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What Handguns to Use for Hunting Whitetail

by Wade Middleton

Learn What Models Wade Uses for Handgun Hunting 

It is a well-known fact I have become addicted to handgun hunting. As a hunter, I’ve always embraced hunting through a variety of means and methods, allowing me to start and end my season earlier in many cases. I consider myself a whitetail hunting fanatic, and as such, I’ve never turned down a chance to hunt with something different. Which lead me into the world of handgun hunting so I could have more reasons to hunt whitetails.

This new addiction has forced me to learn a lot more about how handguns work, how the ballistics of different calibers perform, what ammo works best in hunting, as well as sending me to the range more than ever to learn better trigger control. When you look at handguns, I favor the ones made by Smith & Wesson. You can tell immediately they’re designed for ultimate performance in the field. Many of the models I hunt with have muzzle breaks at the end of the barrel to help reduce recoil. Furthermore, many of these handguns are built to be better balanced in the field, allowing for the opportunity to hunt at longer distances with higher performance. In addition, many of them have triggers that are far more crisp than say some models you might find, which really helps when it comes to trigger control when a whitetail is standing in front of you. Finally, they are built to add various accessories such as scopes, fiber optic sights, and various red/green dot sights. 

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Stealth Hunter

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Stealth Hunter in .44 magnum equipped with a Trijicon SRO sight

This past season I spent a lot of time shooting my Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Stealth Hunter in .44 magnum. This is one of my favorite hunting handguns and I’ve been using it for nearly a decade. I recently mounted a Trijicon SRO sight on top of it to field test that sight after shooting the Trijicon RMR sight in the past off this handgun. My early thoughts are this is the best sight in its class.  

The Trijicon SRO is very easy to acquire a whitetail in the sights and place the dot onto the vitals. I am very impressed with the sight picture and how easy it was to sight it in. Overall, I feel this is the best option for this style of sight when it comes to hunting. 

Looking back at my first handgun whitetail buck taken with this model of handgun, I vividly recall practicing all summer at various distances but none of that practice prepared me for that hunt. With little experience personally when it came to handgun hunting, I was, to say the least, nervous throughout the entire encounter. I still remember it vividly, the way that deer was darting in and out of the trees while running and fighting with another deer as they tried to prove dominance to a doe that was nearby. My hands were sweating nonstop as I prayed from inside the pop-up blind for the buck to stop in a narrow shooting lane. He finally did, and ended up turned quartering slightly towards me and I pulled my shot a little bit. I was so worked up that I honestly wasn’t even sure I’d hit the deer. It ended up being that I did in fact, hit the deer mid body up and down but slightly back, so I knew it was a mortal hit. We found the buck about two hours after the shot. My takeaway was that I needed to practice, practice, practice, and really work on my trigger pull with a handgun to help me overcome the excitement of a deer finally giving me a shot.  

Hunting posing with deer and handgun

Wade and his first handgun buck.

I also learned to study more on the various handgun loads. When it comes to most of my hunting and shooting with that handgun, I’ve settled on 200-grain XTP .44 mag ammo from Hornady. I can say undoubtably, the Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 629 Stealth Hunter in .44 Magnum set up will always be in my top three favorite hunting handguns and I would argue around about any campfire why I prefer it. 

Smith & Wesson Performance Center® Model 460 XVR 

Smith & Wesson 460XVR Handgun

Smith & Wesson’s Model 460XVR™ has the highest muzzle velocity of any production revolver on earth.

Next up, we discuss another of my favorite handguns, the Smith & Wesson Model 460 XVR. This handgun is known to have the highest muzzle velocity of any production revolver on earth. According to Smith & Wesson, the Model 460 XVR (X-treme Velocity Revolver) is the world’s highest velocity production revolver, as well as the most powerful.45 caliber production revolver. The .460 XVR can launch a 200-grain (13-gram) bullet at 2,330 feet per second (710 meters per second), generating 2,416 foot-pounds force of muzzle energy. 

Aside from the .460 S&W Magnum cartridge, the revolver can chamber .454 Casull and .45 Colt ammunition. Personally, we’ll use .45 long colt out on the range a lot of times for practicing specific hunting scenarios or if we want to work on our trigger pull. The key reasons being that load is cheaper and does not punish your hands quite as bad as the .460 ammo. 

Smith & Wesson offers this handgun in a variety of barrel lengths, and you can order them with HIVIZ fiber optic sights already equipped (which we recommend and have used in the field). I believe when hunting with open sights, HIVIZ fiber optics sights allow you to acquire the target faster due to its light gathering capabilities. This helps tremendously during those early morning or late evening times thanks to its light-gathering capabilities. I believe this forces me to focus on the sight picture by it catching my eye quickly as I bring the handgun into play on the vitals of a deer or other animal I’m hunting.  

I spent one summer really working with the .460XVR fitted with HIVIZ sights in an effort to take a buck with open sights with the.460 XVR. That experience and the buck I ended up taking, turned out to be one of my biggest handgun bucks ever. I can still see that buck and the other buck he was traveling with working through a broomweed field and coming into range. After calming myself, the .460 round found the lungs and I found the buck less than 60 yards from where I took the shot. The summer of practice really paid off on that one. 

Hunter holding whitetail with hunting handgun

Wade’s practicing paid off BIG TIME!

Regardless, of what model you hunt with, regardless of what caliber you settle on, I simply say practice a lot for the hunting scenarios you likely will encounter. I also recommend that you spend time shooting off a good brace to build confidence in both your trigger pull but also the sight picture for whatever you are going to use be it a scope, red dot, or open sights. The more you shoot, the more confident you’ll be when it comes time to take a shot on whatever you’re hunting. 

Smith & Wesson Introduces New Model 350

A Legend in the Making

 

Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select: SWBI), a leader in firearm manufacturing and design, introduces the new Model 350, our first production revolver chambered in the powerful straight-walled 350 Legend caliber.
Revolver

Smith & Wesson is back to turn heads with the release of the M350 Legend X Frame

The Smith & Wesson Model 350TM is an X-Frame size, double-action/single action revolver with an all stainless-steel construction. Its design includes a 7.5” ported barrel, red ramp front sight & adjustable rear sight system, and dependable Hogue® rubber grip. This revolver has a 7-round capacity and a cylinder that utilizes moon clips for loading and unloading. For those of you who like to hunt, or carry a large frame revolver in the woods, this is an exciting addition in the X-Frame offering from Smith & Wesson.
“The 350 Legend is one of the flattest shooting straight-walled cartridges on the market today. It is great for medium-sized game and especially whitetail hunting. If you’re looking for a hunting revolver, the Model 350 is it,” said John Myles, Senior Manager of New Products.
Well known for building some of the most powerful revolvers of all time, Smith & Wesson is proud to bring you the Model 350, chambered in 350 Legend. The MSRP for this revolver is $1,599.00.
FEATURES
  • Model: 350
  • Chambered in 350 Legend.
  • Double Action/Single Action revolver.
  • 7-Round Capacity.
  • Stainless Steel Frame, Fluted Cylinder and 7.5″ Ported Barrel.
  • Red Ramp Front Sight and Adjustable Rear Sight System.
  • Overall Length of 13.5″ and Weight of 71.5 oz.
  • Sku: 13331
About Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc.
Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select: SWBI) is a U.S.-based leader in firearm manufacturing and design, delivering a broad portfolio of quality handgun, long gun, and suppressor products to the global consumer and professional markets under the iconic Smith & Wesson®, M&P®, and Gemtech® brands. The company also provides manufacturing services including forging, machining, and precision plastic injection molding services. For more information call (844) 363-5386 or visit smith-wesson.com.

SMITH & WESSON® LAUNCHES SUMMER SAVINGS REBATE

For A Limited Time: Discounts on Smith & Wesson, M&P®, and Performance Center® Firearms

Smith & Wesson Corp. launched the “Summer Savings” rebate program, offering a Smith & Wesson prepaid MasterCard* worth up to $50 with the purchase of select, new Smith & Wesson, M&P, or Performance Center firearms.  The Summer Savings rebate program is valid on qualifying firearms purchased from June 29, 2018 to September 2, 2018.

Purchasers of a new Smith & Wesson, M&P, or Performance Center firearm from the categories below between June 29, 2018, and September 2, 2018, will be eligible to receive the following:

  • $50 Smith & Wesson prepaid MasterCard* on any new, qualifying M&P Full or Compact Size pistol chambered in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 Auto (excluding M&P Shield®pistols).  Performance Center M&P pistols are also included in this offer.
  • $30 Smith & Wesson prepaid MasterCard* on any new, qualifying Smith & Wesson or Performance Center revolver(excluding M&P Bodyguard®38 revolvers).
  • $25 Smith & Wesson prepaid MasterCard* on any new, qualifying Smith & Wesson SDor SDVE pistol.

To participate in the “Summer Savings” electronic rebate program, customers must complete and submit the online rebate form at www.smithandwessonrebates.com. All submissions must include proof of purchase and be submitted on or before October 1, 2018.

For complete terms and conditions of the “Summer Savings” rebate, including qualifying products, please visit www.smith-wesson.com/summer-rebate or contact customer service at (844) 628-7926.

*Card is issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by MasterCard International Incorporated.  MasterCard is a registered trademark, and the circle’s design is a trademark of MasterCard International Incorporated.  No cash access or recurring payments.  Card valid for up to 6 months; unused funds will be forfeited at midnight EST the last day of the month of the valid thru date.  Card terms and conditions apply, see MyPrepaidCenter.com/site/MasterCard-promo.

About Smith & Wesson®

Smith & Wesson Corp. is a provider of quality firearms for personal protection, target shooting and hunting in the global consumer and professional markets. Smith & Wesson is world famous for its handguns and long guns sold under the Smith & Wesson®, Performance Center®, M&P®, Thompson/Center Arms™, and Gemtech® brands.  Through its Manufacturing Services Division, Smith & Wesson Corp. also provides forging, machining, and precision plastic injection molding services to a wide variety of consumer goods companies. For more information on Smith & Wesson, call (800) 331-0852 or log on to www.smith-wesson.com.