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Old December 29, 2013, 05:16 PM   #1
Super Sneaky Steve
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Mythbusted! .357 Magnum 125JHP on Deer

As it's been said in this forum many times the 125 grain JPH isn't good for deer. It's too light! It won't penetrate! It would be inhumane to use it! It will leave a shallow nasty wound! It would be even worse from a rifle! It only works on thin skinned humans!

Ok, you get the point. Now these opinions sound practical but to my knowledge no one has ever tried using it on a deer. Most people end up using a loading that's heavier and slower. These cartridges have been used and might be why they are often deemed "adequate" then left for larger calibers after the tracking becomes too much.

Yesterday I loaded up my Ruger 77/357 with a handload using a max charge of H110 a 125XTP and a CCI small magnum primer. My five shot average at five feet gives me 2227fps and 1376ft/lbs. I took this combo up north and shot a small doe. What happened?

Well, I hit her behind the front leg right in the liver on a slight angle. The bullet penetrated all the way through which would be at least 12" leaving a small exit wound. She ran for about 3 seconds and traveled 20 yards max then dropped dead. When I removed her liver you could see how devistated it was.

So bottom line, The 125JHP is not a bad choice. I got full penetration, massive internal damage and no tracking. Next year I'll use the same round on an even bigger deer



I can post the liver pic too if no one is afraid of a little blood.
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Old December 29, 2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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Steve, congratulations on your deer. I've shot a few with the 125g and they ended up dying but the results of those hits compared to all the other hits I've had on deer don't support it as the best choice for deer. A statistic of 1 (ONE) is not a statistic at all. I know of deer being shot with 22lr and dying. At the right angle, distance, and entry point it can be quite deadly. Change a variable and it can become a different story. It still doesn't make it a good choice. Not to take anything away from your success however, congratulations again on your success. Nice deer.
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Old December 29, 2013, 05:41 PM   #3
buck460XVR
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While they work, they are still not preferred. Much like liver shots. Being the target was a small doe makes a difference also. Many of those responses against 125 gr bullets are in reference to the much slower revolver velocities.


Congrats on the deer, she should make for some good eatin'.
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Old December 29, 2013, 06:12 PM   #4
Super Sneaky Steve
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You guys are right. It's just one instance, but I intend to take a few more.

What's good to know is that even at rifle speeds it won't self-destruct and create a shallow wound, at least not with the XTP's. I have some gold dots with the same loading but those are more aggressive than the Hornady's.

My intent was to use Remington JSP's which are the most accurate in my rifle but after looking at every store I could I came up short.
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Old December 29, 2013, 07:02 PM   #5
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Nice doe...congrats on the 357 kill.

that will make some great meat.
that 125gr did the trick... that was awesome velocity you reported.
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Old December 29, 2013, 07:38 PM   #6
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There was a member on TFL named Boris Bush who hunted with typical self-defense pistol calibers and had good results.

Of course, he didn't stretch the range and only took high percentage shots.
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Old December 29, 2013, 10:11 PM   #7
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Most of the time, when we speak of the .357 on deer, the reference implies shooting from a handgun. Your carbine definitely gives the cartridge more velocity and punch; we have to take that into consideration before endorsing it for deer. The results would probably have been different had you shot that load from a revolver. Having said that, I would still expect a kill, as long as the range wasn't stretch too far for the revolver's ballistic shortcomings.
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Old December 29, 2013, 11:40 PM   #8
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Full disclosure: I know less than squat about hunting.

But c'mon, when folks are talking about 125gr JHP's from a .357 Magnum, is the first thing anyone thinks of going to include two thousand two hundred and twenty seven feet per second?!

Okay, it sounds even more menacing when it's printed out in words rather than numbers. But really, I don't know what people say about the 125gr JHP from a .357 Magnum on deer, but I find it hard to believe that 2,227 FPS is the number they see when thinking about the load.

When someone says or types out .357 Magnum, 125gr JHP, I'm thinking about the much bally-hooed personal defense load for cutting down bad guys in their prime.

I can tell you what I think of when someone says: Deer huntin' and 2,200 FPS! I'm thinking "hey, maybe that's like a .30-30."

Again, I'm no hunter. But .30-30 has taken like a hundred years worth of deer for like zillions of happy hunters. Sounds to me like your load from a rifle isn't all that far off what a lot of folks have slung at deer for decades and decades.

Good lookin' animal! I love it when good folks hunt deer. It's great for people and it's great for deer as well.
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Old December 29, 2013, 11:42 PM   #9
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Oh, hey, just always wanted to point out that this thread is anchored here in the TFL place we love so much...

That would be Handguns: The Revolver Forum !

So if Rossi didn't make a new scaled-down "Circuit Judge" and re-badge it as a Ruger 77/357, it's a hard argument to defend the 125gr JHP for deer here in this area of the site. But it's still a fun thread!
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Old December 29, 2013, 11:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
I hit her behind the front leg ...
had you hit the front shoulder, your results might not have been as good.

I've run "regular" 125gr JHPs at 2200fps from a Marlin carbine. Maybe the XTPs do better, but the ordinary 125JHP is not a good choice, IF you have to go through heavier bone. Does fine for a neck, or ribcage shot, but sometimes doesn't do as well if it has to get through bone. That's why I would pick the 158 over the 125 from a carbine.


moved to Art of Rifle,...
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Old December 30, 2013, 06:06 AM   #11
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What was the distance of the shot?

& that looks like some good eatin'!
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Old December 30, 2013, 06:23 AM   #12
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Once you poke a hole in something like that, there is a good chance it will die, but if one little twig got in the way and deflected that bullet enough to put it into some real bone like the shoulder, it could have been a different story. I don't know why people have to stretch the limits of something like this and hope to get lucky....I guess it's just a challenge. I would tend to use something heavier and hedge my bet a little, rather than chance a wounding.
I knew one guy that would only hunt deer with a .17 Remington and head shots....What's the point?
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Old December 30, 2013, 08:25 AM   #13
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Thats great velocity. Have you done any research on what happens to bullets at different velocities? Every wonder why Hornady makes both XTP and XTP-Mag pistol bullets in certain calibers? 125gr from a .357 can make a nice deer bullet if you can find one made to handle 2200fps impacts. Not many are. It will make a quick devastating kill if you hit the vitals with nothing solid in the way, as you did. Were you specifically aiming behind the shoulder for the liver? Had you hit some solid bone you would have to hope for bullet fragments to finish the job into the vitals. There is commercial .357 ammo made specifically made for carbines, (Hornady FTX) with bullets made for carbine velocities that will do a much better and makes the safe area for a clean kill on a deer much larger, but if you are going to use pistol bullets in a carbine, your bullet will do what it is supposed to much better, and sty in one piece better if you choose one large enough to keep the velocity within the confines of the bullets design. I am just curious as to what made you choose the 125gr. Did you believe it would be a better performer than a larger bullet, or were you just trying to prove it was capable of doing the job?

Last edited by TimSr; December 30, 2013 at 08:32 AM.
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Old December 30, 2013, 08:37 AM   #14
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OOOh blood, poor bamby, how could you, let me bring my truck over and take her off your hands.
Too bad you didn’t get the bullet, would have been interesting to see how it preformed.
I have one of the 77/44, man what a neat small powerful gun. One of the best choices here in Indiana where rifle cartridges are not allowed.
Congrats man! Summer sausage, UMMMMM!
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Old December 30, 2013, 10:23 AM   #15
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How much tissue damage?

I'm horrified that you destroyed the liver. That's my favorite part.
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Old December 30, 2013, 10:25 AM   #16
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i don,t use a .357 to hunt deer with,but i know several who do and they kill deer just at dead as my 7-08 and with a little care in bullet placement and range it will do the job. i have killed two deer with a little sharps in 44-40 with a 200gr cast bullet at 1400fps by waiting for a close(40-60yds) double lung shot and haveing the deer not running 50yds before going down. a nice deer and not blown to hell. eastbank.

Last edited by eastbank; December 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM.
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Old December 30, 2013, 10:40 AM   #17
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Fake!
I can see the wire.
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Old December 30, 2013, 03:34 PM   #18
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That's in the ballpark of 7.62x39, and few people question that as a decent deer round.
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Old December 30, 2013, 05:48 PM   #19
Super Sneaky Steve
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Quote:
I am just curious as to what made you choose the 125gr. Did you believe it would be a better performer than a larger bullet, or were you just trying to prove it was capable of doing the job?
I used the 125 bullet because that's the weight that's the most accurate in my rifle. The 77/357 is very finiky.

I wanted to use a soft point, but I could find no loaded ammo or components anywhere.

My secondary objective was to prove what it could really do.

I have shot the same round out of a 6" GP100 into water jugs and it expanded rapidly. From the rifle I had only collected it out of the wet clay in the berm where it destroyed itself at 50 yards and barely stayed together at 100.

Quote:
What was the distance of the shot?
About 75 yards.

Click here to see the internal damage.
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Old December 30, 2013, 07:40 PM   #20
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You were not crazy to use the 125 gr bullet as long as it was going fast enough to expand and not so fast it fragments.

Go here for why it should work: Ideal Bullet Weight
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Old December 30, 2013, 08:06 PM   #21
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I have had core separations with rifle bullets and it was only the mass of lead that kept going that killed the deer. Though, your 125 grain bullet is heavier than most 243’s or the 100 grain bullets I used sighting in my 257 Roberts.

I am very surprised that your rifle pushes those 125’s at 2200 fps, that is really smoking. Should make for a very flat shooting firearm out to 100 yards.
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:10 PM   #22
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I have some of the XTP-FP and have wondered about their viability in my Rossi trapper in .357. It shoots those 125 grainers real well over 2400 for me. I doubt mine are pushing 2200 FPS but I am sure they are fast enough.
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Old December 30, 2013, 11:15 PM   #23
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Very cool! I am a huge fan of the 357 magnum in a carbine. most of the deer I have killed have been with such a rifle. Though usually with 158-180 grain bullets. My gun likes 158 grain Hornady bullets.
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Old December 31, 2013, 11:55 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by jersurf101:

I have some of the XTP-FP and have wondered about their viability in my Rossi trapper in .357. It shoots those 125 grainers real well over 2400 for me. I doubt mine are pushing 2200 FPS but I am sure they are fast enough.

The 158 gr XTP-FPs are my preferred bullet for hunting deer with both my Rossi .357 carbine and .357 revolvers. They are accurate, give good penetration and are one of the few 158 HPs designed for carbine velocities.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:57 PM   #25
Super Sneaky Steve
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Quote:
I am very surprised that your rifle pushes those 125’s at 2200 fps, that is really smoking. Should make for a very flat shooting firearm out to 100 yards.
Yes, very flat shooting.

There's still a lot of flash coming out the 18.5" barrel. Maybe with a longer barrel I could get even more velocity.

You can get the load from the Hodgdon website.

This load out of my SP101 will flatten the primers a bit but won't be sticky to extract. The rifle handles them easy with no pressure signs.
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