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#208159 - 09/24/20 11:17 AM Introduction and next hunting handgun help

Registered: 09/24/20
Posts: 17

Good morning and I'll start with an introduction. My name is Squints and I live in Illinois. First, I love hunting but especially with handguns. I have been doing it for around 12 years now and I have harvested numerous deer with different calibers (44 mag, 454 casull, 460 S&W), a jacobs ram with a 10mm, coyotes with a 9mm and squirrels with a 22lr. I also compete in handgun competitions and simply consider shooting and improving my handgun skills as my hobby. Now for the fun part. I am seeking advice on what I would like to be my ultimate large game hunting handgun but it has to be legal to hunt with in Illinois (regulations below). I already own the following: Ruger SRH in 454, Ruger SBH in 44mag, S&W Model 69 in 44 mag and S&W in 460S&W. I currently carry my TC encore muzzleloader for long shots and my model 69 in a chest holster for closer shots. I want to only carry 1 handgun and cover out to around 200 yards (My longest shot with my 460 is 124 yards and the deer dumped over). I am thinking of a TC encore pistol with a Match Grade Machine barrel chambered in 460S&W. My question is how long of a barrel is needed? I am open to advice on barrel length and even any other firearm suggestions or comments on what you read above. Thank you.

- Centerfire revolvers or centerfire single-shot handguns of .30 caliber or larger with a minimum barrel length of 4 inches.
- a bottleneck centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger with a case length not exceeding 1.4 inches, or a straight-walled centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger, both of which must be available as a factory load with the published ballistic tables of the manufacturer showing a capability of at least 500 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. Note: There is no case length limit for straight-walled cartridges.

#208161 - 09/24/20 12:16 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: Squints08]
Distinguished Expert

Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 4768
Loc: Castalia, NC

I like for my single shot pistol barrels to be between 12" - 15". Just me, and it's honestly a personal preference thing. The type of forend will also factor in to how long the barrel needs to be.
The Eyes are Useless, When The Mind Is Blind

#208163 - 09/24/20 03:30 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: Franchise]

Registered: 08/01/14
Posts: 2169
Loc: Statesville NC

All of my single shot pistol barrels are 14" long. I like that length. Looking at the restrictions above the first thing I think about is 357 max. I know factory loads are hard to find but they do exist. The 200 yard max range is the biggest problem to solve here. I think the max would do that.

I am not a max expert but there are plenty here who are. Am I right?
Michael Joe Moore

#208166 - 09/24/20 05:25 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: REDHAWK1954]
old hand

Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 781
Loc: Minnesota

content Online
Hello and Welcome!
A couple questions then a lot of opinions
Do you reload and what is your definition of large game?
What flavor of 460 do you have? That would likely do it with the right setup.

Other cartridges that come to mind are...
300BO with a good low velocity bullet would do that just fine.
357 Max, or 350 legend for moderate bore options.
If you wanted larger bore, 444 Marlin, 450 BM, 45-70+p, 450 Marlin, 450 Winchester, 458 Lott.

An encore would do all of those. Long Frame BFR will do several of those options and could be another consideration, but i'm not sure what you would loose with the cylinder gap.

i hunt a 14" 30-30 with the 110gn Barns TAC-TX bullet (hunt at 2300fps) designed for the 300BO and am comfortable out to 200+ yards. The bullet should expand to 2x diameter out to ~400 yards. Deadly on deer.

I also hunt a 15.75" encore 45-70 with the 300gn TTSX bullet at ~2100fps with a custom throat to accommodate the longer projectile and am comfortable out to ~200 yards for good bullet expansion. A bit of a big hammer for deer, but lots of fun.

#208167 - 09/24/20 06:11 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: karl]

Registered: 08/18/19
Posts: 73
Loc: North-Central Wyoming

Welcome to the forum. All you need is a handgun and a little experience....and you?ll fit in pretty good! 😉 memtb
You should not use a rifle that will kill an animal when everything goes right; you should use one that will do the job when everything goes wrong." -Bob Hagel

~Molɔ̀ːn Lab? Sk?la~

#208168 - 09/24/20 06:21 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: karl]

Registered: 09/24/20
Posts: 17

Thanks to those who have responded and provided input. I do not currently reload but would like to at some point in my life. However, with my 2 young kids and the current situation in this country I think it would be tough to start now. My idea of big game is deer, bear and elk. My current 460 is a S&W XVR with an 8.38? barrel and handgun scope. The 357 max is totally new to me but the 300 blackout is not. I actually assembled an AR pistol with a 10.5? barrel for deer hunting this season and am having great accuracy with the Barnes 110 tac-tx ammo you mentioned. Ultimately, I just like the 460S&W because I have seen it?s effectiveness and accuracy as well as not needing to stock a new caliber. But, I am looking for a different platform to shoot it through and an encore seems like the best method of achieving that. Or, would the 300 BO in an encore suit my needs? Thanks for reading and please don?t hesitate to respond with opinions and/or suggestions.

Edited by Squints08 (09/24/20 08:02 PM)

#208170 - 09/24/20 08:36 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: Squints08]
old hand

Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 781
Loc: Minnesota

content Online
Get a frame and a barrel and then you can get lots of barrels
We're nothing if not great enablers here. Frames and barrels multiply like rabbits.

A 300BO in a contender with a 12-14" barrel would be a light little package that would be deadly on dear well past 200 yards. It could be down loaded a bit in the future for smaller hands if needed.

the 460 would definitely get the job done but needs to be in the encore.

Under the yellow menu bar above, click on member services, then slide down to reloading and slide over to get load data. Click get all data and pick 460 from the drop down menu to see what folks are getting for velocities with different loads in different platforms. click on load details to get more info and barrel length/platform. Gives you some idea on what is possible.

#208172 - 09/24/20 10:19 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: karl]
Chance Weldon Administrator
Distinguished Expert

Registered: 09/20/13
Posts: 4583
Loc: Martin, Tennessee

content Online
First, let me just say, welcome to the forum!

Karl and Franchise gave some pretty solid advice.

I've actually got an MGM custom Encore chambered in 460 S&W, and despite its recoil, I'm a huge fan of the cartridge:

Mine's 15" long excluding the brake, and according to my chronograph it gets a hair over 2,700 fps with the Hornady 200 grain FTX factory load. It's plenty accurate for those long shots, and has more than enough power to spare. It's heavy and cumbersome, so no freehanded shooting - it's strictly for those supported long shots. You could probably go as low as 10" - which incidentally will match the length of your S&W - and still get plenty of performance out of the cartridge, but I say stick with 12" or longer.

I do like the idea of a 300 Blackout or 350 Legend. Both should get you out to 200 yards or so with plenty of knockdown power to spare on deer. I would suggest the 357 Maximum since several members here have used it with good success, but since you don't handload, you're very limited by lack factory ammunition.

Other cartridges I can think of off the top of my head that would suit your needs yet still have fairly widely available factory ammo would be the 444 Marlin or the 450 Bushmaster. You could also probably make the 500 S&W work with lighter bullets.

On the subject of MatchGradeMachine, while I have a few custom barrels from them and am very happy with them, their current lead time for a custom barrel is 10-12 weeks plus shipping. If you ordered one now you may not get it until after deer season, unless you find one being sold on Gunbroker or Ebay. If you do order a custom barrel from them, keep in mind the full bull contour barrels must be drilled for the 12 gauge shotgun forends - standard rifle/pistol forends won't fit. The heavy and factory tapers will fit any rifle/pistol forend you have.
Formerly TN Lone Wolf

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." - J.K. Rowling

#208173 - 09/24/20 11:39 PM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: Chance Weldon]

Registered: 09/09/16
Posts: 507
Loc: Illinois

Welcome. Lots of good choices mentioned. Where about in IL are you? I'm in Galesburg (Knox County).

I've taken deer with the 44 mag and 357 mag, and a Black Bear with the 480 Ruger. None of which are really good 200 yard calibers, and for me under 100.

I have been thinking of a 30-30 MGM barrel for my Encore.

#208174 - 09/25/20 06:33 AM Re: Introduction and next hunting handgun help [Re: ruger4570]

Registered: 05/22/13
Posts: 1561
Loc: New York

If you want range and power,the 460 is the way to go; I have a 15? MGM 1? full bull barrel, 200 yards , no problem; I had to make the same decision when I started hunting in Ohio; straight wall only,good luck and welcome

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