View Full Version : .45 ACP for Deer?

August 3, 1999, 01:40 PM
I usually carry a SIG P220 with me while deer hunting, in addition to a .270 rifle. I am wondering if it would be ethical to use the .45 on shots under 25 yards? Any suggestions on ammo would also be appreciated.

I hunt in the Texas Hill Country, so the deer *may* run up to 150 lbs. Any big deer, or difficult shots will definately be handled by the ol' reliable .270. Any info/oppinions will be greatly appreciated!

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Art Eatman
August 3, 1999, 08:58 PM
Hill Country deer at 150 pounds? You ain't huntin' Llano, Mason or Brady Counties! 150 on the hoof is nearly a giant, there! What, you been feedin' heavy?

Anyhow, if you are reliably able to hit the end of a beer can at 25 yards, a deer's neck will be the shot for a .45ACP. If he's facing you, center-punch the white spot. I'm guessing at one of the 200-gr hollowpoints...

Right after WW II, my uncle worked his cattle with his surplus Signal Corps Harley. The deer took him for granted, just as the cows. He collected two or three deer with his 1911, at probably 10 or 15 yards, using a pure lead 230 gr RN. "It just sorta wraps around 'em..." But, I've watched him spin clothespins with a .25 Walther...


August 4, 1999, 05:10 PM
I know a guy up here in NY who gets a deer virtually every year with a 45ACP. Takes nothing but headshots from a Treestand.

Granted,this guy is a competitive shooter and practically sleeps with the dern thing.

As I'm nowhere near that good, a 44 mag Revolver is good for me with body hits.

Long Path
August 4, 1999, 07:04 PM
Dad's taken a couple with it, but I think one was with a 1917 revolver in 45acp. That still counts. We have some excellent bullets these days, and I'm convinced that any of the deeper-penetrating loads will work just dandy for as far as you can reliably hit a paper plate off-hand.

This is for TEXAS DEER!!! I hunt in far N. Uvalde Co., and it's a big'un that gets above 115 lbs. However, you oughta be prepared for that monster that is a clear anomally of genetics. I shot mine last year, and we're still trying to figure it out. (somebody was obviously feeding heavy; 200 lbs!)

I've been taking my Gold Cup for years, loaded with either XTP loads or Hydra Shocks, or Gold Dots. Hey, you ought to do as well on a 120lb deer as you do on a 150lb man, right? This is one reason I've always said that the 9mm is inadequate for main-battery personal defense; it's inadequate for deer.

The one time I tried my pistol at a deer, she was behind and to the left of me, and I tried a stupid, foolish stunt. (prepare for a confession, here): I got up in a crouching position and turned my torso around to face my 7:00 position at the skittish deer 10+ yards away. I then (this is the bad part) fired at her left-handed (I'm right-handed) with one hand while in this less-than stable position. She turned completely inside out. I fired again. She turned right-side out again. She moved in front of me. Did I change to Weaver hold? Noooooo! I fired again. (are we keeping count?) Just as she bolted, I let another one go for good measure.
Certain that I MUST have drawn blood with my flurry of .45, I sought to down the doe now pounding away through the trees and bushes at a speed a little below C. So I dropped my pistol in the leaves, picked up my Springfield and fired, hitting her in the head... on the 2nd shot. She had ONE (1) hole in her. In through the back of the cranium, out through the left eye.

NOT my finest hour. I plead youth and lack of experience at the time. NOT inaccuracy, though. At the ranges involved, I knew in advance that I could put 5 shots in a cluster just wider than a ragged hole. I did not, however, shoot as I had practiced. This is a lesson well-learned, which is why I passed on this abyssimal story to you; practice like you play, and you'll do fine.

Art Eatman
August 5, 1999, 03:48 PM
Long Path: I have respect for a deer; don't want to cause any suffering. However, with a Bad Guy, who has gone out of his way to put me in fear of my life... :)


August 10, 1999, 09:50 AM
Thanks Guys

For the Record,
I hunt in the northern part of the hill country in Concho County. The biggest deer I took last year weighed 130lbs Field-dressed, so he could have been about 150 on the hoof. A friend who hunts about 2 miles from our place got one that weighed 167 lbs field dressed. IMO On average, the deer here are somewhat larger than the deer I've seen in Uvalde (only hunted there once, beautiful place), Junction (where I started hunting -spoiled me a little :)), and Rock Springs (hunted there 88-91) although the Rock Springs did have a resident monster who vanished openning day, and Dad took two monsters in Junction over the 10-15 years he hunted there.

August 15, 1999, 08:30 PM
gotta say guys, does push 200-250 in a good year. Would love to try a .45 acp, not a long enough case though...


Keith Rogan
August 16, 1999, 01:14 AM
About 5 years ago I'm driving along a dirt road with my friend John going salmon fishing. Its early fall and deer season around here runs from 1 Aug to 31 December and of course, a small herd of deer runs across the road in front of us. John whips out a Ruger auto in .45 and yells for me to stop, stop, STOP!
I do.
He leaps out, jumps off the road (you can shoot as long as you ain't standing on the road or shooting across it) draws down on a young spike thats ambling off at about twenty yards and cuts loose. As far as I could determine later, his first shot was good and went through the ribs and exited the left (or right?) front shoulder - the deer goes down and then bounds back up and is limping away with John in pursuit cutting loose with another round every five or ten yards. Somewhere in this ugly mugging/execution he actually changed magazines! Thats how many times he shot, or shot at this deer!
If I recall correctly, there were 8 entry holes in the animal before it, umm, expired.

This whole stupid chase was compounded by the fact that when he finally killed it and we dragged it back to the car I learned he was using hardball!
I think a .45 would be OK for deer if you can pick your shot and use a good hollowpoint. I'd use a Hydra-shock myself and take nothing but a broadside heart/lung shot.

The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan (http://members.xoom.com/keithrogan)

August 29, 1999, 04:00 AM
I cant speak for deer, but ive taken one hog w/ 9mm and one w/ .40sw(Black Talons). They wernt REAL big hogs(only 120-140lbs)but they droped first shot. Now two hogs isnt a big test sample, but I feel sure that .45acp would work fine at reasonable ranges. These hogs were feril, cant say for Russians. RKBA! m16

[This message has been edited by m16a2223 (edited August 29, 1999).]

August 29, 1999, 04:04 AM
I cant speak for deer, but ive taken one hog w/ 9mm and one w/ .40sw(Black Talons). They wernt REAL big hogs(only 120-140lbs)but they droped first shot. Now two hog isnt a big test sample, but I feel sure that .45acp would work fine at reasonable ranges. These hogs were feril, cant say for Russians. RKBA! m16

Rocky Road
September 10, 1999, 09:06 AM
Let's see---Shooting deer with the .45 ACP.

I've done it a few times, mostly in the Texas Hill Country within 60 miles of San Antonio, where a 100-pound buck is quite respectable, and 125 is large. Deer are plentiful, in good years, but seldom get very big except on game ranches.

1. Medium large doe, facing toward me but with head down, feeding. Distance about twelve feet--Not yards. Colt National Match (pre-Gold Cup markings) with the old Super Vel 190 jacketed truncated cone hollow point. Hit her right between the shoulders, in the spine. She went down, literally in her tracks.

2. Large doe, standing broadside, looking to my right. Distance about eight feet. Same pistol. Load was a Sierra 185 gr. Jacketed Hollow Cavity with a stiff, but still published, load of Unique--call it about 1050 fps, but this was before I got a chronograph. High lung shot--too high, really, as the bullet touched the bottom edge of the spine. Tremendous nerve shock--She jerked violently away and her left side hit the ground before her hooves came down.

3. Medium doe, facing directly away from me. Distance about 35 yards. S & W 1955 Target revolver, later called the model 25, 6-1/2 inch barrel. Same load as number 2.
This was a stunt, I have to admit. I aimed carefully for her neck, about half, way between head and back. The thought was: If I hit a little high, I have the back of the head. If a little low, I have the spine. If way low, I slip it between the hams. The load had plenty of penetration to go all the way into the chest cavity.

I was comfortably seated, using a two hand hold over a solid rest. I could SHOOT that old wheel gun. It was sighted for 40 yards, dead on. I was not nervous--I'd shot plenty of deer, several with handguns. So what happened? I blew the shot. She may have taken a small sidestep, or just swayed a bit to her right. I might have glitched slightly on the trigger. Anyhow, the bullet took her right through the left ham, went all the way through, cutting the femoral artery and clipping but not separating the femur. The bullet cut a three or four inch slit along the lower left belly, without puncturing any intestine. It then struck the left foreleg, breaking what would be the humerus in a human, and coming to rest just under the skin on yonder side. She wheeled 90 degrees left and lurched into some brush. I could tell she was hit, but couldn't get another shot off. I found her all bled out, dead, about 50 yards away.

Poorly executed shot, I know, but, hey--how often do you see THREE entry wounds from the same bullet? The impact and bone splinters ruined almost all of the left ham. The recovered 185 JHC weighed, I think, some 140 grains,

4. Medium doe, walking slowly to my left, distance about 40 yards. The old NM and same JHC load. Position similar to number three. I must have stopped my swing, because I hit her too far back. She hunched up and trotted on. I found her, nearly bled out, less than 30 yards up the little game path she was following when shot. I administered the totally unnecessary coup de grace, because I don't like to see any animal suffer. The bullet punched the front end of the liver, effectively shattering that organ.

On one occasion, I used the auto with the Sierra load for insurance on a fair-size Russian/feral domestic hog once. If you shoot directly from the front, with the hog still, with snout pointing downward, the JHP punches nicely through the frontal skull. If the hog is moving at all, another point of aim is safer. The skull is thick and I know of a few cases when a pistol bullet deflected without penetrating. Things could get a bit western.

The above episodes all took place during the 1970s. There are better bullets available now. I've used a few other handgun calibers, too. The old .45 Colt, in long and short barrels, and .357, in a four-inch Colt, mostly. But this string deals with the grand old .45 auto cartridge.

Best regards to all—

---The Second Amendment ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights---

steve j
September 15, 1999, 03:58 PM
I haven't taken a deer with a .45 acp, but I have taken an 85 lb mountain lion. I used a 230 grain federal hydroshok. The lion dropped like a stone at the shot and didn't quiver. The houndsman later told me it was the quickest kill he's seen. That's my only big game kill with a .45 acp, but based on it, I wouldn't hesitate taking a deer with it.

Long Path
September 20, 1999, 08:42 PM
Well, you've inspired me--

I've picked up some 230 g. Gold Dots, and am planning on loading them over about 6.3g. of Unique this weekend. Should yeild roughly 850 fps out of my Gold Cup, and drop a S. Texas white tail like a sack of broken doorknobs, so long as I do my part, and keep my shots within hair-singing distance. Right, Rocky Road? :)

The Mohican Sneak
September 21, 1999, 06:03 PM
I'm not sure about the regulations in Texas, but here in Georgia, "only handguns producing 500ft lbs of energy at 100 yards, may be used"... Maybe you reloaders can achieve that with the .45acp, I'm not sure. But I'd be willing to buy about 20 rounds if you could for the ol' Lightweight Commander. :)

It's also illegal to shoot deer with a .22lr, but many and I mean many have been taken with it...

Just a thought....

September 21, 1999, 11:37 PM
I have shot 2 deer with 45 acp they both died on the spot.