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Effective distance of .357 mag on deer?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Johnny Lightning, Feb 6, 2011.

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  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Member

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    Can anyone tell me what the effective distance is of a .357 mag 6" on deer and what is a good ammo for deer hunting?
     
  2. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    Bullets of at least 158gr up to 200gr should be used. As far as range 50 yards or so is a good stopping point if your calm and a decent shot, less if your not a particularly good shot under the stress and excitement of hunting.
     
  3. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    SHOT PLACEMENT! 80 to 100 yrds max with heavy bullets in hot loads.
     
  4. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    125 has worked for me out to 50 yards.
     
  5. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    Don't doubt that 125 gr bullets will work reliably on lung shots or even on shoulder shots a lot of the time, but by and large a heaver bullet is probably a better choice given that most of the complaints about the 357 as a deer round that I have heard have come from people who had used 125 or even 110 grain bullets and had failures. Those weights tend to be a little to fast expanding to be optimum deer bullets.
     
  6. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    50yds and choose your shots carefully.
     
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    A friend used a 170gr Sierra bullet from a 6" revolver (w/4X scope) at just over 80 yards and dropped a Doe almost in her tracks. I personally wouldn't push the .357 Magnum past 50 yards because the loss of energy is too great for a humane kill. At 50 yards a 158gr bullet has around 450 ft/lbs of energy. At 100 yards that drops to less than 370 ft/lbs of energy. IMO far to less for a safe humane kill. From a Carbine you can stretch it out further because of the added velocity will double the energy produced but not from a 6" revolver.
     
  8. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    I use 180gr soft point in my Ruger Blackhawk with good effect,

    and have taken many deer with it on my farmland out to 100 yards. In the low land hammock about 35-50 yards and out in the upper parts 75-100 yards.
     
  9. snooperman

    snooperman Member

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    That said, I must admit that is with a 7.5" barrel .

    My reloading table give the velocity at 100 yards with the 180 gr bullet at 980 ft/sec and 400 ft/lbs energy.
     
  10. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    I would say the furthest it is reliable on deer would be as far as the shooter can take a comfortable shot well-placed to disrupt the CNS. I believe any other shots and you are going to be trailing or trying to trail, depending on blood loss and size of hole.

    For me, with an accurate 357, I would say from a tree stand or other place where I can rest the pistol and shoot cleanly to the brain, spine, etc. which would be about 25 yards or less -- using open sites.

    Remember, for most people, adrenaline will kick in and when you thought you were steady, suddenly you may find that you are not steady at all!
     
  11. natman

    natman Member

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    Archery distance
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Inside of 50 yards, at whatever distance the shooter is capable of. I have killed two deer with the .357 Magnum, and IMHO, it is marginal for deer at best. I have now moved on to the 45 Colt which is much better suited for deer.

    Don
     
  13. george30

    george30 Member

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    50-75 yards max. Do not use hollow points. They might be ok for archery distance but for 40+ yards they won't have enough penetration. If you don't reload try buffalo bore or double tap 180 grain hardcast ammo.
     
  14. Hanshi

    Hanshi Member

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    How far can you reliably hit a dinner plate?
     
  15. Cemo

    Cemo Member

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    I once shot a wounded doe and dropped it with my SP101 loaded with 125 gr HP at 30 yards while helping my buddy track it down. We were expecting to find her already dead. I wouldn't hunt with it. My Ruger GP100 is very accurate out to 100 yards, but if I were to hunt with it, I would keep the range to no more than 50 yards. My 44. Mag. Super Redhawk is very accurate. That would be my choice to hunt with where shots could be out to 100 yards. Most of my hunting is from a tree stand inside the woods. Most of my shots are way under 50 yards.
     
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Yes that's a valid question but so is my answer above. If the bullet energy drops too much you will not attain adequate penetration and the animal may suffer even if you place the bullet in the vital area. IMO that's unacceptable. I don't feel 400 ft/lbs of energy is good enough.

    I'm no expert so I hope someone comes along with energy stats to tell us what is enough energy and what isn't. It's the ethical thing to do...
     
  17. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    I don't claim to be an "expert either" but energy figures really are not worth that much when it comes to killing power. Penetration first and expansion second are a lot more important if we take the importance of good shot placement as a given. As a target of opportunity I once shot about a 150lb feral hog with a two inch 38 special snubbie at around 25 yards. Not a whole lot of energy there but with the bullet I was using I got complete penetration through the vitals and it did the job just fine. I am sure it would have worked equally well on a deer. Like I say energy doesn't really mean a whole lot in the real word as long as the penetration and shot placement is there.
     
  18. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    I have a 7" gong hanging in my side yard ,to practice I place a deer target infront of the gong with the vitals being the ringer at 75 5out of 6 gong - - - - - - I hunted & limited my shots to 50 .

    Like The MAN said a well placed shot with 2 holes a bleeding he won`t last long !!!

    I no longer hunt with HPs
     
  19. ILikeLead

    ILikeLead Member

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    I'd like to ask WHY? WHY not hollow points? What about 180 grain Hornady XTP's reloaded ?

    Please school me on this topic for deer hunting!

    Thanks
     
  20. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    I personally think hollow points are fine as long as the bullet is constructed heavily enough to ensure decent penetration as well. The most frequent time hollow points have problems is when we are talking light for caliber bullets(such as 125's and 110's in the 357) at high velocities for the bullets construction. A lot of times with broadside lung shots such bullets will kill very well but occasionally they will blow up without achieving sufficient penetration and after such occurrences hunters often either fault the caliber or hollow points themselves. In the 357 If you use a 158-200 grain bullet out of a revolver the chances of having an issue related to the bullet being a hollow point is pretty small.
     
  21. ILikeLead

    ILikeLead Member

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    Thank you SPW. That's what I thought but needed confirmation.
     
  22. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    How do you think you are going to get good penetration without adequate energy behind the bullet? Kinetic energy is what pushes the bullet through the animal. The less energy the less penetration, that's my whole point.
     
  23. USSR

    USSR Member

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    The one .357 Magnum load you DON'T want to use on deer, is the Winchester 145gr SilverTips. With a classic thru the rib cage shot, they work fine, but anywhere else where there is hard muscle or gristle, they will not penetrate. This is why I call the .357 marginal on deer: a good hollowpoint may fail to penetrate due to lack of mass.

    Don
     
  24. george30

    george30 Member

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    Check these statistics out ArchAngelCD. 500 ft/lbs is generally considered the lowest you should have as far as energy for whitetails. A 4"-6" barrel at 1300-1400 ft per second for this buffalo bore ammo has 524.8 ft/lbs at 75 yards.

    http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=100

    Penetration and shot placement is the key with the 357.
     
  25. SPW1

    SPW1 Member

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    Bullet weight and bullet design has a lot to do with it. I can load a 150 gr. nosler ballistic tip up to around 3100-3200 fps out of a 26 inch barrel 300 winchester mag and not exit a deers rib cage on a broadside 50 yard shot 3 out of four times in spite of an enormous amount of "paper" energy being there. On the other hand a 158 grain bullet out of a 38 special at around 800 fps will usually exit just fine on the same type of broadside shot at 25 yards or so in spite of having a fraction of the paper energy of the 300 winchester load. The reason is the 38 special bullet is constructed so that it holds together at the velocities the special can launch it at while the ballistic tip comes apart at high end 300 winchester velocities. Yes, you need "enough" energy to ensure proper penetration, but since there are so many variables determining what is "enough" energy for proper penetration it is a lot smarter to do an actual penetration test with the bullets and loads you want to use to get an idea what the penetration will be in your game. You can't just pick a paper energy number and expect it to mean much. If you can get sufficient penetration any bullet will kill with proper placement regardless of the paper energy of the bullet. The only thing paper energy figures might actually be useful for is getting a rough estimate of the temporary wound cavity. High velocity and therefore high energy rounds do damage a larger area which can "sometimes" produce quicker kills but that is balanced by the fact that you also end up with a whole lot more bloodshot and ruined meat due to the rupturing effect of the temporary wound cavity.
     
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