HGR 013 - Hunting With Handguns

HGR 013 - Hunting With Handguns

This week Ryan discusses the handguns and cartridges that can be used for hunting.

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Week In Review:

  • Got a chance to get some trigger time in with several firearms this weekend.  Got to shoot an MP5-SD 9mm, Ruger SR-22 .22 LR with Suppressor, Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum, Sig-Sauer 516, Sig-Sauer 556, Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm and a few others.  I have posted some videos of my shooting session this weekend and you can view them on my YouTube page.
  • I recently got a new microphone, so you may notice a difference in sound quality. Hopefully this microphone will make the speech a bit clearer for listeners.
  • If you haven’t yet done so, listen to last Thursday’s episode of the Gun Guy Radio Roundtable where Jake, Mike and the new addition to the FRN, Nikki Turpeaux discuss the upcoming Firearms Insider debuting on the 15th of October.  Many of your questions will be answered by watching or listening to the podcast. It is going to be really exciting to have the Firearms Insider Community as a part of FRN and I am really excited to be a small part of it.  Kudos to Jake and everyone else for their hard work in getting it up and running.
  • The Listener FAQ’s episode is coming right up! Be sure to get in any last minute FAQ’s to me via email! I’ve already gotten so many GREAT questions from listeners and I can’t thank you all enough!

Half-Truth Segment:

  • Back from an extended hiatus, the half-truth segment for this week involves the shooting at the U.S. Capitol this past week.
  • I have heard many talk show hosts, commentators, etc. discussing what THEY think the response by Capitol and D.C. Police should have been.  Their ideas have included shooting the tires out, ramming her with their cars to stop her, and using spike strips.
  • While their ideas have some validity in Hollywood, in real life you will RARELY, if ever see a police officer shooting out someones tires in car chase. First, if you puncture a tire at high speed, the risk of an accident is tremendous. You put other innocent lives at risk with such a maneuver.
  • Secondly, hitting small-ish objects from a moving vehicle with a handgun is not an easy task.  As we have seen demonstrated, many departments are not offering their officers the firearms training they need and typically rely on two qualifications sessions a year. The officer may not be as trained as he should and firing a weapon in a crowded area has the potential to injure others rather than the suspect.
  • The half-truth is, that the cops had another choice. These people will say they fully support the police, right up until they stop. Then they criticize.  I have but one point to make: these commentators were not the ones staring down a woman who had already shown herself to be a threat.  Whether or not she had a firearm is irrelevant.  She had already rammed a barricade. Okay, fine. But THEN she proceeded to hit two officers, and then ram her car into another police vehicle, injuring two more officers.  Lest we forget, the vehicle is a potent weapon. She was just as much of a threat as if she had stared down the officers with a loaded firearm.  She chose to initiate this series of events, not the police. Others have suggested the police shouldn’t have fired, as there was a child in the car.  My response is, how in the WORLD would the police have known there was a child in the car.  The police were just as much in the dark as the public was when the news first broke.  They made life and death decisions and they judged the threat presented to them.

Main Topic: Hunting With Handguns

This week, we will be discussing the handguns and cartridges that can be used to handgun hunt.  In order to have some organization, I have divided the categories into what size game you will be hunting, then discussing a few cartridges and guns from each category.

Category #1: Small to Smaller Medium Game:

(Ex: Rabbits, Squirrels, Fox, Coyote.)

  • In this category, the .22 LR and .22 Magnum will be the most often seen cartridges (Perhaps with the exception of coyotes.) There are other rounds, but we are talking small game hunting with a handgun and .22 LR is most prevalent.
  • The Ruger Mark Series of .22 LR handguns are very well suited to small game hunting, offering the versatility of mounting a scope or other attachment.
  • There is some difficulty with disassembly on the Mark Series of handguns, so take that into account if you are a person who does not like cleaning firearms.
  • Another attractive option is the Ruger SR-22 Pistol in .22 LR.  The Ruger SR-22 is a compact, yet accurate and reliable pistol that would be suitable for short to medium range small game hunting. The SR-22 also uses some polymer in its construction, resulting in some significant weight savings.
  • Another great small game option is the Smith & Wesson M&P .22. I have had quite a bit of experience with the M&P .22 and I believe S&W has hit a home run with this pistol.  It offers the controllability and ergonomics of the larger pistols but fires the .22 LR cartridge, making it VERY accurate and also offers provisions to mount a suppressor.
  • If you are more into revolvers, Ruger offers their SP-101 Double Action revolver in .22 LR.  I haven’t had any experience with it, but as with all Ruger products, they are typically top notch.
  • If you are more interested in the single-action variety of revolvers, Ruger offers the classic Single-Six revolver, along with their new Single-Ten revolver, holding 10 shots of .22 LR.
  • If you are pursuing small to medium game such as coyotes, then the Ruger Single-Nine may be more appropriate.  Chambered in .22 Magnum, it offers all the advantages of the Ruger Single-Action revolvers in an appropriately sized caliber.  .22 Magnum ammunition has made great strides in the past several years and has greatly improved performance.
  • Taurus also offers many great firearms in the .22 Magnum/.22 LR variety, most notably the recent introduction of the double-action Taurus Tracker in .22 LR and .22 Magnum with interchangeable cylinders.

Medium to Large Game:

(Ex. Deer, Elk)

  • With game such as Deer or smaller Elk, you want to stick with centerfire calibers of an appropriate size.  
  • In my opinion, for deer, nothing smaller than a .357 Magnum, and for Elk, nothing smaller than a .44 Magnum.  
  • In terms of auto pistol cartridges, the .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, and .45 ACP can be formidable handgun hunting cartridges, provided they are loaded properly. (i.e. with the proper bullet.)
  • From Smith & Wesson, the Model 627 in .357 Magnum would be an attractive choice for hunting where you may not be as concerned about scope mounting.  If you want to step up to the .44 Magnum, one of my top choices from the S&W lineup would be the Model 629 Stealth Hunter. It offers provisions for scope mounting.
  • Ruger also makes many great .357 Magnum & .44 Magnum revolvers, along with Taurus USA.  Be sure to check those out as well.
  • With auto pistols, I would go with a Glock 20 in 10mm Auto.  Mated with a long slide kit from Lone Wolf Distributors, it would be an attractive option for handgun hunting.  The 10mm Auto offers plenty of power for deer and smaller elk.

Dangerous Game:

(Ex. Bears)

  • I am aware that there are smaller varieties of bears, that may not require huge amounts of stopping power.  However, if I was personally dealing with bears, I would want a bit more power than I need just to be sure.
  • With larger dangerous game such as bears, penetration is the key, and expansion of the bullet is secondary.  Bears have large bones and large fat deposits that need to be broken through before the vital organs are reached. Emptying a bunch of hollowpoints that expand and stop in the bears fatty tissue will probably not deliver the quick stop you desire.
  • As discussed before, the 10mm Auto would be an attractive option for bears, especially with the long slide and barrel setup and some heavy, hard-cast bullets.
  • For me, I would pick something in the .454 Casull range.  A heavy loaded .44 Magnum might work well also.
  • In terms of .454 Casull revolvers, Freedom Arms offers some of the finest quality single action revolvers in all the major big bore revolver calibers: .500 Wyoming Express, .475 Linebaugh and others.
  • Ruger also offers their Super Redhawk in .480 Ruger and .454 Casull for those desiring a double action trigger system. Taurus also offers their family of Hunter revolvers in .454 Casull and .44 Magnum.
  • You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the .500 S&W Magnum or the .460.  The .500 may not be practical for all shooters, and the .480 and .454, while stout, may be easier controlled by a greater number of people.  The .460 is quite attractive though, and allows you the versatility of chambering not only the .460 S&W Magnum, but the .454 Casull and the .45 Colt (Long Colt).

If you’re looking for parts for your handgun or anything else to help make your handgun hunting excursion more enjoyable, Brownells helps make this show possible. The leading supplier of Firearm Accessories, Gun Parts and Gunsmithing Tools. Find it all at Brownells. Please visit handgunradio.com/brownells


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Thanks for listening and SAFE SHOOTING!!!!