Pat’s Product Review: Buffalo Bore Ammunition–Thinking Outside The Box

I like companies (and people) who think outside the box. I think this comes from my days as a Private Investigator, or when I was in law enforcement. In order to solve “mysteries” I had to think outside the box many times. So it is with firearms and ammo companies – if they want to stay in business, they have to keep coming up with different ideas, in order to pique their customers’ interest.
Some months ago, I review some of the ammo that Buffalo Bore Ammunition ( produces. Tim Sundles, who owns Buffalo Bore, told me he was swamped with orders from SB readers as a result of that article. That’s a good thing, I like to see smaller, American-owned companies rise in this day and age. Sundles isn’t one to sit back and rest on his past accomplishments. Nope, this guy is always thinking outside the box, and coming up with new and better loads in some of the old standby calibers.
The grand ol’ .38 Special has never been what it should be. Most ammo companies produce some pretty sedate loads for this old round, and I’ve always thought (knew) it could do better. Buffalo Bore has come up with a new hard cast “Outdoorsman” load for the .38 Special. This new Buffalo Bore load was designed for those who need a deep penetrating load to be fired from lightweight alloy .357s and .38 Special revolvers. Sundles discovered that alloy .357s developed multiple problems firing their heavy 180 grain .357 Magnum hard cast turbo charged ammo, or for that matter, any make of full-power .357 Magnum loads.
Many folks wanted a deep penetrating load for outdoor use, when carrying their lightweight pocket .357 Magnum revolvers. This new .38 Special +P 158 grain hard cast load is safe to shoot in all .38 Special and .357 Magnum firearms of modern design, in normal operating condition. I think there is only maker who says to not use +P loads in one of their particular super lightweight revolvers – that’s Taurus – and it’s only one of their revolvers.
Buffalo Bore never uses extra long test lab barrels to produce their advertised velocities, they use real firearms for all their readings. Sundles used a Ruger GP 100 with a 6″ barrel in .357 Magnum and was getting velocities around 1,250 FPS – that’s screaming for a .38 Special +P load. Sundles also used a S&W Model 642 1-7/8″ barrel snub by revolver and was still getting velocities above 1,000 FPS. I tested this load in a couple guns, shooting into water-filled milk jugs, and it easily penetrated completely through 3 jugs. This is a great round to carry when you’re in the boonies, with a little .38 Special snubbie in your pocket or on your belt.
Okay, do you want to turbo charge your .357 Magnum revolver, with a lead-free heavy .357 load? Here it is! Buffalo Bore developed a load using the 140 grain Barnes all-copper hollow point load using the Barnes 140 grain bullet. I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with various all-copper hollow bullets from Barnes, and I’m very impressed with them . They open-up nicely and penetrate deeply.
Sundles recommends that you ONLY use this load in an all-steel .357 Magnum revolver. It should NOT be fired in the lightweight alloy framed revolvers. You can also use this load in any of the .357 Magnum chambered rifles. If you are looking for a real man-stopper of a round, this is just the ticket.
Tim fired this round through a S&W Model 66 2.5″ barrel revolver – a snub by – and was getting almost 1,400 FPS out of the gun. Moving up to a 4″ barrel revolver, we are looking at better than 1,500 FPS. In a Marlin Model 1894, with an 18″ barrel, Sundles was getting almost 1,950 FPS. We’re talking serious velocity from this round. I fired this round through one of my .357 Magnum rifles, and found it to be very accurate, and the recoil was mild in my humble opinion.
I previously tested the Buffalo Bore 190 grain JFN 30-30 heavy load in a Rossi rifle, and it would make a great round for just about all game on the North American continent, given the limitations and range of the 30-30 round. However, that round might be a bit too much for some medium-sized game, like smaller sized deer. Buffalo Bore to the rescue! The new Buffalo Bore heavy 30-30 150 grain Barnes TSX round will not only penetrate deeply (and hold together) on deer and elk, it will mushroom very nicely. This load would also be great for black bear, too.
What’s nice about this load is, if you are going from deer hunting, to elk or black bear, you don’t have to readjust your sights, as you’d normally have to do when changing from one bullet weight to another. Nope, you can use this same 150 grain Barnes TSX bullet for much of your .30-30 hunting needs. However, if I were up in Alaska, where the really big bears are, and moose, I’d go with the other Buffalo Bore 190 grain JFN hard cast 30-30 load, for deeper penetration.
In a Winchester .30-30 with a 20″ barrel, Sundles is getting 2,271 FPS. And, even in a little 16″ barrel Trapper, he is still getting close to 2,200 FPS. This is a great all ’round load if you ask me – so long as you’re not up in Alaska looking for the big bears or moose.
The last load Buffalo Bore sent me is their new 45 auto rim +P 225 grain hard cast wad cutter anti-personnel load. Now, I said this is a full wad cutter bullet – not a semi-wad cutter bullet. The loaded round actually looks a bit “funky” to my way of thinking. However, this bullet will penetrate 30″ of flesh and bone, and makes a horrific permanent crush cavity because of it’s profile. This load is safe to use in all modern .45 ACP revolvers. (Not in converted antique .455 Webleys!)
I wasn’t able to personally test this load, as I don’t have a .45ACP revolver in my meager gun inventory. However, I’ll take Sundles word on this round…He used a S&W Mountain Gun with a 4″ barrel, and was getting 1,122 FPS out of it. And, using that hard cast (not lead) bullet will really get a bad guy’s attention in short order. I also think this would be a great load to carry when you’re out on the trail, it’ll take care of two-legged and most four-legged critters in short order.
Once again, Tim Sundles is thinking outside the box, and providing shooters with some serious upgrades to some old calibers. If you want the same ol’ same ol’ from the major named ammo companies, then buy their products. If you’re looking for something a bit different, and hotter in these older calibers, then you owed it to yourself to try some of these “upgraded” rounds from Buffalo Bore.
Sundles is always telling me that “more ammo is coming your way….” and he is still experimenting and coming up with better loads, for those of us who demand the most and best we can get from our firearms. I’m looking forward to seeing what Tim comes up with next. And he does a lot of hunting, and is always testing his loads in the field.