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View Full Version : What good is the .357 Magnum rifle for whitetail deer hunting?


periscope_depth
02-24-2005, 10:02 AM
Not sure if the .357 Magnum is even legal to take Whitetail deer in the state of Missouri as I think the minimum is 1,000 foot lbs of energy is delivered to the target be that 25 yards or 250 yards.

Not sure if even the hottest 357 magnum load gets there at the muzzle.

So, does the .357 magnum rifle belong?

I am big believer in the .35 caliber as its a relatively big hole. I am a big believer in Hornady's XTP rounds for large caliber bullets. I am a huge believer in my ability to make an accurate shot and would pass up any shot at or beyond 100 yards.

But the question still exists? Is this enough gun?

How many people use the .357 Magnum as one of their primary deer rifles?

mossie
02-25-2005, 05:48 PM
I have been taking deer with a 6 1/2" 357mag revolver for 20 years now--one shot each--never lost a deer--longest shot a little over 100yds. Use open sights too! Use 180gr/ hollowpoints.

motor
02-25-2005, 11:17 PM
A 357 magnum rifle is too much for whitetail deer.. in my opinion a 270 is the rifle to use...i hunt with a 44 magnum handgun at times and it is deadly, if you hit them.to be honest i have missed with the hand gun..

RatherBHuntin
02-26-2005, 06:51 PM
A friend told em a story of a hunt of his from many years back. He was going up a tree stand, had already tied his rifle to a rope and pulled it up and tied it off. He was in the process of climbing up and a deer walked up on him but didn't see him. He said he had a .357 on his hip so he pulled it, wrapped his legs around the tree and one arm, then took aim and shot the deer at about 20 yards at a severe downward angle from one shoulder to the other. He said all four legs went out from under it and he didn't even twitch, DOI. 357 worked for him.

Jay Edward
02-27-2005, 10:02 PM
Well...not trying to get 'off topic' but I had a similar experience. I had unloaded my flintlock and was headed home. Yup! A nice buck presents himself. I drew my 1860 Army (loaded with roundball) and took the buck.

Now...my point. The cap & ball pistol I was using was certainly not the equal of the .357 Mag...but it did the job. However...I regard the handgun shot I took as making use of available equipment on a target of opportunity. While I have purposely hunted deer with a .45 Colt handgun I do not believe that I would purposely hunt with a .357 Magnum rifle. This is personal opinion and does not mean that hunting with such a cartridge is wrong (from my point of view) just that there are more reasonable cartridges available which would not require the maximum limits imposed by the .357 cartridge.

periscope_depth
02-28-2005, 10:17 AM
Motor:

I would guess you meant to say that the .357Magnum isn't enough gun for a smallish whitetail deer as we have in East Central and South Central Missouri.

My goodness.....if you are being serious when you say that a .270 is more gun that a .357magnum then I'd like you to make your point a bit more obvious.

In any case.......I guess it is almost like the 22LR theory. Even an Elephant will go down if hit in the right spot with the lowly 22.

Can you kill a deer with a .357Magnum? Sure...

You can also kill one with a slingshot or a sharp stick.

Just wanted to know what you all thought about the .357Magnum in a lever action rifle for a reliable caliber for hunting whitetail deer up to (but not beyond) 100 yards.

Brad Jerman
03-03-2005, 11:59 PM
Call me a traditionalist, but I think .357 is a great pistol round. If you want a rifle, buy one chambered in a rifle round. 30-30 comes to mind as something comparable. If you want to shoot a short rifle with a handgun round, I would opt for the .44, but again... I wouldn't. If you are allowed to shoot a rifle in your state take advantage of that, and shoot a rifle cartridge. For a "bush gun" a slug shot gun is the better choice.

.270 is a great whitetail round. I think all-time best. .30-06 is great too and more versatle.

TommyTsunami
03-06-2005, 03:17 AM
Tisk, tisk. It's so funny how often people choose to argue about the power of different cartridges and bullets. You have those who want to use "cannons" for whitetail or .223 for elk. However, it seems like most feel you have to shoot the biggest thing possible or the hardest kicking gun you can handle to kill big game. Here in Oregon, anything under a .300 mag is considered lightweight for most guys I talk to.

I'm into Cowboy Action Shooting so I own a Uberti .357 Cattleman single action revolver and a Winchester Legacy 94 in .357 (lever action, 24" barrel). I have killed blacktail (yes, I know they are small) and mulies with the rifle. I've killed blacktails with the revolver as well. All these deer were as dead as those killed with .300 and 7mm mags. The last I heard, dead is dead. The mulie I killed was at 95 yards with one lung shot with a 180 grain cast bullet. He jumped and stumbled about 10 yards and dropped. The blacktails have been dropped like bricks with 125 and 158 grainers.

I will continue to hunt and harvest deer with my "puny" .357 and will do it like I do every time, with ONE shot. I even plan on getting an elk this season with that same combo that got me an eastern Oregon mule deer.

If you want to try a great "old west" type gun for hunting, don't overlook the .357! Just know how to shoot! By the way, I recommend that skill even for those who choose to hunt with the big magnums!:D

Brad Jerman
03-06-2005, 01:11 PM
What would we debate besides cartrides and calibers?

:rolleyes:

periscope_depth
03-07-2005, 11:52 AM
I have heard people having very good luck with the .357Magnum in other threads.

One guy is convinced that it will be his primary elk rifle and load when the season comes up this year. Amazing.......spending the time and money to hunt elk....the cost of the tags, the week or ten days in the field and expense of all of the other equipment. That magical moment occurs and your elk...that big bull or the nice cow with 1,000 pounds of delicious meat for the freezer.

And the shot you'll ask your .357 magnum to deliver is a 220 yard broadside shot.

An "easy" shot with a 30-06 or a 7mm Mag. 220 yards is perfect range for the 7mm-08 or the 7mm Mauser. Heck, I'd even take the shot with a premium grade .260 Rem bullet. No way do I risk it with a .357 Magnum.

Or for that matter....a 100 yard shot but the shot is quartering away.

You only have ONE angle and one distance with the .357 Mag. Within 50 yards broadside.

OUCH.

I have no idea what we would discuss if we couldnt talk cartridges and rifles/pistols. Isnt this a great country?

Violator22
03-07-2005, 02:49 PM
.357 is nowhere near enough for elk, fine for deer at 100 Yards, I use no less than 300 Savage on Elk, but I am going to use my 303 savage this year, should be fine for out to 200 yards. .357 is a good brush gun for deer, but not for a distance shooting, same as any one of the pistol rounds. I agree with Tommy dead is dead, but the clean kill is what you want, I can't stand seeing a critter suffer because of a bad shot. Just my .02. Les

periscope_depth
03-13-2005, 09:19 PM
I am not totally familiar with the really heavier weight bullets for the .22 caliber centerfire rifles.

I do know that there are one or two manufactures that make heavier jacketed bullets.

If driven to a high enough velocity with the range being no further than 100 yards...does a heavy jacketed .223 bullet suitable for a smallish whitetail?

Just asking.

Violator22
03-13-2005, 09:34 PM
Yes, you can drop a deer with a high velocity 223, heck, back in 1912 up to late 1930. Savages 22HP was considered a premiere deer round. High velocity 22 caliber bullets tend to turn their impact point into jello, as long as you don't hit any major bones. 22 HP was used in Africa in the Early 1900's for all sorts of Deer and Elk sized game.

147 Grain
05-31-2005, 06:59 PM
Plan on taking a 357 Magnum Ruger Security Six as a backup gun for deer hunting and will stock it with Winchester Supreme 180-gr. Partitions.

periscope_depth
07-03-2005, 03:41 PM
Yeah, a revolver as a back-up arm for deer hunting. Makes sense but truly...if you need to "finish" a deer....a deer rifle can do it as surely as a revolver or even a .22 long rifle. No need to take a seperate arm to finish a deer.

My question was more to the point. As you can purchase a .357 Magnum in a lever action rifle....how many (if any) would actually BUY this rifle in this cartridge and USE it as a primary hunting arm? How many would take this to the woods and sit on your deer stand KNOWING that any shot past 50 yards would be marginal at best?

How many would take this rifle to the woods on the last day of deer season knowing that success or failure could come down to passing up (or taking) a questionable shot?

Just wondering.

periscope_depth
07-03-2005, 03:45 PM
Lastly....anyone out there who can say (with confidence) that it is the arm you use season after season without any problems, dissapointments or lost animals?

I am asking the question because I LOVE mild shooting, handly rifles. I think it would be SO COOL to use a .357 Magnum if you could get away with it.

My deer stand normally does not involve a shot over 50 yards. Talk to me....anyone?

Daryl
07-03-2005, 04:14 PM
pd,

You can get away with it. The .357 in a rifle is very capable of killing whitetail deer at the ranges you mention. Like any other caliber, place your bullets well and you should have no problems.

Az

Rick
07-05-2005, 11:50 AM
Why not buy a Marlin in .35 Remington and be good to go? That round is definitely sufficient for deer and is a mild one to shoot. I would feel much better with it, knowing that I could take just about any angle of shot confidently.

Hog Hunter
07-06-2007, 12:41 PM
Is this enough gun?

How many people use the .357 Magnum as one of their primary deer rifles?

I use my Marlin 357 as one of my primary hog rifles. I hunt from a tree blind with shots from 15 to 35 yards in heavy woods (Central Florida). I have taken hogs up to 300 pounds without a hitch. The only time I needed a second shot was when I screwed up the first one. I rarely screw up the first with my 357 because it shoots so sweetly. Hardly any kick with a fairly mild muzzle blast (I am very sensitive to both). I rarely bring out my other rifles (308, 30-06, 45-70, etc.). My other favorite is a CZ in 223. I have never had anything run after being shot with it. I don't think I would take either one moose hunting, but I'll bet that I could do it. :confused:

I am thinking about getting a 357 barrel for my NEF single shot, just for fun. I just may get a 45 Colt barrel for it, too, to try it on hogs. In fact, get a NEF Handi-rifle in 45-70 and then send it in to get an accessory barrel in 357 ($102) and you will pay less than the cost of a new Marlin 357 and be armed for anything from small game (38 specials) to Moose (heavy 45-70 loads).:biggthumpup:

nrthrn_maine_hunter
07-09-2007, 12:40 AM
pd,
to answer your ? in short - NO I would not feel confident with it and couldnot force myself to do it. I would much rather my ability level limit my shot than have a gun limit me.
God is Love
NMH

moto520
11-22-2007, 12:34 PM
Hello guys I just joined as I was looking for some info on using a 357 rifle for whitetail.
Here in Indiana this is the first year one can hunt with a handgun round in a rifle.
I usually use a 12 gauge with sabot slugs and always had great success . Took 4 this past weekend.
I want accuracy out to about 100 yards better than my Ithaca .
I like the idea of using the taurus Thunderbolt chambered in 45 colt for this but I also see they make a 357 .
I talked to a guy that bagged a whitetail at 125 yards with a 357 marlin and 20 inch barrel blowing out a shoulder.
We have big deer here as its all corn and bean field so they are well fed.
The taurus is like a colt lightning with the pump action , comes with a affordable price holds 14 rounds and has a 26 inch barrel.
I wish it came chambered for the 44 mag but its 357 or 45 colt.
Any thoughts??
We cant use high powered rifles here in Indiana.
Darren

Stryker
11-23-2007, 08:43 AM
Hello guys I just joined as I was looking for some info on using a 357 rifle for whitetail.
Here in Indiana this is the first year one can hunt with a handgun round in a rifle.
I usually use a 12 gauge with sabot slugs and always had great success . Took 4 this past weekend.
I want accuracy out to about 100 yards better than my Ithaca .
I like the idea of using the taurus Thunderbolt chambered in 45 colt for this but I also see they make a 357 .
I talked to a guy that bagged a whitetail at 125 yards with a 357 marlin and 20 inch barrel blowing out a shoulder.
We have big deer here as its all corn and bean field so they are well fed.
The taurus is like a colt lightning with the pump action , comes with a affordable price holds 14 rounds and has a 26 inch barrel.
I wish it came chambered for the 44 mag but its 357 or 45 colt.
Any thoughts??
We cant use high powered rifles here in Indiana.
Darren

Moto,
IMHO, the .357 is more than adequate for white tailed deer. Here's a linke to a previous thread where it was discussed as well as a photo of a buck I took with my winchester .357.
http://www.thehunterslife.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6479 (http://www.thehunterslife.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6479)

This is a rifle we're talking about and not a pistol. The .357 and .45 Colt out of a rifle barrel are completely different rounds. The combination of a sealed breech and long barrel really makes these rounds perform. The .357 can be loaded up to 30-30 levels, and with a heavier bullet, and the .45 Colt can be loaded to surpass .44 mag levels. There are several articles I have found online with these hotter loads that folks hunt with.

moto520
11-23-2007, 10:35 PM
Im actually considering the new ruger 99/44 deerfield if they actually are bringing it back.
Thanks for the info

gitano
12-01-2007, 11:45 AM
Here is the QuickLoad-derived external ballistics for the .357 Magnum with the bullet that delivers the most energy at the greatest range:

Bullet:180 Barnes TSX
Powder: Min 296
Barrel length: 24"
Muzzle velocity: 1955 f/s
Muzzle Energy:1527 ft-lbs
100 yd Energy:1244 ft-lbs
150 yd Energy: 1121 ft-lbs
200 yd Energy: 1009 ft-lbs

Using what many consider as a "ruler" for sufficient energy to kill a white-tail cleanly as 1000 ft-lbs, this cartridge/bullet/barrel length combination delivers that 1000 ft-lbs out to 200 yds. HOWEVER, I wonder if the TSX would open up as it is designed to at a the 200-yd impact velocity of 1589 f/s?

If you're going to consider a .357 "pistol" cartridge for a rifle, why not the .357 Maximum? Using it, the max range at which 1000 ft-lbs of energy is delivered is extended to beyond 300 yds (1050 ft-lbs) with an impact velocity at 200 yds of 1800 f/s.

Paul

Paul Hoskins
12-01-2007, 07:21 PM
I have made up four rifles in 357 pistol rounds over the years. Two BSA Martini Cadets, one '92 Win. and one on a homemade SS action. I killed two deer with the BSA's and one with the 92 Win. All were killed using 125 gr. jacketed bullets only because I got more velocity with them. My brother used one of the BSA's to kill his first deer. We didn't shoot any at distances over 75 yards but only because we didn't see any at longer distances. We never had any problems killing deer with them. Out to 150 Yards I wouldn't hesitate to use the 357 in a rifle for deer. One of the BSA's was extremely accurate with 38 Special cartridges and 148 gr. cast wadcutter bullets using 13 grs. Hercules 2400 powder...............Paul H

Rries
10-06-2008, 09:22 PM
Periscope Depth Wow where to start. My dad used to go hunting with some guy named Roy and Dad used to sell his rifles. Out of this I got a Weatherby 257 magnum with my initials on it. Needles to say I could not hunt with this rifle for fear of scratching it. As a kid I traded a half dead calf for a little 357 rifle. Everyone has a 270 or a 30-06 for a near perfect all around hunting rifle. Then the hope of an Africa hunt and a 375HnH shows up on the rack. Then the fever hits and a specific rifle for specific type of hunting comes to mind. The middle ground is covered the high end is usually covered with some type of mega magnum but what about the lower end. I believe the 357 rifle fills this bill very well. Now back to a day in the life growing up in MT. I would wake up go out to the CJ2 and grab the 357 ck barrel load it up with bird shot and go into the barn and shoot pigeons that were crappin all over the combines. Then outside (2 notches up on rear sight) load it up with 38spec 148grain wadcutters and attempt to shoot some pesky cats. It would make a nice pop so mom would not wake up and realize what I was doing. Hop into the Jeep to fence or some kind of work, load it up with full house 170grain Keith style bullets and hope I would see that massive 7 pointer or maybe get to split another coyote in half.
Not enough for deer? Has anyone looked at the original 30-30’s load and it was considered a bear killer. I have killed 30 mules’ whitetails and one elk with this rifle. One of those deer was out to 200yards.
Let’s compare some store bought stuff. Buffalo bore 357 180 grain bullets; they leave my 18 inch barrel around 2000fps. A 170 grain 30-30 leaves a 22inch barrel at 2200fps. A 357 is about 30% wider before expansion and 10% heavier. The 30-30 wins velocity by 10% but I can throw a ball 200fps. 35rem due to its low pressure is pretty much the same. Comparing same 158grain bullet. Some people may say the BC is better but at 150yrds this is miniscule. Choose a median gel wet news paper and you will see why it works so well. The 357 is a hand loaders dream and it is cheap. My brother and I would sit and shoot over a thousand rounds at small rocks at around 200yrds every Sat. This is the only thing that really matters in hunting the accuracy of the shooter ,um……practice. Most reload manuals are using fast burning pistol powders which really limit the potential. Thanks to cowboy action slower burning powders like Hod LilGun are using the full potential and keeping pressure well within limits and velocity higher.
I have moved around a lot, an army thing and I still like Mt the most but now that I live in WI the 357 is all I use. I do like showing up the neighbor and his new 300Win short magnum. I bounce between 180 to 158 but the 125 is made to be frangible and not over penetrate so it would not be a good choice for deer.
I blab a lot but there are many other writers on the web that have taken a serious look and agree with me. Get it and you will be very happy.

donaldstop
12-08-2008, 05:21 PM
I have harvested 3 whitetail deer with a Marlin 357 magunu rifle. I used 158 grain jacketed soft points. All 3 deer were taken with 1 shot. These were well placed shots at 30 to 40 yards and were broadside shots. All 3 deer ran about 30 to 40 yards before they droped. I used this gun because the property owner would not allow anybody to hunt with a high powerd rifle. I never had a wounded deer escape. These are the only 3 shots I have ever fired at deer with this gun. The 357 can do the job but I recomend a 30/30 at least if you are going to spend you money. I may have been lucky.

donaldstop
10-12-2009, 07:29 PM
I have killed 3 whitetail deer in KY with a Marlin 357 magnum rifle. All 3 deer were killed with 1 broadside heart / lung shot each. These are the only deer that I have shot at with my 357. I have never had one get away with this gun. I use 158 grain jacketed soft points. All 3 ran about 30 to 40 yards after being shot. The distance of the shots ranged from 30 to 50 yards. The owner of the property did not want any high powered rifles used but would allow the 357 that is why I hunted with it. Its a good gun for a kid because it is short and dont kick. It is my favorite all around rifle because of it's small size, low kick, fun to shoot and will get the job done. I refer to it as my urban assult rifle. I dont care much for pistols. If you are going to buy a rifle for deer hunting I would choose at least a 30-30 but the 357 will kill a deer with a well placed shot.

Paul Hoskins
10-12-2009, 09:16 PM
Donaldstop, welcome to THL. If you're from Ky., what part do you live in? .....Paul H

bowhunter 51
10-13-2009, 07:48 AM
If you are going to buy a rifle for deer hunting I would choose at least a 30-30 but the 357 will kill a deer with a well placed shot.

If I had one, I'd use it..I get close shots on whitetail in
the cane breaks here in the hedge rows & bottoms of
west Tennessee all the time.......................................BH51..

Alboy
10-13-2009, 07:57 AM
Rries and donaldstop

Wanted to say welcome to THL and hope you join in the conversations more.

donaldstop
10-13-2009, 03:26 PM
Donaldstop, welcome to THL. If you're from Ky., what part do you live in? .....Paul H


Hi Paul, I live in Kenton County (Northern KY)

donaldstop
11-15-2009, 06:14 AM
[quote=donaldstop;98180]I have killed 3 whitetail deer in KY with a Marlin 357 magnum rifle. All 3 deer were killed with 1 broadside heart / lung shot each. These are the only deer that I have shot at with my 357. I have never had one get away with this gun. I use 158 grain jacketed soft points. All 3 ran about 30 to 40 yards after being shot. The distance of the shots ranged from 30 to 50 yards. The owner of the property did not want any high powered rifles used but would allow the 357 that is why I hunted with it. Its a good gun for a kid because it is short and dont kick. It is my favorite all around rifle because of it's small size, low kick, fun to shoot and will get the job done. I refer to it as my urban assult rifle. I dont care much for pistols. If you are going to buy a rifle for deer hunting I would choose at least a 30-30 but the 357 will kill a deer with a well placed shot.[/quote

I'm back again. Opening day 09 my 11 year old son just harvested his first 2 deer ever and did it with the 357. Both were 40 yard shots, one shot for each deer, one ran about 15 yards and the other about 30 yards before dropping. That puts my 357 at 5 and 0 for whitetail deer.

Daryl
11-15-2009, 07:30 AM
Donaldstop,

Congrat's to you and your son, and thanks for the input!

Daryl

Alboy
11-15-2009, 09:25 AM
If you have the time and inclination flesh out that story a touch more and pics are always appreciated