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Old December 11, 2012, 07:43 PM   #1
Newton24b
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357 versus deer

yes ive seen the threads on hunting pigs and the like with a 357. thats fine. ive seen the constant reposted information about the member who was a cop in anchorage who kiled a few deer hit moose with a 4 inch barrel using keith type loads at 20 yards or less.


the problem is, every other instance ov use of 357 by a person for deer has been the old style 8 inch barrel and heavy duty keith type ammo thats no longer loaded by most companies and with loading data that isnt exactly compatable with the current formulations of the powders keith and skelton played with in the 50s and 60s.

so do i hedge the bet and just get a saa in 44 special or 45 colt. or do i use a 357 with a 5-6 inch barrel loaded down with 180 grain slugs and just hope for penetration
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Old December 11, 2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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I would put 357, 44 spl and 45 colt all in the same class; good enough for neck and lung shots but iffy for shoulder shots.

41 and 44 mag I would put in a class better; ok for shoulder shots.
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Old December 11, 2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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A .357 is too light for responsible hunting of big game.

Someone has to say it. I love the .357, and my life depended on my model 19 for years, but, and there always is a but in life, hunting big game is not the best use of the caliber.

Exception: A very skilled shooter at reasonable ranges, who is a very skilled hunter with long experience and knowledge of making kill shots, but still, why work the edge of compassion for the game, when a larger caliber would be a better choice.

I have taken mule deer in Colorado with that same duty gun ... my model 19, but still stand by the above!
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:03 PM   #4
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I would put 357, 44 spl and 45 colt all in the same class; good enough for neck and lung shots but iffy for shoulder shots.
Holy Crapola! That is the most bodaciously incorrect statement I've seen in some time. My 44 Special Ruger, with Rem 240SP under 17gr of 2400, chronographs 1191. My 45 Colt Ruger, with 275LFN under 10gr of Unique, chronographs 1057. The 45 load blows through 8" Pine trees at 50 yards. Also, Wild Bill said it right on the 357.
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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I have shoulder shot a deer with a 357mag. It was a good shot and I wasn't impressed with its performance at all. Its a neck or head shot with the 357mag or nothing. I have killed deer a lot faster with a 10mm. If you are seriously gonna hunt, then you need the proven and well revered 44mag. A nice mild loaded 240XTP will dump em as fast as any rifle at a reasonable distance......and even unreasonable distances..

From what I have seen of the XTP bullets, I would bet a 44special with the XTP at 1100fps shot under 40 yards would dump a white tail pretty fast with a chest shot. The 44cal XTP only needs 900FPS to open up.
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Last edited by Mystro; December 11, 2012 at 09:29 PM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:33 PM   #6
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A 357 will work in a pinch but I'd stick with the bigger bullets.
A 44 SPL or 45 Colt are better choices assuming you reload. Do not use plunking or cowboy type ammo. Avoid the self defense stuff too. Those bullets will come apart before the job is done.
Stepping up to a heavier bullet over 1000 fps turns them into critter getters. You don't need the abuse of the heavy Buffalo Bore stuff to do the trick.
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:44 PM   #7
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I have killed many mule deer with a 357 magnum (probably in the neighborhood of 20). I don't consider my self an expert hunter by any means.

What is my secret?

1. Long barrel. My 357 magnum that I hunt with is a Marlin trapper carbine. The 357 magnum gains a lot of power from longer barrels.

2. Ideal place for hunting. I usually harvest the deer from my back porch. I sit in the chair before first light on opening day and wait. I use the rail on the porch as a rest and I have the back yard marked off with a tree every 10 yards so I know the distance (all most like a foot ball field)

My favorite load before I started reloading was the Buffalo-bore 158 grain bullets. They where doing about 2050 fps from this trapper (just under 1500 foot pounds of muzzle energy)

Most of the deer I have killed went less than 10 yards after being shot. The furthest one has gone is about 60 yards. Now I am not saying that the 357 magnum is an ideal gun, What I am saying is that I am comfortable with this gun harvesting deer from my back porch. When I actually have to hunt (Walk around or in unfamiliar places) I use a 45-70.
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Last edited by Deja vu; December 11, 2012 at 09:49 PM.
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Old December 11, 2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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Deja Vu has a good point. The 357mag really picks up steam in a longer barrel. My brother in law has taken a few does with his 8 3/8" 686 but still takes neck shots. In a 20" barrel, you are really cooking. In a handgun.....meh
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Old December 12, 2012, 11:15 AM   #9
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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.

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Old December 12, 2012, 12:36 PM   #10
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I'm with L KILLKENNY on this one! I shot a doe at 63 yards with a 180 grain Partition Gold .357 and she DRT. It was a shot right behind her shoulder, yea bullet placement...and I was seated on the ground...solid rest/platform. A .357 is more than adequate if you practice at ranges you are likely to encounter game. This Winchester factory load is rare as hen's teeth but the bullet is available for reloading, Georgia Arms sells a 158 grain Gold Dot loading for deer hunting and other commercial manufacturers loadings will also work. Don't believe for a second that only a .44, .45, .454 or .500 will work.
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Old December 12, 2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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With heavier 158-180 gr, even some 200 gr loads out there, a 357 is plenty gun for any deer on the planet as long as you use at least a 4" barrel and 6"+ would be even better. Your only limitation is the range you can hit from. Most of those loads will give complete penetration well beyond 100 yards. They would also be fine for typical sized black bear at reasonable ranges. It is all about bullet construction and shot placement.

When you get into animals larger than deer the larger magnum calibers start to look better
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Old December 12, 2012, 01:36 PM   #12
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I've seen deer hit with shotgun slugs and then not recovered, no one thinks a shotgun slug is insufficient. Bullet placement. Famous guide in Maine stopped using his Colt Python for black bear because he had a failure, but he says the 357 mag is still his favorite deer gun. It seems to have allot to do with proper barrel length, load, patience and bullet placement.
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Old December 12, 2012, 04:58 PM   #13
WIN1886
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handgun deer hunting

I do have a .357 magnum and the thought has crossed my mind but I still grab the .44 magnum instead ! Personally , I think with some of the good loads being offered and of course with proper handloads , as well , the .357 magnum should do just fine...someday I might give it a try !
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Old December 12, 2012, 05:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Most of those loads will give complete penetration well beyond 100 yards.
A 158gr XTP launched at 1250 f/sec will not penetrate through a 2 1/2 year old Nebraska whitetail buck from 5 feet..... I shot him 4 times, no exits. He'd already been shot with a .270 WIN in the front of the chest, and had gone down like a sack of potatoes ...... leaving the rifle, I ran over to him with a knife in hand and bent over to cut his throat .... and went into full panic mode when he got to his feet..... there was an unpicked 320 acre corn field just a few yards in front of him and if he was not hit as bad as I thought he was, and got into there, he was good as gone ..... I drew and fired until he went down, 4 hits, high in the chest. No exits.

Turns out the lower portion of one lung and the heart were destroyed by the .270 hit .... he was dead, just not convinced of it just yet ......and the upper portion of both lungs were destroyed by the 4 XTPs..... he stopped arguing the point after that.
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Old December 12, 2012, 05:39 PM   #15
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You can kill deer with he 357mag but every professional handgun hunter considers it a marginal cartridge for deer. All my books full of legendary hunters consider 41mag the place to start for a deer hunting cartridge. I have seen deer fall from a single shot of a 22lr but that's not to say its a good hunting round.
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Old December 12, 2012, 05:48 PM   #16
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My opinion is the the 357 mag is marginal for hunting whitetail deer. It will kill them with a good hit.

My first centerfire revolver was a 6" Colt Python (357) which was bought for deer hunting, home defense, and range time. About that time I was doing a lot of reading in the gun rags about handgun hunting. Decieded that the 357 mag was a tad light and was better off with a 41 or 44 mag. Never really considered a 45 Colt at the time, but factory loads then were very wimpy.

Got a 41 mag to use deer hunting. Never shot a deer with the 41 mag, but I was confident that it was just fine. I later bought a SRH in 480 Ruger and it became my deer hunting revolver since I did not want to drill and tap my M57 for a scope.
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Old December 12, 2012, 06:06 PM   #17
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IMO, I made a mistake when I first started hunting deer with a handgun.

I started out with a 357 and worked my way up to the 480. Should have been the other way around. The 357 is more then capable of taking deer. Like bow hunting, you just need more patience and be willing to let more game walk if the ideal shot for a 357 doesn't present itself. I think the 357 is the absolute lightest I would want to hunt with.

Capable = Yes

Ideal= No.
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Old December 12, 2012, 06:10 PM   #18
Newton24b
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most handguns leave alot to be desired, its why i believe it took so long to get straight walled pistol cartridges put into lever guns.

however most handgun hunting is done if you read the gun rags with hard cast bullets that have no option or possibility of expanding regardless of how you push them. with that issue ive always read a 200-240 grain hardcast bullet at 1000 is the minimum. all 357s 44 specials and 45 colts can do that.

so is it just the world of expanding bullets that puts a limit on the 357 for handgun use? sure i read the ammo descriptions in catalogs and some of the specialty companies are making handgun hunting loads in 357 that they word will penetrate like the 45 colt
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Old December 12, 2012, 07:25 PM   #19
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I've taken several deer with .357s. All were shot only once in the chest and none went more than 40 yards. I consider a .357 the same as a bow. Quality shots taken @ 40 yards or less into the boiler room. I recommend using JSPs, XTP-FPs or hard cast bullets of 158 gr or more and leave the HPs for varmints, SD and the range. With deer you want a hole on both sides. Very few HPs designed for .357 will give you the penetration needed for that, especially if you hit shoulder bone. The .357 is plenty of gun for the job, but you must do your part too. While bigger calibers give you more range and maybe more margin for error, hunting deer with a .357 is no harder than bow hunting. If you can't close the distance needed for a effective shot, you have to pass. If the shot doesn't present itself, you must pass. Not hard to do if one knows his limitations and respects his quarry.
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Old December 12, 2012, 08:54 PM   #20
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The problem is that many people do not pass. Try hunting in a place for bucks and you have one opportunity the entire season if you're lucky.... do you expect a hunter to pass on a shot with a 357 mag at 65 yds? Hence, I suggest a little more gun.
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
most handguns leave alot to be desired, its why i believe it took so long to get straight walled pistol cartridges put into lever guns.
The .44 Henry Flat was available in a rifle in 1866, it was available in the Colt SAA shortly after it was introduced. The .44-40 and .38-40 were available in a rifle and revolver at almost the same time, they barely have a shoulder. The top straight walled revolver round pre-1900 was the .45 Colt, it's tiny rim wouldn't work in a lever action.
I've killed deer with a .357 but pick my shots. I've more with a .45 Colt. The .357 is adequate the .45 is plenty. I killed one Fallow Buck with a .45 ACP, I won't again.
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:49 PM   #22
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Dead Deer Down

I don't see any thing wrong with hunting using the .357mag Pistol or Rifle, Heck in my state Kentucky the Law say any center fire cartridge is legal, what's the problem Kill Tagem, Bagem, Eatem
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Old December 12, 2012, 10:50 PM   #23
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Holy Crapola! That is the most bodaciously incorrect statement I've seen in some time. My 44 Special Ruger, with Rem 240SP under 17gr of 2400, chronographs 1191. My 45 Colt Ruger, with 275LFN under 10gr of Unique, chronographs 1057. The 45 load blows through 8" Pine trees at 50 yards. Also, Wild Bill said it right on the 357.

.44 Special 756 ft-lbs
.45 Ruger 682 ft-lbs
.357 (180 grain Buffalo Bore) 781 ft-lbs

What is your gripe here ?
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Old December 13, 2012, 06:06 AM   #24
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I suspect there is a big difference between killing a sub 100 lb. Texas whitetail and one of them corn-fed bucks I understand can get get what, 2 - 300 pounds?
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Old December 13, 2012, 08:26 AM   #25
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[QUOTE]Try hunting in a place for bucks and you have one opportunity the entire season if you're lucky.... [B]do you expect a hunter to pass on a shot with a 357 mag at 65 yds? Hence, I suggest a little more gun.

Yep! If the hunter has not practiced and cannot hit consistently at 65yds., I would expect them to pass on the shot.

From hunting with a bow to a high powered rifle, it's the hunters responsibility to know the limitations of the choice of weapon AND just as important, his/her limitations with that weapon.

If I'm hunting with a rifle capable of a 400' killing shot but I've only shot this rifle at 100', therefore not knowing where it hits at 200', it doesn't matter if the next world record buck walks out at 200' s, I should/would not shoot. If I did, I need to classify myself in the 'slob' hunter category and should not be in the field.

Again, learning and staying within my limitations with whatever choice of weapon should not be done afield but at the range.
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