View Full Version : Navy Arms Buffalo Hunter

Antique Shooter
November 16, 2010, 07:14 PM
Hi all, a recently purchased a Navy Arms Buffalo Hunter .58 cal, and was wondering what the max,(or a good) powder charge would be. I use 90 grains of fffg in my TC flint, so I would still like to use fffg. I will be using it for large game. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks, Antique Shooter

November 17, 2010, 08:19 AM
I had one years ago.It had a nipple that used musket caps.Anything over 60 grains,hammer would blow back to full cock.

November 17, 2010, 08:58 AM
Anything over 60 grains,hammer would blow back to full cock. Awesome!

fffg will not give you the best performance in a 58 cal, but it could be used. Also, the best approach is to experiment and see what load gives you the best accuracy in your rifle.

November 17, 2010, 09:37 AM
I had one years ago.It had a nipple that used musket caps.Anything over 60 grains,hammer would blow back to full cock

That is a dangerous condition. The images I found did not show a musket nipple but standard rifle nipple. Someone screwed with your gun.
That rifle should take heavier charges OK.
BTW, 3Fg is just fine. Work up your charges just as you would any ml rilfe.

November 17, 2010, 11:32 AM
The Navy Arms Buffalo hunter is basically a cut down Navy Arms Zouave 2 band rifle, I believe it has 1:48 in. twist. It should peform best with a minie bullet. This one is designed for heavier charges that would be suitable for large game: http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/bullet-casting/mould-details-blackpowder.php?entryID=93

November 17, 2010, 12:34 PM
Navy Arms Buffalo hunter is basically a cut down Navy Arms Zouave

The, not so good, images I found looked like that might be the case.
There were/are two basic styles of musket nipples.
On the theory that spreading the flame gave better ignition, some had a wide flared opening at the bottom. This design allows pressure to go back up the tube causing hammer rebound. Not good.
The other theory, and the one more generally accepted, is that the tube narrowing to the bottom with a small opening concentrates the flame giving better ignition. This also retains pressure in the breech end and does not (yes, I know, never say never :rolleyes: ) cause hammer rebound.
Check for a newer nipple with the small hole at the bottom. I'm confident it will stop that problem.
The rifle will handle heavier charges, but if designed for minies your performance will optimize at about 60 grains.

Antique Shooter
November 17, 2010, 05:45 PM
What charge of fffg would I not want to go over, what would cause it to "blow up"?

November 17, 2010, 06:15 PM
What charge of fffg would I not want to go over, what would cause it to "blow up"?

2F is better for this cal., What size powder charge you use will depend on what weight and stlye bullet you are using. Bigger is not always better. Pick the bullet stlye and weight you want to use, for the game you are going to hunt, and work up the most accurate load for it. The minie I reccomended above was designed for hunting charges, it has a thicker skirt to withstand the heavier hunting charges.

November 18, 2010, 12:41 AM
I hunt with an Armi Sport 1853 3 band enfield in 58 cal. My rifle with its 32 in barrel likes 535 gr buffalo bullets and 555 gr TC maxi balls with 100 grains of Goex ffg. It will touch bullet holes at 50 yards and will kill about anything out there. The bad, it kicks like a mule!!

November 18, 2010, 12:57 AM
In the Lyman Black Powder Handbook 1975 edition there is an article where they went on an African safari and used the Buffalo Hunter carbine with a 610gr minie bullet pushed by 125grs FFFg to kill a lion. They used much heavier loads in their Hawken style rifles in 58cal for other bigger species (hippo). The Buffalo Hunter (Zoli) is a stout gun. Mine likes the .570 patched ball over 100grs FFg.

Ideal Tool
November 18, 2010, 01:52 AM
Hello, Antique Shooter. Rifleman1776 is right when he says 60grs. optimum with minies, years ago in the 70's there was an article in guns & ammo I think about this rifle. Fellow used it to kill a bison. He found with heavy charges, while not dangerous, the skirt on the minie would blow out at leaving muzzle from excessive pressure & accuracy would be destroyed. I have not checked, but it seems there are some moulds on the market with a thicker, heaver skirt , to address this problem. Good luck with that nice looking sporter!

November 18, 2010, 08:40 AM
You need to test your loads to determine which works best in your rifle and the testing should include chronographing. When the U.S. Army was testing loads for the .45/70 they found that a powder charge of 1.5 times the bore diameter was the most efficient as the increase in velocity rate goes down as the charge goes up. 45 x 1.5 = 67.5 grains (round off to 70) and 58 x 1.5 = 87 grains (round off to 85 or 90 grains) and you should be fine. More powder = more recoil and very little gain in performance.

November 18, 2010, 09:33 PM
Antique Shooter,
The Lyman 577611 minie (530gr) has a thicker skirt and is built for heavy charges. I also have the 575213-OS (Old Style) that also has a heavy skirt. My Zouave (longer barreled but also a Zoli from which the Buffalo Hunter is a sporterized version). My zouave likes 90grs FFFg under the 575213-OS.Most minie molds have thinner skirts and are fine for under 60gr loads or else the hollow base flares out like a shuttlecock and accuracy goes to pot. If you surf the N/SSA website there are archives on accuracy with the minie and many of the loads are 30-50grs FFFg and the thinner skirted minies.

November 25, 2010, 06:04 AM
You might want to try the TC maxi ball or maxi hunter bullets. They are pretty much flat based and with an 80 gr charge of fffg would kill about anything out to 100 yds.

November 25, 2010, 07:49 AM
I use a thin skirted minie with 70 grs. of Pyrodex out of my three band Enfield. It holds minute of five gallon bucket at 300 yds. and will do some serious damage to whatever it hits. Personally I wouldn't use FFFG in a .58 but that's just me.

November 25, 2010, 10:33 AM
Several mentions here of 2Fg vs. 3Fg in big caliber rifles.
As far back as I can remember, and that is a long-long time, it was almost gospel that 3Fg was never to be used in anything .50 cal. or larger.
But, in recent years that concept has been placed into the category of an old wives tale.
Many dedicated ml shooters are using 3Fg. in all calibers. The pressure increase is not enough to worry about safety issues. Point of aim does change and the shooter must adjust both charges and his shooting habits accordingly.
Using 3Fg. has the advantage of shooting cleaner and somewhat more economically.
I was of the old school way of thinking for almost four decades but now only buy 3Fg. I'll use up my supply of 2Fg. in my Brown Bess and new fowler but after that it will be FFFg. all the way.
BTW, since smoothbore shooting is a dirty proposition to start with, many shooters are switching to Swiss brand powder. It is cleaner and (reportedly) more 'powerful' than other brands which all contributes to less gunk and mess in the bore.
As with anything in any shooting discipline, if you make changes, do so in small increments and exercise caution. BP won't hurt you if you respect it.

November 25, 2010, 11:16 AM
I shoot my Zouave with either 60 Grs of Goex FFg or 60 Grs of Swiss 1.5 Fg using a 505 gr mini ball. Pretty sure I would never use 100 grs of anything in it.

May 15, 2011, 05:42 PM
Here is a link, at the bottom of page, there are four photo bucket links of which one shows the different models, and another has a very informative article.
Now, I stumbled across this and just a few minutes ago identified my Buffalo Hunter. Yes, they were pushing 610 MINI with 125 FFF out of this thing.
I was shooting RB with 120 gr FF yesterday, and it was a bit stiff. Dropped to 100 gr and much more pleasant.
Call it a 26" barrel with 1:66
I am still taming it, my first experiments with 60 gr FF were poor, but up to 100 FF and it started to perform a bit. I have a lot to learn as Dad was killing paper plates with it at 400 yards, I am nowhere close to that. I have yet to try the Mini

May 15, 2011, 07:55 PM
Using 3Fg. has the advantage of shooting cleaner and somewhat more economically.
Not to mention increased performance. Now, for years we were told and we taught that for .50 and higher, we should stick to FFG. Noticed that some propellants say; up to and including .50. For over 20 years now, we have been using FFFG up to and including a .54. Cannot speak to a .58 but don't see why not. .... :confused:
I think that for the most part, it's because of cost and availability. ..... ;)

One performance factor is burning as much powder inside your barrel as possible as opposed to sprinkling it on the ground. .... ;)

Be Safe !!!