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Best 9mm for White Tail

9200 Views 97 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  IAhunter
Before everyone jumps down my throat yes it is legal in Virginia. In Virginia the requirements are that it is greater than 23caliber and more than 350ftlbs of energy.

Secondly we are talking small deer < 100lbs. I have been practicing for this for a very long time. My maximum range will be 25yards as that is the farthest distance that I can consistently keep all my rounds within a 6" circle. I will be hunting with a shotgun but if the deer gets close enough and presents a perfect broad side shot then I do plan on taking the shot.

If a hollow point then it needs to penetrate farther than most hollow points as deer are tougher than we are. For that reason I've settled on the Hornady American Gunner 124gr +P. Based on the tests I've seen these tend to penetrate to around 18" of ballistics gel.

Another round could be the Underwood 115hr +P Extreme Penetrator. I'm not sure if these rounds are all hype but the thought behind this round is that it would break any bone that it comes into contact with and would allow for a clean pass through insuring more rapid blood loss.

Lastly I'm considering just going with a Standard 124gr NATO spec round. This round should also allow for a pass through and should also Yaw creating a more devastating wound channel than the Extreme Penetrator.

I've tested all 3 of these rounds and I'm the most accurate with the Hornady load and closely followed by the NATO spec load. The least accurate for me is the Underwood but even it keeps all shots within the required 6" circle at 25 yards.

PS. Based on everything I can find there is no requirement to have an expanding round for hunting in VA like there is in some states.

Thanks in advance.
~Quigley

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Before everyone jumps down my throat yes it is legal in Virginia. In Virginia the requirements are that it is greater than 23caliber and more than 350ftlbs of energy.

Secondly we are talking small deer < 100lbs. I have been practicing for this for a very long time. My maximum range will be 25yards as that is the farthest distance that I can consistently keep all my rounds within a 6" circle. I will be hunting with a shotgun but if the deer gets close enough and presents a perfect broad side shot then I do plan on taking the shot.

If a hollow point then it needs to penetrate farther than most hollow points as deer are tougher than we are. For that reason I've settled on the Hornady American Gunner 124gr +P. Based on the tests I've seen these tend to penetrate to around 18" of ballistics gel.

Another round could be the Underwood 115hr +P Extreme Penetrator. I'm not sure if these rounds are all hype but the thought behind this round is that it would break any bone that it comes into contact with and would allow for a clean pass through insuring more rapid blood loss.

Lastly I'm considering just going with a Standard 124gr NATO spec round. This round should also allow for a pass through and should also Yaw creating a more devastating wound channel than the Extreme Penetrator.

I've tested all 3 of these rounds and I'm the most accurate with the Hornady load and closely followed by the NATO spec load. The least accurate for me is the Underwood but even it keeps all shots within the required 6" circle at 25 yards.

PS. Based on everything I can find there is no requirement to have an expanding round for hunting in VA like there is in some states.

Thanks in advance.
~Quigley

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Not sure about 9mm, but handgun hunting is definitely an established, legitimate sport. I’ve hunted whitetail for years with a .357 magnum. As much as I like GT there a lot better places to get handgun hunting advice. Go to the forums section.

http://www.handgunhunt.com/index.php
 

· The wind serenades a purified man.
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I've shot my share of white tale deer, and I fail to understand why anyone would want to hunt deer that weigh 100 pounds or less. What are they, fawns? They can't have much of a rack. If I were you, I'd go to Alabama, just because it's reasonably close to you, and hunt real white tail. You'll get something with a decent rack, pretty to mount on your wall, and plenty of meat for your freezer. Save your 9mm for the hood rats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 ·
I've shot my share of white tale deer, and I fail to understand why anyone would want to hunt deer that weigh 100 pounds or less. What are they, fawns? They can't have much of a rack. If I were you, I'd go to Alabama, just because it's reasonably close to you, and hunt real white tail. You'll get something with a decent rack, pretty to mount on your wall, and plenty of meat for your freezer. Save your 9mm for the hood rats.
I seriously dont even know how to respond to this. Are you serious?

We are talking does for the freezer not racks for the wall. I've shot 4.5 year old does that only weighed 90lbs. They are meat and they destroy crops and they are overrun down here.

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I've shot my share of white tale deer, and I fail to understand why anyone would want to hunt deer that weigh 100 pounds or less. What are they, fawns? They can't have much of a rack. If I were you, I'd go to Alabama, just because it's reasonably close to you, and hunt real white tail. You'll get something with a decent rack, pretty to mount on your wall, and plenty of meat for your freezer. Save your 9mm for the hood rats.
I have never eaten a rack, some of us only
hunt for meat.
 

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I seriously dont even know how to respond to this. Are you serious?

We are talking does for the freezer not racks for the wall. I've shot 4.5 year old does that only weighed 90lbs. They are meat and they destroy crops and they are overrun down here.
Quigley, all I'm saying is, don't hunt deer with a sub-optimal caliber. Other than that, have at 'em and good hunting!
 

· The wind serenades a purified man.
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I have never eaten a rack, some of us only
hunt for meat.
I've been hunting deer all my life and I can tell you, it ain't cheap. As a matter of fact, if you're so hard up you've resorted to hunting and gathering for your subsistence, you should be on Welfare, not spending you're scarce dollars chasing deer. "Eat a rack"?!?! Hell, you'd do better eating road kill. All I'm saying is don't hunt deer with sub-optimal calibers.
 

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I've been hunting deer all my life and I can tell you, it ain't cheap. As a matter of fact, if you're so hard up you've resorted to hunting and gathering for your subsistence, you should be on Welfare, not spending you're scarce dollars chasing deer. "Eat a rack"?!?! Hell, you'd do better eating road kill. All I'm saying is don't hunt deer with sub-optimal calibers.
How much does it cost to shoot a deer
in your yard, we clean and processes our
own kills.

We should be on welfare, but we are not.
 

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I've been hunting deer all my life and I can tell you, it ain't cheap. As a matter of fact, if you're so hard up you've resorted to hunting and gathering for your subsistence, you should be on Welfare, not spending you're scarce dollars chasing deer. "Eat a rack"?!?! Hell, you'd do better eating road kill. All I'm saying is don't hunt deer with sub-optimal calibers.
For the record, if I was worth millions,
would still hunt for meat.
 

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I've been hunting deer all my life and I can tell you, it ain't cheap. As a matter of fact, if you're so hard up you've resorted to hunting and gathering for your subsistence, you should be on Welfare, not spending you're scarce dollars chasing deer.
.
What a strange thing to say. Hunting can be very expensive or very cheap. I've spent thousands hunting private ranches out west and around 25 dollars hunting a few miles from home in the upper Midwest.

But that's not the point. It's about harvesting your own high quality, healthy, low cholesterol meat. Carrying on a tradition and a way of life.

As far as caliber. I taken and witnessed a lot of deer and black bear taken with .357 magnum and up handgun rounds. Not sure about 9mm. But IME, not all, but most lost game is due to poor shot placement, shooting at running game and taking shots to far for your skill and equipment.
 

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I dont see that an arrow is any more lethal than a 9mm XTP round placed in the same location on a <100pound deer. The wound channels will be about the same size and both will pass through provided they dont hit a shoulder. On top of that I know several dozen die hard bow hunters and dont know of a one that is any more accurate with their bow than I am with my pistol. I can consistently keep all rounds within 4" with the Hornady XTP rounds (these are the rounds that are the most accurate for me) and often times I'm shooting less than 3". I dont personally know any bow hunters that can do any better and no one is calling them inhumane.

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An arrow and a pistol bullet inflict very different wounds. A broadhead cuts a very large wound channel the entire way through a chest cavity--more often than not completely passing through the animal. The broadhead might have a 1-1.25" width but it will produce a wound that is 2-3 inches wide because its slower velocity and heavier mass (arrows might weigh 500-700 grains and run between 250-300 fps depending) )tends to pull and stretch tissue with it along its path.

Handgun bullets act like punch presses and basically punch holes in flesh. Most handgun bullets--yes including hollow points-do not produce anywhere near the damage a well placed broadhead i capable of.... Rifle bullets from a high power rifle act very differently than handgun bullets btw. I've shot more than a few deer with handguns and even in the larger calibers like .44 mag or .480 using expanding bullets (though I prefer a hardcast Keith or LBT bulet for deer when using a handgun) a they simply don't create massive wound channels like an arrow or a high power rifle for that matter. They basically punch holes..

I'd take getting shot by a handgun bullet over a broadhead arrow any day of the week..

In short the wound characteristics are completely different...and in general terms a broadhead is a far more effective/humane killing tool than a 9mm handgun provided the archer knows his tool. I've killed a lot of deer with a bow....
 

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Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Why don't you try jumping out of a tree and stabbing it with a stick.
Alabama allows spear hunting. A guy who used to work for me does it. I don't think it's a good idea, but it's a legal way to put meat in the freezer.

I don't hunt with a bow. I used to hunt with a .357 Mag, but I never took a shot on a deer.

I deer hunt with a 270WSM now. I used to hunt with a .308, a 7.62x39 before that, and a .243 before that. With my rifle, I can drive nails and know without doubt exactly how far I can make a clean shot that should end the deer's suffering right away.

I did shoot a young doe several years ago with my .308 that made me question my methods. I hit her quartering away, and shot placement was next to perfect. The bullet hit a rib going in and fractured. Took out both lungs and very nearly removed the front shoulder on the other side, leaving a fist-sized exit wound. She was dead the second she was hit, but deer are deer, and she ran nearly 100 yards with shredded lungs and and three legs. My shot placement was great. The caliber and range was well within acceptable limits. I used a round that was soft-tipped and had proven to be a reliable, expanding round for years. The jacket separated and the slug turned into multiple shards and I still felt bad about the deer suffering and never hunted with that round again.

Back to the OP's question: if you are set on doing this, I'd look for something that has lots of penetration and not a ton of expansion. If you are so unfortunate as to hit a rib bone on the entrance, you'll likely have an animal that bleeds to death after several hours of agony.

If you must hunt with a handgun, consider something with a bit more oomph than 9x19. For a revolver, a .357 Mag or 44 Mag might be a good choice. If you just want to stick with a Glock, consider a 10mm or even a 9x25 Dillon conversion.

Just because you can kill a deer with a 9mm doesn't mean you will always prevent suffering and make a clean kill. I have an employee who claims he made a clean kill with a G26 at a very short range. I don't doubt him, but I do doubt the ability to guarantee a humane kill under most scenarios with 9mm.
 

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I had no idea the disdain for the 9mm in hunting - don't get me wrong, I don't like it for any purpose other than competition, but I find the hatred ironic when the caliber forum here is riddled with threads about how equivalent (sometimes even better) the 9mm is to the 40SW, 45ACP, and even to some degree the 357sig and magnum. And those threads are about the 9mm's use in two legged vermin which typically weigh 160lbs or more and can be pumped up on any drug you can think of. A deer at less than 100lbs is on par with a big dog, less than a typical mountain lion too. But 9mm would be more than fine for those - even in a defensive situation where an immediate threat stop is required. I'm not advocating unethical shot placements, or hunting without the skill to make the shot, but I have a hard time believing a 9mm within its constraints won't do the job on a 100lb deer. (A small deer like that isn't my choice, but everyone situations vary.) I shot a buck last year with a 10mm using Double Tap's 200gr. Nosler JHP at about 35 yards. The bullet caught part of the heart and lungs and came out the far side on a slightly quartering away shot. Deer trotted about 40 yards and died within a minute or so. I've been shooting deer since about 1985...taken dozens with various rifles, pistols, and bows. Last few years I used a 45-70 (along with the 10mm). This year I'm considering going back to a 223, as so much meat is wasted with the heavier calibers.
 

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If you wish to hunt Deer with a handgun, you really need to look at the magnums, .357, .41, .44, or the super revolvers .480 etc. The 10MM sounds like it might do, but I have no experience with it. Shot placement is vital with any gun. I have no disdain for 9MM's, some of my best friends are 9MM's. Just not for Whitetail. Gun Firearm Trigger Airsoft gun Air gun
Deer White Antler Atmospheric phenomenon Reindeer
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
My question remains. If you have better options why not use them? Reading your other posts. you said that the 357 mag revolver was out because it made too much noise cocking the hammer. that's a valid reason, but what's wrong with a rifle in 308?
So you're still ignoring the part where I said I'd be using a shotgun and only taking the shot with the 9mm if it was perfect?

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I did shoot a young doe several years ago with my .308 that made me question my methods. I hit her quartering away, and shot placement was next to perfect. The bullet hit a rib going in and fractured. Took out both lungs and very nearly removed the front shoulder on the other side, leaving a fist-sized exit wound. She was dead the second she was hit, but deer are deer, and she ran nearly 100 yards with shredded lungs and and three legs. My shot placement was great. The caliber and range was well within acceptable limits. I used a round that was soft-tipped and had proven to be a reliable, expanding round for years.
I had exactly the situation you described last year. Doe 75 yards away, solid shot with a 175gr Sierra Match King, 100 yards of tracking through briars and across a creek. Was dead when I got to her. I feel terrible if a deer suffers. In comparison, about half the deer I’ve shot broadside with a ballistic tip 7mm-08 were DRT, and the other half ran less than 30 yards. Hydrostatic shock is real.
 

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9mm has as much energy as a .45 and it will penetrate further. I also have a .45 but I'd take 9mm where penetration is needed. I also have a GP100 but I honestly shoot the 9mm a little more consistently.

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That’s just not true. I am not a 45 fan, but the very best 9mm loads compared to the very best 45 loads (for energy alone) makes the 45 win 592 ft lbs (Underwood 185g +p) to 501(underwood 115 +p+)

Saying a 9mm has AS MUCH energy as a 45 just isn’t honest. Will a 9mm penetrate more? Probably.

The bare minimum for me to shoot a deer would be a well loaded 357. I’ve done it multiple times. If auto loader hunting is your thing, get yourself a 6” 10mm and throw some 155 XTP Underwood’s about 1600 FPS (my chronograph all day long). That more than doubles the 9mm loads you’ve mentioned with no cocking noise like you’d get from a revolver.
 
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