Buddy took a 225# dressed 12 pt with his Marlin .357 last yr (hot handload with 180 gr bullets).
It's his 12th deer, in 12 shots.
He doesn't shoot movers, stays under 100 yards (last yr it was 85 yards and farthest shot to date, but said he wouldn't go past 100 no matter what).
Low recoil (he shoots well anyway) he waits for a good neck shot and puts it right on the money (where neck/body meet, spines 'em).
Not saying he is right or wrong, but hard to argue with that kind of success
FWIW (and probably not much) I have taken 1 deer with a .357, handgun. I too spined my deer looking away from me (52 yards). Pinpoint placement.
I like .44 mags better.
Will be using a .35 cal this yr in rifle though..........,35 Rem.