Deer hunting .357

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by d2wing, Oct 23, 2020.

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  1. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    In August I broke my left hand, wrist, and shoulder in a Motorcycle accident. The cast is off and my son really wants me in deer camp. I was thinking about using my Ruger .357. I can use a 44 Mag but my right wrist doesn't like it at all. I think I will be in a ground blind and shots should be well within 50 yards. Ammo will be 158 Gr jacketed hollow points. I am a pretty good pistol shot but not sure about effective range. Any thoughts?
     
  2. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Do you have to use a handgun?

    Given your circumstances, I would definitely be using the 357 instead of the 44. In other words, I’m not a fan of the 357 for hunting but I would still use it if I had to.

    Do you have a 45 Colt?
     
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  3. DairyVet

    DairyVet Member

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    Can’t speak to effective range of a .357, but how about a non-handgun option? If you’re in a ground blind you might be able to use a long gun rested on a tripod, especially for shots within 50 yards.
     
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  4. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Yeah, just considering my options. I agree that would be better but I cannot rotate my wrist to hold a long gun yet. Maybe I will by then it's two more weeks.
     
  5. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Nope. May be able to get 44 special loads.
     
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  6. curtste

    curtste Member

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    Why not just go to deer camp and not hunt? Killing deer is secondary for us in my camp. I mean, we kill our share. But, once we get one down, the rest is gravy. Good times are had. Every camp needs a cook. :)
     
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  7. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Good idea but may not work for me. They want me to hunt if possible and I do too.
     
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  8. 22250Rem

    22250Rem Member

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    Years ago one of my late buddies did all his gun hunting with a Colt Python .357 and never lost a deer. Although it was all done at bow hunting range as he gun hunted from his bow hunting spots. He came home from Vietnam with leg braces so he never got up in a tree and hunted at ground level sitting still and collected deer almost every year on his land. He passed up a lot of deer because he didn't want them to travel too far. Don't think he ever even tried anything over 50 yds. and usually doubled lunged them and then waited it out just like a bowhunter would before going to search for it. Forgot the details of his load but he always used the heaviest Hornady XTP bullet, ( forgot the exact weight) and they performed great on deer. He was also a great shot who practiced religiously and was able to place the bullet where he wanted or else he let the deer walk. In good hands a .357 revolver can efficiently harvest deer that are well within 50 yards.
     
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  9. Frulk

    Frulk Member

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    Sorry to hear about you going down on your bike. Are you in rehab via PT? What’s your doctor/therapist say about you firing a magnum handgun? If your doctor/surgeon feels it’s not in your best interest and it would impair your full functional recovery (including potential for nerve damage) I’d follow that advise.

    Good luck and good hunting if it works out for you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
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  10. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I was pretty unimpressed with my .357 for deer. I'm thinking it was 6 or 8 does during our "handgun only" late season.
    I didnt lose any....just did lots of tracking .
     
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  11. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Three words:
    Shot-placement, shot-placement shot-placement !

    I’ve killed several with .357mag, 10mm, .40s&w. No recovered bullets except a 165gr SWC-GC .358” from a ~180lb pig. Well expanded in hide on far side. Pig was delicious!
    All were shot within 40yds.
     
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  12. Buckeye63

    Buckeye63 Member

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    I have taken several whitetail with a 16inch barreled Rossi Levergun .... I used Underwood 158gr
    Gold Dot .. functioned perfectly
     
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  13. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Do you already have the JHP ammo made and ready to go? I’ve witnessed some pretty impressive failures with 158 JHP 357 ammo on deer by family and friends. All JHP are not created equal.

    Similar to what Armored farmer said. Multiple hits and lots of tracking with JHP.

    I’d use what GooseGestapo is using, a blunt nose cast, gas checked semi-wad cutter. And think hole thru both sides. I’ve done the math, and two holes leak two times better than one hole.

    Your maximum effective deer range will be limited by you or 125 yards, whichever is less.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  14. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I have a box of semi-wadcutter flatnose, Those would be better?
    I haven't case bullets since the 1980's.
     
  15. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Yes, I think so.
     
  16. Enfielder

    Enfielder Member

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    I shot a doe last year with a 158gr JSP. Scant blood track and then nothing. Lost her, and I even brought s dog the next day. I packed that Ruger up for shipping and got out my Blackhawk in .45 Colt. I haven't shot one yet but I think that a bigger hole will make a difference.

    I'm thinking though, if I used my smoking hot .357 HP reloads, I might have had doe dinner that evening.
     
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  17. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I would rather hunt whitetails with stiff .44 Special loads than a .357 magnum. That would allow you to take the .44 recoil down a notch, but still poke a big hole.
    But that's just me.
     
  18. Fyrstyk

    Fyrstyk Member

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    I have taken a few deer with the .357 out of a 6" revolver. I use 180 grain hand loaded soft points at close to 1400 FPS in my FA 353. I keep my shots under 50 yards, and only take broad side, thru the lungs shots. Have never recovered a bullet, as all have been complete pass thrus. The exit hole was about the size of a 1/2 dollar on all the deer, and none of them when more than 50 yards after being hit. The .357 will do the job, just keep your range short, use good shot placement and use a bullet that will stay together and on the heavier side for(170grains and up).
     
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  19. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    `I've shot several deer with my .357 revolvers. None went more than 40 yards or so. Like with bow hunting, expecting a Bang-Flop from anything else but a spine/cns shot is a pipe dream. Use appropriate ammo. Most JHP in .357 are intended for SD against humans and expand too rapidly for deer while expending a lot of energy doing so. I prefer JSPs or Speer's 158gr Deep Curls. Keep shots to within 30 yards or so and stay away from the high shoulder shots. Shooting behind the shoulder using an appropriate bullet gives a better chance of a pass thru and getting both lungs and making two holes....giving a much more defined blood trail. Shooting lower on the body also means more blood sooner as the body cavity does not have to fill up first before blood starts to leak. Double lungers are usually blowing blood too........practice a lot and use some kind of rest if at all possible.
     
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Choose your shots carefully, avoid the shoulder on the way in and it'll do fine. Personally, I prefer bonded bullets like the aforementioned Deep Curl/Gold Dot or Federal Fusion.
     
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  21. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    I used a Python Whitetail Hunter for 10 or more years on the small coastal Blacktails where I lived . 8" barrel and 2x Leupold factory mounted. I used 158 grain Hollow points and they worked well and never shot over 75 yards rested .Here is what they looked like.They came in a Haliburton case. I paid $1200 for mine in 80s .I sold it 2006 for $2500 and it was not as new.

    Colt-Python-Hunter-357-Mag_101043340_32_82282625B264D2F9.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2020
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  22. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    Still thinking. Thanks everyone. I am leaning toward and hoping I can use a rifle. In any case I am going to bring my .357 more just in case. I will see how physical therapy goes. I have decided that I will go to camp regardless if I can shoot or not. I just got news and old friend and hunting partner from years ago died. Makes me want to savor the moments. I could have easily died my self on August 15th. Kinda changes the focus.
     
  23. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    I guess a bow is out of the question? :D
     
  24. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    It has been for a long time for me. Broke both shoulders years ago and have arthritis.
     
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  25. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Yep....age and life experiences does that. I used to live for deer season, whether bow or gun. I was driven to succeed and success was only determined by the size or the amount of the animal/animals in the back of the truck. Now when I go, I have a hard time pulling the trigger, even on bucks I would have wet my pants over in my youth. I have found the the camaraderie of deer camp/season is a unique experience on it's own. Looking back, the fun of the hunt and the joy of experiencing it with friends and family are what I remember more than the size of the horn taken that year. Nowadays my time in the stand is spent thinking about the years past, not what I hope is coming down the trail. I too have only a few years left in me. Every time I go out, I tell myself it might be the last and to enjoy it, even if I see nuttin' to shoot. The thrill of watching the dog work or whatever bird is working the tree next to me, warms my heart.

    So go, whether you have a gun or not. I know from experience, that not having a firearm in your hand during a hunt does not feel the same. Don't mean you have to use the one you have. I have found over the years that using a handgun as a primary weapon widens the experience, while taking a lot of pressure off. When your weapon is only good for 30 yards, you can know yourself anything else you see would have been in the truck if you had your old dependable long-gun. You learn to hunt to impress yourself and not others.....and you learn that having the opportunity to just go out and enjoy the woods one more time is paramount.
     
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