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Old February 19, 1999, 08:23 AM   #1
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I am interested in what type of bullet and load would be good for hunting whitetailed deer? It would be fired from a Dan Wesson .357 Magnum revolver with an 8" barrel. Is this enough gun? Shots would be at close range, but the only thing I have shot with .357 before was groundhogs. (110 grain semi-jacketed hollowpoints) Are there good commercial loads out there & what are the best? If not, I would have a friend reload some special rounds for me. Thanks

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Old February 19, 1999, 12:46 PM   #2
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I have a S&W 686 with the 8 3/8" and use 158gr JHP for deer, well, did anyway, don't do much hunting anymore, I would load these with 17.2 grs of 296, BE CAREFULL this is a little over what my reloading books say to use, I think 16.8 or so is a good place to start, and work up from there, as always use caution. with sandbags I have shot under a 5" group with this load at a 100 yrds using a Burris 1 1/4x 4 scope. good luck.
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Old February 19, 1999, 01:37 PM   #3
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From a treestand say out to 30 yds. I've used a 160 gr. OWC Hard Cast (LBT). Any data for a 158gr. Jacketed bullet will do. Tremendous cylinder bulging power is not needed only a stout,safe load. Typically blows a hole right on through with good boileroom damage. Just do your part placing the shot.
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Old February 19, 1999, 08:39 PM   #4
Walt Welch
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The best place to get data on loads is from the manufacturers. Go to Shooter's Gunlinks:

Click on Product Manufacturers, non firearm, and check out the Winchester powder site: There you will find a downloadable Reloading Manual. This has data for all powders and cartridge types.

Peruse p. 47. You will find a load of 16.6 gr. of W296 with a 158gr. JHP, producing 1610 fps., and producing 39,500 psi. You will also find a stern admonition not to increase or decrease this load.

You will notice that bear both recommended a load higher than the people who make the powder, and suggested working up loads, which the Winchester people warn against.

This illustrates the danger in using an individual for load information. Don't mistake this comment as an incrimination against bear. It may well be that he got this load from an old Winchester load book, and it works well in his gun.

But it is NOT a safe load. Winchester retested all their reloading data over the last few years, and markedly reduced some pistol loads. This was because the newest piezoelectric testing method yields much more accurate data than the old copper crusher method. So, you must use the most current data. They are well worth the search.

You may be curious about why Winchester says to use one exact load only. This is due to a concern with a phenomenon called detonation.
In rare cases, a light load of a slow powder can yield tremendous overpressure, usually destroying the firearm. So, peculiarly enough, reducing the powder charge can actually be dangerous.

Hodgdon does something similar, stating that Hodgdon H-110 should only be reduced by 3%. This works for Hodgdon, even though the Hodgdon powder is actually made by Olin, who makes Winchester powders, and H-110 and W296 have VERY similar burning characteristics.

So, get the manufacturer's data, their latest data, and follow their instructions carefully. Don't take any individual, especially my word for a load. Look it up yourself. Maintain a high level of suspicion and STOP if something happens that seems to be odd. Be careful. Walt

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Old February 20, 1999, 11:51 PM   #5
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Try the Remington 180gJHP over a healthy charge of H110, WW296, Vihta N110 or 3N37, or AA9. This bullet needs long cylinders like the DW or Ruger GP100/Redhawk. Sectional density is high and penetration is spectacular. Long range (70 to 130 yards) energy is also high. An excellent choice for deer. Extreme accuracy from my guns (long bearing surface?).
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Old March 4, 1999, 02:16 PM   #6
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About 25 years ago, I asked the same question of Elmer Keith. I still have his answer.

13.0 gr 2400, 168 gr Keith semi-wadcutter

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Old March 5, 1999, 03:01 PM   #7
Join Date: November 13, 1998
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Walt, the 16.8 of 296 IS from a newer reloading manual or at least with in the last 5 or 6 years, can't remember the manual, but yes the original loads I started with were out of the 1973 hornady (?) manual. year is right, not sure on manual name. 17.2 grs. would work fine in the 686 I was using, brass would show no signs of pressure problems and when I retuned the gun for a factory recall the gunsmith said the gun showed no signs of problems. He asked for loads, I gave him one,
I also advised this was over recommended loading and to be carefull, your point is well taken and I would agree for the most part, but not completely, I, along with many others shoot a .38super, these are almost always loaded over factory recomended loads
and have no problems. maybe what I should of said is "if your a experienced shooter and don't mind pushing factory specs" try this?
Your last paragraph pretty well sums it up.
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Old April 22, 1999, 06:19 PM   #8
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GA Arms offers a 158-grain Gold Dot that goes 1475 fps out of a 6" barrel.
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Old May 11, 1999, 12:48 PM   #9
Paul B.
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Jayson. Go to and you will find an article by Paco Kelly on "The .357 In Strong Guns". Very interesting article. There are several sections on that site, and I don,t remember the exact thread it was under. No matter, there's quite a bit of interesting reading there.
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