Care And Feeding Of My New Buffalo Classic

I love muzzle-loading except for having to force down the bore tightly patched balls and cleaning the mess of black powder afterwards. In contrast, my new Buffalo Classic is a breech-loading cartridge rifle. All I need are the right combinations of bullet, powder, primer, case and tools to assemble the rounds…

I’ve worked that out many times. The BC is no different. In this calibre, one has a flexible range of loads available with smokeless powder and black can be used as well. Since I’m not hunting T-Rex or shooting 1000 yards, I don’t need 500 grain bullets. The lighter 300 grain bullets will do just fine. I like the specs of Hornady’s 300 grain jacketed hollow point. It can withstand 2500 ft/s muzzle velocity, certainly the upper limit of the recoil I can stand. At 2200 ft/s I can zero for 200 yards and stay well within the vital zone of a deer with ample energy remaining. At 2500 ft/s, 250 yards, about the limit of my ability to hit a deer off-hand, is equally feasible. So, I think a near-maximum load behind a 300 grain JHP will be my “open country” round. When I’m guarding a smaller space or stalking, I can use just about any bullet loaded down to ~1500 ft/s, with a trajectory much like a .22 rimfire but way more lethal. I can even use cast bullets for that close-in work. It may be feasible to purchase them instead of making my own because buying in bulk is economical.

For propellant there are many choices ranging from Unique for plinking cast bullets, to H4198, IMR4064, H322, IMR3031 etc. to really drive bullets all the way down that 32 inch barrel. The action is strong enough to hold any of the hot loads out there but there’s no need to punish me or the action to get to 2500 ft/s or a bit lower. Most of the published loads are for 22 to 26 inch barrels and the 32 inch barrel with a slower powder will get ~20 ft/s per extra inch, ~120 to 200 ft/s more with the same load or what I need with a lighter load. H4198 is very popular in 22 inch barrels but I expect H322 or IMR4064 will do better in the longer barrel. It will be fun to confirm this because it’s 11 months to the next deer-season.

UPDATE Well, my relationship with the Buffalo Classic was short-lived. When there finally came a break in the weather, we headed out to a gravel pit for some target-shooting. Amazing things happened:

  • Despite bore-sighting, the rifle shot a bit right and far too low.
  • Twice, with moderate loads, the action gently opened on firing.

Needless to say, I disassembled the rifle after cleaning and examined the lock. The dog that’s supposed to slide over a ledge on the barrel wasn’t making it. It or the ledge was canted so that the two surfaces crossed and the dog was hanging up on the edge of the ledge, barely holding on by a finger-nail. On firing, the lock had plenty of room to move which explained the weird placement of bullets.

I contacted the Canadian agent for the maker and was given a return-authorization and sent my dear rifle off to Quebec. A few days later I got the news that they could not fix it and that I should telephone to choose a replacement. With dread I dodged time-zones and made the call. I was offered a more expensive Marlin 1895 in .45-70… If I didn’t love long barrels and the simplicity of single-shot, that would be absolutely wonderful… 😐

I thought about it for a few hours and called back to accept the offer. The Marlin suffered some of the same problems as H&R upon acquisition by Remington but they’ve had time to sort them out. Basically, Remington loves a nice efficient assembly-line instead of assembly by skilled artisans… The BC needed a lot of care to assemble. That’s why I didn’t even think about reassembling it myself. It would have been a lot of trial and error to come close. The Marlin assembly line has shipped a lot of schlock 1895s since Remington got it but the ones I see these days are beauties. For the price, they should be. Local dealers are charging 50% more than I paid for the BC.

So, I’ll be able to re-use my reloading components and tools but it’ll take awhile to learn to love a lever action. Way too many moving parts, needing to crimp bullets, damned short barrel (22 inches) and damned “buckhorn” sight. I expect I will single-feed it a lot. There’s no need for a second shot at a deer with such a round. I can mount a scope fairly easily. Weaver makes decent see-through mounts. One of the dangers of this lever-action is that the trigger is not carried by the lever and it is possible to impale one’s trigger finger by the trigger… Joy.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in firearms, hunting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Care And Feeding Of My New Buffalo Classic

  1. Ivan says:

    Reduce your rate of fire or clean your damned rifle!

    Look you crotchety old coot, the gun was clean and it was the first shot. Some rimfire ammo IS unsafe.

  2. Ivan wrote, “some manufacturers simply do not make safe ammo. Some cheap rimfire ammo will go off when chambered”

    Reduce your rate of fire or clean your damned rifle!

  3. Grece says:

    Some cheap rimfire ammo will go off when chambered.

    TRUE. I have seen that a few times.

  4. Ivan says:

    Manufacturers make ammo that’s safe in any firearm.

    Not that I’m disagreeing with your general point in that comment or agreeing with Petey, some manufacturers simply do not make safe ammo. Some cheap rimfire ammo will go off when chambered.

    Buyer beware.

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    That’s utter crap.

    Robert, we’ve all been telling you that Fifi is utter crap for years.

  6. oiaohm wrote, “not all these will allow allow you to swap round about. .22 cartridge for a 8 inch in a 36 inch is normally not safe. Why the .22 for a 8 inch is using propellant for a pistol so insanely fast burn and the 36 inch .22 was meant to have slow burn”.

    That’s utter crap. The pressure v time/distance curve will be identical for the first 6 inches. By then all the powder will have burnt and there’s no danger at all. What possible danger could there be? Manufacturers make ammo that’s safe in any firearm.

  7. oiaohm says:

    That’s plainly wrong as one can load the same rounds into a rifle with 18 inch barrel and a 26 inch barrel and one will definitely get higher velocity from the longer barrel.
    You do get a .22 rifle in 26 inch and 18 inch barrel. The longest .22 is 36 inches.

    .22 is interesting because you have from 8 inch to 36 inches barrel lengths all taking the same size cartridge and bullet. Only difference is the propellant.

    But not all these will allow allow you to swap round about. .22 cartridge for a 8 inch in a 36 inch is normally not safe. Why the .22 for a 8 inch is using propellant for a pistol so insanely fast burn and the 36 inch .22 was meant to have slow burn. Yes can have a 8 inch pistol and a 36 inch .22 with the same barrel exit velocity. And with cartridges that look almost identical. Yes you really do need to know the code on back of bullet.

    Even between 18 to 26 inch barrel depending on the requirements the 18 inch ammo could do the 26 inch weapon major harm. Same reason you should not load a muzzle-loader with propellant it not designed for.

    Exceeding a barrel designed exit velocity with the wrong round might blow the breach and it also if it exceed by too much it will not have any accuracy.

    http://www.gunblast.com/SavageML10.htm
    Firing black powder or substitutes is terribly dirty compared to modern smokeless powder loads.
    Really no there is no requirement in a muzzle-loader to be using anything different in propellant that your normal bullets if the barrel was designed for it. Of course when loading for accuracy you are not using old school black powder. You use something more modern like the Savage ML 10 still a muzzle-loader just it uses modern propellant.

    Yes you can have some older cartridge rifles that require the same dry power as what a lot of people think is muzzle-loader power as well not to risk damaging the barrel.

    No polymer will rifle as precisely as a good copper alloy.
    This is wrong there are more than enough tests where polymer match or exceed copper.

    That’s why soft lead is most accurate in a muzzle-loader.
    That is the difference. Polymer even when switched to set state still has expand force in barrel. The trick with Polymer loads in a muzzle-loader is they are Shape-memory polymer. These are also hard to get hands on because they are known as markless bullets. When bullet exits the barrel the rifling marks disappear leaving a cleaner in flight surface as well. So a the best polymer round for a muzzle loader exceeds a soft lead load. These are also one of the round a USA or Canada civilian is not allowed to buy. Australian weapon smith or armorers are allowed to buy these rounds.

    tighter the patching
    Memory polymer gets this to perfection. Without it you will never get the bullet in barrel mounted right.

    Robert Pogson the reality here is you don’t know what Muzzle loaders can do because you legally never would have hand your hands on the best bullet or powders for Muzzle loaders and even some of the best Muzzle loaders.

    Interesting enough its normally the armorers who are using Muzzle loaders. Stronger than your normal Muzzle loaders is used for testing out different charge mixes for case-less ammo.

    Robert I will give you the stuff you are talking about the best a Canada can get but it is not what the weapon can do without restrictions.

  8. oiaohm wrote, “an absolutely correctly loaded muzzle-loader with the best class of bullet for a muzzle-loader will match your center fire weapons just reload time is an absolute disaster”

    No one does anything absolutely correctly. Even if there were perfect bullets and perfect patching there is still the dirt in the bore. Firing black powder or substitutes is terribly dirty compared to modern smokeless powder loads. That dirt causes damage to your perfect bullet and variations in muzzle-velocity. No polymer will rifle as precisely as a good copper alloy. Further, by nature, muzzle loaders tend to wear close to the start of the barrel and what fits at the muzzle may not fit well at the start so engraving a polymer is useless. That’s why soft lead is most accurate in a muzzle-loader. The projectile does deform under pressure to grip the rifling. In my experience, the tighter the patching the greater the accuracy but it’s never close to a good centre-fire rifle.

  9. oiaohm wrote, “just because the barrel is longer does not mean exit velocity can be any faster”.

    That’s plainly wrong as one can load the same rounds into a rifle with 18 inch barrel and a 26 inch barrel and one will definitely get higher velocity from the longer barrel. e.g. try 44 grains of IMR 4064 behind a 165 grain spitzer boat-tail from Hornady in 308 Winchester. That’s a tack-driver in most sporting rifles. It kills deer well too. So, quit arguing some general rule based on weird corner cases not encountered in the real world. Physics applies. The vast majority of hunters and shooters are not going to use exotic firearms or ammunition. It’s too expensive or unobtainable in many cases.

  10. oiaohm says:

    One cannot exert thousands of pounds force on a bullet to seat it in a muzzle-loader with a ramrod. So, one must either use bullets that expand under pressure to grip the rifling or use a patch or something softer than the bullet to allow seating with less force.

    Right on the money loading a muzzle-loader perfectly is not easy. There are a few bullets that were made for muzzle-loader that have a polymer that sets to the barrel perfectly. But these are not the fastest to use as it put the bullet in wait 2 mins before firing. That is so the polymer sets. So no this is not expand under firing pressure this is expand and seat in barrel due to polymer on the bullet filling the space and setting. So an absolutely correctly loaded muzzle-loader with the best class of bullet for a muzzle-loader will match your center fire weapons just reload time is an absolute disaster you have to let the bullet set in the barrel.

    Polymer addition muzzle-loader rounds are not exactly new the first was using forms of clay to seat bullet effectively. Yes you can have a muzzle-loader do better than 0.1 minute of angle but your load time will be absolutely horrible and your rounds are not cheep and if you screw up you can get a bullet stuck part way along barrel what can be a total disaster in lots of forms of muzzle-loaders. The risk of getting bullet stuck in middle keeps a lot of people away from attempting to load a muzzle-loader perfectly for accuracy. So a lot of people presume a muzzle-loader cannot not be as good in accuracy as your center fire weapons. The polymer set in gives perfect connection to rifling if you are able to pull of a perfect load yes the muzzle-loader can beat your cartridge rounds weapons in accuracy. For combination of load time and accuracy your cartridge round weapons win every single time.

    just pressure X area X distance ~= energy.
    Pressure is controlled by mix of propellant.

    There are very few instances where a longer barrel does not equal higher muzzle velocity.
    There are quite a few long barrel weapons that due to cartridge size have to use a slower burning propellant to maintain a constant force down the barrel to have them fire with accuracy. Result of a slower burning propellant is a lower pressure longer duration so pressure is maintained for the length of barrel. So there are quite a few cases of weapons that have the same barrel exit velocity even that they are longer and shorter barrels if you want them to provide accuracy.

    So basically Robert is a myth that people fall into. There is a max velocity down the barrel of a rifle set by the rifling . If bullet is spinning too fast because it went down barrel to fast it will deform in flight and fail to have accuracy. If you ignore the rifling limit and exceed it you fact end up with a bullet leaving rifle less exact than a smooth barrel lead ball muzzle loader pistol. Also the deform also equals the bullet decelerating a lot faster in flight. Worst case the bullet fully fragments when leaving the barrel and effectively losing all its force in a few feet due to creating massive surface area and massive drag..

    So the rifling sets the functional max pressure limit of a rifled weapon because rifling sets max exit velocity not to deform round due to centrifugal force due to bullet spinning.

    Robert Pogson when designing a weapon you learn that a lot of the things you are thinking as independent are interrelated.

    If barrel length, rifling, harmonics, and round don’t match up rifle will fail to function correctly. Rifling defines what your correct exit speed is. Barrel length defines how long the propellant has to get to that speed. Harmonics provide you exit window not to be effected by barrel flexing.

    So just because the barrel is longer does not mean exit velocity can be any faster. You do here of people complaining about lack of accuracy and range with long barrel weapons this can be exceeding the max exit velocity because they are using a propellant made for a shorter barrel weapon that accelerates the bullet too much. When you give those people bullets with slower burning propellant for there long barrel rifle they are then shocked how it accuracy and range basically instant improves.

  11. oiaohm wrote, “A correctly rifled muzzle-loader is almost as exact as any other rifled firearm.”

    One cannot exert thousands of pounds force on a bullet to seat it in a muzzle-loader with a ramrod. So, one must either use bullets that expand under pressure to grip the rifling or use a patch or something softer than the bullet to allow seating with less force. I use greased patches. Such things are very imprecise compared to a swaged bullet made to exacting dimensions. As well muzzle loaders usually lubricate the patches and bits of patch, lubricant and powder residue stick in the barrel all contributing to less accuracy than modern centre-fire rifles. With care, a muzzle-loader can obtain 1-2 minute of angle accuracy but modern centre-fires can get 0.1 minute of angle, an order of magnitude better. I can shoot deer and rabbits at ranges ~100 yards with my muzzle loader but I can shoot gophers to 400 yards with a centre-fire rifle.

    oiaohm wrote, “Long barrel does not equal always equal higher muzzle velocity.”

    There are very few instances where a longer barrel does not equal higher muzzle velocity. One is with .22 rimfire where the powder charge is tiny and pressure available to accelerate the bullet is not enough to overcome friction within a couple of feet. With most bottle-necked cartridges and modern propellants and jacketed bullets this effect is not seen even for barrels several feet in length. The Boys anti-tank rifle my Dad fired in WWII had a 36 inch barrel and the M2 .50 BMG had a 45 inch barrel. There’s a reason for that. The longer barrel soaks up recoil and does offer a greater distance for propellant to accelerate the bullet using propellant in a bottle-necked cartridge. Even straight cartridges like .45-70 get more velocity with a given charge of powder and weight of bullet. It has little or nothing to do with rifling or harmonics, just pressure X area X distance ~= energy. More distance under acceleration means more velocity. It’s just physics not magic.

  12. Grece says:

    Shutup Fifi, you don’t even own a gun.

  13. oiaohm says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RN0iuN_0SHc
    With a muzzle-loader comes a question. Most people are not aware that muzzle-loaders can be rifled. A correctly rifled muzzle-loader is almost as exact as any other rifled firearm. With most of the issues caused by having to load the weapon correctly including the fact the bullet is doing 2 passes by the rifling instead of 1.

    But Robert, you are failing to realize that, longer barrels mean greater accuracy with iron sights. Especially at longer range, a longer barrel means much more energy delivered to the target, hence the pink mist!

    Grece this is one of those great myths. Long barrel does not equal always equal higher muzzle velocity. Amount of energy to target is mass of bullet in combination with speed at impact. Even at point blank a short barrel weapon and long barrel weapon of the same size with the correct round can have exactly the same muzzle velocity just the long barrel weapon has accelerated the bullet slower so giving a lower impact recoil.

    Speed bullet should travel down barrel is not in fact define by barrel length alone it is in fact defined by the rifling and the harmonics of the barrel. Because the bullet has to be spinning at a particular speed to be perfectly stable in flight.

    So a weapon short barrel may have a higher muzzle velocity requirement than a long barreled weapon with the same weight in bullet. So the short barrel with the higher muzzle velocity would have the most impact. So its not barrel length is the mass of bullet and the barrels required muzzle velocity that you use as base to calculate the different impact forces at different ranges.

    Like if you are having to shot 200+ creatures a day for over 8 weeks having a long barrel with slower acceleration you shoulder thanks you for it. 200+ is rabbit or roo control in Australia.

    Not everyone chooses the longer barreled weapon to have more range/power. There are valid choices for longer barrel when you have to shot a lot without increasing range or power but to in fact reduce recoil peak force.

  14. Grece wrote, “use a simple red-dot sight. Aim and shoot.”

    That would not be suitable. While those are good for quick shooting close in they are not very accurate for longer ranges and I usually have nearly a minute or so to aim and shoot. Deer don’t like quick movements. A bit of magnification with resolution is my main requirement. I rarely shoot in low light as I hunt in areas where pressure on deer is low and they wander around in the daylight. The shot I did not take last fall was about camouflage not low light and the deer was out in the open with a background which disguised antlers.

  15. Grece says:

    Robert, just use a simple red-dot sight. Aim and shoot.

  16. Ivan says:

    The story is totally different with iron sights.

    Which every single person that is going to be in the woods with you is begging you not to use because you are blind as a bat.

  17. Grece wrote, “Especially at longer range, a longer barrel means much more energy delivered to the target, hence the pink mist!”

    Does Grece live in the real world where bullets slow down in flight? The .45-70 is no different. 4000 ft-lb at the muzzle shrinks to 1000 ft-lb at 300 yards.

  18. Grece says:

    But Robert, you are failing to realize that, longer barrels mean greater accuracy with iron sights. Especially at longer range, a longer barrel means much more energy delivered to the target, hence the pink mist!

  19. Grece wrote something about 8′.

    ~3 feet seems to be enough. 8 would be cumbersome.
    https://www.eurooptic.com/mcmillan-rh-tac-50-a1-bmg-29-barrel-foliage-with-bipod-and-one-mag.aspx

  20. Grece says:

    Get a 8′ barrel Robert! It will turn a deer into pink dust and be able to hit a fly off the back of a Muslim’s ass at two miles.

  21. Ivan wrote, “The same pattern can be shot with a 13″ barrel as from a 26″ barrel”.

    With a scope, Ivan… The story is totally different with iron sights. Longer barrels mean greater accuracy with iron sights. Especially at longer range, a longer barrel means much more energy delivered to the target. e.g.
    22 inch barrel firing .45-70 300 JHP at 2200 ft/s delivers 995 ft-lb at 300 yards with a loopy 14 inch high trajectory. Marginal for deer.
    32 inch barrel firing .45-70 300 JHP at 2500 ft/s delivers 1311 ft-lb at 300 yards with a tighter 10 inch high trajectory. Great for deer.

    However much of a deer is covered by a front post 2* inches from the eye with a 22 inch barrel is about half as much with a 32 inch barrel.

  22. Ivan says:

    Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo-stick, Bob… read the flippin’ study that was linked and realize that you are wrong. The same pattern can be shot with a 13″ barrel as from a 26″ barrel with no appreciable loss in stopping power.

    Hell, you even argued the Henry had a smaller magazine after buying a single shot. You are just arguing for the sake of arguing.

  23. Further, a longer barrel certainly offers longer sight radius and thus better accuracy.

  24. Ivan wrote, “barrel length means dick to accuracy and stopping power with modern ammunition.”

    With slower powders, 45-70 can develop 2-300 ft/s higher MV. That’s 20-30% more energy which can have a big effect on a big beast close or a medium beast far. I was looking for the extra range for deer in the open. At the muzzle the BC could reach 4000 ft-lb.

  25. Ivan says:

    That’s nice, Bob. You replaced your junk with cheap crap that will kill you in maintenance. Oh, and barrel length means dick to accuracy and stopping power with modern ammunition.

    Every argument you have is just you arguing against the people that comment on your blog out of stubbornness.

  26. Ivan wrote, “Quit dicking around with cheap guns and pick up a Henry.”

    One of my best rifles cost me $142 back in the day. It fires .308 bullets into MOA all day long. So cheap is not equivalent to poor quality. I don’t mind cheap or expensive as long as a thing works well. I prefer cheap.

    Henry rifles may be better quality but they are even less capable than the Marlin with shorter barrel and magazine. If I wanted to spend more I would buy a Ruger No. 1.

  27. Grece wrote, “you bought a piece of junk”.

    One or two manufacturing steps messed up does not turn a rifle into junk. Even I could see repairs that would work to fix the BC: removing half the hinge and reorienting it. That’s not a simple process and would require a jig that I don’t have. Otherwise the rifle was just fine. Even with a barely locked breech the thing was giving decent groups. Even with a barely locked breech the thing was safe to shoot. The problem was the point of impact was so far off the point of aim that it was useless for deer. That’s not junk. That’s a defect in manufacture. That’s why Marlin offered a replacement. I suppose the alternative would have been a cash settlement but that would have been even less desirable to both the buyer and seller. I needed a rifle in .45-70 and they wanted to supply a rifle at their cost instead of retail cash.

  28. Ivan says:

    Quit dicking around with cheap guns and pick up a Henry.

  29. Grece says:

    Wouldn’t it be audacious that EM’s SOLO turns out to be junk, and using your personal experience as an analogy, Jerry decides to sell you a Nissan Leaf instead? Perhaps even a Chevy Volt would be more suitable.

  30. Grece says:

    So to recap, you bought a piece of junk. The manufacturer offers you totally different firearm, and you bend over and accept it. This is a reoccurring theme with you Robert, did you know this?

    You purchase something, and that thing has some major flaw in it, limiting your use. Sounds like Linux doesn’t it?

  31. Grece wrote, “Another worthless expenditure of your pension funds!”

    Firearms are very durable. Some rifles that cost me ~$100 are worth many times as much today.

  32. Grece says:

    Another worthless expenditure of your pension funds! Robert enjoys burning his retirement money it seems.

  33. Commenting to bring this story up to date.

  34. Someone wrote, “Animals are living beings too, they deserve not to be shot by Robert.”

    I’d say a quick death by rifle fire is preferable to being chewed on by wolves/coyotes or starving to death or being clobbered by cars/trucks, the main manners of death for our deer. It’s over in seconds rather than minutes or hours. One of the advantages of the 8X57JS that I usually use or 45-70 calibre of the new rifle is that death tends to be quicker with the larger calibres than the more common .30-’06 or .308.

  35. An Out Of Phase Transistor says:

    NO evidence of this Robert. Are you day-dreaming again? Your ability to hit a deer in the vital area goes /dev/null after about 30 meters. Anything beyond that you are guessing and unnecessarily torturing the wildlife.

    1. Use a real gun
    2. Deploy a scope
    3. Let someone else take the shot
    4. Take credit for it
    5. Gloatingly post about it on your blog

    A better proposal, if I may; Robert, leave the gun alone, before you hurt something, or someone.

    Animals are living beings too, they deserve not to be shot by Robert.

  36. Chuckle. My BC has arrived, apparently in good condition. I’ll send pix when the thing warms up in the box. I don’t need condensation in the works.

  37. Grece wrote, “Your ability to hit a deer in the vital area goes /dev/null after about 30 meters. Anything beyond that you are guessing and unnecessarily torturing the wildlife.”

    Every year for the last five years, we took our rifles out to a gravel pit and verified that we and our equipment have not lost “it”. Every year I pick up the muzzle-loader, fire one shot at ~100 yards and hit a target much smaller than the vitals of a deer. Same goes for the Mauser. Next year my shiny new .45-70 will be in the mix. I am very experienced at shooting off-hand with scope or iron sights. We have rifles with both sighting systems. I have shot deer to ~300 yards off-hand. I have shot deer running. I just don’t need to these days with a younger hand in the other chair. I’m still ready and able to down a deer.

  38. Grece says:

    I can zero for 200 yards and stay well within the vital zone of a deer with ample energy remaining.

    NO evidence of this Robert. Are you day-dreaming again? Your ability to hit a deer in the vital area goes /dev/null after about 30 meters. Anything beyond that you are guessing and unnecessarily torturing the wildlife.

    1. Use a real gun
    2. Deploy a scope
    3. Let someone else take the shot
    4. Take credit for it
    5. Gloatingly post about it on your blog

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