Single Shot Hunting Handguns/Pistols
Single shot pistols offer the handgun hunter many important features.
One main reason the handgun hunter should consider a single shot pistol is the fact that they can be had in a wide range of calibers. As an example the Thompson Center Contender and Encore are both available in a wide array of what where once rifle only calibers. The contender can handle up to the 45-70 and the Encore can handle even the 7mm magnum.
A new choice for the contender emerged as a factory chambering in 2004, the 375 JDJ. Once only a custom barrel chambering, it is now offered from the factory. I personally have a 14-inch custom barrel in 375 JDJ. The round moves a 225-grain bullet out of the 14-inch barrel at over 2200 fps. It has accounted for game animals up to and including African Elephant.
For those not looking to hunt elephant, popular offerings in the contender include the 30/30 Winchester, 35 Remington and 7-30 Waters. The Encore includes the popular 243 Winchester, 270 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington and the venerable 30/06. I have hunted extensively with my Contender, but have had only minimal experience with the encore.
Rifle Like Accuracy
The single shot design allows any style bullet to be used, unlike in a lever action the 30/30 can be loaded with ballisticly superior spire point bullets. Most single shot handguns are far more capable than the shooter, with sub-minute groups not being uncommon from a good rest.
With relatively few moving parts and very strong actions the single shot pistol offers the big game handgun hunter a level of dependability that is very hard for an autoloader/revolver to match. The only negative to a single shot handgun for hunting is the fact they are single shot. Really, follow-up shots with a hunting handgun are very rare, due to the increased recoil of the firearm, so this is a fairly mute point, unless hunting very open country.
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