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July 1, 2021

Handgun Hunting with Burris Optics

As I surf the sea of social media, a surprising amount of interest in handgun hunting flashes on the radar screen. For me, this activity is most welcome.
By Mark Hampton

After all, we’re living in a time where concealed carry, high-capacity sub-compact 9mm, ARs, black rifles, and related tactical hardware is taking front stage. Hunting handguns and equipment is similar to the Maytag repairman, resting peacefully in the back corner.

Handgun hunting is very challenging – and this is just one of the reasons it’s so addictive. It can also be extremely rewarding. After 45 years of embarking on some serious handgun hunting pursuits, I look back and wish I could start all over. Heck, after making so many mistakes in the past, I’ve actually learned a thing or two.

If someone were to get started on the handgun hunting path, a .22 LR with a pile of ammo would be a great place to start. Quite often some think a 454 Casull or 500 S&W Mag is mandatory but it’s not, and it’s sure not the place to start learning the fundamentals. As a card carrying member of senior citizen’s organizations, I still practice shooting a lot with the .22 rimfire – a cartridge you never outgrow. As a matter of fact, I’ve got a new Freedom Arms Model 83 in .22 LR headed my way. It will be a superb small game getter plus, the revolver will serve double-duty on some competition shooting. Topped with a Burris 2-7X handgun scope, this will be a very accurate rimfire.

Hunter with handgun and Burris scope with antelope

Hunting wide open spaces in the west for antelope is challenging with a handgun. This nice buck was taken with a .308 Winchester wearing a Burris scope.

Speaking of optics, for many of us, quality optics is just as essential as the firearm itself. I’ve been hunting with Burris handgun scopes for longer than I care to admit. Both the 2-7X and 3-12X with Ballistic Plex reticle have performed well over the years. As this is being written, I’m not aware of any other handgun scope with the Ballistic Plex reticle or hashmarks. This reticle system becomes extremely important and beneficial when extended range opportunities arise.

On single-shot handguns chambered for bottle-neck cartridges such as .308 Winchester or 6.5 Creedmoor for example, the Ballistic Plex reticle takes the guess work out of long range work. I’m not concerned what some ballistic charts reveal but more focused on how my gun, my load, with a specific bullet performs at various distance. The only way to know firsthand is to spend quality time on the range. Let’s say we sight-in our gun at 100, or 200 yards if you prefer. Spending time at the range, you can verify your point of impact from various yardages, using the hashmarks. Several single-shot handguns I hunt with are sighted-in at 200 yards. It’s not uncommon to find the first hashmark is dead-on at 300 yards. The second hashmark is right on the money at 400 yards. Obviously different loads and bullet weights will vary your point of impact. You can experiment at 50 yard increments. The Burris Ballistic Plex reticle takes the guess work out of hold-over and is an asset to the handgun hunter pursuing critters like antelope, mule deer, sheep, or any game you might encounter from extended range.

Hunter with handgun and Burris scope with argali sheep

This argali sheep was taken in Kyrgyzstan with an Encore in .308 Winchester. The handgun was topped with a Burris 3-12X handgun scope with ballistic plex reticle. One shot from 200 yards sealed the deal. Hunting wide open spaces in the west for antelope is challenging with a handgun. This nice buck was taken with a .308 Winchester wearing a Burris scope.

The Ballistic Plex reticle also works just as well on revolvers. Recently I found myself shooting a competition match with a .357 Mag revolver. The targets were of various sizes and ranged anywhere from 20 to 247 yards. Thanks to the hashmarks, I was able to engage the various targets from all ranges without guessing where to hold. I sighted-in at 100 yards. The first hashmark was right on the money at 150 yards. At 200 yards I could hold at the bottom of the target with the second hashmark. From 250 yards, holding at the top of the target with the second hashmark scored first round hits. This is only possible by spending time on the range with your gun, ammo, and equipment. Quality range time will provide the necessary real-world point of impact for your specific gun and load. Now before you go off on me for shooting 250 yards with a .357 Mag. revolver, we were shooting at steel targets, not game. The point is, Burris’ Ballistic Plex reticle works well whether you’re hunting prairie dogs in Wyoming or shooting steel targets from various yardages.

Hunter with handgun and Burris scope with prairie dog

Prairie dog towns often provide a target rich environment. The targets are small and accuracy is paramount. The Burris handgun scope with ballistic plex reticle aids in shot placement and takes the guess work out of the game.

Handgun hunting has the potential to add an exciting and rewarding dimension to your hunting adventures. It’s not easy and there will be times of frustration – but that’s hunting. Shooting a handgun consistently accurate takes practice – and plenty of it. Choosing the right gun and equipment for the intended application is essential. Good optics will enhance your performance and that’s why I appreciate Burris handgun scopes with Ballistic Plex reticle system. Good luck and have fun!