Deer-Killing Buffalo


By Miles Fortis and Alan K. Church

For the Gunblast Media Empire

August 23, 2004


We have already examined Buffalo Bore’s defense .357 Magnum ammo. In the 125 grain end of the spectrum, anti-personnel low flash loads are available. In the 180 grain, bear skull penetrating market segment, Tim Sundles has again provided.

In the middle, Buffalo Bore has two loads directed toward hunting. One launches a 158 gr. JHP, of conventional weight and controlled expansion characteristics. The other is the less usual 170 gr. weight, same bullet construction.

As is true of the 125s and 180s, owner Sundles has chosen new, non canister grade propellants to provide high performance at standard pressures. We have also noted accuracy with Buffalo Bore .357s run the gamut of acceptable to quite good, and we saw this in testing.

All in all, 3 loads were tried with each gun. Range was 25 yards, ambient temperature 85 Fahrenheit, winds nil. After we grouped these guns, we recalled the single shot carbine stowed about Church’s SUV, and it was fired for velocities.

The 3 single action revolvers used were a late model 5 ˝”  Ruger Bisley Vaquero, stainless and nearly new, a 4 5/8” Old Model Blackhawk, clean and unconverted, and the gigantic, weird and accurate J P Sauer built Herter’s Powermag, 6 ˝”. The former Camp Perry competitor Miles Fortis pulled the trigger on all accuracy tests. He’s a way better shot than Church.


Buffalo Bore's 158-Grain Ammo

Old Model Ruger Blackhawk

The 1971 vintage Old Model Ruger provided one base pin jump with this ammo. Retrofitted with an aftermarket steel grip frame and ejector housing, it’s a handy packing size, with a few welcome extra ounces.

Velocities were: 1231, 1294, 1283, 1284 and 1335, AVG 1285, extreme spread 103.9 and a standard deviation of 37.1. The base pin jump was the only malfunction experienced with any of the guns. The primer sensitive Powermag we expected to tie up, this gun we expected to run seamlessly. Life offers surprises.


(Bullet hole to the far left is a called flyer)



Herter's Powermag

The German made 1966 proof date Herter’s Powermag is 49 ounces of  well made ugliness. Fitted with a mammoth grip frame, ungainly hammer and sailboat sized sight protectors, it’s a useful illustration of what the used market offers in off brand beaters, and the dichotomy of cheap guns preferring high priced ammo. Anyway, Church likes ‘em, they show up cheap, one was in the vehicle, and so it got tested.

This gun is also a barometer of soft primers. They will tie the gun up quite decisively, primers flowing into the firing pin hole. Nearly all Winchester factory loads do this in the test Powermag. Another Sauer tested in the 180 article showed this proclivity with both Winchester 125 and early lots of Buffalo Bore 180 . None of this foolishness happened with either of these mid-weight loads.

Velocities were 1433, 1441, 1467, 1422 and another 1467. Average is an expeditious 1446, extreme spread 45.7 and SD 20.6.



Decent, but it liked 170 better.  

"Del Bisquero" 

A notably chunky and solid feeling gun of recent production, the Bisley Vaquero has had some action smoothing, trigger weight reduction (which we do at our own risk, and must advise you not to even think about). No accuracy work as such as been performed. This gun has served quite well already in CAS matches shooting very low power .38 Special, but performed decently with the .357 hunting ammo.

Velocities were 1373, 1351, 1401, 1393 and 1355, average 1374, ES 49.9, and SD 22.1



Fixed sight gun, sights cut for Cowboy ammo. This is a happy coincidence.

Finally, author Church’s 16.5” barreled New England Firearms truck gun was shot over the screens at the end of the day, with no attempt made at grouping (we were out of targets, and the long gun test was an afterthought). Bullets zooted forth at velocities frighteningly close to those of the 170 load: 1676, 1750, 1751, 1678 and 1780, average 1727, ES 104.1, SD 47.3. You will be later able to compare and barely contrast these against the 170 numbers.


Buffalo Bore's 170-Grain Ammo

The slightly slower, heavier, and presumably more penetrative 170 grain load was shot in same guns as above. For some reason, the perception straight across seemed to be that the 170 stuff was softer recoiling. Certainly the base pin didn’t jump on the shorty Old Model. Neither yet did it twist up the Powermag’s firing pin bushing with incipient primer oozing.

It all just went off, and grouped decently.


Old Model Ruger Blackhawk

The Old Model packing gun provided speeds as follows: 1265 1248 1250 1305 1294 AVG 1273, ES 57.4, SD 23.6. Note that these numbers are little different than the 158 numbers, a theme we will see repeated.  


This would work, but it liked the 158 better.


Herter's Powermag

On to the Powermag. The huge ugly German gun stepped the fastest of all short arms with 1427 1401 1439 1458 1405 AVE 1426 ES 56.4 SD 23.6.



This is pretty gilt-edged accuracy for a pawnshop truck gun, but judge for yourself.


"Del Bisquero"

The Bisquero ran the middle course again with 1376 1353 1389 1345 and 1373. AVG 1367, ES 43.6, SD a tight 17.7



Note that 4 of 5 holes are touching.

The NEF carbine showed these numbers 1672 1719 1783 1759 1734 AVG 1733 ES 110.3 SD 41.8

Lacking legal ability to shoot deer at the out-of-season time this article was written, we have to trust the performance of Buffalo Bore’s choice of bullets, but previous experience and feedback leaves us confident. This is good performing, reliable ammo.

Miles Fortis & A K Church


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