Is a .357 the greatest thing since sliced bread for deer sized critters? Heck no, I'd have to be a fool to say it is. But it would take a bigger fool to think and say it won't get the job done and done well with the right loads and shooter.
Look at it this way: Penetration abilities of similarly constructed .357 vs .44 bullets is very close. A 240gr (.430) XTP has a sectional density of .185, a 180gr (.357) XTP has a SD of .202. Given similar velocities the .357 should punch thru just as much meat and bone as that .44 bullet. While there are better .44 loads (some much better) I don't think anyone would argue that the .240gr. XTP at 1200fps(muzzle) is a weak sister and it's adequate for deer but many of those same people will argue about how lame the .357 XTP at 1200fps is. The .357 also has a better BC and should retain more downrange velocity. A handloader can get 180's to 1200fps from a 4" .357 Ruger, doesn't take a canon. Will a deer die just as fast if hit with a heavy .357 as it would from a .44? Probably not. It takes a very good load/bullet for the .357 to get the job done while just about any .44M load will do. But within reasonable range, any shot to the chest area (including the shoulder) and you'll have venison for supper.
I can also say for a fact that 180gr .357 XTP's at 1100fps (muzzle) will create an equal if not larger wound channel and penetrate just as much as a standard 12ga. foster slug. When the slug goes thru organs it punches holes, the heavy xtp tends to blow stuff up. How many deer are killed each year with slugs? Now for the record, I believe standard foster slugs are far from an efficient killer, Yet the .357 sucks and is inadequate huh? Leaving the .44 mag outta it and just comparing heavy .357 vs. .44 special vs. standard .45 colt loads? 10 to 1, half dozen of another. Coin flip.
Of coarse in today's world of mega boomers some will argue the .44M isn't hardly enough gun either. Takes all kinds.
Last edited by L_Killkenny; December 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM.