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Looking into getting a Henry Big Boy Steel 357 magnum with a 20 inch barrel for deer hunting in Pennsylvania. I already have a 308 and I think it is too much for deer. The last deer I shot with it had an entrance hole the size of my fist and a lot of meat was destroyed. So I was really wondering if y'all think 357 is enough for the bigger deer here in PA. Maybe even a small to medium black bear (150-250 pounds). I have been looking into some 180 grain Buffalo Bore rounds and they seem like they would be up to the job.
 

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Grand Imperial Poobah
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Looking into getting a Henry Big Boy Steel 357 magnum with a 20 inch barrel for deer hunting in Pennsylvania. I already have a 308 and I think it is too much for deer. The last deer I shot with it had an entrance hole the size of my fist and a lot of meat was destroyed. So I was really wondering if y'all think 357 is enough for the bigger deer here in PA. Maybe even a small to medium black bear (150-250 pounds). I have been looking into some 180 grain Buffalo Bore rounds and they seem like they would be up to the job.
Did you mean 'exit hole'?

I use a .308 for deer hunting and never had an entrance or exit hole, like you described. What ammo were you using?
 

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Ancient Gaseous Emanation
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So I was really wondering if y'all think 357 is enough for the bigger deer here in PA. Maybe even a small to medium black bear (150-250 pounds).
At short ranges (inside of 125 yards) I'd say the ,357 Mag with any projectile is marginal. .35 Rem., .30-30 WCF or .44 Mag would be better choices.
 
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There's a of of missing info but that never stops me from putting in my 2¢.

Take head shots.

Unless you want more of a challenge stay with the 308.

How many deer have you shot and how many had the fist bullet hole beside the one?

Having been in hunting clubs I've seen my share of dead deer with torn up or bloodshot meat. They happen but are not the norm. We all heard the stories of deer running off after supposed solid hits with a 308, 30-06, 243, 270, etc. so downsizing needs to be approached with extreme caution.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There's a of of missing info but that never stops me from putting in my 2¢.

Take head shots.

Unless you want more of a challenge stay with the 308.

How many deer have you shot and how many had the fist bullet hole beside the one?

Having been in hunting clubs I've seen my share of dead deer with torn up or bloodshot meat. They happen but are not the norm. We all heard the stories of deer running off after supposed solid hits with a 308, 30-06, 243, 270, etc. so downsizing needs to be approached with extreme caution.
I've shot 3 deer and a black bear with the 308 and only the bear had the same thing happen with the massive permanent wound cavity.
 

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I've been hunting deer here in Pa. since 1964. I have killed 34, missed at least 12 and have had 1 that I tracked for hours, all day and never found it. That one was shot with a Winchester Model 94, .32 Winchester Special and that one I will write off to poor shot placement. I have killed the majority with a Remington Model 760 Gamemaster, .30-06 with 150 grain Remington Core Lokt. Most were shot between 30 and 50 yards due to the terrain hunted. Also, some were killed with a Marlin Model 1894 .44 Magnum using Remington 240 grain or Hornady LEVERevolution 225 grain. I have NEVER experienced what you are describing as far as meat damage. I have never run into a deer hunter with a .357 magnum, not that there aren't some out there. And I am sure that there are success stories concerning killing deer with that caliber. But personally, the only way that I would hunt deer with a .357 Magnum, would be if I was guaranteed that the deer would walk directly under my tree. The .30-06, .30-30 and .35 Remington are the most popular deer rifles in my neck of the woods. With a couple of .270's, 7MM Magnums and .243's thrown in. I don't hunt bear here, but if I did I would use something bigger than a .357 Magnum. But all kidding aside, I would say that personally, 50 yards would be the maximum distance for me to want to try a shot at a deer with the .357 Magnum.
 
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