters (i.e Hoof side up). Death is a consequence of destroying the brain, or depriving it of oxygen, or in the case of a bad shot, infection or starvation. Typically in hunting, we try to starve the brain of oxygen by damaging the boiler room, but I don't see how it matters whether it's a gun, bow, spear, or freight train.

Anyway, I was just curious what folks with more experience than me thought would be the "crossover" point for a handgun vs a bow with "quick kill" as the metric.
 

Treeslug

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Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
710
Location
Hill Country, Texas
The metric, as my OP stated, was which handgun cartridge will put a deer/elk on the floor as fast as a good bow. Apples and Apples. Don't really care what mechanism gets the results.



Cause it's fight night! Seriously though, it was just a question in my mind. I've not shot game with a bow or a pistol, and figured there might be folks here who'd have done both and would have some insight.



460 should get it done! I've got a 454 Casull, and it's a serious beast. 460 just takes it a step further!



I think I get what you're trying to say, but I'd maintain they aren't different where it matters (i.e Hoof side up). Death is a consequence of destroying the brain, or depriving it of oxygen, or in the case of a bad shot, infection or starvation. Typically in hunting, we try to starve the brain of oxygen by damaging the boiler room, but I don't see how it matters whether it's a gun, bow, spear, or freight train.

Anyway, I was just curious what folks with more experience than me thought would be the "crossover" point for a handgun vs a bow with "quick kill" as the metric.
I've had experience with both. I can only say that I shot a big baren doe at 40 yards with my S&W 460 using a 535-grain gas checked lead semi-wadcutter and I have NEVER seen anything die any faster. Not even a squished mosquito. And I have used a .454 Casull, and they work well, too!
 

bigdogone

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Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
65
Location
Dallas
Well I've used both. Great article by Larry Weishun in DSC Game Trails magazine this month where he writes about a recent handgun hunt and claims he's good with his pistol past 100 yrds. Wow.

To me that's the key- be proficient with whatever you choose and know it's capabilities and yours. A doe right under the stand is different from a buck at 150.

Basing my 357 mag poll answer on one shot kill stats maintained by FBI and making the leap that a 150-200 lb mamal is going to expire in a similar way given similar wounds, whether four-footed or two. Min pistol I've personally used is 41 mag at about 15 yds. Also used a 45 cal at similar distance, both on does. Both very effective.

Here's a pic of last year's broad head. The cutting tip is bent where it struck a rib. Full pass through and expiry after 37 yrds.

My point is, both archery and pistols work. Whatever your preference, get out there this fall and take a kid if you can to pass on nature's grandeur and the circle of life. Let's beat those anti's one new hunter at a time.
 

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jrock

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Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,297
Location
Idaho
I'm not going to vote on this one because I feel they are apples an oranges. I think there are significantly different factors when considering smashing through something, a bullet, or slicing through, arrow. I haven't shot anything with my 10mm but I do hunt with it. I like my bow I can shoot much further and more accurately than my handguns. If I had handgun kills, I might be able to correlate similar results to that of my bow. Too bad I don't.
 

cohunt

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Jan 21, 2016
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3,207
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
You gonna include "AR style pistols" too", what about tc contender pistols, and rem700 pistols--- all can use full bottleneck cartridges where legal?-- add braces, and long barrels and now basically you can handgun hunt legally with a rifle.

Op never answered my question in your last "fight" ploe about the M vs X bullets either
 

ccmain

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Joined
Nov 15, 2013
Messages
54
Location
Eastern Oregon
Another Fight Night!!

At what point does a pistol exceed a bow (not crossbow) in lethality?

For the best fairness, no "optics" beyond iron sights on the pistol and "conventional" bow sights (pins?). No red dots, scopes, thermals, or lasers on either platform. "Ethical" ranges also. Hit a deer vitals at 40, elk at 50 perhaps. Let's call it 20 MOA.

Forget about handiness, forget about convenience, just considering killing power and ability to hit the boiler room with a reasonably practiced shooter. Good shot = animal dead nearby (<100 yds)

Go ahead and consider ideal loads though. Heavy arrows, good slicers, etc. Good hard cast, hollow points, etc. Heavy draw weight and heavy charge weight.

This isn't a which "pistol is best" poll. Your vote should go to the minimum pistol round, from a non-speciallty "full size" pistol (4"-6") that you think will beat a well setup bow at 40-50 yds, for leaving an elk/deer "hoof side up" without much of a chase.
This should be interesting!
 

gohring3006

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Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
4,126
Location
Ohio
.357 and up.
It comes down to efficiency. How much effort I have to put in for the result.
Like for instance, if I’m elk hunting and a grizzly decides he on top of the food chain today, I figured I’d get one arrow loose, then it would become a knife fight hand to hand.
A 10mm glock might put me back at the top of the food chain.
😂
I guess you could carry a pistol while bow hunting for protection, but it’s that’s not the question.
 

del2les

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Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
941
Location
South Central, CO
A bit unusual, but I will bite. I have been handgun hunting since the 70's, and spent many years in IHMSA competition. Thus, I have no real problems hitting a deer sized animal at 200 meters with open sights on my 6" and 8" 357's, my 44mag's in varied lengths, and even using my 45 ACP's and LC's at 100 yards. If allowed to use my Contenders and their varied calibers, the range gets even longer. Scopes add even more.

With bows and when younger, I practiced on game targets out to 60 yards, so if only looking at range, the handguns win. Razor sharp broad heads can be very fatal with bad hits, but sometimes fail when striking bones.

I see the two as separate ways of enjoying hunting, but I would place my handguns in a longer range ability category.
 
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P7M13

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Jan 5, 2016
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Orygun
An interesting mental gymnastic exercise.
I carry 10mm or 357 for bear defense. I practice off-hand with both to 25. I'm much more accurate with the 10. Expect it would work for deer....
Have practiced with 9, 40 & 45 out to 100. 40 & 45 yield consistent hits, I was surprised at the 9 and inconsistent performance at 100 with factory ammo.
Have tested 9, 40, 10, 45, & 44 Mag for penetration on an aluminum SCBA tank at 10 yards. 10mm & 44 Mag are the only ones that satisfy.
I trust my aim with my 10mm at 25 to take deer. Elk? Wouldn't try
 
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