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Old February 3, 2013, 08:55 PM   #1
steveNChunter
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Deer hunting with a Ruger Blackhawk .357

I recently bought a stainless new model Blackhawk .357 with the 6.5 inch barrel. I would like to take it deer hunting some this fall when I'm hunting spots that I have a good chance of taking a close shot. I'll most likely carry a rifle as well to make sure I still have a good opportunity at longer range. I probably won't shoot the Blackhawk over 50 yards.

What is some good factory .357 ammo for deer hunting? I really want to try the Hornady LEVERevolutions to see how they perform in a revolver.

The federal fusion handgun ammo also crossed my mind.

Has anyone tried these or some other factory load that is a good deer killer?

I want to hear some personal experiences, not theories
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:03 PM   #2
jason_iowa
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Pretty much any factory load 357 will be fine for deer. Shoot a few "hunting" rounds and see what you and your gun like best.
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:19 PM   #3
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Buffalo Bore makes some heavy stuff. I have some BB 180grn FN HCL in my GP100 in case I run afoul of a black bear. I wouldn't be surprised if something like that went right through the broad side of a deer so maybe a lighter hollowpoint would be in order.
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Old February 4, 2013, 02:24 AM   #4
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inclined

Were I to attempt to take a whitetail w/ a .357 revolver, my choice would be a 158 JHP. My concern would be that the lighter JHP's would not offer sufficient penetration if a shoulder bone were struck or the angle was not ideal and one ended up with a raking shot. Some of the lighter JHP are intended to limit penetration....and that is not a concern on big game bullet. The 180 class slugs do not seem as common in the places I frequent, and I'm not sure they are necessary on 150 lb deer, but they would work too.

You will have to shoot well and pick your shots to match your ability range wise. If you cannot hit a 9" pie plate near every time at a given range, you have reached your limit.

Lots of folks have pulled this off, unfortunately, not me.
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:53 AM   #5
steveNChunter
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Personally I'm doubting the 158 gr. JHP's as a hunting load. I think I need something with more penetration.

I love the Hornady LE's but they only offer the .357 in a 140 gr. bullet at 1440 fps and 644 ft/lbs muzzle energy through an 8" barrel. The fusion bullet is a 158 gr. at 1240 fps and 539 ft/lbs muzzle energy. Im wondering if the 140 gr. ballistic tip in the LE is too light, even with the higher energy.

Bigghoss- I checked out those Buffalo Bores, I like 'em

BTW, I realize that a .357 revolver is not the best deer gun, but its kind of like bow hunting, I want a little challenge.
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:44 AM   #6
kcub
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Double Tap makes a 200 grain 357 load you might also check out.
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Old February 4, 2013, 07:47 AM   #7
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I think the Federal Fusion bullet you found would be a fine choice.
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Old February 4, 2013, 02:51 PM   #8
kahrguy
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For todays factory ammo fed 180gr swift a frame would be one of my choices. Factory ammo today is limited to to many hasrd cast and there not great thin skin bullets or 158gr and smaller . Try to get into reloading.

I hunted for years for hogs with a 357mag and stayed with bullets heavy enough to brake shoulders and still penitrate thru ot very deeply. 170gr speer sp for deer and 180gr hardcast for hogs.
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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Any good 158 grain softpoint will do, as will many of the hollowpoints. I like the 180 grain bullets, but I cast my own from wheelweights with a little linotype and push them to about 1200 fps from my 6" Model 28. It's a fairly stout load, but controllable.

The .357 magnum is fine for deer if you get close and put it in the vital areas.
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Old February 4, 2013, 04:53 PM   #10
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I've taken several whitetail with a .357 Blackhawk, but I used handloads of 158g Gold Dots over a charge of 296. Worked just fine on Wisconsin whitetails.

No experience with factory loads though.
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:59 PM   #11
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Check out the Corbon hunter brand. Hardcast. I liked the way those hit pretty hard trying them at the range.
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Old February 4, 2013, 08:47 PM   #12
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I've shot two mule deer, one 4X4 in the neck where the head bolts on at 50' with 158 JHP droped like a rock, and one 4X5 at 75' just in front of front shoulder and through both lungs 158JHP went down within 20'. Both were hand loads.
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:32 PM   #13
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I'm with Bamaranger

Well said. My choice goes to 41, 44, and 45.
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Old February 4, 2013, 11:43 PM   #14
Misssissippi Dave
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I have used 158 grain jacketed soft point many years ago. At 37 yards it worked well. No direct impact on bone so the round went all the way through. It dropped right there. I think 50 yards would be the limit. You do need good eye sight, a steady hand and the deer giving you a good target.
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Old February 5, 2013, 07:11 AM   #15
03Shadowbob
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I've used a Blackhawk 357 during one season. 20 yard shot on a big doe. Bullet was a factory 158gr jhp Winchester Ranger or something along those lines. Hit her broadside behind shoulder and she ran off. Couldn't find her with hours of searching. A week later my friend found her about 100 yards away in some heavy brush. Told me it was a perfectly placed shot but hit a rib on way in and didn't see any exit wound.
I hated not finding her but I learned a lesson that day that no doubt a 357 will work but I won't hunt with a jhp handgun round again. That and I upgraded to a 44 mag to better ensure a through and through and higher energy transfer.
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:03 AM   #16
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The Hornady .357 LEVERevolution was designed to flatten the trajectory and extend the range of the .357 in a lever-action rifle; not to mention having a pointed bullet that was safe for a tube mag. None of that applies to a handgun where the range is intentionally kept short. The 140gr bullet is a little too light, IMO, for hunting deer with a handgun as well. The 180gr WLN from Buffalo Bore has almost a cult following because of its performance. The main thing is that you'd better be really accurate with your revolver. The .357 doesn't give you any room for error.
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Old February 5, 2013, 12:40 PM   #17
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I would stay away from HP"S. Any good JSP or hardcast semi-wadcutter or flat nose will work (158 or 180 gr.) I use a 158 gr. SWC in my handloads and they work well. The only thing I would caution you about is keep the shots close, pretty much treat it like a bow.
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Old February 6, 2013, 12:50 PM   #18
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I'm transposing 44 advice for 357 advice here, but I have a bit of handgun-for-deer experience and I'd also recommend JSP's. My kills with them in the 44 mag revolvers I own have been definitive.

Also, if you're thinking HP, consider the XTP, which is made for more penetration while retaining some of the positive characteristics of a traditional HP. Had good luck on two deer with that as well.

I also have a Blackhawk 357, and intended to hunt with it this year, but instead stuck with the 44 mags I own, just because I'm very familiar with their performance. I loaded up some stout JSPs and XTPs for the 357 but just couldn't bring myself to do it. That said, the 357s JSPs worked great on a red fox at 35 yards....but a fox ain't a deer.

Maybe next year, and only at 50 yards or less.
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:13 PM   #19
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does anyone find it weird that a good amount of people consider a 357 ok for deer but say a 30 carbine is a terrible choice? do you think it is because a handgun forces you to take shorter shots?
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakemonroe View Post
does anyone find it weird that a good amount of people consider a 357 ok for deer but say a 30 carbine is a terrible choice? do you think it is because a handgun forces you to take shorter shots?
If you'll take note of the bullet weight recommendations too......

Aren't most 30 Carbine loads in the 110 grain weight range? That's a little on the light side, but I have seen deer killed by them. Usually by older fellas or younger ones that weren't up to rifle class recoil.

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Old February 7, 2013, 07:35 PM   #21
steveNChunter
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As far as bullet weight goes, I have killed more deer with a 95 gr. bullet in a 6mm rem. rifle than I have anything else. Ive never had one go more than a few steps if I put the shot where it was supposed to be. Bullet construction is much more important than bullet weight. Energy and velocity also play as important a role as weight. A 110 gr. bullet from a .30 carbine rifle will work great for deer IMO, but a .30 carbine revolver would be more "iffy" than a .357
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveNChunter View Post
As far as bullet weight goes, I have killed more deer with a 95 gr. bullet in a 6mm rem. rifle than I have anything else. Ive never had one go more than a few steps if I put the shot where it was supposed to be. Bullet construction is much more important than bullet weight. Energy and velocity also play as important a role as weight. A 110 gr. bullet from a .30 carbine rifle will work great for deer IMO, but a .30 carbine revolver would be more "iffy" than a .357
Well once that 95 gr bullet is trucking along at 6mm Rem velocities it kinda becomes a different equation.....

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Old February 7, 2013, 08:49 PM   #23
steveNChunter
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Was just trying to point out how sometimes theres too much emphasis on bullet weight. Even in handguns, how well the bullet holds together or expands/fragments, and how fast its going when it gets to the target is more important than 20-30 grains one way or the other IMO.

I think Im going to give the Federal Fusion 158gr. a try. If I dont get good results Ill try those Buffalo Bore 180's.
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:49 PM   #24
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158gr SP at your range should work fine. I prefer a .41 on Bambi. I have used a 180 gr in a Marlin on whitetails with success.
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Old February 9, 2013, 08:14 PM   #25
steveNChunter
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I'd say a .41 would probably work better, but I dont have one and taking a deer with a .357 revolver has always kinda been on my "hunting bucket list"
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