The .357mag ammo I have on hand is 158gr soft point. The scope is dialed in at 50 yards, and it's very accurate at that range -- but FOR ME this gun absolutely requires something very steady to lean on. Off-hand with zero support or something to brace against, at any distance over 25 yards or so I'm not "hunting accurate" with this gun. Which is why I would rather use a rifle this first time out. Honestly with a rifle the longest shot I would take (at this point) without some support would be about 50 yards. I'm practicing shooting while leaning on one knee, and bracing against vertical objects (like tree trunks), but I know my current limitations. My personal goal is to know I'm capable of a 3" group with any given distance/stance/gun combination before I'd hunt with it.
The only other option I currently own - and what I've been practicing with - is a Mosin Nagan M44 I sporterized. It's scoped and accurate enough, from a bench I managed a 2" group @100 yards. It was a fun project as an attempt at an inexpensive deer gun, but, it still has its inherent limitations: long trigger pull, awkward safety, and most disconcerting to me is a difficult stiff bolt that I can't operate effectively while the gun is shouldered. With 180gr SP, it's got some serious kick to it. I'll keep practicing with it though, while I save up for a Rem. Model Seven SS/.308. Who knows, if I find with practice I can become competent with the M44, I may just use it this first time out.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." (AE)