Specs: 300 grain @2000 ft/s extra 2 pounds added to butt of Buffalo Classic rifle
Chart generated by http://www.shooterscalculator.com/It’s been ages since I purchased a rifle for deer. That’s because I have access to several reliable tools. However, my mind is still agile and I’ve been thinking of one last rifle…
Almost all of the ammunition I fire is reloaded. That used to be a great way to cut the cost of shooting by a factor of 2 or 3 per shot. That’s getting to be more difficult. Hodgdon has bought up most of the North American propellant manufacturers so there’s no price competition. Prices were as high as $50 CDN per pound this year. They’ve fallen a bit. Some suitable powders for deer rifles are as little as $25 CDN per pound now. Essentially there’s temporarily competition between Hodgdon and Hodgdon to keep the powder moving…. It’s a Trump thing. Shooters in USA seem to think he’s on their side… Then there are bullets and primers at three times the price I’d like to pay.
The solution I’m considering is to switch to cast lead bullets out of a .45-70. Lead is not as cheap and plentiful as it once was but even wheel-weights can work on deer in this calibre. A 300 grain cast lead bullet can easily be driven to 2000 ft/s out of a long barrel to do the job to 200 yards. I could even use black powder to get useful loads to 150 yards or so. That’s good enough for deer.
Then there’s a rifle. I don’t have one in .45-70. I do have access to a muzzle-loader but it’s a pain to clean. 12 gauge slugs from a shotgun will work to 100 yards nicely but that is a bit short for half the deer I see. A cartridge rifle that can use either smokeless or black to good purpose is very flexible. What .45-70 rifles are inexpensive these days? Marlin 1895 can run $800 CDN. It’s a sweet rifle. H&R Handi Rifle run $400 CDN but then there’s the H&R Buffalo Classic with 32 inch barrel and globe front sight and aperture rear sight at $650CDN… Oh my. I feel love! Are a longer barrel and aperture sights worth an extra $250? Yes!
So, I have choices and all winter to think about it. I know the longer barrel of the Buffalo Classic can deliver ~250 ft/s extra muzzle velocity with slower powders. Hodgdon lists several starting loads that exceed 2000 ft/s out of 24 inch barrels… I know that longer sight radius will help my old eyes sharpen on a target. I know that decent aperture sights can work wonders on a big black bull’s eye at 200m. I can make the recoil much more comfortable by adding 2 pounds to the butt of the Buffalo Classic… You know how I’m leaning… 😉