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Old August 4, 2007, 08:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 31, 2004
Location: The Toll Road State, U.S.A.
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New Rules re: calibers allowed for deer hunting are a little strange

This year the rules read:

Legal Means of Taking:

Rifles: Centerfire rifles firing at least a 55 grain weight soft-nosed or hollow-point bullet and having an overall cartridge case length of 1 1/4 inches or longer (9mm rifles are not legal). [....]
Muzzleloaders: .40 caliber or larger
Shotguns: 20 gauge or larger, firing a single rifled slug are legal
Centerfire Handguns: Chambered for .24 caliber or larger and 100 grain or heavier soft-nosed bullet having an overall cartridge case length of 1 1/4 inches or longer are legal (.357 or larger) [note: presumably they mean a case length the size of .357 magnum, though they didn't use the word "mag" there], and a minimum barrel length of four inches.
Semi-automatic handguns: Chambered for any centerfire ammunition with a 100-grain or heavier soft-nosed bullet and having a cartridge case size of .40 caliber or larger (includes 10mm, .357 sig, and .40 cal. or larger) , and a minimum barrel length of four inches.
Handguns chambered for any centerfire rifle ammunition: Chambered for any centerfire rifle ammunition using at least a 55 grain soft-nosed bullet and having an overal cartridge case length of 1 1/4 inches or longer and minimum barrel length of four inches.
Italics emphasis is mine, and brackets are added by me.

I find several things odd or worthy of comment here.

First thing that jumps out is that a .357 sig handgun is legal, but a 9mm rifle is illegal (nevermind that the 9mm rifle would be much easier to make accurate hits with, and have more power). But this idea is expanded on greatly below, when you stretch the rules to their logical conclusion....

Second, you can use a .223 rifle with a hollow point, but a .223 handgun must have a soft-point, not a hollow point. OK, that sounds reasonable, actually.

Now, to delve into this a little more, presumably, the "Centerfire handguns" section refers ONLY to centerfire *pistol cartridge* handguns, since there's a specific section pertaining to "centerfire rifle ammunition"-using handguns. You could use a round that is a .357 mag case necked to .243 in a handgun, as long as it had a 100 grain bullet. And they don't define precisely what IS a handgun chambered for centerfire *RIFLE AMMUNITION*. What is a "rifle round" and what is a "handgun round"? Evidently you can use a .22 hornet (being a rifle round), out of a HANDGUN, if you can manage to cram a 55 grainer into your handload, but you could NOT use:
-a .32 H&R magnum with a 110 grain bullet out of either a handgun or a rifle, since it is a pistol round with a case length less than 1.25", OR a
-.38 special, with a 158 or 180 gr bullet, out of a handgun or even a rifle, since the case length is only 1.155", OR even a
-.44 special, with a 250 or 300 grain bullet, out of a handgun or even a rifle, since the case length is only 1.16" and it's not a semi-auto handgun, and it's not a "rifle" round!

Also, in the section specific to semi-auto handguns, what exactly is ".40 caliber or larger" handgun round? We can safely assume they are referring to case size, not bullet size, since they use .357 sig as an example of a legal round, but does it mean case length or overall powder capacity? At first glance, you might think it means powder capacity, but no that cannot be the case, since, once again, a .357 sig has *slightly* less powder capacity than a .40, and yet it's specifically listed as legal. So then that must mean that the round has a case length the length of a ".40" (presumably they mean a .40 smith & wesson round). Well, a .40 s&w case is .850" long, so that must mean that a .38 super is ok, having a case length of .900. Also, since the requirement on semi-auto handguns has no minimum caliber size (only a minimum weight of 100 gr and minimum case length of .850), you can also use, apparently, a round that is a .40 s&w necked down to .30 cal (.308), using a 100 or 110 grain .30 carbine bullet. You could even use a round that is a .38 super necked down to .30 caliber, since a .38 super case is longer than a .40 s&w case, or for that matter a .38 special necked down to .30 caliber, *as long as* you can make it function in a semi-auto!

So the bottom line of absurdity here seems to be that you COULD use a .38 super round necked to .30 cal using a 100 gr bullet out of a 4" semi-auto handgun, or a .22 hornet with a 55 grain soft point out of a NON-semi-auto 4" handgun, BUT you can NOT use a .44 special in a 20" levergun loaded with 300 grain semi-jacketed or cast lead, wide meplat FN or HP bullets.

We're just not overly brainy down here in okie-homie, are we?

I know, too much caffiene.....

Last edited by FirstFreedom; August 4, 2007 at 10:07 AM.
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Old August 4, 2007, 10:13 AM   #2
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Join Date: June 19, 2005
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 3,482
Yeah, those rules aren't drafted very well. The focus seems to be on the caliber, except for the centerfire rifle (which is pretty wide open). They're clearly concerned with specific power (based on caliber) for the handguns, etc., although I don't necessarily agree with the standards!

So under those rules you can use a .40 S&W on deer, but not a .38 Super, correct?
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Old August 4, 2007, 03:15 PM   #3
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Join Date: July 25, 2007
Location: Clt, NC
Posts: 285
Strange Rules

Hey Folks: NC has rules that make little sense.
1. Must be larger than .28 cal.
2. Must be longer than 5 1/2" in .22 for small game: ie rabbit,squirrel, coon tttt

Now what makes this STRANGE; I can use my SW638 and hunt anything except
rabbit, squirrel, coon,ttt

For those that don't know; a 638 has 1 1/2" barrel .38 cal.
Basic premise: Any length hand gun above .28 cal.
Basic premise; Long gun? ground hog, varmint,?????????
beats the crap outa me

Now with confidence? I'll chase something?

Need to check into a Sling-shot deal.

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Old August 4, 2007, 04:03 PM   #4
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Join Date: August 31, 2001
Location: Grand Lake, OK
Posts: 658
Those are close to if not the same requirements given last year. Before that it was more clear but also more restrictive, basically the bottom limits were .357 mag or maybe 10mm depending on how it was written. I like the new language because for most common calibers it is cut and dry. I think that the examples you gave are not going to be all that common. Easier to follow the "spirit" of the law for sure. Plus it now gives me a legal basis for open carry in the woods with a gun that I would normally have to carry concealed.

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Old August 4, 2007, 04:05 PM   #5
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Join Date: January 12, 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,728
Neophyte, if you'll recheck the regs you'll see that they are even screwier than you think. It's actually a minimum .24 caliber handgun. Meaning you could potentially deer hunt with a .25ACP?


 During the open hunting season for rabbits, squirrels, opossums,
raccoons, furbearing animals and legal nongame animals and
birds, these species may be taken with a pistol of .22-caliber
with a barrel not less than 5.5 inches in length.
 A hunter or trapper lawfully taking wildlife by another method
may use a pistol to dispatch the animal or bird taken, except as
noted below.
 Pistols may not be carried during the bow-and-arrow and
muzzleloader deer hunting seasons.
 Deer, bear and wild boar may be taken with a handgun during the
established gun hunting season provided that the handgun is not
less than .24-caliber.Muzzleloading pistols are not legal for hunting.
 It is unlawful to hunt or take wild turkeys with pistols.
Funky huh?
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