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Old January 31, 2012, 12:18 PM   #1
PA Hunter37
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First Time owner

Here it is...
I'm looking into getting a revolver that I can use for hunting.
I primarily want to have it for the challenge of deer but I also want something that will make a bear think twice.
I've read that a .357 Magnum or a .44 with about a 6.5" barrel are good general use handguns.
Up until now I've been strictly rifle. Anyone have any advice for a first time owner/shooter? DA or SA?
By the way, beginning to get arthritis in my hands so I want something that I'll be able to handle for some time before the recoil makes it too painful to shoot.
Help!
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Old January 31, 2012, 03:24 PM   #2
Ashlander
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44 Magnums can really hurt -- so the more weight the better (i.e., get the long barrel) and get rubber grips. I play piano and after shooting just a few shots with a 44 Mag with wood grips -- I cannot play octives with my right hand for the next day.
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Old January 31, 2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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If you plan on hunting, the minimum requirement here is .38 special and stronger. I suggest at least a .357 magnum. .44 mag and .45 colt are good choices too. If you want the biggest and baddest, consider a .500 S&W or .45-70. My dream revolver is a Magnum Research BFR .45-70. If you want a single action that is of high quality but not the price of a Colt? Consider a Ruger. They are great guns. And I love the way they load, there is none of pulling the hammer halfway back to load. Makes it simpler and faster to reload in my opinion. If you buy a used gun, I suggest looking for a New Model. There really isn't any advantage of the Super Blackhawk except for it's stronger and heavier. And there is no advantage to the 50th anniversary guns as far as quality is concerned. If you're wanting a .44 mag, I suggest a Super Blackhawk. You'll still feel it though. If you want a double action, I really don't have any experience with those other than the Taurus Judge guns.
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Old January 31, 2012, 05:06 PM   #4
357 Python
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Before you try to find a friend or two that have each caliber. That way you can try them before you buy them. You have plenty of time before deer season comes back in so there is no need to hurry up. The 357 would be a minimum choice for deer in my opinion and most folks can handle it fairly easily. The 44 is quite a bit more stout but still manageable. Team it up with a good lever action Marlin in the same caliber and you will have a good one-two punch combo.
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Old January 31, 2012, 07:00 PM   #5
Jeff45
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The double action Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 makes an excellent hunting revolver. Recoil on the magnums isn't too bad with the 53 oz. weight and Hogue Tamer grips. It is strong with the tripple locking cylinder and has the integral scope mounts. http://www.ruger.com/products/superR...eets/5501.html
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Old February 1, 2012, 02:55 AM   #6
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An entry-level handgun powerful enough to hunt deer is not an entry-level handgun, in my opinion.

You're looking at a .44 magnum Ruger Redhawk or Blackhawk, Smith 629.

But to me, a .44 magnum is a poor way to get into handgun shooting. They have a relatively steep learning curve to comfortably shoot when it comes to recoil and ammunition is harder to reload for than standard-pressure handgun rounds.

I'd consider starting with a nice .357 magnum with a six-inch barrel. It will definitely be effective against black bears. You can hunt deer, but it's certainly not an ideal caliber for the task.

Two cents. And have fun!
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Old February 1, 2012, 07:29 AM   #7
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I like a .44 Mag with Pachmayr grips and work my way up with Special loads. I find the Buffalo Bore hot loaded Special good for all but the largest animals. Arthritis is giving me grief also. For the hand loader, a 6.5" Blackhawk .41 mag is a good alternative.
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Old February 1, 2012, 03:09 PM   #8
Drummer101
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I have been looking at a 44 for my first handgun.

But I would start either hand loading or using 210gr 700fps cowboy loads to start.
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Old February 1, 2012, 03:38 PM   #9
BigJimP
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I second the suggestion for you to find a range that will rent revolvers...in 4", 6" and 8 3/8" in .357 mag and .44 mag ...so you can judge for yourself how you can handle the recoil, and whether you like them or not. ( or a buddy that has some of the above).

To me .357 mag is ok on deer / maybe black bear...but its getting marginal ...but a .44 mag is a lot tougher to shoot accurately, especially with a follow up shot.

Lots of SA/DA guns out there ...from Ruger, S&W etc.../ or you can look at some Single Action models....like the Ruger, Colt, Freedom Arms...and especially in Freedom Arms, I see quite a few used ones, with scopes mounted, that would make a good hunting platform ( in .357 mag, .44mag, .454 Casull, .475 Linbaugh, etc...) ....kind of depends on your budget.

But even if I intended to hunt with a handgun / I'd probably carry a rifle as well ....maybe a lever action in .357 mag or .44 mag ...like the Henry, Marlin, etc...quite a few of them out there...and its fun to have a handgun and a rifle chambered in the same caliber..( I think at least).

I have a lot of revolvers in .357 mag and .44 mag ...and with some arthritis, etc...I like shooting the .357 mag a lot more than the .44 mag...
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Old February 1, 2012, 05:58 PM   #10
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Minimum of .357 anywhere bear may be encountered...

I am partial to the Ruger Blackhawk in .357, and the Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag...

When plinking with the Super, it wears wood, but when I am carrying my heavy hunting loads, it wears Uncle Mikes wrap-around rubber...
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Old February 2, 2012, 03:36 AM   #11
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Super red hawk 44 with a scope the extra weight helps recoil & You might try a shooting glove with padded palm & shoot 180's light loads will help too.
good luck.
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Old February 2, 2012, 11:33 AM   #12
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"But even if I intended to hunt with a handgun / I'd probably carry a rifle as well "

Let me clarify a bit. I am going to be rifle hunting for elk in bear country at the end of next year and want something that will make a good back up...just in case.
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Old February 2, 2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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The low pressure 45 Colt could be what you are looking for. A 255 gr bullet and shoots a whole lot softer than the magnums. You can get loads that are light shooting cowboy loads or find loads that rival the magnum loads. I would think any with a 5 1/2 to 71/2 inch barrels would do.

I also like the single action for hunting with a handgun. My limit is about 50 yards on a shot, but no doubt it would work out to 75 or a 100 yards. This is my hunting gun when in close for shots on whitetail or blackbear. I've got a few deer with it but no luck on the bears.



It's a 45 Colt/acp Ruger Blackhawk with a 7 1/2 barrel. It will be a lot easier on that arthritis than the Magnums.
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Old February 2, 2012, 02:23 PM   #14
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Nice piece.
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Old February 2, 2012, 02:35 PM   #15
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The .357 is a great general purpose gun, especially if you're new to handguns. The recoil lighter in the hands, and the ammo is easier on the wallet. It would certainly suffice as a backup in the woods, and it's hard to find a better house gun.
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Old February 3, 2012, 07:45 AM   #16
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Thanks for all your help, guys.
I'm going out with a coworker tomorrow morning that has a .357, .44 and .45.
We'll see which one fits me best and have some fun.
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