Well, I did it. Despite declaring that I’d never do it, my curiosity got the best of me. So I went and did it. Not sorry.
Most of my readers understand that I enjoy shooting large bore revolvers. Wheel guns just make the most sense to me and, if you’re going to go big, you go big right? All of which explains the Taurus Raging Bull in .454 Casull and the Ruger Bisley in .475 Linebaugh in my meager selection of woods-running firearms. Actually, I refer to them as comfort items for the remote fishing inclined.
I’ll be honest and come right out and admit it. Although I enjoy watching the youngsters plinking an afternoon away with their pet .22s, and yes, even though I’ll shoot up a carton or two of the old double deuce shells occasionally, .22 popguns really aren’t my thing. Even with rifles, I seldom hunt small game with the small calibers, much preferring a good wheel gun in a caliber starting with .38 or .40.
Maybe it’s the noise, the resultant echoing thunder rolling across the distant hills that appeals to me. Possibly it’s the kick and buck of real recoil punching its way up the nerves in my arm and finally registering as a solid shot in my gray matter. Maybe it’s the masochist in me? Then again it may be as simple as the visual difference in impact disturbance on the various flora and fauna when a 200-300 grain lead slug smacks into its intended target. Don’t know, don’t care. I ain’t no shrink. I just know I enjoy shooting big bore handguns.
All of which might explain my predilection for using big bores shooting big bullets when I go wandering around where the possibilities of encountering malevolent life forms exist. Like that ad for the television series “Mountain Men” says, “In the mountains you are either prey or predator.” That can be restated to include life in general and not just messing about with stinky, big-toothed furries in particular.
Which is the long way around to say that, after listening to various high dollar gun writers and a couple of fairly sober big game guides, I finally yielded to curiosity and bought a semi-big bore bottom feeder. A magazine fed, 1911 clone chambered in 10mm to be more precise. You know, the one that’s absolutely perfect for defending the homestead from marauding rustlers, sheep eating wolves, calf killing coyotes and beef eating bears, especially grizzlies. However, after a few weeks shooting it out in the woods at inanimate targets, I’ve concluded that apparently the 10mm was given its reputation because some writers and shooters equate caliber smack-down and/or cartridge efficiency on big critters in direct correlation with recoil in hand and muzzle blast.
Several prominent and “wanna-be” gun writers have written or said that the 10mm is “almost” as good or “every bit as good” as the .41 magnum for serious discussions with big bears. I consider that caliber as too light for serious wet work with the big shaggies to begin with. And yes, I’ve owned several over the years. Most of what one reads in the popular magazines these days is a blend of public relations bushwah, fantasy dreaming and promotional marketing B.S. I think most of these wags do most of their hunting and shooting with their keyboards.
I have now officially owned a 10mm, a Rock Island 1911 bought brand new and shot several dozen rounds through it, including a few boxes of those extra-special heavy duty commercial bear loads on the market. And yes, I enjoyed it, was pleased with its functioning and accuracy, but a .41 magnum it ain’t. So it’s for sale. With ammo.
Just so we’re all on the same page, I have killed literally hundreds of critters with both rifles and handguns, ranging from flintlock style muzzle -loading rifles to handheld cannons designed by J.D. Jones and others. I’ve hunted with and shot such exotic calibers as the .375 JD Jones and, speaking handgun-wise, a variety of heavy calibers including .45-70s and .444 Marlins in T/C’s hand cannons.
Over the past four decades I have killed antelope, deer, elk, bears and other critters with these portable cannons including the .41 magnum. So believe me when I tell you that the 41 magnum, even loaded as hot as you can hold, ain’t no grizzly gun.
And yes, I know the story about that serviceman back from Afghanistan who killed a charging grizz with a magazine full of 10mms from his plastic pistol. Kudos to him, I don’t doubt that he did. Stout lad, that. Understand also that one of the top grizzly bears in the record books came from Canada where a native lady had to kill it with a .22 rifle.
Then there’s the 80-year-old grandmother who lived outside the tiny hamlet of Gallatin Gateway, Mont., around 40 years ago, who heard three grizzlies attacking her livestock in the home corral one moonlit night. When the dust settled, all three bears were deader than yesterday’s news. And she did it with one shot apiece. The firearm? A .22 rifle she kept handy by the door for varmints and such.
Regardless, those are the odd examples, and not to be construed as a general rule of conduct. If you’re half bright, you don’t swat at a wasps’ nest with a willow switch when there’s no place behind you to run. It just ain’t real bright.
Anyway, back to the 10mm. Although my true love in handguns is revolvers, I enjoy 1911 style handguns. I prefer mine in .45 ACP, but the thought occurs that a Desert Eagle in .44 magnum or .50 AE, although a heavy carry, might be fun to experiment with. I’ve shot the .50 and was impressed. It’ll do to separate the wheat from the chaff, bear-wise. But the 10mm, although more gun than the standard .45 ACP, isn’t my choice of firearm to dissuade irascible grizzlies or even a mad momma moose with. Maybe in a .460 Rowland?
Which is the long way around to say that I’ve got a couple of major caliber players in wheelguns I like and I think I’ll just stick with them. In this case, familiarity doesn’t build contempt.