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Range Report for H&R Buffalo Classic in .45-70
Old 03-31-2005, 12:03 PM
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Default Range Report for H&R Buffalo Classic in .45-70

Cough, cough. Oh excuse me, I was just clearing my throat of BP smoke.

Not too long ago, Drinksgin pointed out to me that Walmart sold guns indirectly through their website. Visit their website; pick out the gun you want; print the page; take it to the nearest Walmart store and they would get it for you. Except in Alaska. They still do it in Alaska, but only with "selected" guns, of which, the H&R 1871 Buffalo Classic is not among the "select". Dang!

Still, I had a hankerin' for one and at one of the 2 annual gun shows I found a "New Old Stock" Buffalo Classic for even a little less than Walmart wanted.

I bought some components, including a mould for casting 405 grain bullets, and got busy loading up BP cartridges. Oh yeah, I also bought some factory 405 cartridges. Since Don instigated this affair, I guess he felt obliged to send me some bullets. I received some of his cast 250 HPs, 350 HPs, 400s and some Postell 500s. I loaded 'em all up, plus some factory-cast 405s from Laser Cast called Silver Bullets, and some of my own cast 405s.

The charge data is hardly 'interesting' as it was simply all the Goex FFg I could stuff in the case with an Ox Yoke .45 cal. wad on top. For everything except the Postells, the load was 61.7 grains of Goex FFg on top of 6.75 grains of I4759. I did make some over-powder wads from a tablet back, punched out using a punch made from a cut-off .338 WinMag case. But soon enough, I ran out of cardboard. The load for the 500 Postell was still 6.75 grains of I4759 to start, but I could only get 60.2 grains of FFg above that. These loads were seriously compressed.

I "sighted in" at 25 yards, then moved to 100. Frankly, most of the results were disappointing. All of my cast 405s shot poorly, as did Don's 250s, 350s, and 400s. The 405 Silver Bullets, and Don's Postells shot pretty good. The sights complicate matters. The rear is a Williams aperture, and the front is a globe with a post. This is not the best setup for my eyes. I think I would prefer a rear Buckhorn with a simpler front post.

Here are the velocities:

250 HPs - 1559

350 - 1418, 1409, 1412 Mean=1413, St. Dev.=4.6

400 HPs - 1298, 1269, 1269 Mean=1279 St. Dev.=

405 Silver Bullets - 1348, 1359, 1366, 1351, 1296 Mean=1344, St. Dev.=28

My 405s - 1348, 1346, 1395, 1344 Mean=1358, St Dev.=24 (Although the SD for the first 4 was 8 f/s.)

500 Postell - 1159

Frankly, most of the results were disappointing. My cast 405s, the 250s, 350s and 400s shot about 5-6" at 25 yds. That's 20-24 MOA.

My 405s came in four distinct "forms".
1) Sized to .457" and air cooled.
2) Not sized (.461") and the base set in snow.
2) Sized to .457" and the base set in snow.
4) Not sized (.461") and air cooled.

These are hollow-based bullets, and I did NOT put any lube or anything else in the hollow. All of my bullets were lubed with "Blue lube". All of Don's were lubed with Liquid Alox. The Silver Bullets were lubed with an unknown "green" lube. All of Don's bullets were gas-checked if I recall correctly (correct me where I'm wrong there Don). My were not, and the Silver bullets have no gas-check and a slight bevel at the base. Hardly a "boat-tail", but a noticable - maybe a 32nd - bevel.

At 100 yds, I couldn't hit the 2'x2' target consistently with anything but the Postells and Silver Bullets. I have attached their graphs and associated numbers below.

Note that at 100 yds the point of impact was around a foot low with a 25 yd "dead on" zero.

I did learn one thing. My normal shot procedure is to take a few regular breaths, let the last one out about half way, hold it, and squeeze the trigger. Normally, immediately after the rifle fires, I take in a big breath. It took me three or four times of sucking in a lungful of BP smoke (there was a very slight - almost imperceptible - breeze in my face) to change my errant ways. Now I lift my head and wait for the smoke to pass before taking a big lungful of air.

All the above said, it was an absolute hoot to shoot this rifle! And with these loads/velocities, I could shoot it all day long without beating myself up. I'm hoping I can get it to shoot more precisely than about 4 inches windage and 3 inches elevation at 100 yds. "Good enough" for moose and buffalo I suppose, but not very satisfying. Also, I'm out of "elevation" on the rear Williams sight, so I'll have to do something else to get the point of impact near zero at 100 yds. Also also, I ordered a mould for the Postell. Like the way that 500 grain bullet whacks.

One final comment. I shot a few of the "factory" smokeless 405s immediately after I got the rifle. I suspect I'll have most of that box of cartridges for a long time.


Last edited by gitano; 03-31-2005 at 12:24 PM..
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.45-70, buffalo classic, cast bullet, h&r 1871, lube, silver bullet

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