Buffalo Bore has officially released new rounds in 38/357


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Jim March
April 9, 2007, 03:36 AM
Standard-pressure 38s for smaller/older/weaker guns:

http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#standard38

Less-bang "tactical" 357 loads:

http://www.buffalobore.com/ammunition/default.htm#tactical357

...plus lots of notes and data.

My take:

38s:

We already know how the Remington 158gr 38+P plain lead hollowpoints perform in snubbies. Buffbore has the same velocity in a similar bullet, but standard pressure instead of +P. BuffBore's version also has flash-suppressed powder and a gascheck for less lead buildup in the barrel.

Pressure for a given round is measured at peak, not by total energy spent. When a bullet has the same energy-on-target yet has less peak pressure, the effects on the target are the same but the shooter feels more of a "broad push" on the hand versus a "sharp smack". Total recoil is the same, but the way the recoil feels is different.

Put another way, BuffBore's powder charge is more modern than what Remington has been using for decades.

I AM ABSOLUTELY going to buy some of these for my vintage Charter Arms 38 snubby. Highly recommended for any marginal-strength gun in good condition when you want to keep it that way. I think this is the best new load BuffBore has released.

The 150gr full wadcutter is wonderful in that finally we have one with 'nads. All previous flavors have been "target type" and milder than necessary. We've been wanting such a thing for a long time BUT now that we have it, we don't need it!

Heh.

What I mean is, we wanted a full wadcutter with oomph because we all assumed we weren't going to see a standard-pressure 38 hollowpoint that will reliably expand. Except that Buffbore just gave us two! Buffalo Bore's velocity data has always proven accurate in every test thrown at them and I don't expect these to be any different. We know that a soft lead 158 hollowpoint doing 850fps will expand - the Remmie in particular has been thoroughly tested. So, with a good standard-pressure expander finally available, the only customers for this 150 are those who simply don't believe snubby expansion happens, or are going to buy some just to test them for accuracy. Which I might do at some point, they might be tack-drivers.

This round might find a niche in small to medium game hunting, ranchers looking to nail coyotes or something, or hunters who don't want lead fragments in the dinner (the 150s are hardcast). Might be a good wilderness survival load. But If the other standard pressure Buffbores work, and I think they will, this round is basically obsolete for most defensive purposes the moment it shipped :).

The 125gr looks OK, and should be a top choice for those either very recoil sensitive (a "granny gun load" that will still work) or those who bought REALLY lightweight guns like the insane 10.5oz S&W ultralight. But other than that, I'd rather have the 158s. Accuracy is likely to be higher with the 158s, fixed-sights will be more likely on target with 158s and they're a proven performer.

The 357s:

Two loads involve Gold Dots of 158gr and 125gr. Tim, would you be willing to post pics of these? I don't want to comment without seeing which flavor of Gold Dot slug is involved. I'd also like to see gelatin shots...consider passing some to Brassfetcher?

http://www.brassfetcher.com/

My concern is this: let's take the 125gr slug. As a 38 this is set up with a deep hollowpoint cavity. In high-speed use, such as Doubletap's 125gr full-house doing 1,600ish and I presume BuffBore's equivelent, the hollowpoint is VERY shallow...more like "dimple" than "cavity". I don't think that slug would work very well down around 1,200fps. But if you drove the 38 slug that fast, it might fall apart. I could be wrong, and Tim is successfully using one of these at this speed, OR there's an intermediate-cavity slug he's got ahold of. Pics of the slug would tell us part of what's going on, true ballistic testing would tell even more.

Finally, there's that 140gr load. If it's the slug I'm thinking off, it's an "odd but cool" critter that has been available ONLY to handloaders for a long time. It's one of Speer's older designs. In the loaded bullet, the part that you can see looks exactly like the nose of a 158gr all-lead hollowpoint based on a Keith profile, just like what Buffbore is using in their 38s. But the part of the slug that actually makes contact with the barrel is jacketed, as is (I believe?) the base. It works a lot like the 158s except the short jacket helps it hold together some. It needs a bit more speed than most people get out of 38s but in full-house 357 it'll fall apart.

At the speed Tim's got this set, it should do GREAT.

I want to do some accuracy testing with this. If it works out, it'll be a great street defense load. It's basically a faster-operating cousin to the 158 plain lead hollowpoints in 38/38+P.

This may be the first commercial loading of this old warhorse of a slug in 30+ years but it stayed in Speer's reloading catalog for a reason: a die-hard fan base. Loading it commercially again is genius on Tim's part.

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Nightcrawler
April 9, 2007, 03:44 AM
I'm going to have to track some of this stuff down. Standard .38+P in my 642 is fine, but the BB stuff beat me up too much.

Buffalo Bore rocks. :cool:

FullEffect1911
April 9, 2007, 09:22 AM
i've been looking around for some time for a .357 light magnum. Really for all of the reasons buffalo bore states. Fills a nice niche between the 38+p and full power magnums.

Glad someone finally went ahead and did this.

fiVe
April 9, 2007, 10:33 AM
Buffbore has the same velocity in a similar bullet, but standard pressure instead of +P. BuffBore's version also has flash-suppressed powder and a gascheck for less lead buildup in the barrel.


Major cool! Thanks for the info, Jim.

Will5A1
April 9, 2007, 11:49 AM
Great info and analysis as always, thanks Mr. March. I've been loading the Speer bullet for years, have always called it a half-jacket, but I never carried it for liability reasons. I have the notion that this bullet offer great utility over a wide velocity range, in that if its moving too fast and the front end blows off the base will hold together and continue to penetrate, if its moving too slow it still has the sharp shoulder benefits of a SWC.

Sistema1927
April 9, 2007, 12:01 PM
Sounds like my older 37 and 19-4 might just become viable SD choices again.

Sundles
April 9, 2007, 12:15 PM
Jim,

Thanks for starting this thread. I have a lot to comment on, but I have to leave right now and wont be back till tonight.

We dont have pics yet, because our labeling for these products is not finished yet and we dont want to take pics without the box and proper labeling sitting next to the cartridge pics. Suposedly our labeling is going to be finished today and I am on my way to Missoula to pick it up. There is a lot of WORK that goes into bringing out new loads--whoda thunk that something like labels would bottleneck an ammunition introduction? All of our new 38/357 loads are now manufacured, and have been sitting in storage containers waiting for packaging labels.

go_bang
April 9, 2007, 03:08 PM
So, answer me this: What is it about these new Buffalo Bore that differentiates them from the mainstream stuff? What do these have over ammo from Cor-Bon, Federal, Remington, etc?

loplop
April 9, 2007, 03:29 PM
Jim March's OP pretty much sums that up, go_bang.

Jim March
April 9, 2007, 05:16 PM
Standard-pressure 38Spl ammo that reliably expands in snubbies is simply something we haven't had available for YEARS. (And our choices in longer tubed 38s hasn't been ample either, though there's some if you look around.)

I've heard that Federal's 125gr Nyclad in 38Spl would expand in snubs, but it's been out of production...jeez, about a decade I think. I know some people on these forums have been hoarding a stash of them. There was much excitement some years back when the last few batches turned up at ammoman.com.

It appears that Tim Sundles and Buffbore have *finally* filled that gap, and with TWO loads: 158gr plain lead and 125gr jacketed.

That's the real breakthrough.

Cor-Bon recently released a 100gr "standard pressure" round based on the Pow'R'Ball slug but had to re-label it "+P" when it was clear they hadn't gotten the peak pressures down far enough.

If some other company with a lesser reputation had announced these loads, I would have been more skeptical - but BuffBore's rep for rounds testing out as advertised is 100%.

There are a couple of articles on BuffBore 357s here:

http://gunblast.com/Archive.htm

Compare the documented speed results there with the velocity BuffBore claims you'll get. Yeah. They match. This isn't always the case with other vendors:

http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=268141

Despite the serious horsepower on tap, I've yet to hear of a Buffbore slug causing a gun to blow up. In any caliber.

The 140gr is an interesting take on the "lower powered 357" concept. Most previous attempts have been in the 125gr range (Proload's 125gr "Tactical Lite" and the Remington Golden Saber), then Speer shipped the 135gr, now BuffBore has tapped a very old-school but functional 140 for the job. Way cool.

My experience has been, 125gr slugs aren't that accurate in 38/357 calibers. I think the 135gr/140gr weight class splits the difference nicely between "light enough to go fast enough to expand without big recoil" and "heavy enough to hurt plus boost accuracy". The only 125gr slug I'm interested in is the Cor-Bon all-copper DPX, because it's physical size is more like a 140gr bullet. Copper is less dense than lead. The reason heavier (or larger) slugs are often more accurate is that more bullet is rubbing on more barrel innards. One reason the Speer 140 was so loved is that it tends to have a big "contact patch" for it's weight class - the exposed nose weighs less than most other JHPs so the remaining bullet forming the "contact patch" is a greater percentage of the bullet's total weight.

The proof will be in the shooting of course.

Right now my main defensive load for the 357 is the Speer 135gr "357 Short Barrel" load - but I'm shooting it from a 4.68" tube. The projectile was designed for 38+P use and was only later loaded as a mild 357. I'm taking a risk that I'm going to "over-punch it" and move it outside of the velocity range it's designed for. Why take the risk? Because it's the most accurate load I've found for my gun. If Tim's new 140 shoots as well, and it very well might, then I'll probably switch.

I have my front sight milled for the 135gr weight class and 5gr won't throw that off enough to notice.

The other competitor to Tim's "light 357 loads" is Cor-Bon's 125gr DPX, which isn't loaded as hot as most Cor-Bon stuff...it's about a 1,250ish fps load.

So: the BuffBore light 357s have strong competition, but they're well in the running. Which one you pick may come down to "whatever shoots best in your gun".

The new 38s on the other hand have NO competitors at all.

Jim March
April 9, 2007, 05:23 PM
Sidenote: I'm considering setting up a second cylinder for my New Vaq in 357/44 Bain and Davis, and getting into handloading. I researched the Speer 140 as a possible 1,200ish FPS load for that setup. The goal would be to drop pressure so low that spent rounds would just fall out of the SA cylinder, and the bottleneck shape would be faster to load :).

So anyways...I studied up on that 140 slug, was very impressed, and now Tim is loading it. Kewl.

Jim March
April 9, 2007, 05:32 PM
One MORE thing:

I remain convinced that Tim should seek out respectable quality practice ammo that mimics the point of impact (not necessarily recoil level!) of his "good stuff", and either sell them himself or do a pointer to another vendor in exchange for a bit of commission.

If I'm a newbie and planning to buy some of Tim's "good stuff", and I also know I can get cheap practice fodder that prints to the same place by the case, well hell, sign me up. I then know that I have a "combination" available that solves all needs.

If I have to seek out my own practice fodder, then I have to match up point of aim first and second, I've got to shop elsewhere and I may buy my carry ammo elsewhere as well.

Doing one-stop-shopping not only makes money, it eliminates some "FUD factor" - fear, uncertainty, doubt...and FUD kills sales.

ArchAngelCD
April 9, 2007, 08:16 PM
i've been looking around for some time for a .357 light magnum. Really for all of the reasons buffalo bore states. Fills a nice niche between the 38+p and full power magnums.

Glad someone finally went ahead and did this.
FullEffect1911,
Speer released a light .357 Magnum several years ago. Their 135 gr Shrot Barrel .357 Magnum round is lighter than full house loads. I am using them in my 2.75" Ruger Security-Six. Check out the ballistics on this page, at the bottle where the Short Barrel rounds are listed: http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/ammo.aspx

Sundles
April 9, 2007, 11:46 PM
A couple thoughts here.

The 140gr. 357 mag. load utilizes the Sierra JHC bullet. Hope that is not too disapointing after you got excited about the old Speer half Jacket bullet. The Sierra does expand very reliably at the speeds we are pushing, plus it is hyper accurate.

Jim,

We are selling the daylights out of the wad cutter load. Here is why. The wad cutter wounds differently than the mushroomed 158gr. bullet. Yes the mushroom on the 158gr. is large (about 55 Cal.) but it is round and does some less damage to flesh by slipping and sliding through it. On the other hand, the full wad cutter is very hard and maintains that flat nose (not a round mushroom) In theory the BIG flat nose permanently crushes and cuts its way through flesh and bone. It casues very dynamic bleeding because of the way it wounds and its wound channel is permanent. We tried the typical soft wad cutters first, but they would mushroom or sluff off the sharp edges and almost turn into round noses, so we finally made the bullet very hard and not only does it penetrate super well, but it literally chops a permanent hole. I switched my wifes 642 and her SP101 over to the wad cutter load yesterday.

Im going to start a new thread about (if I can firgure out how--never done that here) the dynamics of pushing very soft bullets out of revolvers as the whole concept is problematic in ways that many are unaware of.

Nightcrawler
April 9, 2007, 11:55 PM
I'd like to see Buffalo Bore come out with a heavy .45ACP round instead of their basic +P stuff, which is basically identical to everyone else's +P. Another ammo maker has a 230 grain load that'll do 1010 feet per second from a 5" barrel, and is only slightly over standard pressure (and apparently not into +P range). I'd like to see BB do something like that, bridging the gap between .45ACP and .45 Super.

Jim March
April 10, 2007, 12:14 AM
First, I feel like an idiot for mis-reading the data on the 140. It's the Sierra?

Sigh. Yo Tim: try that Speer 140 for grins. I think it's a better slug. When Cor-Bon ran the Sierra 140 as a regular item it tended to shed it's jacket...then again, they ran it hotter, maybe past it's envelope.

As to the 150 full wadcutter: hmmmmmmm...we need gel tests. Bad.

Just a thought, but...if what you're saying is correct, and it does make sense, what about loading it even hotter as a 357?

Either way, you realize you may have also created one hell of a "New Jersey load"? (In NJ hollowpoints are more or less banned...)

Sundles
April 10, 2007, 12:24 AM
Jim,

Pushing that wad cutter at 357 speeds has merit. I would want to gas check it though, as it might start to lead barrels.

When we first cut that wad cutter mold, it was casting 150gr. bullets with the typical wad cutter type soft lead. However, we discovered that soft lead was defeating the purpose of the wadcutter as it mushroomed and otherwise deformed, so we started to add harder alloy, but this made the bullet lighter out of that same mold. So, our current version of the 150gr. wad cutter bullet, is really closer to 140grs. We are currently recutting the mold to allow for the harder/lighter alloy, so that the finsished bullet will be 150grs. again, but with very hard alloy. R&D can be a real pain when you are looking to break new ground.

Sundles
April 10, 2007, 02:36 AM
Nightcrawler,

If you chrono our current 230gr. 45 acp+p loads, you'll find that they are running real close to 1000 fps out of a standard 5 inch 1911.

loplop
April 10, 2007, 07:42 AM
That's a hard-hitting 45 slug.

I'd like to see some "light" 357 mag wadcutters. That could be real interesting for scandium owners.

HiWayMan
April 10, 2007, 11:57 AM
Sundles -

Re: wadcutters

Would you be able to quantify your defintion of "Hardcast" with a BHN of the alloy? Are we talking 15-20, or 20-25, or even harder?

Sundles
April 10, 2007, 12:40 PM
Hiwayman,

About 21 BHN.

I should add, we are shipping the first batches of this ammo today. Labeling came in yesterday and the ammo is packaged and is going out the door. It'll be interesting to see what customer response is.

fiVe
April 10, 2007, 12:53 PM
It appears that Tim Sundles and Buffbore have *finally* filled that gap, and with TWO loads: 158gr plain lead and 125gr jacketed.


Tim Sundles/Buffalo Bore: Thanks! Looking forward to trying these.

HiWayMan
April 10, 2007, 02:07 PM
Thank you for the rapid response.

vanfunk
April 10, 2007, 02:24 PM
Hi Sundles,
Thanks for being so involved in this thread (and others)!

So the wadcutters are shipping...

Are these the true 150 grain loads, or the ones that are coming out a bit lighter, e.g. 140 grains?

Also, is it pretty much a given that I'm going to have bullet pulling problems if I fire the "heavy" 158 grain HP rounds through my 11 oz. S&W model 337?

:eek: Assuming I'm man enough to try it, that is...:eek:

Thanks!
vanfunk

samtechlan
April 10, 2007, 05:03 PM
The wadcutter round reminds me of the safe stop round that Jim Cirillo developed a couple of years ago before they stopped making them. Anyone familiar with the Cirillo ammo and care to speculate how that might compare to the Buffalo Bore wc?

Sundles
April 10, 2007, 05:30 PM
Vanfunk,

Yep the wad cutters are shipping.

You wont have crimp jump happening on the 158gr. or the 150gr. wad cutters.

Yes, the first several shipments of wad cutters will weigh closer to 140gr.. It will take us several months to recut a set of molds and get them correct for the alloy we are using.

Thanks for the kind words.

Photoman
April 10, 2007, 06:05 PM
Any pressure data available for the .38 WC load?

Sistema1927
April 10, 2007, 06:12 PM
Last night I ordered a box of the new .38 158 for my S&W37 as well as a box of the .357 158 for my S&W19-4 snubbie. If they perform as advertised (and I have every expectation that they will) then I will be buying more and putting these two revolvers back into the SD rotation.

It has been my experience that 158's, in addition to having great penetration, also shoot closest to POA out of these guns. Not a biggie with the 19-4, but almost a requirement for the small fixed sights on the 37.

Sundles
April 11, 2007, 12:33 AM
photoman,

It is within standard SAAMI pressure spec., although it generates +P type velocities and energies.

Sundles
April 11, 2007, 12:34 AM
Sistema,

Thanks for the order. Due to heavy ordering, we are a couple days behind on shipping. Yours will probably ship out by Friday.

Robo_Railer
April 11, 2007, 11:22 AM
Jim March sez:
I remain convinced that Tim should seek out respectable quality practice ammo that mimics the point of impact (not necessarily recoil level!) of his "good stuff", and either sell them himself or do a pointer to another vendor in exchange for a bit of commission.I'll second that motion . . . :cool:

I'd even shoot some of the "good stuff" now and then, blowing up water jugs or whatever. I think the recycling truck will take used containers (#2 plastic) despite some bullet holes in them. :D

CZ.22
April 11, 2007, 01:21 PM
It would seem that a lot of folks with old Cobras, M37s, M12s, will start to use them once again.

Jim March
April 11, 2007, 04:47 PM
Yup. Or at least, we'll be able to practice with "duty power level ammo" more often than we do now.

Photoman
April 11, 2007, 05:10 PM
Sundles: Thank you for the reply.

Sundles
April 11, 2007, 07:32 PM
If there is a draw back to these new loads, it is that they still recoil like +P loads. While we are getting heavy bullets to +P speeds at non +P pressures, which is good for your revolver. We are still dealing with the physics of a bullet at a given weight, moving at a given velocity and those two factors combine to generate recoil.

vynx
April 12, 2007, 03:09 PM
Am I correct that these would be excellent .38 caliber rounds for an older S&W model 38 snubbie (the bodyguard airweight model before +P rating)?

It sounds like they were made for each other.

But maybe still too much recoil for my wife? She's recoil adverse. I tell her to use the heavier model 649 but she likes the light weight.

Currently I load I load it with 147 gr target wadcutter for her - the short rounds where the front of the bullet is flat with the brass.

Jim March
April 12, 2007, 04:17 PM
Am I correct that these would be excellent .38 caliber rounds for an older S&W model 38 snubbie (the bodyguard airweight model before +P rating)?

Yup.

But maybe still too much recoil for my wife? She's recoil adverse.

Hmmmm. Well as Tim says, recoil ("pressure on your hand") is inverse to energy put into the bullet. The bullets are carrying energy levels equal to most +P rounds.

BUT: first, these aren't as strong as Buffalo Bore's +P rounds.

Second, the way you'll perceive the recoil on these standard pressure BuffBore's may be different from how they would feel from a similar-bullet-energy +P round.

Buffalo Bore's standard pressure 158 is similar in bullet energy, weight and shape to Remington's 158+P. In theory, the BuffBore's recoil should feel "nicer" in that the impact to your hand is spread out over more time. You should get more "push", less "slap". In order to avoid +P pressure, there is ONLY one choice Tim had to make: spread the push out over time to reduce peak pressure. He did it mainly with very careful powder selection.

What I don't know is how much of this "push versus slap" effect he's accomplished. It's possible the difference will be so marginal it's hard to detect. This "push versus slap" effect was first noticed by proponents of bigger-bore handguns to do the same power as smaller bore - for example, 45LC+P loaded to 44Mag-class power levels. The difference in how the recoil felt was VERY noticeable by early experimenters such as Dick Casull, John Linebaugh and Tim Sundles (years before he was selling ammo professionally). The 45LC loaded to about 32,000psi can do the same work a 44Mag needs 40,000psi to pull off per Linebaugh.

Of the three new BuffBore standard pressure choices, the lightest (125gr) *should* hurt the least in an ultralightweight gun. All three rounds should be significantly more useful for self defense than 148gr target wadcutters. She can still use those (mostly) for practice, though she should end every practice session with a cylinderfull of carry-grade ammo.

Sundles
April 12, 2007, 04:59 PM
FELT recoil is so subjective, that it is impossible to tell how other people will percieve it. However, to me, the recoil of these new standard pressure HVY loads feels like most other +P loads. I'm sorta excited about hearing back from customers as to their perception of the felt recoil.

loplop
April 12, 2007, 06:21 PM
Felt recoil, to me, differs even by day. For instance, today my snub seemed to kick a LOT more than usual. Monday, when I last shot it, it felt great. It's odd how that happens. :scrutiny:

vynx, let me know if your wife likes them. My wife is also recoil averse, and I buy special 38 wadcutter loads for her, as well.

HankB
April 12, 2007, 08:33 PM
Standard-pressure 38Spl ammo that reliably expands in snubbies is simply something we haven't had available for YEARS.

What I'd really like to see is a commercial HBWC loaded backwards at a reasonable power level.

A couple of decades ago, the "HydraShok Scorpion" was introduced, which was an HBWC with a center post that was, IMHO, irrelevant. But it was loaded to the performance levels of a mid-range wadcutter target load, which limited its effectiveness.

I found a load in one of the gun rags (maybe Gun World? Gun Sport?) which involved a hefty charge of SR4756 . . . I seated the old-style Hornady HBWC with about 1/8" sticking out of the case, and found the load clocked 1060 ft/sec out of a 2" M&P! (For obvious reasons, I'm not printing the load here . . . though I never had any problem, I'm a bit more timid these days!) I certainly wouldn't want to shoot it in an airweight J-frame, but for a .38 Special, the load was awesomely effective against fence posts, wetpack, and a rather large whitetail doe.

A modern version would, I believe, be a contender for the title of "Ultimate Snubbie Defense Load" in .38 Specials.

Sundles
April 13, 2007, 02:05 AM
Hank,

I've messed around with up side down HB wad cutters. In some anti personel situations, I believe too much mushrooming is not good.

PaladinX13
April 25, 2007, 11:43 PM
Just got my order of 20Ds... very hard cast WCs, can't wait to try them out this weekend.

351 WINCHESTER
April 26, 2007, 12:47 AM
I had an 1972 edition of Speer's reloading manual. They had some hot loads for the snub .38. The best performance was achieved with the slower powders although speer said to expect terrific muzzle flash. I always thought the faster powders would give more velocity from a snub, but speer said no. I gave that book to an old friend of mine that does a lot of reloading.

I can tell all of you that I carry a snub .38 with wadcutters. I use them to kill dillas and other critters. I've shot dillas with just about every .38 load (convential) out there and the wadcutter outperforms anything I've tried. It really has a cookie cutter effect and dispatches them very quickly. I would expect the same in larger animals with a h/c wadcutter.

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