|.45 Colt Single Action Revolver. A classic big bore handgun.|
Hopefully you will never find yourself in such a predicament. But the story illustrates that it takes quite a lot of power, delivered as shock and physical damage to vital organs, for a bullet to quickly stop an angry critter that’s high on adrenalin. If you read my article, “.22’s and Monster Stew,” you saw that even a squirrel can become aggressive and hard to stop when it’s riled. That is, hard to stop if your weapon is not devastating enough for the size animal you may be confronting.
Well, I hunted in those same swamps and woods. His account of the hog attack got my attention. And I saw that pitiful looking, chewed-up gun. Since I could not afford a sidearm at that time, I did the next best thing I could think of: I added a sling to my shotgun so I could more easily climb with it. And later that same season I had occasion to climb a tree to avoid a group of wild hogs that were approaching me through dense undergrowth. The sling allowed me to take my shotgun up that tree, which would not have been possible without it. But you get the idea. I too, when I could afford it, bought a sidearm to carry while hunting – a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum revolver.
|The author's typical hunting companion: Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum.|
It has been documented again and again that large animals and people can be very difficult to stop when using some of the most commonly used calibers and guns. Here are a couple of examples that I know of personally:
During the late 1930’s, my dad witnessed a shooting involving a security guard, who was armed with a .38 Special, 6” revolver. My dad heard shouting, “Stop! Stop!” and looked to see what was happening. A uniformed railroad guard was backing away from a very large fellow in a rail yard. The guy held a steel pipe and appeared determined to bash-in the guard’s head. The man kept coming and the guard shot the man in the chest from a distance of about 10 feet. But that didn’t stop him and he continued slowly moving toward the guard, still holding the pipe, ready to strike. The guard shot again and again, until the 6-shot revolver was empty. The would-be assailant had closed the distance to about 3 feet. As the guard drew back to hit the man with his empty revolver, the man just sat down on the ground between the rails. He had been shot six times in the chest at close range before stopping. He was still sitting up in that spot when the police arrived about 15-minutes later. What if he had a gun instead of a pipe?
|You can't always carry a super hero on your back, or even an actor|
dressed like a super hero. It's a better bet to carry a Big Bore.
*Note: The .38S&W is not a .38special. It is a now mostly extinct revolver cartridge that was an inferior predecessor to the .38S&W Special. Ballistics were more comparable to a modern .380acp. See the .38 Smith and Wesson Wiki page here.
|Which looks like it would hurt more?|
Doc, an old friend of mine, was an avid hunter and a pathologist. He had definite views on the choice of bullets for hunting, which were based largely upon his own observations. He had performed many, many autopsies involving gunshot wounds. His simple advice to me was: Bigger is better.
His experience doing autopsies revealed, in virtually all cases, much more physical damage was delivered by any large diameter bullet than that done by smaller calibers. The stopping power, he said, came as much from the shock of the bullet hitting its target as from the actual tissue and bone destruction. When your life may depend on stopping someone or something quickly, you want it done that instant, not later.
Doc’s personal choice of handgun was, like “Dirty Harry”, a .44 Magnum S&W Model 29. He hunted with a .50 caliber old-style black powder rifle, which he even used for hunting bears in Canada. His collection of old guns included a .69 caliber musket that he especially liked – for its history and its stopping power, which he just called “awesome.”
I’m no doctor and have no experience performing autopsies, but I’ll take the word of someone who is and has. He’s someone who walks the walk. Every since that talk with Doc, I’ve leaned toward big-bore guns as my choice for self-defense and deer hunting. For small game hunting, I often choose my .22 Mag scoped rifle paired with my .44 Mag sidearm – with one or two CCI Shotshell snake rounds positioned to fire first from that big bore magnum.
|Clint's squint and the .44magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 made Dirty Harry famous. |
Would he have been the samewithout that Big Bore?