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Hi All,

I've always rifle hunted deer but this year am thinking I'd like to try taking one with a handgun if one wonders close enough. I've not shot handguns much, but have tried a few at the range. For me, the two different S&W .44 mags shot 4" groups at 25 yd. but when I tried three different .357's only one of them shot better than a 12" group (and that one had a 2.5 in. barrel). The other two were a 686 in a 6" and a SW police something in a 4". All five of these were fired two hands, standing, no rest. And, I shot the .44's first, then shot one again after the .357's, and it shot the same the second time.

I'd prefer to carry the .357 in the woods rather than the bulkier .44. Why did the .357's shoot so poorly for me? A .22 single six shoots as well as the .44's so I'm thinking it's not a weight factor.

Can anyone tell me what kind of accuracy I can expect from GP100 or a S&W in a 4"? I've been told that a 4" full lugged gun shoots well, but don't know where I can try one.

Thank you.
 

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"Can anyone tell me what kind of accuracy I can expect from GP100 or a S&W in a 4"? I've been told that a 4" full lugged gun shoots well, but don't know where I can try one."

If you can shoot four inches with the .44s that you tried, you should be able to get at least that with a .357.
About hunting, IMHO the 4" .357 is right on the edge of acceptable. I'd much rather carry a .44 for any big game like deer, even if I knew that my shots would be close. People do use them, though. Not me.
Pete
 

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Handguns are like rifles in that they have loads that they like and you have to find them.

They are also much more critical and less forgiving of form than a rifle. Learning to shoot a handgun well takes practice & commitment.

My personal opinion is that medium game revolver calibers start with the 41 Magnum and go up from there. These big bullets don't have to rely on expansion to do the job, they are essentially "pre-expanded" and have the weight to pentrate deep at handgun velocities. Being much smaller & using lighter bullets, the 357 has to rely on expansion, which is hit & miss at handgun velocities.

Longer barrels allow the round to attain higher velocities and all else being equal give better accuracy (at least with open sights) due to the longer sighting plane. They are also more of a pain to carry, so you have to decide how long a barrel is enough for you.

My choice for a deer hunting revolver is a 6" S&W 629 44 Magnum shooting medium velocity (1150FPS) 240 grain hard cast SWC loads.
I see no reason to shake my 629 loose with full power jacketed hollow point loads point when this easy-on-the-gun load will shoot through deer sized critters and keep right on whistling.

The 6" 629 carries easily in a belt or shoulder holster, is heavy enough to help soak up recoil without being a pain to carry, and is very accurate.

BTW, I consider 4" at 25 yards (presuming you are shooting from sandbags off the bench) to be marginal hunting accuracy. From a solid sand bagged rest, my standard for an open sight hunting revolver/load combo is a 2" or better 3 to 5 shot group...
 
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