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Old March 15, 2021, 08:00 PM   #1
Kreyzhorse
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Handgun Hunters

Howdy -

I just picked up a S&W 29-3 44mag. It's set up with a Leupold 2X scope and my very first shot with it at 7 yards was a dead center. The gun is accurate, set up perfectly and ready to shoot.

I picked this up as a much "needed" hunting hand gun. Whitetails and maybe a hog or two.

Anyone that hunts with a scoped handgun, any tips, pointers or whatever?
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Old March 15, 2021, 08:54 PM   #2
GeauxTide
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If you hunt hogs, ditch the scope. 40 yards is a long shot. If they find you after you shoot them, they'll charge and you don't want a scope it that situation.
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Old March 15, 2021, 09:02 PM   #3
shurshot
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Eye relief... give yourself plenty. Watched a buddy shoot a .35 Rem TC Contender off a rest about 3 decades ago. Gun fired, scope hit him under heavy recoil, layed him open like an overhand right from Mike Tyson... blood everywhere. He still has a half moon scar over one eyebrow.
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Old March 15, 2021, 11:07 PM   #4
NoSecondBest
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Ditch the scope. I’ve been hunting deer with a handgun for over forty years now. In that time I’ve shot around 70-75 deer. Back when I started I put a scope on a .44mag I had and very soon learned about all the problems a scope causes on a handgun. If you’re not looking through the center of the scope it “blacks out”. You simply can’t see through it until you center it with your eye. Your field of view is restricted depending on the magnification. Get a good quality red dot and never look back. Your comment about hitting at 7 yards is a bit ludicrous also for anyone thinking that’s a good distance to sight in at or determine that the gun is accurate. All of my hunting handguns now have red dots on them and with the correct load will shoot five shot groups of 1-1.5” at fifty yards off a rest. A red dot is not only very capable of allowing a gun to shoot small groups at distance, but it never “blacks out”, shows up in the dimmest of light, but is fast to acquire, and allows the maximum amount of field of view. There’s no downside to a red dot. Suggestion: try to develop shooting skills at least up to fifty yards with your handgun. That would be keeping all your shots inside 4” off some type of rest. Only shoot at ranges you can keep your shots in the kill area if you have to shoot off-hand. I’ve only ever lost one deer with a handgun, and that was with a full power 44mag. I simply made a bad shot. Over fifty of the deer I shot were shot with .357mags and none were lost. A bad hit with a 44mag won’t kill and a good hit with a .357mag always will. When you think about handgun hunting kind of think of it as something like bow hunting....stay in your comfort zone and don’t over extend your ability. Sometimes you just have to pass up a shot. good luck
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Old March 16, 2021, 02:52 AM   #5
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A 2X scope won't be so bad, but it wouldn't be my choice. Iron sights for me, scopes are too slow and have a limited field of view. If you're so far you need a scope to hit the game, you're probably shooting too far.
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Old March 16, 2021, 08:39 AM   #6
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My recommendation is to practice at the longest distance you feel comfortable shooting at an animal, and practice a lot. Then come hunting season that is your parameter. Stick to it. As for the scope, I'd shoot it for a while and see if you like it or not. Practice in low light as that is the most likely hunting scenario. If you can see clearly in low light and have no problem with the scope always coming in focus, you should be fine. Remember a deer in low light is harder to see than a white target when looking thru a scope. As for hitting yourself in the head with it....virtually impossible of you are shooting correctly. Some of us with aging eyes have a hard time picking up irons, so again, shoot it. Use appropriate hunting bullets and know how much they may drop in your preset distance limit. Personally, 70 yards is about all I will shoot with my 629 at deer.
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Old March 17, 2021, 12:21 AM   #7
bamaranger
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Ruger SuperB--10-1/4"

My Dad had a Ruger SuperB w/ 10-1/4" .44 that he equipped with a Leupold 2x. We shot a a club that had a trap range adjacent the 100 yd centerfire line. We'd scavenge clay birds from downrange of the trap houses, and set them up on edge on the 100 yd berm. Dad's big .44 could consistently bust clay birds at 100 yds (off sandbags) and was decidedly more accurate than a Win '94 in .44 mag that he also owned. Regrettably, neither of those guns are in my possession.
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Old March 17, 2021, 01:59 PM   #8
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I prefer irons on my 454/45 Colt, Ruger Super Redhawk.

So as to...hopefully, not pick up a flinch: I limit my round count to no more than 20 (full house) rounds, with the Redhawk; during each range session.

And I use padded recoil gloves, while having my wrists locked down at a 45 degree angle; so as to limit my ability to dip down (anticipation of recoil) with the pistol.
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Old March 18, 2021, 01:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Anyone that hunts with a scoped handgun, any tips, pointers or whatever?
A scoped handgun is at its best when fired from a rested position at stationary or slow moving targets. Deer from a tree stand, varmints from a rest, shooting sticks, or a braced field position and it does pretty well.

OFFHAND and at targets moving at speed, it pretty much sucks. I have scopes on my .22Hornet and .222 Contenders. I have a red dot on my .45-70. they work great, for single aimed shots.

None of my revolvers or semis (including my Desert Eagles) wear scopes. They could, but I choose not to. Iron sights are better for faster and repeat shots. They give the greatest possible field of view, which is very important for any shot where the target is moving faster than a slow walk.
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Old March 20, 2021, 07:34 AM   #10
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Thanks guys. I have a few open sight handguns that I've hunted with in the past but as I get older, my vision makes open sights a bit more difficult.

Where I hunt deer, any shots with it will be seated off a rest or well braced on a slow moving target.

We are talking about a handgun hunt for hogs this summer. Maybe I'd take the scoped S&W and the open sights Kimber 10mm and cover all of my bases.
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Old March 20, 2021, 11:07 AM   #11
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Open iron sights for me as well, ever since I owned my first rifle at 12 years old. Nailed my first deer with a bare-bones Marlin 30-30 lever action. Dropped him with a single heart-lung shot. If I'm not confident with my shot, I don't shoot. I never have wounded an animal. Just me though. Each to his/her own. What's a bluetooth?
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Old March 21, 2021, 06:58 AM   #12
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One thing about a scoped pistol is to watch out for moving through brush and getting the eyepiece full of snow. I’ve made this mistake a few times. I’ve also collected a bit of fall dried dead weed seeds and leaves.

Another problem is being out in severe cold and breathing on the cold cold scope glass and frosting it with frozen breath. I did this once cozied up in a natural ground blind.

If I was going out with a scope, I would bring an end cap for the eye piece and a soft brush for cleaning the rear glass. It’s stuff like that you don’t encounter at the range.

I hear you about eyes getting old, especially in early morning or late afternoon when the woods are getting dark.
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Old March 21, 2021, 07:44 AM   #13
Kreyzhorse
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Great advice Mr. Stinkeypete...
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Old March 21, 2021, 07:07 PM   #14
GJeffB
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stinkeypete said
Quote:
One thing about a scoped pistol is to watch ...
Anybody ever notice how easy it is to discern the replies from a BTDT guy vs a "I'd think it'd be best ..."? To be VERY clear, no disrespect to anyone's response.

pete just brought up practical aspects that many might not have considered. In keeping with my "read lot, speak little" philosophy ...

-jb, would not have thought of that
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Old February 2, 2022, 11:18 PM   #15
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I've used scopes on handguns and unless you use a rest, they suck. That being said, a red dot scope with no eye magnification works great on aimed or swing and shoot shots.

There are much smaller versions of red dot scopes than the one on my 44 Mag. Ruger Super Redhawk and they all work well.
I have a Sightmark Mini Dot on my Remington Versa Max shotgun, that I use for goose hunting and sportingclays. It allows for quick target acquisition and excellent follow up shots.

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Old February 3, 2022, 12:58 AM   #16
bamaranger
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Scopes and dots

Dots are likely the way of the future and once transitioned to using one can be amazingly fast and accurate. We see them now in LE and competition on both longuns and pistols and trained up, pretty much solve the old eyes problem at modest ranges. Scopes do indeed require some type of rested or braced position, but allow hits and precision at distances and small targets that are beyond the abilities of most of us with a handgun

Thing is, a scoped handgun robs convieniece and portability and likens to a mini carbine that is not nearly as stable as a stocked gun. When I finally set a pistol up for hunting, it will have a microdot.
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Old February 3, 2022, 02:36 PM   #17
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Thing is, a scoped handgun robs convieniece and portability and likens to a mini carbine that is not nearly as stable as a stocked gun.
This is true. However, from a rest, accuracy is as good as a long gun (if the shooter is) and on the move, the pistol is holstered. allowing both hands free, doesn't have the bulk of a carbine (even slung a rifle is longer and heavier) and runs about 2/3 to half the weight (or less) of a carbine.

The biggest, heaviest pistols are still shorter and lighter than the smallest, lightest carbines in the same power class.

There's no free lunch.

And, FWIW, the good advice about scope caps and a brush/cloth to clean the lenses apply to everything with a scope on it, not just handguns.
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Old February 3, 2022, 04:17 PM   #18
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The biggest, heaviest pistols are still shorter and lighter than the smallest, lightest carbines in the same power class.
Handguns are lighter, but even the most powerful handguns compare poorly to a very mild-powered rifles. People say "what about the 500 S&W?" and I say it's less powerful than a 30-30. Is that bad? No, just don't expect rifle performance out of a handgun. Even bolt action pistols that shoot rifle cartridges typically don't come close to rifle performance due to shorter barrels affecting velocity and therefore terminal performance. IMO, handgun hunting is kind of like archery hunting. If you are an advanced shooter and want to challenge yourself, go for it.
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Old February 3, 2022, 05:45 PM   #19
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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As my eyesight changed over the years so did my hunting tactics. I once had a Ruger RedHawk with Leupold 2-power LER. A true 100 yard shooter. I sold the gun and scope together one day. 3 years down the road I again yearned for another RedHawk. Bought another 44. No scope this time. I smoothed/polished its action. Wolf spring kit it. Shoots 210 gr cast propelled by 296 as well as the other did. No longer a shooter out to 100 yrds am I. (Although I probably could do off a sturdy fence post.) 50/60 yrds and closer is my now preferred open barrel sighted 44 mags range. A nice Spike or Y antlered is my choice these days. I rather enjoy tender on my plate than admire a chest mount 8 or 10s on the wall. Tools I use: Sig Sauer 202 Supreme 1/4 bore 06_/_ HK P7m8 under my coat. [Always.]
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Old February 3, 2022, 06:35 PM   #20
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There is a new match format coming up this year that will test the skill, speed and power of powerful hunting handguns. Scoped and Open sights...we will see what works best in a first of it's kind competition with some of the preeminent handgun hunters in the US.
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Old February 4, 2022, 01:39 PM   #21
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If you are hunting from a stand or a deer blind a 2X Leupold should work pretty nice.
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Old February 7, 2022, 04:19 AM   #22
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I have a Ruger SBH that is setup for a scope. At 1st I had a Burris 2-7×32 that I put on her. From a bench wile supported on bags I could shoot a 2" group at 100 yards using handloaded 240gr XTPs. I was young and dumb at the time and never fired it off my knee or off hand as I would in a hunting situation. I found out very quickly that the added weight of the scope made me shake way to much to be accurate in the field. Next I tried a red dot, once again I just wasn't accurate enough with aiming that dot at anything over 30 or so yards. Finally I just settled on a quality set of fiber optic sights, for me this was the way to go. I can now shoot a fist sized group out to 60 yards off my knee and can pretty consistently bust clay pigeons out to 100. Heck on a good day from a rest I've been know to go 4 or 5 out of 6 on milk jugs out to 250 and ring the 24" dong out at the 350 mark.

I'm not saying an optic won't work for you but I'd definitely practice real world shooting positions before taking it into the field, you may just find out you're more accurate without.
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Old February 14, 2022, 04:28 PM   #23
Paul B.
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The only scoped handgun I own is a TC Contender in 30-30 WCF. Scope is a 4X Leupold. I shot it just enough to sight it in. Its main use was as a demo of various handguns used for hunting in the Hunter Ed class I taught.
I've only so deer with a handgun mostly as they came as targets of opportunity during deer season and I had a tag. Probably the most "game" taken has been the jack rabbits and at one time I got good enough to hit them as far out as 100 yards. Both deer were take at 35 to 40 yards BTW.
I never really liked a scope on a handgun so all but the one mentioned have been shot with the iron sights. I just haven't shot them in some time as the arthritis in my hands, wrist and shoulder make them not much fun to shoot anymore.
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Old February 17, 2022, 04:58 PM   #24
HiBC
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I have an MOA Maximum 14 in bbl single shot handgun in 260 Rem. It wears a 4 X Leupold LER scope.
It flings 120 gr Ballistic Tips at approx 2600 fps.On a bench,it pretty much groups 5 shots on a quarter.

The MOA maximum lives up to its name.

Hunting rifle,,prone can have issues with vegetation. Sitting nearly always works.
With that handgun,I shoot "Laid back sitting" My butts on the ground.Handgun rests on my right knee. Right forearm rests on my thigh and the grip is just enough to control the gun in recoil.
Left elbow...I lay back and its on the ground.If needed,my left hand can support my head.

In that position,I can shoot nearly as well as I can with a rifle,no sling,7lbs,just plopping down.

200 yd clay birds are easy.

I will caution that if you try a similar position with a revolver,be aware of the cylinder gap gas leakage. I learned the hard way with my SBH. It will bite you through your pants.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bonus! Kentucky Ballistics,the guy who had his 50 BMG Serbu rifle come unglued,made a vid about recreating the kaboom.
Which led me to see another of his vids called "Elephant Pistol"

Is about an MOA Maximum handgun similar to the one mentioned above. This one has a 16 in bbl,a brake,and its in 375 H+H.
Mine is a 14 in in .260 Rem,but otherwise,same gun

https://youtu.be/qaS5puRKigs

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Old February 19, 2022, 11:22 AM   #25
Ole yeller
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I hunt whitetail deer with a Ruger .454 Casual with a red dot scope. Flipped her over on her back and slid backwards about 4 feet. I also use a Thompson Center Contender in .35 Remington with a 4 power scope for more open areas. Being in a treestand with a handgun is so much more comfortable to sit and
move around with a shoulder holster rather than an 8 pound shotgun or rifle.
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