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View Poll Results: which is better for whitetail deer

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  • hot .357 magnum

    43 16.29%
  • mild .44 swc

    221 83.71%
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Thread: Hot .357mag vs mild 44mag for deer hunting

  1. #101
    Boolit Buddy
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    How mild of a load in a 44 do you want to go? I have a what I call my rabbit load. It is a 215 grain swc cast of ww. Over 6 grains of Red Dot. My guess is around 650 to700 for velocity. Shot many rabbits with it. Then one day I had a big meat dose stop about 100 yards from me when I was out of my truck. I had the window down so I reached in and grabbed my 44. As I was aiming I remembered it was loaded with my rabbit loads. I aimed a little higher and hart shot her. One leap and it was over. Would I have tried a shot with a hot 357? No.
    Steve

  2. #102
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hey gunseller; Was that a rifle or hand gun, & did the bullet pass through?

  3. #103
    Boolit Master
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    All the deer I have harvested have been broadside heart/ lung shots. Even putting a 150 gr. .308 right through the heart they still manage to run aways. All this talk of bone smashing and penetration does not seem to apply to the standard behind the shoulder deer hunting shots. If you put one through the heart and lungs you got your deer. Now a deer quartering towards you presents a shot that must travel through a shoulder to reach the vitals. In that scenario a solid lead heavy flat point boolit is the obvious choice. So in keeping with the choices offered by this poll it would be the .44 for me.

  4. #104
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmic_Charlie View Post
    All the deer I have harvested have been broadside heart/ lung shots. Even putting a 150 gr. .308 right through the heart they still manage to run aways. All this talk of bone smashing and penetration does not seem to apply to the standard behind the shoulder deer hunting shots. If you put one through the heart and lungs you got your deer. Now a deer quartering towards you presents a shot that must travel through a shoulder to reach the vitals. In that scenario a solid lead heavy flat point boolit is the obvious choice. So in keeping with the choices offered by this poll it would be the .44 for me.
    Deer are pretty thin skinned. I think I'd choose a hollow point bullet regardless of cartridge.

  5. #105
    Boolit Master
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    Of course the better of those two is 41 Mag.

  6. #106
    Boolit Mold
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    A 5" Revolver is a "sweet spot" for me. I keep trying to give the .357 a chance to redeem itself, but while I've always managed to find my deer they keep running - one ran 450 yards - shot right behind the shoulder with a 125 gr. JHP from an 8" barrel - the bullet went through, very small would and very thin blood trail. There was one exception - a little button buck I accidently shot that was standing behind a big doe - hit it in the head and it went down instantly - but it wasn't dead, had to shoot it again.

    Mind you I haven't given up yet - I hunted half this year with a 5" M-27 and 158 Buffalo Bore - alas I did not get to shoot one with it (I did with a .350 Legend though and it worked well).

    Every deer I ever shot with a .44 Spl. or Magnum was right there where I shot them - at least well within 10 yards - one was at a range 110 yards (.44 spl - 250 Keith at 950 fps) - fell on the spot.

    Same with .45 Auto, Auto Rim or .45 Colt - and you can throw in 300 lb boar as well with those. So far I've had good results with .41 Magnum and .480 Ruger but I've have only limited experience with both.

    Riposte1

  7. #107
    Boolit Buddy

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    A 125 gr JHP from a 357 is not a good choice for deer hunting. The 158 grain load from BB is a much better choice of the 2.
    I'm glad you have a perfect record with the other rounds you mention. While I've shot several deer with various bullets in those you list, none of them have dropped where they were shot. All were killed, but none dropped where they stood. Mine were all shot at some degree of broadside angle through the lungs. No head or spine shots.

  8. #108
    Boolit Master



    Tazman1602's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badguybuster View Post
    357 mag, all day everyday
    What badguybuster said. Proper bullet, charge, and rifle and DRT. I know I’ll get flack for it but never had the money for a Marlin 357/44 Mag but thanks to Steves Gunz I have five *really* nice (feed anything you put in them….) Rossi levers in both calibers. The Rossi levers were $400 each when I bought them over the years.

    Art
    ”Only accurate rifles are interesting”
    ——Townsend Whelen


    “ Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt

  9. #109
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazman1602 View Post
    What badguybuster said. Proper bullet, charge, and rifle and DRT. I know I’ll get flack for it but never had the money for a Marlin 357/44 Mag but thanks to Steves Gunz I have five *really* nice (feed anything you put in them….) Rossi levers in both calibers. The Rossi levers were $400 each when I bought them over the years.

    Art
    You're not missing much. I spent $250 extra for a 2018 Remlin Marlin when I got my 45 Colt and the barrel wasn't faced right.

    By the time the yahoo tightened the barrel all the way to the receiver the front sight points at about 11 o'clock instead of noon. The walnut is rolled checkering, not cut, and the stocks fit worse than any of the 5 Rossis I have extensively shot.

    There was a two-business-card gap at the buttstock-receiver junction where the handle wood didn't reach all the way to the receiver. The tang eventually hammered its way home and now the buttstock-receiver gap is invisible if you push it forward, but the tang screw hole is egg shaped so the stock slides back and forth - from 2 business cards to tight fitting.

    The gun shot 6" at 50 yards at first because the barrel constriction is so tight under the rear dove tail. After 40 rounds of fire lapping (and throat erosion, I don't like to fire lap more than about 10 rounds), the gun shoots about 2" at 50y with plain base. I have 10 more fire lapping rounds loaded up and plan to lap it some more, but I am super disappointed. The good news is that the gun has appreciated so much from inflation that I am thinking about selling it and getting 2 Rossis.

  10. #110
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by derek45 View Post
    5” revolvers
    tree stand in woods

    pic one-

    .357 magnum any JHP, max load of H110 or 2400

    or

    .44magnum 250gr Keith at 1050fps


    In the early years of marriage, 1980s, I could not afford a good rifle or much for ammunition. Bought a used Ruger Blackhawk and learned to reload on my homemade slide top press and later started casting for it. Took 16 whitetails with it before I bought a rifle, 1894c and continued reloading for that taking many more whitetails. All dropped in their tracks at 50 yards or less with pistol and limited rifle shots to 100yds. I've taken them with JSP, JHP and HCSWC. Below listed is my go to for years and years, then a more recent load, a real power house. For reference only, use any info at your own discretion. I recently bought a S&W 629 4" I am working up loads for.

    6.5" Blackhawk
    158 grain HCSWC Kieth BHN 18
    10.5 grains Blue Dot
    WSP primer
    1350 fps 640 ft#

    S&W 686 4"
    158 grain WFNGC BHN 18
    11.0 grains Blue Dot
    WSPM primer
    1400 fps 687 ft#

    Both of these are passthrough loads on whitetail shoulders and near instant incapacitation with lots of blood to follow if needed.

    As for the .44, current load of 20.0 grains Win 296 with Mag primer and 250 grain Kieth SWC at about 1050 out of 4" should do the same on an elk or 3 boar side by side, so I've been told. Seems a bit overkill for deer at handgun ranges but in a 7.5" with a scope would probably be great at 100 yds. Thanks for all the info here guys, shoot safe

  11. #111
    Boolit Bub
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    I’m not wasting energy or time or accuracy on a revolver. But that carbine rifle it’s the 44 magnum for me. Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #112
    Boolit Buddy
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    Why take the chance. What if there is a angled shot where deeper penetration is needed. The extra mass of the 44 bullet is far superior to the 357. More mass equals more penetration, more momentum. Basic physics, simple.

  13. #113
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dom View Post
    Why take the chance. What if there is a angled shot where deeper penetration is needed. The extra mass of the 44 bullet is far superior to the 357. More mass equals more penetration, more momentum. Basic physics, simple.
    Do you have any idea how much a 357 magnum will penetrate? I'll take it one step farther. 327 federal, 137gr bullet, 1250 fps, entered in front of the shoulder, exited offside back leg. Do you really need more penetration than that?
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 03-10-2022 at 01:40 AM.

  14. #114
    Boolit Master trapper9260's Avatar
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    I say it depending on what one you have to work with, if you have both then it is up to you of what one to use. Or what one you feel like to use. We know it depending on shot placement.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  15. #115
    Back to OP: I would use the 44.
    Experience anecdotes aside: For shorter range (where speed of projectile has little trajectory impact, which I think is generally implied by "tree stand in woods") The 44 can reach acceptable performance for deer at lower peak pressure. Lower peak pressure = lower muzzle pressure. Lower muzzle pressure = better hearing retention, temporary & permanent. I like it when my ears don't ring for an hour, and I wish I could still hear like I did when I was 20...
    Trees reflect a lot of sound back, and I like the after shot experience much more when using a low pressure round in situations like this vs. high pressure.

  16. #116
    Curious Caster
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnipEaterDown View Post
    Back to OP: I would use the 44.
    Experience anecdotes aside: For shorter range (where speed of projectile has little trajectory impact, which I think is generally implied by "tree stand in woods") The 44 can reach acceptable performance for deer at lower peak pressure. Lower peak pressure = lower muzzle pressure. Lower muzzle pressure = better hearing retention, temporary & permanent. I like it when my ears don't ring for an hour, and I wish I could still hear like I did when I was 20...
    Trees reflect a lot of sound back, and I like the after shot experience much more when using a low pressure round in situations like this vs. high pressure.
    Not to be critical, but... why would you ever squeeze off a round without hearing protection? There are products which will allow you to hear things while cutting out dangerous pressure waves from shooting. I guess it's a personal choice, but there is no trophy buck in the whole world which is worth getting hearing damage.

    A strong action 357 rifle can push 230gr+ cast bullets over 1500fps with the right powder and OAL. If that's not enough penetration, I feel quite confident that light 44mag isn't going to be sufficient. That being said, I doubt the deer is going to be able to tell the difference between the 357 and the 44 once the bullet is in the air. If you hit them in the right place they'll both be just fine....
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  17. #117
    Sloughfoot, I have a CVA rifle in 44mag. What bullet are you using? Thank you!!

  18. #118
    To respond to "Daekar", many many people never use hearing protection while hunting. Frankly, the hearing protection of years past stunk, and many today are no better. I can still hear fine for most purposes, and for some time used to wear Peltor hearing protectors while hunting w/ a handgun, but the microphones no matter how good always distorted sound direction.
    I never shoot at any range w/o hearing protection, but rarely hunt now with hearing protection. Wide open spaces (western states prairies) hearing protection is completely absolutely unnecessary. I have shot hundreds of rounds 22-250 a day, or shot 6mm-280 IMP or 7mm Ultra Mag at game w/o hearing protection and could immediately afterward hear whatever I liked. Midwest or Eastern states hunting in woods, I don't much like the high pressure stuff (especially pistols) w/o hearing protection.
    Take a poll if you like, probably many would agree that hunting is often encumbered by hearing protection and most forego it.

  19. #119
    Boolit Grand Master


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    The same guy saying a 357 mag is going to cause tons of irreversible hearing damage, and a 44 special wont is also saying "hundreds of rounds 22-250 a day" with hearing protection is "completely absolutely unnecessary".

    That right there says all you need about his opinion.

  20. #120
    You know "MSM", it's just better if you correctly read what someone writes, than misconstrue while trying to repeat what was said.
    Read what I wrote. Show me where I said "357 mag is going to cause tons of irreversible hearing damage". It isn't in what I wrote. It is what you made up about what I wrote.

    I Said that lower pressure rounds produce less hearing damage, when the discussion was about two different rounds in a short barrel revolver. Frankly, it is undeniable. Higher muzzle pressure equals a stronger pressure wave, and if you don't understand that, well...

    Maybe you haven't sat on a prairie dog town and shot a 22-250 for a week? I have, several times. No, there is no significant muzzle blast heard. Very little reflection back to the shooter. And you can hear the 'wet catcher's mitt' sound when the PD gets whacked at 200-300 yds too, so I don't think my hearing is gone.

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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