What is the best .357 mag factory ammo for deer, hogs, and carjackers(if need be)


March 11, 2011, 07:46 PM
I just recently got my first handgun a Ruger Vaquero Bisley in .357 mag with a 5.5 inch barrel. I saw it and had to have it, and I just turned 21. I know a .357 is not the best tool I own for taking deer. I have a few deer rifles and a mossberg shotgun that have proved themselves to me time and time again. So the question is what is the best factory ammo for taking deer with a .357 revolver limiting my shots to 25 yards in NC brush. Buffalo bore, Double tap, and Cor-bon seem to be hotter than regular factory ammo like federal,remington, and hornady, but are they safe to shoot in my new gun. I am also considering using it as a sidearm to my .270 winchester when hog hunting if the 180 grain buffalobore and 200 grain doubletap are safe to shoot in this gun. Its a long time til deer season but I want to start shooting it so I can be comfortable with it when season comes in. I was also thinking of using it as a anti carjacking gun ( I know its a SA revolver) but its the only handgun I have and can afford right now so what would be the best factory load for that I'm assuming any 125 jhp

I know its not the best tool for any of the jobs I listed, but which ammo would work the best for those tasks. I want to make quick humane kills so just tell me if it's not okay for hunting deer, sidearm for hogs , or anti carjacking gun thanks

If you enjoyed reading about "What is the best .357 mag factory ammo for deer, hogs, and carjackers(if need be)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
March 11, 2011, 08:49 PM
Deercrazy, that's a neat revo but a pretty crummy choice for most of the options you offered. While powerful, it's low rate of fire and manual of arms makes it less effective than other, more modern guns.
It's caliber makes it less than ideal for hunting, also limited by its fixed sights.
My counsel would be to use heavy bullets for hunting, judging by how well they shoot to the sights, and keeping the range relatively short. The short barrel reduces sight radius makes it harder to shoot accurately and lessens velocity. The .357 depends on velocity for much of its horsepower.
I'd use lighter magnums or +P .38s to reduce followup time if using the gun for defense against two legged vermin.
Not meaning to whizz on your Wheaties; I share your affection for single action revolvers and the quirky humpback Bisley, and I like the 5.5 for its handiness, balance and looks. Never shot one, but I do like their looks and feel in the hand.
You could have done worse. My first gun was a single action .22, which was even worse for almost any task save plinking. When time and circumstance permit, you can fine tune your battery to better meet certain needs.

Old Ranger
March 11, 2011, 10:41 PM
I have always loved single action. Used to shoot Cowboy Action with two Vaqueros in .44 mag. Even with the 4 5/8 barrel, one of those was able to stop deer in their tracks; almost anyway. The other Rugers: Hunter, Blackhawk, Redhawk, Super Blackhawk, Super Redhawk.

Most people hunt single action - - - I don't know anyone who does it double action. I can tell you that a .357 125 grain hollow point punches a golf ball sized hole through a deer's neck, (Starfire) and a well placed lung shot can bring 'em down. (Gold Dot)

Fixed sights; need to file down the front sight until it hits point of aim - - - adjusting windage is in the wrist; dont stiff arm it.

March 12, 2011, 10:48 AM
I think the single action is great for field use and have shot many things with the various single actions I own. I use a Hornady 180 XTP in mine and it hammer well. I have not noticed any situation where my single action performed less than a similar double action.

The most important thing for you is going to be matching your load to your sights. Since they are fixed, it is a bit more tricky to get the bullets to his POA.

Good luck and have fun. Post a pic of the deer when you get one!

Lucky Derby
March 12, 2011, 12:11 PM
Congrats on a fine revolver.
I think someone pissed in halfmoonclip's wheaties personally.

While there may be better choices for some, yours is not a bad choice.

Even those who hunt with DA revolvers, usually do so using them in SA mode.

With fixed sights you can file down the front sight to raise the POI for your desired load. You can sodder material on top of the front sight to lower the POI. (As a side note MOST fixed sight .38s and .357 are regulated from the factory for 158 grain loads) As to windage, well that is the old fashioned Kentucky style. :what:

For game the 180-200 grain loads with a hardcast LSWC would be best. Buffalo Bore being my preferance, but I know a lot of people like the Double Tap loads. Federal even makes a good 180 grain load.

As to carjackers and other street urchins, find one of the premium HP loads from any of the mainline manufactures that your gun likes. I personally like 158 grain bullets, but just about any .357 HP will do the trick. Heck, a good .38 +P should be fine as well and not have the recoil, blast and flash of the .357.

As to the stength question. Is your Vaquero the original Vaquero or the New
Vaquero? It will be marked New Vaquero if it is the later and Vaquero if the former.

The original Vaquero is stonger than the New Vaquero, which was made to emulate the size and feel of the classic Colt SAA. That being said, in .357 I don't think it really matters. You should be fine with any factory load, including BB and Double Tap. It is the larger calibers such as .45 Colt that it really becomes an issue.

March 12, 2011, 12:55 PM
As was pointed out, that's NOT an optimal self-defense firearm. At least with the Ruger, you can safely carry six rounds in the cylinder.

For hunting, you don't have the margin for error that a .41 Magnum or .44 Magnum would give you. You certainly CAN hunt deer with a .357 Magnum, but you need both to be accurate AND able to judge distances with reasonable precision. That will allow you to both hit what you aim at, AND to NOT take shots that you shouldn't.

As far as ammunition goes, you're operating at cross purposes when it comes to hunting and self-defense.

For hunting, you want maximum penetration, and a through and through is a GOOD thing. I'd want a 180gr. hard cast LSWC for deer or hogs.

For self-defense, you want something that's going to penetrate deeply enough to inflict incapacitating injuries, but NOT incur a through and through which could injure bystanders. I have the Federal .38 Special 158gr. LSWC-HP +P "FBI" load in all of my .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers. It's accurate, easy to control, and has an excellent track record. Similar loads are available from Buffalo Bore, Winchester and Remington.

Brian Williams
March 12, 2011, 01:29 PM
180 LRNFPGC over 15 gr of Lil'Gun.

March 12, 2011, 01:59 PM
I was thinking with carjackers, any ammo you can hit them with will do the trick and at point-blank range if you hit one with any .357mag I believe the threat will be eliminated.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
March 12, 2011, 02:07 PM
Anything sporting a Barnes Solid Copper X Bullet on top of the cartridge!:eek:

Preferably +P -- if the gun will take it and if you are only shooting when necessary!:uhoh:

March 12, 2011, 02:45 PM
Congrats on a fine revolver.
I think someone pissed in halfmoonclip's wheaties personally.

While there may be better choices for some, yours is not a bad choice.

Even those who hunt with DA revolvers, usually do so using them in SA mode.

^....yep, what Lucky Derby said.

180 LRNFPGC over 15 gr of Lil'Gun.

....I believe the OP asked for factory loads. I have killed several whitetails with my 686 .357. I found that Federal 158gr Fusion, and Remington or Winchester 158gr JSPs will do what you want if you hit them correctly. For deer, you want penetration and standard JHPs are not designed for this. For carjackers, it's hard to beat Remmie 125gr JHPs for performance, price and availability.

March 12, 2011, 05:02 PM
If it were me and that pistol. I would be loading up some .357's with 140gn XTP Bullets. The round would kill men and deer when ever I wanted.

I haven't a bloody clue why folks think a .357 is such a weak round for hunting. You know deer die all the time at the hands of a archer shooting a long bow or recurve. One does not need a over the top cam bow to get the job done.

Have fun with your new pistol. Learn how it works and how to use it. Im sure it's a fine weapon and capable of action yet discovered. :)

March 12, 2011, 05:11 PM
For a carjacker to really end the threat,A .500 S&W 700 grain flat point hard cast lead would do the trick.

March 12, 2011, 07:06 PM
I shoot single action most of the time even with double action revolvers. I just love small trigger pulls. Never hunted with a revolver, but i certainly would use single action if I were to!

March 12, 2011, 08:15 PM
Derby and Buck, would you boys kindly reread my whole post; I wasn't trying to be nasty, I tempered all my remarks, and I tried to offer some positive suggestions.
If I offended the OP, such was not my intent. I didn't see any sense in telling him that he had the perfect gun (and the perfect gun for everything has yet to be invented), just a neat gun with some challenges for certain tasks.
Moon Out

Lucky Derby
March 12, 2011, 09:56 PM
Moon, your post came across, to me anyway, as a bit harsh to the OP, and his choice of sidearm. You did make some valid points and offer sound advice. This being the OP's first post I was simply trying to be a bit more welcoming, while giving him valuable advice.

Deaf Smith
March 12, 2011, 10:01 PM

Just use a good hog load like a 158gr JHP hot loaded or Buffalo Bore 158gr Gold dots. It will take care of car jackers fine and they are good deer loads to.


March 12, 2011, 10:02 PM
I know its not the best tool....

The FBI might disagree with that statement. With a good 125 gr JHP, like a Speer law enforcement load, the FBI says the .357 Mag is one of the most effective rounds, if not THE most effective, for stopping a bad guy.

Problem is the FBI don’t hunt. For that, if your goal is Whitetail, I think you’re on the right track with a 180 gr JHP. Though, it you’re honest about keeping the range to 25 yds, or less, a 158 grainer would work just fine (and cost a lot less than those exotic hot rod 180 loadings). Plus, you’ll likely be more accurate with the lighter bullet (and practice more), and just about any store-bought 158 gr JHP precisely placed in the heart/lung area will drop a deer like a sack of hammers.

March 12, 2011, 11:52 PM

Tell me you can't be fast with a Single action....

Anyone think Munden doesn't have the perfect self-defense caliber, and gun, for HIM?

March 13, 2011, 09:49 AM
Munden shoots a single action like it was a Vulcan cannon; same for Miculek with an N-frame Smith.
For the rest of us mere mortals, we have to use what works for us. Some guns are just easier than others when it comes to ergonomics and operation.
But we like what we like, and there's nothing wrong with that.

The Bushmaster
March 13, 2011, 10:04 AM
The best factory .357 Magnum ammunition? Remington 140 grain to 158 grain semi jacketed hollow point (SJHP)

March 13, 2011, 10:22 AM
Deercrazy..Nice choice! I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

I believe you'll get the best accuracy from 158gr. ammo. That's my experience anyway. The DoubleTap 158gr. JHP works well on deer and, as has been mentioned, the 180gr. LFN-GC from Buffalo Bore is also a good choice.

For self defense the Buffalo Bore +P .38spl. 158gr. LSWHC-GC is a good round.

March 13, 2011, 11:18 AM
Why is it that Wheaties get whizzed on so much unintentionally?
Isn't there medication for that?
Deercrazy: you picked a great gun. Get good with it, so you can hit with the first shot every time, then go ride the high country.

March 13, 2011, 11:47 AM
Just my 2 cents here, the 357 mag is a great handgun, it serves as a nice sidekick to any long gun. i have used mine on hogs and deer also a few coyotes. range is limited but for all practical purposes the intent is CQ action. to give insight on ammo there are several loads, my first choice is the hornady CD 125gr, for your carjacking needs. for hunting the Ultramax load,158 semi-wad cutter SWC has proven well. keep in mind you need a range no further than 40yrds (in my opinion)to humanely harvest game.

March 13, 2011, 12:31 PM
For all around the 158 grain hollow point didn't just fall out of the trees ! The 158 grain has adequate sectional density for deer or other medium game. The Remington Scalloped Hollow point and the Speer Gold Dots readily expand out of 2.5" and longer barrels.
125 grain Remingtons (and others) have a good track record on humans and lighter animals.
180 grain thumpers work OK on Hogs and black bears.
158 grains are not ineffective on anything methinks.

March 15, 2011, 02:07 PM
Thanks for everybody's comments I knew a single action revolver isn't any slower for ME to shoot ACCURATELY, but wasn't sure if it was enough for deer and hogs. Seemed like half the people I talked to said it was enough gun and the other half said I should have gotten a .44 mag. but thanks to yall I now know It will be my goto gun for close range deer.

March 16, 2011, 02:30 AM
180 LRNFPGC over 15 gr of Lil'Gun.
That would be my first choice too but if you want to buy factory ammo there is a good one just like that. Grizzly Cartridges (http://www.grizzlycartridge.com/-strse-3/357-MAG/Detail.bok) makes great hunting ammo, most probably the best hunting ammo IMO. For the reloaders out there the bullets are available from their sister company, Cast Performance (http://www.castperformance.com/Categories.bok?category=Cast+Performance).

March 16, 2011, 03:20 AM
i would not hunt deer with this calliber, at the least i would use .44 magnum. but if you are shooting hog and car jackers the 158 grain jacketed hollow point will get the job done. the 158 grain load will put down a hog nicely and it will help in a car jacker situation if you need to do any shooting through the car glass/doors. if you are just looking for self defense get the 125 grain jhp.

March 16, 2011, 09:37 AM
deercrazy If you bow hunt keep your ranges with the 357 to what you would do with a bow. Maybe 40 yards and you deside after that depending on how well you shoot.

helterskelter A hog can be a bit tougher to kill than a thin skinned deer. Just stay with in your ability. Use heavier hunting loads not defence loads. A 44 would be nice but a 357 will work too.

March 16, 2011, 12:33 PM
I am a fan of Buffalo Bore, they have a great selection of HCGS Lead bullets and HP for .357. They make "indoor safe" HP loads with reduced flash for shooting in low-light or enclosed spaces. You might look into those for car jackers, they make them in .38 +P as well which might be an option as well.

March 16, 2011, 10:36 PM
I have sent about a half dozen deer to the freezer with a .357 Ruger Blackhawk. I tend to disagree with some of the ammo selections mentioned here. Deer being a pretty light, thin skinned critter, they are easy to shoot clean through...even with a bow...even lengthwise. If you use a 158-180 gr hardcast bullet, you will shoot a small .357 diameter hole clean through the deer, and the rotten log behind the deer, and 20" down into the forest floor. Oh yeah, you got great penetration all right. So what? I'll tell you what. You have a deer that has a pencil sized hole through it that will easily clot over.I think of it as bow hunting with field points. Even a double-lung shot deer can travel a long ways.
My $.02 says to to a good hollowpoint that shoots poa in your gun. I don't care if it is 110gr or 125gr or 158gr. Win Silvertips, XTP's. whatever shoots good. I'm looking for a .357 entry and the golfball exit. Something like that will put deer in the freezer, and be pretty rough on carjackers too I guess.
That Ruger is a fine gun, I hunt with a .45colt Blackhawk.

March 17, 2011, 12:02 AM
Whitetail are not bullet proof - they can be quite easy to kill if YOU do YOUR part.

Virtually ANY 357 factory ammo will do the job out to 50 yards, and beyond if you can honestly shoot well that far.

I recommend moderate loads; they will let you practice more, and you will be more confident. If you set up your blind or stand properly, there is no reason you should have to take a shot beyond 30 yards - and at those ranges there is no reason any proficient pistolero can't hit the 8" or so circle needed to end the game quickly.

Something in the 450 - 500 foot pound range will serve you well for both your tasks. Honestly, the 700 foot pound nuclear loads are more than you need for people or simple whitetail.

Old Ranger
March 17, 2011, 12:26 AM
Boy, do I agree with kbbailey! I read some of this heavy hard cast bullet stuff and shake my head. Deer aren't all that hard to kill with good shot placement. I've always used 125 grain hollow points (not soft points) and usually Gold Dots; Starfires once - - - factory loads. They whack 'em guys, stay in 'em (except for the neck shot) and never wind up in a log or the forest floor. Come to think of it though, I blew out the front of a doe's chest one time from a tree stand.:D

March 17, 2011, 09:12 AM
kbbailey is right. Hardcast bullets are ment for game that will do harm to you . They work well at breaking bone and they don't expand at all . Works real well on hogs with a revolver or bear. Stay with a soft lead gas check a sp or quality hp but I am one that likes heavy bullets. If you get a longer shot I don't want to rely on a 110 or 125gr with you can shot at 50 yards.

Old Ranger
March 17, 2011, 02:23 PM
I like those soft lead slugs too. My carry, when I carry, is a .38 snubbie loaded with Remington .38 lswchp + P (they mushroom out big time; don't over penetrate) and have been field proven to be one shot stopping. They work on deer as well.

I would never take an open sight shot over 50 yards. If it's going to be long range I'll opt for the Ruger Bisley Hunter in .44 mag with a scope - - - and 300 grain Hornady bullets. That combination works on about everything - - - even the big stuff with good shot placement. But since .454 is available now; well - - - I'll go that route for the really big stuff.

None of this applies to the original self defense thing with a long barreled .357 though. I never said; but I want something small, light and maneuverable in close quarters as a car gun - - - - - not a long barreled hog leg snagging on seats and banging into parts of the interior. A cheap, little .22 or .25 auto is enough to punch holes in an attacker's face at close range - - - totally ruin his day.:D

If you enjoyed reading about "What is the best .357 mag factory ammo for deer, hogs, and carjackers(if need be)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!