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This is going to be my first year taking my pistol with me to the deer woods and wanting to pick the minds of everyone that has been there before. I have a .357mag in a Ruger GP100 with a 6.25" barrel. Wanting to know what factory loads you have had luck with. GOOD AND BAD
 

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One year I had a mature doe facing me twenty five yards away. She saw me so I knew there would be no broadside shot. I clicked back the hammer on my Dan Wesson m.15 .357 and fired an American Eagle 158 grain soft nose straight into her brisket. She really wouldn't have gone anywhere but momentum carried her down the mountain. It was an invigorating drag back up. It turns out I found the bullet lodged in her hipbone so the penetration was awesome. I shot a spike one time with a Federal 180 grain hollow point and the penetration was dismal and required follow up shots. I say avoid hollow points.
 

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I have personally only used the .357 to finish off 2 deer..Both were close range head shots. However, my father took a few with a S&W Model 19 with the 6" barrel.

His load, and the one I still use, Is a 158 grain Speer jacketed soft point over a heavy charge of H-110 with a CCI large pistol Magnum primer. We never recovered a bullet from a deer but judging by the internal damage, I would say they gave excellent expansion along with full penetration on broadside shots.

As for factory loads, I would try a few different brands of jacketed softs and see which one shoots best in your particular gun.

Could even try some of the heavy cast bullets like Buffalo Bore and some other companies market.
 

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I took my first handgun deer last year. I used a S&W 686 with the same load mentioned above, a max charge of H110, CCI magnum primer, and a Hornady XTP bullet. If I were to take handgun hunting more seriously, I would give a hardcast 180 grain bullet a try.
Will
 

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Yea I would really like to try that load, I will just have to get someone to reload them for me since I haven't started reloading yet.
 

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I do not think you need to reload to get these. Federal makes a factory load and also groups like Garrett and Grizzly might have a .357 in their line-up.

My factory load is a Remington 180 gr. semi lead hollow point. I also have some of the 165 grain hunting load mentioned above. My handloads now are a healthy dose of Lil'Gun and a 180 gr. Hornady XTP
 

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XTP's are hard to beat in any caliber for the price. I have yet to hear of one coming apart. Either 158's to 180's will do fine with a good charge of powder that the gun likes.

Hard cast bullets will put two holes through a deer almost every time. It won't have the shock of a hollow point though. IMO hard cast bullets are great for game larger than deer. Deer normally aren't that hard to kill if hit properly. Just don't use the cheap hollowpoints.
 

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Yea that would be great if I can get that as factory ammunition, I think I will definetly give those a try first
 

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Hornadys 158 grn XTPs bullets actually come in 2 different type of bullets. the XTP is standard, and will work best in the 800 to 1400 fps range, the XTPFP (flat point) was designed to work at higher speeds, say 1000 to 1700 fps range, and have a flat point so they can be loaded safely in lever guns. When i had my 10 inch barrel on the dan wesson, I always loaded the XTPFP because I didnt want to take the chance of jacked seperation, or have the bullett fly apart down range, but after taking a deer or 2 using the 6 in barrel, @ 1250 fps, I still load the XTPFP, at 1250 fps, it doesnt open up as fast, but has better penetration. Just in case i see a deer in the 200 pound range, I want 2 holes in it, better blood flow. I always wished that they would make a 140 grn HTPFP, they do in 125grn. 140 grn xtpfp would have a little faster vel, a little thinner jacket, for deer in the 100 to 150 pond range.
my 2 cents.
 

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I have taken a few with the Federal Classic 180 grain load; longest shot 100 yards. 6" Python. I sent it back to Colt to be re-timed and now it won't group worth a hoot with the Fed 180 load but drives tacks with the Hornady xtp 158 grain hp's. So that's what the hammer gets dropped on next time. I hope it works as well as my old load did.

I never had one take a step after impact. One just stood there and then fell over. Never had a bullet exit either.
 

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Greyghost243 said:
Yea that would be great if I can get that as factory ammunition, I think I will definetly give those a try first
Check with your local gun shops. They should be able to get you factory Hornady 158 gr loads for the .357. Hornady does make excellant ammounition as well as just the components.
 

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I shot one with a 180 gr gold dot soft point. Same hole in as out. Deer still didn't go very far, but there was no blood trail if I had needed it. I like something with at least a little bit of expansion.
 

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years ago I shot a doe @60 yrds. w/ 158gr SP, hit it 8" below the back and dropped in it's tracks.
 
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