Too Much Gun


Too Much Gun

American shooters and hunters have gone through a number of crazes and phases over the years, the use of the big magnums being one of them. I guess we have “a thang” for bigger bores, louder pops, thumb sized bullets, and searing lots of powder. This love of power includes both rifles and handguns, to be honest, so it is not limited to long barrels.

Track the history back and one wonders if the magnum spin did not officially start with the introduction of the .357 Magnum in 1935. That is just one example. Firearms aficionados know that many, many wildcatters, and tinkerers involved in developing new cartridges brought about the eventual evolution of the standard vanilla cartridges into a lot of very special loads. That was followed by new guns, rifles and handguns galore.

The urge to create magnum cartridges and the guns to handle these super loads was generated by wanting to push bullets faster and faster, then heavier bullets faster and faster. These jet loads sailed bullets at highly flattened ballistics that generated tremendous terminal ballistics.

Who could argue against a more effective big game magnum for use on dangerous game like big bears that eat people? This is all aside from the need for such rounds to tackle huge, dangerous game in places like the Dark Continent of Africa. In North America what is such needed for? It could be easily argued for use with big racked Rocky Mountain elk at extended ranges in rough terrain. Without a doubt there are needs for the big magnums.

The interest in magnums carries over to the handgun world, too. Was the .44 Magnum really needed? How about rounds such as the .454 Casull, the .460 or .500 Smith and Wesson’s. Sure if people want to buy them and shoot them, there is no issue. Maybe the only need is to touch off a heavy magnum just to do so. I’ve shot the .500 S&W and hope I never do again. Even so, the thrill of taking down a big game animal with a handgun is a challenge.

So, maybe there are instances when a big magnum is just too much overkill for the task at hand, no pun intended. Still, a bicycle can get you down the street just as well as a 396 Chevy V8, but what ride had you rather take? After all, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and so is recoil.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 1640002557

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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