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Can You Kill A Deer With A 38 Special?

Can You Kill A Deer With A 38 Special

The 38 special is a popular handgun caliber, but the question is can you kill a deer with a 38 special?

Actually, yes, you can kill a deer with a 38 special. The combination of the right bullet along with great shot placement can make it happen. A 38 special is capable of producing 264 foot-pounds of force which can kill an adult deer of 36 inches. 

This firearm will work nicely if the deer is moving at 35-40 miles/hour velocity within 25-30 yards range. A 38 special produces 38.25% fewer foot-pounds energy than a 9mm. So, the possible success rate of hunting is slightly low for a 38 special. 

What is the point of 38 Special?

A 38 special comes with 0.38 caliber and 9.1mm bullet diameter. Its base and neck diameter is the same as the bullet diameter. The rim diameter and thickness of a 38 special are 11mm and 1.5mm respectively. This firearm uses a 148-grain hollow-base wadcutter bullet to shoot. 

What can you kill with a 38 special?

If you use the plus p loads and a good bullet, you can conquer most of the wildlife hunts. Here you know about a few animals that are good to kill with a 38 special. 

  • Red deer
  • Elk
  • Wild boar
  • Wild turkey
  • Pronghorn
  • Mule deer
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Mountain goat
  • Feral pig
  • African buffalo and many more animals. 

But make sure the wind is perfect,

Here is The Hunt For .38 Special PERRY COUNTY MONSTER BUCK

Does a 38 Special kick more than a 9mm?

The more kick of a firearm refers to its more recoil. A 38 special doesn’t kick more than a 9mm as it has a lower recoil. The recoil energy of a 38 special is 3.1 ft pounds. On the flip side, a 9mm comes with 4.6 ft pounds of recoil energy. A 38 special is dimensionally larger than a 9mm and so, it has less recoil.

Is there a difference between 38 Cal and 38 Special?

The 38 calibers and 38 special are identical. Nowadays, the use of 38 calibers is seen rarely. That’s why people get misunderstood often by thinking of it as something different. A 38 refers to the internal diameter of a gun barrel. On the other hand, the 38 special is a special cartridge variant. That’s all about their distinction.

Is 38 Special and 357 the same? 

Both are the same in width, but they’re not interchangeable. They come in different lengths that can be observed easily with eyes. Both come with the same base and neck diameter of 9.6 mm. The only difference is the 38 special was designed in 1898, whereas the other one was designed in 1934.

Can a 38 special kill a bear? 

It depends on your shooting angle, shooting position, and the bear’s strength. As a 38 special produces 264 foot-pounds of force, it’s hard to kill a bear. Hunting an adult bear requires around 2,700 foot-pounds of energy. However, if you directly shoot at the head or sensitive parts, there is a possibility of its death. 

Can a 38 special kill a human? 

Obviously a 38 special can kill a human. Human skin is extremely thin in comparison to wildlife animals. Its 264 foot-pounds of force will surely kill a human. If the bullet enters through the heart or brain, the spot death is confirmed. Even less powerful firearms are also capable of killing a human. 


Pro hunters have the experience of hunting with various revolvers. But, killing a deer using a 38 special is a different case. It’s a matter of perfection, accurate shot placement, and consistency. 

Now, your confusion “can you kill a deer with a 38 special” must have been understood. A deer of an average of 150 pounds in weight and 3 feet in height is tricky to kill with this revolver. But, the right hunting techniques, as well as the right bullet can make it successful.

The good part of a 38 special is its low recoil. People sometimes mix this firearm with 38 calibers. You already know they’re identical except for the cartridge variant part. 

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