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American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2012 Digital Edition - Page 42
HANDGUNHUNTING tIPs, tecHNIQUes AND PoLItIcAL INcorrectNess J.D. JoNes originally a Colt government model in .38 super, frank Pachmayr’s shop transformed it into the Pachamyr signature model in .38 super. of note is the rig to adjust slide velocity, as well as all other features. This is an original Colt Combat Commander customized with a s&w revolver rear sight, a higher front sight, throated, lowered ejection port and trigger work. The grips are the real thing too, and, of course, add a conservative, muted look to the rig. hunting with a .45 acP i n this 100th year anniversary of the 1911 and the .45 ACP cartridge, its history is filled with thousands of factual and also highly exaggerated tales of the effectiveness of both the weapon and cartridge. When one hears “45” the 1911 Colt is foremost in the mind for most of us. First and foremost, the .45 is recognized as a combat tool, and also as a competition and defensive tool. Way down the list is its recognition as a handgun-hunting tool. Back in the dark ages, any NRA member could buy a new surplus 1911A1 from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship for $7.50. Then it could be sent to the Advanced Marksmanship Unit at Ft. Benning where for the sum of $65 those gunsmiths would turn it into a good softball or hardball bull’s-eye gun as ever made. That’s sort of a shame too as an accurized 1911 in .45 ACP — with the right ammunition and user — is quite effective as a small- to medium-game gun. Rabbits and squirrels are usually taken at short ranges, and that’s fine for the 1911. Those 230-grain FMJ bullets do not cause excessive damage unless a shoulder shot occurs. Target “wadcutter” low-velocity loads seem to hit small game harder, but I can’t see any difference in damage done by them and the 230 FMJ, and even some of the hollowpoints. Running jackrabbits and the .45 seem meant for each other. Good, adjustable sights combined with a fine trigger, lowrecoil impulse and semi-auto action are very effective for the guy who knows how to use them. Conservative Thinking e xceptional things happen with any gun cartridge combination on both the positive and negative side. Let’s put aside the exceptions and take a look at the median of what to expect. I figure, for most .45 ammunition 50 yards is about the maximum I want to stretch it on a living animal. That is close enough for good shot placement due to a decent trajectory at that distance, and the bullet will still give good performance. I’m a heavy bullet guy when velocities are low and ranges short. I particularly like the 230-grain Ranger LE load. The 230-Hydra shock and many others have done well too. In a silenced Contender carbine with an optical sight and suppressor, add another 25 yards to the effectiveness, which has some popularity as a game control tool. Generally, the ballistic difference between a 4.25", 5" A .45 ACP and 6" barrel isn’t worth xd from the considering. springfield Obviously, the .45 custom shop — isn’t a “mash ’em flat” an excellent pistol magnum, and with a relain every respect. tively low-powered gun the importance of shot placement is paramount. For a double lung or heart shot on any medium game, expect the animal to run. That happens with any caliber, but few will drop in their tracks from a .45 unless the brain or spine is hit. Hunting with .45 puts more “hunting” into hunting, with added emphasis on shooting skill. Hit ’em where they live — repeatedly — for best results. I’m not in favor of the 230 ball bullets on deer, but on pigs, especially big ones, they seem to work as well as anything usable in the .45. Nor am I in favor of using it on any animal much over a couple hundred pounds, as learned from the School Of Hard Knocks. Not well known ammunition to consider and run a web search on is the Extreme Shock ammo. My experience is limited, but in some calibers it almost seems magic. J.D.’s XD ’ve been a 1911 guy for more years than I like to think, but a couple years ago I fell for a Springfield XD customized by their custom shop, equipped with a tiny dot sight. It doesn’t “point” like a 1911, for me, but does point well and is at least as accurate as most custom 1911s. It’s definitely a .45 worth consideration. Oh, and never forget that bullet-hose Thompson .45 ACP SMG — a wonderful tool and great fun. I * 42 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2012