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357mag revolver for deer hunting?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by ohihunter2014, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    I really like shooting revolvers but I won’t buy a gun just for punching paper it has to serve a purpose. I already load for a J frame 38 so figured why not step it up to a Ruger GP100 or similar and deer hunt with it and punch paper? My concern is we have huge white tails in Ohio and I’m worried 357mag in a wheel gun isn’t enough? I’m talking 200-220lbs dressed bucks. 150-160lbs dressed doe. I know yardage is limited but I’d like to cleanly kill at 50yards. Maybe 44mag is my choice?

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    A properly loaded 357 mag will be enough for deer, given the range limitations and shot placement. The 357s by Ruger and Smith are good guns, just make sure you are getting enough barrel length. Are you going to scope it?

    The 44 will introduce you to new components, something your budget may or may not allow. Just something to consider.
     
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  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    A 357 mag revolver will limit the ranges you can shoot compared to a rifle. With the proper bullet choice it won't limit the size of the deer.
     
  4. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Yes I will most likely put a red dot on it. I load for 44mag too but figured that wouldn’t be a plinking gun if I went 44mag route.
     
  5. ohihunter2014

    ohihunter2014 Member

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    Here is another twist for you guys. I hunt a lot from a tree stand cause I bow hunt more than gun because we only get 7 days to get it done with a gun. I always have deer within 50yards of me unless on a field and then the muzzleloader or 45-70 comes out. Any issue shooting accurately out of a hang on stand or cheap ladder?
     
  6. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Naw, man! Setting your range limitation at 50 yards, with the right loads, a .357 will work swell - even on the big deer you're talking about. But seeing as how you're a handloader, a 44 Mag will make an excellent, an excellent plinking gun too.:)
     
  7. MidRoad

    MidRoad Member

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    Yep ! Especially at 44 special levels. Mild and fun. Than turn it up to 44 mag for critters. Especially since he reloads it makes the choice that much easier IMO.
     
  8. Mn Fats

    Mn Fats Member

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    We got big suckers up here in MN. I wouldn't hesitate to use my 686 inside 75 yards. I took a heavy doe 4 or 5 years back at 60 yards (stepped off) with a semi hot handload with a hard cast semi wadcutter. Punched clean through, took two or three steps and dropped.

    But you mentioned 44 mag as an option. If you have the money, sport for the 44. And in the off season, 44 specials are my all time favorite plinking/target rounds.
     
  9. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Pick your shots as you would with a bow and a 357 is adequate for any deer.
     
  10. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    For what you describe, I would go with the .44 mag.
    If I had my .357 on my side during deer season, I wouldn't hesitate to take a shot if a good one presented itself, but when I take a side arm to the stand, it's a .44 mag or .45 Colt. I just like having something that punches nearly a half inch hole from the get go.
    For .357 mag, I'd use a 180 grain hollow point.
     
  11. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    I agree with Arkansas Paul about the use of 180 grain bullets for deer in the .357 Mag. I am 3 for 3 on deer with that load, all one shot kills that never went more than 25 yards from the shot. Never recovered a bullet, and they all left some pretty impressive internal damage and a quarter sized exit hole. I limit my shots to less than 75 yards, but to date all of my shots have been at less than 40 yards. The .44 Mag will do the job. I would recommend the 210-225 grain bullets. I have had the 240 grainers go completely thru with no expansion, which I guess is OK as it leaves a good hole, but I have not noticed that the deer are any deader with the .44 than the .357 Mag. I guess in the final analysis, I would choose the gun and load you shoot the best, and be mindful of shot placement.
     
  12. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I took several deer with my .357s, before I switched to .45colt for hunting.
    I wanted bigger holes.
    I never lost a deer with my .357s, but have some good stories.
     
  13. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I have taken two does with a .357, one at 40, the other at 25. 160 grain cast swc and 13.5 grains of 2400. One heart, one head (which I do not normally consider).
    Go for it.
     
  14. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    IF you work your .357 Revolver hunting as one would a traditional black powder rifle, you should be fine.

    <egad here he goes again with the black powder stuff when we're not talkin' black powder stuff> :confused:

    Seriously, 158 grain to 180 grain bullet at 1200 - 1500 fps from your revolver is very similar in many ways to a round ball of .440 - .490 caliber from a traditional rifle.

    Advantages: Modern optics on your handgun, modern bullet so better penetration, LOTS of different loads from which to choose, all weather capable, less smoke to obscure your vision and thus a quick follow-up shot if needed.

    Disadvantages: Not as large a starting hole, not soft lead so not as quick to mushroom, probably a smaller overall wound channel (hit the deer right and it won't know the dif ;)).

    A great many muzzle loader hunters get their deer in close at 50 yards or less, and they also hunt from stands, so although a .44 or .45 would hit harder, the .357 Magnum is up to the task. :thumbup:

    LD
     
  15. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    My ability to shoot accurately is often a factor of how well I can aim and practice. With the bottom one I can hit golf balls at 60 yards, not so much with the other two.

    76702F4A-2A8F-4580-A829-4F16E707B26D.jpeg E94701A3-6249-4FD5-9B3E-374513A6AF4E.jpeg 869BC395-5FA6-4C0B-B7A3-8477603AE032.jpeg
     
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  16. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Uh....traditional black powder.....like sidehammer . 50 w roundball? That for me was an easy 100yd rig and shot em even farther. Would not use a .357 mag wheelie at such distance.
     
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  17. HamSlamma

    HamSlamma Member

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  18. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    All of my handgun kills have been offhand. Treestand or no treestand

    But then rifle or MZ......90% is offhand.

    Note: have not shot a deer....or even at one....past 200. But i grew up shooting chucks off bipods to twice that
     
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  19. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    I like the 185gr Lead Hard Cast HP Wide Meplat from GT Bullets for Deer. Pushed with 1305gr of H110 I get around 1350fps out of my 8 3/8" Model 686. I limit myself to 50-60 yards. Great penetration. Full Pass Through and Fantastic Expansion. It makes a nice big exit wound. I trust this load as well as any rifle up to the range limits. Only hold back to this combination is limited practice as that load will lead up a barrel enough to effect accuracy after 15-20 rounds. For practice, I normally just use the 180gr Coated Lead bullet from Missouri. It is my Hog Bullet and you can shoot it all day long without any leading. I'll never use another jacketed bullet for deer again. I never lost a deer, but the exit wound seemed inconsistent in size which makes me believe that expansion was not as consistent as I've found the lead bullet
     
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  20. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I guess it depends on how much you want to shoot it. 357 would be a lot cheaper to feed. That would mean you could shoot it more. More shooting means a better shooter. A better shooter means a better hunter.
     
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  21. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Iffin' you're a legitimate bow hunter, you should not be skeptical about hunting deer with a .357 revolver. The caliber and platform are plenty enough, even for so called "huge" 200-220 pound bucks. Use an appropriate hunting type bullet and place your shot properly and you will surprise yourself how effective .357 is. I've taken several deer with a .357 revolver. I would be hesitant to take a shot past 40 yards and would try to use some form of support past 20. You owe it to the deer. What larger handgun calibers give you is better range, flatter trajectory and better penetration. Bigger calibers are not going to make you a better shot, nor are they going to compensate for a poor hit. All of the deer I have killed with my .357s have been with 158gr bullets. I prefer JSPs or the XTP-FP. Doubt iffin' you could go wrong with a good hard cast tho. Because of it's limited range, when I hunt wioth a .357 revolver, it generally is as a secondary weapon, usually with a .357 or .44 mag carbine as my primary. My .44 revolvers and the X-Frame are generally primary weapons because they give me range double or tripple that of the .357. My suggestion is, iffin you want a revolver for a primary deer gun, I would go larger than .357, just because as a primary weapon and a big buck steps out @ 80 yards, odds are you are going to be really frustrated, or you will try the shot anyway. I personally don't have an issue letting any deer walk that is out of my comfort zone, whether it be with a handgun or my bow. My comfort zone with a .357 revolver is the same as it is with my bow.....40 yards or less. When I practice @ 70 yards, I am just as accurate with my L-Frames as I am with my N-Frames and X-Frame. Problem is, the Ls don't have enough punch out there @ 70, IMHO.
     
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  22. MidRoad

    MidRoad Member

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    Well put. :thumbup:
     
  23. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    i agree my .44 special and .44mag are both plinkers. havent shot anything alive with either yet, only a couple places ill use them.


    i also took this decent size sow with my Benjamin Bulldog this morning. 147gr soft lead bthp at 860 went thru her skull head on at 20yds and broke her spine at the base of the skull.
    MVIMG_20190709_084303.jpg
    when im home on molokai im taking the airgun with me, and expect zero issues on axis deer.
     
  24. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    good you got one, nice looking pig. should be good eating.
     
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  25. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    yeah should make a few good meals.
    did pretty well with 38 special ballistics.
     
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