My dad has an old Dan Wesson .357 (above). It’s in pretty good shape, and while visiting him recently, I asked if I could borrow it to take to the range for some, um, ‘testing.’ You know, just to make sure it works. It just makes sense for me to do the testing for him, since I have to drive 30 minutes to my local range, while he has to walk all the way to his back yard. Fortunately, he must’ve been in a good mood–visiting with his granddaughter tends to have that effect–so he eagerly retrieved the revolver and bade me well with it . . .
Curious about its history (there’s no date stamped on it,) I asked him where he procured this fine piece of American iron; he averred that he’d acquired it from my grandfather. “I think he used it for hunting deer.” he said.
It’s a Dan Wesson, so it does has the DW trademark interchangeable barrels. My dad uses it as a nightstand/occasional-carry-while-out-fishing gun, so he keeps the 2.5″ barrel installed, but I think he has a 4″ or a 6″ in the box. The lack of a scope or other sighting apparatus beyond the iron sights (with a surprisingly visible red insert) doesn’t surprise me — my grandfather was the kind of outdoorsman who would tackle almost any game, any time, with any equipment, and have a nice meal at the end of the day, then devastate the competition at skeet shooting on Sunday. That’s in sharp contrast to his progeny on our side of the family, where we pat ourselves on the back for ‘minute-of-bad-guy’ accuracy with a 9mm.
His using it for hunting doesn’t seem outrageous in the slightest. But still, is .357 Magnum enough to reliably (and humanely) take down Bambi? I know it’s a powerful round and all, and shot placement is everything, but I was a little skeptical that it packed enough of a punch to bring down a big animal.
A little searching of the Internets revealed a 2011 article from guns.com that concludes: “Yes and no given all the variables.” So there’s that. (The author also says he wouldn’t do it with anything but his own handloads, and not over 75 yds.) I also found a video of outdoorsman Fred Eichler taking down an antelope with a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver, at 133 yards, no less. I guess I can call that proof-of-concept.
I’m curious: has anyone in our TTAG community taken down a deer (humanely) with an iron sight .357 before? Care to share the details?