Marlin 1894c .357 Magnum on White-tail Deer


Southern Shooter
November 25, 2009, 01:04 PM
This past weekend I went deer hunting. My 30-30 was not sighted in as I had no time to make some adjustments due to prior bad weather. So, knowing that it was dead on at 50 yards with 158 grain ammunition, I grabbed my iron-sighted Marlin 1894c .357 Magnum rifle.

I had never hunted with it before so I really had not idea how it would perform on white-tail deer...but, it was all I had at the moment. And, then I pulled out a box of Israeli made Samson 158 grain SJSP ammuntion.

I was sitting in a 12 foot high tripod stand. Well, exactly 70 yards away (we measured with a laser range-finder after the fact), two does stepped to the edge of the shooting lane I was watching. I raised the rifle and made the shot aimed at her front left shoulder. She jumped and bolted back into the woods. I waited about 40 minutes before pursuing her.

The short of it, I found her 45 yards from where the shot was made. She, like most Southern white-tail, was not a huge animal weighing in at about 125 lbs. The bullet passed through the left and right shoulders, shattering ribs on entering and exiting, and destroyed both lungs and the heart.

I had no idea that a pistol calibler, 158 grain SJSP from a short carbine would do that from 70 yards away. Is this similar to the experiences other hunters using this combination of rifle and round? I have a new found respect for this platform.


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bill in IN
November 25, 2009, 01:11 PM
It's more where you put it than what you put.......

If it works on 200 pound humans it should also on 125 pound deer.

November 25, 2009, 01:22 PM
Sounds about right.
A .357 from a carbine is very under-rated by folks who haven't used one.
A .36 caliber 158 grain bullet going 1,800 FPS will put a deers lights out.

After all, it is more powerful then the 44-40 black-powder load, one of the the guns that won the west!


November 25, 2009, 01:36 PM
I am waiting for my wife to come home now so I can get in the loading room and put some 158's together for my son. We started the season with an AR15 and yesterday I got him a single shot H&R .357, I put a youth stock on it and an Aimpoint 2x sight. I think 16 grains of 2400 will have that 158 smoking pretty good and make a great 100 yard load. If we get another one I'll throw some pictures up.


November 25, 2009, 01:42 PM
Might want to rethink that 16.0 grain 2400 / 158 grain load.

That will be over-pressure with any 158 grain bullet by at least a half grain or more.

I would consider 15.0 as tops with most jacketed or lead 158 grain bullets.


November 25, 2009, 01:48 PM
Three years ago a buddy of mine broke a whitetail spike's neck at 17 FEET with a Marlin 1894C handloaded with 158 Sierra JSPs over 14 grains of 2400, chronographing about 1750 fps. DRT

16.0 grains of 2400 is over max for a 158 grain jacketed bullet in the .357 Magnum. Ya might wanna kick it down a few grains.

As mentioned, shot placement makes all the difference.

Just my .02,

Marlin 45 carbine
November 25, 2009, 03:09 PM
I'm not surprised it did well. a shooting buddy has that rifle and with his admittedly hot handloads of 158gr jsp over I don't know what powder whacks a 3/8" steel plate with authority at 100 yards. he also loads for a Super BlackHawk so he means 'hot'. good sights that he's put on his Marlin too.
along the same lines as the thread I have a Marlin Camp 9mm that I've used to fill doe tags with. all neck/head shots DRT shooting hot handload Golden Sabre 124gr. havern't recovered a slug yet.

November 25, 2009, 03:13 PM
14.5 grains of 2400 pushes a 165 grain cast SWC to a little over 1800 fps from my Rossi 92's 20" barrel. I took a doe about 80 yards. Shot was just behind the shoulders in the ribs. She went about 20 yards and piled up. 17.5 grains of Lil Gun will push that bullet over 1900 fps, my load, 16.8 grains just under 1900 fps. Lil gun gets more for less pressure, great powder for this caliber. Either way, the deer is deal. You think about it, 1900 fps with a 165 grain .357" bullet. That's about 100-200 fps slower than a .30-30 pushes a 170. To 100 yards, not a problem on deer or even meat hogs. I think if I was going to pick on 350 lb + boar, I'd want something bigger, but I prefer tastier meat.

November 25, 2009, 03:16 PM
16 grains is hot but the action and the brass can take it, a lot of reloading manuals top 2400 off at 15 grains at 41,000 psi but the H&R is strong and reloading manuals have some idiot proofing built in them, that being said, don't be an idiot. In a handi rifle 16 grains of h110 with 204 gr lead bullet, would be great, that load goes 1500 fps out of a contender pistol barrel it would gain even more from a full rifle barrel, Then again finding a soft lead 204 .35 caliber bullet might be tough but it is an idea.

November 25, 2009, 04:23 PM
and reloading manuals have some idiot proofing built in them,No, they don't.
What they have is far more accurate pressure testing methods then they had even 25 years ago.

I'm here to tell you that 16.0 grains 2400, and any 158 grain jacketed or lead bullet is well over 45,000 PSI (SAAMI is 35,000 CUP) and will stick cases in a Blackhawk or S&W revolver.

It is well over current industry standard pressure and is too hot in any gun.


November 25, 2009, 06:27 PM
16.0 2400 and a 158 is a might warmer than even the OLD manuals I have, hottest of which recommends 15.5. I'd tame it down or buy a .35 Remington barrel for that H&R.

Try 17.5 grains Lil' Gun behind that bullet and get back to me. That's a safe load and will outperform YOUR load.

November 25, 2009, 08:13 PM
My book shows 15.9 as a max load, and I got no over pressure signs with 16. I loaded 25 and we shot about half of them, they grouped good at 60 yards. I do think I'll come down some though, my boy said it was kicking a little too much, but it wasn't keeping him from shooting.


November 25, 2009, 09:03 PM
Seriously, though, try some Lil' Gun. The stuff is great for this application, better than 2400 or H110.

November 25, 2009, 10:38 PM
weighing in at about 125 lbs
Just curious, did you weigh her, or was that an estimate?

Southern Shooter
November 25, 2009, 11:08 PM
We used a crude scale set up that may have been off a few pounds. In addition, it took two of us to get her onto the back of the ATV.

November 26, 2009, 06:59 PM
That was a very big doe for the deep South. About 5 years ago I purchased an inline scale and now weigh my deer when hanging them. They weigh less than I used to think, and I believe that is true for most deer hunters. I am yet to kill a doe that large in NC, although I previously killed some I thought were that big. For example, this mature and well filled out buck weighed only 26 lbs. more than your doe, even with the headgear.

Southern Shooter
November 27, 2009, 08:34 AM
I do wish that I had an exact weight from a better scale. I do have some pictures coming that might help with comparison.

November 27, 2009, 09:26 AM
A big doe down here is 90 lbs maybe. Most are maybe 70. Land of the pygmys. A good buck, though, can run 125-150, though most aren't, more like 100-125.

Southern Shooter
December 22, 2009, 11:58 AM
Hey folks...took me forever to get a picture developed of my doe that was in question. Again, I don't know what she actually weighed. But, I am 5' 6" and weigh an easy 150 lbs. We are both about equal distance from the camera. Our crude scale was bumping around 125 lbs. But, it could have been way off. What do you guys think? Is 125 lbs out of the question for her?


December 22, 2009, 01:32 PM
I'd say no. 125 IS possible for that deer.

December 22, 2009, 02:29 PM
Might not be quite 125, but it's certainly over 100, and a fine doe. If I were you, I'd estimate 150. Works for me. :D

December 27, 2009, 10:13 AM
I live in south east Mississippi and our does range from 105 -130. A club member killed a 127 Lb doe this year. It is good to have scales, kind of like those 10 lb bass and such.

Marlin 45 carbine
December 27, 2009, 10:50 AM
I'll bet YOUR weight is gonna increase a bit after chowing down on the country-style steak with mushroom gravy that fat doe will provide.:D

December 28, 2009, 10:02 PM

This 500 lb cow elk was taken with my 357 MAG revolver. Both bullets were recovered; they were balled up pretty good. Chest organs appeared badly damaged by the hollow tip bullets.

357 MAG does not have the range of a rifle cartridge but the hunter who is careful and patient will do OK.


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