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Old June 14, 2000, 08:02 PM   #1
WestWA Hunter
Join Date: June 13, 2000
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 32
I wasn't sure whether to post this in "The Hunt" or here but since it's about handguns, here goes:

Washington State recently revised their hunting equipment regulations. In the past a handgun had to produce a certain amount of ft-lbs @ 100 yards and meet some other strict specifications. These specs pretty much ruled out all your standard handgun cartridges. As of May 2000 the only specifications are: 1) greater than 24 caliber, and 2) 4" barrel or longer. (Yes, we'll have people with 9mm Glocks out there trying to bring down whitetail and blacktail!)

So here's my question:
I have a S&W Model 28-2, .357 Mag, 6" barrel. In anyone's experience, can this be an effective hunting weapon for smaller big game, taking into account that my typical hunting terrain is pretty rugged and a shot of over 50 yards is rather rare.

I have absolutely no experience with handgun hunting but it seems to be a popular topic in most of the gun magazines these days.
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Old June 14, 2000, 08:17 PM   #2
Mal H
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 15,438
Welcome to TFL WestWA Hunter. You're right that where this one goes is a tough call. But since it is more of a hunting question than a handgun question by a small margin, I'll move it over to the Hunting forum. Look for it there....
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Old June 14, 2000, 10:45 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
Posts: 24,101
For me the answer is a qualified "Yes." About 50 years or so ago, a fella showed up at a deer camp near New Braunfels, Texas. Not far from where Dennis' house now is. He was one-armed; he'd brought a K-38 with him. The rancher looked very askance at the idea of hunting deer with a .38 Special. The fella saw the benchrest and 100-yard backstop and offered to show the rancher how well he could shoot. He put six fairly quick shots, offhand, into a six-inch circle at 100 yards. The rancher just nodded, smiled, and left.

With today's powders, you can get a 110-grain or 125-grain bullet up near 2,000 ft/sec from a .357. You'd be 2/3 the weight of a .30-30 and 90% of the velocity. Inside of fifty yards, the gun will do the job easily.

Next question: Can you do yours? Practice, practice, practice...

, Art
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Old June 14, 2000, 11:48 PM   #4
Ala Dan
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Join Date: August 13, 1999
Location: In The HOT, Humid, and Mu
Posts: 6,116
Yes sir; your Smith & Wesson 28-2 .357 Magnum
qualifies as a hunting handgun; provided the
right bullets are used. I wouldn't recommend
taking on real big and ugly dangerous game with it, however. This chore is best reserved
for the .41 and/or .44 Magnum's, 10mm, 454
Casull's and etc.

Ala Dan, Life Member N.R.A.

PS; Got a S&W 28-2 myself; pinned and recessed. Oh! what a wonderful firearm.
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Old June 15, 2000, 12:17 AM   #5
Robert the41MagFan
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Join Date: November 18, 1999
Posts: 1,233
As big as our deer are here in the NW, 357 Magnum will more than do the job. The key element is going to be shot placement. From my experience, it does not take more than a good defensive round from a 357 Magnum to take down a 250 Lbs+ size deer.

Again, shot placement is going to be the main factor here. If you cannot hit a four inch pies pan at the particular yardage you desire, don't attempt to shoot a animal at that same yardage. And for practical purposes, a controlled environment target shooting and hunting are two different beast. Usually your real hunting distance is about 1/2 to 3/4 of your practice distance with a handgun.

BTW The only whitetail deer that I am aware of in the NW is in the Columbia river area. They are protected endangered species. We have mule deer in the east, blacktail in the west and a hybrid in the Cascades

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Old June 15, 2000, 08:50 AM   #6
Join Date: July 23, 1999
Location: Washington State
Posts: 53
Robert the41MagFan,

Whitetail deer are prolific throughout most of eastern Washington. The mule deer population is shrinking and the whitetails are flourishing. That is why the hunting regs list almost all of eastern Washington as three point (on one side for those of you in the south and east) or better for mule deer, and any whitetail buck. Whitetail are not protected or endangered in Washington.
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Old June 15, 2000, 12:50 PM   #7
Robert the41MagFan
Senior Member
Join Date: November 18, 1999
Posts: 1,233

Gee, you guys are lucky. We here in Oregon can't touch them. ODFW is trying to restablish the whitetail populations, but have had limited success. My onderstanding was that it was a regional problem, not just in our state. Sorry!

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Old June 15, 2000, 02:51 PM   #8
Join Date: November 24, 1999
Location: Vienna, wv,usa
Posts: 94
I disagree with the use of defensive rounds. I would suggest a heavier 158 or 180 grain softpoint or hollowpoint bullet. Deer are tough and the added penitration of the heavier bullet may be needed for strait on shots or shots at the edge of your pistol's range. Good luck!
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Old June 15, 2000, 09:06 PM   #9
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Join Date: January 27, 2000
Posts: 265
I mostly hunt with a .44 magnum, but last year I killed a nice 6 point here in Pa. with a Taurus model 608 .357 mag. with the 8 3/8" barrel. I used Remington 158 grn. Cor-Lokt bullets. The shot was about 35-40 yards. I took him through both lungs, and he didn't go 5 yards before he fell dead. I treat all of my handguns much like a bow. Close shots, vital shots only. If you do the same, the .357 mag. will do the trick on deer.


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Old June 16, 2000, 04:47 PM   #10
Paul B.
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Join Date: March 28, 1999
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 3,066
Well. Most of my handgun hunting has been with a .44 Magnum. Looking back over 40 plus years of hunting, the only large game I ever took with a .357 Mag. was a 250 pound hog in Big Sur, California. I wasn't even hunting. A friend raises chase dogs for bear, lion and pigs. I was along to photograph the proceedings. I took a 4 inch Model 28 S&W stoked with 173 gr. hot loaded cast lead bullets as a "just in case" proposition. Well the pig broke from the dogs and headd straight for me. Being near a convenient tree, I grabbed a branch with my left hand, drew as I pulled myself up enough to clear the hog and two fast double action as he passed beneath me. One went through the brain pan, the second in the spine between the shoulder blades. Then I proceeded to shake for about ten minutes.
Would I hunt deer with a .357? Sure. I'd use the same load as I used on the hog. I'd much prefer my .44 mag. though.
Paul B.
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