Pat’s Product Review: Buffalo Bore Ammunition

I like it, when an ammo maker isn’t afraid to experiment, or push the envelop a bit, especially in handgun calibers. Let’s face it, given a choice, when things go bad, it’s better to have some kind of .223 Remington, 7.62×39 or .308 Winchester rifle in your hands. However, that’s not always possible, so we are “stuck” carrying some kind of handgun, and it’s usually carried concealed, for self-defense purposes. If I can get a little boost in power from my handguns, then I’m certainly going to take a close look at doing so.

SurvivalBlog readers have seen me mention Buffalo Bore Ammunition a number of times in my articles. I’ve only been shooting their ammo for eights months or so, as compared to some other big-name ammo companies. However, I’m extremely impressed with what I’m seeing coming out of Buffalo Bore these days. When Buffalo Bore was started, back in 1997, Tim Sundles, who owns and operates Buffalo Bore, was only making big bore loads, like heavy .44 Magnum and the like. He wasn’t making ammo for most handgun calibers, however that has all changed, and for the better.

One thing I like about Buffalo Bore is the fact that Tim Sundles, actually tests his ammo in real guns – not pressure test barrels. What better way to get a true reading of what ammo will do, than by testing it in real guns? Buffalo Bore ammo isn’t for all handguns, be sure to read the warnings on the Buffalo Bore web site, as to which calibers or loads shouldn’t be used in certain guns. The .40 S&W +P load that Sundles puts together shouldn’t be used in a straight-from-the-box Glock. The load is hot, and Glocks don’t have fully supported chambers – I’ve had some .40 S&W loads let loose in some of my Glocks chambered in .40 S&W. FWIW, it was not Buffalo Bore loads, rather reloads from UltraMax ammunition. Luckily, neither myself nor my gun were damaged – but it was a wake-up call, to be sure. I refuse to use any UltraMax ammo in any of my guns any longer. I contacted UltraMax several times about this, and never received a reply – that tells me a lot about them – they apparently don’t care! Tim Sundles tells me that the 4th Generation Glocks have a better chamber, but it’s still not fully supported. So, if you are intent on shooting Buffalo Bore .40 S&W +P loads in your Glock, then have the barrel replaced with one that has a fully supported chamber.

I’ve never been all that thrilled with the .380 ACP as a self-defense round, at least not as my main gun in that caliber. I readily admit that I like the micro .380s that are on the market, and they make a dandy back-up gun, to whatever my main gun might be that I’m carrying. Still, the .380 is marginal as a stopper if you ask me. I now carry Buffalo Bore 90 grain .380 JHP +P rounds in my Ruger LCP, and these babies let you know that you have something there that will get the bad guy’s attention. This load is screaming out of a little Ruger LCP at around 1,150 f.p.s. with a muzzle energy of around 270 foot pounds. We’re talking energy around that of some .38 Special loads.

Buffalo Bore also makes Full Metal Jacket .380 loads, for those who want a little more penetration in this round, as well as an all-lead round. I note on the Buffalo Bore web site, that they are now offering the .380 ACP round with the Barnes solid Hollow Point load – this should penetrate a bit more than the standard JHP round, without losing any weight or having the bullet come apart. I haven’t tested this load yet, but I will.

Many folks carry a 9mm handgun of some type, most like the idea of having a lot of rounds in their guns – I have no problem with that! With the proper loads, the 9mm is a good stopper. Buffalo Bore offers quite a few different 9mm loads, to include JHP and FMJ, in various bullet weights, as well as in +P and +P+ loadings. Now we’re talking serious attention-getting loads in your self-defense handguns. Once again, check the Buffalo Bore web site, to see if these loads are safe to use in your handguns, and also check the owner’s manual that came with your handgun, to see if these Buffalo Bore loads are safe to shoot in your particular model of 9mm pistol. Most gun companies will tell you to not use +P+ 9mm loads, and it’s not because these loads aren’t safe in their guns, it’s because they accelerate wear on guns fed a steady diet of these hot loads.

Most police agencies have abandoned the 9mm in favor of the .40 S&W round in their handguns. However, prior to the .40 S&W coming along, law enforcement was using +P and +P+ 9mm loads in their guns, and they had outstanding results in putting the bad guys down. When a new load came along, they all wanted it – and most police departments dumped the 9mm in favor of the .40 S&W or the .45 ACP. I find that I can shoot a 9mm handgun faster, and with more accuracy on-target, than I can with a .40 S&W loaded handgun. Recoil has a lot to do with it – not that I find the .40 S&W recoil to be objectionable, it’s just that I can get the front sight back on target faster with a 9mm than I can with the .40 S&W. Buffalo Bore has 9mm loads in 115 grain, 124 grain and 147 grain bullet weights, with +P and +P+ loadings in many of these bullet weights. I personally like the 124 grain JHP +P loading, as I feel it gives me the best compromise between deep penetration and bullet expansion. And, this is just my personal choice, you may want to go with one of the 115 grain JHP loadings for more expansion and less penetration. Or the 147 grain JHP with more penetration and less expansion. Truth be told, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the Buffalo Bore loads in 9mm. Buffalo Bore also offers some FMJ loads, and I think they would be great for carrying in your handgun when you’re out in the woods – you’ll want that extra penetration if you run across big game – where the vitals are buried deep.

I can often be “caught” carrying a good ol’ 1911 of some type – it’s my preferred handgun type and round for fight stopping power. I cut my teeth on a 1911 .45 ACP pistol way back in the 1960s, and it’s still my favorite type of handgun to shoot. I just find that I can shoot a single-action 1911 faster and with greater accuracy than any other handgun type – simple as that. Sure, the 1911 is bigger than many semi-auto handguns, and a bit harder to conceal, but it’s worth the effort if you ask me. If I knowingly head into harms way, and all I can carry is a handgun, the 1911, chambered in .45 ACP would be my gun of choice. Now wonder so many SWAT teams carry the 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. It’s a proven gun and proven round.

Buffalo Bore has you covered in all manner of .45 ACP rounds, with JHP, FMJ and all-lead bullets, ranging in weight from 185 grain all the way up to their 255 grain hard cast bullet. The 185 grain JHP +P round screams out of a 5″ barrel 1911 at around 1,150 f.p.s. with 540-foot pounds of energy. Their 230 grain JHP load is coming out at about 1,050 f.p.s. with 490 foot pounds of energy. You can check out the Buffalo Bore web site for full details on the various .45 ACP +P loads they offer. And, don’t be misled by the numbers – the feet per second and the foot pounds of energy don’t tell the whole story – it’s real-life results that count, and the .45 ACP is well-documented in gun fights over the past 100 years and it gets the job done, so long as you put the bullet where it’s supposed to hit. I should mention, that Buffalo Bore also uses a low-flash powder in their handgun loads, and this is great for saving your night vision, if you have to fire your handgun at night.

The Buffalo Bore 255 grain hard cast .45 ACP+P load would be my first choice in a trail gun, if I were heading out to the woods for a day or hiking. It’ll penetrate deeply, and the bullet won’t come apart on dangerous game – you could do a lot worst than this round for a trail gun, if you ask me. On big, dangerous game, you have to have a lot of penetration in order to reach the vital organs, if you want to stop an attack.

I like the 10mm round, at least, I liked it in the original loadings – the current crop of 10mm loads have all been reduced down in power, to the point, where they are about the same as a .40 S&W round. Only a couple of companies make a full-powered 10mm load these days, with Buffalo Bore being one of them. The original 10mm loadings were approaching that of the .41 Magnum, and that gave one cause to sit up and take notice. I still remember my first 10mm handgun, it was the Colt Delta Elite, and you knew you had some real power in your hands. The gun was not only good for small to medium game hunting, it was also a great stopper in the JHP loadings. Of course, those full-powered loadings took their toll on lesser handguns, and the Delta Elite was really getting loose after a steady diet of full-powered loads. Colt discontinued the Delta Elite some years ago. However, I’m happy to report, they have re-introduced it, and they look better made than the originals do.

If you have a 10mm handgun, and you don’t load your own rounds, then you’ll want to contact Buffalo Bore and get some of their outstanding 10mm loads. The 180 grain JHP rounds are screaming at 1,350 f.p.s. with about 725 foot pounds of energy – we’re talking serious power from an autoloader. Want something that penetrates deeper in a 10mm load? Take a look at the 200 grain FMJ load, that is 1,200-f.p.s. with 640 foot pounds of energy, that will penetrate extremely deep on any animal. Buffalo Bore is also offering a 230 grain hard cast 10mm load, that should take care of most of your medium sized game out in the boonies.

As already mentioned, if you want full-powered 10mm loads, then take a close look at the Buffalo Bore line-up, they have what you’re looking for. Most big-name ammo companies are only offering 10mm loads that are reduced in power, down to the point, where their loads are no more effective than then .40 S&W is. The reason for owning a 10mm handgun is the major power-factor.

I have tested a lot of .44 Magnum loads from Buffalo Bore over the past eight months, and they have about the largest selection of .44 Magnum loads that I’ve ever seen. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, then you aren’t looking for the right load. I like the .44 Magnum, it has taken all manner of big game all over the world. While it’s not the ideal round for elephant, rhino or cape buffalo – it can take them with the right load, and of course, the proper shot placement. I like the idea of a .44 Magnum because you can load ’em up high, or load ’em down to .44 Special velocities.

Please read the warnings on the Buffalo Bore web site, about the use of some of their .44 Magnum loadings – not all loadings are safe to use in all makes and models of .44 Magnum handguns – be advised before making your selections.

If you’re in the market for a plain ol’ 240 grain JHP loading, then do yourself a favor, and walk into your big box store and buy something from them. However, if you’re in the market for some of the best, and most powerful .44 Magnum loads around, then you don’t have to go any farther than the Buffalo Bore web site. Are you looking for a 270 grain jacketed flat nose (JFN) round, at 1,450 f.p.s. with a muzzle of 1,260 – then Buffalo Bore has you covered. Want a 300 grain JFN load round, for deeper penetration? Then take a look at the Buffalo Bore round with 1,300 f.p.s. and a muzzle energy of 1,125. Want a bullet that will penetrate and stay together after hitting bone and muscle? The 305 grain lead flat nose with 1,325 f.p.s. and a muzzle energy of 1,190 foot pounds will fill your needs.

Are you looking for a bit more power in a .44 Magnum loading? Then take a close look at the Buffalo Bore 340 grain lead flat nose load, with 1,470 f.p.s. and 1,640 foot pounds of muzzle energy.  Want something a new and different? Check out the Buffalo Bore “Deer Grenade” – this round was developed for all manner of deer and the huge hollow cavity lead bullet with drop a deer in their tracks. Want something different for self-defense? I just received the new Buffalo Bore “Anti-Personnel” .44 Magnum load, which has a hard cast wadcutter bullet that weighs 200 grain. I’ve yet to test this load, but it appears to be one that will get the job done.

I’ve only touched the surface on some of the Buffalo Bore loadings and calibers. It’s not within the scope of a single article to cover all the various loads that Buffalo Bore offers. I’m sure, if you’re looking for a little more “oomph” in your handguns (and rifles) then Buffalo Bore will surely have something that will fill the need. I enjoy recommending a small company whenever possible…and in the case of Buffalo Bore, they are small (but rapidly growing) and the offer a line-up of ammo you can’t find any place else. I like doing business with the “little guys” whenever possible. They go out of their way to make the customer happy, and Buffalo Bore is doing it by offering a line of ammo that no one else offers. Expensive? Well, that depends on how you look at it…the best is never cheap, and quality is always worth the money if you ask me. So, checkout Buffalo Bore’s web site, I’m sure you’ll find something there that will catch your eye, and tell Tim Sundles, you saw it on Survivalblog. They deserve your business. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio

One Comment

Comments are closed.