View Full Version : Buffalo hunting, what caliber would you use.

November 27, 2002, 03:39 PM
My brother took our father over to SD to shoot a buffalo. My father took the 50-70 to shoot and had to fire 3 shots to down the buffalo. Granted, the rifle he had is over 100 years old and black powder. He could of probably gotten a better shot placement, but all in all, a buffalo is one big animal.
What would you use to down one of these prairie creatures with a one shot kill. Oh, don't think about head shots as they've real thick skulls.

Ala Dan
November 27, 2002, 03:43 PM
From the movie "Jeremiah Johnson", a .50 caliber
Hawken!:cool: :D :)

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

November 27, 2002, 03:52 PM
I've used a 30-06 with 180 grain handloads (Nosler Partition @ about 2800 FPS) and though I ended up not getting a shot. I felt I had plenty of gun/caliber if a decent animal had presented itself.

FWIW - The buffalo (American Bison) that I saw were not as large as I expected them to be.


November 27, 2002, 03:54 PM
I always considered my Ruger #1S in .45-70, with my 405gr handloads, to be a proper buffalo gun. With a Garrett Hammerhead load in the chamber, maybe even Cape Buffalo! ;)

November 27, 2002, 04:09 PM
.375 H&H with a 300 gr Nosler partition.

Then again, a hot load from an 1895 Marlin in 45-70 would be more traditional.

Gila Jorge
November 27, 2002, 04:19 PM
Marlin 1895SS 45-70 with Buffalo Bore's 350 gr
hot roded loads,,,maybe even a 400 grainer from
Buffalo Bore. Sundles makes the best high performance rounds around and he's one heck of nice fellow. Good people to deal with.

November 27, 2002, 06:40 PM
I would use my Sharps replica with a 475gr Lyman cast. With proper placement should do the job on anything on earth.

November 27, 2002, 06:48 PM
What else? My .58 flintlock reproduction Hawken! :D

I'd probably bring my .300 win mag just in case we can't get close enough for the old flinter's range. Wouldn't want to miss out on taking on of those if I'd footed the bill for a hunt!

November 27, 2002, 06:50 PM
How about a Sharp's 45-70 with a 530gr. paper patch..

Shoots a fair group..Hits pretty hard and don't spoil much meat..

http://home.attbi.com/~Iggy25/grp.jpg :)

November 27, 2002, 09:06 PM
Any of the old big black powder cartridges.Rifle single shot,Iron sights,prone or with cross sticks.Hunters used lung shots,they bleed,try hard to breath,and just drop over and does not get the rest of the herd all upset.Thats how they could drop 6 head in one setting and keep the skinners busy.

November 27, 2002, 10:08 PM
I'd either use a Guide Gun with some Garrett Hammerheads or a .375 H&H.

November 27, 2002, 10:22 PM
Lot of Bison have fallen to the little 50-70.
Methinks it was a matter of shot placement and luck; rather than a caliber issue; that required three shots to bring it down.


November 27, 2002, 10:31 PM
I'd want to use a .45-70.

There is just something about shooting one with that caliber that really appeals to me. Especially in a single shot rifle.

Of course I'd want a horse nearby also.:D

Good SHooting

3 gun
November 28, 2002, 06:52 AM
Just when I thought I had my gun safe full. I guess I'll be at the show this weekend looking for something in 45-70.

Long Path
November 28, 2002, 09:29 AM
I concur that a .45-70 would make a dandy choice.

As for my ownself, I think I would love to do it with a .54 muzzle loader.

Oh, and I'm moving this one to The Hunt. ;)

November 28, 2002, 10:05 AM
Modern = 300 Winchester or Weatherby magnum.

Or... a fine old Express rifle in maybe, 375 H&H or 40 caliber offering.


November 28, 2002, 02:26 PM
50 Alaskan. At 150 yards the 450 grain slug penetrated shoulder to shoulder, expanded out to about .80 (Kodiak Bullet).

On a Buffalo shot about 2 months ago in Copper Center, AK.

November 28, 2002, 04:33 PM
I don't know, it would seem kind of unappropriate to shoot them boxcar's with anything but one of those old 'traditional rounds', out of a long rifle, and of course you'd need to be wearinging skins and firs yourself, smelling of campfire smoke, lastnights whiskey and bad tobacco just for atmosphere.

A strange regulation from some bureaucrat, here in B.C. limits the cartridges you are allowed to use on bison. Don't have the exact specifications but it's to do with energy/bullet weight yadda yadda yadda. . . and basically makes the lightest legal cartridge a 7mm mag or a hot 3006. Strangely, these regs illiminate the 45-70. It would be interesting to see this regulation challenged.
You are allowed to use a bow.

Lone Star
November 28, 2002, 05:04 PM
People interested in this sort of question will want to know that Mike Venturino, the classic arms scribe at, "Shooting Times", has just published, "Shooting Buffalo Rifles of the Old West". Contact him at MLV Enterprises, P.O. Box 914, Livingston, MT 59047. I regret that I don't know the price; most of his books run a bit under $30, and they've all been worth it. (I have the new book, but it was a gift, so don't know the cost.)

Lone Star

November 28, 2002, 07:46 PM
Years ago, I saw a story in one of the old BP mags. The feature article showed a series of photos of the author dropping a full sized bull bison from about 25 yards with his 50 cal Hawkin. He was in a shallow trench, prone, with the heaviest charge he could put in the gun. He was using a patched round ball. The photos were taken from a distance by a friend.

They showed him lining up the bull at the moment the bull saw him; the next photo shows the bull all four legs in the air rolling over from the shot. The author went for a head shot, which he said took away about 1/3 to 1/2 half of the brain case. The photo also shows the author frantically reloading, and for good reason.

The bull got up, and charged.

The author had to use another shot through the heart to slow the bull down long enough to get away, which he did. Moments after that, the bull finally went down for the count.

Those bison hunters knew what they were doing when they chose to stand off a few hundred yards for their kills.

November 28, 2002, 10:47 PM
just to be sure:D

Johnny Guest
November 30, 2002, 06:52 PM
I think that, shooting such a "tradional" old west style animal, I'd like to use an appropriate older-style rifle. Or, at least, an old model cartridge, such as .45-70.

As far as just taking the animal in aproper fashion, though, I wouldn't be at all shy about using my .338 WinMag or, even, a .30'06 with proper choice of bullets.

One old friend, now departed, did it both ways--Rem Rolling Block .45-70 with a long brass scope sight, shooting 500 gr handloads. Then with a Model 70 Win lightweight '06, with factory 180 loads. Both one shot kills.


December 1, 2002, 09:55 PM
I have a load of a 300 gr. Sierra HP over enough IMR 4198 to get 2100 FPS and a 1" group at 100 yds. This is for my Ruger No.1 in 45/70. I have a 6 x Leupold on it as the old eyes are not like they used to be. I believe it would get the job done.;)