Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Opposition to deer hunting with handguns can't agree on why it's wrong

A change in deer hunting laws in Delaware, providing more opportunities for the use of handguns, has (predictably) drawn some criticism. Amusingly, though, not only does the criticism not agree with facts and logic, it doesn't even agree with itself.

On the one hand, we have Scott Vogel, of the outrageously misnamed "Freedom States Alliance," who argues that handguns used for deer hunting are "too powerful."

The Freedom States Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to reducing gun-related deaths and injuries through public awareness campaigns. According to the FSA Web site, .50 caliber guns have effective ranges up to 2,000 yards, or 20 football fields laid end to end. Deer hunters typically shoot at ranges of 150-200 yards.
.50 caliber rifles can be effective at that range (in the hands of an extremely skilled shooter), but a .50 caliber handgun (like the .500 S&W Magnum) could be fired all day (assuming the shooter's ability to sustain that kind of recoil, and his wallet's ability to sustain the ammo costs, permitted it) without the intended target ever noticing he was being fired at. By the way, Delaware law does not require that deer-hunting handguns be of .50 caliber--and most hunters who choose to take the opportunities offered by this rule change will probably not go out and buy one.
"We don't support this change," said Scott Vogel, communications director of FSA. "A .50-caliber handgun can easily puncture a police officer's vest."
Probably--but no more easily than any deer rifle (and probably less easily than most deer rifle cartridges). Besides, do Delaware police have a habit of disguising themselves as deer during hunting season--why is a hunting gun's ability to defeat body armor even an issue?

On the other hand, we get the argument that handguns are not powerful enough to hunt deer.
The Humane Society of the United States worries not only about the safety of the hunter but of the deer. The group worries that deer shot by handguns would suffer needlessly.

"If the hunters were truly interested in a quick and painless death for the deer, they would not use a handgun," said Casey Pheiffer, campaign manager of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for the Humane Society.
Granted, the range at which a deer can be humanely taken is probably less, in most cases, with a handgun than with a rifle. Within that range, though, with adequate care on the part of the hunter, a powerful handgun is quite up to the task of ethical deer hunting, and will probably in most cases kill a deer more quickly than can generally be done with bow and arrow. Besides, my guess is that being torn apart by wolves or a mountain lion is probably less than pleasant, too--that's one of the downsides of being helpless prey.

"Helpless prey," by the way, is exactly what citizen disarmament advocacy groups like the Freedom States Alliance would like to make us.

18 comments:

Mike W. said...

I love how they're trying to say .50 cal handguns have an effective range of 2000 yards...

I'm from DE and hadn't heard about this. I don't hunt, but extending handgun hunting season can't be a bad thing. I realize not that many folks hunt with handguns, but if more deer are taken this season as a result I'll be happy.

There are WAY too many deer on the roads around here.

chris horton said...

I've hunted deer with a "handgun" for years.

I've yet to be successful,"handgun" wise,because I KNOW the limits of the weapon.

I know many others that do as well....

45superman said...

My Dad has gotten a couple, using a Thompson Encore pistol in .44 Magnum. It's not easy.

TJP said...

It's plain and simple. They don't want to lose out on the "common use" argument--even though there is no such constitutional restriction on the people.

Most hunters aim for a shoulder-lung-heart trajectory. Why? A deer would die faster with a head shot. Because the hunter gets to keep a trophy, and if his shot is off the mark, there's a chance of a good blood trail.

The characterization of handgun power is mostly true, however, there are also muzzle-loader and bow seasons, and no one is questioning those. My .50 cal Hawken is only pushing maybe 1,600-1,700 feet-per with a 180-grain ball and 70 grains of black powder. That's 44 Magnum territory. A 460 S&W Magnum is far above that, if one is concerned. Hunters have been successfully using both in other states.

Delware looks small, flat and brushy to me. Connecticut is small, hilly and brushy. The chances that someone is going to attempt a shot over 70 yards are slim in either location. Most every hunter I know takes his shots at 50 yards or less. They also get in closer with slugs. Why would a handgun be any different?

I seriously doubt Vogel or any policy writer at the HSUS know the first thing about any branch of ballistics. Heck, Vogel doesn't even understand that there is no direct relationship between projectile diameter and muzzle energy. I just don't understand why we allow ourselves to repeatedly get bonked over the head with the "training" arguments employed by the disarmers, yet some hoplophobe with a fax machine gets input in policy where his actual area of expertise is somewhere in the Kuiper Belt relative to the subject at hand.

Thirdpower said...

The paper is going to be printing a 'clarification' w/i the next few days.

Methinks they got more than a few letters telling them how wrong they got it.

45superman said...

The paper is going to be printing a 'clarification' w/i the next few days.

I'll be interested in seeing that "clarification."

straightarrow said...

I am only speaking for myself, but I would never hunt deer with handguns.

Those antlered bastards might shoot back.

45superman said...

I figured some smartass would give me grief for that wording, SA--I should have known it would be you ;-).

straightarrow said...

Isn't that what SA stand for?

tom said...

My .375H&H Magnum Encore barrels have a much greater effective range than anything I've seen in .500S&W and have more muzzle energy than about anything accurate and hand held. They aren't carbines, they aren't short barreled rifles. I bought them as PISTOL frames. Says so on the 4473s. Wouldn't attempt a 2000 yard shot but 250 yards, maybe. My longest rifle kill on bambi size creatures or larger is 350.

On the other side of the coin. I wouldn't have any qualms about taking a deer with one of my Contender .222 or .223 barrels if the conditions were right and those are just lowly .22s.

:-)

These folks don't know a fookin' thing about firearms.

45superman said...

My .375H&H Magnum Encore barrels . . .

Damn--I thought I was nuts. Now that's a handcannon! What's the barrel length?

tom said...

Also doubtful on a .50S&W puncturing a police vest. IIIA vests stop shotgun slugs.The smith and wesson fitty isn't a very high velocity round and though it has large mass it's spreading it over a broad area.

My magnum rifle chambered handguns down to my .223 pistols would poke a hole in a IIIA vest in a heartbeat, though.

Most any proper deer rifle will poke a hole in a IIIA vest too.

45superman said...

Also doubtful on a .50S&W puncturing a police vest. IIIA vests stop shotgun slugs.The smith and wesson fitty isn't a very high velocity round and though it has large mass it's spreading it over a broad area.

Yeah--I wondered about that, too. I decided to give 'em the benefit of the doubt on that one--that claim was the smallest problem with what they were saying.

tom said...

One is 17" and the other two are 15.5".

The little ones started life as .375JDJ and the big one started like as a 26" rifle barrel.

There's been talk about some of us on Accurate Reloading starting a .375 H&H Magnum Shooter's Society.

There's more people than I that own and shoot them.

17" .375H&H next to 10".450 Marlin BFR for scale.

45superman said...

He he. You and I are going to get along just fine.

tom said...

Saves time removing the heart and lungs from African antelopes.

straightarrow said...

A CZ52 will also penetrate a vest. It fires a .25x28mm? from a bottleneck case. High velocity, low cross section. Slip right through. And cheap.

Probably ought to have one. Though, at the moment, I can't think what I would use it for. Being a peaceable sort and all.

Lergnom said...

Straightarrow -
The CZ-52 round measures 7.62x25, dimensionally very close to .30 Mauser. IIRC, and I might not, it pushes an 86-grain pill out at about 1500 fps.
Hope this helps