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Those who have, share your experiences of hunting white tail w/ 357 handgun

This is a discussion on Those who have, share your experiences of hunting white tail w/ 357 handgun within the Hunting forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I want to hear peoples experiences in using a 357 handgun to hunt (and actually shoot [at]) whitetail. The basic facts I am looking for ...


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Old August 31st, 2016, 04:49 PM   #1
 
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Those who have, share your experiences of hunting white tail w/ 357 handgun

I want to hear peoples experiences in using a 357 handgun to hunt (and actually shoot [at]) whitetail. The basic facts I am looking for are:
-Type of gun used (including barrel length)
-range of shot taken
-success with shot (miss, hit but couldn't track, and if successful, how clean of a kill)

Ive already read all the forums on what people THINK about hunting whitetail with a 357, now I just want to hear actual experiences.

I live in the part of michigan where we cant hunt with rifle, so I have a 12 gauge slug rifle for my main, but I really would like to take a deer with a handgun and am looking into getting a BlackHawk. I already own a few 357s and want to reload that caliber so thats why I'm attracted to a 357, but if success with these is not very high then I will consider a 45LC or 44 mag. This is for 50-75 yards max, anything longer ill just use the 12



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Old August 31st, 2016, 05:10 PM   #2
 
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I have taken numerous deer and hogs with my 7600 remington 30-06 and many wirh my 45 colt blackhawk. I have taken elk with my 30-06 also.
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Old August 31st, 2016, 05:15 PM   #3
 
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I am also interested in what people have to say. I have a 4" gp100 I will be using this year and would also like to know what bullet type is preferable from someone that has actually shot a deer with 357. I know the gun and bullet will do it, I just want to know what will do it humainly.
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Old August 31st, 2016, 06:24 PM   #4
 
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For ammo use something heavy and hot that you are accurate with. Accuracy is the first thing because if you cant hit anything its worthless. I would use a 158 gr expanding round going at least 1300 FPS if it was 40 yds or less, otherwise if theres potential for a longer shot 180 gr hard cast would be the way to go. Possibly even 180 gr HC regardless. buy 2-3 boxes and see what youre good with.

IF I were to hunt with a 357 out of a handgun that would be my methodology. I wouldn't try to take a shot much over 40-50 yds with a 4" barrel. I too have a 4" gp100, and I found a cardboard deer silhouette with the vitals outlined, and stepped back to about that range and hit the target a fair number of times but was all over the place. With some practice I could probably effectively hit a deer at that range in its front 1/3. But this is partially why I am looking into getting a blackhawk with a 6.5-7.5" barrel so with the same practice I can extend that to 65 yds. I also dont own a S/A revolver yet and I got the itch
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Old September 1st, 2016, 03:27 AM   #5
 
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I've shot some armadillos with a 357 mag.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 04:32 AM   #6
 
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I think a minimum 6" barrel is a good idea to squeeze the most out of .357 plus the added sight radius.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 08:34 AM   #7
 
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While I have not used a handgun, I have killed two deer with a 357 Marlin. Both shots were about 25 yards, one ran about 10 yards with a blood trail a toddler could follow, and the other dropped in its tracks. The main thing I learned was a hollow point out of a rifle would explode on impact, but a 158 gr soft point did just fine.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 12:18 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHarold View Post
Ive already read all the forums on what people THINK about hunting whitetail with a 357, now I just want to hear actual experiences.
Kinda ironic to ask on a forum, no?

My actual experience (as a stranger on a forum, giving his thoughts) has been to kill dozens of deer and even more hogs over the last ~20-25yrs with .357mags in rifles and revolvers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHarold View Post
This is for 50-75 yards max, anything longer ill just use the 12
In my experience, you'll be fine at this yardage. Just keep your powder dry and stay within that range. Since you own it, go ahead and use it. I advise people, ardently, against BUYING .357mags for deer hunting, but if 1) you already own it, 2) you are honest about keeping to 50-75yrds, 3) you can place the bullet within the size of a fist at that range in field conditions, and 4) your hunting terrain is such you can successfully track deer anywhere from 50-400yrds, then go ahead. It'll work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHarold View Post
-Type of gun used (including barrel length)
S&W 27 - 6"
Ruger Blackhawk 6.5"
Ruger (original) Vaquero 5.5"
Ruger SP101 - 2.25"
Taurus Tracker - 6"
Marlin 1894 - 18.5"
Winchester 94 Trapper - 16"

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHarold View Post
-range of shot taken
Revolvers 20 - 100yrds
Rifles 40 - 150yrds

Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyHarold View Post
-success with shot (miss, hit but couldn't track, and if successful, how clean of a kill)
I do most of my hunting with handguns. I've not lost a deer yet with a 357mag, but on multiple occasions I had to bring in dogs on a lost blood trail when I didn't get exit wounds - the hits were good, the deer were dead on their feet, but their legs didn't know it yet, the brush was thick, and the small wound cavity without an exit didn't leave much of a blood trail. Hours of tracking later to confirm the shots were good - but the cartridge choice wasn't. Never had that happen with a 44mag yet - it opens cavities and leaves a hole on both sides. I've recovered a high percentage of my bullets when killing with a .357mag <-- which I do not see as a good thing, as I'd rather have an exit wound!!

It works, I wouldn't have kept using it all of these years and wouldn't have killed so much game with it. But I can shoot accurately enough past 150yrds with a revolver to kill deer, and a .357mag only lets me utilize 1/3 to 1/2 of my accurate range, so I recommend against wasting time trying to hunt with one, or wasting money buying .357mags for the purpose of hunting.

The worst part, for me at least - in areas where the shots really are only 50-75yrds, the trees and brush are thick enough such USUALLY if a deer runs 100yrds after the shot, you won't find them. So the conditions dictate short range shots, but they also dictate the need for fast kills for recovery.

Where I tend to use the .357mag to hunt deer: in wide spots on creeks where I have a few acres of trees surrounded by crop ground. It's good cover, so they'll be there, and the shots will be short, but if they keep their legs a while and run, they run along a narrow creek, or out over open crop ground. If I were in 1,000's of acres of thick woods, I wouldn't use a .357mag - I wanna find my quarry.

For any range with the .357mag, I never expect a DRT, instant, knock-em-off-their-feet kill. They're going to be on their feet for a while, just like bow hunting, but since it's short range and a loud revolver, they're going to be running. I've used neck shots occasionally to speed things up, but 90% of my shots are taken at the boiler room. Anything over 60-70yrds, I expect them to travel.

If you want an excuse to buy a 44mag - whitetail deer hunting is a good excuse. The 44mag has more energy left on it at 100yrds than the 357mag does at the muzzle, and a lot more knockdown power. Your legs won't be nearly as tired when you find your game.

For a .357mag, I'm 100% convinced a good revolver can hit deer a lot farther away than it can cleanly and quickly kill them. I'm NOT convinced the same can be said for 44mag - the trajectory at 150-200yrds becomes pretty unmanageable, but it still hits like a truck at that range.

Last edited by Varminterror; September 1st, 2016 at 12:23 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 01:05 PM   #9
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Good advice from Varminterror .... a 357 Mag will easily kill a deer if you can place a shot in the kill zone, however the missing link is what Varminterror said .... you may be tracking them for a long time or may never find them.

Back in the mid-60's, I was stationed at K.I. Sawyer AFB located about 25 miles from Marquette in the UP. I hunted in the Weyerhaeuser tree farm near the Houghton / Hancock area .... tons of whitetails but the jack pines were so dense it was hard to get a decent shot. I hit a nice buck with my Savage Mod 99 308 Win at less than 100 yards and finally found him with his heart shot out a couple hours later. It's really hard to believe how far that deer ran with no heart! I didn't measure it but I'm guessing it was at least 400 yards in a dense forest.

I've carried my Ruger 357 Mag Blackhawk as a sidearm when hunting but I never shot a deer with it nor did I ever try. Mostly because of my experience with rifles where things don't die like they do on TV. I got on a Thompson Contender kick back in the 90's ... two frames and several different barrels. I did kill a nice Muley buck up in the high country of Arizona near Lake Mary. I used a 14" 44 Mag T/C barrel with a Burris 1.5X scope .... a deadly combination. I thought I had missed the shot because the deer just stood there. By the time I got another round chambered, he fell in his tracks. The deer had a hole clean through him .... a Remington 240gr JHP factory load. Over the years, I killed a ton of deer but this was the only one with a handgun.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 03:20 PM   #10
 
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Varmin, one of the guns in your list is a 2.25" sp101? I would like to hear the low down on that! I assume it was a kill, but i'm guessing 25 yards or less?

I have a 3" sp101 that i have a hard time missing with, but I think to go out with high intentions of taking a deer with that gun are unwise.

After sleeping on this, I have been thinking that if I were to purchase a new gun I should get a S/A 44 mag because that is an action AND caliber I do not yet have. If i were to use a 357, I'd probably just use the GP100 I already have.

We just purchased a lot of land next to us in SW Michigan that used to be a corn field, and has high traffic of whitetail. the longest shot I could possibly take given the layout would probably be 200 yds maybe 250. longer than I would like to take with anything under a 10" barrel.

Getting a kill with a revolver (I'm old school, I like old school guns) just seems so appealing. But I strongly believe in minimizing the suffering of the hunted animal so I dont want to under do it with a caliber/gun combination that will affect that too much....hence the purpose of this thread.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 06:42 PM   #11
 
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Lots of practice, preparation, planning, and patience. My wife made the shot, 43yrds, it ran about 50yrds and crumpled in a dry creek bottom. I know it was a Hornady factory load, but I honestly can't remember if it was a 125grn Critical Defense or a 140grn Leverevolution round. Beautifully expanded bullet was stuck under the far side hide, her heart was in pieces, near lung was shredded, far lung was cut in half. Her SP101, a 5764 Talo "Deluxe," is remarkably accurate, and she's able to milk out every ounce of its potential; at 50yrds, she can cover supported groups with her palm. It was a little farther than we wanted, but shorter than we had practiced, and well within her effective range with it. 50yrd velocity on that load was about equivalent to 90-100yrds out of my 7.5" Redhawk, which is what I consider absolute maximum for the potential of the 357mag cartridge on whitetails.

My '06 was on my shoulder before my wife took the shot in the event she didn't go down - it was a mile in any direction before I'd have lost sight of her, but a 150grn CT Ballistic Silvertip can chase one down pretty fast. Lots of practice, preparation, planning, and patience.

Last edited by Varminterror; September 1st, 2016 at 06:51 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2016, 07:03 PM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varminterror View Post
Her SP101, a 5764 Talo "Deluxe," is remarkably accurate, and she's able to milk out every ounce of its potential; at 50yrds, she can cover supported groups with her palm.
Congrats to her! Thats a hell of a shot. That Talo edition isnt accurized or anything is it? 5 shots like that at 50 yards is unreal, even considering just the mechanical accuracy of the gun!
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Old September 1st, 2016, 08:33 PM   #13
 
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Not "accurized," just a factory SP101 machine engraved on the outside by Talo and carrying a fancy price tag. Mrs. Terror likes pretty things.

We started with good stock, before I brought it home, I confirmed all 5 chambers pass a match spec range rod, and the B/C gap is only 4thou. Once I got it home, I added a tuned Wolff spring kit, corrected the throats, worked in a shim set, stuck on a meprolight tritium front sight, corrected the sear angle and contact, finished out a trigger job, shimmed the trigger plunger (not the part you're thinking), honed the chambers, reamed & lapped 11degree forcing cone, lapped the crown, and did an all over internal polish. None of which really makes it more accurate (except the throats & forcing cone), but a few things which make it more shootable.
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 04:35 AM   #14
 
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Not "accurized," just a factory SP101 machine engraved on the outside by Talo and carrying a fancy price tag. Mrs. Terror likes pretty things.

We started with good stock, before I brought it home, I confirmed all 5 chambers pass a match spec range rod, and the B/C gap is only 4thou. Once I got it home, I added a tuned Wolff spring kit, corrected the throats, worked in a shim set, stuck on a meprolight tritium front sight, corrected the sear angle and contact, finished out a trigger job, shimmed the trigger plunger (not the part you're thinking), honed the chambers, reamed & lapped 11degree forcing cone, lapped the crown, and did an all over internal polish. None of which really makes it more accurate (except the throats & forcing cone), but a few things which make it more shootable.
Is that a brownells range rod? I actually had my sp101 sent back to ruger because the lock up on 2 cylinders was quite noticeably looser than on the other 3. Upon return all cylinders very tight--almost seems like its tighter than you would want but I trust Ruger wouldn't mess that up, but along with it they sent a target with a .415" group at 7 yards (translates into ~1.5" @ 25yd) which I cant really complain about. I'd be interested to try a range rod on it just for fun.

and just out of curiosity of Rugers manufacturing/design skills, did the first gun you picked up pass the range rod test or did you have to bounce around and try a couple before you found a winner?
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Old September 2nd, 2016, 08:50 AM   #15
 
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Anyway guys, this debate is over...i did something naughty today....pics to come once it arrives at my FFL
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