I’ve read a lot about handgun hunting lately, and I must admit that I’m pretty interested in at least giving it a shot–pardon the pun.
I was recently checking out basspro.com, and I came across an article on hunting with handguns that piqued my interest. So, being that I have only bow hunted and rifle hunted up to this point, I was wondering where I should start. And then the following part of the article caught my eye:
The bigger cartridges definitely have an advantage. The .454 Casull, the .460 Smith & Wesson and the new .500 Smith & Wesson are great pistol cartridges — they have plenty of power and recoil, which can be painful and ruin novice handgun shooters.
It just so happens that I have a .454 Casull, and the recoil surely can be painful, but the good thing about the Casulls is that you can also shoot .45 Colt ammo, which don’t seem to pack as much of a punch, but still manage to get the job done. That’s what I love about mine anyway…although I don’t know how great mine would be for hunting, as I have a snub-nose 2 1/2-inch barrel. This pistol feels like it weighs as much as my .280, so I am not so sure this is the handgun I would choose to hunt with when I try it. Also, the article states that bolt-actions are the way to go, due to the fact that they are undeniably, according to the author of the article, the most accurate of all types of guns, and they are chambered in a “wide array of cartridges”.
As you could assume, whether you have a single-shot, bolt action, revolver or semi-auto handgun, caliber choice is extremely important for handgun hunting. “Any good rifle cartridge is a good choice for a handgun,” according to this article, and it goes on to discuss caliber options in detail. Additionally, optics are another topic covered in this article.
Adding a scope to your handgun not only ensures you will have a better view of what you’re aiming at, but it also adds mass to your handgun, which, in turn, will help offset any recoil. Apparently, getting used to having a scope on your handgun isn’t something that happens overnight for everybody, so there are three things that are emphasized more than anything: practice, practice and practice. There is never a such thing as practicing too much when you’re dealing with any firearm…or bow for that matter! It is also recommended that you practice shooting your handgun the way you would shoot it in the field.
There certainly are accessories out there that can help with comfort while shooting, such as aftermarket grips, and I will say that having cushy grips is a lifesaver on a hand cannon. So, if you aren’t sure if you want to spend the extra cash, then just find somebody who already has put money into accessories for their handgun first and ask if you can shoot theirs to feel the difference yourself. I can see where taking advantage of shooting range opportunities, such as shooting fundraisers, that allow a person to shoot several different types of guns could be beneficial to a potential first-time handgun hunter, I imagine.
So, from what I hear, regardless of what a hunter ends up using for their first handgun hunting experience, I hear that it is addictive, and they will probably end up handgun hunting moreso than rifle hunting. I suppose there’s only one way to find out if that’s true…
If you have any handgun hunting stories or tips, please share them! Good luck out there!
(Information by basspro.com; Cover photo: firingline.com)