.357 Mag Hunting Rounds


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Hunter125
October 16, 2013, 02:30 PM
I am planning on carrying my GP 100 during firearms deer season this year and realized I've never really looked into hunting rounds for .357. Are there rounds that are specifically good for hunting, or is good defensive ammunition just as good for hunting?

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jakk280rem
October 16, 2013, 02:48 PM
Yes to both. There are loads developed specifically for hunting, but premium controlled expansion self defense ammo will work fine. One thing you will notice is the speciality hunting ammo is generally loaded with heavy bullets and the recoil in a handgun will be fierce. When I carry a 357 in the woods, I use a stout 158gr JSP.

buck460XVR
October 16, 2013, 04:26 PM
Most Hollow-point SD bullets are made to expand quickly and dump their energy without exiting the body. For deer, when using .357, you need a round that will penetrate deep and hopefully give you an exit wound, making the animal bleed out faster and make blood-trailing, if needed, easier. I like to use 158gr JSPs, XTP-FPs(not HPs) or hardcast outta my .357 revolvers for deer. Hollowpoints are saved for range use or the nightstand gun.

critter
October 16, 2013, 05:32 PM
Used to carry handloaded JHP's weighing 180 gr in my Ruger blackhawk for such critters. It shot them VERY well and penetrated well a-plenty.

ColtPythonElite
October 16, 2013, 05:36 PM
My experience shows that a fast 125 gr jhp thru a deers ribs is very effective.

22-rimfire
October 16, 2013, 05:58 PM
Fairly hot loaded JSP (158gr) are what I would choose except for dangerous game which where I would want solids or better yet a larger caliber. Solids will work also for deer hunting. I would not use bullets designed for self defense such as the 125 gr HP's. My suggestion is that you keep your shots under 50 yds.

MedWheeler
October 16, 2013, 11:12 PM
I don't hunt (yet), but have been interested in my area's recent decree that hog taking may be permitted within the city limits, and we do have lots of hogs.

I have two four-inch .357 Magnum revolvers, and most of a box of 180-grain Winchester Silvertips (came with one of the revolvers, which I inherited from my dad.) How well do you all think they'd work?

Deaf Smith
October 16, 2013, 11:27 PM
Yes a good 158gr load or heavier is the ticket.

Now when I hunt deer this year I'll use my 629-1 as my deer gun.

But while checking my deer cameras and getting everything set up I have my 3 inch GP-100 .357 with me (deer season is not here yet so I pack my 'Canadian' as both CCW and field gun.) Once the season starts though, the .44 has the field.

A stout loaded .357 will take most anything you might run into while deer hunting with a rifle. Hogs, coyotes, and the like.

Deaf

TexasPatriot.308
October 17, 2013, 12:01 AM
I love revolvers especially Ruger Blackhawks, this year I chose to have a .357 drilled and tapped for a scope for hunting, I normally hunt with irons on my .44mags and .45 colts. I will be using 180 grain flat nose/gas checks for hogs and maybe deer. the ammo will be Buffalo Bore I trust. I consider the .357 the low end of calibers for hunting this type game. just something I wanna try.

Lawdawg45
October 17, 2013, 04:14 AM
Hunter, Buffalo Bore makes a round called the Deer Grenade, which is a lead SWC hollow point. I use them in my .45 Colt and they move around 1500 fps (which is pretty good for the old cowboy round). Stay away from the Hornaday line, pretty much everything they sell is light and under powered. :(

LD

Salmoneye
October 17, 2013, 06:30 AM
Most Hollow-point SD bullets are made to expand quickly and dump their energy without exiting the body. For deer, when using .357, you need a round that will penetrate deep and hopefully give you an exit wound, making the animal bleed out faster and make blood-trailing, if needed, easier. I like to use 158gr JSPs, XTP-FPs(not HPs) or hardcast outta my .357 revolvers for deer. Hollowpoints are saved for range use or the nightstand gun.

Can not agree more with this...

The last thing you want is SD ammo in the deer woods...

hardluk1
October 17, 2013, 08:58 AM
use a 125gr hp for personal defense and a heavy sp or hp for deer. Hogs deserve 180gr hardcast shot thru the shoulders or head, Loads from fed, win speer , corbon, BB and dt are or were out there.

Tony_the_tiger
October 17, 2013, 12:04 PM
This would be my choice:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=729447

Hunter125
October 17, 2013, 02:03 PM
So penetration is preferable to expansion? How different is a deer's body cavity than a person's to warrant a significant diffence in bullet types?

rcmodel
October 17, 2013, 02:08 PM
The difference in body cavity isn't the thing.

For SD bullets, you want maximum expansion and enough penetration to reach the internal organs without excessive over-penetration.

When you shoot a deer, you want an entry and exit wound for rapid bleed-out.
And a blood trail to follow.

Unless you make a brain or spine shot on a deer, it is going to run a ways before it knows it is dead.

So you want a good blood trail to find it.

rc

critter
October 17, 2013, 02:18 PM
rcmodel hit it squarely on the had. Heed his advise.

hardluk1
October 17, 2013, 03:26 PM
No hardcast on deer. It bores a hole but does not cause major tissue damage. 170gr or 180gr sp or hp will pass thru most times and expand to near twice the same causeing more blood and fast deer on ground. Save the hard cast for hogs or bear were a head shoot or thru both shoulders is your must hit areas .

Steve C
October 17, 2013, 05:35 PM
Personally I'd use a good JHP in 158gr. A Hornady XTP load should give both expansion and good penetration as they are a bullet that yields 1.5X expansion and hold together better than a older style semi jacket that you commonly find.

TexasPatriot.308
October 17, 2013, 11:16 PM
if I had to choose between hard cast and hollow points for deer/hogs I would have to stagger my cylinder loads....aint got that kind of luxury....I use what works and that Is a cast bullet that works with lots of kinetic energy and added expansion....to each his own. even a cast bullet will expand some for a kill....like I said to each his own, I know what works for me.

buck460XVR
October 18, 2013, 12:02 PM
So penetration is preferable to expansion? How different is a deer's body cavity than a person's to warrant a significant diffence in bullet types?


Besides the reasons RC has given, one needs to look at a deer's anatomy. One major difference between shooting a BG and a deer is with the BG coming at you, his chest is exposed to you and you have a little over an inch between his skin and his heart. His skin is also quite thin. A deer standing broadside may have it heart and lungs covered by shoulder muscle and shoulder bone and has a tougher hide. With a rifle or higher caliber handgun this may not be the issue that is is with a .357 handgun. A SD bullet that would be a one shot man stopper, may blow up before even reaching the vitals of a deer, since most .38 caliber SD bullets are meant to expand much more rapidly than those designed for big game. Add to that a deers exceptional survival instincts and it's ability to ignore pain as it seeks to get away and find cover. Use the right bullet for the job....you owe it to your quarry.

zxcvbob
October 18, 2013, 12:25 PM
I would use (even tho' I am not a hunter) a 158 grain JSP, or a 158-or-heavier cast bullet.

If you're a handloader, take a good look at Lee's "358-158-RF" bullet. It has a wider flat nose than most SWC's, and a sharper edge than most RNFP's --It's almost like a wadcutter with enough taper so you can load it long. It will punch a big hole even w/o expansion.

It would be interesting to see gel tests on .357 Mag 125 grain FMJ when fired from a rifle, but that's not what you asked about :)

Lone Star
October 18, 2013, 04:23 PM
A Federal PR man told me that their 158 grain Hydra-Shok is an excellent deer load at reasonable range.

I don't doubt it, but would try to stick to deer under 150 pounds and within about 50-75 yds.

I really think the .44 Magnum is better for most deer.

TexasPatriot.308
October 18, 2013, 10:56 PM
PR men will tell you anything to sell their product.

Lone Star
October 18, 2013, 11:30 PM
Yes, but if you deal with them enough as a member of the outdoor press, which I was, you get a feel for which ones are dispensing honest knowledge and which are just BS-ing the company line. I think the guy was on the level and had seen the results that he said he had. Otherwise, I wouldn't post about it here.

Salmoneye
October 19, 2013, 08:00 AM
If it was Federal rep recommending .357 hunting ammo, it was probably 'Vital-Shock', not 'Hydra-Shok'...

all357mag
October 19, 2013, 08:45 AM
Remington still makes 180gr Semi-Jacketed HP, if you don't reload.

murf
October 19, 2013, 11:00 AM
I vote for either a 180gn xtp, or a 160gn keith type lead bullet.

murf

Lone Star
October 19, 2013, 12:26 PM
Salmoneye-

It was def. Hydra-Shok. I don't think Vital Shok was even on the market then

He also had a tech there chronograph some of the 129 grain .38 Hydra-Shok for me, to use the data in an article. I was comparing snubs and three-inch barrels. I asked about the 158 grain .357 Hydra-Shok, also, as it was what I was carrying in my duty weapon then. We were discussing how it'd fare on humans, and he exclaimed that it was sure effective on deer. He had seen it so used, I believe, and gotten additional feedback from customers.

Personally, I don't think I'd take a raking shot on deer with a .357 unless the animal was pretty small, but for side-on shots, into the lungs or heart, I feel that it's an adequate load in the right hands, at reasonable ranges. And I think Hydra-Shok would be very effective. I have seen Vital Shok only in rifle calibers, but if they make it in .357, it's probably good, too.

Remngton has also made a 165 grain .357 round meant specifically for hunting. I don't know if they still make it, and currently shy away from that brand in both ammo and guns, due to quality issues. I have a box of it that I keep in case I ever find myself in bear country. It is not just a slightly heavier version of their 158 grainer. It is constructed differently.

hardluk1
October 23, 2013, 08:03 PM
The difference between deer and people to me is I don't care if a bullet mucks up the insides of a deer AND continues on thru the other side with enough energy to kill again. You do that with heavy pure lead jacketed soft points or heavy quality hp's. Not light weight bullets that may stay inside. Leave a blood trail if you have to track them.

Hokkmike
October 24, 2013, 06:29 PM
Not to be a wet blanket but I have hunted with a .357 and would not recommend it. Handgun wise a .44 mag would be my minimum. Sorry - that's just my experience and, I think, good advice.

J-Bar
October 24, 2013, 10:59 PM
Yes hemorrhage and blood loss will kill.

Yes breaking the spine will kill.

But there is one more reason to favor penetration over expansion...creation of a pneumothorax. Making a big enough hole in the chest wall allows air to enter the chest cavity and collapse the lungs. No deer is going to get very far if it can't breathe. How far can you run without taking a breath? Enough damage to one lung without an exit wound can create a "tension pneumothorax" which will kill the animal, although perhaps not as quickly as a through and through wound. Think "sucking chest wound" on soldiers...

I think this is one of the reasons why large caliber muzzleloaders shooting round balls, which make big exit wounds, are so effective on chest shots. Even if they miss the heart and aorta, they tear a big hole, collapse the lungs, and the deer suffocates before it bleeds to death.

So I would recommend a bullet that makes it all the way through the animal and makes a big exit wound. I have not used a .357 on deer, so unfortunately I cannot make a specific recommendation.

Twenty-four years of treating traumatic wounds to animals as a veterinarian in private practice leads me to this opinion.

hardluk1
October 25, 2013, 01:39 PM
Granted a 45lc, 44 or 41 mag is far better than a 357 just use the heavest sp or hp bullet you can get running at a faster than average pass and know when to let a deer walk on by.

USSR
October 25, 2013, 02:34 PM
I have shot 2 deer with the .357 Magnum, and here is my take on it. First, the .357 Magnum is a marginal deer cartridge. Do not use lightweight, hollowpoint self defense ammo because, as previously mentioned, complete penetration with an exit wound is important. If you must use the .357 Magnum, use at least a 158gr softpoint or hard cast bullet. A 180gr softpoint is fine also, but realize that it will likely have a very high POI in relation to your POA. I have since moved on to the .45 Colt for deer, which is superior in every way when it comes to dispatching deer. Just MHO.

Don

TexasPatriot.308
October 26, 2013, 02:11 AM
the .45 Colt with Buffalo Bore heavy loads is my favorite, but the .357 mag with 180 grain Buffalo Bore does a helluva job with less recoil.

Deaf Smith
October 26, 2013, 10:58 PM
I have come to the conclusion the .357 Magnum, unless fired from a long barrel and using max charges, is a good field gun and useful in a pinch to take deer but that is it.

Now if you have a 6 inch bbl. .357 loaded way up it might be ok for deer that are close, as in 50 yards, but I do prefer my .44 magnum, which I will be hunting deer with this Nov. 2nd here in Texas, for such work.

A 158gr JHP at 1350 through the ribs will do the job, but it might not do the job so ell if the placement is off or the bullet has to go through the shoulder bone. The .44 or such have a bit more leeway in placement of the round.

Deaf

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