What is your sidearm of choice while hunting and why?
I’m not a hunter but I would think the answer to this question depends a lot on what you are hunting and what other hazards you are likely to encounter. If it is for protection against people, your EDC would probably work. If you are likely to run into a bear, something a little more stout might be in order.
Well I am a hunter down in Texas and I normally carry a .45 I hear stories of mountain lions and bears but havent run into any yet but I have many across plenty Bobcats and snakes
I have several depending on the circumstances. I’ve had a good bit of success with my XDM Competition models in both .40 and .45.
My first purpose built so to speak hunting handgun was an 8.5" Taurus Tracker in .44 mag, used it for my first three deer and at least a dozen hogs, it was my first true “hunting handgun”.
Today primarily I carry the handguns as backup during other hunts and for bear defense/people defense when backpacking/fishing/camping.
My current dedicated hunting hangun is a 6.5" Taurus Tracker in .44Rm and I also have the five shot 4" models in .41, .44, and .45colt. I’ve done quite well with all of them out to 75 yards and considerably farther with the longer barreled models.
When you get beyond about 7" they do get pretty unwieldy and difficult to carry comfortably.
I hunt in an area that goes from 400 yards to 4 yards so I generally have a rifle with optics and a 41. Magnum Ruger Blackhawk with a 1X scope on top or my EDC 1911 Officer’s. Some day when I retire AGAIN I want a Grand Slam. Four deer in one season, Bow, Black Powder, Rifle & Pistol. That said we have always had a feral dog issue (singles) but we are now seeing coyote’s (packs) so I may have to up my game to something else. That XD 45 with 13+1 may be the hot ticket.
I’ve thought about trying to hunt with a handgun but I carry as a back up
A grand slam would be amazing my run ins with hogs are several at once but they normally run off but I havent had any real issues with coyotes but I’m always watching out for them
Quail hunting in my part of the world gets pretty exciting from time to time.
Nothing like walking up on pointing dogs and finding yourself in the middle of a herd of sleeping hogs and having all hell break loose.
We also frequently find ourselves with coyotes, coons, bobcats, skunks in the mix.
I started actually hunting with the long barreled .44Rm just for an additional challenge and to see how truly effective handguns were on deer and hogs.
You’d better have good handgun skills, tracking skills, and/or good dogs because most of them are going to run and run quite a bit.
Even our largest handgun calibers lack the energy of typical rifle rounds and shotguns so clean, quick kills are few and far between.
@WildRose my experience with handguns on deer are similar to what you speak of. Two rounds center mass on a deer will net you a LOOOOONNNNGGGGG walk and drag. Humans give up much more quickly, or so I have been told.
Hogs are ten times as tough if not more. I’ve seen a 350-400lbs boar run more than half a mile with 5 solid hits to the chest from .40, .44m and .45acp +P’s.
The best hunting round I ever found was the Winchester Dual Bond but they quit making them a couple of decades back.
I still have a few boxes in both .41 and .44Rm and I use them extremely sparingly.
I’ve only hunted hogs twice. Once in Hawaii and that was with spears,knives and dogs, not my idea of a good time but when in Rome… The other time was in GA and we were using NVG’s Thermal and suppressors on precision rifles. It was a “cull” so not a “hunt”. The process did not sit well with me but after seeing the damage a herd of feral hogs can do in one night I get the reason why. Just not my thing Yeah big hogs can take a lot of damage and keep on kicking. The guys I was with were all Tier 1 shooters and doing CNS shots as best as we could. Still an ugly night.
Dual Bond, that’s a name I haven’t heard in some time. Hell that was pre “Black Talon” which I still have some of. IIRC Remington used to make a “Bronze tipped” round that might have worked well as I understand it the engineers at Nosler modeled the “ballistic tip” rounds on the performance concept.
FWIW the Winchester BST (Ballistic Silver Tip) is one of the most brutally effective bullets I have run across for most anything except the heaviest boned critters, it offers a much thicker jacket than the standard Nosler Ballistic Tip which ha a tendency to explode if driven too fast. For the big nasties I’ll take an over weight Berger match bullet any day.
Sorry got off on to rifles where my heart lies
The BT’s are essentially thin skinned flying bombs. They work well on thin skinned easy to kill game but are nothing but problems on tougher animals.
I’ve been shooting more solid copper alloys than anything else since 2015 and continue to be impressed with their performance.
Peregrine bullets are made in South Africa and outperform anything I’ve ever shot in a rifle.
My current hunting sidearm, is a Ruger GP100 in .357 mag, with a 6 inch barrel. With Underwood 180 grain hardcast ammo. Do your job, inside 80 yards, and the it will drop an Illinois whitetail where it stands, or at least a short walk. The gun is accurate well past 100 yards, but, I don’t feel that would be an “ethical” kill as the .357 starts to run out of steam, for this intended purpose. The gun itself, is easy enough to conceal in hunting apparel, all day long. Now, I e been eyeballing a 460 Smith and Wesson, but that would replace my shotgun as primary hunting gun. Can’t use a rifle in Illinois for deer.
Yeah luckily here in Texas we can use a rifle which is why I went out and got a new bolt action 6.5 creedmoor but bow season is about to start in a little less than 2 weeks
For handgun hunting a Superblackhawk .44 Mag with 7.5 barrel and magna porting for bigger things, or a Buckmark 5.5 barrel .22 target pistol for squirrels or bunnies. A 938 .22 is with when I’m hunting with rifle or shotgun.
I am just now seeing this thread. Wisconsin legalized deer hunting with a handgun in 1985 (the same year I separated from the Army).
My first ever handgun purchase was the same year for deer hunting. It was a used S&W .357 mag on the heavy .44 mag frame with a 6 inch barrel and open sites.
I have dropped deer with it at + 70 yards (I was much younger then). The deer was not moving and I had a good tree branch to use as a rest.