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Discussion Starter #1
I am planning on deer hunting for the first time this fall and I am planning to purchase a new weapon. I am in Indiana and the legal firearms are listed below, they are mainly pistol calibers. I have a couple of shotguns that I could try and hunt with but they are of the personal defense type and would yield poor results at a distance. I would like to purchase a .357 magnum rifle, possibly a Marlin model 1894 which should be good to at least 100 -125 yards with a decent scope and proper ammunition. My only concern is stopping power and would like to know if anyone has any experience hunting with a .357 Mag rifle. I have all the reloading equipment and supplies for .357 and would really prefer not to have to move up to a .44 Magnum and buy the reloading supplies for another caliber.



Legal Firearms in Indiana
Shotguns, handguns, rifles with legal cartridges, muzzleloading long guns and muzzleloading handguns are legal during the firearms and special antlerless seasons. Only muzzleloading firearms are legal during the muzzleloader season.

Hunters may carry more than one type of legal firearm when hunting during the firearms and special antlerless seasons only. Shotguns must be 10-, 12-, 16- or 20-gauge or .410 bore loaded with slugs or saboted bullets. Rifled slug barrels are permitted. Combination rifle-shotguns are not allowed.

Muzzleloading firearms must be .44 caliber or larger, loaded with a single bullet of at least .357 caliber. Saboted bullets are allowed, provided the bullet is .357 caliber or larger. A muzzleloading firearm must be capable of being loaded from only the muzzle. Multiple-barrel muzzleloading long guns are allowed.

Rifles with cartridges that fire a bullet of .357-inch diameter or larger; have a minimum case length of 1.16 inches; and have a maximum case length of 1.8 inches are legal to use only during the deer firearms and special antlerless seasons. Some cartridges legal for deer hunting include the .357 Magnum, .38-.40 Winchester, .41 Magnum, .41 Special, .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .44-.40 Winchester, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .458 SOCOM, .475 Linebaugh, .480 Ruger, .50 Action Express, .500 S&W, .460 Smith & Wesson, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf.

Handguns, other than muzzleloading, must have a barrel at least 4 inches long and must fire a bullet of .243-inch diameter or larger. The handgun cartridge case, without the bullet, must be at least 1.16 inches long. Full metal-jacketed bullets are not permitted. The handgun must not be a rifle that has a barrel less than 18 inches or be designed or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder.
 

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Not with a 357 rifle but I have taken a few with a 357 hand gun 6 inch barrel at some impressive distances.
 

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I use a 24" rossi and have claimed 2 antelope but for mule deer I prefer a little more power. If I had to use the rossi I wouldn't hesitate on a larger deer but since I have other options I prefer them.
 

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I've got a Henry BigBoy in .357. It's a little heavy for brush...but shoots incredibly well! I've dropped big whitetail on the spot. No need for a scope if your eyesight is ok... I use Buffalo Bore 158 gr. JHP's when hunting...as I recall, you'll get over 2000 fps out of your Marlin...should take anything under 150 yards...
 

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Should work just fine. Plenty of velocity and like you said, with the right bullet, it'll take them down. If it were me, and it's just a personal preference, I'd go .44 mag, even 45 Colt. But only if you're loading yourself. Good luck and I hope you enjoy whatever you purchase!
 

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Back in about 94 I took a nice 6 pointer with a rossi 20" using IMI 158 Grain Soft Points. Took one step and dropped like a rock
 

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I have never killed a deer with a .357, but have no doubt that it would work fine. As is true of all calibers, bullet placement is the key. I am assuming that you will be hunting Whitetail, which is a much larger deer that the Blacktail we have here in Northern California. If I only wanted one rifle (perish the thought!) and I had to choose between the .44 and the .357 for your application, I would hands-down choose the .44 Magnum. (P.S. I own both.)
 

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As is true of all calibers, bullet placement is the key.
^^^ THIS! ^^^
It is not legal nor advisable and I would never encourage it, BUT balistically speaking, with EXCELLENT shot placement, you can drop a deer with a .22. It is a one in a million shot and the other 999,999 outcomes result in a miss all together if you are lucky and a badly maimed and suffering animal if you don't.

So I know this isn't about the lowly (and ever elusive) .22 and deer hunting. And I don't want to deviate the discussion into a whole debate about deer and .22 but I say that to make the point that the shooter drops the deer, not the bullet. Some bullets (308, 7mm Mag, 300WSM come to mind) mean you just have to be a less accomplished shooter. By less accomplished, I mean you don't have to get as close, can shoot through more cover / brush, and have a larger kill zone for shot placement.

For a heavy .357 projectile with a hot load behind it, I think you will be in the intermediate range out to 100 yards and maybe 150. I've heard of some people pinging steel targets at 200 with it sighted just right, so you do have some legs left in that round at distance, but your velocity starts to wane off a bit and you have to be a better shot to drop the deer. Keep in mind that that is an extra 50 yards of wind and cover you have to shoot through, so that brings me back to the original point - the shooter drops the deer, not the bullet.

Ammo .357 Magnum Buffalo Bore 180 Grain Hard Cast LFN-GC Bullet 1400 fps 20 Rounds 19A/20
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for sharing your opinions and experience. I think I will probably go with the .357 I have a good amount of supplies for reloading which will allow me to get plenty of practice in. I will probably buy some of the Buffalo Bore ammo for hunting the first time out and work up some nice 170 or 180 grain loads of my own to test out as time allows.
 

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As suggested already the 44 mag is the way to go. You can load down the 44mag to 44 special levels if the recoil is to much or just use 44 specials. I've never seen a load that will bring the 357 up to 44mag power levels.

I've shot at least 15 plus deer with a 44mag, most with a S&W 629, some with a Ruger 96/44. Most haven't run more than 20 yards and I've NEVER lost a wounded deer once shot with a 44 mag. Massive wound cavity with lots of blood for easy tracking.

I've never thought the 357 as a hunting cartridge. Just to small, like a 9mm, 355 diameter vs 357??
 

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Back in my youth, my next door neighbor's dad took two deer every year with a 44 Mag pistol. But then he had some crazy vision like 20/5 or something. It gave him headaches a lot but he said he'd take it all year long just to make it to deer season.

Personally I LOVE the 357 round. It is an excellent and versatile pistol round and can make a great rifle / carbine round. Some of the hotter loads come close to 30-30 performance and more deer have been taken in the USA on a 30-30 lever gun than any other weapon. So with a very similar bullet (balistics) and the same platform there should be nothing wrong with 357. But then again there is nothing wrong with 5.56, 7.63, 44Mag, S&W 500, what ever you practice with and become proficient with will be a great round.
 
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