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I just bought a model 686 S&W .357 Mag w/a 6" barrel.  What would be the furthest that I should even contemplate shooting whitetail deer?  I'm using a 158 grain hollow point.
 

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I know that lots of folks use HP bullets with perfect success on game using the .357 cartridge.  All I can share with you is an experience elk hunting in the Oregon Cascades using a .357 Ruger revolver.

Got out of the pickup with my hunting partner to overlook a big brushy bowl from some high rimrocks.  The brush was over head high getting to the rock outcropping and we followed game trails to get there.  Since there had been fresh snow on the ground every night for four days, and we hadn't cut a single fresh track, I was lazy, and left my rifle in the truck.  The game trail came to a "T" at the rimrock, and my partner and I each went a different direction to gain different vantage points on the rim.  It was impossible to pass, except in the game trails because of the impenetrably thick brush.  

Shortly after separating, my partner yells "comming your way!"  I heard quick, heavy hoofbeats heading towards me on the trail, and as I realized I didn't have my rifle, I drew my .357 Ruger revolver and around a bend in the trail, about tweny yards from me rushed a very spooked spike bull elk!  I held center of his oncoming chest, and fired three 158g Sierry half-jacket hollowpoints (1981 vintage bullets) at magnum velocities double action from the Security Six revolver.

Not faltering, the bull about-faced and headed back the opposite direction towards my parnter down the game trail.  I yelled "Coming back at you, kill him!"  I heard a quick report of his .270 Winchester, and the returning hoofbeats coming back my way once again!  When the bull came around the bend of the trail once again, I emptied the revolver at nearly point-blank range, and the bull came to a skidding stop on the snow within about six feet of my boots!

My parnter had missed with his snap shot with the rifle, and I had hit the elk five times in the chest (frontal shots of course).  Four of those 158g pills stopped on the brisket!  The fatal shot had entered where the windpipe goes into the chest, had torn up the wind-pipe, the arteries around it, and managed to make it to one lung, but not beyond.

Now, what's my purpose behind this yarn?  Simply this:  I've not seen JHP's work effectively, and consistently on game from field conditions where game is usually taken.  What I can say is this:  I've killed so very many deer on agricultural depredation in Southern Oregon using hard cast 173 to 185 grain bullets, in .357's that I can't recall or count them all.

If using a .357 for deer, and yes, it's plenty of gun out to 100yards with a stout load using heavy hard cast bullets with an appropriately wide meplat.  So far, we've had only one report of a recovered .358"-185g FNGC bullet from game, and it came out of Florida, where it totally penetrated the critter, and was recovered out of a sand bank several inches into the sand!

My pet load that people all across N. America are using sucessfully in their .357's for deer is listed below:

BTB .358"-185g FNGC/16.0g H110/W296/WSPP

This load is a sledgehammer and kills all out of proportion to it's paper ballistics.   Too, you'll have both an entrance and exit wound for tracking a critter if less than perfect shot placement occurs.

Hunt with confidence using your .357 revolver, just use the right bullet for the application.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Marshall, it sounds like you might benefit from a bayonet mount on that .357.....!
 

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I've killed one nice 8 pt. with a .357. Shot himwith my 4" mdl. 19 loaded with a 168 gr. lyman cast swc pushed by 15 grs. of 2400. Deer was walking away from me when I shot. Bullet hit between shoulder blades, ran up spine in neck and lodged behind  his jawbone. He fell dead.

Even so I now use bigger calibers for deer. I consider the .357 a gun of opportunity.
 

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I don't recomemd the .357 for deer. With that out of the way there's been a train load of deer killed with this cartridge. I like the L-358429 for this, as you do. It was the first bullet I cast in 1973. It's a great bullet and one of, if not the most accurate bullet I've ever fired. If you read Elmers stuff and pay atten. he felt the same way though he didn't belabor the point because of his beloved 429421 and the 44 mag. cartridge.

I hunt with two different type people who use the .357 on deer. No.1 is the cast bullet shooter. These guys try to break bone. They use the .357 Keiths I make or the LBT's made my Arch or others. These fellows feel free to take their shot at most angles.

No.2 are a couple of guys that like the 158 JHP's, mostly Winchesters loaded by me. These guys shoot for the area behind the front shoulder. They will shoot angles but try to hit no big bones going in.

Now I don't consider myself an expert. My largest kill with the .357 has been dogs and 0 deer. As long as hunter No.1 and hunter No. 2 get the shots they need and pull the shot off correctly, they both get deer without a lot of tracking. Thus my original statement that 50 yards is far enough and 30 better. Shot placement is of upmost importance and the smaller the weapon the more this bears out. Myself, I mostly use a .44 or .45.
 
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