View Full Version : .308 for Bison?

October 15, 2007, 03:39 PM
What do you guys think? I say good enough, especially heavier rounds, good bullet, shot placement being most important...

October 15, 2007, 04:26 PM
I would have to go with a different 30 caliber, my choice would be 300 W.M.

375 H&H mag would not be out of line.

Granted I've never hunted buffalo - that said, a male bison can weight 2000 lbs +, i would want something that has excellent penetration [ choosing a excellent bullet would be paramount] with ALOT of knockdown energy.

Your mileage may vary. If your hunting a Cape buffalo - at least a 40 caliber.


October 15, 2007, 06:31 PM
I say that a bison hunt would be a perfect excuse to get a .45/70 (or one of its larger brothers, .45/90 and up), .444 Marlin, .35 Whelen, .338-06, .338 Winchester Magnum, .375 H&H Magnum or even a .416 Rigby. Or maybe you really need one of those long barreled S&W .460 Magnum pistols. Amortize the cost as dollars per pound of meat and it becomes reasonable.

But not a .308. :o

October 15, 2007, 06:42 PM
Not saying too much, but a good sized cow or bull can weigh close to 2000 lbs. You can put one of those down with a 22 Mag, but shot placement is extremely important. My first choice would be 45-70, by far the best round for that. Past that, 375 H&H would not be out of line...lighter load, little bit lighter bullet and it would be good. 308 would take it for sure, I wouldn't push the range and shot placement would again be critical...but completely feasible. I own all three, shot them and know their ballistics, all very capable rounds for the job.


Jack O'Conner
October 15, 2007, 07:22 PM
I'm no expert, as I've hunted bison just once. It was summer of 2001 at the Catron Ranch in Harding County, S. Dakota. The buffalo were grazing peacefully along the edge of a long basin. These animals have never been known for elusive traits or long distance eyesight.

I approached on foot at an angle and dropped into a wash about 300 yards from the edge of the herd. Using the cover of this low area, I was able to close the distance to about 125 yards or so. It was a simple matter to rest my .308 on the day pack for a rock solid rest. I cranked my scope to 7X and waited for a broadside shot into the brain. Only a few minutes passed. I shot the animal at the butt of the ear and all four legs folded simultaneously. The buffalo quite literally dropped in it's tracks! It was truly dead although some magnum fanciers will attempt to minimize the effect of this well placed .308 150 grain bullet. I refuse to debate if the animal would've been more dead if shot with a much harder recoiling rifle.

The bullet exited the opposite ear opening and made a ghastly wound.


October 16, 2007, 01:54 PM
I have never hunted bison, but I went along and watched as a friend of mine shot one. The stalk was unnerving, tension-building, and we wondered if he would get away alive . . . no, just kidding. I watched as my friend ran down a gully about 1/2 mile to about 150 yds from the bull, then eased up over the edge, placed his rifle, and fired one round. The bull turned around, stood there about 15 seconds, then the front legs went down and planted his nose in the dirt, back legs still standing. About 30 seconds later, the back end collapsed. We all walked down, slapped my friend on the back and high-fived, and walked up to the bull. His mouth and nose were full of blood, the entrance wound was right above the elbow and there was no exit wound. The ranch hands drove up in a truck and hoisted the bull in the air, then drove him over to the concrete slab a mile or so away where they gutted and skinned him.

The heart and lungs were annihilated, just puffy and shredded. We did not find the bullet, but it penetrated the chest and did its job. The rifle was chambered in 243 Winchester, not typically considered a buffalo-hunter's round. My point is that although it might be fun to buy a 45-70 for nostalgia, any good deer round will put one down.

October 16, 2007, 05:26 PM
Scorch - please don't take away my excuse for a 45-70, please please please

Or maybe I need an Africa-sized caliber - "Honest honey, lots of people get killed while hunting Cape Buffalo and American Buffalo are just as dangerous. They just don't like people to know about that part of the hunt...":D

October 16, 2007, 05:30 PM
Yeah, Scorch - let's help Dave get his .45-70. If you wife thinks it's dangerous though, she might take out extra life insurance before you go; then if you make it back alive, she'd have too much incentive to induce an "accident", so I dunno..... JK. :)

October 16, 2007, 05:33 PM
Don't make her think it is too dangerous, she may pull your "kitchen pass":D

October 16, 2007, 05:44 PM
Either that or make sure my insurance is up to date and pay for the trip....:eek:

I would need a very skilled video editor to make it appear that I barely escaped with my life...

and FF, I would keep my eyes peeled for any unexplained brake fluid under my truck....

October 16, 2007, 06:30 PM
Hunting Buffalo is like hunting cattle. Not much pursuit involved. However, shot placement is absolutely critical. I've seen guys shoot big bulls with 30-06 and not hit vitals and the Buffalo didn't even move, just kept chewing it's grass. So, be sure of your shot, and have a BIG EMPTY freezer ready to be filled with alot of meat!

October 16, 2007, 06:43 PM
Dave I'm with you and I feel your pain. I'm glad Ms. Meek doesn't read TFL! Jack's and Scorch's replies would have completely soured my chances for a bigger rifle. I've been dropping hints about how I could hunt one of those 2000 pound critters, ten times the size of a deer, 600 pounds of lean meat, if only she'd let me get the right gun for it. ;)

October 16, 2007, 09:05 PM
Alaska's hunting regs require a cartridge capable of shooting a 200 grain bullet and maintaining 2000 ft-lbs of energy @ 100 yrds for bison hunting. You would meet the energy requirement with a .308 but fall short on bullet weight. My guess is if you used a super bullet, kept the range short and pick your shot it'd be doable.

October 17, 2007, 08:31 AM
Thanks guys. It's not for me (I WISH!!), but for someone who asked a worker at the gun shop I go to...hope I get back to him in time...

October 17, 2007, 09:30 PM
It is all bullet placement. One shot in the lungs and no matter what critter-it is dead-may take a while but not long.

October 18, 2007, 06:54 PM
Scorch - please don't take away my excuse for a 45-70, please please please

Hell, a .22 would take a Cape Buffalo down with the perfect shot, but you've just crawled for 2 miles through cactus, scorpions and rattlesnakes, up hill. As you line up for the shot, suddenly you remember you left your other ammo in the truck. You've only got one round with you. As you exhale and get ready for that shot you notice that it looks like the bison is RABID, pissed off and staring right at you. You never noticed that bison had fangs until now, big, sharp, blood stained fangs. The bison starts a full on charge directly at you!

Now, do you want to take that shot with a .22, .243, .308 or with a 45-70 Gov't? I rest my case. Go buy your 45-70 Gov't right now before its too late, I did! :)

October 18, 2007, 07:00 PM
K-horse - I thought you needed at least a .50 for RABID buff...

October 18, 2007, 07:05 PM
K-horse - I thought you needed at least a .50 for RABID buff...

Damn, I think you are right and I'm under gunned now!

T. O'Heir
October 18, 2007, 08:02 PM
"...please don't take away my excuse for a 45-70..." Quit looking for excuses and find a reason. 'I want one' is a reason.
"...big, sharp, blood stained fangs..." On top of his head.
The .308 will kill any game in North America. You don't need heavy bullets either. For a buffler, you need penetration with controlled expansion.

October 19, 2007, 10:52 AM
T - sorry, I am out of the "I want one" reason with my wife. If I got everything I wanted - we would end up living in my truck relying on the charity of strangers to get by.

She is my "self-control", since I would rather not have any!!!:D

October 21, 2007, 10:53 AM
The 308 is plenty with a 165gr or 180gr bullet. Just place it well.......hpg

October 29, 2007, 02:58 PM
the indians use to kill them with a couple of sticks some string and a sharpened piece of flint.:D
the .308 will do fine
however if it is in the budget never pass up an excuse to get a "new" rifle.;)