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Thread: A Question About Buffalo Rifles...

  1. #61
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by KenH View Post
    M-Tecs: Thanks for those links. VERY interesting reading.
    I had a bunch more that I lost in a hard drive failure. BlackPowder Cartridge News ran a series very detailed factual accounts of the Buffalo Hunting era that included shipped records for hides going east and supplies going West.

  2. #62
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    What makes anyone think the crosshairs of the scope were at the impact of the bullet? Hairs could be held up over the target. These guys knew their guns unlike many modern shooters.

    Their skill has to be taken into account but remember all hunters LIE ten and now.

  3. #63
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer in NH View Post
    What makes anyone think the crosshairs of the scope were at the impact of the bullet? Hairs could be held up over the target. These guys knew their guns unlike many modern shooters.
    .
    That only works if you have something behind to judge altitude. Out on the open plains it would have been extremely tough for even an excellent shot to know how far to hold over, and also judge and get the distance correct. I doubt buffalo would sit still while you gradually chipped shots in closer to get one.

  4. #64
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    If you know the size of the target that is what you use. An average bull is about 6 feet at the shoulder. Knowing this holdovers are not that difficult. With a little practice range estimation based on target size is not that challenging. Also you hear hits verse misses.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 02-21-2018 at 12:18 AM.

  5. #65
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    If you know the size of the target that is what you use. An average bull is about 6 feet at the shoulder. Knowing this holdovers are not that difficult. With a little practice range estimation based on target size is not that challenging. Also you hear hits verse misses.
    The judging by size is not very accurate as range goes out further. It works quite well for distances below 500 yds., but even at less than 500 yd. distances the arc of a .45-70 bullet with black powder is measured in feet and not inches. The arc at 800-1000 yds. is around 50'-60', and estimating that is tough task for even the finest of shooters, and would not be accurate enough to give a shooter consistent results.
    I've played with this method using barrel sights at ranges from 300-650 yds., but I did so on a side hill with some bushes and fir trees on it. I was aiming 3/4 up a large fir tree to hit a 3' dinger at 450 yds. and with a spotter to tell me where the bullet splash was. I'd certainly not want to take shots at even a animal as large as a bison on open plains, and try to figure out how many bison to hold over to hit at 500 yds. consistently. The system has worked just fine for me with my modern hunting rifles that shoot flatter, and I'm sighted in at 200 yds., but want to take a deer at 300 yds. I know how far to hold over, and can estimate that easily based on deer size. But it's inches, not 40'-60'.

  6. #66
    Boolit Master



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    I started shooting Trapdoor Springfield's in 1968 or 1969. I did all the casting and reloading for a 7th Calvary reenactment group. I kept records of who took how many rounds including myself. One summer I fired 5,600 rounds of 45/70 myself. I did this for 5 or 6 years but normally it was 2K to 3K. Mostly out a an original with a Douglas barrel setup like an OM, an 1884 infantry rifle or H&R carbine replicas. The H&R's were the early on that used original M79 sights.

    My home range only had 100 an 200 yard targets and a 300 yard steel gong, however, it was in a valley filled with 2' to 5' mostly limestone rocks starting at about 250 yards and going out to about 800 yards. Spacing of the rocks was about every 20 or 30 yards. With the Buffington or M79 sights and a little practice it was not the difficult to start close slowly raising your sight and picking the next further target. This would be very similar to the reports of runners starting close and moving up the sights as the herd moved further away.

    The claim is if you shot the herd bulls the rest of the herd would move away slowly. I don't know how true that is. I do know that when spooked buffalo can cover a lot of ground very quickly. I have friends that have owned Buffalo since the mid 70's. One had about 600 head but now has about 350 head. The most fun I ever had shooting something was using a dart gun out of a moving jeep giving vaccines to Buffalo.

    Based on my experience I don't doubt the claims in the old journals or books that starting close and moving to the next further target until you started missing was fairly effective. As to what the effective actual yardage was I don't have a clue. Tales tend to get taller the more times they are told. Based on my TD and BPCR experience 500 or 600 yards is very believable .

    What percentage of the runners used scopes I again don't have a clue but I have read at least 1/2 dozen different accounts of their usage. I do believe these accounts. I also believe that it is very doable to start close and as the herd moved away keep moving to the next target until misses becomes an issue.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 02-22-2018 at 06:36 AM.

  7. #67
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    As I mentioned before, I don't doubt working your way out can be done. And even easier shooting at the same range or area where you begin to learn the terrain and how far to hold over. I know that once I learned to hold at a certain limb on a for tree, or clump of sagebrush, I could tell the next shooter where to hold, and they'd be on in 2-3 shots.
    But it's the misses that will get the herd moving away. So regardless of herd bull down or not, if your shot misses, the animals will be spooked by a slug skipping past them in a herd. And shooting farther out with each shot is fine if animals are lined up, and you keep holding above the last animal. But since the bison aren't likely to stand still, line up, or stay long after a miss; I still think the odds are better of a miss or poorly placed shot.
    I've hit dingers at 450 yds. with my .45ACP too, but not consistently enough to say I'd hunt animals at that distance. It's a matter of being accurate consistently.

  8. #68
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    What you or I think really doesn't matter. All we have are the old journals or writings of people that were there at the time. Lots of these writings talk about starting close and working out. Cost of ammo was a concern. Wounded animals not so much. 1870's ethics and todays ethics are somewhat different.

    https://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-histor...o-hunter/17683

    EC. FRIDAY 6. 1872.
    butchered 12 buffalo, The, Ed, Bat, and me. I shot some wounded ones. Spring day. Some little rain at evening, turned cold and clear. went to Yahoo’s camp at night, The, Nixon, Hunt, and me.


    Feb. Thursday 27. 1873.
    down at town. got no mail today. Kelly and Nixon caught buffalo calf. saw them set all the dogs after it and horribly torture it.47


    He also talks of shooting a Springfield needle gun. Based on the date that would have been a 50/70.
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 02-23-2018 at 02:12 AM.

  9. #69
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