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What are your thoughts on hunting whitetail deer with a .357 mag.? I am new to the pistol thing and thought that going right to the big .44 mag was a going to much for a beginner so I went with the .357. What would be a good bullet to load for deer? I see barnes make a bullet for the .357. I have enjoyed shooting their bullets in the muzzleloader. Just inquiring. Outback
 

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.357 hunting deer is illegal here in maryland, and also in a lot of states. Minimum here is a .44.

Not sure about your state, check your local laws though.
 

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.357 Mag is legal for deer in many states, but some states will also impose a "minimum barrel length" on hunting with handguns. As aliasneo07 said, check the regulations in your state.

That said, a .357 is pretty light for deer hunting. A really stout 158 grain load, or, better yet a 180 grain load, with well-constructed bullets (I use Hornady XTPs in a .44 Mag) will do the job if you restrict your range and choose your shot. When you can hit one of the small snack-sized paper plates (about a 6" diameter) with 100% certainty EVERY shot, you're within your effective range.
 

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I am not a fan of the 357 for deer, I have shot many car hit ones in the past with this round as well as a couple while hunting and even two bears and the results left me less than thrilled as a whole. It is a round of the expert as it is marginal for the task and requires perfect bullet placement every time. The use of hard cast 158 gr bullets is definitely a minimum and the heavier 180 gr bullets would be better. I have not used the Barnes hunting bullets in this round but have used handloaded rounds similar to the Federal Weld-Core with the best results. There are more factory loaded options available for hunting purposes than in the past but they are typically very expensive (at least as expensive as premium self-defense loads) and not readily found. The majority of the ammunition made is designed for other than hunting and one will get less than needed performance in the way of penetration using them. Most factory ammo is also loaded rather weak for the use in mid-framed guns rather than the much more "powerful" loads of old when the 357 was built on a large frame. If you have a large frame gun, handload, practice frequently, and have the ability to remain calm and collected to wait for the deer to come into range and then make the shot, the 357 mag may be adequate in your hands. For the majority out there, I highly doubt it.
 

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IMO, .357 is, at best, marginal for deer hunting. It will kill a deer but there are better choices.

Look in to a .41 mag if the .44 mag has too much recoil. That, or look in to loading your own .44 loads. Slow them down a bit and still have a good deer load.
 

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Your ok with a .357 as I have used one in a 4" barrel with good results. In your location you should be able to get fairly close, real close with a tree stand. A 158g jsp Sierra if you reload would be good, factory ammo is available in jhp also for same weight. I use a 44sp with hard cast fp and go for the shoulder, other wise it will go right through like a fmj.
Whats the coyote numbers down there?
Jim
 
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