View Full Version : 44 magnum, 357 magnum and an arrow on deer.

March 23, 2008, 01:10 PM
As a shotgun hunter of whitetails, I'm considering using my 357 magnum revolver. I know a 44 would be better, but I got to thinking. If an arrow can drop a deer, (good shot placement of course) why not a 357 hunting round. In other words, do I really have to buy a 44 revolver?

March 23, 2008, 04:04 PM
.357 will do the job as long as the shooter is up to the task. 22lr is enough if you're a good aim.

If it's legal where you hunt and you're comfortable hunting with a round then use it. Just be sure you realize the limitations of that particular cartridge.

March 23, 2008, 04:27 PM
A friend of mine used to hunt with a .357Mag levergun. He was impressed with its performance but he didn't try to stretch his shots either.

And, of course it's not quite kosher to compare .357Mag out of a rifle length barrel to the same load out of a revolver...

March 23, 2008, 06:03 PM
Keep your shots at archery distance and the .357 will take deer. IMO, the .44 will do a better job, but with enough practice the .357 will suffice.

March 23, 2008, 06:53 PM
Also consider Hornady's new LeverEvolution style pointed tip bullet.

March 23, 2008, 08:33 PM
I've had great luck w/ .357 at archery distances...50yds & under-I think it would do great beyond, but that is the limitation of my ability to hit a 6" plate w/ all 6 rounds. That's where I'd draw the line. don't shoot farther than where you can consistantly hit a 6" plate and you'll do fine. I suppose If I were to practice more, I could do better. I have too many other "toys" to take deer with.:D
BTW, I really like the 125 HP. Works great...wouldn't want to get hit with one of those rounds.

Jack O'Conner
March 24, 2008, 07:57 AM

This cow elk was taken with 357 MAG revolver. Two shots. Distance was about 50 feet. The animal weighed approx. 450 - 500 lbs (guessing).

357 MAG does not have the power of 44 MAG but is quite lethal at archery distances. But it takes patience and self discipline to pass up less-than-ideal shot angles or longer distances.

I advise against scoping a hunting revolver. Avoid long shots!


Boris Bush
March 24, 2008, 09:55 AM
A 44 Mag will not make a less than ideal shot or distance magicaly ideal either. Shot for shot on deer (light skin light boned) 44 mag and 357 mag will perform equaly well granted proper shot placement.

March 24, 2008, 12:15 PM
I agree that a 357 Mag will take deer at reasonable distances. But before comparing apples and oranges and basing your decision on a fallacious argument, you should know that arrows and bullets create wounds in totally different ways.

Arrows use the momentum of the arrow to drive a cutting blade into the animal's flesh, causing shear of the tissues, forming a wound channel. In this manner, it takes very little kinetic energy to cause penetration of skin, muscle and organs, because the weight of the arrow times the velocity of the arrow are focused on the very thin cutting edge of the arrowhead.

Bullets cause wounds by high velocity and the mass of the bullet surpassing the tensile strength of flesh and bone, thereby penetrating and damaging tissue and organs.

Totally different mechanisms, totally different wounds.

School's out. Thank you for your attention. Leave donations in the cup by the door.

March 24, 2008, 01:40 PM
I can't find the cup by the door for my donation. Thanks...

March 24, 2008, 01:52 PM
I advise against scoping a hunting revolver.

Jack, would you expound upon this idea. I fully understand your advisement to avoid long shots, but scopes and long distance don't always go hand in hand. I appreciate having my eye focused on both the target and my sighting system simultaneously. A 1x or red dot seem ideal for what we are talking about.

Jack O'Conner
March 25, 2008, 06:36 AM

You can scope your handgun if you want to. I won't do it because it adds to bulk and weight plus might tempt me to shoot farther than I should. Even the mighty 44MAG is no long distance hunting arm.

Good hunting to you.


March 25, 2008, 02:01 PM
Thanks for the response Jack. I appreciate your comments and disagree with only a smidgeon of what you suggest. Irons are less precise than crosshairs. It's important to be able to use both, but a scope make for a more humane shot when I'm behind the trigger. Again that's just me. I admire those who tilt the odds away from success. If using open sights does that, I'm all for it.

March 27, 2008, 06:31 PM
especially with a handgun, most shooters should not attempt a shot on game at any range beyond 50-60 yards, regardless of caliber. That, I think, is also an argument against scoping handguns. That scope might encourage you to take shots that you shouldn't be taking.

First shot in the vitals. Form field positions. Every time. Nothing else will do.

At the ranges that 90% of us have any business taking a shot at a deer, I don't consider a properly-loaded .357 "marginal."

Is the .44 "better?" Yes.

Is the .357 enough? Yes.

If you're a shooter who can go beyond 60 yards with a handgun, then by all means go for the .44. Also, you have my admiration, because I can't do it. Past 100 yards? Very, very few can go there, no matter what they're got in their hands.



March 29, 2008, 12:28 AM
As long as you stay within the ranges that you would take deer with a bow, the .357 will be just as good and possibly better.

Glen P
March 29, 2008, 07:37 AM
Does anyone use a 10mm? S&W model 610?

March 29, 2008, 08:06 AM
As "Scorch" pointed out, the arrow kill mechanism is a bit different than that of a bullet.

But arrows are still basically pointy sticks, and have been used to kill deer for many thousands of years . . . and for most of that time, compound bows and modern broadheads were not being used.

If you use relatively heavy bullets in your .357 and place the shots properly, it will do a fine job.

March 29, 2008, 08:35 AM
I have shot 2 deer with my 10mm both recoved in less than 50 yds I shot 1 at 15 yds the other at 45yds with handloads

Glen P
March 29, 2008, 08:39 AM

What kind of gun were you using?

March 29, 2008, 09:35 AM
Do you have to buy a .44? yes, if you have the extra funds. Not because your .357 is to small. But solely on the fact you need another gun:D. I know of a few people who use .357 mags, quite succefully. Check your local laws, this may require a T/C contender with a large caliber barrel. Not because your .357 wont do the job, More like you realllyy need to buy one more gun:D.
Like most everyone here says"shot placement" and practice. Once your comfort level is there, I say go for it
This year I will hunt with a T/C Contender .357 Mag on my side, and a H&R .44 mag. rifle."thank you Indiana"

March 29, 2008, 11:29 AM
I know that a .357 isn't legal in Alabama, may not be there. If it is available to you, see if you can buy or borrow a .41 or .44. Both can be light loaded for when you're not hunting, and the .41 is particularly enjoyable.

April 3, 2008, 07:47 PM
I killed a 200 pounder hog with two pumps of 45 LC from a single action wheel gun not that I'm hunting with one but that d--g thing chase us after my buddy poke him with an arrow near the butt. I dont hunt with guns anymore, so far , I killed 6 hogs, 2 deer, coyotes and jackrabbits with a arrows. 44 and 357 mag will do the job with good shot placement. Handguns and arrows are close quarter weapons and should be use as one. If you're planning to use this weapon for long distance shots, might as well get a rifle.

Ach Buck
January 3, 2009, 11:24 AM
I have taken deer in Wisconsin in the past with a .357 mag, Ruger GP100, 6 inch barrel, 4 power scope. The range was between 30 – 70 yards, using a 158 gain bullet (hand load) and lots of practice. When I shot my deer it was legal as long as the muzzle velocity was 1100 fps or higher. Not sure what the current regulations are. I’m more in to bow hunting now. Most bow shot only 300 fps (even if they are advertised at higher speeds, measure in liberators and under perfect conditions). What I liked on my .357 set up was that I could hold the gun straight using one hand to support the wrist of my shutting hand. The recoil was very manageable for me. Again, my set up worked great for me and the scope is a definitely most if you shot past 30 yards (my opinion).

January 3, 2009, 11:58 AM
There's nothing wrong with using a .357 on deer, but comparing it to a razor tipped arrow is a really bad comparison.

Bowhunters regularly take large elk and buffalo sized game, as well as grizzly bears, and the .357 would be considered a little light for those.

Remember, an arrow doesn't kill by driving a blunt object through a critter. It slices it's way through with razor sharp blades.

For a little fun, take a 5 gallon plastic paint bucket and fill it full of sand. Then shoot the bucket full of sand with a heavy, razor tipped arrow and a 30-06, and see which penetrates the bucket full of sand.

Arrows can and do kill far better than many think they do.


January 3, 2009, 12:05 PM
I know that a .357 isn't legal in Alabama, may not be there

That's not so. According to the 08-09 Alabama Hunting regulations, there are no restrictions regarding Handgun caliber other than using centerfire mushrooming ammunition. Using a blackpowder handgun then they must be 40 cal or larger.

January 3, 2009, 12:05 PM
Daryl and Scorch have it right. Bullets kill by shock and tissue damage. Arrows kill by hemorrage. An arrow doesn't have to do any tissue damage to be deadly - just slice some major blood vessels and wait for the animal to bleed out.

January 3, 2009, 02:39 PM
I saw a video on YouTube the other day of two bucks with their antlers locked. The hunter shot one with his bow; the arrow went straight into the right flank of the buck, just behind the shoulder. It buried itself halfway into the chest cavity.

There was a near-instant jet of blood that shot out of the animal, and the two tangled bucks went down into a stream. The river ran red. I thought it was astonishing just how much blood was released so quickly from the arrow's wound. Then I read about guys shooting deer with rifles and not having much of a blood trail to follow if the deer runs.

Perhaps I can find the video and post it here.

Here it is. When I saw it the other day there was audio. I know this is the hunting forum, but I'll go ahead and warn that this is pretty graphic.


January 5, 2009, 05:02 PM
It'll work fine. Keep shots close and use a good bullet. Heavy SWC is my first choice followed by JSP then HP.

January 5, 2009, 07:45 PM
Started out with 357 and have shot deer with following calibers 41,45lc and 44. Next will be 475 linebaugh. This has been over many years and alot of practice with each. Your distance confidence should be done at the range and don`t exceed that distance afield. I personally like a scope(getting older need all the help I can get:o ) and won`t shoot beyond my limitations. Haven`t used the 357 hunting in quite some time and if I went back to it,I`d have to get my refresher range time in prior. Probably my favorite cal. is the 41. Seems I spend(as much) or more time practicing with my handgun than I do with my bow. Your a bowhunter(it takes alot of practice) so that may give you some kind of guidelines you`ll need to practice with whatever cal. you choose. Also check your local hunting laws as some states have cal. as well as barrel length limitations. Have fun and Goodluck!

January 5, 2009, 10:00 PM
ive killed several deer with my dads .357mag as a teen.

Big Bill
January 8, 2009, 10:29 PM
Here's some stats from Buffalo Bore that you may find helpful...

About Buffalo Bore 357 Mag. ammo

Our 357 mag. ammo adds more power than ever before to the 357 mag. This ammo is safe to shoot in ANY all steel 357 revolver—this includes J frames. This ammo is no harder on your gun than any other normal 357 ammo. Please don’t phone us and ask if this ammo is safe in your gun. It is, providing your gun is in safe condition for use with any normal 357 ammo.

We don’t recommend this ammo to be fired in super light alloy revolvers as bullets may jump crimp under recoil, but the ammo itself wont hurt these super light weight revolvers. These revolvers are simply so light that the recoil is severe enough to cause crimp jump.

The below velocities are offered so that you can see what guns/barrel lengths give what velocities with this new 357 mag. ammo. You’ll notice that new S&W revolvers with short barrels are often shooting faster than older S&W revolvers with longer barrels. The new S&W revolvers are very good and are made with equipment that makes them more consistent and faster than the S&W revolvers of yesteryear.

Make special note of the Marlin 1894, 18.5 inch barrel velocities. Item 19C/20, supercedes 30-30 energies!!!

1. 3 inch S&W J frame

a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard cast LFN = 1302 fps
b. Item 19B/20-170gr. JHC (jacketed hollow cavity) = 1299 fps
c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Speer Uni Core = 1398 fps
d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 1476 fps

2. 4 inch S&W L frame Mt. Gun

a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard cast LFN = 1375 fps
b. Item 19B/20-170gr JHC = 1411 fps
c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Speer Uni Core = 1485 fps
d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 1603 fps

3. 5 inch S&W model 27

a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard Cast =1398 fps
b. Item 19B/20-170gr. JHC = 1380 fps
c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Speer Uni Core = 1457 fps
d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 1543 fps

4. 6 inch Ruger GP 100

a. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 1707 fps

5. 18.5 inch Marlin 1894

a. Item 19A/20-180gr. Hard Cast = 1851 fps
b. Item 19B/20-170gr. JHC = 1860 fps
c. Item 19C/20-158gr. Speer Uni Core = 2153 fps---- Can you believe this?!!!
d. Item 19D/20-125gr. Speer Uni Core = 2298 fps---- Or this?!!!


January 10, 2009, 02:39 AM
Another way , to view this, like Daryl, is to fill the 2 5 gallon buckets with water and the shoot one with the gun and one with the arrow. The arrow will penetrate all the way through and the water will slowly drain out. This is why most bow hunter will wait 30-60 minutes before following the animal.

Shooting a 5 gallon bucket of water (sealed tightly with a lid) with a 30.06 will cause the bucket to explode - literally! A .357 magnun at close range will have a similiar effect. The impact damage is much greater.

January 10, 2009, 07:08 AM
Another way , to view this, like Daryl, is to fill the 2 5 gallon buckets with water and the shoot one with the gun and one with the arrow. The arrow will penetrate all the way through and the water will slowly drain out. This is why most bow hunter will wait 30-60 minutes before following the animal.

Shooting a 5 gallon bucket of water (sealed tightly with a lid) with a 30.06 will cause the bucket to explode - literally! A .357 magnun at close range will have a similiar effect. The impact damage is much greater.

Yep, and if you fill that bucket with sand, a decent weight arrow tipped with a broadhead will still penetrate it, but the 30-06 bullet won't.

They're different weapons, and they kill in different ways, but they're both still very effective.