Is .357 Magnum a safe bet for deer season?
By Jason Wimbiscus
Marlin 1894C in 357 Magnum used for testing. (Photo: Jason Wimbiscus)
Since its invention in the 1930s, the .357 Magnum has been used successfully to game from varmints all the way up to elk and moose. While the .357 Magnum has long since surrendered the title of “world’s most powerful handgun round” to the likes of the .44 Remington Magnum, the .454 Casull, and the .500 S&W Magnum, among others, it is still a potent and versatile cartridge. And, as you’ll see, this statement holds especially true when the round is chambered in a short, light, fast handling carbine such as the Marlin 1894C.
In terms of ballistics ,the .357 becomes a whole new animal when chambered in a long gun. By loading well constructed bullets over potent charges of such relatively slow burning powders as Hodgdon Lil’Gun, Hodgdon H-110, and Allaint Blue Dot, the careful handloader can craft rounds that are more than adequate for deer sized game inside 100 yards.
In general, the muzzle velocity of a .357 magnum bullet will be 250 to 300 f/s greater than the same round fired from a handgun with a 4 inch or 6 inch barrel. This velocity increase makes bullet selection important. A