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The 5 Best 357 Rifles for Deer Hunting

This article will take a closer look at the best rifles for deer hunting and tackle some of the most critical FAQs regarding choosing the perfect gun for this purpose.

The Winchester Model 1873 is the closest you can get to a 357-mag rifle that can take down big game in one shot. However, the Marlin Model 1894 is another great choice for people on a budget. This rifle is also chambered in 357 magnum, but it’s not as refined as the Winchester.

I’ve included links to my recommended online gun shops, when possible so that you can check availability.

1. Winchester Model 1873

Winchester 1873

Popularly known as “The Gun That Won the West,” the Winchester Model 1873 is a classic lever-action rifle that’s still popular today. It has a 24-inch (61 cm) octagon barrel, and a short bolt throw, so you can quickly cycle rounds.

The original Model 1873 was chambered in 44-40 Winchester, but you can also find it in 357 magnums. The level of refinement on these rifles is unmatched, especially when you consider the price.

The steel loading gate on the Model 1873 allows you to chamber rounds quickly, and the oversized lever makes it easy to cycle. Its capacity is 14 rounds, and the weight is 8.68 pounds (3.93 kg).

Overall, this is an excellent option for deer hunting, and it would also work well for elk, bear, and moose. You can also find Model 1873s made by other gun makers (other than Winchester), so customization is on the table.

2. Taylor’s & Company 1892 Alaskan Takedown

The Taylor’s & Company 1892 Alaskan is designed for a 357 Magnum with a modern feel. Its materials, fit, and finish are all top-notch, and the weight is a mere 6.3 pounds (2.85 kg). This takedown rifle is also stainless steel, so it will resist the elements.

The octagonal barrel is 16.25 inches (41 cm) long, and it’s drilled and tapped for a scope mount. The stock is made of wood but covered in a rubber finish for a sure grip. However, it can only take seven rounds.

You can remove the barrel on this rifle apart from the action and stock, making it easy to transport. It’s also easy to clean, and you can use it for hunting in any weather condition.

This would be an ideal rifle for deer hunting in a tight spot, where you don’t want to carry a lot of weight. The takedown feature makes it easy to store and transport.

Related The Best Grain for Deer Hunting.

3. Henry Big Boy Steel

The Henry Big Boy Steel is a lever-action rifle. It offers a generous 10+1 capacity, and has a 20-inch (50.8 cm) barrel. The gun also weighs 9.5 pounds (4.3 kg), making it a bit heavier than some other options on this list.

Most user reviews praise this rifle for its accuracy and smoothness. Because the receiver is drilled and tapped for optics, this rifle is a great choice for deer hunting. The lever is also oversized for easy operation.

The Henry Big Boy Steel is not picky when it comes to ammo. You can use rounds as light as 110gr, as well as heavier ones up to 170gr. So, you have many options when it comes to what type of round you want to use.

This rifle would be a great choice for deer hunting in a wooded area, where you need a bit more power and accuracy than a smaller rifle can offer. But this convenience comes at a price: slightly more rifle weight.

4. Uberti 1873 Trapper

The Uberti 1873 Trapper is a replica of the original Winchester Model 73. It’s a lever-action rifle chambered in 357 Magnum that holds nine rounds plus one. The barrel is 20 inches (50.8 cm) long, making it a great choice for deer hunting.

This Italian replica is made of beautifully blued steel and has a walnut stock. The fit and finish are excellent, and the rifle is accurate. It also has a sliding transfer bar safety system that’s very reliable. 

The sights are standard back horns, but you can also mount a scope. It’s also worth mentioning its beautiful craftsmanship; it’s one of the reasons why this firearm is so popular.

The Trapper doesn’t have the capacity of some of the other rifles on this list, but it’s still an excellent choice for deer hunting. It would also work well for elk, bear, and moose.

5. Mossberg 464 SPX

This is not your traditional wood-stock lever-action rifle. Instead, it is a modern, synthetic-stock rifle that’s chambered in 357 Magnum. It has a capacity of 9+1 rounds, and also comes with a scope. However, it still uses lever action to give you the best of both worlds.

The Mossberg 464 SPX is made of polymer and alloy, making it very lightweight: it weighs a measly 6.7 pounds (3 kg). The stock has six positions that you can adjust to fit children or plus-sized adults. And the barrel is a respectable 20 inches long (50.8 cm).

The rifle also comes with fiber optic sights and a Picatinny rail for mounting a scope. You can also use the rails to attach other accessories, such as a light or laser. This makes it a perfect option for deer hunting in various environments.

To complement this versatility, the Mossberg 464 SPX is available in several colors, including black, olive, and camo. This way, you can choose a color that best suits your style and hunting environment.

This rifle is perfect for anyone who wants the power and accuracy of a lever-action gun with the convenience of a synthetic stock. It’s also available in several different calibers, including .30-30 Winchester and .44 Magnum.

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Can You Hunt Deer With a 357 Lever-Action?

You can hunt deer with a 357 lever action because this rifle offers a lot of stopping power. In fact, lever-action rifles are the most popular deer-hunting guns. They are powerful enough to take down a deer with one shot, especially if you know how to aim and manage the drop.

These rifles are also surprisingly reliable, given their age. Hunters have used them for generations, and they remain a popular choice today. So, if you’re looking for a powerful rifle that’s easy to use, a 357 lever-action rifle is a great option.

Is a 357 Mag Rifle Good for Deer Hunting?

The 357-mag rifle is perfect for deer hunting because it uses a round with enough stopping power to take down a deer with one shot. It’s also pretty affordable. 

So, if you’re looking for a rifle that will help you take down big game, a 357 Magnum rifle is a great option. However, you should always check your state’s hunting regulations to ensure that a 357 is legal for deer hunting. 

You should also practice with your rifle before going out hunting. The 357 is such a powerful round, so you’ll need to perfect your accuracy to register any hits out in the wild.

What Is the Effective Range of a 357 Rifle?

Silhouette of a hunter aiming a rifle at a White tail buck against an evening sunset

The maximum effective range of a 357 rifle is about 200 yards. However, this can vary with the type of gun you are using, its barrel length, and the amount of brush you’re shooting. 

So, it’s critical to choose the right rifle for the type of hunting you’re doing, and the conditions you’re shooting in.

You’ll only need a short-range rifle if you’re hunting at close quarters. But if you’re hunting in a more open environment, you’ll want to use a gun with a long range.

For example, the Mossberg 464 SPX has a longer range than traditional lever-action rifles. So, it’s a good choice for hunting in open environments. In contrast, the Henry Big Boy Steel is an excellent choice for hunting in close quarters.

Related The Best 7.62×39 Ammo for Deer Hunting | What You Should Use.

How Much Does a 357 Drop at 100 Yards?

The 357 drop at 100 yards depends on many factors, but most 357 rounds have a drop of around 2 inches (5.08 cm). So, you’ll need to adjust your aim accordingly.

If you’re hunting in a close-quarters environment, you’ll need to account for the shorter distance. And if you’re hunting in an open environment, you’ll need to adjust for the longer distance. 

It’s important to know your rifle and your hunting environment before going out into the field. 

Is the 357 the Same As the 38 Special?

The 357 and 38 Special are two different rounds. The 357 is a more powerful round than the 38 Special, and it can be used for deer hunting. The 38 Special is suitable for target shooting or self-defense.

However, these two rounds look similar, except for the length: the 357 is slightly longer than the 38 Special. You’ll need to be careful when loading these rounds into your rifle to avoid confusing them.

If you’re not sure which round is in your rifle, you can check the markings on the barrel. The 357 will be marked “.357 Magnum,” while the 38 Special will be marked “.38 Special”. Make sure you have the right round for the task.

For more, check out The Best Hunting Laundry Detergent (So Deer Don’t Smell You).