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Deer hunting with Pistol????

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by pmfinnegan2, Apr 28, 2005.

  1. pmfinnegan2


    Dec 20, 2004
    I would like to take a pistol with me deer hunting this year (Michigan). It will be my first year doing so, therefore I am very much in the dark about the whole thing. I was planning on taking my S&W .357 mag revolver 6" barrel, but also have an XD SC 9mm and G22 .40 s&w that I could take. Which one would you recommend? What type of ammo should I use? Any tips???
  2. VonFatman


    Jul 31, 2000
    Kansas City
    If it were me, (of the guns/calibers you mentioned) I'd take the .357. I'd use a 180gr solid lead bullet (if you do not reload, you can buy ammo with these bullets thru Cabela's and other places). I'd make sure the deer was w/in 25 yards or I'd let it pass.
    I'd make sure I had a good rest to shoot off of.
    I'd practice to make sure I was proficiant with the gun and knew exactly where the gun's point-of-aim/point of impact was with your hunting ammo.

    Sounds like fun! As long as you don't push the "envelope" you should be fine. If you want to shoot at a greater range, I'd suggest moving to a 41 Mag or larger/more powerful caliber.

    Oh, and take ear muffs...I use electronic muffs since I like to hear stuff in the woods...but I've also used regular range muffs...I just ease them over my ears before lining up for the shot.


  3. good advice, I wouldn't worry abouty hearing muffs tho. In the heat of the moment, you won't even notice the BOOM.

    Get a 6" target dot and place it at the max range you " think " you can hit and work down from that distance. When you can place 7-10shots on that target at "actual" shooting positions ( no bench rest ), then you are ready to go to field.

    Have fun and be safe.
  4. Yes. ;c

    And if you get a more powerful caliber, this still remains true. So, going to a .41/44 mag will not necessarily extend your range.
  5. wprebeck

    wprebeck Got quacks?

    Oct 20, 2002
    Mm..looks like heaven
    I brought in two deer this past year with my revolver..It's a Taurus 44SS6, with 6.5" ported barrel, chambered in .44 Magnum. I've got a Burris scope on it, and am using 275gr Core-Lokt rounds from Remington. The first one was at 50 yards, the other at 60. Both went down with one shot. Using the scope, I'm pretty sure I could hit out to at least 100 yards, and the bullet is definitely good for that range.
  6. I've been deer hunting with handguns for 20 years now.

    As others have said, given the choices you listed, the .357 mag is the best one.

    I prefer to use the paper plate standard. I use a regular old 9" paper plate, shooting from field positions I see at what distances I can keep my shots on the paper plate. That's my distance limit.

    With my 14" .44 mag TC Contender 100 yards is an easy shot. With the 7 1/2" Super Redhawk 50 yards is my limit.
  7. CanyonMan

    CanyonMan In The Saddle

    Jul 26, 2002
    PLEASE, do the deer a favor, and "DON'T" take the 9mm, or the 40sw!
    You hear all these stories about how someone killed their deer with one of these calibers, and perhaps they did, but that is like going 200 miles to a fishing hole, and you only got ONE WORM!

    In other words, get something bigger, and learn to use it properly! ;)

  8. rfb45colt

    rfb45colt safe-cracker

    Mar 1, 2002
    WI's Northwoods
    Ditto what CanyonMan said. Don't even consider the 9mm or .40. The .357 should be the minimum caliber you consider. A step up would be advisable IMO, to either a .41 mag, .44 mag, .45 Colt (with Corbon, Buffalo Bore, or PMC +P hunting loads), or even a 10MM with a suitable bullet.

    I'm not familiar with the laws in MI, so a check on what's a legal handgun for deer there is a good idea. Here in WI, the 9mm & .40SW would be legal calibers, but finding a legal gun to fire them might be more difficult. A legal-for-deer-hunting handgun here must have a barrel at least 5-1/2" long. The measurement is taken from the firing pin to the muzzle (cylinders of revolvers ARE included in this measurement, so a revolver's actual barrel can be as short as 4"). MI likely has a similar requirement that may rule out your 9mm & .40.

    As others have said, you need to keep your shot distance within your abilities. A lot of practice is an ethical responsibility on your part, before you go afield.

    I've been using a handgun for about 10 years. I carry it and a .308 carbine both to my stand, and if I get a close-in shot I use my pistol... if a nice buck shows up at a range that's "iffy" for a handgun, I use the rifle. So far I've got 8 deer with a handgun (and about 5 with the rifle while also carrying a handgun). Three were taken with a Dan Wesson .44mag, and five with a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt. The DW has a 10" barrel and a 2-6X32 Bushnell Trophy scope. The Ruger's got a 7-1/2" barrel and a 2X Leupold. I keep my shots under 75yds with the DW, and 50yds with the Ruger.

    All the deer I've taken with a handgun were one-shot affairs... 7 of the 8 dropped where they stood. Only one ran at all... it was a small buck that was moving when I shot. I shot "off-hand" from the ground, and I hit it too far back (in the liver) with the .44, at about 30yds. It ran about 150 yds before it crashed. It was dead when I found it 20 mins later. That was my first deer with a pistol back in '95, and I learned from it... all since were standing still when I shot, and from a good rest. I also used a 240gr hollowpoint on that first deer. After that, I moved up to 300gr hard cast flatnose bullets in both guns. This bullet penetrates completely through the deer, regardless of shot angle, and they fall like someone flipped a switch to "lights-out". :)
  9. vaulter


    May 3, 2000
    North Idaho
    I hunt from a tree stand and had the proverbial monster buck sneak up on my tree stand and stop 30 feet away over my right shoulder. He was spooked he must have caught a faint whiff so he was staying in place and dancing. I couldn't turn and shoot since I'm right handed and just wasn't possible to manuever the rifle and myself enough to get the shot. So I sat for a while and when I saw him start to slowly creep backwards I knew I was sunk so I tried to switch my rifle for a left handed shot as soon as that long muzzle started swinging around he caught movement and was gone.

    I decided that would never happen to me again so I bought a ruger super black hawk 44mag bisley hunter with the intent to scope it and use it as my primary treestand gun. I loved the look, feel, and the way it shot.....but I couldn't get past the three LOUD clicks as you thumbed back the hammer. I tried everything holding the trigger depressed until the hammer was back ...etc but could not remove the cocking clicks.

    Putting myslef in the same situation as the year before the blackhawk would have been able to be lined up for the shot easily but as soon as that first cocking click would have shown itself that buck still would have been gone.

    So I bought a g32 357 its light enough to pack in a crossdraw as a backup to my rifle no annoying click to give me away befor the shot and if I have the ol' king of the forest show himself again 30 feet behind my right shoulder I can drop a 147 grain hornady xtp into his noggin or into the boiler room and am confident it will do the trick.

    So what are the chances that I will run into that same chance again...if I have the g32 with me about a million to 1. If I don't pack the pistol then it will probably happen on opening day :).
  10. delete.. wrong post
  11. Hunterjbb


    Feb 7, 2003
    Midlothian Va.
    i'd go with the .357 if no other choice, practice.. I personally think .357 is marginal for deer, but if your good, shot placement can get the job done, deer don't have the thickest of skin but i'd still use a slower expanding bullet, not a hollow point.

    If you could step up to the .41 or .45 colt or .44 for that matter all of those will be very adequate for deer..

    I watched my best friend shoot a wild hog(about 275lbs) on Saturday at about 50 yds with a .41.. penetrated through to the opposite rib cage.. did a great job.

    With my .41 i won't shoot at anything past 50 yds, and preferably closer if i can get it.. not that the gun can't get the job done i just don't practice enough to make a good shot past those distances. And i always try to shoot off a rest. Heck get a cheap set of shooting sticks.. work great.

    good luck.
  12. I often bear hunt with a pistol.....depending on my mood. I have several to chose from:

    6" Colt Python 357 Mag
    5" SW 629 VComp 44 mag
    FA 454 Casl.
    Glock 20 in 10mm Auto.

    All the loads I use th)e Sierra FPJ bullets in them. The 357 (180FPJ), 44mag (250FPJ) and the 10mm (190FPJ). The 454 I use the 300 grain Speer Gold Dot.

    I have also used the LBT 180 FNGC Cast Bullet in the 357 mag with excellent results on bear. I also have alot of friends use the Speer 170 grain Gold Dot Factory load in their 357 mag with good results.