View Full Version : What to carry when on a hunt (sidearm)?

September 21, 2006, 12:06 AM
I have been experimenting with coyote hunting and I am also a pretty avid deer hunter. For some reason I have always felt the need for a sidearm when hunting. I'm not sure why, but thats really not the point. I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions. I am turning 21 in just under two months and I am itching for a handgun (and yes I know my CZ that I have listed is a handgun).

September 21, 2006, 01:12 AM
I feel your need. Whenever I go out in the open country, I carry one of the only two pistols I have (for now).

What are you concerned about stopping with it? If it's just general purpose, a popular choice would be a .357 Mag revolver. I've decided that it will be my next weapon for shooting in general, but I prefer my Glock for carry outdoors.

September 21, 2006, 07:01 AM
Ruger, 4" or 6" in stainless, 357 magnum. Can't beat them.

Art Eatman
September 21, 2006, 09:33 AM
Coup de grace for deer? .22 rimfire.

Protection agains Big Bears? BIG cartridge.

Protection against Bad People? "The usual".

:), Art

September 21, 2006, 10:21 AM
Make sure its comfortable and light or you will get tired of lugging it around. I got tired of carrying my full size .45 while deer hunting and now I just carry my rifle. Plus I never once had a use for it.

john in jax
September 21, 2006, 11:07 AM
If it is only a back-up (after all you have a rifle or shotgun in your hands) then I'd recommend a 3"-4" .357, .44mag or .45LC.

I like to carry a handgun because when I have to go in and drag one out of our super thick brush or swampy areas, I lock the long gun in the car so I have both hands free. I feel very comfortable tracking wounded game or dragging out a dead deer/hog with a handgun on.

My S&W 629 .44mag has a 6.5" bbl and carries much better in a vert. shoulder holster than on my hip. Shorter bbl's fit and carry real well on your hip or in a pocket, or in a shoulder rig, the shorter bbl opens up all kinds of options. Last year I left my .44 at home on more than one ocassion in favor of one of my .45acp's. The .45acp isn't nearly the round the .44mag is, but I'm not hunting with it, it is there for self defense or a finishing shot, that's all.

September 21, 2006, 12:12 PM
Well, I have my eye on a Ruger SBH .44 mag eventually, but can't do that right now :( so I take my Kimber Ultra Carry II in .45 ACP. It won't do in a bear, but then there really is not a bear population of any significance down where I hunt. And if I can't kill something smaller than that with two magazines of .45 hollowpoints, I need to not be out there in the first place ;)

But one of these days, a SBH.

Springmom, always looking for a reason to have another gun :D My poor husband.... ;)

September 21, 2006, 02:34 PM
Well I'm certainly no expert hunter, but the best sidearm ordinarily, and what I personally carry, is a .22lr revolver, with several rounds of .22lr, and several rounds of aguila super colibri. The .22lr is for said coup de grace on deer, or for opportunistic squirrel/rabbit/raccoon, when I don't care about spooking other game. The super colibris are for shooting squirrels that are very close (close enough for a head shot) - 7 yards or less - and who are chattering away at me,, letting every animal in the forest know of my presence - super colibris are very quiet!

If I'm in an area where feral dog packs or pumas are a concern, a .45 colt revolver instead of the .22, or both.

September 21, 2006, 05:06 PM
I don't carry while hunting, I just don't feel that I need to and I can either save weight or carry something else that I might need. If you are going to carry while hunting make sure that it is legal to hunt with in your State for the type of game you are hunting. In CO the minimum cal is basicly something equal to a .41mag, getting caught by the Game Warden putting down a wounded animal with a smaller caliber can get you a hefty fine.

September 21, 2006, 05:49 PM
I like to carry a handgun because when I have to go in and drag one out of our super thick brush or swampy areas, I lock the long gun in the car so I have both hands free. I feel very comfortable tracking wounded game or dragging out a dead deer/hog with a handgun on.

Thats a good point.

September 22, 2006, 02:36 AM
I've never felt the need to carry one while hunting as well. However, if I was going to carry one, I would go with a 44 mag. I've loaned my S&W 629 out to my brother in law several times while hiking and scouting for Elk in New Mexico and Colorado. If I had a charging Bear or pig coming at me and I didn't have I rifle, I'd be alittle more comfortable with a 44 mag than the others. You might look into one of the titinium 44 mags. It's probably not too much fun to shoot one of those much, but it would be alot lighter to carry around while hunting. You listed that you want a Taures Raging Bull 44 mag. Look into that. Also, if you ever wanted to get into hand gun hunting, the 44 mag will be more effective than the 357. Nothing against the 357. It an excellent round and serves it's purpose as well if not better than the rest, but the 44 mag is going to be alittle more forgiving as far as hunting purposes that the 357.

September 22, 2006, 09:11 AM
Art and Firstfreedom have it right in IMO.
All I carry on foot is a tiny 22 revolver in one front pocket and a old Buck 110 (440c steel) in the other, nothing on my belt, and a pair of binoculars around my neck.

September 22, 2006, 01:42 PM
I'm not sure I really understand the need for a sidearm while hunting with a rifle. The rifle is a lot more powerful than any handgun, and for the weight, you can pack several boxes of ammo. If your hunting area is so overrun with man-eating wolves and rabid bears that you need to defend yourself, the rifle will do the job nicely. If you are concerned about 2-legged animals, the rifle will convince them too.

September 22, 2006, 01:47 PM
I'd go with a 22LR double action revolver. You don't have one. Your choice as there have been lots of threads on the topic. Good for most things since you have a rifle already. My woods gun is either a 357 mag or 41 mag depending on what mood I'm in. I would not be lugging around a rifle with one of those on unless it was a 22.

September 22, 2006, 02:01 PM
The reason for the sidearm is as a backup. We were hunting recently on a private ranch and my Remington 700 extractor failed, jamming two rounds into the barrel at once. The ranch owner finished off the hog I'd shot for me, but it proves the point that a backup sufficient for a Texas feral hog would have been a good thing. And a .22 wouldn't have done much but irritate her ;)

A .44 mag is in my future. Just don't know when...


Art Eatman
September 22, 2006, 08:35 PM
Scorch, it's one of those situational deals. I've never been bothered by either a cougar or a black bear down here, but they're around. Still, I very rarely ever carry a handgun.

springmom's in a different deal, messing around with hogs...

:), Art

September 22, 2006, 10:26 PM
Springmom, I ocasionally have similar jams with a Rem 700 if my hands are cold or I load up in the dark. In every case, it is because I loaded the magazine wrong and had the rounds too close to the front of the magazine (chamber side).

Fat White Boy
September 22, 2006, 10:43 PM
The only time I carry a sidearm is when I am hunting hogs. Sometimes, when you think they are dead, they will jump up and try to kill you before they die. I use a Ruger SS Security Six in .357 and a 4" barrel.

Arizona Fusilier
September 23, 2006, 05:41 PM
I had a close encounter with a mountain lion while on a deer hunt (I've posted that here before). While it didn't turn out to be a deadly encounter (he went away after about a 10 minute stand off), I got to thinking about how fast the old turn-bolt would turn if he charged that 30 feet. Given the cover between us, I thought I might have had one shot.

That's went I started carrying a handgun while hunting. I also hunt down on the border; that's always a good idea to have something for two-legged critters (but that's another thread).

Normally its a .357, sometimes a .41; but the admonishment to make sure its hunting-legal is well advised.

September 23, 2006, 10:36 PM
I'll be honest the reason I've never felt the need to carry a pistol while hunting is because I'm a pi$$ poor shot with one. I prefer to spend my time shooting rifles and I never practice with pistols. I've owned two in my life a 1911 .45, and a Ruger Single Six .22lr/.22wmr. I sold the 1911 but still have the Ruger, and I'm still a pi$$ poor shot with a pistol. Pistol shooting requires more practice than what I want to give to it to be proficent to use it as a back up.

I have a friend who carries a .44 when hunting bear using a muzzle loader. He says he can draw the pistol faster than he can reload his rifle to get a second shot off if he is in trouble.

September 23, 2006, 11:36 PM
Springmom, I ocasionally have similar jams with a Rem 700 if my hands are cold or I load up in the dark. In every case, it is because I loaded the magazine wrong and had the rounds too close to the front of the magazine (chamber side).

I've seen that before, too. This, however, was a four-star screwup of the extractor. Older 700's are apparently prone to that, and it was just my time. I would have noticed the issue earlier but our target range only allows one round in the gun at a time, so when I went and sighted in, I reloaded each time and therefore never had to actually have the thing feed a round.

I let the ranch owner take a look at it....he figured if he could replicate the problem (noon, good light, not cold out) that it was in fact the extractor and sure as you're born, bam, it screwed up for him too. So it's at the rifle doctor getting an extractor operation :rolleyes:

Murphy's Law exhibit one, that day!


September 24, 2006, 11:22 AM
I generally have my Kimber .45 or my blackhawk .41mag with me while deer hunting.

September 24, 2006, 09:41 PM
I've recently started squirrel hunting in northern Michigan. While I've not yet seen it myself, a few people in the area (within 1/4 mile of my property) have sighted a black bear. The fact that there may be a bear around didn't cross my mind as I left my cabin to go hunt some squirrels (excited for the new experience). While changing from one hunting spot to another, I happened across a large pile of _______ that I can only imagine coming from a bear. As I looked up I couldn't help thinking, "it's really going to suck big time if I run into whatever made that with only my 10/22. I'd really like to have my Taurus 24/7 (.40 cal) with 15 rounds in it about now..." It was sobering to think I could be hunted just like the squirrels.

...this is a reason why I could see someone wanting/needing a sidearm

September 24, 2006, 11:50 PM
.22 LR.

Unless you are in Alaska you will get 10,000% more usability out of a .22 Auto in real use.

September 24, 2006, 11:54 PM
I am turning 21 in about a month nd a half and I have had my eyes on a 6 in Ruger GP-100 .357 Mag. It's a nice looking revolver and I hear a lot of good things about Rugers. Does a 6in bbl really carry well in a vertical shoulder holster? I have no experience whatsoever with carrying! Thanks for all the replies every body!

September 25, 2006, 12:46 AM
I agree with you there, I prefer to have a sidearm while hunting as well. I carry my S.A. 1911 Mil Spec on my right hip while in the bush, I've never had the need to use it, but for close range I feel more comfortable with it than my 30.06. I usually shoulder my rifle while walking into and out of my hide/stand and keep my pistol accessable until I get into position at which time I switch to my rifle. I think the .45 ACP has plenty of stopping power for most problems you might encounter, if your in big bear country a 44. Mag or higher might be desired, but for your average coyote, snake, or wild boar or bad guy a .45 is plenty of gun and perfectly legal (at least in Texas).

moose fat
September 25, 2006, 03:08 AM
Carry a pistol, you can hunt with it too.:D

I live in Alaska, a small Yupik Eskimo village and its Moose Season for seven more days. My wife,sister in-law and I went out for a boat ride late this afternoon, moose hunting.
We were putting up this slough and came around a bend and finally surprised a Bull, not a cow or a cow and a calf like we've been doing. None of us got off a shot before he ghosts back into the willows and alder bushes. Here alders are bushes, not trees.

I park the boat and start off after him, sometimes they fade back into the brush for ten or twenty yards. I got into alders and willow and find his trail and beds, he's been hanging around there for a few days. I'm carrying my 1917 Enfield/Winchester and its almost four feet long, I felt very reassured that I also had my S&W MG .44mag on my hip. The willows and alders would have prevented me from swinging around with my rifle not so with with my pistol.

Luckily it has been extremely mild weather wise and the bulls are going their separate ways, two weeks ago they were still hanging out together. The cows are showing up and the bulls right behind, just the very begining of the rut. No Mad Moose out looking to stomp on you.:eek:

No moose yet, maybe I'll be lucky tomorrow.:D

September 25, 2006, 08:29 AM
I carry a 5.5 inch Ruger Redhawk in 41 mag when I deer hunt here in South Carolina. We are overrun with hogs in the areas that I hunt and it sure is fun to stalk a hog and kill it with a pistol over a rifle when the deer aren't moving to well.