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#6257849 - 03/06/12 04:14 AM Handgunning for Elk
Robster Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 585
Loc: Central NY
I am not from the west so cannot realize what elk hunting is actually like. I hunt Whitetail in the Northeast and do so with a revolver.

Is it realistic to hunt Elk with a revolver? I am not talking about Encore's or Strykers, I am interested in revolver hunting. If so would you need some huge hand numbing .454 full house loads or would a .44 mag work just fine? I know a lot of guys bow hunt, and I assume it is like hunting where I do. Elk are not spooked yet from all the gunshots and guys tromping through the woods. But once gun season opens.....

Just wondering if hunting Elk with a revolver what sort of expectation you have with actually getting close enough.

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#6258098 - 03/06/12 06:04 AM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: Robster]
340mag Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 2200
just because you may not have killed an elk or know someone who has killed an elk with a handgun doesn,t indicate its not an effective choice in experienced hands
now theres some obvious differences required between use of a hand gun and a rifle, less range and proper bullet selection for a hand gun are mandatory
first Ive used a 445 dan wesson super mag that throws a 300 grain hard cast bullet at 1500 PLUS fps from a 10" barrel
the bullets don,t seem to expand a great deal but they do penetrate deeply.
Ive had freinds use a 260 grain hard cast bullet from a 8.3/8" 44 mag revolver.
both handguns and loads can shoot clear thru an elks chest from under 75-100 yards, sometimes the bullets exit sometimes they are located under the far side skin.
your definitely at a range disadvantage compared to using a 30/06 rifle with a scope, but a skilled handgun hunter can certainly kill elk within reasonable ranges with a 44 mag revolver with proper loads. concentrate on finding an accurate load and getting in the required FIELD practice not just shooting off a bench.

the Colorado hunting regulations, under legal hunting methods it states that a handgun load must produce a minimum energy of 550 ft-lbs at 50 yards to be legal for hunting.
think about this the archery guys would have a difficult time hitting an elk with a 100 ft lbs of energy an arrow kills by blood loss, a good revolver load can easily deliver 700-1200 ft lbs of energy and drive a bullet thru the vitals and in many cases exit even an elk.
you will need to practice until hitting a 4" target at 100 yards is reasonably easy and limit shots to about the range you can consistently do that, but a 44 caliber or larger caliber hand gun can be deadly in experienced hands, bullet placement and penetration has more to do with lethality than energy alone



http://forum.grumpysperformance.com/viewtopic.php?f=91&t=1864

http://www.handloads.com/loaddata/defaul...der&Source=

http://www.handgunsmag.com/2010/09/24/ammunition_44mag_081005/

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/506726/...utter-gas-check


Edited by 340mag (03/06/12 07:26 AM)

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#6258930 - 03/06/12 09:31 AM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: Robster]
logcutter Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 5759
Loc: Central Idaho
I hand gun hunt almost every year in some form.Usually bow hunting in one unit and running over the divide to another for back country Elk/Deer/any weapon the 15th of September.

I chose to use the 454 Casull and BFR in 45-70...I have taken Deer with the Casull but no Elk.I only carry the BFR in 45-70 these days but I haven't ran into an Elk carrying it yet.



Jayco

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#6258953 - 03/06/12 09:37 AM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: logcutter]
bea175 Offline
Campfire Oracle

Registered: 02/15/02
Posts: 25474
Loc: Kpt.,TN , Montgomery, Co, VA
I wouldn't hesitate on using the 44 mag with a good cast bullet and 2400 on Elk if it was the only Handgun i had, but since i have the Freedom Arms 454 it would be the Handgun i would take if going after Elk today. Like Elmer Keith always said , use enough gun.
_________________________
What does a Muslim Husband tell his wife who has two black eyes? NOTHING! She has been told twice...


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#6259289 - 03/06/12 11:12 AM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: bea175]
mudhen Online   content
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 05/30/05
Posts: 8998
Loc: Boot Heel of New Mexico
I have to confess that I did it one year (1988) just to see if I could. I used a Ruger Super Blackhawk with a 7-1/2 inch barrel and factory sights. I was shooting a semi-custom load with 300 grain JHPs manufactured by a now-defunct outfit in South Dakota (I think). I shot my elk, a 4x5 bull, at an estimated 75 yds (no range finder in those days, and it was downhill through some rocks). One shot into the near shoulder broke the front end down and he pushed another 25-30 yds downhill with his hind legs before somersaulting and expiring.

Never shot another critter with that gun. I did take several whitetails in Texas and Nebraska with a .357 and 180 grain handloads when I was much younger.

Edited to add: the more I think about it, he was probably more like 45-50 yds away...


Edited by mudhen (03/06/12 01:29 PM)
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How rich will we be when we have converted all our forests, all our soil, all our water resources and minerals into cash? J.N. "Ding" Darling.
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#6261301 - 03/06/12 07:24 PM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: Robster]
Ranch13 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 3871
Loc: wyoming
It can be done. I've shot enough muledeer with a 44 to decide that 50 yds is about as far as I'ld care to whack an elk with a 250 gr keith cast bullet from a 44 magnum.
Still hunt the timber in an area with limited tags and you won't be at much of a disadvantage. But to go into a general license area with a handgun as your only option is probably going to about triple the chance you will be in the 60% unsuccessfulhunters group.
_________________________
the most expensive bullet there is isn't worth a plug nickel if it don't go where its supposed to.

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#6261313 - 03/06/12 07:27 PM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: mudhen]
Talus_in_Arizona Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 830
Loc: AZ
Keep thinking MH, and you'll arrive at the real distance:)

Rob, if you want to hunt elk with a 44 you can sure do it. Like everything else, there are limitations. But like whitetails, the big boys like thick places late in the year, and if you can find them or stalk them the 44 will kill them. Or you can sit water with the same result.

If you hit them ...

I have not doubt but that a 22 LR would have sufficed for my last elk, a cow at 20 yards who was staring at me in wonder.

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#6261349 - 03/06/12 07:34 PM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: Talus_in_Arizona]
mudhen Online   content
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 05/30/05
Posts: 8998
Loc: Boot Heel of New Mexico
[quote=Talus_in_Arizona]Keep thinking MH, and you'll arrive at the real distance:)
/quote] Actually, I have shot several at ranges from 25-40 yds (with rifles) and that one was definitely more than 45. :>)
_________________________
How rich will we be when we have converted all our forests, all our soil, all our water resources and minerals into cash? J.N. "Ding" Darling.
BORDER RAT, EMERITUS

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#6262494 - 03/07/12 06:56 AM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: Robster]
Mauser_Hunter Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 09/28/11
Posts: 4195
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Robster
I am not from the west so cannot realize what elk hunting is actually like. I hunt Whitetail in the Northeast and do so with a revolver.

Is it realistic to hunt Elk with a revolver? I am not talking about Encore's or Strykers, I am interested in revolver hunting. If so would you need some huge hand numbing .454 full house loads or would a .44 mag work just fine? I know a lot of guys bow hunt, and I assume it is like hunting where I do. Elk are not spooked yet from all the gunshots and guys tromping through the woods. But once gun season opens.....

Just wondering if hunting Elk with a revolver what sort of expectation you have with actually getting close enough.


I'm trying to figure out exactly what you mean about guns going off and hunters stomping through the woods?

That's what you'll be experiencing here in Colorado. You can's use your handgun until the rifle seasons start. By then the bow hunters, muzzleloader hunters, bear hunters, and some deer hunters would be done hunting, and have alerted all game that it's hunting season, and you will be out during the most crowded season.
_________________________
Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a hunting license and that's pretty close.

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#6262624 - 03/07/12 07:35 AM Re: Handgunning for Elk [Re: Mauser_Hunter]
340mag Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 2200
Id point out that the main potential advantage to use of a hunting revolver is a slight increase in hunter mobility, allowing you to get into places that might be a bit harder carrying a rifle and the ability to more easily pack out game once your successful but you tend to pay a price in that you really DON,T want to shoot an elk 5 miles down into some deep canyon that requires you to use both hands free to climb out of (ASK ME I KNOW ONLY TOO WELL FROM EXPERIENCE)yes hunting elk with a handgun can be done, and if you carefully pick the area "its a real HOOT!" but you also feel like a darn fool when your only firearm is a revolver and you see the first 6x7 elk ever on public land walk by at 300 yards and you know if you had carried a light rifle he would be yours.
IVE carried and used a handgun on dozens of hunts but its a secondary to a decent rifle, the handgun gets used in the thick stuff or when packing out game but I drive 2300 miles one way to hunt elk and generally have only 7-9 days a year to actually be in the field,I back pack into areas and camp cold in remote areas, Im successful frequently and costs average easily $2000 plus on a hunt, so Im not going to be watching the trophy walk by if I can avoid it



THIS IS A PICTURE OF THE AREA I HUNT FREQUENTLY FOR ELK, its easily a 3 hour walk out on each trip once you shoot an elk

LOWER CANYON

upper canyon


Edited by 340mag (03/07/12 07:37 AM)

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