Buffalo Bore's 125-Grain .357 Magnum Self Defense Ammo


by Miles Fortis and A K Church

May 18, 2004


You could argue in a sense that all of Buffalo Bore's line of ammunition is suited to self defense. Photographers working in Alaska might need to fend off enraged Moose, surveyors in Africa might have unwanted interaction with Buffalo.

Self defense in the sense of anti-personnel ammunition is not what the firm came to be known for. But CEO Tim Sundles initiated one .357 load specifically toward that end, his 125-grain .357.

The .357 Magnum holds on as a police round in small enclaves, but large numbers of individuals continue to use it in that role. Assuming the United Nations doesn't disarm all Americans as they wish to do, it presumably will hold on this role for many years.

Sundles also chose propellant on this load with reduced flash characteristics in mind.


We took out a 2-1/2 inch Smith & Wesson Model 66-3 as the initial test mule.



Accuracy out of the test gun was adequate for 25-yard work, unexceptional but serviceable.



We lost our chronograph readouts, but all were in the eyebrow-raising low to mid 1400s - with a 2-1/2" barrel, & that is stepping lively. Hot ammo, usually running within standard pressures, is a hallmark of Buffalo Bore. This approaches advertised velocity for longer barrels.

Newton's Laws were never revoked, not by Einstein, nor by 2 shooters in SW Missouri. Run a mid-weight bullet that fast out of short barreled and fairly light gun, and it will be felt. Recoil, was, to the opinion of both shooters, preeeeety stiff. Church is a recoil lightweight, but Fortis has his stick time in flying Casulls.

As a last second improvisation, we recalled that a 5" N frame was around, and that was pressed into service. Much more pleasant. Subjectively, we would describe recoil as being like a thousand-foot-second 240-grain .44 Special. You know something for real has gone off, but it's not bad. We did not chrono this one, nor save the target image, but grouping approximated that of the snub Smith.

The final test consisted of hauling the 5" gun out after dark, and firing a round off. The eyes will tell you about the reduced flash characteristics. It passed this test impressively - yes, there was flash, but of a much reduced intensity. From behind the gun, disruption of night vision would be far less than with older loads using propellants with less or no flash inhibitors.

For a defense round out of heavier revolvers, this would open up some new vistas. It's hot, but it doesn't flash like a hot load.

This thought ran through our minds while we were using this ammo: How would it do out of a Trapper-length lever gun as a 100 yard Coyote killer? Consider: it's fast; the bullet has controlled but but definite expansion characteristics; and the flash isn't bad.

We think we've just scratched the surface on this one. Hopefully by this fall, we can post a follow-up article.

Check out Buffalo Bore on the Web at: www.buffalobore.com.

Miles Fortis & A K Church


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