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#192865 - 06/07/18 08:56 AM loosing confidence
GG
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Registered: 01/24/11
Posts: 200

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So, as the title implies, I am loosing confidence and am torn this year on what weapon to use for my season. Pistol or Rifle.

I currently use a 460 SW. Last year I shot two deer with this weapon and could only find one, but that was after two days using buzzards.

The first deer was a really nice buck. I was steady on a bag at about 100 yards. The deer mule kicked and ran off. I searched several hours a day for two days and found no sign. I know I could have missed, but at that range with a bag rest, and not rushed, I just don't see it.

The second was a couple days after the buck. A doe at about 130yards. She jumped and kicked. I again searched for hours. It wasn't until A couple days later, while checking cameras, I saw buzzards near the area and found her about 150 yards away from the POI. But the rout she took had to have had her running for several hundred yards, turning in the opposite direction, before falling. I inspected the shot and it was really good, right behind the shoulder.


I shoot Hornadys 200gr ftx for this gun because they are fast and really accurate at the range. I shoot at 100 and 200 yards with great results.
I have other handguns, 3030, 44's but the 460 is probably the hardest hitting one I have and the most accurate, specially at range. I really like shooting the 3030 but am not completely sold on its effectiveness out to 100 yards.


I have started looking into different ammo but everything else that is factory seems to perform so much less I could see how they could make a great difference, even with the different bullet.


I really take it hard when I wound game, or worse, hit and find it rotted, of which that was the first time. Rarely do I not recover game that I shoot at, even with a handgun, but specially with a rifle. These back to back *uck ups really have me thinking about not bringing the handguns out this year, even though I really enjoy using them.


I know it was a long read, and probably boring for most, but it has been eating at me since last season.

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#192866 - 06/07/18 09:14 AM Re: loosing confidence [Re: GG]
45MAN
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Registered: 08/13/17
Posts: 750
Loc: brownsville, texas

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SOUNDS LIKE A BULLET ISSUE TO ME. I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY USED THE CORBON LOAD USING THE BARNES 200gr BULLET. NO BIG SHOCK ON IMPACT, NOR BIG BLOOD TRAILS, BUT THE ANIMALS ONLY GO 20 - 40 YARDS AND DROP DEAD. I HAVE OFTEN WONDERED IF A HEAVIER BULLET, e.g. A 260gr SWIFT MIGHT BE THE WAY TO GO. I AM NOT USING MY 460 RIGHT NOW, AND HAVE OTHER GUN PROJECTS TO WORK ON, BUT ONE OF THESE DAYS I MAY TRY A HEAVIER, CONVENTIONAL SHAPED, BULLET.
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#192867 - 06/07/18 09:20 AM Re: loosing confidence [Re: GG]
karl
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Registered: 01/12/15
Posts: 560
Loc: Minnesota

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That sucks. I'm sorry to hear about losing your deer. It's a hard thing to accept, but also a good time to reevaluate as you are doing and I have also done. I've got a couple questions if you don't mind to help the discussion.

Did you examine the bullet wound closely on the doe? Was there full penetration (exit wound) Did it look like the bullet expanded? How big was the exit? Were there any internal organs to look at for damage?

I also try to shoot right behind the shoulders but try to keep the bullet low so I catch the top of the heart or some of the large vessels (the bottom ~1/3 to 1/4 of the animal). Do you think you were up in the lungs? A lot of hunters will place it through the shoulders as it's hard to run with two messed up front shoulders and the bone often makes a lot of extra internal shrapnel.

After all that, each animal you shoot is an individual and they all behave differently. It's not uncommon for them to run a ways even with a good shot unless you make it impossible for them to run. The 460 should be a very hard hitting round, but bullet performance is always key. Have you done any terminal performance testing on the 200gn FTX with water jugs or the like or found reports of others who have at similar ranges? Any idea what your muzzle velocity is?



Also, are you shooting factory or reloading? If you reload, there is a lot of potential in your 30-30 hidden behind that old round nosed 150gn bullet. I think a reasonable max range for a 30-30 factory load in a 14" contender is 100-150 yards, but it really depends on the bullet performance at the given velocity at the target. If you reload, some of the lighter 300 BO bullets will give you effective ranges of up to 300+ yards, or if you're like me, much farther then you are willing to shoot.

Edit- Looking at the reviews and comments on the factory 200 FTX load on MidwXX.com it looks like they are split. Many say it works great while at least a few say it explodes on impact and doesn't penetrate. To me this sounds a little bit like the discussion around the Hornady XTP. They work great until they don't and then you are left wondering. IMHO, I would find a different bullet (I am partial to the Barnes). That all being said, bullets of all types fail on impact and none are perfect, that's why we have options and internet forums to beat decisions to death.


Edited by karl (06/07/18 10:05 AM)

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#192870 - 06/07/18 10:46 AM Re: loosing confidence [Re: karl]
Chance Weldon Administrator
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Registered: 09/20/13
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Loc: Martin, Tennessee

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If you say you felt good about the shot, especially after confirming your placement on the doe, I believe you. I have no experience with the 200 grain FTX, but like karl, everything I've read about it is mixed. Really mixed. Some guys say it won't open well except at really high velocities, some say it fragments severely no matter the velocity. I don't think any handgun bullet has such a wide range of opinions on it, not even the XTPs. I'd lean more towards the bullet's performance, or lack thereof, being a factor.

I don't think there is one easy answer to your problem. It is apparent something needs to change, however.

On the subject of the 460, I think you ought to try another bullet. As mentioned by the others, the 200 grain Barnes XPB, which performs similarly to the FTX ballistically. I don't know whether you reload or not, but I think Cor-Bon has some factory loads with this bullet. Yes, it's expensive even just as a reloading component, but in my experience it is pretty accurate, sub-MOA even:


If you find them a bit too expensive, only use them to develop you load and/or sight your gun in with the loads, then use the FTX to practice with during the off season. They hit fairly similarly at 100 yards.

Option #2 if you reload would be to develop a good load with your 30-30. . . guessing it's a Contender? Can't give you any advice here, but there's tons of information in this forum and plenty of guys with experience using a 30-30 handgun. Pretty sure it's capable of killing reliably at 150 yards and beyond with the right load.

One last thing you might try just to ensure it wasn't you would be to try to replicate the shot you made. Set up a blank piece of paper or paper plate (because deer don't have little orange dots on them to aim at) at the same distance as the buck, then set up the same type of shooting rest, wear the same gloves, and try to take a similar amount of time to get on target and fire. See where that first shot goes. Not the best way to determine what happened, but it might be helpful.
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#192872 - 06/07/18 12:25 PM Re: loosing confidence [Re: GG]
billa
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Registered: 02/12/05
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Loc: Central PA

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So sorry to hear about your loss of animals. I would urge you reevaluate your ammo and your shot placement before you condemn all handguns as the issue. As far as shot placement goes I would recommend either center shoulder, breaking bone if you want to quickly anchor a deer sized animal. For ammo I recommend a heavier JHP that will penetrate fully with some expansion. I have killed many deer with XTP bullets in 44magnum. I have killed a Whitetail and a red sheep with a 460 using 240 XTP Mag bullets. Both quick kills with full penetration. I am not a fan of the pointed FTX bullets. They are fairly light for their diameter and they must expand to create a wound channel. If I had to use them I would experiment with pulling the plastic top and shoot them as a hollow point.
Regardless of rifle or handgun you need bullet placement in the vitals and a good wound channel to secure a kill. Many deer run off to be lost with rifles too.
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#192875 - 06/07/18 12:53 PM Re: loosing confidence [Re: billa]
REDHAWK1954
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Loc: Statesville NC

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I have found that I shoot my contenders much better past 50 yards than any of my revolvers. I have sweet 14 contenders in both 30 30 and 44 mag and like them both but if I had to choose one it would be my 30 30 for the extra range it gives with hand loads.

With the right hand load you can turn it into a true 200 yard deer handgun.
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#192878 - 06/07/18 02:29 PM Re: loosing confidence [Re: REDHAWK1954]
Sawfish
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Registered: 02/10/04
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Others may differ, but I feel that you are over gunned for the task. I experienced much the same problem when using my 454 Casull on Texas Whitetails. I shot a sizeable Sika buck with my 454. The deer ran off through the scrub oak to the accompaniment of catcalls from my fellow hunters that I had missed. The guide asked if I was sure of a hit, which I was. We found no blood or hair, but managed to follow the deer's tracks in the soft earth. After a half-hour of tracking we found some blood, and eventually the Sika, where he had run headlong into a large oak 70 yards from the shot, smashing his antlers in the process. While field dressing the deer, the guide showed me the heart dead centered by a bullet from the Casull. The bullet was simply too heavily constructed for the job at hand. You might consider the practice adopted by many of the Professional Hunters in Africa, and shoot the shoulder dead center, rather than aiming behind the shoulder. Just MHO.



Edited by Sawfish (06/07/18 02:31 PM)
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#192879 - 06/07/18 03:22 PM Re: loosing confidence [Re: Sawfish]
JDK
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Registered: 01/18/04
Posts: 178
Loc: Texas Hill Country

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I'd have to agree that your load sounds like the issue. I shoot at the shoulder, not around it, so I have to also say that could help if you need to anchor the deer before it can get lost.

As far as the .44 and 30-30, both will work at 100 yards. 30-30 ballistics, from what I have seen, don't change much in a 14" barrel as opposed to a rifle (and many of those rifles have 16" barrels anyway). So, you're shooting the same 30-30 which has likely taken more deer in the US than any other cartridge. There's no question as to it's efficacy. Deer haven't gotten any bigger or tougher than they were when the 32-20 Win. was taking them cleanly.


Edited by JDK (06/07/18 03:23 PM)
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#192886 - 06/07/18 06:21 PM Re: loosing confidence [Re: JDK]
reflex264
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If you are just shooting deer the 240gr XTP MAG deserves a look. I got them to expand all the way down to 1150 fps. It is too soft for elk but any deer size game it would work well.
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#192891 - 06/07/18 08:30 PM Re: loosing confidence [Re: GG]
Mech 8
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Registered: 08/30/11
Posts: 174
Loc: San Antonio, TX

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I have owned 2 S&W 460's, and 2 Encore barrels chambered for the same cartridge. I tested the Hornady 200gr FTX factoy load from my 14 inch Encore barrel into 3 one gallon jugs filled with water at 50 and 100 yards, and while the splash was very impressive, there was only a small amount of the bullet left. It was about like a dime, both in diameter and in thickness. After this test I pulled down the rest of the ammo and reloaded with 240gr XTP Mags. The results were very similar. I would say the problem lies with the bullet and it's loading. I sold/traded all my 460's and related stuff and returned to my normal Contender chamberings with no regrets. I am not suggesting you do the same, but I would recommend a different bullet and or loading. As far as the 30-30, I would not hesitate to shoot a whitetail at 100 to 150 yards with an accurate 150 grain factory load, or a reloaded equivalent. Don't beat yourself up too much, it's happened to most of us at one time or another.

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