Deer Hunting .357 vs. .44


PDA






dubious
August 10, 2007, 05:13 PM
Hi folks, I'm debating what type of revolver to get. I want something that is capable of taking deer at 25-50 yards... probably using Buffalo Bore Ammo. Other than that, I plan to shoot a lot of paper... accuracy and nice sights would go a long way in teaching me the finer points of the shooting arts. I'm not too worried about bears. As I understand it, the .357 Buffalo Bore Ammo out of a handgun is right on the lower limit of what is acceptable to take a deer with... which makes me slightly uncomfortable. Maybe I should just go for the .44... but the higher price ammo means less practice.

Right now I'm leaning towards a Ruger GP-100 probably in 4in. or 6in.... but I'm also interested in the Redhawk in .44 5 1/2 inch barrel. I have found that the GP-100 fits me better than anything else I've handled... grip and natural point of aim is perfect. I haven't yet handled a Redhawk, but I'm expecting it will point similarly. S&Ws and Taurii just don't feel as perfect in my large hands.

What do you think?

If you enjoyed reading about "Deer Hunting .357 vs. .44" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Old Coach
August 10, 2007, 05:25 PM
I have a S&W 629 PP that I use for deer. 6" bbl with a leupold-gilmore dot.
It carries in a shoulder holster just fine. I have a T/C in 357 MAX with a 14" bbl that is also a good deer gun. I carry it with a bbl band sling. At 25 yds either 357 or 44 will do the job.

Snapping Twig
August 10, 2007, 05:26 PM
With the criteria you outlined, and my personal preferences tossed in, I'd say go directly to the .44 and faggettaboutit. :)

Honestly, the .44 is head and shoulders more gun, it will get the job done if you do your job - shot placement.

Don't think I'm not a fan of the .357, I am. The two in my safe would testify to that, but the four .44's next to them would speak to which I prefer for hunting.

Reload, cast and take full advantage of either caliber.

You can cast up a 170g Keith for the .357 (Lyman 358429) and back it with 15g of H110 for a reliable deer terminator.

Cast up a 265g SWC for the .44 (Lyman 429244) and stuff it with 22g of H110 and you have something you can use anywhere for any game in the lower 48.

Just to toss a wrench in the works, Ruger makes some really nice .45LC's. The RH, SRH, BH and SBH are all able to take a more powerful loading of the .45LC which is a very reliable hunting round. Most reloading books have this data in the back, specially noted for Ruger and TC.

Whatever you get, practice, practice, practice and above all - enjoy it! :)

mbt2001
August 10, 2007, 05:26 PM
As I understand it, the .357 Buffalo Bore Ammo out of a handgun is right on the lower limit of what is acceptable to take a deer with...

Actually that is a good deer round and can be used for larger game...

The issue of Handgun Hunting has much more to do with shot placement, range and skill / practice than anything else. Obviously the .44 magnum is AN ORDER ABOVE the .357 as a hunting round, being bigger and more powerful. So there is no competition there. The .44 can shoot .44 specials, which are lighter rounds and are good hunting and defense rounds in their own right.

The .357 as a hunting revolver SHOULD have a 6" barrel. If you use reputable ammo and can make the shot count, then the .357 would get the job done. So would a .38 special. So would a .22.... It is making the shot count that is crucial. Having the accuracy and placement to put the round in the vitals... That being said, the more powerful the gun, the greater your margin of error can be. With a .22 it must be a VERY precise shot. With a .38, you have an inch or so wiggle room, with a .357 you have two inches, with a .44 you have 4 inches... With a NUKE you have several miles... You get the idea.

Which do you shoot better? Which one gives you the greatest spectrum of use for the game that you intend to hunt? The .357 for say deer and down, the .44 for say, deer and up. Is it going to double as a defensive side arm? If so, then the barrel should be 4”, so in my estimation you should get a .44 magnum and load it with .44 specials… Which one fits your budget better? Are you going to get more guns over time?

P.S. I always take neck shots, I would recommend the same for you. Either it is a hit, in which case the animal goes down or it is a miss. If it wasn't a solid hit, then I have a follow up ready, but the animal still went down.

Good luck, and post pictures of the new family member when it is procured! ;)


EDIT:

Just to toss a wrench in the works, Ruger makes some really nice .45LC's. The RH, SRH, BH and SBH are all able to take a more powerful loading of the .45LC which is a very reliable hunting round. Most reloading books have this data in the back, specially noted for Ruger and TC.

+1 on the 45lc

You can get some great factory loads from Corbon and Buffalo Bore that push the .45lc past the .44 mag. Regular loads or cowboy loads are also historically proven defensive rounds. The .45ACP was patterned after the .45lc to be a "ballistic twin" for the most part.

birddog
August 10, 2007, 05:33 PM
Here's a thread about my experience with the .44 mag. Hope you enjoy.

http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=114110

dubious
August 10, 2007, 05:37 PM
Yes, I've considered .45 LC, but the ammo is just too expensive for me to practice with. I want to shoot 50 rounds a week, and seeing as .45LC is about $1 a round... ugggh. I'm just not wealthy enough for that right now.

I'm not planning on using this for defense really... I've got a utterly reliable Taurus PT-111 Mil Pro 9mm that fits nicely in my pocket and a 7+1 12G Mossy as my go to guns. Though... I wouldn't mind being able to comfortably carry my revolver on the trail. 4" has its appeal for simple portability. How much of an accuracy difference is there between 4" and 6" barrels?

Also, since I have the 9mm the .357 has little bit less appeal, but the low price and light weight of .357 does trump the .44 for me. Sigh...

:rolleyes:

Indecision, ain't it grand?

mbt2001
August 10, 2007, 05:45 PM
Indecision, ain't it grand?

:)

Welcome to the Club... Most of us are in exactly the same spot at any given time... That is a beauty and curse of being a "gun nut".

:cool:

PrimaryB
August 10, 2007, 07:00 PM
Have you considered the Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk 44mag? Yes it's SA but I'm gonna assume :uhoh: that your going to shoot the Redhawk while hunting SA. The cost savings buying the NMSBH will get you a scope. You only will get one good shot anyways. I will try to attach pic. Also the added weight makes shooting the 44mag really nice. You can extend your range out to 100yrds especially shooting CorBon or Buffalo Bore. Target acquisition with a scope can be frustating. My scope is a Bushnell 3200 Elite and I want to try the raised scope mounts. I didn't know they even offered them till I purchased the mounts I have. Good Luck!

OBXMIKE
August 10, 2007, 07:03 PM
I'd go with the .44 for a couple of reasons........first, if you get that MONSTER buck that steps out at 75-100 yards, a .44 will give you SO much more energy and effective range than a .357 would. Second, I'd hate like heck to wound an animal and have it suffer for a time before it finally expires and not be able to retrieve your kill. Third, there really isn't that much difference in weight between a .44 and a .357, especially if you scope it for hunting.
I've shot a few small does with an older taurus .357 at ranges up to 30 yards and it performed well.....longest I had to chase one was about 50 yards from where I hit it, but I prefer to do as much as I can to anchor them where I hit 'em. Besides, that monster buck DID step out about 80 yards away one day when I only had the .357 on me......had to pass on the shot, sold the .357 the next week and ain't looked back since.

Now, a healthy alternative would be to get you a .45 colt with a second cylinder for .45 acp................I have an old model Vaquero with that option, and it fits the needs of BOTH! ACP for plinkin', and some stouted up cor-bons for hunting. Several models available with that as an option.
Hmmmmmm?

Eyesac
August 10, 2007, 07:17 PM
Here's a thread about my experience with the .44 mag. Hope you enjoy.

That's a good one!

MCgunner
August 10, 2007, 07:38 PM
I've killed a couple of deer with .357 handloads, but the deer in Texas ain't exactly monsters. A 200 lb deer on the hoof would be HUGE down here. The .357 will take anything that walks in this state with a good load that's placed well. However, the .44 is a better hunting round, obviously, and if the gun is primarily for hunting, err on the big side. My deer/hog hunting handguns are .357 magnum blackhawk, .45 colt in contender or blackhawk, and .30-30 Winchester in a contender. All are extremely accurate and powerful enough for Texas. Also, I like single actions, see no reason to use a DA gun for hunting. SAs are more rugged, tougher guns. The Redhawk is huge compared to my Blackhawk, too. And, the SAs handle recoil better IMHO. They just sort of roll up in the hand and absorb the recoil of heavy calibers. DA shooting is useless in the field. I don't even wanna be tempted.

john1911
August 10, 2007, 07:46 PM
IMO, the.44 is a much better choice for hunting over the .357. My personal preference is the .41 mag in a Ruger Blackhawk. I also carry a 4" Redhawk on some occasions. Either of these is a short range proposition, at least for me. Almost every deer I've ever killed has been within 50 yards.

Shooting 50 rounds of factory ammo a week is gonna get real expensive real fast. The cheapest .44 mag ammo around here is right at $27-$29/50. 357 is a couple bucks cheaper per 50. If you don't already, you should look into reloading. My .41 and .44 reloads cost me around $22-$25/100.

If your looking for a handgun strictly for hunting, look at the T/C line.

CSA 357
August 10, 2007, 08:08 PM
the 357 is a fine gun but the 44 magnum is far ahead of it in the hunting world, a good big man beating the hell out of a good little man kinna thing, you will not regret getting the 44 for a hunting gun, i dont need the 454s or 460s or the 500 mag, the 44 rem magnum will do all i need to do to man or beast! csa:D

dubious
August 10, 2007, 08:13 PM
"Now, a healthy alternative would be to get you a .45 colt with a second cylinder for .45 acp................I have an old model Vaquero with that option, and it fits the needs of BOTH! ACP for plinkin', and some stouted up cor-bons for hunting. Several models available with that as an option.
Hmmmmmm?"


Now that's an interesting idea... wow. I think that may be worth going the SA route. What options are there for .45 lc / acp out there?

PrimaryB
August 10, 2007, 08:20 PM
If you wanna plink then shoot 44 special with the 44 mag of your choice.:neener:

dubious
August 10, 2007, 08:34 PM
Yeah, but 44 Special is WAY more than .45 ACP....

jaholder1971
August 10, 2007, 09:36 PM
Buy the .357 in a 6" or 8" barrel. A 586/686 or a Ruger will fit the bill. Practice with full power .357 loads until you have mastered hitting what you want to hit out to 100 yards. When you can do that you can either hunt deer with confidence out to 50 yards as well as handle the recoil of a .44 Magnum.

bigmike45
August 10, 2007, 10:06 PM
I have hunted Whitetail here in Texas with just about every ethical revolver caliber available. With all of them out there I chose the .41magnum. It has served me well for over 15 years and over 50 game animals. I use a 2X Leupold EER Pistol Scope for game harvested out to 125 yards. My choice of revolver is the Ruger Stainless Redhawk with a 7.5" barrel. It has never failed me.....when I do my part.

http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f43/mike_seale/RugerRedhawk41mag7Small.jpg

MCgunner
August 10, 2007, 10:47 PM
I like the .41 and will get one some day. And, for light loads in my .45 Colt, I cast a 255 grain flat point and put 8.3 grains of unique behind it. Costs me about 2 bucks a box or a little less. If you're serious about handgun hunting, you should be reloading. There are quite a few Contender calibers for which you cannot buy factory ammo. My 7mmTCU is one, even have to make my own brass by fire forming .223.

you will not regret getting the 44 for a hunting gun, i dont need the 454s or 460s or the 500 mag, the 44 rem magnum will do all i need to do to man or beast!

Perhaps, but some day when I get a lot more money, I'm going to get a Freedom Arms in .454 Casull. No, I probably don't need it, but so what? That revolver has to be one of the strongest, best built single actions built and it has superb accuracy and will fire .45 Colt for which I already reload and cast. I also wanna get into .41 mag, but just because I think it's a danged good caliber. No other reason than I've always thought it was neat. But, it'll do anything a .44 will do IMHO. .44 mag is a great caliber especially for hunting. I don't know why, perhaps because I'm so antagonistic sometimes, but I've always preferred alternatives like .41 or .45 Colt and never got into .44. It's not logical. I should have a .44, I reckon. LOL It's just that while everyone else has lauded the .44, I've read the articles on hot ..45s and .41 magnums. I finally got the .45 Colts and haven't regretted it. Love the caliber for hunting or range plinking, very accurate and can be a fire breathing beast if you want it to be in the right gun.

glockman19
August 11, 2007, 12:44 AM
I have a S&W 686+ 4" I'l lhave a S&W 629 5" on Sunday I'll let you know then. First thoughtas would be the .44 mag would be my choice at closer distances. I usually hunt deer with a Reminigton 700 in .30-06

Majic
August 11, 2007, 03:55 PM
As you seem somewhat new to this don't forget ther will be a lot of difference in shooting the .357 and the .44. The .44 will give you all the power you will need while the .357 may have you rethink certain shots.
Something to consider since you said the GP-100 fits you so well is to look at the Super Redhawk because it has the exact same grip frame and stocks as the GP-100.

dairycreek
August 11, 2007, 06:24 PM
I have been a handgun hunter for over 40 years and have taken deer with a variety of calibers. My considered opinion is that 357 is marginal for deer although I have taken deer with the 357. The 44 mag IMHO results in a cleaner, surer, more humane kill. FWIW!

wheelgunslinger
August 11, 2007, 07:06 PM
I'm a big fan of the .357. I use one for personal defense and carry.
But, I'm a fanboy of the .45 Colt for sure.
With the right load, there's not a whitetail on the planet I couldn't kill with it.
And, you'll feel a little better about your chances if you run up on a varmint with sharp teeth that doesn't like you while looking for deer.

If you enjoyed reading about "Deer Hunting .357 vs. .44" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!