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

Stk

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Interesting question! At 50 yards? I'll have to go with .44 mag. That's based off an accurate shot placed in the kill zone, though. If I'm supposed to consider the likelihood of a "reasonably practiced shooter" making a good shot, then I don't think there's a pistol caliber on the list that would be more effective than a bow at 40-50 yards if the pistol had a 5" barrel and iron sights.
 

blueprairiedog

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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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del2les

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It seems a few people greatly underestimate the abilities of handguns with proper loads and practice in using over longer distances. Not including the specialty guns and their calibers like XP100's, Contenders, etc, properly loaded wheel guns and semi-autos when combined with a solid rest like sitting with or without crossed shooting sticks, prone, over pack or Creedmoor can be very effective at extended ranges.
 

Treeslug

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When I was a younger man and about as bright as a shadow, I was the greatest fan of the .44 magnum. I lived on a rice farm and I could do as much shooting as I could afford, and I shot at least 1,000 rounds of full house loads a week--without ear protection. (What was that you just said?) Told you I was about as sharp as a marble. When the 460 S&W came out I had to have one. I had shot a 454 Casull and it definitely overtakes the .44 mag. Because the 460 shoots .45 Long Colt, 454 Casull, and the 460 rounds, it made sense to switch from .44 to .45 cal.

I have hunted deer and hogs on trips where bow hunters were also present and The 460 with the right bullet pole-axes deer and hogs. The arrow-shot animals die extremely quickly, but arrows slice through capillaries and the animal bleeds to death. Heavey, relatively slow-moving bullets knock the snot out of the animal. Yes, poor hits change the dynamics of either weapon. The last opinion I am going to give is: if you like .44 magnums, you gotta try the 454 Casull and the 460 S&W. If you are good enough, they will do anything a broadhead will do, and do it from farther away.
 

Rent Outdoor Gear

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I will take my bow all day every day against any iron-sighted (hunting caliber) pistol out to 100 yards.

With the exception of something like a TC chambered for a rifle cartridge and scoped off a rest. I think you have to get to that type of pistol before you can out-perform a compound bow in terms of lethality. And still with the pistol you better be shooting it off a dead rest.

The other exception is extremely dense cover - like walking through the alders in Alaska. I'll put the bow in the pack and have my hand on the 10mm in those situations or walking back to camp in the dark. Flashlight attached to the 10mm gets the nod and the bow stays in the pack.
 

del2les

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I will take my bow all day every day against any iron-sighted (hunting caliber) pistol out to 100 yards.

With the exception of something like a TC chambered for a rifle cartridge and scoped off a rest. I think you have to get to that type of pistol before you can out-perform a compound bow in terms of lethality. And still with the pistol you better be shooting it off a dead rest.
Maybe check out the nearest NRA or IHMSA "Field Pistol" or "Hunter" shoots. These are 1/2 scale steel targets, chicken, pig, turkey, ram, that range from 25 (40 for some shoots) -100 yards, straight wall calibers like 357, 41, 44, 45 etc, and shot from the "standing" position.
Having hunted and killed untold game with both bows and handguns since the 70's, for my experience, there really is no comparison, but each to their own based on their real experience with both.
 

nealm66

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I can shoot a bow a little better offhand than a pistol. Haven’t shot any animals with a pistol, I’d imagine they would have more raw killing power in the 44mag and up
 

Treeslug

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I will take my bow all day every day against any iron-sighted (hunting caliber) pistol out to 100 yards.

With the exception of something like a TC chambered for a rifle cartridge and scoped off a rest. I think you have to get to that type of pistol before you can out-perform a compound bow in terms of lethality. And still with the pistol you better be shooting it off a dead rest.

The other exception is extremely dense cover - like walking through the alders in Alaska. I'll put the bow in the pack and have my hand on the 10mm in those situations or walking back to camp in the dark. Flashlight attached to the 10mm gets the nod and the bow stays in the pack.
Are you really saying you would shoot a deer out to 100 yards away with a bow and arrow with broadheads? You can't be saying that. You are really going to thread an arrow through the alders of Alaska? And that 10mm in Alaska, you might want to do some checking on the true ballistics of the 10mm. It is no .41 mag. nor is it even a .357 mag. I have two 10mm pistols that I mostly hunt hogs, up close and personal, and believe me, the 10 mm isn't even a magnum. Yes, I am aware of the fact that there is such a round called a 10mm magnum, but virtually no one owns one.
 

Rent Outdoor Gear

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Are you really saying you would shoot a deer out to 100 yards away with a bow and arrow with broadheads? You can't be saying that. You are really going to thread an arrow through the alders of Alaska? And that 10mm in Alaska, you might want to do some checking on the true ballistics of the 10mm. It is no .41 mag. nor is it even a .357 mag. I have two 10mm pistols that I mostly hunt hogs, up close and personal, and believe me, the 10 mm isn't even a magnum. Yes, I am aware of the fact that there is such a round called a 10mm magnum, but virtually no one owns one.
It's never my first choice to a shoot a deer at 100 yards, but under the right conditions I could, I would, and I have. This is a long range hunting site isn't it? It doesn't say (guns only). My success at that distance is extremely high and no I haven't wounded or missed a bunch trying. I said the other exception is thick alders where I would prefer a pistol over a bow - so no... I'm not going to thread an arrow through the alders.

I have hunted alaska multiple times with my bow including Kodiak, the AK Peninsula, the Brooks range twice, and the Yukon 3 times. I've never packed more than a 10 mm with one exception where I brought the 454 Casull on the Peninsula when I was hunting and filming another archer stalking 10' brown bears. Also didn't say the 10 mm was an awesome bear stopper - it's what I usually pack because its light and holds a bunch and I'm accurate and extremely comfortable with it. I'll take that every time over a cannon that I haven't shot much. When you have a bear suck the tent fabric away from your face with their nose, you want to be grabbing ahold of something very familiar in the dark.

I'm not saying anyone else should shoot 100 yards with their bow or a pistol off-hand at game for that matter - it's up to each to know their limits. I'm saying I can, and feel I would be more lethal at 100 yards than 99.99% of people with an off-hand, iron-sighted pistol at that distance. I think most archers would agree they're more accurate at their comfortable range with a bow than they would be with a pistol. However, I'm also sure there are avid hand-gun hunters that would say the opposite is true for them, but I'd wager they would not shoot 100 yards at a critter unless it was off a rest of some sort. In my book, both are perfectly lethal within 100 yards if the bullet or arrow can be accurately placed. Which is why I also said a rifle cartridge on a scoped TC off a rest trumps a bow.
 

blueprairiedog

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I will take my bow all day every day against any iron-sighted (hunting caliber) pistol out to 100 yards.

With the exception of something like a TC chambered for a rifle cartridge and scoped off a rest. I think you have to get to that type of pistol before you can out-perform a compound bow in terms of lethality. And still with the pistol you better be shooting it off a dead rest.

The other exception is extremely dense cover - like walking through the alders in Alaska. I'll put the bow in the pack and have my hand on the 10mm in those situations or walking back to camp in the dark. Flashlight attached to the 10mm gets the nod and the bow stays in the pack.
Except the sound gets there before the arrow I used to practice at 60 with my spider 30 and kill at 30-40 and I have seen them duck the arrow at around 40 so I back down to around 35 but that’s just me anyone else can do what they are good with but they never duck a well turned hand gun.i have a friend who only still hunts with a pistol and he is killing them.
 

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Treeslug

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It's never my first choice to a shoot a deer at 100 yards, but under the right conditions I could, I would, and I have. This is a long range hunting site isn't it? It doesn't say (guns only). My success at that distance is extremely high and no I haven't wounded or missed a bunch trying. I said the other exception is thick alders where I would prefer a pistol over a bow - so no... I'm not going to thread an arrow through the alders.

I have hunted alaska multiple times with my bow including Kodiak, the AK Peninsula, the Brooks range twice, and the Yukon 3 times. I've never packed more than a 10 mm with one exception where I brought the 454 Casull on the Peninsula when I was hunting and filming another archer stalking 10' brown bears. Also didn't say the 10 mm was an awesome bear stopper - it's what I usually pack because its light and holds a bunch and I'm accurate and extremely comfortable with it. I'll take that every time over a cannon that I haven't shot much. When you have a bear suck the tent fabric away from your face with their nose, you want to be grabbing ahold of something very familiar in the dark.

I'm not saying anyone else should shoot 100 yards with their bow or a pistol off-hand at game for that matter - it's up to each to know their limits. I'm saying I can, and feel I would be more lethal at 100 yards than 99.99% of people with an off-hand, iron-sighted pistol at that distance. I think most archers would agree they're more accurate at their comfortable range with a bow than they would be with a pistol. However, I'm also sure there are avid hand-gun hunters that would say the opposite is true for them, but I'd wager they would not shoot 100 yards at a critter unless it was off a rest of some sort. In my book, both are perfectly lethal within 100 yards if the bullet or arrow can be accurately placed. Which is why I also said a rifle cartridge on a scoped TC off a rest trumps a bow.
It is not your first choice, but you are extremely accurate at 100 yards and you haven't wounded a bunch. How many do you have to wound before you realize that you are NOT proficient at 100 yards?

I can't even begin to compare my experiences in Alaska with yours. I have never hunted or seen Alaska, but I have hunted British Columbia, Canada, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming, in the open, in heavy brush, and through the aspens with a bow and a muzzleloader (Black Powder) a 378 Weatherby mag, and my 460 S&W. Just me, but I would NEVER attempt to shoot an animal of any kind at any range over 60 to 70 yards with a bow and arrow. I have killed hogs at over 100 yards with my 460. I have never lost a deer or hog that I have shot with any weapon. As I say, that is just me.

The 10mm is a fantastic weapon, but it is not what most people that haven't hunted with it believe it to be. Yes, I would carry one in bear country because like all semi-autos, it holds more bullets and is much quicker to reload. The 10mm is, however, not all that gun writers and a whole trainload of people think it is.

I am proud to hear that you are so proficient with your bow. I have friends that shoot crossbows and would not attempt the things you state. You are far above my pay grade. And I will have to admit that I often lean against a tree for steadiness when shooting hogs, even at close range if a tree or other rest is available. I have even leaned against a tree to shoot my bow. I have wounded birds with my shotgun and I can still see them flying away injured in my mind if I try. Have a great next hunt.
 

entoptics

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Jan 16, 2018
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...And that 10mm in Alaska, you might want to do some checking on the true ballistics of the 10mm. It is no .41 mag. nor is it even a .357 mag. I have two 10mm pistols that I mostly hunt hogs, up close and personal, and believe me, the 10 mm isn't even a magnum. Yes, I am aware of the fact that there is such a round called a 10mm magnum, but virtually no one owns one.

...The 10mm is a fantastic weapon, but it is not what most people that haven't hunted with it believe it to be. Yes, I would carry one in bear country because like all semi-autos, it holds more bullets and is much quicker to reload. The 10mm is, however, not all that gun writers and a whole trainload of people think it is...

I'd disagree a bit on this.

I just looked at factory offerings from Hornady and Federal, and quality defense/hunting ammo runs the 180 gr class bullets in 10mm at ~1275 fps. For a 357 Mag, it's running the 158 gr pills at ~1250 fps. The 158 and 180 class bullets both have similar SD values, though the 10mm is definitely a little lower. Energy is 100 ftlbs more for the 10mm.

Comparing bullets of identical sectional density (0.18) would be the 10mm 200 gr vs the 357 158 gr. I found a few factory ammo offerings, and the 10mm is in the 1175 fps (600 ftlbs) ballpark, and the 357 Mag is is around 1250 fps (550 ftlbs) ballpark.

Regardless of how you slice it, with quality ammunition, the 10mm is going to hit a bit harder (energy) and penetrate just as deep (sectional density) as the 357 magnum in equivalent bbl length guns, at least according to my research and limited experience (I've shot both calibers in a couple different bbl lengths over chronographs a few times).
 
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