Friday, July 11, 2014

Contemplating deer hunting this year.

Indiana has those weird hunting regs where you can't use proper deer rifle calibers unless you shoot them out of a pistol. So I'm looking at setting up a .243 Winchester Encore handgun and I'm wondering if anybody has some pointers for optics?

I don't have a ton of hand-rifle experience, so pistol scopes are relatively virgin territory for me. I mean, I had a Trashco on my 8 3/8" 586 once upon a time, and I generally know to stick with good name brand optics (one can rarely go far wrong picking something out of the Leupold catalog, for example), but which scope? Realistically talking sub-100yd shooting here.
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34 comments:

Darrell said...

I have a Nikon 2.5-8x28 EER scope, works well for me. Mine is a Monarch, IIRC; they later called it an Encore, I think, and now call it a Force. Mine has a simple crosshair reticle, the Force has a BDC reticle:

http://swfa.com/Nikon-25-8x28-Force-XR-EER-Handgun-Scope-P51967.aspx

Mine works very well.

Wouter de Waal said...

I'd go with no more than 4x, extended eye relief of course.

A 243 in 100 yards doesn't need BDC.

Blackwing1 said...

Southern Minnesnowta is a shotgun-only area; rifles can be used northeast of an arbitrary line drawn on a map that almost bisects the state. I'm sure I'm not unique in wondering if it wouldn't be easier to set up a rifled, scoped slug barrel for a 12-gauge than using a rifle-caliber handgun?

I've fired a TC Contender in .30-30 with a Leupold 2-power scope on it. Amazingly accurate, but the flash/report/recoil from that thing was enough that I didn't want to shoot more than a few rounds. The Leupold scope held up, but I've got to say that with the small objective lens (I think it was a 20mm, or something) it wouldn't be my first choice.

abnormalist said...

consider the flip side, a marlin in 357 or 44 mag with a standard 4x...

Indiana is strange that way you can run a rifle bullet in a pistol, or a pistol bullet in a rifle. Given the choice at 100 yards, I'd rather have the rifle with the pistol bullet. 44 mag outta a 20" barrel does some pretty awesome things on deer

Tam said...

Lor' bless the internet. ;)

Carl H said...

Another vote for a 4x EER, no particular brand recco - I like most of the 'big boys'. Generic cheap scope advice - I like the Japanese & Phillipines optics for the money.

Good hunting!

Chas Clifton said...

I just read Indiana's regs: "Cartridges must fire a bullet of .357-inch diameter or larger and have a case length between 1.16 and 1.8 inches. Examples of legal cartridges now include the .460 Smith & Wesson, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf as well as the .357 Magnum, .38-.40 Winchester, .41 Special and others."

Interesting. I did not know that there was such as thing as "carbine deer season." Abnormalist might be right.

Lewis said...

See, Tam, what you really want is . . .

Nah, just kidding. My choice would be a fixed Leupold. If I was confident in having a good solid rest to shoot from, I'd go with the 4x, probably. The 2x is also a good choice. My eyes have only recently been opened (seewhutididthere? an optics joke!) to the quality of better glass. There's nothing inherently wrong, I suppose, with the lower-end optics---better'n they used to be, for sure, but now I'm spoiled by Leupold.

Dave said...

Now I'm wondering, if there was a way to attach something like Sig's "arm brace" to an Encore, would it still count as a pistol for hunting purposes?

Tam said...

You can crawl up the stock on a 12" single-shot .243; I'm not. ;)

TXGunGeek said...

Bushnell Elite 2-6X handgun. About $400 if you shop for it but the clarity and light gathering is off the charts.
You really do get what you pay for. If this is going to be a long term thing the investment is worth it. If this is a maybe one shot deal then you could likely get away for less bucks.

Scott J said...

I wish you luck. I've been saying "need to get back in the deer woods next year" for almost a decade now.

I keep finding excuses not to every year.

Hopefully I can do better this year.

Anonymous said...

Would a 1X red dot work?
I've used that on a Old Dan Wesson .357 for deer, hogs and a mountain lion.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

Have you considered a shotgun with a rifled barrel firing a saboted slug? If you're going to be within 100yds anyways it may be a more economical option.

Al_in_Ottawa

og said...

Buddy put a Leu VX-Hog on his Contender, and it's sweet. The eye relief is awesome and the reticle is actually kinda nice. I don't know if it would lend itself as well to whitetail as to hogs, but to a bullet, an ungulate is an ungulate.

abnormalist said...

I'll admit, I'm a PCC fan. I got a rossi 1892 in 44 mag stainless 20" and i shamelessly love it.

ditched the wart safety in place of a bolt mounted peep sight, and its the bees knees.

a spicy 240g round recoils enough to make you know you did something serious without being anywhere near punishing even with a stainless steel butt plate

Kevin said...

Tam:

I'm a fan of Burris' pistol scopes. I've shot pistol silhouette with both an XP-100 and a Contender, and now I've got a .260 Remington Encore. That being said, Leupold makes some nice glass.

At 100 yards or less, I'd recommend 3-4X. Burris makes 2-7X variables and a 3-12X variable, either of which would work fine at the low end (and if you ever want to see what you can hit at serious ranges with a .243 handgun, the higher power is there.) Leupold makes a couple of 4X fixed handgun scopes.

og said...

Encore, not Contender, my mistake.

Wyfaggro said...

damn, I dunno if I could bring myself to deer hunt without my dad's .30/30
those are definitely some strange laws.
but then I've been trying to convince myself to buy a .357 or .44 mag lever gun for years now...

Alien said...

Tam, I've got a Leupold 4X EER pistol scope that's looking for a home if that strikes your fancy.
I'll email you contact info.

Kristophr said...

Hmmm ... another vote for zero power at sub-100 yards.

A simple red dot, maybe?

Kristophr said...

I'll second Kevin, if you want magnification. I'm impressed with Burris glass.

fast richard said...

I've shot all my deer with a shotgun slugs, so I can't say much about the specifics of hunting with a hand gun. I have used a variety of sights, iron sights with or without fiber optics on smoothbore, a couple of different red dots and a regular fixed four power scope on a rifled barrel. I've shot deer with all of them. They've all worked. The success of your hunt is unlikely to hinge on your choice of sights. I would think a red dot or low power optic from a company you trust would do everything you need it to.

tailwind said...

The best advice is to take a serious look at all the posted comments and then do what you were going to do in the first place.

That being said, the 2x and red dot advocates are on the right track.

Ed Jones said...

Talk to Frank James.

DJ9 said...

Leupold 2x if you plan on shooting from your hind legs vs. taking a rest (no advantage in a higher power unless rested, IMO).

If a rest may be available at certain times, but not at others (such as hunting from a blind in the AM, walk-'em-up later), then the Leupold (or any other quality brand) variable will give you a higher-magnification option when rested. Even so, you probably don't need any more than 4x on the top end for 100 yard deer (try holding a handgun-mounted 6x steady on a field-grade rest -- not sandbags on a concrete bench -- before you buy anything bigger than a 4x).

The Old Coach said...

T/C Encore hand-rifle you say? Been there, done that, and all I can say is waste of money. Unless you have hands like a stevedore, you can't hold one of those things on a barn. Snap-shots? Fuggeddabowtit. I'd unload mine on some poor sap, but I have principles.

Anonymous said...

My son and I both use inline black powder guns here in Illinois.I can hit a 6in plate at 250yrds we have Nikon bdc scopes. crane op

Matt G said...

I count 5 legit responses to the question posed.

Anonymous said...

I had a Bushnell Elite 2-6X handgun on my 14" TC Contender 30-30. It was a great combo and an absolute tack driver at 50yds (3 shots through one slightly-larger-than-30cal hole), but very unwieldy for field use. I doubt I'd use greater than 2x in the field, but 6x was great for range duty.

My next foray with the TC break action concept was an Encore Rifle. I like that much better than the handgun format.

Chris

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't what you asked, but as a long time Hoosier deer hunter the setup that has worked best for me is a cheap CVA muzzle loader shooting .45 cal Barnes saboted bullets with two pellets of Pryodex and a cheap Bushnell scope.

Totally deadly and plenty accurate out to 120-150 yards, which is about as far as I've ever needed in Indiana hunting conditions. Also allows you to shoot in both gun season and muzzle loader season. Only downside is no follow up shots, but I've only ever had one situation where that mattered in all these years.

Total cost about $165.

Alath
Carmel IN

Anonymous said...

PS that cheap Bushnell is a 1.5-4x, and I leave it on 1.5x almost always.

Alath

Robert Harbaugh said...

I've been handgun hunting for about forty years now, and my Contenders have taken everything from prairie dogs to elk, at ranges of seven steps to 250 yards. I have six Leupold, four Bushnell, and one each Tasco and Thompson/Center scopes mounted on barrels from .22 L.R. to .375 Win., fixed power and variables. For big game, almost any of the scopes mentioned in the comments will do, but if push came to shove, my first choice would be the Leupold M8-4x (currently called the FX-II 4x28mm)

Buzz said...

Fixed zoom, no more than 4x.

I like the old Simmons pro diamond, myself.
I have on muzzle loader and shotgun.

Tam, I know you're a big fan of the "boom" and such, but bowhunting is my favorite deer harvesting method...