January 06, 2011
My First Handgun Deer
By Phil Bourjaily
Last night I went handgun hunting for the first time ever. I have to admit that when I realized this doe was going to walk into range, my heart raced the way it did to when I used to bowhunt 20 years ago.
I got some pointers on handgun shooting during my visit to Smith & Wesson in September. I practiced with this .357 revolver a fair amount this fall before I took it out to my cousin’s place last night. From a rest, I am dangerous to 30 to 40 yards at most, so I had to be much more patient (and by “patient” I mean shaking uncontrollably while trying to remain inwardly calm) than I ever would have with a slug gun or muzzleloader as I waited for the deer to come close.
After standing behind a tree seemingly forever, the deer stepped out and gave me a broadside shot at 35 steps. I rested the revolver on the shooting rail in the treestand and put the dot just behind the shoulder. The doe went about 50 yards before falling over.
The revolver is a S&W 627 from their performance shop. I mounted the excellent Burris FastFire reflex sight on top and shot Federal Premium ammo loaded with 140 grain Barnes Expander copper bullets. I found the bullet in the hide on the far side of the deer. It weighed 138.2 grains on my reloading scale which is pretty close to the advertised 100% weight retention.
I have always told my editors at F&S that I bet a lot of our readers hunt with handguns, which is a topic we rarely cover. Here’s your chance to speak up and prove me right. After last night, I can see why you like this handgun hunting thing.