View Full Version : handgun hunting part2

April 17, 2007, 12:05 AM
you guys are probably tired of hearing from me already but here goes again. i am trying to decied what round to go with for a hunting/house revolver. im trying to decide between the 44mag/44spl and 454 casull/45 colt. any opinions one way or the other. i will be hunting white tail in ohio and maybe some hogs out to 150 yrds. thanks guys i hate to ask all these questions but this forum is so good i cant help it. im not new to guns by any means just to handgun hunting and reloading. im greatful for any help i get. :)

T. O'Heir
April 17, 2007, 01:06 AM
150 yards is a very long way for any handgun. Too far actually. Have a look at the cost of .454 ammo. It starts at $21.99 per 20 from Midway. Federal .44 mag runs $17.99 per 20 at Midway.

April 17, 2007, 01:27 AM
i do agree that 150 yrds is a long way but not too far. look at the 460 mag:D

April 17, 2007, 08:00 AM
S&w 500 :D

April 17, 2007, 09:19 AM
Just to narrow it down by 1/2, assuming you intend to reload, I'd suggest the larger case capacity route. (44mag or 454 Cas) You can alwats load them down to spec/colt velocities but will have a hard time doing the converse. good luck

Art Eatman
April 17, 2007, 10:41 AM
With the Casull, you can use .45 Colt for practice at the sight picture and your trigger control. As said in that other thread, your limit is the reliable hitting of a pie plate at whatever the maximum distance turns out to be.

Same for the .44 Mag; .44 Special is good practice ammo.

Either cartridge will kill a deer at a hundred yards. And more, if you're skilled enough to hit properly...

The caveat is that using cartridges with shorter cases can lead to a little buildup of residue at the front of the cylinder. This creates interference when loading the full-length cartridge. This buildup is avoided by thorough cleaning of that front 0.1" of each hole in the cylinder.

A friend of mine who thinks pleasure is a 50-round box of hot .44 Mag shooting each week went and bought a Raging Bull. With 260-grain hot loads, he could double tap in IPSC fashion--but not with 300-grain hot loads. He was hitting my hanging steel plate at 185 yards with no difficulty, commenting that the holdover was negligible.

Almost forgot: The Casull seemed about twice as LOUD as the .44 Maggie...


April 17, 2007, 11:49 AM
i know you can use 45lc and 44scl in the others thats why i put a "/" in the middle. i am really looking at what is the best for hunting 44mag or 454 casull. the other two where added with them not to make the option of buying just one chambered for the smaller but to say i will be shooting those too. i am also looking into a 460 mag now that i was reminded that you can shoot 45 casull and 45 lc out of it. but ill stay on topic. 44mag vs 454casull for hunting out to 150 yrs

April 17, 2007, 01:57 PM
If you can handle the recoil, I'd say .454 easily wins this competition. The .460 XVR would probably be a better choice then either at 150 yards, however. Plus, you can shoot .454 and .45 colt in the .460.

April 19, 2007, 02:53 AM
Given those 2 options, it's always better to go bigger.

I have found 454 ammos as cheap as $16/20 from Magtech and they work fine. It shouldn't be too hard to find if you look on the web.

But if you're serious about shooting a lot, then you probably need to reload. The cheapest 45 Colt I have found were about $15/50 rounds, I believe were from Winchester and that's what I used to sight-in, practice, etc., but practicing with 45 Colt just doesn't compare with a BIG KABOOM from a 454, so I would practice with both, and you'll need to reload eventually. :)

April 19, 2007, 08:15 AM
A friend of mine who thinks pleasure is a 50-round box of hot .44 Mag shooting each week went and bought a Raging Bull.

Art, I guess you mean he went out and bought a Raging Bull in .454, not in .44 mag?

I have a .454 Raging Bull, and this round has roughly twice the muzzle energy of a standard .44 mag, but this isn't needed for deer. As Rembrandt points out, the .44 mag is ideal for deer, so to answer your question, it's "better" because it's not overkill (less noise, less recoil, etc.). But OTOH, you could use .45 colt for deer. Either is great. I've had Raging Bulls in both .44 mag and .454 casull, and I kept the casull.

One caveat, though... that residue ring mentioned above, built up after firing shorter rounds.... with .454 casull, it is much more important (imperative) to thoroughly clean that ring out of each cylinder, after shooting .45 colt, before beginning to shoot .454 casull. .454 is an extremely high pressure round, and there is no room for error. Since that ring at the front pinches the case mouth, it causes a stronger grip on the bullet. If the bullet doesn't release as quickly as it's supposed to, it can dramatically raise pressure in the cylinder. At best, this can mean stuck cases, and at worst, catastrophic failure.

Art Eatman
April 19, 2007, 10:32 AM
Yeah, .454.

I'm in full accord that the .454 is more than is needed for most deer.

I think to some extent the use of .44s and .454s is a bit of overkill, insofar as what's really "needed". Sure, they'll work. That's not the issue. My belief is that with the usual "proper shot placement", a .357 is plenty good.

I always remember my father's story of a guy who showed up at a ranch near New Braunfels, some 55 or 60 years ago when there were still deer leases on big ranches in that country. A one-armed guy, with a K-38. The rancher allowed as how he wasn't sure about the guy hunting, since crippled deer weren't part of the program.

There was a benchrest and a 100-yard target there by the ranch house. The K-38-er offered a demonstration. My father said the guy did about a six-inch group at 100 yards. The guy said he usually didn't shoot at anything over 30 or 40 yards off. The rancher grinned and nodded approval...


April 19, 2007, 11:40 AM
Art Eastman - I too have that problem with residue buildup when shooting 45 or 454 in my 460. I have scrubbed and scrubbed, but it is impossible with what I'm using (copper and lead solvent and brass brush) to totally clean it. What would you recommend?? Thanks

April 22, 2007, 02:13 AM
I"ve got a question for First Freedom, what is your preferred method of cleaning the cylinder for those ring marks from 45LC??

I use powder blast and brass brush, then nail cuticle thingie over a patch to lightly scrub it off, and sometimes that's not even enough.

I have tried several 454 factory ammos on my Raging Bull 454, and I have noticed that Magtech 260gr. FMJ case gets somewhat stuck to the cylinder. It's not very tight, but I say can pull off 3 out of 5 cases easily with my fingers, but a couple of cases need a push from the front of the cylinder with a pen or something, and stuck enough that I can't get them out with an ejector.

I have no problems with any other JHP or SP loads, so I am just assuming that particular load is a problem, but have you had any experience with FMJ bullets causing sticky cases?? I wonder if it would be unsafe to shoot with that load since i Have one more box of them.

April 22, 2007, 10:23 AM
My opinion: Your choice depends on your experience level with the large caliber handguns. If you lack significant shooting experience with the big bore handguns, I would go with a 44 mag (or in my favorite the 41 mag) in a revolver. I'd go with a 8 3/8" Model 629 Smith as my choice for a 44 where the use will be hunting and target shooting in preparation for hunting. Many like the 7.5" Ruger Redhawk. Mount a good 2x extended eye relief scope. Shoot good factory ammo and practice. You will soon discover your practical limit in terms of range. I am confident to 75 yds and fairly confident to 100 yds at this time in terms of distance. Take it out wood chuck hunting this summer.

Other alternative is a good single action revolver. If money is an issue, I would look at the hunter models that Ruger offered in either 41 or 44 mag. Mount a scope.

I shoot a 480 Super Redhawk as my primary hunting revolver. It is also my primary deer hunting gun these days as I have shelved the rifles for the handgun except where long shots will be the norm. It has plenty of power for whitetails (and game to moose size) with proper bullet placement as far out as you can make a practical shot. Frankly, the 41 or 44mag is enough for deer hunting. The 480 round does not punish you as much as the 454 or 475. If I did not own a larger than 44 bore revolver, I'd probably choose a 500 Smith for hunting. I hear of barrel erosion problems with the 460. Mount a scope.

You might consider taking along the shotgun with you the first year out just in case since you are used to it.

Reloading whatever caliber you choose is always a great idea. If you lean toward really high power heavy loads, I would look at a revolver suitable for that objective.

The Thompson Contender would be a great choice also in which ever caliber you choose. I believe they are legal in Ohio, but not certain. I know revolvers are.

April 22, 2007, 11:33 AM
If you really want to hit something at 150 yards go with something like a Contender 30-30 7-30waters or .357 jdjones or another round with a scope.
get you a charter arms 44 spl for the house. you will end up with a better house gun that will be cheaper and fun to shoot and a decent hunting round for the range you want to shoot. this should be for about the same price as a 454 casull.

April 23, 2007, 11:20 AM
well a 30-30 would be nice (as would the 30-06) but niether are allowed in Ohio. niether are the others you said. I do have experience with revolvers and have shot them for years but have not hunted with one and have not shot out past 25 yrs with one too often. and i dont have a big bore revolver right now so i can get anything and im just trying to make the best decision. i dont need a rifle if i dont hunt with the handgun i will be using one of my blackpowder rifles. i just want to try somthing different without giving up all my range.

April 23, 2007, 11:51 AM
Get the .44 mag, divide your max range by about three, and you'll be fine. Unless you wanna put a scope on that sixgun (which I don't) in which case you might be OK to 100. I'm not saying an iron-sighted sixgun isn't accurate enough at 100 yards. Even my old 4" Model 29 will cut the mustard at that distance- on paper (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221394&highlight=44+sixgun+at+100+yards).

The heck of it is that 100 yard shots in the field are nothing like shots on the range. You'll likely be shooting in first or last light, and the deer/hogs blend in with their surroundings pretty well. I count myself a fair shot with an iron-sighted revolver but hard experience has taught me I have no business shooting at deer, under field conditions, much beyond 50 yards. Varmints are a different story. That's just my take on the matter based on 32 years of handgun hunting. Some will disagree and that's fine too.

April 23, 2007, 06:18 PM
Scopes on a revolver are a pain in the butt at first. You shoot with iron sights and generally hit what you are aiming at and then slap a good scop on it and you can't seem to hit anything. That was my exeprience and I almost took the scope back off. But, I perservered and practiced with the 480 as uncomfortable as it is at times and can shoot okay with it. I'm not a big lover of the Super Redhawk. Just seems like a big ugly bulky revolver to me.

After experimenting with field conditions and the need for a rest with a heavy handgun with scope, I have started using a sturdy monopod. It takes a bit of practice, but it works.

In the woods, shots over 50-60 yds are uncommon. I think revolver hunting much like archery with just a bit more reach. 20 yds shots are actually more common in the woods. Deer look pretty darn small in the woods sometimes. Anyway, I don't even take the rifle any more for the most part.

Start hunting with a handgun and you will love it for the challenge. As said, scopes take getting used to and you will find yourself wanting a rest every time. Slower than iron sights, but if you can hit on the target range, it gives you confidence in the field.