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View Poll Results: which is better for whitetail deer

Voters
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  • hot .357 magnum

    5 5.75%
  • mild .44 swc

    82 94.25%
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Thread: Hot .357mag vs mild 44mag for deer hunting

  1. #21
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    The 44 load mentioned is over 1,000fps. With an alloy of around 30 to 1 that should put a deer right down on the spot from a tree stand. Gp

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
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    They will both work, the 44 load is easier for me to shoot well.And not so LOUD! I like that it works even without expansion too.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


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    I agree with Jmort, you don't need hot in either with a WFN.
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  4. #24
    Boolit Master
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    Over fifty with the .357mag and about a dozen with the 44mag. The only deer I ever lost with a handgun was with the 44mag. Reason? I made a bad shot that time. Either one will be effective when the bullet is put on target. My preference is the .357mag simply because I shoot it a lot more and really like the cartridge. It all comes down to where you hit, not what you hit it with. My preferred load is a 158g Hornady XTP over a max charge of WW296. Second preferred load is a 180g Hornady XTP over a full charge of WW296. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  5. #25
    44, slow and devastating.
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  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    I voted .44, but ONLY because you said you wanted to use a cast .44 or a JACKETED HP .357. If both were cast SWC/WFN or anything else with a decent meplat, I would say it doesn't really matter, as it's the placement that matters. I just have a hard time trusting a lot of .357 Mag jacketed HPs to penetrate as much as you may need out in the field. The penetration concerns go away with cast SWC, as I have taken enough deer and a lot of hogs with both, and more with the .357, so have full faith in both. Now I know some above mentioned bison, and other game bigger than deer, but the OP specifically said deer, so while I would definitely prefer a .44 over a .357 for penetration purposes on bison, it just doesn't matter when we're talking about deer/hog size game. So if the OP is willing to change the bullet choice to using cast in both calibers, I would say just go with whichever you shoot best. Both are great options.

    Now the references to the louder muzzle blast with a hot .357 or a mild .44 are very valid. If you load both to similar pressures, that concern does away, but I'm one of those who doesn't think we need to load anything with max loads to achieve our goals.
    I passed my last psych eval, how bout you?

  7. #27
    Boolit Man
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    Well, since the only choices were .357 Mag and . 44 Mag. I go with the .44 Mag. However, I would actually prefer the .41 Mag and a good 250 gr LFN at about 1100 to 1200 over the others. That's just me, always bucking the "norm"!!

  8. #28
    Boolit Master am44mag's Avatar
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    I'd take a warm 44 special over a hot 357 mag. .44 is just a great caliber in general.

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  9. #29
    Boolit Master




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    Size doesn't matter if you don't hit the mark. Accuracy first!
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  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    Only have only used 44 mag. which of course works and very well. It would be hard to grab a .357 when I have see with my own hands and eyes how efficient a 44 can be. Hearing a loud whoop when it hits at 100 yards is devistating.

  11. #31
    I've killed a truckload of deer with both calibers and loads. My preferred load to hunt with nowdays? A 255 grain PB SWC in front of 9 grains of Unique for 2" groups and 1050 fps. Kills even the biggest of buck's dead.

  12. #32
    Boolit Master
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    Either will work, and the Deer won't care as long as you place the shot right.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master
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    I've gotten deer with both the .357 and the .44 mag and have no complaints with either. No lost animals or having to hunt one all over again after the shot. I agree with the comments about using plenty of meplat. With little or no expansion, a large meplat will still get the job done with the temporary wound channel tissue disruption. As a young tyro, having been spellbound by gun-rag rhetoric about the need for crack-of-doom power, jacketed soft points and blistering velocities, I succeeded in generating a lot of bone splinters and jellied meat, but then I wised up. No more cantaloupe-sized blown out shoulders or flanks with a .30-06. For some years and a considerable number of deer, the Lyman 429215 cast of WW's coming out of my Super Blackhawk at 1100-1200fps cut a cookie-cutter hole going in and out and punched through bone the same way. Only once did it fail to exit. On a quartering shot it was just under the skin on the far side. Between .357 and .44, I'm more comfortable with the bigger hole. The only failure I had with the .357 was having taken a shot at a deer 20 yards away and incredibly, it looked at me and moseyed into the brush. I tried to quietly lever in another, but at the first click the lot of them beat cheeks for the next county. It turns out the factory loaded 158gr JHP struck a 2" sapling squarely on center about 5 feet up and failed to penetrate. I hadn't noticed the sapling before, but there it was, with a bullet hole on one side and a bulge on the other. Whippy and tough enough to absorb the energy, I suppose. Once I got over my consternation at failing to get a deer right there in front of me I started looking into loading the .357 to full 1935 power levels for serious tasks.

  14. #34
    Boolit Mold
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    Bullet expansion is not guaranteed. Its purpose is to make the bullet wider and hopefully improve its ability to damage vital organs and blood supplies. Why not start with something that is already larger?

  15. #35
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardb View Post
    bullet expansion is not guaranteed. Its purpose is to make the bullet wider and hopefully improve its ability to damage vital organs and blood supplies. Why not start with something that is already larger?
    ^^^ this! ^^^

    45 Colt (Ruger) with #454424 or #454490 running 1050-1100 FPS. This will be my handgun & load for the 2018 deer season--the final year that lead bullets can be used to hunt with in CA. Even varmints. Time to move, for sure.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master



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    Good morning
    Bigger holes are always better !
    Heavier bullets always penetrate farther !
    Mike in Peru for 3 weeks more
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  17. #37
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    "It turns out the factory loaded 158gr JHP struck a 2" sapling squarely on center about 5 feet up and failed to penetrate."

    I can show you a couple of trees on our land that jumped in front of arrows to save deer. You can't help but admire such acts of self sacrifice.
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  18. #38
    Boolit Master



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    It is stupid a comparison.
    A 180 grain WFN in .357 mag at subsonic speed, say 1,000 fps will easily kill any deer and shoot through and through, two holes. Any hollow point will not come close penetration-wise to a WFN or WLN. Take a .300 Winchester Magnum with a soft point or hollow point and a 180 grain .357 WFN will crush it penetration wise. Let's keep it real.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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  19. #39
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmort View Post
    It is stupid a comparison.
    A 180 grain WFN in .357 mag at subsonic speed, say 1,000 fps will easily kill any deer and shoot through and through, two holes. Any hollow point will not come close penetration-wise to a WFN or WLN. Take a .300 Winchester Magnum with a soft point or hollow point and a 180 grain .357 WFN will crush it penetration wise. Let's keep it real.
    Dunno, Jmort--internal and external ballistics is a pretty exact science, but terminal ballistics remains a poorly-understood art form. The bullet tech is better than it was 50 years ago, but I don't try to predict terminal performance. My large-critter hunting gets done primarily with castings put up as Bruce B Soft Points, either SWC or round flatnose form. Jackrabbits through coyotes, I have yet to recover a bullet--they have always gone through-and-through, and the exits are always larger than the entrance wounds. The critters all died, more than half of them DRT. I'm not sure what these indicia prove, but here it is. I do "pass" on marginal shots--even a poultry-stealing coyote deserves a humane demise.
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  20. #40
    Boolit Master maglvr's Avatar
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    I have to pick the 357 simply because it's my favorite round, either in revolver or carbines.
    And yes, max loads always, they didn't invent the thing to be loaded like a 38 spl.
    The .357 Magnum......
    1935
    Major Douglas Wesson, using factory loads, which were a 158 gr. soft lead bullet, traveling 1515 fps, from an 8 3/4" barreled S&W, producing 812 ft. lbs of muzzle energy.
    Antelope - 200 yards (2 shots)
    Elk - 130 yards (1 shot)
    Moose - 100 yards (1 shot)
    Grizzly Bear - 135 yards (1 shot).

    It kind of makes one wonder, why today, it will bounce off anything bigger than a rabbit

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check