Deer pistol cal. ???

Help Support Ruger Forum:

3leggeddog

Single-Sixer
Joined
Aug 3, 2009
Messages
267
What cal. will work for deer at close range -25 yards or under? Will a 40.auto work or does my son need a magnum, 357 or a 44?
Thanks for input!
 

BlkHawk73

Hunter
Joined
Dec 30, 1999
Messages
4,389
.357 will suffice as will the .41, .44 and .45LC. The .40 could to with the proper load and with proper shot placement. None will be a good choice if one can't shoot the gun efficiently.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
20,993
The 40 S&W isn't a very good choice for a deer caliber.
I would suggest at least a 357 magnum. And I would also suggest on a lot of practice, practice, practice. Then add the knowledge of a deer's anatomy so a properly placed shot can be made.
I know,, I hunt almost exclusivily with a handgun. I've taken well over 75 whitetails with a handgun!!!!!!!
 

wwb

Hunter
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
2,786
Lots of opinions out there, so I'll add mine to the pile.....

The .357 is the minimum; you have to pretty much treat your shots as if you were a bowhunter. The .41 Mag gives you quite a bit more cushion in terms of range and shot placement. The .44 Mag is very forgiving in terms of shot placement, and it has the power to do the job as far out there as you're comfortable shooting. The .44 is my hands-down choice.

Going beyond the .44 and getting into stuff like the .454, .475, or .480 doesn't buy you any more range, as the .44 Mag will do it as far out as you can shoot. They do pack a bit more punch, which could make a difference in a poorly placed shot, but the blast and recoil with those cannons gets old really fast.
 

speedsixman

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
261
Check your state laws to see if there are restrictions on handguns for deer hunting.
In Ohio, they must have a barrel length of at least 5 inches, and use "straight wall" cartridges of .357 or larger.
Michigan may have a different requirement, or maybe none.

Myron
 

buckeyeshooter

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 8, 2004
Messages
681
I use a 44 mag. with 240 grain xtp's. I killed one with a 357 at 20 yards but the 44 makes me comfortable to 50 yards.
 

gregs45auto

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Messages
491
How much does the person shoot? Can he handle a revolver? I would go with a 41 mag. accurate and not as much recoil as 44. hth greg
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
In Wyoming the Law states the Handgun must shoot a "commercially loaded cartridge" that produces 500 ft.-lbs. of energy at 100 yards. Sub .40 cal. revolver cartridges, except the .357 Max. just don't usually cut the mustard.

So, check your local laws and please choose a cartridge that's proper for the job.

JMHO,

flatgate
 

Aeroscout9

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
219
So long as you are shooting at bow ranges, I can't see how a properly constructed .40 S&W bullet wouldn't kill a deer, with proper shot placement. I would double check the law. But, if your boy wanted to kill a deer with his favorite carry gun, I think that's a pretty cool thing. I'm pretty sure that a .40 would be just as lethal at 0-25 yards as someone with a bow shooting arrows at 280 FPS. Ya there are other variables in there. Given the same shot at the same range into the same part of a deer though, I think the .40 would kill, just like a bow. My .02.

Joe
 

Knuckles

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
1,214
I went hunting with my first hand gun that I purchased, it was an XD-40 (legal in MI.) .

I dispatched a deer with it but the first shot gun blast did most of the damage.

The problem with that idea was I had to pass on a monster-buck that was out of range... probably about 40-60 yards, I was regretting using that thing that opening morning, but still got a small-fry later that evening as a booby-prize. :roll:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I wanted to add that if you're gonna use a semi-auto in .40S&W... go with a heavy grain "+p" if your gun will handle it.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Messages
5,075
My own experience is with the 44 Mag. Years ago, the mid-80's, I guess, I was hunting with an Interarms Virginia Dragoon. I had it loaded with Hornady factory 240 gr JSP's. I shot a small buck with it and their was zero expansion, but total penetration. It took 2 hour of tracking to find that deer. I since have learned to use 200gr JHP's. With the increased velocity, there is more reliable expansion. Still, I limit my range to under 50 yds. I know my limitations, and would never feel comfortable with less than the 44 Mag, with loads that ensure a humane and reliable kill. But, you have to do your part. Practice, practice.......JMHO. This is from MY experience. Others, I'm sure have their own views.

Dave
 

coloradofarmboy

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Messages
48
3leggeddog":t5n97j87 said:
What cal. will work for deer at close range -25 yards or under? Will a 40.auto work or does my son need a magnum, 357 or a 44?
Thanks for input!

If you google search on the 357, you will find that there has been many a deer taken with it. However, check the laws in your state. Colorado stipulates that the handgun must generate 550 ft/lbs of energy at 50 yards. As far as I know, in the 357 about the only factory ammo that could do this is Buffalo Bore brand ammo. (you could hand load something similar as well) I don't know much about the 40 Auto, so I can't help you there.

Ethically, I am a very conservative hunter due to the years of hunting with a bow, so I'd only take a shot with a 357 if I was certain of a clean kill. However, that said, I decided in the end it wasn't worth the trouble and am taking my 45 Colt Blackhawk with me with some very stout loads which will more than meet our state requirement. :)
 

pisgah

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,633
I have cleanly killed deer with a 2" S&W Model 10 and 158 gr. lead HP +P load. I'm sure the .40 will work at short range. Shot placement is not just the most important thing -- IT IS THE ONLY THING.
 

Tommy Kelly

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 24, 2008
Messages
1,045
My suggestion would be to get the biggest pistol you can handle and shoot well. Reason being a couple of years ago my son killed a deer with his 44 mag. He shoots really good and placed the shot in a perfect killing place on the deer. His deer ran 50 yds. after the shot also he put another round into the deer as it passed under the stand. and it still ran another 25 yds. He & I both have a nice collection of handguns so I was picking at him and told him I wouldn't have that problem with the deer running off. Two weeks later I went to the same stand with my 500 S&W and at almost dark a deer came out within a few feet of where he shot his I shot the deer with the 500 I placed a 350 gr bullet in a perfect placed shot just behind the shoulder it went through and destroyed the other shoulder the bullet performance was picture perfect. My deer ran 50 yds before dying. The deer ran directly under my stand and was stumbling but running pretty good. The 500 energy is triple that of the 44 mag at the muzzle at 100 yds I was expecting the deer to fall over dead at the shot. It didn't happen. Both deer were shot at around 50 yds and ran close to the same distance before dying. Mine was a 1 shot deer his was a 2 shot deer. Deer dont move when I shoot them with a rifle. I was not impressed with the handgun deer hunting. This was 2 deer by 2 different shooters from the same stand with almost identical results using 2 different recommended cal's both with well placed shots. The pistol just doesnt kill them like I was expecting yes both deer died and were recovered but I am used to killing my deer where they stand instead of seeing them run after the shot. If I had shot my deer in the shoulder and hit heavy bone maybe it would have fell where it stood I don't know but I wasn't really impressed with the first handgun deer.
 

Sonnytoo

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 4, 2007
Messages
631
Since you like semi's, you could use the 10mm cartridge quite effectively (in a Glock or whatever); it is similar to the .41 Mag.
Sonnytoo
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
pisgah":2a6a2fb2 said:
I have cleanly killed deer with a 2" S&W Model 10 and 158 gr. lead HP +P load. I'm sure the .40 will work at short range. Shot placement is not just the most important thing -- IT IS THE ONLY THING.

I agree, Montana has no limitations on caliber and many Indians (who can hunt year round on the reservations) use .22LR, .22 WMR, or .17 HMR and harvest a lot of deer cleanly. I might use my .22LR on a doe this year.


I read Tommy Kelly's post and I would not call that a good shot, I never shoot anything in the shoulder, I do not want to lose any meat and I don't mind tracking a deer a few yards (I've never had to more than 50 yards.

If you want no tracking a reliable instant kill, you need to make a CNS shot in the upper neck, head, or spine.
 

Revolver-Time

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
216
I have killed a few deer with my pistols. I can tell you this for a fact, I loaded down my 44 Superblackhawk and begain dropping West Va. mountain deer where they stood. When I used 240gr factory loads the bullets would go all the way thru and the deer would typically run a bit. When I loaded the 44 with 240 gr cast bullets down around 600fps, the bullets would shed all the energy in the deer and they normally dropped or took a couple of steps and dropped. If a deer does not know you are there they don't take much to kill em. I say use a big slow bullet, put that bullet in the boiler room and the venison is yours.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
20,993
I tend to agree with Revolver-Time. I hunt almost exclusivily with a handgun. I have taken 88 whitetails with my T/C Contender. (If my memory is correct.) All but one were one shot, drop in the tracks kills. It's shot placement with the right kind of bullet & caliber. I see folks use 7mm mags, 300 mags etc & shoot & lose deer, or track them for hundreds of yards.
Now, I used a neck shot on all my T/C deer except one. The one I chest shot (on purpose,) only went about 20-30 ft.
It's a proven fact that a good hard cast lead SWC bullet at moderate velocities will drop almost any NA big game animal when it's placed in the heart/lung area.
 

pisgah

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,633
My self-imposed ironsighted handgun range limit is 50 yards on deer, and i very rarely take a shot over 25. I have found my "standard" .45 Colt load to br just about ideal -- 255 gr. SWC right at 900 fps. Easy-shooting and very accurate in my revover. I eon't say that no deer runs at the shot, but few make it beyond 25 yards, and most fall within a step or two.
 

VAdoublegunner

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Messages
459
Within 25 yards LOTS of handgun cartridges will work well, but some may work better depending on the age of your son and his handgun shooting proficiency.

If you don't need magnum power, blast and recoil, for no more end result effectiveness, then why have it? Certainly my first choice if I don't need magnum power for distance is a simple big bore like the 44 Special or 45 Colt. They are much easier to learn to shoot well without a lot of hand slap and blast.

A good 44Special load with a 240 gr LSWC at 900 fps will completely penetrate any eastern whitetail at that distance, or better. A 45 Colt loaded with a 282gr RCBS 45-270-SAA bullet is a tremendous penetrator at a leisurely 900fps and with its large meplat will really let the air out. Almost anyone can shoot that well in a decent handgun.

I can also vouch for the effectiveness of a 40S&W handloaded with a 175gr LSWC at 1000 fps. Why wouldn't that work at 25 - 30 yards? It will still penetrate an eastern whitetail completely, or far enough to ruin his day. Many 40S&W factory loads with JHPs may not penetrate sufficiently or cause a good wound channel, but a good LSWC certainly will.
 

Latest posts

Top