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Old September 1, 2012, 11:05 AM   #1
Moyer
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well balanced handgun for deer?

I'm looking for a big handgun that's also well balanced (not muzzle heavy). Does anything like this even exist?

Due to legalities and the big deer in my state, I'm basically limited to .44 mag, .454, and .460 S&W.

There are a lot of accurate long barrel pistols for hunting, but most of them are essentially made for a rest. All of the contender/encores I've held are extremely front-end heavy. Are the big revolvers the same way? Or maybe I just need to find a shorter barreled encore pistol?

I'd probably be adding a red dot or scope to it. Would this help the balance or hurt it?

Thanks!
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:25 AM   #2
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Super Blackhawk
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
There are a lot of accurate long barrel pistols for hunting, but most of them are essentially made for a rest.
When you say "pistols"... are you talking about large caliber semi-automatic pistols, such as the Desert Eagle, or are you using "pistol" in a more generic, revolver inclusive concept? You're being a little vague there Moyer.

Loaded and scoped Desert Eagles balance nicely... if a semi-auto is what you mean. Many high power DA/SA revolvers have a part or full length underlug to aid in muzzle flip/recoil control. If you think these FLU guns are too muzzle heavy, maybe you should shoot a few with minimal underlugs... like a 6.5" or longer Ruger Super Redhawk or S&W 329, 629, 500 (#170299), for example.

Some revolvers mount the scope above the frame/cylinder, some more forward on the barrel. Aluminum bodied scopes (and certainly not red dots) don't weigh much, so I doubt the placement will have too dramatic an effect on balance.

Can't comment on T/Cs... haven't owned one in 20 years.

C
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:46 AM   #4
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smith&wesson 460xvr the hunting revolver...............
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:46 AM   #5
Moyer
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Yes, of course I'm talking about all handguns here. Probably an encore or revolver. Sure an automatic would be great, but I probably couldn't afford an auto bigger than a 10mm.
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Old September 1, 2012, 11:56 AM   #6
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4" Colt Anaconda
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Old September 1, 2012, 12:23 PM   #7
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This is an easy answer.
Ruger Single Actions in 41 or 44 magnum with 5 1/2" long barrels or longer.
Ruger Redhawk also in 44 with 5 1/2" or longer barrel.
Or any S&W M-57 or M-29 with standard barrels (not full underlugs) in 6" or longer.
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Old September 1, 2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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A 5 or 6 inch S&W model 629, or a 5.5" Ruger Redhawk in 44 magnum.

My Smith has a red dot sight on it, and is still light enough to hold for accurate off-hand shooting to about 65 yards. YMMV

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Old September 1, 2012, 02:41 PM   #9
Moyer
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When a rest is used, what's the accuracy like with these 5-6" barreled revolvers outside of 50yrs? I know a .44 mag has range limitations of it's own (power), but .454 & .460s could potentially go out past 100yrds with ease if the accuracy is there.
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Old September 1, 2012, 03:45 PM   #10
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the revolvers are more than adequate for accurcate at 50 yards and beyond. it comes down to how much you practice. the shooter is the limitation
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Old September 1, 2012, 03:46 PM   #11
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How balanced do you want to get, this is with iron sights and you are going to add a scope so cut these groups by half or more especially if you shoot from a rest. I loves me a Ruger Super Blackhawk.







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Old September 1, 2012, 03:55 PM   #12
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Try on different .44 mags on for size. Pick the one that feels most balanced to you. Just remember that the balance shifts a bit when the cylinder is full.

The 6" Redhawk is comfortable imho.
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Old September 1, 2012, 04:55 PM   #13
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Mine is a modified .44 mag. Ruger with grips fitted to my hand and had weights added to balance the longer barrel. Took less than a oz. to feel good to me and is one of my large critter hunting pistol and most often carried bear pistol.
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Old September 1, 2012, 06:04 PM   #14
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What ever you choose get a gun with a 6" or longer barrel. Many states have laws restricting barrel length for hunting. The state you live in might not have any restrictions but you could get invited to hunt in a state that does have such restrictions.
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Old September 1, 2012, 06:12 PM   #15
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I went through a few hunting pistols. I really like the S&W M29/629 and the Ruger blackhawks, (I had a bisley hunter I wish I never got rid of.) I currently use a T/C and yes it is bulky. Depending on where you hunt, what ranges, a 6inch S&W or 6.5 blackhawk would be good. I really like the 460S&W and it's ability to use the 45LC and 454. Are you using the handgun for 100yds plus or are you like me and just consider it as doubling your bow range, say under 75yds?
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Old September 1, 2012, 06:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
I'm looking for a big handgun that's also well balanced (not muzzle heavy).
Muzzle heaviness is a desirable quality for steady hold. That is why some handguns (and rifles) used in Olympic shoot events have weights attached to the barrel. If the gun's weight is mostly in the shooting hand, the gun (sights) wanders all over the place. That is why a lot of modern revolvers have solid under-lugs. Shoulder a Kentucky rifle and note how the sights just seem to hover on the target...that is due to the weight from the very long barrel. But, if you insist on the majority of the weight in your hand, just get a revolver with a four-inch barrel instead of a six-inch or eight and three-eights inch barrel.
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Old September 1, 2012, 10:44 PM   #17
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5" S&W 629
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Old September 2, 2012, 12:57 AM   #18
Moyer
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Quote:
Are you using the handgun for 100yds plus or are you like me and just consider it as doubling your bow range, say under 75yds?
I'm trying to figure this out based on my limitations first. I'd hate to buy a nice revolver and scope only to figure out that I can't hit anything accurately outside of 50yrds.

What I'm hoping for(ideally) is a gun I can shoot comfortably and accurately off hand within 50yrds, and accurately with a rest out to 100-150.

I know that a .460 encore can do the long range portion, but the one I've shot has a long heavy barrel that is nearly impossibly for me to shoot off hand.

So if a revolver can't do all of these things well then I'll either have to limit my range to 50-75yrds or carry 2 guns.
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Old September 2, 2012, 01:45 AM   #19
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I have killed several deer with a pistol. The pistol was never my primary weapon. I have a Dan Wesson with a 10" barrel. It's not a 100 yard gun. It was designed for silhouette shooting. People that can hit a target at 100 yards with a 4" barrel only exist on the internet. Olympic shooters can't do it.
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Old September 2, 2012, 01:48 AM   #20
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There's a lot of good info. here in this thread:

a) check your local hunting laws as to bbl. and caliber restrictions

b) 41mag on up is capable of your quest. Limitations are usually the shooters not the pistol.

c) balance will shift even with as little as loaded cyl. Think what adding a scope will do.

d) muzzle heaviness is desired for a steady hold...

...would like to add that if you've never shot a scoped pistol that you try and borrow/rent one and shoot it before investing in a scope. I've bought a couple scopes from guys that just didn't care for scopes on pistols or couldn't get the hang of using them. A bit different compared to viewing from a scoped a long gun.
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Old September 2, 2012, 06:39 AM   #21
Scott429
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I dont scope handguns but thats me, the rugers are well built and accurate. since you are going to use a scope I would recomend the super redhawk in your choice of cal.
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Old September 2, 2012, 07:17 AM   #22
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Sounds like a 4 to 5 inch tube is a pistol that fits you.

Keith routinely shot a 1911 at extended ranges.

Bullseye shooters must shoot with precision using the classic one hand stance 50 yards.

The method I use to determin my range limitation is as follows:

Place 8 inch paper plates at various ranges. I shoot each plate. My max effective range is the one that I can place each shot on the plate every time and each shot on the closer ranges.

I then obtain full size live animal archery targets and place them at the same known ranges. I practice until I can get a vital hit every time. before i go on the hunt I have a buddy place the targets at unknown ranges in a wooded area which simulates the terrain I will be hunting. I then walk the course and shoot each target.

Frankly, we can learn a lot from the techniques Archers use when shooting unknown distance targets.
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Old September 2, 2012, 07:29 AM   #23
Grant D
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I had a S&W Model 629 with 8 3/8" barrel,short under lug, with a 2x stainless Leupold scope, that worked perfect for deer sized game out to 100 yards.
I used 180 grain semi jacketed hollow points.
The first buck I shot with it is hanging on the wall behind me.
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Old September 2, 2012, 12:37 PM   #24
Noreaster
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a five or six inch barrel might be what your looking for. If you decide the sight radius is impeding your ability to make longer shots you could go with a red dot or scope. The 5-6inch barrel range should be ok for getting enough out of the round you choose.
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Old September 2, 2012, 12:50 PM   #25
Nathan
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I personally like the Ruger SA revolvers. The weight is OK to carry. Watch heavier guns as they are much less fun to carry.

The 4 5/8 - 7 1/2 barrels are best for me. I feel I need to match the barrel to most likely shot range. For me, this is roughly:
4.625 25 yds
5.5 50 yds
7.5 75 yds
10.5 100 yds

I like 7.5 or smaller in a hip holster. I carry cross draw for hunting.

44 mag is a good round, especially in factory loads. I prefer 454 Colt in my own loads.

The SR3 frame feels good to me, but max loads might make the Bisley better.

I hunt with the Bisley Blackhawk in 45 Colt. 265 gr at ~1300fps.
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