Buffalo Bore .38 Special Short-Barrel Ammo

Buffalo BoreBuffalo Bore Short Barrel 38 is loading .38 Special ammo specifically for short-barreled guns.  The load uses a Barnes 110 grain TAC-XP bullet, which is an all-copper bullet.  The ammo uses brass cases and a low-flash powder.

Until recently, snubnose revolver shooters made do with standard ammunition and the knowledge that the ammo would not be as effective as if it was shot out of a longer barrel handgun.  The amount of velocity loss varied with the load and the firearm, but generally, it has been understood that short-barreled guns are less potent than longer ones.

There are probably others out there, but the 135 grain Speer Gold Dot load for the .38 Special was the first short-barrel load to really get traction with the public.  The load uses a medium-to-heavy weight bullet for the cartridge (most bullet weights run 110 grain, 125 grain or 158 grain in .38 Special) and a special powder to maximize velocity out of short-barreled guns.  From what I hear the load has been effective “on the street.”

The load was developed by Speer for the New York City Police Department, and it has been adopted by many other law enforcement agencies as the back-up gun ammo of choice. The “halo effect” of police agency use often drives sales in the commercial market, and I suspect that is one of the reasons the Speer load has been popular.

The Buffalo Bore uses a lighter bullet than the Speer load.  In-house testing by Buffalo Bore shows their load makes for more than 1100 fps out of 2″ Smith & Wesson revolvers (1104 fps with a model 340 and 1119 fps with a model 60).  Moving up to 3″ barreled revolvers moves the velocity north of 1200 fps (1202 with a Ruger SP101 and 1210 with a S&W model 66).

By way of comparison, Ballistics by the Inch tested the Speer load and obtained 897 fps from a Smith & Wesson 642 (1.875″ barrel) and 928 fps from a Colt Detective Special (3″) barrel.  Keep in mind that the Buffalo Bore tests and BBTI tests cannot be directly compared, as they were not controlled environments, etc.  But for the sake of discussion, they are interesting.

The Buffalo Bore load is +P rated, and the company states the bullets are crimped, so shooting out of the ultra-lightweight revolvers should not be a problem.  Buffalo Bore also noted very tight groups with the load (check out their website for more information.)


Buffalo Bore .38 Special Outdoorsman Ammunition

Buffalo Bore 38 Special Outdoorsman AmmunitionBuffalo Bore rolled out a new .38 Special load called the Outdoorsman.  The Outdoorsman is a Keith-style, hard cast lead 158 grain semi-wadcutter bullet loaded to +P pressures.  The load is designed for deep penetration and it should make for an adequate (not superior) round when carried for self defense in the back country.

When trekking in the wilderness, predator animals are a genuine concern.  Penetration to vital areas is much more difficult to achieve with a handgun against a bear than it is against a human.  Therefore, caliber and load choices are different in the woods than in the suburbs.


Buffalo Bore .327 Magnum Loads

Buffalo Bore 327 Magnum Ammunition

Buffalo Bore recently introduced two new loads for the .327 Federal Magnum.  The first is a 100 grain JHP while the second is a hard cast 130 grain Keith-style load.

The 100 grain JHP load appears to use the Hornady XTP bullet, which has a thicker-than-typical jacket.  The thick jacket allows for deeper penetration than might otherwise be expected from another brand of hollowpoint.  The load is rated at 1800 fps from a test barrel.  From a Ruger Black Hawk with a 5.5″ barrel, the load made for 1466 fps at the muzzle, and Buffalo Bore rates the load as 1450 fps.


Buffalo Bore’s .45 Auto Rim

Buffalo Bore is now manufacturing the .45 Auto Rim in four loadings: two standard pressure and two “+P”.

buffalo_bore_autorimIn standard pressure, you can get a 200 gr JHP at a little over 1000 fps (444+ ft-lb) out of a 4″ S&W revolver.  The 255 gr hard cast FP is clocking almost 870 fps (410+ ft-lb) out of the same 4″ Smith.

With the “+P” designation, the 200 JHP is sizzling at almost 1200 fps (635 ft-lb) out of the 4″ S&W.  The hard cast 255 gr FP is moving at more than 1030 fps (570+ ft-lb).  These are amazing numbers.  It should be noted that there is not a SAAMI specification for “+P” in the .45 Auto Rim.  Consequently, use only a modern firearm with the +P ammunition.  Buffalo Bore does state that the +P loads are safe to use in all post-WWII revolvers chambered for the .45 ACP.