Handguns for Sale for Big Game Hunting
The majority of handguns for sale are designed for self-defense. These include your semi-automatic varieties filling the gun store cases or online gun stores web pages. However, often hidden in the back or absent altogether from the gun case are a set of pistols somewhat forgotten. Many do not think of handguns as a viable hunting firearm choice for big game hunting. But there are a group of handguns for sale that are more than capable of taking down a deer or larger game.
The group of handguns for hunting that has been eluded to are those single shot and single- and double-action revolvers. Handguns like these are built to handle monster calibers and in turn take down big game species. Hunting with handguns chambered in .30-30 or .454 Casull is not for the average hunter. Hanging on to a pistol that packs immense recoil from a tiny barrel leaves you in a world of hurt with each trigger pull. Here is how to choose the right handgun for big game hunting.
Considerations When Choosing a Big Game Handgun
Buying a handgun for big game hunting is much different than simply buying a rifle. With a rifle, you pretty much know what you are getting into. Handguns for hunting are a completely different beast. They vary in style, caliber, and function more drastically than hunting rifles do. There are 5 things to consider when choosing a handgun for big game hunting.
- Decide on which action fits your hunting needs. Revolvers in single- or double-action make up the majority of handguns for sale for hunting but single shot and even a few semi-auto handguns are available.
- Handguns for hunting come in a variety of calibers. Choosing one depends on your intended use. For deer, standard revolver calibers like .357 Mag, .44 Mag and .45 Colt will have no problem taking down a deer. Step up to larger calibers such as the .454 Casull and .500 Smith & Wesson for hunting larger game like elk and bears.
- Barrel Length. The shorter the barrel the more recoil and less accurate you will be at greater distances. You generally want to choose the longest barrel available that still fits your hunting needs. For instance, if you are planning to sit much of your hunt then you can go with a heavier, longer barreled pistol whereas if you are spotting and stalking game, a lighter and shorter barreled pistol will be easier to carry.
- Sights and Scopes. Today, most handguns for big game hunting are designed for use with a scope. For those that expect to take shots out past 50 yards, a scope is a must for your hunting pistol. These small scopes increase accuracy overall but can be a challenge to learn to shoot with. Open sights, or iron sights as some still call them, are ready out of the box and provide good accuracy at closer distances. Look for adjustable sights to give you better control and increased accuracy from fixed sights when choosing a big game handgun.
- Who doesn’t want a nicely engraved walnut grip? Handgun hunters, that’s who. Although they are beautiful, elegant grips are useless on handguns for sale when trying to manage shooting a large caliber handgun. Choose an aftermarket grip made from rubber or other synthetic material that will give you better control, improve accuracy and reduce recoil.
Better Handgun Shooting Accuracy
Hunting with handguns is completely different than hunting big game with a rifle. It takes, even more, dedication than most other types of hunting out there, simply because it is challenging to take a large animal with a handgun. Practice and using a proper rest both help to increase handgun shooting accuracy.
Practice is always part of any sport, hunting and non-hunting alike. It is almost a given and sometimes a waste of time to remind those reading. However, the practice required for hunting with a handgun is much more than going through the motions.
Yes, there is the basic range time needed to get your handgun for hunting dialed in. But the more important aspect of practice is to know your limitations and practice specific shooting scenarios. You may find it easy to land groups at 100 yards in the bullseye from a bench with a comfy rest, but what are your shot groups like when you shoot from a shooting stick? Practice shots that you will likely take in the field on an animal. Shoot using a tree as a steady point, practice free-hand and shoot from different body positions like standing and kneeling. Only after practicing field-shooting conditions will you be able to know your limitations hunting with a handgun. Know your shooting limitations and stick to them in the field or else you may blow an opportunity on a big game animal.
Handguns for big game hunting pack a bunch. Shooting them completely free-hand should be a last resort in the field unless you have practiced this enough to be comfortable taking that type of shot. For more consistent accuracy, an option is to add a shooting stick to your handgun hunting. There are many variations so pick a style that works best for you. The key is to make sure your handgun fits comfortably on them and that they are easy to deploy.
Top Big Game Handguns for Sale
There are numerous pistols for hunting available today that can be used successfully for various big game animals. Several manufacturers still pride themselves in making these firearms with the quality and precision they have been made with for decades. Here are the top five big game handguns for sale for hunting.
Smith & Wesson Model 629
The Smith & Wesson Model 629 is an updated version of the original Model 29. It features a single-action/double-action trigger combined with a stainless-steel matted finish frame and barrel. This handgun for hunting comes in barrel lengths from 3 inches to 7.5 inches. It is limited to .44 Mag (but will chamber and fire lighter .44 Special rounds as well) and has a large heavy frame, which is good if you are looking for better accuracy. This is one of the most popular handguns for sale for hunting for those hunters looking for an all-around pistol that is reliable, well-built and packs enough punch to take down deer, elk, and bear.
The Ruger Blackhawk is truly the leader when it comes to cowboy-style handguns for sale. This single action hunting revolver comes in barrel lengths of 4.6-, 6.5- and 7.5-inch. If you are a traditionalist then stick with the original Blackhawk but if you are looking for a more advanced pistol with the ability to hold a scope then choose the Super Blackhawk. The Super Blackhawk has fully adjustable sights and an integral rib on the barrel to accept scope mounting hardware. Both styles come in .30 Carbine, .357 Mag., .41 Mag., .44 Mag. or .45 Colt.
Similar to the Ruger Blackhawk, the Redhawk keeps with the classic cowboy-style look but offers much more for those looking for a great handgun for hunting. The Ruger Redhawk is a double-action revolver that comes chambered in .44 Mag, .45 Colt or .454 Casull. Barrel lengths range from 2.5- to 9.5 inches with the 7.5-inch barrel being the most popular with hunters. The Redhawk is heavier than the Blackhawk but designed with a better grip shape making it much easier to hold and shoot more accurately. Fully adjustable sights come standard but only the Super Redhawk allows you to add a scope. Ruger’s Redhawk and Super Redhawk is one of the most durable and reliable handguns for sale for hunting.
Taurus Raging Bull
The Taurus Raging Bull is a monster of a handgun when it comes to big game hunting. Its large frame and ported barrel matched with available calibers like .44 Mag and .454 Casull make this pistol one that can be used on just about any big game animal. The drawback with this handgun for big game hunting is its tremendous recoil, perhaps where the name evolved from. Even with the 8.4-inch barrel and recoil absorbing grip, the Raging Bull can be a lot to handle. If you can get over the recoil and size of this pistol, it is one of the top handguns for hunting out there.
The Thompson-Center Encore is the ultimate handgun for big game hunting and is specifically designed for it, unlike the previous four pistols which can also double as self-defense handguns. This single shot pistol is substantially larger than the others mentioned but it offers features the other do not. The ability to customize it and change barrels with ease, to name a few. Quickly your big game handgun can turn from a high-powered rifle into a .22 for squirrels, making it versatile for many different species and not just big game animals. The bulk in this pistol is due to the fact that it has to withstand calibers like .270 Win and .30-06. Notwithstanding the caliber options, the design of the Encore itself gives it an advantage at long distances. Shots at 200+ yards are possible when paired with a quality pistol scope. If you are looking for a super accurate and versatile hunting pistol, look no further than the Thompson-Center Encore.
Hunting big game with a handgun is not for everyone. It takes incredible practice and shooting ability to be dead on with a handgun when it counts. Buying a handgun for big game hunting should be a methodical process and one that is based on your hunting desires. Even the top handguns for sale for hunting still require dedicated practice to become efficiently accurate. The reward, though, for this challenge is a big game hunting experience like no other when you finally get to pull that pistol trigger.