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Thread: 45 ACP for Whitetail?

  1. #1
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    45 ACP for Whitetail?

    I'm looking at using a handgun for deer hunting in the Midwest (seems that Iowa doesn't like rifles, and handguns allow you to shoot more than shotgun, BP and bows).

    I've been looking at a 10mm for a while, but I keep finding 45 ACP pistols with 6" barrels for much less $$. I've carried a 45 for people for over a decade, but I hadn't really thought about using it for deer.

    Anyone have actual experience using 45 ACP on deer - especially these corn-fed monsters?

  2. #2
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    My brother has used the .45 LC in a Marlin rifle for whitetails with very good results. But in this state the hunting codes only specify a 'pistol cartridge' not the weapon firing the cartridge.

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    I have not. I have a friend who has used it to finish a wounded deer when his rifle was not close at hand, and he was very disappointed -- it took 3 shots. He was sickened by the experience.

    Conventional wisdom in my group is that .357 type ballistics are minimum. The 10 is of course similar to that, but I don't personally know anyone who has used a 10 on deer either.
    Paul
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    I used a .45 to take a deer just once, using a 165 grain Hydra-Shok. I missed with a muzzle loader, drew a pistol and took a long shot at a buck. He went down right there.

    It was a broadside shot that took out both lungs and stopped under the skin on the far side. Textbook...

    I still don't entirely trust a .45 for hunting. If the deer hadn't stood broadside or I'd pulled the shot at all, it might have been a wounded deer that died days later. I guess if you're seeing a lot of deer and you can wait for the perfect shot, then why not? But, there isn't much room for error.

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    (seems that Iowa doesn't like rifles, and handguns allow you to shoot more than shotgun, BP and bows).
    Umm, what do you mean by that? IIRC, you can use a handgun (minimum 4 inch barrel, legal cartridges listed in the DNR regs) during the shotgun seasons. That's it. Doesn't give you more legal hunting time. Or am i misunderstanding?

    I've been meaning to get back to you on Iowa hunting... apologies, family Christmas time was followed immediately by sick kids (still ongoing). Not much free time. Will try to PM you soon.
    I'm a skinny, rather geeky, over-educated Englishman living in the small-town MidWest who believes in the 2nd Amendment and the RKBA... my existence messes with people's stereotypes :-)

  6. #6
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    Umm, what do you mean by that? IIRC, you can use a handgun (minimum 4 inch barrel, legal cartridges listed in the DNR regs) during the shotgun seasons. That's it. Doesn't give you more legal hunting time. Or am i misunderstanding?
    A quick check of the DNR rules shows me that handguns can be used in the "late muzzleloader" season. That was Dec. 19, 2011 to Jan. 10, 2012.

    From what I've seen not many people hunt deer around here with auto-loaders. One time I was looking over some handguns at a local shop and for some reason I asked the guy behind the counter if it was legal to hunt deer with a .40 S&W. He said yes, "but you'd look funny shooting deer with a Glock." He then proceeded to lead me over to the revolvers.

    I talked with some vendors at the gun shows and when I mention handgun hunting they almost always assume a .45 Colt loaded hot. One guy warned me not to shoot what he was selling out of a Judge, he claimed those things would probably damage the thin cylinder on a Taurus.

    I don't know if these people were using high pressure .45s because they had to or because they could. I don't know for sure how hot they were loading these things but they were considered safe to use in a Ruger or S&W revolver but not a Taurus. They also claimed to be successful in using these .45 Colts on Iowa deer.

    If you feel the need to load a .45 ACP to the same velocities that these guys were doing in .45 Colt you'd have to get a handgun rated for +P loads or get a .460 Rowland conversion kit.
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    Why would you even consider a hand gun?
    A shotgun with slugs and a decent scope will hit well at 100 yards and with much more power then a handgun.
    Also I doubt many people can event hit the target at that range with a hand gun,not to mention a living animal where the shot must be placed for clean humane kill.

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    Duke, back when I was trying to decide between them, I did a lot of work with both a .357 model 19 and a Mossberg 500 with slugs.

    Target was a paper plate, keep all 5 in the middle 6 inches, set up a new target, back up 5 yards, do it again.

    I was better with the .357 at 85 - 90 yards than with the slugs. Maybe due to more practice with that gun.
    Paul
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    A quick check of the DNR rules shows me that handguns can be used in the "late muzzleloader" season. That was Dec. 19, 2011 to Jan. 10, 2012.
    Sorry, missed that. Guess I've never looked closely enough at the muzzleloader regs, as I don't have a muzzleloader. Thought I knew all the regs reasonably well tho'. :-(

    As 21H40 has discovered, IA hunting laws are ridiculously over-complicated...
    I'm a skinny, rather geeky, over-educated Englishman living in the small-town MidWest who believes in the 2nd Amendment and the RKBA... my existence messes with people's stereotypes :-)

  10. #10
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    From my single little point of view, for Mule deer out west (not your whitetail)
    so I apologize if my experience is way off on the other side of the hill,
    but my advice would be to shoot about 250 rounds of 45acp at paper targets first.
    Various distances from 20 yards to 75 yards. Then try it at 100 yards.

    I bet you're disappointed by the bullet drop. Even at 40 and 60 yards.
    Not that 45acp doesn't have the power to kill a deer, it does.
    But a slow bullet drops faster, and faster, and faster as it slows down.
    The exercise of hold-over to compensate for distance gets burdensome quickly.

    At least that's what I found. Your experience on whitetail may differ.
    Or maybe all your shots are 25 yards or less.
    If so, it has plenty power to kill that fat whitetail at close range.





    When hunting with handgun, I now use a scoped 44 mag revolver.
    It makes a world of difference, and I mean a WORLD of difference.
    Flat trajectory, plenty powerful, lots of hunting ammo choices.
    Light bullets, heavy bullets, soft point, flat point, hollow point.
    Hint: You'll never need all 6 rounds. Never. The right revolver is plenty gun.

  11. #11
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    Why would you even consider a hand gun?
    Because the laws in Iowa make it advantageous to hunt with one. Hunting with a handgun means hunting with a weapon that one likely already owns in a time and place where hunting with a shotgun is not lawful.

    Besides, when it comes to buying another firearm any excuse will do.
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    Good reasons, farmboy.

    I have had good experience with my 357 out to 85-90 yards. The method I used to establish that is similar to what ants described. I went out to the range with paper plates, started at 40 yards, and backed up until I started getting results that didn't satisfy me as likely to produce consistent clean kills.

    Based on my experience with 45 ACP (30 years ago) I don't think I would use one much beyond 25 yards, but finding that distance out your ownself would be good practice.

    I'm mainly a wheelgun guy anyway except for my Ruger Mark II which is becoming more and more my favorite.
    Paul
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    This is one of those areas where I suspect the higher velocity 165 and 185 grain slugs might be the best choice. The higher velocities give you a much flatter trajectory so as long as you stick with broadside shots you're good to go out 100 yards.

    The 230's would be better for quartering shots because of the added penetration, but they cut down on the range.

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    Tell you what Farmboy, in a fit of OMB madness my late uncle built a revolver chambered for .444 Remington magnum. Maybe I can talk my cousin into selling it to you. If you survive shooting it, I'm sure it would kill a deer.

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    Dummy guy here. What's OMB?
    Yes, I'm a grown man that loves My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Got a problem?

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    What's OMB?
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    Aaryq, that's become a frequent abbreviation on the board recently, but don't feel dumb. Selena only introduced us to it a few months ago.
    Paul
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  18. #18
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    Thanks for the offer Selena but I'll pass. While those guys at the gun show were offering .45 Colt in pressures that would destroy a Taurus judge I did not buy any of it. I get enough recoil and noise from the standard pressure stuff as it is, I don't desire any more.

    I've not done handgun hunting myself but I've talked to a few people that have. Most common ammunition seems to me to be either .45 Colt or .357 Magnum. A .45 ACP was designed to approximate the .45 Colt so if .45 Colt works for deer around here then I see no reason why a .45 ACP would not.
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  19. #19
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    A club member here routinely hunted deer with a .45 ACP.
    He used various brands of 230 gr JHP +P like Ranger T and said it killed about as well as a traditional roundball muzzleloader and better than a bow and arrow. But he was an experienced hunter and the range was seldom very long.
    I have a few facts and a lot of opinions.

  20. #20
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    I bet you're disappointed by the bullet drop. Even at 40 and 60 yards.
    Yeah.. I'd sort of forgotten about how quickly the 45 drops after 25 meters.

    I've seen several EAA pistols in 38 super - that will get me 357 stats with an auto... and it can double as my CCW around town.

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    try using an thompson center encore

    that would fit the bill and give you more range.



    steve

  22. #22
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    45 for hunting

    I have used handguns for whitetail's for a lot of years, probably 40 to 45.
    First as you know correct placement is mandatory, regardless of caliber.
    2: I have found out that under 44 magnum you do not want to use a hollow point. You want to get depth into the body for more blood chanels. Hollowpoints do have more shocking power but I found that skeletal structure will stop a lot of hollowpoints.
    3: Know your caliber's limits. I found that a 357 maximun was about 45 yards. A 45 acp is less than that. Of course you'll make a long one to brag about. But don't go bragging about wounding one at 60 yds. My Desert Eagle with handloads is accurate up to 85 yards (with me shooting, my son in law gets a 100 yds with it). I use a red dot site. You don't need a telescope when using a handgun. I learned about the value of a red dot while hog hunting in TX.
    Handgun hunting is almost like bowhunting for distances.
    4: Barrel length does make a difference. For instance on one of my jobs down in TX I carried my 45. I also had available a Marlin "camp" gun in 45 acp. Penetration on a junk car was as follows.
    Gold Dot hollow poiints==1911 would put it through the drivers door and into the passenger door. With the carbine the bullet would go through both doors most of the time. At the time it was an eye opening experience for me.
    If I was going to go after whitetails here in MI today I would not hesitate to take mu 1911.
    Good hunting

    Peaceful
    45 acp when you care to send the best

  23. #23
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    peacefulpatton:

    Welcome to GRM. Thanks for the insight and advice.

  24. #24
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    I have carried the .45 ACP for years--but I would hesitate to use one for deer.

    I do believe that the ideal hunting handgun is the .460 Smith and Wesson. Here's why...

    .45 Colt--practice, short range work.
    .45 Colt loaded to +P levels--short range hunting.
    .454 Casull--General hunting and longer range shots.
    .460 Smith and Wesson--All around hunting, including (with the right setup) dangerous game.

    The big plus in my book is the ability to handle three different cartridges in the same handgun.
    Hiding in plain sight....

  25. #25
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    while I have never used my colt 1911 for deer. I do own the Marlin camp 45 set-up with a scope zeroed to 50 yards. IF I do my part the .45 acp bullet will do its part. Toyed with the idea but have always prefered my Marlin 1894c and S&W 586 for deer. I prefer to own rifles that match my pistols and have used all extensively.

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