While there may be a rise in rounds like the 10mm in long-slide pistols, there’s no replacement for the reliability, durability and classic allure of the hunting revolver. Big game hunters shopping for a well-built wheelgun with stopping power need look no further than this handful.
Ruger Super Hawks
Hunters can bicker over which revolver is best for big-gaming and continue that debate even further into which classic Ruger wheelgun takes top billing—Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk, Redhawk or Super Redhawk. The short answer — choose from the myriad barrel lengths, grip types, sight options, and calibers because there’s doubt about the dependability of the Ruger “-hawk” guns.
The most popular hunting chambering choice among Ruger’s six-shooters has long been the .44 Magnum, but now Ruger has added more choices. Calibers allowing dual-chamberings in one platform will always be popular, like the .44 Mag/.44 Spl, .357 Mag/.38 Spl and .454 Casull/.45 Colt. Ruger has been producing these families of revolvers for many decades with used and new options abound.
Though any of the “-hawk” handguns will get the job done, our favorite is the Super Redhawk with its double action, stainless steel build, easy optics attachment, and many aftermarket options. Heck, even lovers of the 10mm can break from semi-auto pistols to find that chambering in the Super Redhawk, which also allows shooters to fire .40 S&W through the same revolver.
Read up on the Guns.com review of the Ruger Superhawk.
Magnum Research BFR
These heavy-built Biggest, Finest Revolvers — BFR for short— have quickly become the epitome of the single-action wheelgun hunting handgun market. With traditional rifle calibers like .30-30 Win, .444 Marlin and .45-70 Gov’t headlining the family of American-made revolvers, Magnum Research’s BFR platform can take down any big game animal in the world.
There are more caliber options available in the BFR than any other listed here. With choices in either long or short-cylinder versions, the BFR can be had in calibers like the Linebaughs, .500 JRH and .450 Marlin in addition to many more common rounds. Due to its hefty, solid stainless-steel build, recoil is manageable. The handgun is also easy to keep on target and accuracy is quite exceptional whether with either iron sights or an optic.
With the new Magnum Research Custom Shop open for business there are more calibers and tailored options than ever — think .38-55, .458 Socom and .50 Beowulf with the possibility of either a Bisley or Keith #5 frame. Regardless of your chambering choice, there’s little doubt the BFR is a wheelgun built for making memories and then passing down to the next generations of hunters.
Want to see more? Check out Guns.com’s review here.
Smith & Wesson 29/629
Smith and Wesson is likely the first company most hunters think of when they reminisce on hunting revolvers. While many S&W models will get the job done on big game—think .460 or .500 S&W if major firepower is needed—classic models like the 29 and 629 chambered in .44 Magnum have accounted for many game animals over the years. With as many as seven barrel lengths, big game hunters will want to opt for some of the longer options with an extended iron sighting plane. It’s worth noting that modern models allow for easier optics mounting. The 29 family of revolvers has stood the test of time and new and used models are readily available.
For the top-of-the-line hunting setup, check out one of our favorite hunting handguns, the S&W Performance Center 629 — named the .44 Magnum Hunter. This two-toned six-shooter features an integral Picatinny rail, included red/green dot optic, Performance Center tuned action, chromed parts, and extended muzzle brake.
Taurus Raging Hunter
Taurus saw demand on the big game hunting market for a wheelgun that blends value with features hunters prefer. The Raging Hunter opts for dual cylinder locks, transfer bar safety, fully adjustable rear sight and an integral Picatinny rail for easy optics mounting. A lightweight barrel sleeve covers the stainless barrel, which is optimal for hunters at 8.37-inches. Factory tuned porting helps eliminate muzzle rise, allowing hunters to stay on target should follow-up shots be needed. Cushioned insert grips make the gun even more comfortable to shoot.
The Raging Hunter initially launched only in .44 Magnum, but the Brazilian-based Taurus has since added .357 Magnum and .454 Casull to the stable, with each also firing their lesser counterparts. Each is available in either Black Oxide or two-tone Stainless, making a great entry point into the dedicated hunting revolver market.
Freedom Arms Model 83
If price is no concern, Freedom Arms must be near the top of any revolver shopping list. The Wyoming-based gunmaker turns out custom-quality wheelguns in a wide variety of chamberings, finishes, grip frames, and grades. Choose the Premier for top-of-the-line options or the Field for a more cost-effective hunting companion.
The .454 Casull, capable of firing the .45 Colt, with an interchangeable .45 ACP cylinder is one of the most popular choices for the Model 83. Hunters may also opt for heavy hitters like the .50 AE, .475 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger or .500 Wyoming Express. All Model 83s feature a manual sliding bar safety and adjustable rear sight.
As shooters have come to expect from Freedom Arms, those slicked wheelguns are built for serious use and classic looks.
With American pride high on shoppers’ minds these days, all save the Brazilian-manufactured Taurus are built in the USA. No matter the choice, every one of these guns is built to last and will no doubt end up in the hand of a hunter posed with that next big game harvest.
Don’t forget to take a gander at all the revolvers Guns.com has in stock and ready for a new home.