View Full Version : Handgun hunting - Scope or no scope?

February 11, 2008, 11:00 PM
While hunting with a handgun, do you use a scoped handgun or do you prefer an unscoped handgun?

What do you hunt?
What caliber?

I've hunted both ways, but would like to hear other view points.
Thank you, Bowhunter57

February 12, 2008, 02:05 AM
I use the iron sights.
Am originally from Ohio, have stomped the Ohio Power area since 1973. now in Washington.
Used an old $40 RG 4" heavy frame, that was simply a delight on Fox and Gray Squirrels, used CCI Mini-Mags, ended up expanding the cylinder chambers and
eroding the pinned barrel joint. Might be a good candidate for rework using target loads instead of FULL power.

Now carry a K22 for small game ( or my Dad's Woodsman four digit) when going for deer either a 4" .357, 1911A1 .45, )did have a 7.5" .45LC Blackhawk, when Ohio first allowed), or Contender .357/ .44Mag /.45LC.
All iron sights.

Basically, what's you preference? And practice with them.
Try a metallic silhouette match, they're GREAT!!

February 12, 2008, 04:55 AM
I have the 2X Leupold handgun scope on TC super 14 barrels in 41 mag and 357 max. I think it is the best handgun scope you can buy. if you have more power and field of view really gets small and hard to use either offhand or off a rest

February 12, 2008, 06:37 AM
Depends on the distance.....open sights for anything under 100yards, scoped for anything beyond that distance. I've found scoped handguns are a pain to holster and carry, if it can be done with iron sights that's all the better.

February 12, 2008, 10:26 AM
It depends on you and the cover you hunt. I prefer Irons I just shoot them better and where I hunt range is limited and cover is thick.

February 12, 2008, 11:00 AM
Iron only. I like to handgun hunt for the challenge. Putting a scope on it would take way from that for me. It also is then no longer light and easy to pack. I have hunted with everything for a 1858 repo to a custom 45 Linebaugh for years. I switched last year to a Freedom Arms 500 WE but got skunked so didn’t get to shoot anything. Getting a anything with a handgun to me is better then gettign a world record with a high powered rifle with glass.

February 12, 2008, 12:50 PM
For hunting in close - say 50 yards and under in thickets and dense woods iron sights are great.

For any longer distance I prefer scopes.

I have all my pistol barrels on my tc encore scoped, most with 3200 bushnell 2-6 x 32s, and two with 2.5-8 leupolds. They spend all of their hunting time set on 2X, they higher powers are for range time only.

Another great choice is a quality reddot, they are faster than irons or a scope and precise for normal hunting ranges.

February 12, 2008, 12:57 PM
I'm hitting a 12" gong at 210yds with my .454 with open sights, but I'd limit myself to 100-150yds on game.

February 12, 2008, 01:50 PM
Thank you, for all the replies! :)

I appreciate all the input that's been given, so far. I've never had to take a shot beyond 50 yards with a handgun, so I think I'll leave the scope thing to the longer range shooters. ;) Plus, as some have mentioned, I like the simplicity of an unscoped handgun...especially for purchasing a holster.

I want to purchase a new handgun for hunting and can't decide between a Ruger Bisley (I'd like to have the Hunter model, but I don't think it's in production any more. :() and a Ruger Super Redhawk, in .44 Mag. with as long of a barrel as I can get.

Perhaps later I'll purchase a simular long barreled handgun in .38/.357 for hunting small game varmints.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57

February 12, 2008, 02:25 PM
Hold on a minute. Technically a Red Dot is a scope but you eliminate the associated problems with magnification. I would assume that you are not familiar with these Red Dots but they are great for handgun hunting. I have one on a .22 and .44 Rem. I can keep both eye open, superimpose the red dot on the target, squeeze and it's mine. 50yd. shots are not a problem with my .44 and took a squirrel at 80 paces. Again, no magnification and you can get on your target just like open sights or better. Just look at what the competative shooters are using. I have used Red Dots for better than ten years and have talked many a hunter into using them. All have been converted. Refer to older threads on this forum for additional information.

Oh yes, my eyes are not what they use to be. .... :rolleyes:

Roadapple Red
February 12, 2008, 03:04 PM
You shoot squirrel with a .44? I suppose it skins them at the same time!!:D:D

February 12, 2008, 04:59 PM
Another vote for the Red Dot. I've a old Contender,.44 Mag, 14 inch with Magnaporting. Shoots good. Taken quite a few deer and hogs with it over the years. Started off with the afore mentioned Leupold 2X EER but found the magnification of very limited value.

The ability to use both eyes and the unlimited eye relief is a real bonus. In fact I just bought one of the Aimpoint Micro's to try on it......that thing is small..............

February 12, 2008, 05:43 PM
Is there anything in the red-dot scopes to break? My buddy has one that is not mounted and he offered to let me try it on my new SW 460 - but I would rather not blow it up and have to replace it....

After all, if I ever break my leg at the bottom of the canyon, he is the one who will have to haul me out :D

February 12, 2008, 06:11 PM
As with all things parts can break but it's my experence that they are fairly tough.

I've got two OLD Tascos and two newer Bushnells. One of the Tascos must be close to 15 years old and has never missed a lick. The Bushnells come with a lifetime warrenty.

Other than keeping them clean the most important thing I can think of is to take the battery out at the end of the hunting season. And the batteries will last for years.......

On thing I do not like about the Bushnells is that they have a blueish tint to the glass that actually help with contrast in bright light but which makes them a bit agrivating to use late and early in the woods. As we hunt hogs in the thick stuff I prefer the clearer glass of the Tasco.

As I said I have a Aimpoint, a much more expensive thing than the others, but have not had enough experence with it to pass any useful judgment. Still they do have one heck of a good reputation over at Aimpoint so I expect it to work, and well.

One last thing. If you use glasses or contacts, which can make irons a bit dificult to focus on, the Red Dot solves that. Mount it as far forward as you can.

February 12, 2008, 09:02 PM
Actually there is much less inside to break as compared to a regular scope but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Basically you have a light beam that is cast onto a light sensitive lense and that is where you will see the dot. Had an old Pro-Point that had a bad ground, sent it in as it was new and that is the only physical problem that I had. These guys take a beating and not very expensive.
I used one on my slug gun and it held on point of aim, year after year. I own a total of six. One of the biggest problem I see, is the user problem.

1) Keep both eyes open to maximize your field.
2) Learn to squeez your trigger or you will pull the dot off the point.
3) Trust that when you put the dot on the target, it will hit no matter where the dot is in the dot screen.
4) Remember to turn it off when you leave the field.
5) Always take a spare battery with you even though one will last a season or two or more.
6) Trust, trust and trust .... ;)

February 14, 2008, 07:44 AM
IMO, red dots are the way to go with handguns--up close AND afar.

February 15, 2008, 06:57 PM
i use a S&W 617 with a 6 inch barrel and have the no tap weaver mount in place with a 2x silver burris on it. but with the mount i sometimes put a bushnell red dot with four reticals on it. they are both good for just about any thing i shoot with a .22. the red dot is good for groundhog and up sized animals. but the 2x burris is good for ground squirrels and rabbits where head shots are wanted. the red dots just cover up to much of a small animal at a distance. eastbank.

February 15, 2008, 07:16 PM
Bowhunter - You might take a look at the S&W 460. I just picked mine up yesterday. 8 3/8 in barrel. It is my new deer "rifle", and maybe elk this year (if we decide not to bow hunt elk).

One cool thing is it allows you to shoot .45 Colt (also called Long Colt), or the .454 Casull, or (of course) the .460.

Lots of flexibility.