Ruger 77/357 range limitations for varmints and whitetail?

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Tallbald

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,750
Location
Southern KY
I've owned a beautiful 77/357 for about 10 years now. Bought on a whim at a time when they were not really common, the little fella sat unappreciated for almost 2 years before really getting the attention it deserved.
Almost exclusively I've fired home cast 125 RN to 140 grain SWC slugs over Trailboss. And always at the range. Rounds cost me about 6 cents each and show great precision at 50 yards. I've scoped it with a 2-7 Leupold Rifleman. Scaled nicely to the carbine it's a graceful, slim and sexy range toy. With a bipod it's great for introducing new shooters to the sport. Simple and low recoiling,I just really enjoy this little gun.
At times the in the last several years I've wondered what more practical applications this little carbine might have than range fun. My daughter and SIL have moved to an 80 acre farm along the Ohio river area and now have 2 lambs, several hogs, turkeys, two calves, 9 show dogs and over 50 chickens. Did I say there are coyotes too? And deer. Hmm.
I reload both .357 and .38 Special. And even though I hate to buy jacketed slugs I could do so if there was a good reason. What sort of maximum ranges on coyote and whitetail deer should I limit myself to with jacketed .357's from a carbine barrel? Provided I can maintain the accuracy needed for humane shot placement? I just don't see much information online like this. Mostly, load suggestions deal with the best brush-busting loads for .357. But there is a goodly amount of open field on my daughter's farm.
Anyone use their 77/357 for serious hunting applications? What loads do you prefer please?
Thank you as always, Don
 

Kanook

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 7, 2009
Messages
1,123
Location
FL
I have been using my 77/357 for a few years now on Deer and Hawg with great success. 158xtp running full throttle has dropped Deer at my farthest reach of approx 125yds with no problem. I use subs 180 hardcast for Hawgs at about 50yds, but I put it the ear.
I had my barrel threaded a few years ago and never looked back.
 

wwb

Hunter
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
2,787
Location
wisconsin
For whitetails, heavier is better.... and a better BC doesn't hurt, either. Try the Hornady LeverEvolution bullets. They're a bit lighter than 158 if I recall, but they will pay off at 100 yards, since they won't shed velocity as fast as a round nose or flat nose. Sight it in so it's dead on at 100 yards, and limit your shots to 125 yards or less. Load them to the max with a slow powder like 2400 or something with about the same burn rate..... works better in a longer barrel.

If you figure to hunt in the woods where 50 yards or so will be the max range, I'd load 180 grain bullets, and load them hot.

Varmints.... as long as they are smaller critters (coon size or less), light and fast is the way to go. 125 grain with a medium burn rate powder. If you know your trajectory, it will do the job as far out as you're willing to shoot.
 

MikeJinVT

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 3, 2005
Messages
324
Location
Clarendon, VT
I posted the review below after a 2017 hunt in Ohio. I would certainly feel comfortable taking broadside shots at 125 yards.


I just finished a hunt in Ohio with my 77/357. I took a 115 pound doe and a 180 pound 8 pointer. I was using Hornady Leverevolution 140 grain Flex tip factory ammo. Both deer were shot at 50 yards. The doe was hit through both lungs on a perfect broadside shot. She trotted 20 yards and dropped. The buck was quartering toward me and hit in the front shoulder. He tumbled down a bank and I hit him again through the chest to anchor him. He lived less than 10 seconds from the first shot.
I was wondering if the little cartridge would be up to the task, but was amazed at how well it kills with a well placed shot.

Mike
 

Tallbald

Buckeye
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,750
Location
Southern KY
Excellent information and thank you so much. I too reload but not with the expertise you have. Wow.
Wonderful reference material. Don
 

dgr416

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
163
Location
Georgia
I wish those had been made in 357 rem max then it would be alot better in a rifle .I have two carbines that are awesome in 357 rem maximum .
 

jjas

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
268
COSteve
So, what does this all mean for hunting white tail? I don't have the 180grn results yet but using a 158grn bullet, approximately the same weight as a 150grn 30-30 round just a 35 caliber, out of my 20" carbine would produce 1,337 ft/lbs ME at the muzzle, 886 ft/lbs at 100yds and 718 ft/lbs at 150yds. Sighted in at 100yds and assuming the sights are .9" above the bore centerline, the trajectory would be on the order of .9" low at muzzle, 1" high at 50 yds, 0 at 100 yds, 1.7" low at 125 yds, and 4.4" low at 150yds.


I've always wondered why there seems to be a bias when it comes to energy levels for handgun rounds when shot from a rifle versus a handgun.

I looked up the energy numbers for a Hornady 158 grain xtp .357 mag load and @ the muzzle (according to hornady) it generates 548 ft lbs of energy @ 1250 fps and 464 ft lbs of energy @ 1150 fps @ 50 yards.

Taking those numbers, I think most hunters would say this particular .357 load would have sufficient energy to hunt whitetail deer @ ranges of 50 yards and in with a handgun. Yet, these same energy figures would draw a response that there isn't sufficient energy when we are talking about a rifle. I've never understood that. Heck, your own figures show 718 ft lbs of energy @ 150 yards which is more than the above cited Hornady load generates @ the muzzle, yet most hunters would say the .357 mag when fired from a rifle doesn't generate sufficient energy @ even 100 yards to hunt whitetail.

If grouping, drop and drift are reasonable, I've never understood the thinking many cling to.

Since you appear to have quite a bit of experience with the cartridge, I wondered what your thoughts were on the matter?

BTW, I've noticed the same thing when people talk about .44 mag loads in rifles/handguns too.
 

wwb

Hunter
Joined
Nov 18, 2004
Messages
2,787
Location
wisconsin
COSteve said:
The quick answer is that for me at least, while we don't have white tail deer in Colorado, we do have large mule deer and as I stated above, the state mandates that for humane hunting of game animals, one must use a cartridge larger than .224" in diameter and it must produce 1,000ft/lbs of energy at 100yds. I think that's a reasonable standard for hunting game.

Minnesota, for many years, required a .24 caliber or larger round for whitetail hunting - that has since been dropped. To the best of my knowledge, there was never an energy requirement.

My grandfather hunted with a Winchester 73 in .44 WCF (.44-40) until the mid 60s. Certainly no powerhouse, but the thick woods where we hunted seldom presented a shot much over 50 yards, and 35 yards was pretty typical. I never saw him take more than one shot to drop a deer.
 

jjas

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
268
COSteve said:
The quick answer is that for me at least, while we don't have white tail deer in Colorado, we do have large mule deer and as I stated above, the state mandates that for humane hunting of game animals, one must use a cartridge larger than .224" in diameter and it must produce 1,000ft/lbs of energy at 100yds. I think that's a reasonable standard for hunting game.


Unless it's a handgun, then the energy requirement @ 50 yards is 550 ft lbs of energy.

7. HANDGUNS
a. Barrel must be a minimum of 4 inches long.
b. Must use a minimum .24-caliber (6 mm) in diameter expanding bullet.
c. Shoulder stocks or attachments prohibited.
d. Must use a cartridge or load that produces minimum energy of 550-ft.-
pounds at 50 yards as rated by manufacturer.

https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Brochure/BigGame/biggame.pdf

This is the nonsensical bias I was referencing in my earlier post.
 

Pauerpilot

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 29, 2015
Messages
57
Location
Mesa, Arizona
I have used my 77/357 for mule deer. I have not had any issues with quick humane dispatching of deer. I reload 140 grain FTX. I shot a mule deer at 91 yards. Full frontal presentation. Shot entered just right of center. Bullet went through the chest, heart, one lung, gut, all the way to left hip joint. That was darn near three feet of hide, bone, and tissue. The bullet stayed intact. The red plastic insert was shed. I was really impressed with the amount of performance this handy rifle provided. I knew I would get the deer but that was a real eye opener on performance. I did load the bullet to the maximum load as per Hornady loading site. Incidentally that was the most accurate for my rifle. My rifle is topped of with a Nikon Monarch 5 1-4 with German T reticle. I did add a Volquartsen trigger upgrade. That has made the biggest difference in the rifle. My trigger is at 2.5 lbs. Knowing what I now know, I would not hesitate to take a broadside 150 yard shot at a whitetail deer. They are a bit smaller than mule deer.

IMG-1042.jpg
 

langenc

Single-Sixer
Joined
Aug 22, 2007
Messages
444
Location
Lewiston, MI USA
Sounds like 357 in the 77 is just like the 44 Mag-no reloading data, have to use revolver data.

My 77/44 w/ 240 gr jacketed likes stout load of H110 and pretty heavy crimp.
Shot doe at about 70 yrds and she ran about the same amount. Lucky there was some snow on the ground. Every time her feet hit the ground there was a blast of FINE droplets sprayed couple feet out rt side.
She would still be going if she hadnt stopped and looked back.
 

kean57

Bearcat
Joined
Oct 29, 2005
Messages
43
Location
Akron, Ohio, United States
Sounds like 357 in the 77 is just like the 44 Mag-no reloading data, have to use revolver data.

My 77/44 w/ 240 gr jacketed likes stout load of H110 and pretty heavy crimp.
Shot doe at about 70 yrds and she ran about the same amount. Lucky there was some snow on the ground. Every time her feet hit the ground there was a blast of FINE droplets sprayed couple feet out rt side.
She would still be going if she hadnt stopped and looked back.
The annual Hodgdon reloading manual has rifle data for .357 Magnum. It may not differ from top end handgun load data, but it will show you approximate performance of those loadings out of an 18.5" barrel. With 16 gr. of H110, my 77/357 averages 1740 fps with 158 gr. JHP/SP, and shoots 1" groups at 50 yds.
 
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TREE 'EM

Bearcat
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Messages
11
Location
NE MO
I bought a 77/357 for my daughter's first deer rifle when she was 8. After she took a few deer with it at ranges out to 140 yards, I simply had to have one for myself.
She took the spike in the pic with a single shot at 110 yards.
If one takes the time to learn the trajectory, it's just as effective out to 200 as a 35 Remington.

As others have mentioned, 140 gr FTX ammo works well on WT if you don't hand load.
If you load your own, you can really make it come to life with 150 gr JSP's intended for the 350 legend,or better yet, 158-180 gr Keith style cast loads, which makes it capable for any big game in NA.
 

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Biggfoot44

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
799
I wish those had been made in 357 rem max then it would be alot better in a rifle .I have two carbines that are awesome in 357 rem maximum .

Actually , .357 Max from rifle length is awkward in between for bullet selection . Too slow for proper expansion of
35 spitzer rifle bullets . If you go for cast , you're already getting full penetration at well below it's velocity potential .
 

Biggfoot44

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
799
The annual Hodgdon reloading manual has rifle data for .357 Magnum. It may not differ from top end handgun load data, but it will show you approximate performance of those loadings out of an 18.5" barrel. With 16 gr. of H110, my 77/357 averages 1740 fps with 158 gr. JHP/SP, and shoots 1" groups at 50 yds.

Almost always published data for rifles using " pistol calibers " , have the same loads at the same pressure . The difference is in the reported velocity .

[ Various posts referencing various state's Hunting Regulations ]

Each state has their own arbitrary requirements , and ft lb per se is a very poor predictor of actual performance on game . Obviously , follow the law in your State / the State where you are hunting
But in discussion venues with participants from all over , a discussion of " is XYZ ctg good for Tobiano Unicorns or whatever . presumptively it is discussing actual effectiveness .

****************************

Meanwhile , back at the OP"s OP :

For varmints , whatever distance you can reliably hit them .

For whitetail , ask yourself what distance do you consider appropriate for a .357 Mag 6- 7.5 inch Revolver , and add 50 yards to that as a starting point .
 
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