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#3366889 - 09/20/13 06:37 AM Deer hunting with a pistol?
Buck Assassin
10 Point


Registered: 05/08/08
Posts: 2944
Loc: cocke county, TN

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I have always wanted to kill a deer with a pistol since I turned 18 but just never have. I want to try it this year but I have a few questions since I don't know a whole lot about pistols.

I have a Smith and Wesson model 10 revolver in 38 special. It's the only pistol I have besides a .22. Would a 38 have enough knockdown power to hunt with if I use a premium bullet? Im thinking I would have to keep my shots pretty close too?

I'm pretty sure Dad has a 357 he would let me borrow but I would really like to use my own equipment if I can. I can shoot my own pistol pretty accurately too.
Any feedback is appreciated!
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#3367232 - 09/20/13 10:32 AM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Buck Assassin]
pressfit
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 3083
Loc: Giles Co. Tn

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If i had to chose.. I'd pick the 22..lol.. a 38 for deer.. poor choice..he would have to be less that 10 yards before I would attempt it.. IMO.. save your money and buy a 44 mag.. that will drop them in their tracks.. I know.. I have done it before..
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#3367325 - 09/20/13 11:13 AM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: pressfit]
Rubberduck270
10 Point


Registered: 11/01/10
Posts: 2732
Loc: Lawrence Co.

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Even with a +P round, I don't think the 38 special is enough for deer. Sure, it MIGHT kill one if it were dang near point blank but anything over 25 yrds would be risky for the animal. Borrow your Dad's 357 and find a hot round for it or buy a larger caliber gun intended for hunting.
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#3367787 - 09/20/13 04:38 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Rubberduck270]
Kimberman
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Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 3489
Loc: Knoxville

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IMO a 357 Mag with heavy bullets should be the minimum for deer. I have finished off a couple of wounded deer with a 45 ACP, and was not impressed. No way a 38 should be used IMO.
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#3367929 - 09/20/13 06:58 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Kimberman]
Buck Assassin
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Registered: 05/08/08
Posts: 2944
Loc: cocke county, TN

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Ok thanks guys! Just what I needed to know! I thought it might be to small but I wanted to get some opinions first. I think I might have solved my problems though! I have a 44 mag located. I will probably be posting a question about it pretty quick! thanks guys!
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Round here we follow the motto "K.I.S.S" KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!


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#3367965 - 09/20/13 10:25 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Kimberman]
Deer Assassin
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Registered: 08/01/03
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Loc: Kingston Springs

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 Originally Posted By: Kimberman
IMO a 357 Mag with heavy bullets should be the minimum for deer. I have finished off a couple of wounded deer with a 45 ACP, and was not impressed. No way a 38 should be used IMO.


been there witnessed it

if i hadnt i wouldnt believe it


i have killed a few with 180 sjhp over max blue dot 1200 fps give or take 50 fps

shot one 47 yds bullet in offside shoulder retained 147gns

44 will no doubt get it done
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#3367979 - 09/20/13 10:38 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Deer Assassin]
mr.big
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Registered: 01/03/01
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I would take a 45 LC over a 44 RM any day,,you can get serious horse power from a modern action 45LC,,I would like a 1894 lever and Ruger Blackhawk in 45LC and see if I could get a load to work in both weapons,
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#3367984 - 09/20/13 10:42 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Kimberman]
7mm08
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Registered: 09/12/07
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 Originally Posted By: Kimberman
IMO a 357 Mag with heavy bullets should be the minimum for deer. I have finished off a couple of wounded deer with a 45 ACP, and was not impressed. No way a 38 should be used IMO.


Which brings up an interesting question....I will be deer hunting this fall in an area that has LOTS of hogs. If one of those smelly thick haired "crack acting" hogs comes at me will a 45ACP stop it and what ammo is best suited for that IF you say you were not impressed when you finished off a deer. Find a .454 Casull and carry it?
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#3368588 - 09/21/13 12:38 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: 7mm08]
Kimberman
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Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 3489
Loc: Knoxville

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I was using the 230 gr +p Win Ranger T series, which is the Black Talon bullet at a published 990 FPS. IMO a good self defense bullet isn't what you want in a handgun hunting bullet. Penetration is a good thing, especially with something with thick hide and fur. Double Tap makes a couple of 45 ACP hunting loads, one is a 230 gr +p controlled expansion, the other is a cast 255 gr lead bullet.
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#3372930 - 09/24/13 06:44 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Kimberman]
Hunter 257W
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Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3040
Loc: Franklin County

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 Originally Posted By: Kimberman
I was using the 230 gr +p Win Ranger T series, which is the Black Talon bullet at a published 990 FPS. IMO a good self defense bullet isn't what you want in a handgun hunting bullet. Penetration is a good thing, especially with something with thick hide and fur. Double Tap makes a couple of 45 ACP hunting loads, one is a 230 gr +p controlled expansion, the other is a cast 255 gr lead bullet.


Did you recover those bullets from the wounded deer to see how they behaved? It's hard for me to believe that they expanded to such a degree that they didn't penetrate well into the vitals of such a lightly boned animal as a deer. Unless you had to take a raking shot from behind maybe? Everything I've ever seen from handgun bullets shows that you are always struggling to get enough expansion rather than trying to control it. Certainly from the low velocity cartridges such as the 45 ACP with 225-230 grain bullets. For humans or deer - both of which are about the same size. Not trying to say you are wrong here but interested in hearing more.

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#3372989 - 09/24/13 07:33 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Hunter 257W]
Kimberman
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Registered: 10/30/05
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Loc: Knoxville

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Model70man has them somewhere.(it was his deer) The fact that all were recovered from the neck of the deer, from a distance of about 10 feet tells me that they didn't penetrate worth a crap. No raking shots, no funny angles.
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#3373025 - 09/24/13 07:57 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Kimberman]
Model70Man
12 Point


Registered: 09/30/05
Posts: 6739
Loc: Knoxville, TN

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I have the recovered bullets and will post pics tomorrow.
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#3373041 - 09/24/13 08:08 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Model70Man]
Deer Assassin
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Registered: 08/01/03
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Loc: Kingston Springs

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that deer had a lot of adrenalin flowing through it

no way those bullets shouldnt of passed through
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#3373149 - 09/24/13 09:25 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Hunter 257W]
tn gunman
4 Point


Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 143
Loc: Middle Tn Humphreys Co

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I have killed 2 with a 10mm auto. The pistol was a Kimber 1911 with a 5" barrel. Both were with hand loads Max charge of Blue dot with 180g hornady xtps. 1250 +or- Fps range, The first was complete pass through, the shot went behind the shoulder facing me and through the opposite side. The other went through the shoulder facing me and through the opposite shoulder the bullet ended up lodged under the hide on opposite shoulder. Both deer were average sized does standing broadside between 40 to 50 yards. Note this load is no were near as anemic as factory loaded 10mm ammo it is a true full power load. Hornady xtps at these speeds will most definitely open up and do the trick on deer. My advice to any one thinking of hunting with a pistol is use quality full power loads ammo selection is key.
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#3373691 - 09/25/13 10:00 AM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: tn gunman]
Hunter 257W
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Registered: 10/04/12
Posts: 3040
Loc: Franklin County

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I'm interested in seeing those bullets. It is surprising that they didn't even penetrate the neck. That certainly does suggest a bullet that is pretty soft if it failed to punch through the neck bones.

Also I think Deer Assassin makes a good point about the effect of adrenalin on a deer that had already been shot and was then approached within 10 feet by a human. They can become almost bullet proof at that point. The doe I had to shoot 3 times with my 460 Weatherby to keep her down proved that. 1st shot hit behind the back rib broadside as she was trotting. (Admittedly this was not desirable as it's not a quick killing shot being a gut-shot.) Next 2 bullets hit in the classic behind-the-shoulder area. Each shot causing her to fall. But she got back up each time and continued to trot away. Even got up after the 3rd hit and wobbled while I groped for another cartridge then fell and died.

I had to finish off a 3 yr old buck a few years back that I spine shot with my 25-06. My 2nd shot hit him in the shoulder from about 75 yards with a 115 grain Ballistic Tip with no effect at all. I quickly put the next shot through the base of his neck and he dropped instantly. Point being that once they are hit, they feel practically nothing.

But back to handgun bullets for deer. My idea of the ideal handgun bullet is a cast bullet with a wide flat nose (meplate). The flat nose gives a good energy transfer but the lack of a hollow point and relative toughness compared to a soft cored jacketed bullet will give good dependable penetration. I would also recommend at least .40 caliber with the 41 & 44 Magnums and 45 Colt being my personal choices.

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#3387484 - 10/04/13 09:34 AM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Hunter 257W]
Dewey606
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Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Cheatham Co., TN

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I agree with Hunter above. I use .41 Rem Mag and .45LC I pour and load myself. Hard cast semi wadcutters.
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#3399112 - 10/12/13 10:11 AM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Dewey606]
southernhunter
8 Point


Registered: 09/08/10
Posts: 1807
Loc: alabama

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I thought a 357 mag pistol wasn't legal according to tn's hand gun rules .
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#3399490 - 10/12/13 05:03 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: southernhunter]
Deer Assassin
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Registered: 08/01/03
Posts: 86614
Loc: Kingston Springs

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no caliber limit on handguns and rifles with centerfire ammo


http://www.tn.gov/twra/huntweapons.html
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#3399665 - 10/12/13 07:18 PM Re: Deer hunting with a pistol? [Re: Deer Assassin]
southernhunter
8 Point


Registered: 09/08/10
Posts: 1807
Loc: alabama

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Ok thanks . Some reason I was thinking the was a 40 caliber limit on hand guns , sorry .
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