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.357 For Deer Hunting

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I was thinking... Instead of buying a new Benelli SBE2 to lug around for Deer hunting this winter, I would just get a .357. The .357 is legal but will it do the job??

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Any gun will "do the job" under the right conditions and with good shot placement. That's the key in any situation.

The .357 is plenty as pistol rounds go.

Bob

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Sure, a .357 will get the job done - no question. IIRC, the DNR considers that about the minumum caliber for deer. IMO, a .41 or .44 mag is a better choice.

The variables are choice of bullet, and how good you are with the gun. If you are looking for a challenge, pistol hunting will give you that.

I have a Ruger GP100 in .357 mag - with a heavy target barrel. With open sights and a good rest, I can keep six shots in six inch circle at about 30 yards or so. I don't shoot it much, so my proficiency definately suffers.

Speaking for myself, I would not want to shoot at a deer with a .357 much farther than I would with a bow. Trajectory and speed are superior to an arrow of course, but that six inch circle of accuracy I produce is my limiting factor. I could put a scope on that gun, and probably increase my range and accuracy two fold.

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I would agree that a .357 in the hands of a good shooter will do the job.

I personnally don't like the caliber for deer because shot placement is sooooo critical.

I would prefer a 45LC or 41-44mag any day of the week and twice on Tuesday.

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I'm pretty good with hand guns so that really wouldn't be an issue. I just wanted to know if you guys have hunted with hand guns. Thanks for the inputs!

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I have a .357 with 6" barrell and a red dot, so it shoots pretty accurately as far as handguns go. I consider it a 30 yard deer gun at most, the bullets just don't carry enough energy past that. Will it work for deer - sure - but there are a lot of calibers that would be a lot better. Good luck.

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Advantage to the .357 is that it is cheaper to shoot than most other deer legal calibers (shooting .38s). The disadvantage to the .357 is, like the guys say, range. I carried a S&W .357 for doing deer drives in thick cover for a few years. It was really compact and nice to carry. I could shoot "field accuracy" (six inch circles) out to about forty yards. It was really loud, however, as it had a shorter barrel.

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My dad has taken plenty of deer with his .357. I have only used .44's. But that's all we hunt with. We haven't touched a rifle in years. Even for rabbits I use my .22 revolver. If you're good with handguns, you shouldn't have a problem. I love hunting with mine. I don't think I'd ever go back to slingin' a rifle or shotgun for deer.

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not to hijack this thread, but what kind of ammo do you use for your .357 deer hunting rounds. I used to use Fedral cast core's but I shot a doe that went in and out and never expanded, what should I be using?

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Quote:

I consider it a 30 yard deer gun at most


I am not a pistol connoisseur but I would have thought the .357 to be more credible. I do own and have hunted deer using my .44 mag. but I didn't think these two calibers were that far apart. Have I been wrong about this?

Bob

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The big problem IMO is 150-200 grain bullets loose a lot of energy quickly at pistol velocities. You get a lot better down range energy with the 240-260 stuff out of a .44

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Agree, there is a substantial difference between a .357 and a .44 mag

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In a pistol the .357 is a 25-30 yard gun and the .44 is a 40-50 yard gun. Past those yardages the energy drops off significantly. In a rifle you'll stretch those distances out another 20-30 yards.

Lots of better caliber choices ouot ther than the .357 in my opinion.

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I would be using a hollow point to get max expansion. Pistol rounds arn't that speedy and the HP will really expend.

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One of the obligations we accept as hunters is the responsibility of assuring a quick, clean kill. Shooting at deer with a .357 magnum, is simply too risky. Sure, the cartridge WILL kill a deer, if it is placed absolutely perfectly.But we have to be honest with ourselves...can we REALLY hit an area the size of our hand at 25 yards. And aren't there far better calibers and loads to use? Heck, I know a guy whol killed a big, angry SE Alaska brown bear with a .44 Mag....but it took an entier gunload to do it and it wasn't quick let me tell ya.

Robert Ruark wrote a book a few decades back titled Use Enough Gun. Good reading.

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After your responses I grew a little more curious so I did some checking to compare the .357 magnum against the .44 rem. mag. I must say I was quite surprised at the difference between these two cartridges at the muzzle. The .44 @ 240 gr. has a muzzle velocity approximately 1800fps give or take depending on the type bullet and load whereas the .357 @ 200 gr. is only about 1400fps give or take. That’s only 3/4 the velocity of the .44. Wow! I always thought they were closer to each other than that.

What is it then that makes the .357 so popular? At only 1400fps it really lacks any real punch.

Bob

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You may want to second guess the use of a hollow point. i shoot a smith .357 and the hollow point may splash if you hit the shoulder. i would recommend a round nose in 140 grain or 158 grain. if you are shooting open sights i would no more then 35 yards. in my opinion hit a paper plate 6 times at that range will take care of any whitetail.

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now i was not saying the 357 wont do it cause it will. just a side note if you are looking for a 44 by chance a few stores are selling a combo. its a ruger super redhawk with a matching scope for about $650. just in case you are interested.

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Also stick with a revolver or single shot as the automatics have significant pressure bleed off from cycling. I would also recommend the round nose as the hollow pint will not penetrate as well as a HP.

I have long wondered why handgun hunting is not run concurrent to the archery season as both are short range weapons?

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I was never a big on the idea until my wife bought me a 8 3/8 barreled .357. So I bought a good scope for it and sighted it in from 20 to 100 yards. I tell you what I was using 158 grain sp bullets. I took a two doe that year one at 60 yards and the other at 90. Both deer went down with one shot, like they got hit by a train. I've shot deer with bow, many different rifles, and 12 ga.s Never have I had a deer go down that hard with the other unless it was a neck or spine shot.I would by far take this gun over a shotgun.. Just my two bits though.

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