Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

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Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby 8uck5nort » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:39 pm

Just to preface. Indiana game laws only allows us pistol calibers for our rifles during firearm season. The pistol case length must meet certain length requirements and the bullet dimaeter must be .357 to .50. In additon we may use shotgun and .45 or greater cal. ML during our firearms season.

I have a .357 mag bolt action rifle and hand loaded my own .357 mag cartridges this year. I worked through various loads prior to seaseon and had what I thought was a sure knock down load that was very accurate through said rifle.

First deer I shot was a doe at about 60 yards and I hit it roughly in center mass. I actually saw the impact on the side of the deer through scope. It ran back the way it came for about 50 yards, stopped and looked back. Stood there for about 30 seconds and then flagged its tail and took off down the trail it had materialized from. I waited about 20 minutes or so, got down and found absolutely no sign of blood at the shot site. I spent three hours criss crossing the trail and eventually found one small puddle of blood about 125 yards up the trail. Did not recover this deer.

Next deer I shot with this rifle I decided to take a head shot. Hit the doe at about 20 yards and it dropped in its tracks. From now on when using the .357 mag I plan on head shots or a shot placement similar to a archary shot into the vitals.

I guess my question is are any of you Indiana hunters using the 357 mag for deer and what have been your experience and/or results? Do you have a cartride preference with better terminal performance?

My immediate impression is the .357 mag is too small and/or light for distance shots at body mass. I figured it would be like shooting a 50 cal ML or 410 guage and pretty much drop them after a short sprint, but my first experience proved this was not the case.

Input appreciated.
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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby 2tonyb » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:37 pm

I've only shot one deer with a .357mag.  It's been many years ago.  It was a doe.  I don't recall a whole lot but I can tell you this.  I was very disappointed with bullet penetration.  I shot the doe twice and neither bullet passed through.  After that I switched to a .44 mag.  After shooting a doe with the .44 I decided to stop pistol hunting.  I didn't care for blowing my ears out!  I know you can wear hearing protection, but I don't care to do that while hunting.  Nowadays there are so many options, but I stick to my bow and muzzloader. By the way, my .357 was a Dan Wesson with interchangeable barrels...I used a 15" barrel for hunting.  It was very accurate.

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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby Bryan78 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:07 am

I agree with Tony.  If you are going to use a handgun cartridge to deer hunt, then go with a 44mag if you can afford to upgrade, you will have better results.  Happy Hunting.

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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby dgirt » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:11 am

Something you can do is rechamber to the 357 maxium. It will gain you a couple hundred fps.
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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby John1961 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:43 am

I went with the 44 mag Marlin a few years a go. I love it. 
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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby RUT JUNKEY » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:44 pm

I use a Ruger .44 mag and it does an excellent job, my Dad uses a .357 mag rifle and has killed several nice bucks and does with it.  The only problem I see with the .357 is that not every shot is a complete pass through if it is at a good distance.

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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby hunter480 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:31 pm

Certainly, the .357 magnum is easily enough bullet for white-tails. As with any round, whether defensive, or hunting, placement is vital, and it sounds as though, by your own account, you didn`t make a good shot on the doe you watched run away. I know several hunters in Indiana who hunt with the .357 mag round, and they all love it, and have been highly successful with the round.....c`mon....we have 12 year olds killing huge white-tails with the .410 slug........
Next time, be patient...and nope, a head-shot isn`t necessary......just a cool head, and decent shooting skills.
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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby hunternaf » Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:09 am

how heavy of a bullet are you loading and do you have a chronograph to verify the velocity, do you know the balistics quoficient, 357 bullets are pretty light and most pistol bullets are not arodynamic, most are designed to expand at certain velocities. if you were asking about a rifle most people would say you need 1000 fp of energy for a good efficient kill, your 357 probably has about 700fp of energy and sheds it pretty fast. If you can get the best bullet for your purpose (I like Barnes Xpb for my 41 mag ruger bh and 45 lc win 94) and limit your shots to reasonable distances that you can be sure of accurate hits you are doing everything possible to quickly and cleanly kill your quarry and occasionally you run into a stubborn animal that does not cooperate or something goes wrong
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RE: Indiana Hunters: 357 mag performance

Postby D A Smith » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:03 am

I shot 1 deer with a 357 magnum, it was a 4 inch barrel and the shot was at about 30 yards.  I used Federal 158 Hydrashok holllow points and hit just behind the shoulder.  Deer fell immediately and I walked over to it and shot it in the head to finish it off.  The original shot would have probably been enough but, I don't believe in any suffering.  The deer was standing and gave me the perfect aiming point.  So my experience was a textbook one shot stop.  I would only use a 357 magnum when the right conditions are there.

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