.357 handguns on big northern bucks?


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Chain Smoker
August 7, 2014, 04:48 PM
I'm in the market for a new hunting handgun for deer season this year here in New Hampshire, and I'm torn between a .44 Magnum and a .357 Magnum.

The .357 has countless important practical advantages to me, but I'm not certain how it would do on the relatively large whitetails we have up here. 300 pounders are not uncommon.

Does anyone have any experiences putting down monster bucks with .357 Magnum HANDGUNS (not carbines)?

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ky8
August 7, 2014, 05:54 PM
No experience with the “300 pounders” but have used the 357
to take upwards of ten 90 to 130 pounders field dressed in Texas.
Taken at least as many as backup shooter for people as a guide.
A pistol is just easier to carry into and out of a canyon.
I have also used the 44mag equally in the same manner and for the same reasons.

I don’t know your “practical advantages” but my recommendation would
be the 44mag in a 7.5” barrel. It is fairly easy to carry in a shoulder rig and
a much better deer gun.

Is of course just my opinion.

Patocazador
August 7, 2014, 06:05 PM
After using both on hogs and deer, my opinion is the same as ky8's opinion. .44 is the way to go. Be fair with the deer. They don't need to run off and wind up as buzzard food.

Sunray
August 7, 2014, 06:12 PM
The .357 is marginal out of the "carbines" for deer. If you haven't bought the thing yet are you going to be good enough with it to hunt? Think Ruger SupeRedhawk.

MCgunner
August 7, 2014, 09:28 PM
Marginal out of CARBINES? Let me dis that notion, I get nearly 1900 fps out of my 20" Rossi Carbine from a 165 grain Keith style gas checked SWC over 16.8 grains of Lil Gun. It will break 1900 fps with a maximum load. That's pretty much a light .30-30 load and is easily good to 100 yards on any deer anywhere in the US. No, it's not a 400 yard gun, of course. Neither is the .30-30.

I've taken a 200 lb hog at 60 yards with a 6.5" Blackhawk. I think I was stretching range limits, but it did the job quite well.

buck460XVR
August 7, 2014, 09:38 PM
Used properly, within it's parameters and limitations, a .357 is just as effective on 300 pound bucks as a .44 or even a .454. Projectile choice and limiting range are the two most important factors when using a .357 for deer size game. This is figuring one is proficient with the firearm and knows where to place the shot.

A .44 will legitimately give you another 30-40 yards over a .357. That extra yardage means nuttin' if you can't hit the target at that range.

Bezoar
August 7, 2014, 09:53 PM
neither is better or worse. .357 is merely alot easier to get proficient with. theres lots of stories that would say yes and no to it. but....

its not hard to find a tale online or in print of how their perfect deer got up and ran off never to be found after shooting it with a .357 magnum. But those come in every caliber you can imagine.
Ive read of deer hit by 357, 44 magnum, and even 45-70 and 30-06 get up after getting hit and running a 1/4 or more before dropping.

people buy the 30-06 for the extra power, then go get the reduced recoil ammunition that takes it back down to a 150 ayrd 30-30 or 30/40 krag status.

SleazyRider
August 7, 2014, 10:01 PM
I took my very first deer, a tad over 200 pounds, with a Colt Trooper MK III in .357 magnum (6-inch). It was from a tree stand, about a 15 yard shot, and it pretty much dropped in its tracks. I broke out my "Deer Hunting Handbook," propped it up on a rock, and using my Scrade LB-7, followed the step-by-step instructions on how to field dress a deer. It probably took close to an hour!

I mostly hunt with a rifle these days, but still carry my Trooper as a sidearm in an X-15 shoulder holster.

Bush Pilot
August 7, 2014, 11:17 PM
I took my very first deer, a tad over 200 pounds, with a Colt Trooper MK III in .357 magnum (6-inch). It was from a tree stand, about a 15 yard shot, and it pretty much dropped in its tracks. I broke out my "Deer Hunting Handbook," propped it up on a rock, and using my Scrade LB-7, followed the step-by-step instructions on how to field dress a deer. It probably took close to an hour!

I mostly hunt with a rifle these days, but still carry my Trooper as a sidearm in an X-15 shoulder holster.
I'm curious, why do you carry a handgun in addition to a much more powerful rifle? I handgun hunt exclusively (unless I'm in Canada) I've never understood the need to carry something that adds weight and gets in your way.

kbbailey
August 8, 2014, 12:01 AM
I have taken at least 8 deer with a .357.
In my experience, if you havent bought your gun yet, go bigger. .44mag or .45Colt.
I lost some respect for my .357mags by the poor performance they had on deer.

Chain Smoker
August 8, 2014, 05:34 PM
I lost some respect for my .357mags by the poor performance they had on deer.

Care to share any of your experiences in more detail?

Chain Smoker
August 8, 2014, 05:35 PM
I took my very first deer, a tad over 200 pounds, with a Colt Trooper MK III in .357 magnum (6-inch).

What sort of load did you use?

Patocazador
August 8, 2014, 06:54 PM
It sounds like you've already made up your mind and are looking for our blessing. You won't get it from me.

cat_IT_guy
August 8, 2014, 08:57 PM
If you will practice more and shoot better (might these be your practical reasons?) with the .357, get it. If you can honestly shoot a .44 just as well, get it. Many people, I suspect would make better shots with the .357 so that would be my vote. The way I figure, a good shot with a .357 beats a bad shot with a .44.

SleazyRider
August 8, 2014, 09:29 PM
What sort of load did you use?
Believe it or not, I still have the bright yellow plastic box, about half full, in my ammo cabinet even though that was roughly 40 years ago! It was CCI "Lawman" 140 grain jacketed hollow point.

SleazyRider
August 8, 2014, 09:36 PM
I'm curious, why do you carry a handgun in addition to a much more powerful rifle? I handgun hunt exclusively (unless I'm in Canada) I've never understood the need to carry something that adds weight and gets in your way.
I always thought it a more civilized way to dispatch a downed animal that was still alive, though I have to admit it probably doesn't justify totin' it around on a long hike. :)

SleazyRider
August 8, 2014, 09:40 PM
Just to be clear, I'm not endorsing the .357 for deer hunting; that is simply what I owned at the time. When I hunt handgun only, I use a Model 29 S&W with a 8-3/8 inch barrel, no scope.

MCgunner
August 8, 2014, 11:45 PM
My favorite hunting handgun is a .30-30 Contender with 2x optic. I HAVE, however, successfully used a .357 revolver on both deer and hogs.

kbbailey
August 9, 2014, 02:17 AM
Care to share any of your experiences in more detail?
I was always confident in the accuracy of my .357 handloads, and that's what I used for deer hunting. Illinois first handgun seasons were "doe only", so 100-150lb d. oes were the norm back then.
1 made a good shot but the deer ran out of the woods into an open meadow and laid down, and took forever the expire. I was afraid to approach with range for fear it would get away.
2. shot a doe almost point blank through the chest, had to track it down and shoot it again.
3,shot one as it stepped over the log I was sitting on. I managed to shoot her three or four times. Very little blood, almost gave up finding her.
4. Made a good shot on a big doe. She ran directly to the only house for a couple of miles and dutifully died in the yard.
5. and the best one....I shot a big doe about 75 yds away(yea, pretty far for open sights). She bucked and disappeared over a hill. After 20min or so I began to look for blood. None. There was snow on so I tracked footprints as far as I could. No blood. I gave it up as a miss. Later I was able to make a shot on a smaller doe. She cut a long arcing trail across the woods. While following her trail....I found the first doe that I shot earlier lying dead not too far from the second doe...also dead.
After writing these stories, I remember a few othwer .357 deer that were clean kills.
Along about this time, Illinois allowed handguns during regular gun season. Since I know first hand how hard those big bucks are to kill, I went ahead and bought a .45Colt and have been more satisfied.
I enjoy handgun hunting because of the challenge and the freedom.
On a side note, my deer hunting experiences with the .357 also led me to switch to a .45acp as a ccw instead of a .357. I went from a SP101 to a compact 1911.

Oh yea, I forgot to mention the ear-splitting blast from the .357. Two of my guns are ported, so.....wow. Earplugs.

gamestalker
August 9, 2014, 04:07 AM
Our mule deer out here are pretty darn big, and I've seen two large bucks taken with a .357 mag,. One was an unbelievable head shot at about 100 yds. or so with a 158 gr. Gold Dot, and a stout 296 charge. In and out, dropped him right there.

The other was either a Gold Dot or an XTP, one or the other, also 158 gr. and stout 296 / H110 charge.This was a lung shot, in and out, leaving a pretty large exit wound, dropped right there also . But my Son that shot that one, insists it was my 125 gr. XTP loads though, which are really cooking at the muzzle. could have been?

Both were shot with revolvers, one was a 4" Taurus 608. The other a S&W snubby, and only because that was the only firearm available at that particular moment.

GS

T.R.
August 9, 2014, 09:02 AM
It's a myth that big bucks are harder to kill than smaller bucks. Chest wall thickness is not much different. Any good soft tip bullet which crashes through the chest wall will tear through the chest organs causing much lethal damage. Doesn't really matter upon the size of the deer.

TR

buck460XVR
August 9, 2014, 09:41 AM
It's a myth that big bucks are harder to kill than smaller bucks. Chest wall thickness is not much different. Any good soft tip bullet which crashes through the chest wall will tear through the chest organs causing much lethal damage. Doesn't really matter upon the size of the deer.

TR


^^^This. Difference lies with a wounded deer. Older, more mature bucks will go farther and thru thicker crap when wounded, than younger deer. Doing this before bedding down increases the odds they will not be recovered and leads to the misconception they are harder to kill.

kbbailey
August 9, 2014, 01:54 PM
BS
Big bucks are tougher and have a will to fight and survive.
I have seen them that have been shot through and through and survived to breed another season. I know this for a fact. I have seen a broadhead imbedded in the spine of a healthy buck killed with a slug while chasing does. They get tough and determined the older they get. Especially during the rut.
I have been hunting deer for 40yrs, and I quit shooting young bucks a loooong time ago. I have seen far too many example of big bucks dying hard to believe anything different.
Big bucks are hard to kill. I've been saying that for 25yrs, and I have several on the walls, but there were several that didn't make it on the wall.

Rembrandt
August 9, 2014, 08:00 PM
Have taken several mid-west corn fed whitetails over the years in the 325-350 lb range.....and they are brutes. Heavier muscle mass and bone structure. Can't say how a .357 would do on them, but a .44 mag does work.

gamestalker
August 10, 2014, 03:07 AM
I too have seen some amazing examples of game, not just deer, that have survived for at least another hunting season.

My Son killed a buck that had a broad head embedded in it's skull. The broad head had penetrated behind the ear, it then stopped right behind the eye, blinding the deer in that eye. It was a mess on that side of his skull, and presumably caused the antler on that side to grow two main beams, and the rest of that side was the most bizarre looking antler growth I've seen.

Also one that had part of a carbon shaft broken off in one shoulder, the bone had grown around it. And the broad head was in the lung. He appeared to still have some degree of lung function in that particular lung too.

And the list goes on. I've found mushroomed projectiles in hips, shoulders, and skulls significantly damaged by pass through, and embedded projectiles that have healed over.

Also a bear with two major injuries that healed. He had a 12 gauge slug that had shattered his hips, and he also had a high powered rifle projectile that had passed through both shoulders, and stopped just under the hide.

If your uneasy about going with a .357, step up to a larger cartridge.

GS

RWBlue01
August 10, 2014, 04:10 AM
A ODNR guy I use to know told me, he used a 357mag for hunting. As he put it, it was kind of like bow hunting. He was only allowed himself to take perfect shots. This required dedicated personal control.

On the flip side, .....I would go heavier. I really liked the S&W 460 with 8 inch barrel. The recoil wasn't bad with full on 460 loads, but if you can't (don't want to) handle the 460, you could do 454 or 45LC hot or 45LC old. This is the gun I want, not the gun I have.

SleazyRider
August 10, 2014, 09:43 AM
... As he put it, it was kind of like bow hunting. He was only allowed himself to take perfect shots. This required dedicated personal control ...

This has always been my modus operandi, not only because of weapon caliber, but because of colorblindness. Thanks to my defective peepers I cannot track a deer using a blood trail, so I only take "guaranteed" shots. Doesn't make for a lot of great hunting stories, but what the hey.

22-rimfire
August 10, 2014, 10:37 AM
My recommendation for deer is 41 mag or larger and generally with a 6" barrel or longer. If you want more flexibility, move above 44 mag. But you still need to be able to hit what you are aiming at pretty consistantly. My rule... must be able to hit a 6" paper plate out to 50 yds and reasonably consistantly to whatever distance you believe you might take a shot with the handgun.

Schutzen
August 10, 2014, 10:48 AM
My experience is only with whitetails under 200 lbs. I have taken deer with both the .357 and the .44 using 6" barreled revolvers. The .357 will work just fine, but you have to limit your shots to closer ranges and make a very good kill shot. The .44 does not increase your range as much as it is much more forgiving on the accuracy of your shot. I know, everyone here is an excellent marksman and can hit a 4" bulls eye at 50 yards with every shot every day. Unfortunately when hunting shots are never under "near perfect" conditions. I would use the .44


PS Both of .357 kills were on deer that walked under my stand. Both shots were straight down between the shoulder blades from about 15'.

buck460XVR
August 10, 2014, 11:35 AM
BS
Big bucks are tougher and have a will to fight and survive.
I have seen them that have been shot through and through and survived to breed another season. I know this for a fact. I have seen a broadhead imbedded in the spine of a healthy buck killed with a slug while chasing does. They get tough and determined the older they get. Especially during the rut.
I have been hunting deer for 40yrs, and I quit shooting young bucks a loooong time ago. I have seen far too many example of big bucks dying hard to believe anything different.
Big bucks are hard to kill. I've been saying that for 25yrs, and I have several on the walls, but there were several that didn't make it on the wall.


A shot thru the boiler room of a big buck kills it just as fast as a shot thru the boiler room of a buck fawn. Folks like to claim it's the "toughness" of a big buck that made it irretrievable after being wounded. Fact is, the reason is because of poor shot placement and/or poor tracking/trailing skills. Yes bigger, more mature bucks have more muscle mass and strength, thus will go farther before bedding down and either dying or allowing a hunter to get close enough to get a finishing shot, but big bucks do not have special powers to be able to magically heal themselves when hit in the vitals. Any shot that was poor enough to allow a big buck to live thru and heal up, would also let a 1 1/2 year old spike live thru. If Big bucks are so tough and resilient, why are they normally the first to die along with fawns of the year when winters get hard? This is because they wear them selves out and deplenish their fat reserve chasing and defending their does during the rut. Thus, they are also more likely to succumb to non-mortal wounds than younger bucks. Folks like to explain the reason they wounded and lost a big buck is because he was so tough. Sounds better and makes them feel better about the fact they made a poor shot or couldn't find it after the poor shot.

Bigger guns, bigger holes, give more margin for error. They do not make up for poor shot placement. Any of us that started bow hunting before the invention of compound bows and used simple two bladed hand sharpened broadheads, knows they were just as deadly as the new modern compounds with their fancy mechanical open on impact broadheads. We were just limited to closer range and had to avoid the shoulder blade area. But when deer were hit in the heart/lungs, deer died just as quickly back then as they do today. Yes, even then, big bucks went a little farther before dying than small bucks, but they still died when hit in the right spot.

swiftak
August 10, 2014, 01:32 PM
300 pounds?

kbbailey
August 10, 2014, 02:24 PM
A shot thru the boiler room of a big buck kills it just as fast as a shot thru the boiler room of a buck fawn

.....well so be it then.
The one above my mantle survived 45 min being shot through the chest with a .54 roundball. When I decided he had expired, I got down to tag him and he slowly stood up, so I shot him between the shoulderblades. While I reloaded my muzzleloader he hobbled about 75yds away and stood there while I shot him again with the .54. He then swam a rain swollen river and stood on the other side while I shot him again through the chest. At that point he turned back into the river and swam downstream and slowly sank below the surface as I stood in utter disbelief holding an empty Hawken rifle.

I guess he didn't get the memo that he should die just like a newborn fawn.

I found him days later after the floodwaters receded. He was tangled in a logjamb 200yds
downstream from where I last saw his antlers go below the water.
My hunting buddies helped me drag him out of the river with one of my tractors. We performed an autopsy with some arrows poking them through the bullet holes. None of us could believe this buck was able to do what he did.
The will to survive and the ability to ignore a mortal wound makes big old bucks hard to kill.

Get a .44mag or a .45colt or a .460

MCgunner
August 10, 2014, 10:01 PM
.....well so be it then.
The one above my mantle survived 45 min being shot through the chest with a .54 roundball. When I decided he had expired, I got down to tag him and he slowly stood up, so I shot him between the shoulderblades. While I reloaded my muzzleloader he hobbled about 75yds away and stood there while I shot him again with the .54. He then swam a rain swollen river and stood on the other side while I shot him again through the chest. At that point he turned back into the river and swam downstream and slowly sank below the surface as I stood in utter disbelief holding an empty Hawken rifle.

Might consider Minie balls.

Gordon
August 10, 2014, 10:21 PM
I recently sold my Python Hunter .357 with it's factory mounted 2x Leupold and Haliburton case for $3000 . It was in great shape but I DID hunt with it on and off for a decade :)
It was big medicine on the 100-130 pound Coastal Blacktail out to 100 yards when rested on something so those 158-180 grain were delivered to a vital zone. The 180 Winchester load would bust both shoulders and exit, the 158 would bust both shoulders but on that shot usually not exit but seemed to kill faster, slightly.

buck460XVR
August 12, 2014, 03:57 PM
.....well so be it then.
The one above my mantle survived 45 min being shot through the chest with a .54 roundball. When I decided he had expired, I got down to tag him and he slowly stood up, so I shot him between the shoulderblades. While I reloaded my muzzleloader he hobbled about 75yds away and stood there while I shot him again with the .54. He then swam a rain swollen river and stood on the other side while I shot him again through the chest. At that point he turned back into the river and swam downstream and slowly sank below the surface as I stood in utter disbelief holding an empty Hawken rifle.

I guess he didn't get the memo that he should die just like a newborn fawn.

The will to survive and the ability to ignore a mortal wound makes big old bucks hard to kill.


ANY deer, shot thru the heart/lungs will expire in a matter of minutes, generally within single digit minutes. It's called biology. Loss of blood and oxygen to the brain kills within minutes, regardless of how big or "tough" animal is. Shooting a deer in the heart/lungs deprives that animal of blood and oxygen.....period. Your deer lived for 45 minutes because he was not hit in the lungs or heart...simple. He did not "will" the hole to seal in his heart or lungs, he just wasn't hit there. He did not "ignore" a mortal wound, there is no such thing. Wounds can be mortal and not kill immediately. This is why we let deer lay for an hour before trailing when bowhunting. This is why we refrain from following a deer with a questionable wound too soon after the hit. The size of the kill zone on a small buck is about the same size as it is on a large buck, this means there is more room to miss on a large deer and still get a hit. Just hitting a deer in the chest does not automatically mean a mortal wound.

Guess you were lucky he drown.......

Again, a larger caliber or more powerful caliber will give one more margin for error and may help with marginal hits as compared to using a .357. They also give deeper penetration which can be of assistance when game is large or thick skinned. This is why in my first post I stated that range and bullet construction were high priorities when using .357 for deer. But a deer hit in the heart/lungs with .357 will die just as fast as a deer hit there with a .460. I know this from experience. Odds are a deer hit poorly with .460 will suffer just as long as a deer hit poorly with a .357.

HankB
August 12, 2014, 04:56 PM
Deer are not armor plated - humans have been successfully hunting them for thousands of years with what amounts to a small sharpened stick (now called an arrow) so a modern magnum handgun is just fine.

A .357 mag with a proper bullet will be fine for deer, so long as you place your shot properly.

A .44 magnum will hit harder than a .357 and make up a little for substandard shot placement . . . but if you get sloppy with your shooting you'll still have a problem.

MCgunner
August 12, 2014, 06:03 PM
^^^that^^^

And, with a .357 handgun, I'd say don't exceed 50 yards.

kbbailey
August 12, 2014, 10:07 PM
OK, well thanks for the bio lesson.

The OP asked if anyone had experience with handguns and big bucks.
I do.
I changed from .357 to .45colt because.....
Big bucks are hard to kill.

kbbailey
August 13, 2014, 09:41 AM
In theory, a double lung shot will cause a deer (or anything else) to quickly bleed out and expire. the reality is that sometimes a broadside shot doesn't seem to expand even a good bullet like a Hornady XTP. Also, some of us like to cast our own bullets. I hunted with my own 158gr LNFP (Keith style) bullets. Great penetration,super accurate...no expansion. What you end up with is a wound channel and entry/exit wound about the diameter of a pencil. About like a bowhunter using a field point.

Any of us that started bow hunting before the invention of compound
bows
I strictly bowhunt with a recurve now.

Bigger guns, bigger holes, give more margin for error.
Yes. This is exactly my point thank you.

Deer are not armor plated - humans have been successfully hunting them for thousands of years with what amounts to a small sharpened stick
OK...
If the OP is going to buy a new hunting handgun, there are some guys who clearly think that a .357 is the optimum hunting gun. Not me, I would go bigger, based on experience.

I'm surprised they are even still making calibers larger than .357 since it is so deadly. I wonder why they don't hunt griz and cape buff with 'em too. I learned that a double lung shot will put anything down regardless of size inside 10min. Biologically speaking, of course.
Let's see...how far can a deer run in say 8 min at 10 mph(easily)......uh, lets see that's
1.33miles.

herkyguy
August 13, 2014, 09:55 AM
I'm actively working up a load for 158 gr lead bullets donated by a very generous gentleman. With Win 296, I'm at 1230 fps out of my 6" Ruger GP100 and feel more confident than ever that I can successfully take down a deer here in NC at ranges around 20 yards.

I've gone back and forth with it, since I shot a buck several years ago with it and never did find him. But I have a particular stand that is in thick woods at an intersection of trails that is frequented by deer on a daily basis. It doesn't offer any shots beyond 20 yards, so I think my .357 is going to be the go to gun.

kbbailey
August 13, 2014, 11:55 AM
I have nothing against anyone using a. 357 for deer. I have many times. Go for it.
If you are shopping for a hunting handgun, why not go bigger?

Bezoar
August 13, 2014, 12:27 PM
people have successfully taken animals of massive size from white tail to moose with handguns and rifles in calibers that vary from 22lr to 44 magnum.
it came down to range, and accuracy.

after all a snub nose 38 shootist that puts the slug through the deers head gets the deer down quicker then a 44 magnum slug through the gut.

buck460XVR
August 13, 2014, 12:47 PM
I learned that a double lung shot will put anything down regardless of size inside 10min. Biologically speaking, of course.
Let's see...how far can a deer run in say 8 min at 10 mph(easily)......uh, lets see that's
1.33miles.


Big difference in killing and incapacitating. Many folks like a shoulder shot on a deer because it incapacitates it till it bleeds out and dies. Most deer when double lunged are incapacitated several minutes before they die, regardless of what they are shot with if not incapacitated in any other way. Again simple biology. This is why they run maybe 60 yards and then lay there several minutes and bleed before they die. Larger bucks may run 80 yards while little ones will only run 40. Both tho, die within the same approximate time frame. While the tougher buck may run farther, it doesn't live any longer, nor does it "will" the mortal wound to heal and it lives to see another season. Nor does a buck shot thru the heart/lungs four times live for 45 minutes before swimming away. After every deer season there are multiple posts on hunting forums from guys that claimed they "double lunged" a big buck and after trailing it for 2 miles they lost it. Never could figure out how they knew they "double lunged" it when they never recovered the deer, much less the inability of a deer with lungs turned to mush to live for more than a few minutes.

The reason many of us hunt with handguns is for the challenge. Same reason some bowhunt and why some use a longbow or recurve altho compounds with 80% let-off and much longer range capabilities are readily available. Hunting with a .357 handgun for deer is definitely more of a challenge than using a .44 or .460. I have used all three to kill deer. The difference between them is basically distance and shot placement. The bigger the caliber, the more range I have. The bigger the caliber, the less concern I have over hitting the shoulder bone and reducing penetration. Back in the days of recurves, one avoided the shoulder blade like the plague. Nowadays, modern compounds blast thru them like nuttin'. Regardless of what you use, you need to be aware of your and your weapons limitations, and hunt appropriately. This is true regardless of the platform. This is why caliber wars are so silly. In most cases, it isn't the weapon that fails, it is the hunter that fails to use it appropriately. There are many platforms out there that are better than the .357 handgun for hunting deer. That does not mean the .357 is not an appropriate or effective weapon for deer when used within it's limitations. Same can be said for larger caliber handguns. If one is more proficient with .357 than a .44, there is justification to use the .357 over the .44. If there are reasons that a .357 will work better for the OP than a .44, there is no legitimate reason he cannot use it for deer and be successful.

kbbailey
August 13, 2014, 10:54 PM
Well, Im done with this verbal pushing and shoving.

I haven't heard from the OP anyway. I think it's just you and me buck460. I just wish I had switched to a .45Colt before I did. I really like it as a deer handgun. Maybe I wouldn't have bought so many .357s.

I will say my deer story in post #33 is absolutely true except that the buck(that I had been hunting for two years) was actually shot twice with my .54 and then laid for 45min while my buddy drove my 4x4 to the woods to help me load the big buck. I stayed in the stand 'til he got there. He witnessed the rest of the story.

MCgunner
August 14, 2014, 11:06 AM
All this talk about bigger holes. My favorite hunting handgun shoots a .308" diameter 150 grain bullet at 2150 fps. It is a bang/flopper right out to 90 yards (my longest shot). It is sighted for 200 yards, shoots 3" high at 100 yards, and shoots 3" groups at two hundred. It has taken five deer so far, but they were Texas deer. I reckon it'd probably bounce off those northern deer, especially if a 54 caliber RB bounces off....:rolleyes: Might need to carry a .460 Weatherby up there, I guess.

buck460XVR
August 14, 2014, 11:38 AM
Well, Im done with this verbal pushing and shoving.



Wasn't trying to push or shove. Only stating a opinion based on personnel experience.

Generally when someone comes here and asks about a first handgun, most folks tend to shy them away from .44 mags, and for good reason. Hunting with a handgun, any true handgun is a challenge and takes practice. If that practice is not enjoyable, folks tend to not do it. Thus in my opinion a newbie that is proficient with a smaller bore handgun makes more sense than a newbie with a big bore handgun they are not so proficient with. As long as they understand their and their firearm's limitations.

Your story of the deer shot 4 times with a .54 is proof that bigger does not always guarantee a quicker kill. Your claim of hunting with a recurve bow means you, like folks that hunt deer with a .357, are accused of using a "marginal" weapon and are told there are better options. I hunted deer with my .357 for many years and never lost one. But it was never my primary weapon...it was always a back-up and used only when the shot was appropriate. I went bigger because I wanted to leave the long-gun at home. The bigger bores only gave me more distance over the .357. Used within it's parameters, it still did the job just as well as the .44s and the .460. This is all the point I was trying to make.

Dinosaur1
August 15, 2014, 01:30 AM
I shot alot of deer with the .357 and unless you're very proficient with it, I would say no. A .44 mag is a better choice but it comes with more recoil. You should always get some kind of hearing protection when hunting with a handgun.

Jason_W
August 15, 2014, 02:00 PM
If I were to hunt deer with a .357 mag revolver, I'd limit shots to bow range and make sure I was proficient enough to put a minimum of two well placed bullets into a deer.

I could never hit the broad side of a barn with any sort of handgun, so I quickly abandoned all fantasies of hunting with one. For me, it's hard enough with a scoped rifle.

Bezoar
August 15, 2014, 07:27 PM
well heres a subtle question for everyone. velocity issues.
the standard factory "hunting" load is a 158 grain jsp at 1150-1200 fps in a 4 inch barrel. the only real hunting ammo i can find in 44 mag is the barnes vortex 225 copper hollow point.

when im using my 357 revolver i pull the trigger, "booom' and when the smoke clears i see the hole in my target.
when using a lever gun in 44 mag and that barnes xpb bullet in factory ammo, its pull trigger "booooom"..pause...."thwack' of bullet hitting target.

i know the barnes isnt a very fast load in a handgun. i believe a rough 800 fps . but is that really fast enough for deer?

MCgunner
August 15, 2014, 08:12 PM
well heres a subtle question for everyone. velocity issues.
the standard factory "hunting" load is a 158 grain jsp at 1150-1200 fps in a 4 inch barrel. the only real hunting ammo i can find in 44 mag is the barnes vortex 225 copper hollow point.

when im using my 357 revolver i pull the trigger, "booom' and when the smoke clears i see the hole in my target.
when using a lever gun in 44 mag and that barnes xpb bullet in factory ammo, its pull trigger "booooom"..pause...."thwack' of bullet hitting target.

i know the barnes isnt a very fast load in a handgun. i believe a rough 800 fps . but is that really fast enough for deer?

Wow, if factory loads are THAT pathetic, I'm glad I've not fired one in 35 years. For hunting, I handload the .357 with a 180 grain XTP to 1400 fps/785 ft lbs from a 6.5" Blackhawk.

SimplyChad
August 20, 2014, 01:30 AM
I use a 454 from a 5 in barrel SRH when I have pistol hunted. I will tell you this chest to butt through a decent sized muley with every factory load ive ever used.

d2wing
August 21, 2014, 12:15 AM
I have shot deer with a .357 with hollow point jacketed hollow points. I have shot 250 lb bucks but not with the .357. You have to be close and accurate. I do not know if it makes much difference how big the deer is but I do know that big and older bucks have much harder thicker ribs than fawns. I also know that faster bullets destroy more tissue. Heavier bullets penetrate more so bigger and faster is better. I would prefer a .44 mag, and would not use a .45 Colt. Not legal here. Yeah a .357 will kill them but you have to be a very good hunter.

Bezoar
August 21, 2014, 08:35 PM
go to the bear tooth bullets website. they have very interesting information.

The oriignal elmer kieth 38-44 handloads were used for hunting everything. and they are used by some still. however, they arent much compared to what .357 magnum does.

what you use is up to you. accuracy and a fast followup shot is critical no matter what your shooting or hunting. If you need 3 minutes to reorrientate yourself and get your super magnum ready for a follow up shot, its useless when compared with that trusty .357 that you can punch out a full cylinder of say 180 grain swcs at 1200fps and keep on target in an entire minute.

yes the typical 357 magnum load is less then the typical 44 magnum loading is, but fast followup shot while its getting up off the ground is king over "my .500 has 1200 foot pounds at the muzzle" when you are to dizzy to get a second shot off.

mnhntr
August 23, 2014, 03:50 PM
You can kill a deer with a stick and string with another flint tipped stick fired from it. So yes it can be done with a .357magnum. I have shot several with my Blackhawk and either a 180gr JSP, 158gr LSWC, or 140gr JHC. The key is shot placement and nothing else. A .22lr has taken many deer with one well placed shot. And no bigger bucks are not harder to kill just harder to hunt.

MCgunner
August 23, 2014, 10:53 PM
what you use is up to you. accuracy and a fast followup shot is critical no matter what your shooting or hunting. If you need 3 minutes to reorrientate yourself and get your super magnum ready for a follow up shot, its useless when compared with that trusty .357 that you can punch out a full cylinder of say 180 grain swcs at 1200fps and keep on target in an entire minute.

Wow, if firepower is so important, then just how DID they do it with nothing, but a Hawken rifle?

I like the single shot pistols, myself.

jmr40
August 24, 2014, 11:25 AM
On deer, any deer, a properly loaded 357 isn't giving up much to a 44, or even a rifle at typical handgun ranges. The bigger calibers help some if you are hunting game larger than deer, or if you are good enough to shoot at extended ranges.

I've drifted more towards the 44's. Not that I doubt the 357's capabilities, I just don't see much downside to using the bigger caliber.

MCgunner
August 24, 2014, 10:39 PM
I've drifted more towards the 44's. Not that I doubt the 357's capabilities, I just don't see much downside to using the bigger caliber.

Me neither, except in the case of a .308" boat tailed nosler BT moving out at 2150 fps from a 12" ported barrel. THEN, I'll go to the smaller bore diameter every time. :D Effective range is well beyond the .44 and it kills like a rifle...go figure. :D

kbbailey
August 24, 2014, 10:51 PM
If the OP ever reads this I hope he's wearing his waders.

MCgunner
August 25, 2014, 05:56 PM
If the OP ever reads this I hope he's wearing his waders.

Why? You don't think a .30-30 hand gun will kill a deer?

kbbailey
August 25, 2014, 09:51 PM
Why? You don't think a .30-30 hand gun will kill a deer?

'course it will.... you can drop a big 'un right in his track with a q-tip, or a sharp stick if you are a really good shot....

I wasn't talking about you, MC

MCgunner
August 26, 2014, 12:42 PM
I wasn't talking about you, MC

Oh. Well, anyway, that TC in .30-30 is way more'n a Q Tip. It delivers as much energy at 150 yards as a .44 magnum has at the muzzle. It shoots 3" high at 100 yards and dead on at 200 and groups 1.5 MOA. Of course, in the woods around here, a .44 would work fine. :D I need optics, though. My eyes ain't what they used to be. It ain't that I can't hit at 50 yards with irons, but you throw in shadows and the low light of early morning or late evening, and I might as well go back to the house with iron sights.

I don't have a revolver with a scope on it, so my default hunting handgun is my TC, not my .45 Colt Blackhawk. I haven't used a revolver for hunting in nearly 20 years. :D

kbbailey
August 26, 2014, 08:04 PM
I haven't used a revolver for hunting in nearly 20 years.

If I had a sweet set-up like that, I wouldn't either.
(but it's illegal here)

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