357 mag for deer


Senior Member
Thread starter #1
does anyone use a 357 for deer hunting. what is the best loads etc. what do the handgun hunters think. I traded for a s&w 586 with a 8 " barrel


Senior Member
I think alot of people are going to tell you not to try. If you can hit a grapefruit at 50 yds with it you can kill a deer with it. Federal makes a HP load for hunting in 357 and several companies offer a hard cast swc that would work. I would personally use the federal ammo and take shots at angles I would attempt with a bow and pass on anything other broadside or slightly quatering away.


Senior Member
I did some research moons ago and it seem that the 158g jsp was the crowd favorite. Although...I did read a few reports of a 158 semi jacketed wad cutter being very effective. I'm trying both this year in my S&W686 and in my Marlin.


Steelringin' Mod
Good advice here.

With the 8" barreled Smith, you should get more than adequate velocities for hunting.

Stick with a harder bullet for better penetration.

Rich M

Senior Member
You can get some velocity with the 8 inch barrel. Plenty for deer or bear around here.

Think 158 gr XTP flat point or 180 XTP hollow point as the bullets are designed to work with the muzzle velocities you will have.

The cast bullets in 180 and 200 gr will punch right thru - make sure they have a large flat nose for best results.


Senior Member
ga arms makes 158 +p load. its a gold dot hollow point. they call them deer stoppers. and they work!!!!!!!!!!


Senior Member
170gr. Lyman Keith SWC over a stiff charge of Unique or H110 is what I am going to carry in my Contender this year. 10in octagon barrel with Adj. sights....Or maybe even a Ranchdog 190gr. GC flat point!


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EMC-GUN, we think alike in regards to the Keith SWC. Have an old 4 banger Lyman 358429 that I am using to cast them. Also have a NOE Cramer style that allows me to cast either a HP version or the solid in the same style.

A good hard SWC is hard to beat in most any caliber, I have shot several deer with .41/.44 mags and it put them right down.

A few years ago a friend wanted a .357 load for his 6" 357 that he used when trailing wounded deer. I loaded the Hornady 180 XTP's for him and kept a few for my self.
I saw two deer shot with it, both had been hit poorly with a rifle and we put them down on the spot with the XTP's, both were within 30 yards but I believe it would do good out to about 75.


Senior Member
173gr SWC on the left.
160gr SWCHP on the right.

Need a thick stack of wet newspapers to test the HP to see what type of expansion it will get. Can vary the alloy to make it harder or softer depending upon my requirements.




Senior Member
Just loaded up some 190gr. Ranchdogs over 14gr. H110 today. The 170gr. mold I have is the 358-429. It is a shooter! I like all the Keith bullets. I also have the Ohaus 150K, 429-421K, and the RCBS 32-098 which is for the .32 S&W-L and .32 Mag. This bullet was designed by Keith as well.


Senior Member
EMC-GUN we have some of the same molds!!! Got to love them.

Picked up a discontinued Lyman 410459 "K" mold for my 41 mags. That is a seriously sweet bullet!! Have a custom mold from MP Molds that hopefully will be completed in the next 45-60 days. It's a copy of the old H&G 258 mold. Going to be in the "Cramer" style so I will have the HP option.


B Man

Senior Member
I keep a ruger gp100 6" on my side most all the time in and out the woods when hunting with my bow or on permits and I have had to shoot a few with it to finish off in the last few years. I have some +p 158 xtp & 180 xtp loads for deer hunting but most all of the were finished with a 158 gr. dardas SWC over 6 gr. of unique at only 1050 fps my plinking load from 5-30 yards and everyone expired very quickly with awesome penitration. My 140 gr. HP Golddots at the same speed had kinda poor penitration at the same speeds b/c of the expansion. I could imagine what the SWC's would do at about 1400-1450 fps. I believe you would almost always have an entrance and exit on a broadside shot shoulder or lungs. But my go to load is the XTP's when I intentionally carry it to take game. My 158 xtp's are loaded to 1360 fps so they are pretty hot but do awesome.

I would agree with the above on only attempting broadside to slight quartering away shots with the 357 though, and ALOT OF RANGE TIME.

If you don't reload the georgia arms deer stoppers are a good load

Good luck

Shot a doe laying down several years ago. Was shooting a 357 S&W model 19 and using off the shelf CCI. Distance was about 40 yards. She rocked but never got up. Went through and found bullet just under the skin on opposite side.


Senior Member
180gr Buffalo Bore hard cast.

Planning on using them in the Dan Wesson and in the Marlin.