The Best Handguns for Hunting

As handgun hunting’s popularity continues on a meteoric rise, more options hit the market each year. Whether hunters favor semi-automatic pistols or the more traditional revolvers, there are ample choices for the shopping hunter. Check out any of these that are sure to put the knockdown on game animals.

Nosler M48 Independence – $1,750

Nosler M48 Independence

The brand new Nosler M48 Independence single-shot, bolt-action handgun represents the best-of-the-best in terms of ultimate accuracy in a hunting handgun. The 15-inch barrel has a threaded muzzle for either a suppressor or brake. The handgun’s exceptional two-stage trigger rivals that of target rifles, and an aluminum chassis-style stock rounds out the package. Each handgun is machined and built from US made parts by the gunsmiths in Bend, Oregon.

The Independence is not cheap, but it exudes all-American quality and easily shoots sub-MOA groups to match. In fact, in the hands of a capable handgunner, the M48 will outshoot many rifles.

Ruger Super Redhawk – $820

Ruger Super Redhawk

Ruger’s revolvers have made solid hunting sidearms for decades. The newer Ruger Super Redhawk wheelguns are no exception.  The top choice here has long been the .44 Magnum, but now Ruger also chambers the Super Redhawk in the more commonly hyped pistol 10mm round as well. The dual-chamberings allow use of two calibers in one, like the .44 Mag/.44 Spl, 10mm/.40S&W, and .454 Casull/.45 Colt. These stainless steel, double action revolvers are attractive, potent, and sure to be passed to the next generation of hunters.

Remington 1911 R1 Hunter – $550


Remington H1

The craze over 10mm long-slide hunting pistols is still booming and the options are many. Not only is the 10mm round more potent for hunters than other common semi-automatic handgun calibers, but the longer barrels and slides mean greater velocities and accuracy with the longer sight plane.

The Glock Model 40 MOS and Springfield TRP with the 6-inch barrel both make solid choices as well, but the Remington R1 Hunter is one of the most popular “tens” on the market today. The 6-inch barrel and longer slide are built with stainless steel, coated in black PVD, dressed in aggressive G10 grips, and topped with fully adjustable sights.

Magnum Research BFR – $990

Magnum Research BFR

These hulky Biggest, Finest Revolvers — or BFR for short — are the epitome of the single-action wheelgun hunting handgun market. With calibers like .30-30 and .45-70 headlining the family of American-made revolvers, the Magnum Research BFR can take down most any big game animals in the world. Both long and short-cylinder versions include some of the most potent chamberings to be found in a hunting handgun. Because of its quality all-stainless steel build, recoil is controllable, the handgun is easy to keep on target, and accuracy is quite exceptional whether with iron sights or an optic.  Plus, the cool factor is off the charts.

Smith & Wesson 460 – $1,150


Smith & Wesson 460

Any number of Smith & Wesson revolvers could be inserted here, including models like the Smith & Wesson 629 or 657 in .44 Magnum and .41 Magnum respectively. But when big game is the name of the game, it’s always better to have too much gun than not enough, and certain calibers extend the effective range as well.  The Smith & Wesson 460 chambered in .460 S&W is one of the most potent revolver rounds and Smith & Wesson does it up right with the power and accuracy for longer distance big game hunting. Smith & Wesson advertises the .460 as having “the highest muzzle velocity of any production revolver on earth.” Look at models like the XVR or Performance Center 460’s for top quality.  If the .460 sounds like too much gun, be assured these revolvers will also fire both .45 Colt and .454 Casull.

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