Buffalo Bore Ammo: Strictly Big Bore, Strictly Business

Buffalo Bore Ammo: Strictly Big Bore, Strictly Business

Buffalo Bore Ammo 1

Deadly serious shooting requires deadly serious ammunition. Buffalo Bore fits the bill perfectly, dusting its competition in every possible way.

How Buffalo Bore Ammunition Goes A Step Beyond:

  • Company legitimized the .475 and .500 Linebaughs with first factory loads.
  • Best known for big-bore calibers, ammo maker catalog starts at .223 Rem and goes up from there.
  • Hardcast lead bullets are the manufactures bread and butter, but they offer a full array of monometal bullets.
  • Extensively tested, the ammo often times they help shooter home in on the correct load for their gun.

Tim Sundles of Salmon, Idaho, is the proprietor of Buffalo Bore Ammunition. An enthusiastic hunter and real outdoorsman, Tim has the distinction of bringing the fabulous .475 and .500 Linebaughs to legitimacy with the very first factory ammunition ever offered and turned a hobby into his life pursuit, as well as a thriving business based on high-quality products.

It didn’t start out that way, because he was a contractor in northern California before making the move to the ammunition manufacturing industry. Tim credits Ross Seyfried with the patience and willingness to impart to him the finer points in load development, both in theory and practical application. And when he starts getting impatient, Tim is quick to remember the graciousness of Seyfried.

Pre-Buffalo Bore Background

Tim started out in 1983 with the release of the FA 83 in .454 Casull. He immediately bought six of them and began experimenting with a variety of loads.

Prior to the release of the FA 83, Tim had been playing with heavy .44 Magnum and .45 Colt loads. He got to know John Linebaugh and was introduced to the .500 Linebaugh. In those days, brass and bullets were hard to come by, but Tim commissioned John to build him a number of .475 and .500 Linebaugh revolvers. Tim performed a lot of load development for these cartridges, and John kept sending his customers to Tim to load ammunition for them.

The handwriting was on the wall: One day, John asked Tim to go into the business of manufacturing specialty ammunition—particularly for John’s signature cartridges, the .475 and .500 Linebaughs. Tim contacted Starline to make brass and, in 1997, he opened the doors of Buffalo Bore Ammunition.


Tim started out by making .475 and .500 Linebaugh ammunition, but soon, he added the popular .44 Magnum, .45 Colt and .454 Casull. Eventually, he contacted Bob Baker of Freedom Arms and pestered him to build a revolver in .475 Linebaugh. By the time Freedom Arms offered the Model 83 in .475, Buffalo Bore had ammo on its shelves, ready to supply the masses of “masochists.”

A Herd of Ammo Choices

Tim also quickly moved into the realm of the rifle and offers variety with each caliber category in the form of various bullet choices. These meet every need—from punching paper, shooting steel and hunting everything from woodchucks to elephant (and everything else in between that walks, crawls or slithers).

The Buffalo Bore lineup includes calibers from .223 Rem. all the way up to .50 Alaskan, but the brand is best known for building top-notch big-bore hunting ammo.
The Buffalo Bore lineup includes calibers from .223 Rem. all the way up to .50 Alaskan, but the brand is best known for building top-notch big-bore hunting ammo.

The impressive Buffalo Bore lineup starts at .223 and covers some less-likely calibers, such as .348 Winchester and .35 Whelen, all the way up to .50 Alaskan. Tim even has you lead-free California types covered with a wide range of Barnes monometal loads.

A forward thinker, Tim offers a number of differing lines of ammunition for various purposes. He went a step further than most ammo manufacturers by creating ammunition lines to help consumers home in on the correct load for his/her application.

Taking the guesswork out of your choice is a welcome attribute for purpose-built ammunition, such as the aforementioned “lead-free” line of California legal hunting ammunition that features copper Barnes bullets.

Tim also set about creating pistol loads that could turn the average personal-defense pistol into a credible bear-defense weapon.

“So many people have one pistol for street carry or home defense. We wanted them to have a viable outdoor load when they go camping, hiking or fishing,” Tim explained.

Well aware of the positive attributes offered by flat-nosed, hardcast bullets in bigger calibers on large game, he created a line of ammunition dubbed “Outdoorsman” in 9mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .40 S&W, 10mm and .45 ACP. These feature a heavy-for-caliber, hardcast, flat-nosed bullet for uncompromising straight-line penetration.

The newest line of ammunition from Buffalo Bore is the Dangerous Game (DG) line, which focuses on big-game revolver calibers. Featuring Lehigh Defense-sourced copper flat-nosed, solid bullets, The DG line guarantees unequaled penetrative potential and is impervious to heavy bones. The .45/70 Government is included in this impressive lineup.

Buffalo Bore Ammo 5
Buffalo Bore ammunition is never far from the conversation when hunters discuss dangerous game, where a hunting bullet can very quickly become the last line of defense.

Tim was candid when we spoke: “If your main concern is price, we’re not your company, but if performance is your greatest concern, look no further than Buffalo Bore.” Indeed, Mr. Sundles.

Today, Buffalo Bore offers quality ammunition in roughly 70 or so calibers and more than 250 different loads.

The Dangerous-Game Line of Handgun Ammunition

For hunters seeking the ultimate terminal performance on game, the choices are many. For those thrill-seekers wishing to pit their mettle against dangerous game, the choices are more narrowly represented, with prices to typically match their exclusivity. And the field narrows to a sliver for the handgun hunter seeking the ultimate test against animals that are labeled “dangerous” out of a propensity to inflict damage upon those brave (or mentally challenged) enough to throw their hat into this dicey ring, where the battle isn’t concluded by a draw but by the drawing of a last breath.

JRH Wild Bovine Testing

With that in mind, a group of handgun hunters (yours truly included) began gathering at Action Outdoor Adventures, a hunting preserve in Hondo, Texas, with the sole purpose of testing handgun loads, calibers and bullets on wild bovine flesh.

I have tested bullet performance in a number of “accepted” media, knowing full well that nothing makes up for real flesh and blood (and don’t forget bone) when testing the terminal effectiveness of a given load.

Taking it a step further: Testing bullet performance in live, 1,000-pound-plus wild bovines, with their correspondingly heavy frames and musculature (and often bad attitudes, as I have found out on numerous occasions), is the finest and most definitive testing available. Of course, this comes with a price that is significantly higher than, well, wet newsprint testing (but it’s all in the name of science).

This modest first gathering, officially dubbed the “JRH Holiday Bovine Bash” (in honor of the man who first cooked it up—master gunsmith and handgun hunter Jack Huntington), has evolved into a week-long, hard-core test that results in mountains of usable data on terminal bullet performance out of revolvers.

The “Love Child” Bullet

With that in mind, I approached Tim Sundles roughly two years ago about creating a line of dangerous-game ammunition utilizing a monolithic solid bullet. In our extensive (and expensive) bovine flesh-testing, we have found that the preferred hardcast bullet has limitations based on material capability: It cannot be overdriven, because the nose shape will be compromised and, in some cases, bone impact will do the same, thus impeding straight-line penetration and damage.

Got a large-frame wheelgun that requires a very special diet? The Buffalo Bore menu has lots of options.
Got a large-frame wheelgun that requires a very special diet? The Buffalo Bore menu has lots of options.

The solution is a bullet of the same type (with respect to nose profile) that is made from a material impervious to high-impact velocities. At the time of my proposition, there were scant few options available on the monolithic solid front that were not cost prohibitive.

Once I got wind of Lehigh Defense’s flat-nosed, copper handgun bullets—which were priced at a reasonable level, considering the precision quality of the products—I revisited this tiring conversation with Tim.

He responded in the positive, and the connection was made between Buffalo Bore and Lehigh Defense. In a matter of months, the resulting “love child” consists of nine different calibers: .44 Magnum, .45 Colt +P, .454 Casull, .460 S&W Magnum, .480 Ruger, .475 Linebaugh, .500 JRH, .500 S&W Magnum and the ubiquitous .45/70 Government, giving lever-action fans a direct path to Africa’s Big 5.

These bullets cost a little more but are a pittance, compared to the misfortune of watching a five-figure trophy fee disappear into the brush, never to be seen again—all because you wanted to save a few pennies on bargain-basement bullets.

There are many areas in which you can save a few dollars here and there, but your ammunition isn’t one of them. Spare yourself the headache and heartache.

For more information on Buffalo Bore, please visit buffalobore.com.

The article originally appeared in the December 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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