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Old August 24, 2019, 05:49 PM   #1
Bowhunter57
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Handgun caliber and action choices for groundhogs?

I'm attempting to make a choice on a caliber (centerfire) and type of action (semi-auto or revolver), for hunting groundhogs and other similarly sized small game varmints. All shots will be inside 50 yards. Open sights and holographic sights are being considered.

Your thoughts and experiences are appreciated.

Thank you, Bowhunter57
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Old August 24, 2019, 05:56 PM   #2
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AR15 pistol in .223, works with either open or RDS.
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Old August 24, 2019, 07:43 PM   #3
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.22 TCM in a Rock Island 1911, or a 5.7X28 in an FN Five-Seven.
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Old August 24, 2019, 09:08 PM   #4
TXAZ
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50 yards at a groundhog? Anything bigger than a BB gun would work fine. What do you have?
(What do you want ?)

Use that.


(P.S. Groundhogs hit by a .50 BMG round at 100 yards explode)
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Old August 24, 2019, 11:45 PM   #5
NoSecondBest
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Over the last forty-plus years I've shot many hundreds (total unknown, but it's very high) of groundhogs with a variety of revolvers. Probably about 80-90% of them with a few different .357mag's. Most were shot with iron sights and I got to the point where I extended my range enough to have Bill Davis build me a couple of custom revolvers for long range shooting. Both of the guns he built for me would shoot ten shots into an inch at 50 yards with a rest. I have three SW 686's that are nearly as accurate as the custom built guns and they're totally stock guns. The point here is that you don't need a custom built revolver to shoot wood chucks at any range you can hit them at. Any .357mag load will easily kill a wood chuck at any distance you can hit them at. In addition, you can use that same gun to hunt deer with if you can keep the shot in the vitals. There's no magic to what gun you use/select, it's all about being able to shoot it well enough. I've taken over fifty deer with the .357mag, the same guns I shot wood chucks with. Just spend enough time shooting to develop the skills needed to make the shot.
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Old August 24, 2019, 11:48 PM   #6
Bowhunter57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAZ
What do you have?
(What do you want ?)
I don't "have" anything currently. However, I've had .357 Mag., 9mm, 44 Mag. and 45 acp. In the last decade, I've done more bow hunting and waterfowling. So, the handguns were replaced for "current interests".

* I'm leaning towards a 357 Mag., since I've had them before and am very familiar with its' ballistics abilities.
* However, a 10mm certainly would be a welcomed new comer, as a very capable cartridge. R.I.A. makes a very affordable 1911 that would get the job done, easily.
* Having said that....a 9mm would fit nicely into effectiveness for varmints. The newest M&P line with their 5.25" barrels produce 1" groups with 147gr. JHP ammo at 20 yards. Done it with a previously owned "service model" M&P.

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Old August 25, 2019, 12:55 AM   #7
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What handgun? Well, groundhogs are really not hard to dispatch. I used to shoot rockchucks (western version of groundhogs) with a Colt Army Special in 32-20, and it was good out to 100-ish yds. I used to shoot them with my Colt Python in 357 Magnum out to 100-ish yds. I used to shoot them with my Ruger Redhawk out to 100-ish yds. Even though they are kinda big and fat, they are hard to hit beyond 100 yds or so because your front sight starts to obscure them as you raise the muzzle to accommodate for drop, your eyes can't fix on that small of an object easily, and your ability to hold the shot starts to dwindle. So pretty much any handgun you pick will work, as long as it is accurate. So 22, 9mm, 357, 44, 500 S&W, makes no difference. The distance where the groups open beyond 4" is how far you can reliably hit them, and that's all you.
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Old August 25, 2019, 07:28 AM   #8
2damnold4this
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A .357 revolver is a very versatile handgun.

If you are willing to consider rimfire, you might like a Ruger Single Six in .22 magnum.
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Old August 26, 2019, 01:16 PM   #9
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"...ground hogs are really not hard to dispatch..." No but they can and will make it back underground to die a slow painful death if you don't hit 'em right. A body shot with a .22, for example. At 50 yards with a hand gun, a chuck's head is a small target.
What's your budget? A TC Contender within your budget? Gives you some versatility.
"...leaning towards a 357 Mag..." That'd do. You can use .38 Special or load .357's to .38 velocities. A cast bullet will do. You really don't need a jacketed bullet.
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Old August 26, 2019, 10:21 PM   #10
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back in the day

When I lived in country that had groundhogs (none here in AL much these days, 'yotes eat'em) for a while I had the handgun hunting bug and sallied forth to slay them with a 6" .357. First a Dan Wesson, 'till it broke, then a M-27, which I wish I still had.

Once the alfalfa got up high enough, one could slip along the field contours and get pretty close, and shots were 50 yds or so as the OP stated. At first I used .38 spl SWC's, then .357/125's, and when I got hired, issue ammo, .38/110 +P+. I also would set up in handgun range of known dens and just wait'em out. Shot best off some type of support, a fence post, hay bale, farm equipment.

In high clover, also used a Marlin lever carbine in .357, which I do indeed still have!
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