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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #1
I've read of Marshall's success with the .357 in a rifle, and I was wondering who here has shot deer with a .357 handgun?

What load did you use? What were the results like?

How about larger game?

Just curious to see what you all have experienced!

Thanks! Looking forward to your posts...
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Me. Deer only, no hogs yet.

185gr. Beartooth, over a hefty charge of WW296.

They died.

Questions?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Backwards Hick,
Not trying to start a flame war. I just find that I shoot my .357 much more consistently than my .44, and I'm wondering how handicapped I'll be if I use the smaller round.

MikeG, I knew you used a handgun for hunting quite a bit, but couldn't recall if you used the .357. It seems to me that James has used one quite a bit too down in the swamps.
 

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IDShooter,
I've got some loads for my DW 8" .357 that I wouldn't hesitate to use for deer out to 40-50yds with a broadside shot, but it's never the revolver on my hip when I go hunting for deer. They consist of 180gr bullets at about 1250 fps. I like the .41 Mag as the happy medium, which is a little more pleasant to shoot than the .44 and will undoubtedly get the job done as far as I should be shooting with iron sights.
 

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No flame coming from me ---BUT--- My rule of thumb is the smaller the caliber the better one needs to be with placing their shot. You can kill a grizz with a 22 but boy you had better be good with it. Now with that said, one should start out very good with your handgun or what ever your wheapon then work your way up from very good before you go hunting. Now with all honesty is the 357 the best hand gun ? well for some it may be but I'll take my 480 SRH Ruger to seal the deal. O.K. , O.K. maybe a little flame, but someone else will have to fan it.
Bob
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I honestly could not tell the difference in effectiveness between the deer I shot with a .357 and a .44 mag, both using Beartooth bullets.

Sample is too small to draw definite conclusions, but it does work. You have to see the wound channels from the .357 to believe them. Next time, I'll take the camera.

I too shoot the .357 more accurately than the .44, probably due to recoil. Won't hesitate to take it again. The 180gr. cast should punch through about anything in North America.

A few 148gr. wadcutters in your pocket make a great small game round also.

Personal favorite is the Bisley .45 Colt, though. Not as accurate as the .357 but what a hammer!
 

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I have killed several deer with a 357 lever action rifle and two with a 357 pistol with 158gr soft points. Some of the newer 180grs bullets might be better depending of weight of game in your area (Canada Vs Texas sized deer). My deer were both bucks at around 140-150Lbs dressed and one shot was 50 yards and the other about 100 yards both scoped pistols 8" barrel. Both deer were down in less than 40 yards. I have since carried a 41 mag 210 gr bullets in a S&W pistol and love it, but the 357 and a well placed shot should be fine for most deer walking in the woods today.
 

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This is an old debate. The fact remains the deed can be done and will continue to be done. In my experience it's better done with a cast bullet that has an adeqate meplat, as apposed to the average 357's 158 jhp) Placed well by a profecient hunter.
 

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ID:

I’m a little confused. I don’t know if the thread that I read over a year ago is still available, but what I remember is that the hundreds of deer that Marshall took with a .357, were taken with a revolver, not a rifle. At handgun velocities he got full penetration from any angle. Although a rifle gives you more oomph, I think that Marshall concluded that the revolver is more than adequate.

Darrel
 

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Tio,
I think the confusion as to if the .357 is adequate is based on the limited/poor bullet selection that is/was available to shooters who do not load or are don't have the knowledge about what is available. The .357 isn't my choice for deer hunting, but neither is a 6mm rifle. both will get the job done, but I like something a little larger. Also, to further muddy the waters, a .357 can be a 2" snub or a 14" contender, so the blanket statement that it can't be done is misguided.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Marshall did a lot of crop damage control work at night, mostly with a Marlin .357 rifle. Rifle is much quieter than a revolver.

What a rifle buys you is range. The 300-400fps extra velocity adds 100 yards or so to the effective range of the cartridge. At short range you will of course get more of a wound channel from the rifle bullets, but if you hit one at 100-125 yards with the rifle, then the wound is very similar to a short range hit with the handgun (because of course the velocities are similar in that comparison).

And yes bullets make all the difference. You'll get full penetration with a good hard cast bullet in the .357 even from a handgun.

The WFN bullets that you can get now for the .357 have a 0.280" meplat - exactly the same as Elmer Keith's original SWC design for the .44 Special/Mag. And you can run the hard cast .357 at 1200fps or so which by chance is what E.K. was doing with heavy .44 Special loads so many years ago. It should be no surprise that the .357 is quite effective on game from a handgun when used with the correct bullets.

Federal's "Castcore" factory load with a 180gr. WFN is the equivalent of what I load with Beartooth's 185gr. bullet. So, finally, factory ammo has caught up with the handloader's efforts. I believe that Cor-Bon may have some similar offerings.

Now, the gun rags don't recommend the .357. Why not? - because the big jacketed bullet companies aren't making (selling) hard cast bullets, and it would be a little rough on their advertisers to tell the general public how much more effective cast bullets are in that caliber (for hunting) than the jacketed offerings.

Hence the debate is a little one-sided in the gun magazines because some of the truth can't be allowed to get out.

Now, I have nothing against JHPs. If you have found an effective deer load built around a JHP, great. I just found a very effective load built around the WFN bullet and have no reason to look further.
 

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MikeG

Are you positive of Marshall doing that with a carbine? I could swear he said he did it with a Security Six.Maybe we could drag him into this discussion.

Thank You

Darrel
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Well he probably used both, if I had to guess. But, truth be told, if you wanted to do it quietly at night, then a revolver would be about the last choice due to the b/c gap contributing a lot of noise.

Bottom line, it works..... from either the rifle or handgun.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #16
Tio,
Marshall did mention shooting a Security Six so much it shot loose, but it was the depradation work I was thinking of.
 

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I might try my 357 Ruger Blackhawk on deer. If I understand the posts correct, a 158 or 180 grain JHP bullet is best. But, what is a cast bullet. Whatever I use it will be factory. Any suggestions?
 

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AJ,
Cast bullets are made from lead, they are cast in a mould. They are typically made from lead alloys that have lead as the main ingredient along with small amounts of other metals that increase the hardness of the lead alloy to prevent leading and influence other bullet characteristics. Lead bullets can often times be safely driven to velocities, in handguns at least, that are up to 200fps faster than jacketed bullets of the same weight. Lead bullets made for hunting are typically hard and intended not to expand, but to punch a good sized hole all the way through the quarry. That would be a great advantage when using a caliber like the .357, that doesn't normally have the bullet weight and velocity to make that happen with a lighter jacketed bullet.

Federal makes a 180gr Cast Core loading for the .357 which would probably be one of your top choices for hunting with the .357 if factory ammo is all you have to work with.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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The Federal Castcore load would be nearly identical to my handloads.
 

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kciH,

Thanks for the explanation. Now I understand the meaning of a cast bullet. I'll definately try to find the Federal brand.
 
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