Monday, October 29, 2012

Handgun Hunting by Ruger: A Brief Look At Optics

This is a quick look at what optics can do for you if you plan to use a handgun for hunting.  It is important to consider what you will be hunting, and what you want your limitations to be. Take a look at the photos below, and you can see how the sights on your pistol affect your accuracy, and your maximum effective hunting range.

The iron sights on the Single Six are clearly not good enough if I want to nail squirrels at 25 yards.  However, this level of accuracy is fine if I want to be able to pop a coyote while I am out on a woods walk.  This level of accuracy is also good enough for dealing with coons, possums, and skunks, if I hold my range to about fify feet.

A red dot scope puts the target and your sights in the same plane, and allows you to see clearly, without magnification.  You can kill squirrels with this combination, but 25 yards is pushing the envelope a bit.  If your squirrels are just 40 to 50 feet up in a tree, this type of sight will bring home the bushytails.

Contenders shoot at least as good as rifles, but you need magnification to utilize the accuracy built into these pistols. This barrel and scope combination was assembled over thirty years ago, and it still works just fine.  It is great for blasting starlings that land on the barn roof, and I haven't punctured the tin roof yet; but that flyer on the bottom tells me I had better not get cocky.

The 10/22 was bought used over twenty years ago with a Simmons 3-9X scope already installed, on tall see through mounts.  I have recently upgraded it with a Volquartsen target hammer kit, which has given it a two pound seven ounce trigger pull.  Breathing moves the crosshairs up and down when you are shooting a rifle; much more than when you are shooting a pistol off of a rest.  At least that is my excuse for not making a one hole group with this rifle off of the bench.  Anyway, I'm good for 25 yards on squirrels with my rifle, if I can find a good rest.  Coons, coyotes, skunks and possums had better look out. 
Think about what type of shooting/hunting you will be doing before you decide what type of optics you want to put on top of your handgun.  I like the red dot on the Mk III because of the type of shooting I do, but if I wanted to make it my squirrel gun, I would change to a scope with magnification.  As it is set up now, it does just fine on varmints around the farmstead, and it is good for offhand recreational shooting. 

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