View Full Version : 45acp for hunting?

July 30, 2001, 10:09 PM
with either hard cast lead bullets or heavier construction hollow points(xtp's?) can a 45 acp used to humainly take deer sized game at under 65 yards?

July 30, 2001, 10:15 PM
I would say no. Some other yahoo will no dobt have a "Now this ain't no -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-!" story about how they took one from over 100 yards with an old WWII Government Model they found in Gramps closet, but that doesn't mean it happened or that you should try it.:barf:

July 30, 2001, 10:16 PM
It doesn't mean that it didn't happen either. You still shouldn't do it.

Jody Hudson
July 30, 2001, 10:25 PM
Head Shots YES.

Body shots, Not Likely, get ready to travel 'cause you are likely to have a half a mile to three miles of hard tracking ahead of you.

Head Shots; the pros (make that full time poachers) usually use a .22 hollow point. Usually a target pistol or old rifle so that they don't look like poachers and because the .22 head shot drops nearly every deer in it's tracks. They are NOT sport shooters they are Meat Hunters.

We grew up hunting for table food only. I was 18 before I heard of people making more than one shot or shooting for the chest. I couldn't and still don't understand it. I consider chest shooting cruel, inhumane, and too likely to waste the meat by losing the game.

Get close, shoot for the center of the brain, and use what you can do that with. Most likely a rifle. For chest shooting, I'd go with a .50 BMG hollow point. :rolleyes:

Ala Dan
July 30, 2001, 11:22 PM
Greeting's All;

I'd have to agree with my friend blades, on this one. Most likely
it does occur; really how wide spread, no one knows for sure?
But, I do not think the .45ACP round was made for hunting anything but BG's!!!:D:) Just my opinion folk's.

Ala Dan, Life Member N.R.A.

July 31, 2001, 12:04 AM
Was just looking at some trajectory and ballistics charts.

45 ACP is too heavy and too slow to effectively use past 40 yards. At about 50 yards, it drops a whopping 6".

10mm yes.
357 mag yes
40 something mag - yes.

9/40/45 - heck no! Not even 45Super!

Maybe 40Super?

July 31, 2001, 12:12 AM
For game that you can take relatively close shots, like hog hunting, the .45 ACP can do the job with well placed shots. For deer, there are superior calibers that are more humane.

I kow some folks that have hunted with the .45 ACP cartridge and taken game. They went for head shots and mainly hunted for 'stealth'. In essence, they wanted to be more quiet and get as close to the deer as possible. If they couldn't get within 20-30 yards, they would not take a shot.

It's not recommended for anything over 30 yards. There are better handgun calibers that are suited for hunting deer.

Moving to the hunt'n forum.

July 31, 2001, 02:36 PM
Some states -- Virginia is one -- require minimum muzzle energy standards for handgun hunting. When I last checked, standard pressure .45 ACP loads did not meet this requirement.

July 31, 2001, 06:24 PM
GA is another with a power floor. The GA Arms .357 hunting load (158 grain @ 1475 fps from 6" bl, IIRC) is the minimum load. Has to produce over 500 ft-lbs of energy @ 100 yards; even some .41 Magnum loads don't make it.

OTOH, when I was younger and lived in AL- where any centerfire is legal for deer- I carried CorBon 230-grain Gold Dots in my Glock 21, for those times when I could stop on my way home, and spend a few minutes hunting. Don't know that I would be willing to do it again, except at very close ranges, or in a survival scenario.

August 1, 2001, 07:52 AM

i have hunted deer at close range (25 yards or so) with 45 acp plus p... with a heart lung broadside hit... an animal will run about 30-40 yards and expire...

for more range... i would consider 45 super express... a 200 gr express round will move out @ 1300fps... with muzzle energy of over 500 ft.lbs @ 100 yards... that's out of a 6 inch tube... the conversion is cheaper that buying a new firearm... and it is my understanding that it is a legal hunting round in all 50 states...

regards... v.

Art Eatman
August 1, 2001, 08:44 AM
I have commented before that a bad hit from a .30-'06 is more likely to stop an animal than a bad hit from a .243 or .223.

The same holds true for pistols. Further, it takes a higher skill level with a pistol, to be able to pretty much *guarantee* a killing shot, rather than a bad hit.

If one is a still hunter or a walking hunter, a high level of skill is needed just to ensure that any shot is taken within an effective range for a killing shot, within the "energy limits" of the cartridge.

$0.02, Art

August 1, 2001, 02:20 PM
Curious as to the energy delivered by a "standard" arrow. & before anybody starts, I'm aware of the different penetration characteristics.

Still, a handgun round (unless of the TC-class +/- rifle cartridges or a CNS hit) kills just as does an arrow - by hemorage. By some's definition, any standard pistol or archery could be deemed as "unsuitable" as they don't "drop 'em in their tracks." Food for thought ....

I could see using a .45ACP for deer IF one was to exercise the disipline to hold the shot unless presented with one "w/in range" & that would be pretty close in my book.

As with archery, I'd think your tracking skills ought to be up to par to deal with a critter that's liable to walk a ways.

IIRC, CO has a min floor of factory-rated 550 ft lbs at 50 yds & 6mm + for caliber, 4" bbl or better. .357 mag doesn't cut it & 10mm's right at the bottom.

Art Eatman
August 1, 2001, 04:47 PM
Labgrade, am I correct in my understanding that a modern broadhead arrow which is legal for deer hunting causes much more hemorrhage than would most pistol bullets?


August 1, 2001, 07:40 PM
Actually, Art, I didn't consider that at all. I'd suspect you're correct. CO's got a 7/8" wide cutting plane minimum for broadheads, most are a bit wider + many have a 90 degree insert.

I'll buy your implied argument I'm thinkin'. Still, I'd counter (not arguing, mind you) that a .45ACP could be used humanely & properly sporting IF the person understood the overly limited potential & acted accordingly.

All-in-all & personally, I'd pass. Too many better cartridges out there to do it better.

August 1, 2001, 08:00 PM
It would be a bad idea to do that with a pistol. 65 yards is a little far to be sure of accuracy (at least for me). The possibility of just "winging it" is too high. Maybe closer, like 25 yards. There is no doubt you could kill it, but maybe not humanely. If you had a Marlin .45 ACP Camp Carbine, yeah. It would give you better accuracy and much more velocity. But you should limit it to about 75 yards. Using a .45 ACP semi-auto pistol to deer hunt is ununsual and probably not a good idea, unless the deer is virtually on top of you, or right underneath you.

Jody Hudson
August 1, 2001, 08:29 PM
Agreed on the arrows not dropping a deer it's tracks.

My only deer killed with an arrow, I killed with head shots as well.

I have only hunted from a tree stand a couple of times and HATED it for the hunting aspect. However tree stands are one of the best places on earth watch the dawn and rising sun and to have coffee and breakfast.

I preferred stalking, or still hunting, or what ever they call it these days. I call it just sneaking up on the deer (I used to run up on them but this old body won't let me do that any more).

As far as distance with a .22, .38, .45, or .700 magnum express -- I am opposed to most of the "expert" distances quoted. The distance has some relation to penetration and energy of course (still talking head shots here) but the ONLY input for distance shooting that makes sense to me is "how far away can you consistently hit the exact target based on your practice and experience". If you can reliable hit a silver dollar at 50 yards with your .45, one hand standing in timed fire, as my old shooting buddy could... Then certainly 50 yards is not too far. If you can't hit a bull in the butt with from a sand bag at 30 yards with a rifle then you need to get closer and practice more. :)

August 2, 2001, 06:17 AM
good morning...

folks deerhunt with all sorts of weapons... slug guns... high-powerd rifles... pistols... muzzle loaders... muzzle loading handguns... bows... and crossbows... should we be telling folks what they should be hunting with? after all... we have chuck schumer and dianne finestine and sara brady to do that...

it seems to me that a hunter's skill with the weapon is at least as importiant if not more importiant with than the weapon it's self...

just my thoughts...

regards... v.

Dave McC
August 2, 2001, 09:01 AM
I've finished off cripples(by other folks) with my GM, and do not regard it as a humane and certain killer in the field over 25 yards. Here in Md, it's below the threshold of legal power.

I also used a 357 Blackhawk with 7 1/2" bbl (legal) to put a 146 gr Speer in the shoulder crease of a meat doe, maybe 20 yards and still. With one of my hunting arrows,a slug, or a ball from a M/L, that placement would have resulted in a bloodtrail of less than 100 yards. Doe died 1/4 mile away, and the trail was sparse in places. Perfect placement, no exit wound.

IOW, not the best choice, and not even a good one...

Art Eatman
August 2, 2001, 11:03 AM
V-MAX, I don't think we're actually *telling* anybody to do anything. I think the point is a fair-chase, clean kill. Ethics and morality of the hunt.

The consensus seems to be that while certain things CAN be done, possibly or probably they SHOULD NOT be done--strictly within our own moral context as hunters.

My father told me the story of a one-armed guy who showed up at a hunt with a S&W K-38. The rancher was dubious. The guy shot at a 100-yard target and put six holes in about a six-inch circle. He commented that he never shot at a deer over 30 to 40 yards away. Lots of agreeable nods...

I guess my attitude is that folks can do what they want, how they want--but some of them just might not be welcome in my hunt camp.

:), Art

August 2, 2001, 07:38 PM
mr eatman...

ethics? morality?

when i was a child... in the late 50's... my great uncle... (a combat vet of w.w. 1...) taught me to kill whitetail with a 22. rifle... since that time i have been less than receptive to folks who insist that you need a bazooka to deer hunt... frankly... it is.................................. incorrect...

this evening... i had venison... baked potato... corn-on the cob... and red wine... (by the way... kikkoman steak sause is great with venison... ) the main course was courtesy of my ruger p-97 and **one** 185 gr corbon-plus-p round... the animal was killed with one shot... at about 25 yards... she ran 30-40 yards... laid down and died... she weighed around 150 lbs... and when i split her breast plate... and examined her internal organs... they appeared healthy... the slug traveled about 18 inches inside her chest cavity... destroyed a lung... and her liver... she had massive internal bleeding and organ failure and died quickly... humane?? the p.e.a.t.a. folks say no...................... you tell me mr. eatman...

as to your hunt camp... hunt camps are a part of the reason i started hunting with a . 45 acp... i own a fair amount of land... and each deer season... i have a lot of folks poaching on my land... they wear only cammo and tend to avoid land owners... i started hunting with a 45 because i didn't want to accidently shoot one of the fools...

good hunting mr. eatman...

regards.... v.

Al Thompson
August 2, 2001, 08:37 PM
V-Max, apparently you have not read much on our topics. Essentially, Art and I feel that a swift quick and clean death is something the hunter owes the game. You are able to do this with your chosen load and firearm.

Many folks are not able to duplicate this feat of arms. These folks are not into firearms and flat do not have the skills. Most of the members here do, but neither Art or I recommend small calibers when larger calibers are available.

One problem is defining "Deer". My neck of the woods, deer can range from 75 pounds to 175. Adequate for one is not adequate for the other.

Please check your email.


Art Eatman
August 2, 2001, 10:25 PM
V-MAX: In a sense, you're making my point for me. You have developed a particular level of skill that is nowhere near universal. That is something that none of us old-timers and quasi-experts here can ever forget: We can't let newbies believe that there is little effort needed to achieve these skill levels.

I started out in the cedar brakes of the central Texas hills. After the Army, I ratted around in a good bit of Florida swamp. Now, I play on a couple of hundred thousand acres of desert. After 60 years of shooting and 50 years of reloading and deer-hunting, there is a lot of stuff that's easy for me. Heck, it's SUPPOSED to be easy for me, after that many years!

My first deer was a very patient doe who waited for me to blast the white spot with a .222, from maybe 25 yards. Today, I'd call that easy pistol distance.

Nowadays I walk and hunt. These mule deer will commonly dress out 150 and more. I have seen them take a solid hit from an '06, 100 yards, and look rather insulted. And when you jump one from his bedroom, he's in fifth-gear overdrive and full throttle. Pistols? .22s? Even a .243 is marginal, unless you can hit the neck of a running deer at 75 to 150 yards.

Sport hunting: My definition is really simple. If you have enough income to buy food from the store, the fact that you're a natural food freak and prefer deer and quail and such doesn't matter. You're a sport hunter , just by definition. Deer, javelina, quail, dove, mountain lion--best food there is! I love 'em! But I'm still a sport hunter; I don't have any dire physical need for food from the hunt, not when I've got cash and the Safeway is open.

So what makes homo sap superior to animals? The very concept of morals and ethics when dealing with animals. They don't have rights, but I have responsibilities. I owe it to Bambi that it be a clean kill. Just as I owe it to my cows that the pasture isn't over-grazed and any injuries are treated.

So that's sorta where I'm coming from in my comments in this Forum. I'll never let up on morals and ethics--but I never ask others to do more than I do. Seems fair to me.

Some folks have called me a Right-Wing Hippie, which ain't all that far off; others, a grumpy Libertarian. Well, I wouldn't call Jesse Helms a Communist, but he's purty danged liberal...

Enjoy that deer meat. I got a few recipes of my own.

:), Art

August 3, 2001, 12:20 AM
Talk about patient deer!

I had several clear-easy- shots on deer that I did not take, out of inexperience, before I dropped a hammer on my first deer.

From the hip. Yes, he was fairly close! Y'all seen the part in The Patriot where Mel eeeeases around the tree to ambush the Redcoats? Well- slow that down to about 1/15 speed, and that was me, bringing that double barrel up with the buck facing me.

(I asked my brother: Is he big enough?

What did you want, a moose? he replied. :D)

I'm no great shakes with a pistol, but today, I could put a slug from my Glock 23 right under his jaw at that range- but if I use a pistol to take any deer down in 'Bama this year, it'll be a .41.

Yeah, on a good day, I can be good. Single shot on 3" target at 30 yards good.

What if it's a bad day?

The game shouldn't have to suffer just because I shook, there was an ammo variation, or the earth moved. I'll take the extra power, weight, and penetration just in case.

Art Eatman
August 3, 2001, 09:18 AM
Back when I was a kid, my uncle--disliking horses--worked his cattle with an old WW II Harley Davidson. ("The thing about the bike is, if you ain't working it, you ain't feeding it.") He carried a 1911 in a GI holster, on the handlebar.

He rode up toward a nonchalant little buck, one day, and proceeded to collect him with the .45. He cast his bullets of pure lead, and his comment was, "I guess that ol' bullet just sorta wrapped around him."

Of course, this was a fella who could spin clothes-pins on a line, with a Lilliput .25...

:), Art

August 6, 2001, 01:28 PM
Art: I'm almost afraid to ask but...what does mountain lion taste like?

August 6, 2001, 02:28 PM
A .45 ACP will work for deer, if you're careful about shot placement. 65 yards is further than I would take a shot, since field conditions are less ideal than what you'll find on a pistol range.

People have been taking deer for thousands of years with bows and arrows; if what amounts to a sharpened stick works, then a 230 grain JHP will certainly work, as long as it goes in the right place.

August 9, 2001, 01:34 PM
As many have said, I think that given the limitations of the cartridge (energy) and most individuals (accuracy), I would not recommend such an ambitious attempt- 45 acp at +- 65 yards. Shot placement is most important but does not, in my opinion, eliminate choosing an adequate caliber/energy combination.

I have taken whitetail with nearly every handgun in my collection from 9mm to 45 WM, and many in between- including 45 acp. The only handguns of mine without a deer to their credit are those I have not taken afield, and I have yet to lose an animal. In my state, the requirement is a meezly 350 lbs. of muzzle energy, .23 caliber or larger and I intend to harvest an animal with every variant that I legally and ethically can. One must be judicious in their ammunition selection in order to meet even this lenient requirement (I use only factory ammo, no handloads).

Obviously, I practice whenever I can and would not consider attempting a shot beyond my abilities or those of the firearm/cartridge. Needless to say, I have passed on many opportunities others may have attempted. I encourage others to practice shots similar to what they will encounter in the woods and to expect their group size in the field will usually double or triple what they enjoy at the range. So a 1" group would grow to 2" or 3"- I would consider that OK, but a 4" group would grow to 8" or 12" and would be unacceptable on deer sized game at ANY distance.

Suffice to say that this is all relative. My deer taken with a 45 acp was taken at 35 yards, trotting down a slope and fell with one shot- she weighed almost 120 lbs, dressed out, which is a decent size doe in my area. I believe that that distance would be about the extreme I would attempt on game with that pistol, although I can routinely place all my shots with my 45 (at the range) in a 6" group at 100 yrds, with iron sights. The animals I harvest are almost always relaxed, walking or standing, and completely unaware of my presence- which I am sure has a lot to do with my success.

Some of my tactics/anecdotes may sound foolish to some and tame to others, but I have developed a skill and comfort level within the legal limits and enjoy humanely harvesting game in the field that my family and I then enjoy on the table.

Once again, I agree with the other folks here that you owe it to the animals and yourself to harvest them in the most efficient, safe, humane, and legal manner possible. Whether you accomplish that with a bow, muzzle loader, handgun or large caliber rifle does not matter- just use what works for you. Good luck and happy hunting!


Art Eatman
August 10, 2001, 01:44 PM
Atticus, Lion meat is really tender, lean, and "sorta" sweet. Just a hint of sweet. The particular lion we knoshed on was a bit young, so it was more of a comparison to veal than beef. :)

"Aw, Hell, it was just GOOD!"


August 11, 2001, 01:50 PM
I intend to harvest an animal with every variant that I legally and ethically can.

Is that why your use the username "Harvester"?

I agree with the other folks here that you owe it to the animals and yourself to harvest them in the most efficient, safe, humane, and legal manner possible.

Absolutely right! Hunters must have ethical standards. If not, we risk giving the anti-hunting crowd ammo to revoke our age-old pasttime from our children.

But our standards shouldn't just stop with how we kill the animal. It sickens me how some hunters improperly dispose of deer parts. If a hunter can take the time to hunt, he should take the time to properly dispose of the remains of the deer. I think I will add a new thread for this subject.

August 13, 2001, 09:34 AM
Yep- you are correct, Sir! That is exactly what inspired my OnLine identity.

You are also right-on about holding every aspect of 'the hunt' to the same high standards. I strive to leave any location I frequent BETTER than how I found it. Not all, but a few areas I hunt I actually take it ALL with me when I leave- entrails, etc. The places I do leave those remains for consumption by the 'locals', I do so very judiciously.

I also am a big fan of supporting one of our charities, 'Hunter's for the Hungry', who accept venison donations to feed the homeless, etc. If you donate an entire animal you incur no charge for it's processing and they feed the hungry! I have all the fun, cull the heard, and someone else benefits from the excellent nutrition. I am not sure if ihave mentioned it before, but I am also an advocate of herd management- more specifically reducing the number of does.

I figure if I take out a mature doe, I have just eliminated her and her one or two fawns... (the offspring she would birth next year) much more efficiently managing the grossly overpopulated deer herd. Happy harvesting!