357 better hunting bullet SWC vs RNFP


October 13, 2008, 10:15 PM
Strictly for short range (less than 60 yds.) small deer hunting what do you think makes for a better hunting bullet ? a 158 grain traditional SWC or the same wieght bullet in the RNFP cowboy style bullet? Please let's keep the discussion between these two styles and 158 grains of projectile. I know how these types of threads get hijacked soooo easily...:uhoh:

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October 13, 2008, 10:41 PM
The sharp shoulders on the SWC will wound better and might even be more accurate. Both will likely exit the far side on a broadside shot.

October 14, 2008, 12:01 AM
I have developed some very accurate loads with .357/358" LRNFP's, I would choose the bullet that is most accurate.

October 14, 2008, 01:10 PM
The SWC Keith style is a far better hunting bullet then a RNFP.

The Cowboy type bullet was pretty effective in the .45 Colt, but the factory load used a very soft swaged hollow-base bullet. And it made a much bigger hole to start with.


October 14, 2008, 01:16 PM
The thing that got my attention was how a RNFP looks like a square, which made me think it might have more "slap" to it but I also see where the sharp shoulders of the SWC can be effective. I thought it was a good question myself:D Keep the opinions coming cuz I'm sure listening!

October 14, 2008, 01:24 PM
I made the decision this year to take a deer with my 686 6" - where I hunt in recent years all my shots have been at very close range, 30 yards at most.

I decided on using Speer's 146gr half-jacket SWCHP, I like the SWC shape in that it should cut a good wound channel, probably though both sides, even if it does not expand. If they made a heavier one I'd use it, and I am working up loads using Unique and 2400.

October 14, 2008, 01:56 PM
It's a great question. I plan on getting a Lyman four cavity 358156 to cast a pile of general purpose rounds. I've read that they make a hollow point version, but am unable to find it.

Steve C
October 14, 2008, 02:15 PM
I'd choose a 158gr JHP rather than any solid for deer. They're not heavily muscelled or thick skinned. It makes little difference if you use a RNFP or a SWC since both are just going to punch clean through leaving a .357 hole. With the JHP you'll have the chance they'll mushroom and provide a quicker more humane kill and if they don't the bullet doesn't shrink because its a HP.

October 15, 2008, 11:46 PM
It depends on the accuracy.

In comparing two bullets by the same mould producer, I've tried the Lee .358-158SWC-GC, and the .358-158RFN. (not to mention about a dozen other designs/weights)

They both shoot best over 13.5gr of #2400, followed closely by 7.5gr of Universal. However, the RFN outshoots the SWC by a significant margin for groups.

What with not having to use a gascheck, the RFN is a sixcavity mould vs. the 2cavity for the SWC, it's a no-brainer.

The large flat-nose on the RFN (casts to 160gr) provides good impact shock, and it DOES expand, too. Especially if bone is hit. (Wheel Weight alloy with 2-3oz of 95/5 solder added to improve castability/mould fill.

I shot a ~200lb pig with the SWC (casts to 165gr) over 7.5gr of Unversal (chrono's at 1,250fps from 4"bbl Ruger Sec.6). He was "wallowing" and I hit him under the chin. The expanded bullet was recovered under the base of the scull just under the skin. Recovered weight was 148gr, and lacked the gas-check. Perfect mushroom. Pig was DRT.

They work for me.

35 Whelen
October 16, 2008, 03:49 AM
Remember when you use a hollowpoint that actually expands, penetration will be reduced. 'Sides, he didn't ask about hollowpoints. I've never actually kill a deer with a handgun, but Elmer Keith and others such as Brian Pearce of Handloader Magazine universally use SWC's for deer. When I used to hunt iwth a 357 Blackhawk, I loaded a Lyman 358429 which was a Keith style, 170 gr. SWC.
Good luck,

October 18, 2008, 01:46 AM
In general I would say the SWC will be a better hunting bullet. The shoulder will do some serious cutting on the way through.

Mr. 16 gauge
October 18, 2008, 01:42 PM
SWC......I was always told that the sharp edges of the SWC (and wadcutter) bullets act like a 'punch press' on flesh; they will cut a clean hole in the tissues and it will have a difficult time closing/clotting.
RN bullets just kind of 'push' their way through the flesh, tearing it as they go....after the bullet passes through, the edges of the tears approximate, and the clotting process starts, leaving a skimpier blood trail, ect., ect, .......

October 18, 2008, 02:43 PM
That is exactly right.

It has been proven over & over again that the SWC keith or Thompson bullet design is far superior to a RN or RNFP for killing power.

Not only will it cut a full caliber hole that allows more & faster blood loss, but it will not deflect from it's path by hitting a bone as a RN or RNFP will.


October 18, 2008, 04:57 PM
These do pretty well...http://www.montanabulletworks.com/images/357_LBT_150_gr_FNB-GC_pistol_bullet.gif :)

October 18, 2008, 10:45 PM
I prefer the SWC every time at short distance game shooting....

The RNFP would be better at longer ranges as it keeps it's velocity longer where as the frontal area of the SWC would be aerodynamically blunt andwould shed velocity faster- and earlier....

The SWC also cuts a nice sharp punched hole versus a smaller wound channel...

Back in the "Old Days" we used to carry SWC as self defense ammo due to those properties. Accurate, powerful and a resultant big round hole! (Besides--- We couldnt afford them fancy "holler points" or them jacket wearin' numbers!! Too dang 'spensive so lead it was...)

Happy Huntin'
(....get two tags and try one of each and let us know your experience!):D

October 19, 2008, 12:16 PM
Looks like I will be going with the SWC atleast as the starting point !! I will be using my 6" 686 as a back-up gun or for use whenever a critter is dumb enough to come close for a look-see down the barrel:what: Thanks guys!

October 19, 2008, 12:31 PM
The RNFP would be better at longer ranges Not so sure about that as it relates to handgun bullets.

The Keith SWC is the time proven truly long range revolver bullet champ.

Once the bullet goes subsonic, aerodynamics isn't such a critical factor anymore.


tasco 74
October 21, 2008, 10:53 PM
i've heard like the rest of the swc guys that they will do a better job at taking down a game animal...

about your erectile disfunction rc the only one that helps me PALIN..............

October 22, 2008, 12:33 AM
I think a SWC bullet will do a good job for you. You might even want to go a little heavier than 158gr.

Jim Watson
October 22, 2008, 12:47 AM
There is a third choice. There was a study once that favored the LBT Wide Flat Nose bullet, barely smaller up front than a wadcutter.

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