357 magnum loads for deer experience please no opinions - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Default 357 magnum loads for deer experience please no opinions

Does any one have any recommendations? Gun is a 5" Smith 686 plus.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 08:32 PM
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 09:02 PM
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My first deer with a pistol was with a Colt Trooper 357 magnum. I used off the shelf 158 grain hollow points. I was 25 yards away and he was standing there facing me. I hit him square in the chest with one shot. He took three steps backwards and went over. Not bad for not hitting any bone. As a general rule I would say inside 50 yards would be good. However there are those that like to test the odds.

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 11:40 PM
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We used to have a member named Jerry, can't recall the last name at the moment. He prolly had more experience using the .357 Mag in both handgun and rifle of anyone I've ever known. He recommended the Remington 158 JSP in both rifle and handgun. Just from my memory I seem to recall he had around 20 kills or so with the .357 Magnum.

I've taken it out to use but never pulled the trigger on one with that round. Killed a bunch with the .44 magnum but not the .357. One of the guys I used to hunt with shot one with his 2-1/2" .357 magnum. Don't know what kinda ammo. I know we sure had a heck of a tracking job before we finally found it.



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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 03:53 AM
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The .357 is one of my favorite, if not my favorite hunting rounds. Out of handguns, and especially revolvers, since you specified your 5", I use hand loads out of my 4" Security Six or my 6" GP100. PM me if you want my exact load, but it is straight out of a loading manual with 2400 pushing a 158gr cast bullet. I started out with a Lee .358" 158gr SWCGC, and have moved on to a Lyman 358156. Out of 15 deer and 15 years worth of hogs (sorry, I didn't keep count of the hogs), there has not been a single problem yet. My first deer was the only exception to this load, and it was taken at 45 yards with a Lee .358" 158gr RNFP over a load that was just barely above max for a .38 Spl, and fired out of the 4" Security Six. The small buck took 3 steps and just fell over. Since then, the deer have been taken at between 3 yards and just over 100 yards, with the vast majority at 25-50 yards. The hogs, I don't keep track of how many because we have no closed season and no bag limit, but I use whatever I happen to have handy, which is most often my 4" Security Six, and I try to get as close as I can. The other part of the reason I don't keep track of hog kills is because tI consider them my grocery/staple meat. I keep at least one in the freezer, and have enough room to store 3-4 de-boned hogs total. But when the freezer is down to 1-1.5 hogs, it's time for me to go grocery shopping again and bring home at least one hog. To date, the closest has been with this Security Six at 8 feet, and the furthest was at a bit over 200 yards with a Rossi 1892 .357M 20", but that long one was wounded by another hunter already, or I would NOT have even considered taking the shot. The .22LR has been seeing more and more hog hunting duty for me, and works fine when placed well, so you won't have any trouble out of the .357 on deer. Just put them where they belong from as close as you can get, and respect your limitations.

The .357 is a great caliber for hunting, and more capable than many give it credit for, but you do have to be a bit more precise in your shot placement than larger more powerful calibers, and as with anything, get as close as you can, and then get a bit closer.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 06:25 AM
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never could see the "good enough" thing or lets see if it will work when I have things that I know will work attitude. I think we all know that the 357 will kill a deer. Its been used to kill bigger animals then that. That said its marginal and theres better choices. Never understood that train of thinking too that guys have when they feel they have to kill a deer with everything they have. I remember back when I was a kid there was a few guys including me that used 30 cal carbines for deer. Power level of those is a probably a tad more then a 357 handgun. Did they kill? Sure they did but thinking back its probably why I have a reputation for being a pretty good tracker today. A deer (or bear or pig or any animal) is a living breathing thing. It feels pain. Why would I want to use a marginal gun that might make its suffer even one minute more then a proper gun. I'm kind of a hypocrite here. I have killed a couple deer with 357s back when I first got into handguns about 45 years ago. The deer I shot died but all of them made a 100 yards or more before dying. Now some will ask me if deer I shot with 44s ran a 100 yards and I will tell you of course some did. that doesn't change the fact that deer shot with a 44 ABOUT ALLWAYS DIE FASTER.


IF I had a 357 and it was my only gun and I wouldn't be eating tommarow unless I killed something with it id definitely use it. But what I sure wouldn't do is take my 357s out hunting deer tomarrow when there is 41s 44s and 45s in the safe. I consider that stunt hunting. Taking a chance that an animal will suffer more just to prove something can be done. My recommendation is to go handgun hunting with a 44. If you don't have one. Sell your 357 and buy one. If you cant afford it take your rifle hunting. If you cant handle the recoil of a 44 then you haven't shot enough handgun to be out there with your 357. One thing I ask anyone that wants to handgun hunt is if they reload. If you don't reload and you aren't pulling down a 6 figure income you probably aren't shooting enough handgun rounds to even be attempting it because at 30 bucks a box of ammo shooting enough to become competent is going to be very expensive. Its only my opinion and I cant force it on anyone. I'm sure theres many that disagree. But few that have any more handgun hunting experience then me or any that have actually killed more deer then me. that's what I draw on for my opinion. Not someone elses or some gun writer. Ive killed deer with everything from a 22lr to a 458 mag. With handguns for 357s to 500 linebaughs. That said id never again go out in the woods knowing that I was going to probably shoot a deer armed with a 357 mag handgun. Maybe a carbine but not a handgun. If you want to then as long as it legal where you hunt its your business. But next time your crawling through the swamp on a blood trail from a deer shot by your 357 stop for a second and think about how that animal is suffering. Ask yourself it maybe you should have used a proper gun.


Personaly ive given up handgun hunting altogether. I hunt with a rifle anymore. Why? for the same reasons above. my eyesight isn't good enough for anything over 25 yards with a handgun. I have nothing to prove to anyone by killing something with a handgun. Anyone that knows me knows I don't. I don't feel I have to take out a 3220 lever gun either to prove I'm a good enough shot to kill something with a small gun. I could care less that someone else thinks I'm somehow a better handgun or rifle hunter because I can kill with the smallest gun on the market. Id rather have people think of me as the guy that uses a gun that's maybe on the large size for what I'm hunting because I honestly care whether the animals I kill die a quick humane death. I think we all owe it to those animals. Even ones that are pests in some areas like pigs deserve to be put down properly.


What really gets my goat is the type of guy that will post claiming hes killed 50 or so deer or pigs or anyting else with his 357 like he thinks that he is a better handgun hunter because he can do it with a 357 and some cant. Truth be told (and that doesn't happen) id bet he has a few storys of long tracking jobs and lost deer. Deer that probably lived 8-12 hours laying out in the swamp suffering. Don't understand how picking a marginal gun to hunt with makes you a more skillful hunter!! You wouldn't show up to the Daytona 500 with a Toyota prius! Would one of the teams playing in the superbowl draft a high school quarterback so they could brag if they won that they did it without using a proper quarterback?? Would you go out hunting a lion or something else that could bite back with that mighty 357 (please don't tell me black bear and hogs are dangerous game) . IF not why. Could it be that its not powerful enough????? I guess ive rambled on enough here. I'm sure I haven't changed any minds. But maybe someone will one day think about this when hes tracking a deer. Think about the pain that animal is feeling that you inflicted with your pee shooter and maybe just one of you will leave your 357 at home next time and take out a proper tool for the job.

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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 01:09 PM
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Lloyd,
You're absolutely right that we all should use the best tool for the job, and that we need to be humane regardless of what the target animal is. On another level, we all also hunt differently, in different conditions, at different ranges, etc. And to top it all off, we all have different skill levels, different physical limitations, etc. What about self discipline? As in knowing our limitations, and sticking by them, and NOT taking any shot that is questionable? In my case, and this is fact, not any kind of bragging, I can honestly tell you and everyone here that I have never had an animal get away without being recovered, and my longest tracking job on an animal has been 60 yards. That was with a deer I shot with a bow. My longest tracking job ever, was 8 miles through the woods and fields at night, looking for a criminal, and I found and brought him back too, but that is a different type of tracking. Anyway, depending on how you hunt, different things may be either marginal, or effective. In my case, I have .44s, .45, .45-70s. and various other rifle calibers, and have used them too. A lot of the hogs I have taken were a result of a few of the local farmers/ranchers stopping me when I'm on duty and asking me to stop by their farms after work for a walk and to see if I can take a hog or two. This happens every other week or so. I carry a .357 as a duty gun, so that is what I use. These aren't planned hunts where I have the luxury of going home and grabbing something else and picking and choosing. For the most part, we're talking a walk through some scrub brush, where you usually can't see 50 yards, and often can't see 10 yards, either at dawn or dusk. I DONT take any shot that I have any doubt whatsoever in, and that is why I haven't lost an animal yet, and doing my best to keep it that way. Have I made ranchers upset by not taking a shot that I thought was risky? Absolutely! But after getting to know me, and seeing why I do it this way, they no longer question me because they know I do this humanely, and with respect for their land, their crops, their cattle, etc. They used to have a couple other guys go in and shoot everything they saw, and ended up with cattle being shot, hogs left to rot attracting buzzards and coyotes, and then the coyotes would attack their calves when they ran out of dead hogs or gut piles. They haven't had that problem with me once, they won't, and they know it.

The .44 is a great hunting gun, but it could be argued that it is marginal nowadays, since we have things like the .445SM, the .454, the .460, the .500, etc. Then there's the .50 BMG that makes your .458WM and my .45-70 both just look puny, and therefore ineffective, inhumane, and VERY marginal. I'm not trying to start a fight, just saying there's a lot of variables involved. What works for me, with (for now) good eye sight at 37yo, and inside of 50 yards, may seem like a bad joke to you if you are used to shooting at longer ranges and with deteriorating eye sight (as per your post). To me, it sounds like each of us understands our own limits, and respects the game we hunt, but we just do it differently. I don't see a problem with that, and don't see why you seem to get upset when people do things differently than you do. Both our ways are legal, and to me at least, ethical. So why throw rocks?
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 02:41 PM
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Good afternoon
An old Michigan hunter once said.. I your going to hunt corn crunchers with a revolver (that's about all there was back then) use one grain of bullet for every pound of deer you expect to shoot.
Have found that to be very good advice. In a 375 Supermag or a 41 mag or a 414 Supermag and larger generally there is going to be at least a 240 grainer.
East ILLinois and West Indiana deer get very large. I want an exit hole to leak out. Have never recovered one of our cast bullets made of reasonably soft lead and gas checked. All expand and when they exit they leave a very nice "trail" to follow up. Never lost any deer.
So personally with all the "heavy for caliber" bullets available cast and others, why risk hitting a deer with a minimal bullet.
Just our experiences. But every deer I have been called upon to help track and sadly most were never found were all shot with a 357 magnum loaded with a bullet that weighed less than 160 grains. That's the facts.

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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 07:45 PM
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I prefer a 200 gn cast Keith style semi wadcutter over a Winchester factory 296 charge from my 3.5" M28. The heavy bullet drives on through. Most of my shots are under 50 yds but I have taken longer shots successfully. I prefer the heavy load from a shorter barreled revolver for its carry and penetration but as Graybeard mentioned, one of our members preferred the 158 gn load from his revolver (6" I believe) but also liked a 125 gn load from his rifle.
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 06:36 AM
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sure not getting angry. Really don't care what someone else does as long as its legal. All I do is post FACT. Fact that ive learned myself by actually killing deer not facts I gleemed off the internet or from some buddy experience. I post on what I see with my own two eyes. Not from one or two kills but from MANY. If they differ from YOUR experiences then id suggest you use your own experience to decide by. IF they differ from some buddy of your cousin or some self proclaimed handgun expert on the internet then ill say go by whichever floats your boat. Its not me that's going to be tracking those deer or me that has to sleep that night while theres a deer out in the woods dieing a slow death.


As to your skill level I surely cant judge that because I don't know you from adam. My comments conserning the skill level of handgun hunters wasn't aimed at you specifically. I was aimed at the 80 percent of handgun hunters that don't belong in the woods with a handgun. Just like about 80 percent of bow hunters have no business flinging sticks at deer. Now combine that lack of experience and skill with a guy that comes on here and see guys like you claim that 357 is a good deer gun. Basicaly they cant shoot anything bigger because they don't want to put in the time to master the recoil and gain any kind of marksman skills with it and you have a instant recipe for wounding deer. I relate it to a 243. Many hunters buy one as a first gun go out and buy a box of shells and shoot a couple to sight it in and go hunting. They poke away at deer out to 300 yards and end up wounding deer. They go home and blame the 243 and it has gained a rep of not being enough gun for deer. Now take that same 243 and put it in the hands of someone that can shoot a 3 inch group at 300 yards and it magically starts killing deer cleanly.


Same with a 357. Put in the hands of someone that can REALLY shoot and whos put thousands of rounds down range a 357 is a viable deer gun at out to 50 yards. Put in the hands of joe average that thinks hes more of a shot then he is. Whos idea of getting ready to handgun hunt is shooting a total of 2 boxes of ammo (one probably 38 specials) through his gun and heading out in the woods ready to blaze away at a 100 yards and you have a recipe for disaster. Yes the same could be said about the 44 mag. But for the most part recoil keeps those idiots away and the 44 has a tiny advantage on a marginal shot because of deeper penetration and larger wound channel.


These are the reasons till my dieing day you will NEVER see me recommend a 357 as a big game hunting gun. If somehow you take that as a personal insult I apologize. But unless you were in on the design of the round or wrote articles in magazines claiming it was capable of killing anything, I cant see it being personal. Like I said the only personal thing I have against it is I think the cheerleaders here encourage people that don't belong in the woods with a handgun PERIOD to do it with a marginal handgun. I guess I have problems wrapping my mind around why some people feel they need to hunt game with the smallest possible least powerful round they can get away with. I'm just the opposite and you will find me many times in the field hunting deer or black bear with a 300 mag or a linebaugh hangun. Ive never once had a problem due to using to much gun. Cant say the same about not using enough gun. I can tell you many people I know personaly that have shot deer with a 22. Even black bear. If I came on here telling everyone that the 22 is good bear medicine would you sit there and agree or would you want to tell all those inexperienced hunters that maybe Lloyd is smoking crack! Personaly, if it ever gets to the point I cant handle a 41 or 44 mag I will put the handguns back in the safe and take out a good old 06 or something similar and go deer hunting. Use a 357 if you must but both of us know its not an ideal deer hunting round and isn't even a good deer hunting round. Its a marginal deer hunting round that should only be used by very experienced handgunners. So why come here saying any different and why take it personaly when I TELL IT LIKE IT IS.
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Originally Posted by Lonegun1894 View Post
Lloyd,
You're absolutely right that we all should use the best tool for the job, and that we need to be humane regardless of what the target animal is. On another level, we all also hunt differently, in different conditions, at different ranges, etc. And to top it all off, we all have different skill levels, different physical limitations, etc. What about self discipline? As in knowing our limitations, and sticking by them, and NOT taking any shot that is questionable? In my case, and this is fact, not any kind of bragging, I can honestly tell you and everyone here that I have never had an animal get away without being recovered, and my longest tracking job on an animal has been 60 yards. That was with a deer I shot with a bow. My longest tracking job ever, was 8 miles through the woods and fields at night, looking for a criminal, and I found and brought him back too, but that is a different type of tracking. Anyway, depending on how you hunt, different things may be either marginal, or effective. In my case, I have .44s, .45, .45-70s. and various other rifle calibers, and have used them too. A lot of the hogs I have taken were a result of a few of the local farmers/ranchers stopping me when I'm on duty and asking me to stop by their farms after work for a walk and to see if I can take a hog or two. This happens every other week or so. I carry a .357 as a duty gun, so that is what I use. These aren't planned hunts where I have the luxury of going home and grabbing something else and picking and choosing. For the most part, we're talking a walk through some scrub brush, where you usually can't see 50 yards, and often can't see 10 yards, either at dawn or dusk. I DONT take any shot that I have any doubt whatsoever in, and that is why I haven't lost an animal yet, and doing my best to keep it that way. Have I made ranchers upset by not taking a shot that I thought was risky? Absolutely! But after getting to know me, and seeing why I do it this way, they no longer question me because they know I do this humanely, and with respect for their land, their crops, their cattle, etc. They used to have a couple other guys go in and shoot everything they saw, and ended up with cattle being shot, hogs left to rot attracting buzzards and coyotes, and then the coyotes would attack their calves when they ran out of dead hogs or gut piles. They haven't had that problem with me once, they won't, and they know it.

The .44 is a great hunting gun, but it could be argued that it is marginal nowadays, since we have things like the .445SM, the .454, the .460, the .500, etc. Then there's the .50 BMG that makes your .458WM and my .45-70 both just look puny, and therefore ineffective, inhumane, and VERY marginal. I'm not trying to start a fight, just saying there's a lot of variables involved. What works for me, with (for now) good eye sight at 37yo, and inside of 50 yards, may seem like a bad joke to you if you are used to shooting at longer ranges and with deteriorating eye sight (as per your post). To me, it sounds like each of us understands our own limits, and respects the game we hunt, but we just do it differently. I don't see a problem with that, and don't see why you seem to get upset when people do things differently than you do. Both our ways are legal, and to me at least, ethical. So why throw rocks?

sixgun addict

Last edited by lloyd smale; 03-17-2017 at 06:52 AM.
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