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Bowhunter Handgun Question

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by dplev4, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. dplev4

    dplev4 Oregon Member

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    Not sure if this thread should be here or in handgun discussion, and this has probably been answered earlier, but I am somewhat new to site and was wondering what handgun brand and caliber people carry while bowhunting. I used to not carry at all, but with more four legged and some two legged critters willing to contest your kill I started carrying. Plus, went hog hunting and it was recommended to carry should you not make that perfect shot on a boar.

    Anyway, I carry a Taurus PT24/7 .45, which is a nice size, but I'm thinking maybe .357, .9mm or .40mm might be easier to shoot. I'm a good shot with my rifles (-nikon scope is a big help-) but a pretty poor pistol shot and I am practicing, just need some more time at the range. I have shot a .357 Ruger revolver with more accuracy, and thinking of a Vaquero, but its a little big.

    So any suggestions or advice would be welcome.
     
  2. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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    A .45ACP is a poor choice for game animals, if it has JHP loads in it.

    I was hunting with a friend and he had his rifle slung across his back, when he jumped a buck. He drew his Colt .45ACP loaded with Federal Hydra Shoks and shot the buck in the butt as it hopped away.

    I tracked the deer and put it down with a single shot from a .357 magnum, with a 140 grain SJHP that i handloaded. My shot went through both lungs and out the other side.

    The .45ACP Federal Hydra Shok penetrated about 2 1/2" into the muscle, while the round did cause a massive bruise, which ruined the whole hind quarter, it was an epic failure as far a penetration.

    A cast lead bullet might work much better in the .45ACP, but i have not done any testing with these loads to see for myself.

    When i bow hunted i carried a 6" .357 magnum with the 140 grain SJHP, which was a compromise load.
    This load had enough penetration to work on small to medium animals and enough expansion and power to work on a human, if needed.
    Although, this load would not have been a good choice, if i was worried about bears.

    A .357 magnum with a 158 grain SJFP loads, is what my dad and grandpa used to hunt black bears with dogs and they never had a problem with this load.
     
  3. civilian75

    civilian75 Hillsboro, OR Well-Known Member

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    I agree with what M67 said, and will add that I lean heavily towards a the latter 158gr SJFP load. Contrary to HD or in-city SD, over penetration is not a big concern in the woods wrt two legged critters. Besides, for larger four legged predator, you may be able to get one, maybe two good shots off your gun. Plus, of the calibers you mentions, 357 Mag is the only with enough energy to give you a fighting chance. Hence, you need to optimize for penetration.
     
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  4. Twodogs

    Twodogs portland Or Active Member

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    I carry a Glock 10MM in a guide holster my son and both my hunting buddy's carry the same gun.
     
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  5. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If you are hunting during Bow season in the State of Oregon you can't use a firearm to "finish off" an animal.

    ODFW Weapons Restrictions

    its best to read the whole hunting regs for your self before going.

    I also read that this year the hunting regs have changed for spotlighting.
     
  6. dplev4

    dplev4 Oregon Member

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    Mark W: wrote: "If you are hunting during Bow season in the State of Oregon you can't use a firearm to "finish off" an animal.

    ODFW Weapons Restrictions

    its best to read the whole hunting regs for your self before going..".

    Yes thanks. I am aware of firearms restrictions during archery season. I am not looking for a handgun to hunt with, but for protection from others, animal and human.

    I appreciate everyone's thoughts and welcome more input.
     
  7. BigBull 301

    BigBull 301 PDX almost Well-Known Member

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    Glock 10mm
     
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  8. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Wait a minute here.
    You are seriously comparing a shot in the most muscular part of a deer to a side shot through some thin ribs? Now that's funny right there.
    I do agree that a fat little 45ACP isn't my first choice,but to compare a butt shot to a side shot doesn't quite work.
    (BTW a side shot from a 45acp would probably put a blacktail down)

    I carry a 10mm when bow hunting and my next choice would be a 357.
    A Vaquero isn't too much different from a GP100 in size or weight,it just doesn't have adjustable sites. I would opt for the Blackhawk or if you want a double action then the GP 100.
     
  9. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Just got a guide holster at the beginning of hunting season for my G20,long slide:thumbup:
     
  10. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    This is the truth my friend. A few years back a member of this site and I took the carcass of a black tailed deer that had been killed on the road the night before and moved it away to a safe location. We then fired JHP .45 rounds into the body at 20 yards. We then removed the bullets from the deer. All but one could have been reloaded and fired again, the one had hit the shoulderblade and flattened slightly. I believe the .45 to not have the speed required to open the hollow points correctly, yes there are lighter alloy bullets that could be used but the hydrostatic shock capability of my favorite personal carry weapon left much to be desired and really opened my eyes.

    While what we did was probably illegal, it was done to check/verify my thought on the speed of the .45 and its ability to work the JHP that I had been carrying and depending on. I now carry my Smith and Wesson .357 magnum as a side arm when archery hunting. I'm in no way saying the .45 isn't a very capable cartridge, or that it isn't still my daily carry weapon, but that I feel better with a .357 on my backside as a weapon when dealing with critters that have sharp claws and teeth and eat meat.
     
  11. 2gr8dgs

    2gr8dgs oregon Active Member

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    I think a 4" SS 357 would be ideal. Single or double action. I would pass on the vaquero only because I would want an adjustable rear sight. My other choice would be & IS a glock 20 in 10mm.
     
  12. dplev4

    dplev4 Oregon Member

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    Definitely a consensus on 10mm and .357. I am personally more comfortable with a .357 having some experience with it, and also agree that rear sights are a plus, so I plan to go in that direction, and not with the Vaquero, at least for carrying while hunting. I guess my next visit is to the handgun classified. Thanks to all. I appreciate everyone's knowledge and advice.
     
  13. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Shot placement and bullet design are critical when using any handgun. A butt shot with 500 magnum is still a butt shot. Many hollow points designed for personal defense may not have enough penetration to put down 4 legged beasts. A hard cast lead or flat nosed fmj is a far better choice for many handgun calibers. Buffalo Bore sells heavy "woods" loads in many calibers.
     
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  14. bartman315

    bartman315 Sandy, Oregon Member

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    4" .357 in stainless would be a fine choice plus it gives you the ability to shoot economical .38 ammo for some fun target practice...

    Good luck!
     
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  15. Swampr

    Swampr Camas Member

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    During bow season and whenever I'm hiking I pack a Taurus ultra-lite 44mag, I started packing it just in case.
     
  16. M67

    M67 NW Oregon Active Member

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    I admit, had he hit the deer in the neck as he had intended, it would have probably knocked down the deer, due to the shock to the spinal column, if he got a solid hit.

    Had he hit the deer in the side with the same load, i am 100% sure it would not have been as effective as my .357 magnum load, which has much more penetration.

    That .45ACP Federal Hydra Shok, would still have to have gone through the hide, rib bone and into the vitals and caused enough blood loss to stop the deer in a quick and efficient manner.

    In order to be lethal, you need penetration, not just the classic mushroom shaped bullet i recovered 2 1/2" under the hide, from the deers butt.

    The OP asked a question and i gave an honest answer.
    Against a bear, the .357 magnum with a 158 grain SJFP is a far superior, to any .45ACP JHP round on the market.

    Your 10mm is better than a .45ACP for sure against bears, if you have bullets in it for designed for maximum penetration vs those made for expansion.

    Bears can be tough to stop, especially when they are filled with adrenaline.

    After hearing some of the stories grandpa and dad told of close calls they had while hunting the bears with the dogs, i would have been packing a 12 gauge filled with slugs.
     
  17. jcw

    jcw Washington Member

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    My personal carry in the woods is a 4" Ruger security Six. I shoot a hard cast gas checked 180 gr. flat point from Beartooth bullets over H-110.
     
  18. wcarroll19

    wcarroll19 springfield New Member

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    I carry a 357 mag while archery hunting, never had to use it & never get tired of carrying it around.
     
  19. BullsBucksandBoars

    BullsBucksandBoars The right place at the right time, OR Active Member

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    I carried a legit backup weapon when I first started bow hunting but have backed off in recent years.

    I used to carry a ruger GP 100 .357. One day I came across a forky buck while bow hunting (and IT WAS legal to shoot a buck with a gun with the tag and season dates I was within) and popped him square in the shoulder. Long story short, I followed him up found him (i dodnt know that he was not not dead yet) and went to dress him out. I ended up in a hand to horn fight to the death with him and rode him for 15yds before I killed him with my knife.

    After I cleaned my underwear out and started skinning him I found that the only lethal penetration I got from the gun was from a few bone fragments into one lung. The Federal Home Defense load I had completely disintegrated on impact.

    As I said, long story short, I would not suggest using a pistol for hunting unless you had some very well constructed bullets with A LOT of powder behind them.

    I carry a pistol on me every time I leave the house but have NO desire to ever hunt with one ever again.
     
  20. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    "Hunting" IS NOT what they had in mind when they came up with alloy HD rounds, their designed to do just what it did and not pass through the person, deer in this case, and then through walls as you found out the hard way. That would have been one hell of a fight! Been there my own damn self with one that I freed from a fence so I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you:thumbup: