Whitetail Revolver...Muzzleloader Scope

Using a revolver for deer and saving money on a muzzleloader scope.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: Would a revolver chambered for the .32 H&R; Magnum be sufficient for whitetails at close ranges, say out to 30 yards?--E.S.

A: It depends on what you mean by "sufficient." Almost any game animal can be killed with a .22 rimfire if the bullet is placed right. There are several documented instances of big grizzly bears being killed with .22s, at one time including a Boone and Crockett record-book bear killed by a young Native American woman. I've also heard a story about an African woman who tried to drive an elephant out of her garden with a .22. She plinked at the elephant, which took fright and left. A few minutes later she heard a crash and found the elephant dead a few hundred yards away. Evidently the little bullet had gone between two ribs and put a hole in a big artery.

Given all that, yeah, the .32 H&R; will kill a deer at short range--but probably not every time. If you absolutely have to shoot a deer with a revolver, the .357 magnum is a much better choice, and then only with heavy bullets. Personally, while I've taken deer with a revolver (a .45 "Long" Colt), it seems a rather odd undertaking, sort of like sprinkling Tabasco sauce over ice cream. Chocolate sauce works much better--just as any rifle works better for deer hunting, even a truly primitive muzzleloader.

Q: I have a Knight Magnum DISC .50-caliber muzzleloader that I've hunted deer with. I'm thinking of mounting a Leupold Vari-X II 3-9x40 scope. Is this a decent setup for a muzzleloader? I'd like to know before spending $270 on the scope. The longest shots I'll be taking are 100 yards.--S.

A: The 3X-9X Vari-X II works fine on deer under 100 yards--and also works fine for shooting deer at 400 yards when mounted on, say, a .270. In short, you don't need all that magnification. I'd look at a fixed-power "shotgun" scope from any one of several manufacturers. A 4X should be plenty, and you should be able to purchase one for $150.