.357 for Whitetail deer?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Sr. Bang Bang, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. I have a love for Smith and Wesson Revolvers. I purchased a 7" .357 686 plus earlier this year with the intent to hunt White Tail deer in Ohio with it. .357 is the minimum caliber for handgun hunting in Ohio so I know people use it. The salesman at the LGS looked at me like I was an idiot when we started talking about it. He said it was not nearly powerful enough and that the shot would have to be perfect. (for the record, I am a pretty good shot, and I have passed on a few deer with my bow when I wasn't sure if I could make a clean kill).

    So this got me worried that maybe I should have gone with a .44 mag, or (as said salesman suggested) the 460.

    Any input would be great. I would have to skip gun season this year if I find it isn't good enough (I don't mind killing dear, but I dread hurting one and not killing it) due to not budgeting to buy the $1300 460 or $1200 44mag.

    I look forward to hearing your responses.

    Thank you,


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  3. Dalton Wayne

    Dalton Wayne Epic mustache
    Millennium Member

    I killed a buck 20 years ago with a Colt Python 357 mag using police issued ammo, I believe it was hydroshok it's what ammo my PD issued at the time, range was about 25 yards he ran 50 yards then dropped

    OH change your font it's very hard to read

    #2 Dalton Wayne, Sep 7, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2012
  4. A 357 will do it, but as common sense implies keep the range short (50 yards max) with heavy bullet weights and no quartering shots... The .44 mag is considerably more effective, but remove the risky variables and a .357 should yield a good harvest..
  5. I have hunted mule deer with the .357 and I would suggest stickink with an expanding 158 gn. with the longer barrel you will increase the range at which they will expand well and the wieght is a big help in penetration.

    Bear in mind that I have put a 150 gn .308 through, in and out, a blacktail at 25 yds, 0 expansion and the energy went into a hillside, but the deer dropped in it's tracks. It was all about placement.

    Practice untill you can keep every shot on a paper plate at 75 yds from a field position and then try to limit yourself to 50 yds for real.
  6. Travelin' Jack

    Travelin' Jack Misinformed

    357 is plenty. I'd load up with XTP's and get to it.
  7. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Best deer hunting load for a .357 Magnum is probably a 158 gr hard cast semi-wad cutter.

    The .357 Magnum is marginal for deer. It will work. But it wouldn't be my primary hunting handgun. You can buy a good Ruger single action in .45 Long Colt or .44 Magnum for $400-500 and cheaper used.
  8. Thanks everyone for you advice. I'll hunt with it this year and maybe pick up something bigger next year.

    Sorry about the font, I changed it to Times New Roman not sure why it would be hard to read.

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  9. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA


    It is not the preferred setup , but it should be doable. It is all about choosing your shot. I have talked to a couple guys who have taken deer with the 357mag.

    As far as the guys at the LGS, they are trying to sell guns. That being said, I would prefer a .44 or larger hole to start with.
  10. You can buy 180 gr bullets on the shelf or online, but I'd be curious what the velocity is from a short barrel... You could really treat yourself well and buy a .357 lever gun... You would have ammo commonality and the ability to shoot a heavier bullet and much more velocity across the board regardless of bullet weight...

    I haven't been up to date an hip on pistol loads in quite a while, but I think a shoulder rifle .357 is pretty comparable to a hog leg .44 revolver in energy..
  11. Sr. Bang Bang

    I have no idea where you hunt, maybe on private land. Most of the places I have hunted here in Ohio have been on Public Hunting land. You’re lucky to get a clear 50 yard shot without brush getting in your way.

    I used to use a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 Magnum with a 30 mm Red Dot. My dad used an S&W 686 with an 8 3/8 barrel and iron sights. Both handguns performed well. For me, I just preferred a single action for hunting.

    I think you will be fine with the .357 Magnum, or the Ohio Game Commission would not allow you to use it for hunting. They have to start the standards somewhere.
    #10 smokin762, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  12. It's Handgun or shotgun here in Ohio for deer gun season.
  13. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    I wouldn't choose .357, but my cousin, when he was in high school, showed up to deer hunt one year with a 4" Colt Python. He killed his deer, but I believe he used 12 rounds. I don't know whether they were really necessary, he is very excitable in both hunting and gunfights. He is known for shooting until nothing is moving or he is out of ammo.
    #12 Bren, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  14. :shocked: then I laughed at the last part. Wow, we have to use a barrel that is 5" and up here in Ohio. Unless things have changed and I don't think they have, no semi auto handguns either.
  15. Zombie Steve

    Zombie Steve Decap Pin Killa

    I can't believe the salesman was pushing you towards a .460.

  16. Ah yes, I see the error of my ways... I've often been confused about such laws... It's legal I'm assuming to used a rifled slug barrel that are quite impressive to near 200 yards, yet illegal for a lever rifle in a handgun cartridge...

    I do understand you could fill up a wildlife regulations book from cover to cover in an attempt to pinpoint all possible logistics, but these somewhat newer generation slug slingers are very much rifle like.. Sorry for sidestepping the topic, and good luck with the new wheelgun..
  17. Don't forget, we can use a top notch Black Powder rifle with sabot bullets too. But just not one that uses a metalic cartrige. :faint: We don't make the laws. We just have to follow them. :whistling:
  18. I've taken two wild hogs with a Federal 180 grain hard casts from a 4" barrel.
    Deer don't have the armor plate or hide like hogs do.

  19. I am about convinced that the wildlife departments in the different states are issued dartboards with possibilites on them. A blindfold toss of a hand full of darts and "Viola" the game regs for that State.
  20. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    In Kentucky we can use any centerfire handgun, shotgun or rifle (or bow or crossbow). No FMJ ammo and no full-auto for hunting.
  21. Here in Ohio, I can understand us not being able to use a rifle in certain parts like the western part and northeastern part. It’s mostly flat land. But in other parts of Ohio, it has hills just like our neighbor states do.

    This is Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources website pertaining Hunting equipment.


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