Handgun Hunting: Three Steps to Proper Setup


I seldom purchase a handgun perfectly suited for hunting right out of the box. There are several things I’ve got to get right before even taking the gun to the range.

The Lovell mount and ring system found on this Freedom Arms
is extremely effective even under fierce recoil.

It Starts With The Trigger

First, the trigger has to be good. Good means a crisp, clean let-off without any creep or gritty feel. And a heavy trigger pull is not welcome. Experienced shooters will have their own idea of what pull weight is acceptable or ideal. I’ll avoid going into specifics, what works for me may or may not be best for someone else. Revolvers may be a bit different than single-shot handguns but regardless the trigger pull cannot be overly heavy for consistent accuracy. Recently I tested a revolver with a terribly heavy trigger. According to Lyman’s digital trigger gauge, the trigger broke around 8 lbs. For most of us mortals, this takes the enjoyment out of shooting and I won’t go hunting with a handgun like this.

There are many competent gunsmiths who know how to adjust the trigger pull and do so safely, without any push-off. I don’t want just any doctor operating on me for major surgery. And I sure don’t want a shade-tree gunsmith working on my trigger. I’ve been more than satisfied with the good folks at Mag-na-port International, Jack Huntington at JRH Advanced Gunsmithing and Chris Rhodes of Bayside Custom Gunworks. A good trigger is the first step I take for setting up my hunting handguns.

Jack Huntington modified these grips on a Freedom Arms Model
83 by eliminating the flare toward the bottom portion of the grips.

Grip Personalization

In the past, we’ve addressed proper grips and I don’t think this step should be understated. We all have different size hands so one particular grip shape will not work for the masses. For pure satisfaction and performance, the grip needs to fit your hand perfectly. Grip shapes can also accommodate specific shooting applications. You may elect to have a particular shape to help mitigate stiff recoil. A totally different grip configuration may be better suited for a single-shot varmint gun. If you’re comfortable and happy with factory grips and if they fit your hand perfectly — great! If not, custom grips may be the ticket. Earlier I mentioned Jack Huntington, he knows grips — and what works. Jack has modified existing grips on a few of my handguns recently and it has made a remarkable difference in my shooting enjoyment. He is also keen on making grips exactly how you want for a variety of handguns.

Speaking of custom grips, Rob Rowen is another superbly talented grip maker. Those dall sheep grips Rob made for my Freedom Arms Model 83 .44 Mag. are impressive. Rob also works with customers to get the exact dimensions of grip shape to fit their needs.

Consistent grip tension and placement are essential for reliable handgun accuracy. The grips fitting your hand impeccably will enhance your shooting ability — and more than likely will make you a better shot.

Weigand Design and Machine provide quality mounts and rings for most
popular hunting handguns. This mount and rings will hold scopes securely in place.

Let There Be Sight

Now that we’ve got the trigger pull ideally modified and grips fitting flawlessly in our paws, we can move on to the next step. As a card-carrying member of Medicare, I do not hunt with iron sights so all of my hunting handguns wear optics of some description. Often, I hear shooters complaining about scope problems. It can be downright frustrating! I don’t like problems any better than the next guy so I’m going to do everything in my power to avoid catastrophes.

Going out of my way to avoid any pitfalls, I place careful consideration on mounting optics. I want to make darn certain the mount and rings hold the scope securely in place regardless of how much recoil is generated. For many years now I have relied on Weigand Design and Machine mounts and rings. The company provides options for most popular hunting handguns. I’ve installed Weigand mounts and rings on .460 S&W Mags shooting heavy loads without a problem.

Another set of mounts and rings having securely held optics in place include Warne. These products have never failed in shooting a multitude of handguns. They offer a wide selection of both mounts and rings for popular guns.

Freedom Arms offers the Lovell mount and rings for their handguns. This system holds scopes in place even under .454 Casull recoil. They also offer the T’SOB base mount, which is bomb-proof.

By tuning your trigger, modifying grips to fit your hands precisely and utilizing premium mounts and rings, your performance and shooting pleasure will be enriched. And you’re less likely to have heartburn down the road. It’s three steps in the right direction.

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