.357 Mag: bullet size and load for deer?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Thomasss, Oct 30, 2021.

  1. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    I just bought nice 6 inch S&W 586 in .357 Mag. In Wisconsin, that is the minimum for pistol deer hunting. I'm just thinking out loud at the moment, but what would be an ideal deer load for 50 to 75 yards?
    I do cast and have some 158 grn. Rem. JHP on hand. (And Lee Precision is just 15 miles from home).
     
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  2. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Can't help you with the Smith since I don't know if the chambers are long enough for the 180gr XTP, but my Ruger GP100 likes them. You might have to stick with the 158gr in your Smith. The only load that I have chrono'd was 12gr of AA#9 at 1100fps. This is near max. I have also loaded the 180gr with 2400 and H110 but have not run them through the chrono. This load has taken 7 whitetails out to 43 yards without a hitch. It will also stay on a paper plate at 100 yards. Might beat that with a scope.
     
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  3. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    158gr is enough bullet, keep velocities up.
    180gr is awesome, if the 586 will chamber. IDK
     
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  4. EricBu

    EricBu Member

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    6 inch barrel, you're going to lose a LOT of velocity. I think I'd be inclined to stick with a 158 JSP or JHP. Something around 16.5 grains of H110 will put you in the neighborhood of 1150 to 1250 out of that gun depending on weather and conditions. You can push it harder, but that's where I sit. Don't know how much you'd lose over 50 yards, but probably be under 1000fps terminal at 50 yards I'd guess. You scoping it? I'd zero it about 1 inch high at 50, and consider 75 a max distance with a 6 inch barrel, and then only if you get a unicorn shot (standing broadside, unmoving, and no wind). I don't want to rain on your parade, but I consider that a pretty marginal set up for deer unless you are an above average shot, I would personally try and keep it in "pointy stick" range.
     
  5. ballman6711

    ballman6711 Member

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    I like a 158gr JSP as well, and it's accurate in my revolver out to 25 yards or so. I personally wouldn't try to take a deer with that revolver at much over 25 yards. I would stretch it out to 50 yards or a bit over if using my rifle, with that same bullet.

    chris
     
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  6. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I thought a 6" barrel was pretty much standard for 357 if it's not a carry gun.
    I agree with your 158 powder charge. I use that with cast or jacketed.
    My current load is a 180 WFN with H110. It's accurate and hits steel much harder than a 158. It has killed large hogs and will be my deer load this year.
     
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  7. Orendus

    Orendus Member

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    Captcurt how much H110 are you using under the 180 Gr bullets (are those the XPT or cast)

    Not much experience with deer but I am in the he process of working something up for hogs. After a lot of research I decided on 180 Gr WFNGC hardcast. Buffalo bore, underwood and some other ammo makers use similar bullets. Deer are a bit softer targets that wild pigs but from what I've read seems like the cast bullets do a good job.

    I'm still testing but out of my 5" gp100 with PMC brass, CCI 550 mag primers and H110 (13 working up to 14 Gr) I'm averaging 1125 to 1175 FPS. My intended distances are much shorter that yours I don't have near the accuracy for a 75 yard shot with my iron sights
     
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  8. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    I am shooting the 180gr XTP over 13.5gr of H110. Haven't chronographed it yet. These 70 year old eyes don't do open sights well. I shoot a Propoint on 2 of my handguns but have a scope left over from a Contender sale. I may have to try it on the GP. 50 yards is my self-imposed limit, though I punch paper out to 100.
     
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  9. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I got great accuracy from xtp and WFN starting at 13 grains to my stopping point. The xtp I didn't push as hard. The WFN does far more damage than paper says it will.
     
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  10. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I use the Cast Performance 200gr WFN-GC over 13.5gr of 2400 for my 6-1/2” Ruger Blackhawk for stalking deer and for hunting from a blind. Maximum range is 50yds and often I’m shooting at under 50ft. Same load in a 10” Contender does the same damage at the same range. I really don’t think the 6” barrels are any less accurate and I have seen the velocity loss isn’t that much with powders like 2400 and W296/H110. I prefer a longer barrel for the improved sight radius though.
     
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  11. 41 Mag

    41 Mag Member

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    Well I can honestly tell you that 70yds is a stretch with a 6" 357. I say that because my first deer with a revolver was a doe standing broadside and I slipped the Speer 146gr SWC right in the boiler works at 72 steps. This came after a year plus of shooting it and a 41 and 44 mag out to 50 and 100yds from various sitting positions.

    Personally if your set on those ranges,, I would go with the heaviest WFN that you can fit in your cylinder, loaded to top end type loads. This will give the penetration needed at range, that 146 I used punched through to just under the hide on the off side rib cage and I had it stoked up.

    The 158 would probably be plenty keeping the distance within 25-30yds but I'd still make sure you have it stoked and are sure of your shot placement.

    I've hunted up in the Monroe area and some of those corn fed deer are pretty danged thick, especially compared to the ones I started out with in the TX hill country.

    Good luck, hope you get a good one.
     
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  12. BWS

    BWS Member

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    Get a 44......

    OK,that was a lame joke. This may seem like a joke,or some trivial matter but it isn't. With cast,and a 357.... try to keep all of the bullet "edges" sharp. Especially the meplat. It sorta rules out store bought? You should weigh the "158's" full in,meaning GC installed ready to go. Good chance it'll be 160+. Get the velocity up near max with load development. You're looking for the most accuracy possible. Double lung shots,obviously location is a metric.... but think more 3D. The shot "angle" is AS important with handguns as it is hitting the "X".

    The sharper/crisper the better,on the bullet's profile. Good luck with your hunting. I've killed a bunch of game,and handguns are at the top WRT enjoying the whole process. From loading/casting all the way to the gutting.Heck,bowhunting is way easier.... we can tear Coke cans up with bows at 50+ yds. I struggle these days @25 with a revolver,just sayin.
     
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  13. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I suggest you do a lot of practice before you try using a 6" .357 Magnum handgun on deer. Try to simulate field conditions so you learn how you and your gun/ammo perform before you hunt with it. I would much rather a .357 Magnum levergun over a handgun but that's just me.
    If you never hunted with a revolver before, really test yourself first so that you learn YOUR limits for an ethical hunt.

    I have some data from a levergun shooting 170gr and 180gr bullets. You might find it useful or maybe not. I will post it here and let you decide.
    It seems Lil'Gun adds ~100 fps to each load. Here are the numbers: (you will be surprised!)

    Using a 180gr Hornady XTP bullet:
    15.0gr Lil'Gun - CCI-550 primer - AV=1584 fps
    13.6gr W296 - CCI-550 primer - AV=1495 fps

    Using a Cast Performance 180gr WFNGC bullet: (Hard Cast)
    14.8gr Lil'Gun - CCI-550 primer - AV=1657 fps
    13.7gr H110 - CCI-550 primer - AV=1547 fps

    I also tried a 170gr Sierra JHC bullet and liked the results.
    17.0gr Lil'Gun - CCI-550 primer - AV=1793 fps (that's amazing velocity!)
    15.5gr H110 - CCI-550 primer - AV=1699 fps

    Just to add some info for a 125gr Hornady XTP/HP bullet, the velocities were scary!
    17.7gr 2400 - Win WSP primer - AV=2055 fps
    22.0gr H110 - CCI-550 primer - AV=2239 fps

    Remember, these numbers were attained from a Marlin 1894C Levergun Carbine.
     
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  14. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    If it were me I’d limit myself to 75 yards and use a hard cast 158 swc over a max charge of 2400 if it shot accurately. As with anything, placement is key, and I wouldn’t pass up a headshot if it presented itself. If I hunted, I wouldn’t be after a mount, so that’s how I’d go about it unless I got a great broadside shot.
     
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