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Legal Handgun for MN Deer


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I know the regulations state at least .220 centerfire. What does this mean for handguns. Previous laws had caliber and length requirements. I hunt with a shotgun, can I carry my 9mm as a backup sidearm?

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It is sad to say, but a 9mm handgun is a legal caliber under the new laws.

Realisticly, a .357 is about the bottom of the powerfactor you want to be using to hunt a whitetail deer. .357, ,.41 mag, .44mag, .460, .500, and the rifle calibers in a handgun are all better options.

Go 'head and take your 9 rabbit hunting, but please, leave it home for deer. Unless you are talking, shoot it in the head rather than slit the throat..., but there are much better options.

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Thanks for the info Neighbor Guy, I would only use it for a finishing shot, as I don't figure it for a clean kill.

I don't currently own one of the larger caliber's menitioned. I have a 9 and figure just because I carry it, doesn't mean I have to use it.

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A handgun really can't compare with a rifle in terms of range, so that's why you can use them in the shotgun zone. I shoot handguns once in a while for fun, but suspect that a longer barrel would be required to make a clean kill.

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I cant find it in the regualtions but you used to have to have atleast a 7.5 inch barrel to hunt with a handgun. I have a .44 Colt anaconda with an 8 inch barrel I think. Sweet gun. Has a 2x leupold on it. Have made kill shots with it and feel comfortable shooting out to fifty yards but dont take it because its a discontinued model and its too pretty to get scratched up. i would cry.

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As of last year,any caliber larger than .220 is legal to carry in a handgun while deer hunting.So to answer the question about a 9mm being legal to carry, the answer is yes.Is it a good choice to take a deer down? No way. The energy, and muzzle velocity of a 9mm bullet fired from a short barreled pistol is not sufficient enough to kill a deer, except at point blank range. The DNR is still montoring this reg. change to see if too many deer are wounded by handguns in these defense calibers, instead of a clean kill.They will revert to the old standard calibers if the last years change becomes a problem.

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A seven and a half inch barrel minimum is news to me. I've used my Redhawk with a 5 1/2 in. barrel for deer and bear for years.
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Check your shell casing length requirement when considering that 9mm for a legal deer round.

Unless they took out the minimum length requirement that was in place before, the reason a 9mm has not been legal before is they are too short = not enough power.

I don't have the regs in front of me now to check.

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I searched around the DNR HSOforum a bit and found this - seems like your 9mm is perfectly legal. I wouldn't use it for anything more than putting putting down a injured animal though. It's just doesn't have enough power for deer hunting.

I searched the regulation book for "barrel" and it only finds it once, while talking about the definition of an unloaded gun. There are no barrel length regulations in the book.

Legal Big Game Cartridges

* It is at least .220 caliber and has center fire ignition;

* It is loaded only with single projectile ammunition;

* The projectile used has a soft point or is an expanding bullet type;

* The muzzleloader (long gun or handgun) used cannot be loaded at the breech (muzzleloading revolvers are not legal for taking big game);

* The smooth-bore muzzleloader used is at least .45 caliber and

* The rifled muzzleloader used is at least .40 caliber;

* Muzzleloaders with scopes are legal during the regular firearms deer seasons, but are not allowed during the muzzleloader season except by special permit for hunters with a medically certified visual impairment.

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I remember a thread here at this very forum last summer in which Lou Cornicelli clarified things regarding questions about the new allowed calibers. If he is on the board, he could certainly answer the 9mm question,but my interpretation of what he posted last year is that the allowed calibers are based on the caliber itself, not case length.Case length for 9mm was under the old regulation.

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I remember a thread here at this very forum last summer in which Lou Cornicelli clarified things regarding questions about the new allowed calibers. If he is on the board, he could certainly answer the 9mm question,but my interpretation of what he posted last year is that the allowed calibers are based on the caliber itself, not case length.Case length for 9mm was under the old regulation.

They're legal, just not recommended. The law was intended to simplify the regulations and let hunters make the decision. It was new last year and I didn't hear anything about people trying to kill deer with their 9mm, 32ACP, or anything else. I'm sure somebody tried it but I didn't hear anything. If it was to become a problem, we might re-regulate handgun cartridges but right now, it's just not an issue. I'm a big fan of empowering common sense until proven otherwise smile

I hope that helps.

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I almost threw up when i read they changed the handgun laws. last year u couldent even use a 45 acp for deer, now they let you use the 9mm. Camp 9 riffles barley put down snowshoe hares. I have a feeling road hunting and baiting are comming very soon.

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Last year you could use a 45acp, but I carried my 357 instead. It does clarify the rules but with that clarification from the state (or representatives made this change, not the DNR) it also opened the door up to lesser calibers for deer hunting, like the 9mm or the 32 acp. I feel confident that if I wanted to take a deer with my 1911, and kept my shot under 25 yards, it would take the deer. Same with my 357 although I will range out to 50 yards with the 357. I treat pistol hunting to bow hunting, know you limitations and stick to them. I have yet to take a deer with a handgun, But I do carry it in case I get the opportunity. Last year, I could have stepped off my deer stand and landed on a button buck directly below my stand. I had the 357 ready to shoot it, but it was so small I didn't. It actually looked up at me and then walked by and rubbed it's side on my ladder, 8 feet below me

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Not to condone deer hunting with a 9mm, but the caliber equivilant is .354(I believe). This is only .003 smaller than a .357, as many have stated is huntable. The main factor is shot placement, know your firearm and know your range.

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I suppose some gun enthusiasts might condiser using the lesser cartridges for one reason or another but personally, I only have 3 guns that I would consider taking into the woods. A 30.06 semiauto rifle, a .44 mag Rueger, and my old reliable .303 British bolt. (Chuckle you may at the .303 but that rifle has killed a lot of deer with one round.) Point being, I am only going to carry one of those canons into the woods at time but I know they will all quite adequately get the job done.

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Not to condone deer hunting with a 9mm, but the caliber equivilant is .354(I believe). This is only .003 smaller than a .357, as many have stated is huntable. The main factor is shot placement, know your firearm and know your range.

It doesnt have the same horsepower behind it as a .357

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