I have taken many deer with a 357 magnum marlin (16.25 inch barrel). Go with the 158+ grain bullets. I typically shoot 1 each year from my back porch at a range of about 30-80 yards. Theses are Idaho Mule deer.
With the very hottest loads it is legal in most states. While it is far from the ideal gun it will do its job if the shooter does there job, and no amount of gun will do its job if the shooter does not do there job (misses).
If it was his first hunting gun I would sujest some thing bigger but since he has other guns for hunting I think it would be a fine gun to add to a collection.
If you want American made go with older marlins. I'm sorry but in my opinion the only newer guns that feel as smooth to me as my old marlins are the Modern made in Japan Winchesters. The Henerys are pretty nice but the lack of a load gate disqualifies them in my book (they are also much heavier)
This is all just the opinion of one guy and is only worth as much as you paid for it.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.
all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
Last edited by Deja vu; September 18, 2012 at 09:59 PM.