Good to know there is another guy out there that hunts with a specialty handgun. My 2 favorites are 284 Winchest and a 7.82 Patriot XP-100's Center-Grip singleshot. They take care of everything from Prarie Dogs to Elk. I love em.
I've hunted with XPs for awhile. I had one in .22-250 for PDs and a .358Winchester for awhile. I think the XPs are great for IHMSA and PDs off a bench but find them even more unwieldy than an Encore. I have a couple Contender frames with: .22LR, 7mmJDJ, .223Remington, .41Magnum, .414SM, and .411JDJ barrels. For the Encore I have at present an '06(for sale-see classifieds), a .454Casull (also for sale), and a .260Remington I just picked up. For the most part though, I prefer to use revolvers and get as close as possible, then get a little closer. <!--emo&--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=''><!--endemo-->
I have hunted with my Lone Eagle in .358 Win a few times but mainly that gun is just for plinking. This year I think I will use it more but in the past I have not done much if any stand hunting. Most of my hunting involves lots of walking and I just never felt comfortable with that gun trying to take "snap shots". Sean
I use the Contender .223 (14") and .44mag (10") along with the Striker in .243. I enjoy the accuracy of each combination, each on having a Leupold 2.5X8 EER scope. I know a lot of the Contender and Encore users get their barrels from speciality house, and I've purchased my from SSK, and have the SSK TSO'B mount attached when they're purchased.
I've always had the bad habit of trying to make my handguns perform like rifles -- 50/75 yards just doesn't seem very far when you're in the open spaces. So the sawed off rifles help when the distance is longer and I still want a handgun. I continue to be amazed with the accuracy capability, many times its as good or better than the sporting level rifles.
h2oman55's post reminds me of an article/review by Taffin on his experience with the 30-30 Contender. As expected, he approached it with a little prejudice, but ended up commenting that he'd consider it to be one of his top choices if he only had one handgun to hunt with.
What type of mechanism, if any, do you use to carry your XP when you're in the field?
358 Bellm in a 14" bbl, 35 Rem in a 12" Hunter, 357 Max 10" rechamber (my current favorite), 41 Mag 10" Bullberry, 13 1/4" Custom shop 445 Super, 6.5 X50 R Bellm, 8" chopped 44 Mag. old 6 groove bbl. All for the Contender.
Done most of the Hunting with the 35 Rem for whitetails and it's entirely adequate for that task in the heavier woods I hunt here in the east.
My 35 Rem barrel is the "Hunter" version without the iron sights and it is braked with the factory Muzzle brake. One of the first braked barrels as a matter of fact. Has the small port holes.
The Hunter versions came in 12 and 14 inch versions first without iron sights then later with or without.
Had the 35 Rem barrel SSK chromed and T"*** scope mount installed. The only barrel I have with an SSK mount. A 2X6 Bushnell Trophy handgun scope rides in the cradles. All the barrels are scoped except the chopped 44 Mag.
Mostly Bushnell Trophy's with a few Burris' in there too.
I've found the Bushnell Trophy series scopes to be an excellent value for the money and surprisingly so. I've never had a problem with any of them. I have a 2X6 on the 358 Bellm which has been pounded with a few hundred rounds so far with no detectable POI shift or breakage thus far. On this barrel it's in a modified to 6 screw Weaver mount with three Bushnell extruded rings.
The 41 Mag has a Burris 1X scope which is actually 1.35X (virtually no magnification). This is basically a tree stand gun for me. The scope simply affords more precision than iron sights at closer ranges in lower light when I'm in the swamp. Have yet to flatten anything with it though. It's time will come.
For transport, I use the Uncle Mikes Bandolier Flapped holsters with integral sling for all these guns. It's like a sling but with a measure of gun protection from the weather and terrain. With the heavier clothes I wear for the hunting season, it's simply the easiest rig for me to deal with.
Most of the scopes are either the 2X6 variables or straight 2X. Don't have any what would be called varmint calibers right now so can't really comment on them but would surely go for higher magnification. May go for one with the 6.5X50R though.
With the 357 Max, there is a Leupold double dovetail base with Burris Signature rings. 2X Trophy in there too. First try with the Signature rings and I like them a lot.
The chopped 44 Mag is an absolute ball to shoot. Having no porting it can tend to be a handful depending on loads as it's lighter by todays standards. It flips up like a Hogleg without that extra 2" of barrel length. Have a Pachmayr Finger groove grip on that frame for it and it helps. Gets about 1380 with the 280 WFN G/C and 20 grs. WC820, 1430 with the same bullet and 22.5 H110/296.
May have told you more than you wanted to know here. LOL
I really like the Striker in .243, very accurate and with a upgraded trigger, is easy to shoot well. I'm left handed, but shoot a handgun right handed. Thus having the bolt on the left side works very well for me.
My scoping is likewise rather eclectic. I really like my Bushnell Holoscope on the 8 3/8" Model 29, so looked at the Bushnell web display for the Trophy specs. First of all, they don't reference pistol scopes as an separate option, but include them under rifle scopes so I assumed they discontinued the EER scopes.... later found them by accident. The spec's "Magnum Recoil Resistant" scared me, so I never pursued the Bushnell any further. I'm short one scope so will have to revisit that decision.
The 2.5X7 Burris has been good news and bad news. I had it on a .454Casull Taurus and after the initial firing, I noticed a very distinct "groove" on the front bottom. That groove was made by the front sight on the Taurus. Any scope that can handle that, is got to be one tough scope. However, when held at arms length at the higher power, I don't get a full picture like I do on the Leupold. So I've resigned myself to paying a little more to assure I've got a complete sight picture.
When I purchased the .223 Contender, it had a 2.5X7" Thompson Contender scope on it. I don't know who makes it for them, but it appeared to be a rather light weight affair. But the picture sure was sharp, quite frankly, at the 7X setting, it was clearer at 200yd targets than the 2.5X9 Burris I had at the time.
I initially had planned on having a leather holster made for the scoped Contenders, but wasn't comfortable that the leather would be flexible enough, so wondered what else was being used. I'll get a Uncle Mikes Bandolier Flapped holster which I'm sure will fit very nicely on top of my little tummy, making it readily accessible!
Thanks for the help and pleased to see the WC820 reference....pretty darn good stuff.
I am looking to buy a second barrel for my contender.Been concidering the 357 max from one of the custom shops. Can you give your opinion on a few things?
1-Opinion of the 357 max
2-What length 10" 12" 14"
3-Chambered for what bullet weight
4-what custom shop
appreciate any help - H2oman55
My primary weapon over the last 15 years is the Contender 15" in .45-70. Also seeing some use is a FA .454 and the abovementioned Contender in .309 JDJ. The one I will be hunting with this year though is my Encore 12" in .50 Alaskan. I can't wait to see how that one will perform on deer with the LBT 475 gr. bullet.
I've only had the Max barrel for about 5 months now. (In it's Max configuration that is)
I had Mike Bellm rechamber it from a 357 Mag. with what is called the "Alternate" throat. Pretty much what is referred to as a tapered ball seat type.
I had always wanted to try an efficient round for the 10" barrel with some horsepower in 35 caliber. The 357 Herrett is an efficient round also in the 10" bbl. however, you get into case forming. I see this round in a 12" bbl though ultimately.
General impressions of the Max in the Contender are it is very controllable without a Brake, achieves excellent velocity for the 10" barrel length, (1850-1900 with a cast 180) is easy to work with the cases, easy to load for as to not being finicky, is wonderfully accurate (so far about 1" at 50 yds), and makes the Contender into a compact powerhouse suitable for Deer out to say 150 yds or less. Some would say more, some would say less.
No super duper scope mounts are needed although I highly recommend the Leupold or Burris double dovetail base and Burris Signature rings. These hold real well.
Standard 357 Mag carbide dies can be used to load this round.
You can use 38 special, 360 DW, 357 Mag and of course 357 Max brass in it. Case thrust on the standing breech is considerably less than the larger diameter cases too. This is a 48,000 CUP cartridge.
The most useful bullet weight perhaps is the 180 gr with the 200 close second.
With the proper throat arrangement, like my barrel has, you can go up to 220 gr bullets depending on their design. It's a cast bullet friendly cartridge in my experience and that of countless others to be sure.
I'd go with the 10" length or perhaps a 12" but no more as it loses it's compactness and if you are going longer, might as well chamber for something more powerful to take advantage of the barrel length in my opinion.
This round is pretty much a handloaders proposition now but Remington brass is still available at a reasonable price. It will last fairly long as it is a straightwalled case if not abused. A 38 super carbide die can be used to not overly work the brass and then a 357 mag carbide sizer can be used to "neck" size after that. That's a tip from the Steel shooting boys.
To me, it is an extremely cost effective conversion to make on a factory 357 Mag barrel with a toilet bowl throat. Obtain a 357 Mag bbl. at a very reasonable cost, mine was used, have it rechambered to Max with a quality throat, and perhaps a look at the crown and you are ready to go rather cheaply as barrel costs go.
Some have great luck with the factory Mag or Max barrels with their very long forcing cone throats. I never did and went with the conversion.
All in all, this is a real sleeper round that was killed off prematurely over a non-issue as it is a lot of fun to shoot and entirely suitable for deer, hogs, black bear and such at reasonable ranges.
I'm currently experimenting with Surplus WC680 powder and there is a thread down below this one I think about that. Suitable powders run the gamut from IMR 4227, 296/H110, AA1680, WW680, WC680 Surplus, WC820 Surplus.
The bullet situation can be tricky as far as performance on game. For Jacketed, I'm inclined to go with the Hornady XTP 180 (Dual Crimp Groove) and 158 gr XTP Flat Point (will take the higher velocities). Nosler partition hangun bullets have been also recommended to me. The Hornady 180 SSSP or Speer 180 FP may or may not expand for you depending on the range/speed at impact. Cast may prove to be the ultimate bullet for this cartridge. Currently working with the Beartooth 180 WLN+P.
Again some of this info is subjective opinion but on the whole, I hope it helps you in your quest.
I'm also left-handed. I have owned a 243 Striker for awhile it was accurate, but then I had an oppurtunity to trade it for another XP-100, so I did.
I use a variety of different field rests, depending on whether I am antelope hunting on the plains or elk hunting in the mountains:
backpack, heavy mittens, between my knees, variety of Harris Bi-pods and shooting sticks. While making a stalk I constantly look for a solid rest.
My main hunting XP-100's both have H-S Precision stocks on them that are free floated. They have the aluminum V-Block just like their rifle stocks.
I'm glad to know there is so many on this forum that use a specialty handgun of some kind.
I hunt with a .308 Winchester 15" Encore. I made the mistake and borrowed a buddy's barrel last year and took several whitetail with it and the rest is history I'm Hooked. I currently hunt with 125 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips loaded with 51.5 grains of W748 and it sure wacks a whitetail.
Isn't it great hunting with these different specialty handguns. I have shot the TC, Encore, MOA Maximum, and the Strikers (Of course the XP's). The only specialty handgunds I have not tried is the Lone Eagle and the Competitor. I'm sure there are some other ones out there like the Wichita's and H-S specialty pistols, but I have not used them either.
After much debate I am seriously going out with my recently acquired Contender in 357 Herrett.
I'm working up loads now and also have a bunch of brass ready to fireform, then back to the bench for the real job, finding out what's the best load for this barrel and me. it's got a 14" bbl and is topped of with a 2.5-8 Leupold. I'm using new Federal 30.30 brass for my Contender.
I've killed lots of squirrels and rabbits with stock .22LR, .22mag, .38spl and .45acp. All my deer have fallen to stock S&W M19, M686 .357s, .41mag Ruger BH, and a .44mag Ruger SBH. Deer are easy to drop; all you have to do is make a good shot. All mine were dropped with one (1) shot each.
I took a nice 130" class whitetail a few years ago with an Encore pistol with a custom 10" Bulberry barrel in 44 magnum.
It's difficult to shoot a handgun this heavy offhand, so a rest is highly recommended. I shot this buck at 45 yards resting it on the swing arm of my tree stand on opening morning. After a 150 yard tracking job, I found him laying down in a slough and put in a finisher. It's my biggest buck to date.
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