Sniper Country Duty Roster collective wisdom

Handguns - Choosing one:

I'm looking for info on handguns. I would be using it mostly for target shooting and plinking. Self defense is really a non-issue, since the Sheriff's Dept in my county will not issue CC permits, not that that anyone needs one, your more likely to get hit by lightning than a bullet where I live.

Iíd pretty much settled on an HK USP 40; Iíve heard nothing but good things about them. The only problem is I'd like to be able to take what ever I get with me deer hunting. Iowa allows you to carry both handgun and shotgun, but you can only use one per animal. I seem to have a knack for having deer run right up to me, and a fast moving deer at 15-30yds is not a very good application of a single-shot scoped shotgun. While the 40 s&w is a legal round, a friend used it this year and it took a total of 9 shots to bring down a small doe. The first only dropped it because it hit the spine, the other 8 were to keep from getting kicked while he was tagging it, he said he'll never try that again. Also Iíve heard that the .40 is not really an inherently accurate round and others are preferred for target shooting.

I'm new to shooting in general, and even newer to handguns. I've shot a 357 mag revolver with a 6" barrel and an S&W Sigma in .40 s&w. I think I'd prefer an automatic to a revolver. Also keep in mind that I'm talking short range only, 15-50yds. I'll be packing a scoped shotgun that puts 3 shot groups into 1" at 50yds so I'm not going to be taking any long shots with a handgun.

I realize that I may have to just buy two guns if I want an auto for target/defense and still want one for hunting. But, Iíve got a limited budget of both time and money. I thought it would be both cheaper and wiser to buy one gun and get really good with it.

Requirements are .357 or larger caliber and min 4" barrel. I am considering 357 mag, 10mm auto, 41 r Iívag, 44 mag, 45ACP.

What feedback can I get on the 10mm and what pistols are chambered for that round. I've only found Colt Delta Elite and Glock 20. Does any one know of any others? How would performance compare to the others? Is the 10mm a good round for target shooting? Does anyone have any experience with either?

What would the general recommendation be on 45ACP in that application, I don't think it is normally used for hunting, how would it perform, worse than the .40?

Iím also considering S&W Revolvers for the magnum cartridges since MR's Desert Eagle is not an option; I can just barely reach the trigger on the thing. Iíve heard the 41 mag is the best compromise between the 357 and the 44, Flat shooting and accurate with plenty of punch. Any feedback and/or suggestions?

Sorry for the long-winded handgun post, but I figured one big one would be better than 32 little ones as everyone asked me a bunch of questions I could have answered the first time. ;-)

Tim <>
Fairfield, IA, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 13:16:46 (ZULU) 

Tim in Fairfield,

re: 40 cals and accuracy. The .40 cal does indeed have a reputation for inaccuracy. It comes from the fact that the early .40 cals were simply bored up 9mm guns and were not optimized for .40 caliber rounds. There is no inherant reason that a .40 cal would be any less accurate than a 9mm or a .45 ACP. My stock Berreta 96FS routinely does 2-3" groups at 50 feet. I even had a guy at the range disbelieve that I was using a .40 because of that accuracy (I had to proove it. He probably still thinks I was cheating somehow.) With any round, it's 90% the quality of the shooter which decides accuracy.

re: Hunting handguns. Forget the auto for hunting. I know that people do it, some even successfully, but don't. With hunting you have more at stake than simply getting a deer to die. If you are conscientious hunter, you will also want to do it cleanly and quickly, and you will not need to chase a wounded animal for three miles just because you don't have the accuracy or firepower to make a good kill.

If you want a good combination of firepower and accuracy, then you should consider a good revolver. A Ruger Blackhawk or Redhawk in 44 Mag can be had for about $400. Both will beat the accuracy of nearly any sub $2000 auto (my .45 Colt RH does 1.5" groups at 50'), and the .44 mag is probably a minimum caliber for reasonably sized deer. (a .40 cal is deffinately too light.) A revolver will be easier to maintain in field conditions as well. You don't need the advantage of a magazine load for deer. Unless you really piss them off and they organize an ambush against your party. "Charlie Six, Charlie Six, we need dust off immediately, we've gor deer in the wire..."

Remember, if you hunt, you have a resposibility to do it properly. Anyone can plug 28 rounds into an animal to kill it. But that's just irresponsible shooting. If you don't have the shot, don't take it, and if you do, drop him cleanly, or get ready for a chase. If you want to hangun hunt, get a good accurate revolver (or maybe a TCC) and practice until you can make tight groups at 100-150 feet.

We all have a resposibility not to give the anti gun lobby any more ammunition to use against us. This means using all guns properly and responsibly.

Andre Peterson <>
Minneapolis, MN, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 14:30:37 (ZULU) 

Tim in Fairfield,
I agree wholeheartedly with Andre. Stick to a good revolver and also choose your shots carefully. My personal handgun limit is 50 yards. The .357,.41, and the .44 will all kill farther out; but why take the chance of having a cripple get away and die a long lingering death. Whichever one you go with, shoot it a whole bunch and then shoot it some more. Pistols are a lot tougher to master than long guns. If you choose to practice with light loads, make sure you also shoot a fair amount of the loads you will use for hunting. Have fun and watch the front sight.
Doc <>
The Ozark boonies, MO, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 15:13:48 (ZULU) 
Sorry for the off topic...but handgunning for deer? I have watched practiced marksmen take down deer with 1 shot from various calibers, 357, 41, 44. But, these guys were true handgunners. A btdt tip...if you must hunt large animals with a handgun, consider buying a TC in 35 Rem. Good range, good wound channel. Scope it and shoot, shoot, shoot:)
Bruce <>
USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 16:10:20 (ZULU) 
Handgun Hunting, my thoughts 10mm (full size NOT Short n Weak!) or .357 mag are bottom floor. Remember to try for a one shot hit/stop spraying lead is downright dangerous, and ruins what would have been perfectly good eating meat.
My choice for field is a tweaked 4 5/8" .44 Mag Bisley with factory 240's. (plus six shot shells in a pocket) Should be good enough for anything in By-Gawd. Yes, I OPENLY admit it, handgun though, A Ruu.., Ruuug..., Ruuuger! There I finally said it folks. ;-)
BIG CITY, bY-gAwD, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 18:16:41 (ZULU) 
Handguns: Nothing wrong with .40 caliber, it just hasn't been around as long as others. My Glock 27 can keep a magazine full within 3 inches at 25 yards with the right ammo, quite good for a compact. I attended a 3-gun match where the group had the run of the high-power range for the day and had trouble keeping my mouth closed as I watched one guy with a 10mm Glock with stock sights knock down pepper poppers at 200 yards. Just amazing. The new S&W revolver in 10mm is going to be real interesting to watch.

I also like .41 Magnum, I have a S&W 657 Hunter that is finally starting to shoot as well as it looks. Freedom Arms now has a version of their single-action revolver in .41 and the reviews I've seen say it's a screamer, capable of MOA accuracy at 100 yards.

But if I had to hunt or snipe with a handgun, I'd count on my T/C Contender with 14-inch .30-30 barrel and Burris 2.5x7 scope. Corbon has a load for it that pushes a 150gn hunting bullet 2100fps. Accuracy rivals that of a rifle, it hits anything you point it at out to 200 yards, and it's got the best trigger of any gun I own.
Grasshopper <>
Richmond, CA, USA - Monday, February 08, 1999 at 19:38:00 (ZULU) 

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