Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Northwest Indiana
I have killed a lot of deer with the 357 mag out of a Ruger 77/357. All shots under 80 yards. All one shot and done. All through the boiler room taking out the lungs or heart or both. I have also killed them with a 44 mag and 445 SM. They all died, dead, really dead, I mean dead dead, with similar shot placement.
Frankly it has been my experience that a 357 mag used when actually "hunting" a deer, that means getting close using your stalking skills and actually hunting them, is very effective. Even good sized 250lb midwest bucks have fallen to a well placed 357 mag. The 357 is a superb HUNTING cartridge for deer.
Now I have some spots where I hunt I know that a 357 mag will not work well. That is when I am choosing to play sniper. Then I bring out the 30-06 or 35 Whelen. I have dropped deer at 300 yards. Not a job for the 357 mag, heck not even the 357 max. The 357 is not a SNIPER (long shot).
An excellent bullet is the Hornady 158 XTP out of a rifle up to 150 yards. If you get in close in thick brush the Hornady 180 XTP is very good too. Never had a deer jump and argue with me after shooting it with either bullet.
Remember shot placement is king even with a little ole 22lr or on the other side a 500 WhizBangMagnumBoomer. So shoot what you can handle comfortably. You are also better serveed honing your hunting skills to get close enough to take a high percentage shot.
Then worry about cartridge and the caliber. The 357 is designed to work at close ranges in a pistol, the rifle ups the game.
Oh and when I get home tonight I will dig through some of my reloads and post some proven 357 mag deer hunting rounds that works provided you do your part.
Cartridges for My Entertainment: 22lr, .223 Rem, 30-06, 380 ACP, 38 spcl, 357 mag/max, , 35 Remington, 35 Whelen, 358 Norma Mag, 10mm Auto, 45 ACP. Mmmmkay what project can I do next... oh, I can't right now I am going hunting!