Handgun hunting

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Handgun hunting is primarily done with specialized handguns that have long barrels and are often set up with scopes (optical aiming devices).

Even the largest animals, such as elephants, can be killed with modern hunting handguns, although most handgun hunters only use handguns when hunting medium-sized game like deer and wild hogs.

The .44 Magnum, developed in 1955, was the beginning of handgun hunting for mainstream hunters. Handgun hunters consider their activity more 'sporting' than using rifles. The comparatively short sight radius of a handgun and typically less powerful ammunition than used with rifles, means that any handgun hunter must stalk closer to the prey in order to kill the animal humanely, giving said animal more chance of detecting and avoiding the hunter.

Most hunting handguns are either single-shot pistols, double-action revolvers, or single-action revolvers.

Handgun hunting differs from rifle or shotgun hunting because a significant amount of shooting practice must be undertaken in order to become and remain proficient. Hunting handguns are every bit as capable for big-game hunting as rifles, particularly if the handgun is a single-shot pistol shooting a cartridge that is typically fired from a rifle (e.g., 7-30 Waters). It is not uncommon for a skilled handgun hunter to be able to cleanly take game at ranges exceeding 100 yards, even 200+ is possible with a single-shot, scoped hunting pistol.

With the exception of small-game hunting using rimfire cartridges, very few semi-automatic handguns are well suited for hunting, typically lacking both the power necessary and proper sights. Nonetheless, some of the more powerful semi-automatic pistols are sometimes used for hunting medium and large game, particularly those chambered for 10mm Auto, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .50 AE. Double-action revolvers but are used in single-action mode due to the need for high accuracy when hunting with a handgun. Single-action revolvers are more strongly built due to the lack of a swing-out cylinder and will last many thousands of rounds before they begin to loosen up.

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