by Jim Taylor
In the mountains of Idaho not too far from the Continental Divide, a small ammunition company is making history. A major force behind the formal recognition of the .475 Linebaughä cartridge, Buffalo Bore is one of the very few ammunition companies making high-performance ammunition for calibers that the major firms have overlooked.
The idea of Buffalo Bore Ammunition grew out of John Linebaugh's frustration in trying to obtain commercially-made brass for his .475 Linebaugh and .500 Linebaugh big bore revolvers. Most of the producers would not even consider tooling up for it unless they could be guaranteed an order of 100,000 pieces.
Linebaugh spoke with Tim Sundles, a businessman who happened to like the big bore revolvers and who owned some of Linebaugh's custom guns. Sundles began to research the project and found out that Starline was interested and the rest is now history.
Buffalo Bore produced the first factory ammunition for those two calibers. Within a couple years, Freedom Arms brought out their revolver in .475 Linebaugh caliber and things took off. Soon RCBS began to make a jacketed bullet for this caliber. Then Hornady brought out a version of their XTP bullet for it.
Finally Hornady began producing .475 factory ammunition. In addition they took the cartridge to SAAMI specifications and had pressure limits and dimensions established by that group. Hodgdon's was the first to add .475 Linebaugh and .500 Linebaugh data to its loading manuals. And it will not be long before we will see .475 Linebaugh loading data in other well-known reloading manuals. The .475 Linebaugh has "arrived" in the world of factory cartridges. Buffalo Bore gets much of the credit for having the courage and foresight to initially bring it out.
The only factory source for .500 Linebaugh cartridges is still Buffalo Bore Ammunition Co. While the guns for these big shells are produced by a handful of custom gunsmiths around the nation, there is still a large demand for both ammunition and loading components, especially cartridges. The brass for the big gun was initially made from .348 Winchester rifle brass. It took a lot of time and effort to make a cartridge for the half-inch bore revolver. Buffalo Bore provides properly headstamped factory-made brass for both the .475 Linebaugh and the .500 Linebaugh calibers.
In addition to the big Linebaugh cartridges, Buffalo Bore produces handgun ammunition in .454 Casull, Heavy .45 Colt, Heavy .44 Magnum, and Heavy .44 Special; and rifle cartridges in .45-70 Magnum Lever Gun and Heavy .444 Marlin.
This ammunition is NOT intended for older guns! It is made for MODERN MANUFACTURED FIREARMS ONLY, and only CERTAIN MODELS OF THEM! Be sure and read the warning labels, for some of this ammo could break some of the older and/or weaker firearms.
For years, many of us ".45 Colt Fanatics" asked for heavy .45 Colt loads for the Ruger Single Actions and the Thompson/Center Contenders. No one would take the chance and bring out a heavy load, and so we had to content ourselves with handloads.
But Buffalo Bore recognized the potential available in the .45 Colt cartridge-in proper firearms-and has built ammo suitable for use in those heavier guns. The available bullet weights for the Heavy .45 Colt loads are 260 grain, 300 grain and 325 grain. This gives the user of heavy .45s a great choice.
The same is true of the .44 Magnum. Years ago, J.D. Jones of SSK Industries brought out a line of heavy bullets for the .44 Magnum. The 320-grain flat-point bullet at 1,400+ fps from a six-gun proved devastating on big game. It put the .44 Magnum into a whole new class of power.
Larry Kelly of Mag-Na-Port fame took seven elephants with the .44 Magnum and the heavy bullet. It works! Buffalo Bore's ammo carries on that tradition, providing their customers with factory loads using 270-grain, 300-grain and 305-grain bullets.
Another Hot Rod
The .454 Casull is by now well known to most everyone. A hot rod from the beginning, this cartridge has lots of horsepower and those who use Buffalo Bore's version of it will not be disappointed. There are a few companies producing .454 ammo today. I have tested most of them. I have to say Buffalo Bore's ranks right up there with the best.
I have not shot the .500 Linebaugh or the .444 Marlin ammunition that Buffalo Bore produces. But I have used the rest of them, including the .45-70 Magnum Lever Gun ammunition. The .45-70s are not for the faint of heart or the recoil-shy, and most likely should not be used in a light gun for target practice. I fired the Magnum Lever Gun ammo in a Marlin Guide Gun. I can tell you right now that the ports do not help (at least it did not seem so), especially when firing off the bench. If you are going to shoot this ammo in a light rifle like the Guide Gun, DO IT STANDING UP!
I chronographed all the loads from the bench, then moved back to 50 yards and shot groups with them. I did the shooting from a rest, leaning over the hood of my pickup. By the time I was done my shoulder was hurting. By the next day it had turned a very pretty green color, with yellows and blues in and around it. From now on these get fired while standing up on my hind legs.
While I appreciate the new .450 Marlin round that has appeared on the scene, it does not exceed and in some cases, even equal Buffalo Bore's factory loads for the .45-70, in spite of what you may have read in some of the other gun publications out there. Those writers who would "doom" the .45-70 because the new round will outrun it either are ignorant of the High-Performance Buffalo Bore .45-70 ammunition available, or else conveniently choose to overlook it. Either is a disservice to the shooting public.
During the chronographing sessions, I found the Buffalo Bore ammo in all calibers tested (.44 Magnum, .44 Special, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh and .45-70) to clock very close to advertised velocity and in many cases, exceed it. Sundles does not make extravagant claims regarding his ammo. All chronographed velocities are from the guns the ammo will be used in, and not from pressure barrels.
Accuracy was superb. The .454 ammo would print 3-shot groups as small as ° inch, center-to-center, at 25 yards. The .45 Colts shot a number of 5-shot groups at 1 inch or less from both the Texas Longhorn Arms Flat Top Target Special and from my custom Linebaugh-built Ruger.
I tested some of the new Heavy .44 Special loads, consisting of a 200-grain flat point lead bullet rated at 1,000 fps. In the Uberti 4-inch model they averaged 980 fps, while in a 7°-inch Ruger .44 Magnum they went over 1,050 fps.
Accuracy in the Uberti was nothing to write home about. But part of that was me. I just could not see the skimpy sights. In the Ruger, accuracy was right there along with the other ammo.
My opinion here is, this is fine ammunition!
While Buffalo Bore Ammunition can be found in some shops, you can also order direct from the factory. To order contact: Buffalo Bore Ammunition Co., PO Box 78, Dept. GWK, Carmen, ID 83462. Phone: 208-756-8085; Fax: 208-756-3659; on-line: www.buffalobore.com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buffalo Bore has other loads than those listed here. Some of the other calibers now available include: Heavy .44 Special, .458 Winchester Magnum, Heavy .38-55, and Heavy .348 Winchester. Contact them about availability and prices.
|435-gr. LBT-LFN||950 fps||871 foot-pounds|
|435-gr. LBT-LFN||1,300 fps||1,632 foot-pounds|
|440-gr. LBT-WFN||1,250 fps||1,526 foot-pounds|
|400-gr. JHP||1,350 fps||1,618 foot-pounds|
|420-gr. LBT-LFN||950 fps||842 foot-pounds|
|420-gr. LBT-LFN||1,350 fps||1,700 foot-pounds|
|420-gr. LBT-WFN||1,350 fps||1,700 foot-pounds|
|400-gr. JHP||1,350 fps||1,618 foot-pounds|
|Heavy .45 Colt
For Ruger and Colt Anaconda revolvers, Thompson-Center, Winchester 94 and Marlin 94 Only
|325-gr. LBT-LFN||1,325 fps||1,267 foot-pounds|
|300-gr. Speer PSP||1,325 fps||1,170 foot-pounds|
|260-gr. JHP||1,450 fps||1,214 foot-pounds|
|300-gr. Speer PSP*||1,200 fps||959 foot-pounds|
|* Special Note: Loaded to shorter length 1.585 inch specifically for Freedom Arms Model 97 .45 Colt|
|Heavy .44 Magnum|
|305-gr. LBT-LFN||1,325 fps||1,189 foot-pounds|
|300-gr. Speer PSP||1,300 fps||1,126 foot-pounds|
|270-gr. Speer GD||1,450 fps||1,260 foot-pounds|
|325-gr. LBT-LFN||1,525 fps||1,678 foot-pounds|
|300-gr. Speer PSP||1,500 fps||1,499 foot-pounds|
|360-gr. LWN GC||1,425 fps||1,623 foot-pounds|
|.45-70 Magnum Lever Gun
For use only in Browning Model 1885 & 1886, Marlin Model 1895 if manufactured since 1972, New England Arms Handy Rifle, Rugers #1 & #3, T/C Encore, new production Winchester 1886 and Shiloh Sharps.
|430-gr. LBT-LFN- GC||1,925 fps||3,537 foot-pounds|
|405-gr. JFN||2,000 fps||3,597 foot-pounds|
|350-gr. JFN||2,150 fps||3,427 foot-pounds|
|500-gr. FMJ FN||1,550 fps||2,667 foot-pounds|
|Heavy .444 Marlin|
|335-gr. WFN||2,025 fps||3,049 foot-pounds|
|300-gr. JFP||2,150 fps||3,078 foot-pounds|
|270-gr. JHP||2,250 fps||3,034 foot-pounds|
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