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What would you guys recommend for a first handgun? I'm thinking of getting one sometime in the near future, and I'm open to suggestions as far as caliber, brand, revolver/semi auto, etc. My only requirements would be that it would have to be large en

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  • #16
    Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
    IMHO, consider 2: start with a .22 to give you the opportunity to shoot a lot, carry it on the trap and small game hunt. Most of us are not natural hand gunners, lots of practice helps. I like Rugers.
    Then save up for a Sig p220 Hunt ready 10mm. It's new for this year so unfortunately not used ones on the market yet. As JHP recommends used is a good viable option. Ruger Super Redhawks in .44 are widely available used in the $600 range. .357 is too light for any big game hunting.
    I prefer the 44 mag, it is effective at dropping deer in their tracks. The 10mm is entry level if you are careful in bullet and load selection. It packs about twice the power of ACP .45 similar ft. lbs. as the .357 but has a larger heavier bullet which will create a larger wound channel. http://www.ballistics101.com/ has helpful ballistic comparison charts.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
      IMHO, consider 2: start with a .22 to give you the opportunity to shoot a lot, carry it on the trap and small game hunt. Most of us are not natural hand gunners, lots of practice helps. I like Rugers.
      Then save up for a Sig p220 Hunt ready 10mm. It's new for this year so unfortunately not used ones on the market yet. As JHP recommends used is a good viable option. Ruger Super Redhawks in .44 are widely available used in the $600 range. .357 is too light for any big game hunting.
      Many think the 44 mag is too much gun. However it is very versatile with all the loads available. You can get heavy Buffalo Bore ammo delivering 1700 ft/lbs of energy all the way down to Magsafe 55 grain that fragments safely in sheet rock, not much recoil with this load. Practice away.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
        .357mag is marginal for deer unless you are hunting from a tree stand and taking 20 to 30 yard shots.
        With your budget I would think used. Check Gunbroker.com when you decide on a model.
        I would say a revolver for first gun, but you say you like the looks of the 1911's. I have a 1911 clone and it functions fine but I would not bang away with it all day long - not like you could with a Springfield or Colt. Plus, .45ACP is not the best hunting caliber.
        I would consider a .44mag in something like a used Taurus or maybe a .45Colt in a Ruger that would fit your needs and budget. Then reload for it to keep cost in line.
        Good luck.
        There's not much that can good wrong with a used revolver as long as you inspect the bore and cylinder for pitting. It's usually obvious if the previous owner did not take care of the gun. Buy a brand with a good reputation. You can buy 44 loads as small as 55 grains which have very little felt recoil.

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        • #19
          I like .44 Magnum. And if you handload, you can load .44 Specials out the wazoo and shoot to your heart's content as you gradually work up to full Magnum loads. If you do not handload, you should be able to by some Specials and practice with them. And .44 Mag is a much better caliber for deer than is the .357. Good luck.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
            IMHO, consider 2: start with a .22 to give you the opportunity to shoot a lot, carry it on the trap and small game hunt. Most of us are not natural hand gunners, lots of practice helps. I like Rugers.
            Then save up for a Sig p220 Hunt ready 10mm. It's new for this year so unfortunately not used ones on the market yet. As JHP recommends used is a good viable option. Ruger Super Redhawks in .44 are widely available used in the $600 range. .357 is too light for any big game hunting.
            I'll take a look at that site. Thanks charlie.

            Comment


            • #21
              Keep in mind if you are just beginning to shoot handguns the really heavy calibers, like 44 Mag, besides being expensive to shoot, the recoil takes getting used to.

              Comment


              • #22
                I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by jhjimbo View Post
                  .357mag is marginal for deer unless you are hunting from a tree stand and taking 20 to 30 yard shots.
                  With your budget I would think used. Check Gunbroker.com when you decide on a model.
                  I would say a revolver for first gun, but you say you like the looks of the 1911's. I have a 1911 clone and it functions fine but I would not bang away with it all day long - not like you could with a Springfield or Colt. Plus, .45ACP is not the best hunting caliber.
                  I would consider a .44mag in something like a used Taurus or maybe a .45Colt in a Ruger that would fit your needs and budget. Then reload for it to keep cost in line.
                  Good luck.
                  One important check on a used revolver is to cock the gun and check the play on the cylinder - there should not be any.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                    I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                    Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                    I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                    On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                    Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                    On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                    My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.
                    One thing that can damage a crane is to flip the wrist in such a way that the cylinder slams home. Always push it gently closed and allow it to slightly rotate to lock up.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by charlie elk View Post
                      IMHO, consider 2: start with a .22 to give you the opportunity to shoot a lot, carry it on the trap and small game hunt. Most of us are not natural hand gunners, lots of practice helps. I like Rugers.
                      Then save up for a Sig p220 Hunt ready 10mm. It's new for this year so unfortunately not used ones on the market yet. As JHP recommends used is a good viable option. Ruger Super Redhawks in .44 are widely available used in the $600 range. .357 is too light for any big game hunting.
                      One thing with the .44mag - don't expect to pick it up and immediately shoot tight groups with it. It took me months to get good with it, but when I got there I could hit a pie plate at 100yds with iron sights. Not bragging, just showing what can be achieved. To do that now I would have to put in plenty of practice again. To me, the secret to the .44mag (mine is S&W) is trigger control. IMHO

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                        I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                        Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                        I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                        On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                        Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                        On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                        My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.
                        What do you think of the .40 S&W jcarlin?

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                          I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                          Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                          I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                          On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                          Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                          On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                          My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.
                          JHP. Yeah, I don't do the Hollywood thing.
                          I first shot a reveolver at NRA Basic Pistol. They were range S&Ws that were solid and crisp. The instructor forbade us from doing that and swore his guns were in great condition partly because of that rule.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                            I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                            Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                            I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                            On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                            Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                            On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                            My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.
                            Trying not to step out of my lane here. I'm no SME on this and it's a technical question.
                            The LE and Tactical community have gotten away from it (and .45, which I carry regularaly). The view from those folks can be summarized as:
                            Hand guns suck in a fight anyway.
                            A 9mm gets sufficient penetration and leaves a similar wound channel.
                            9mm is cheaper to shoot and therefore you will train more.
                            9mm is easier on the shooter, making them a better shooter.

                            I took a fighting pistol class in the spring. It was a class full of Glock 19's, a couple of Glock 30's like my own, and a few .40s of different pedigrees. I will say that every one not shooting a 9mm was slower running drills and we ran drills all day. You could just hear that the chatter from the 9s was about 50% faster on average. These weren't precision shooting drills, though you'd be chastised for not making your shots count.

                            If you're considering it as a trail and hunting gun, only that last point is relevant for a predator or large game. I've seen no good studies regarding handguns on bear. They're not sufficient, but they beat fisticuffs. In that role I'd like the 20% more energy offered by a .45 or .40 over 9mm marginal though it may be, but that' just my own thinking.
                            I've searched and tried to find answers. Everything on a bear defense handgun is old wives tales and stupid jokes (such as file off the front sight so it doesn't hurt so much when the bear shoves it..).
                            I'd stick with the advice from the big game hunters.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                              I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                              Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                              I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                              On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                              Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                              On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                              My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.
                              Note that I own a .357 precisely because semi-auto centerfire anything is illegal as a hunting weapon. I used to take it along as a deer hunting back-up if a finishing shot was required.
                              I kind of got out of the habit when we started allowing CCW holders to carry during archery seasons. Now my carry choices are based more on what I can conceal with my clothes.
                              Glock 30 if a coat is doable. XDS .45 if not.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by jcarlin View Post
                                I'm not going to go in for the "what's the best" end. I'm sure I don't have any experience with hunting handguns to know.
                                Of the things discussed, I own but one revolver, and it's a Taurus 605, .357 with a 2.5" barrel. Cost me around $350 new 15 years or so ago.
                                I believe you can get it in up to a 6" barrel.

                                On the topic of a .357 revolver, they're not giants, but they do pack a wallop, typically about 20-25% more energy than a .45 acp at the muzzle, and carrying it's velocity advantage down range, though the velocity and energy gap starts to close at 100 yards according to the charts.
                                Being able to practice with less expensive and less punishing .38 Special is a big plus.

                                On Taurus. I carried that gun on my person and shot it for years, but it probably hasn't been out of the safe in the past 12 months.
                                My one gripe with it is that the crane arm seems to have developed some wiggle and play, and I'd swear that the gap between the cylinder and barrel also has more play than it originally did. I'm sure Taurus would fix it if I sent it in. However, there's still no timing issue, nor excessive blast, or any shavings coming out of the side. It fires clean and works reliably.
                                Illegal in PA, that is.

                                Comment

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