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Thread: Buffalo Bore vs HSM Bear Rounds

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    Default Buffalo Bore vs HSM Bear Rounds

    I've noticed that, at least at Sportsman's Warehouse, there is a dramatic price difference between Buffalo Bore and HSM Bear Rounds. They are at the same price point, but one is marketed in a 25 round package and the other in a 50 round package. (I forget which is which at the moment.) These appear to be be nearly identical, apples to apples, products. Can anyone shed some light as to why one is effectively twice the cost of the other or any reason to buy the more expensive product?

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    Member stevelyn's Avatar
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    I have a supply of each and have shot both across a chronograph. The Buffalo Bore is considerably hotter than the HSM. Buffalo Bore is advertised @ 1325fps at what I presume was a 7.5" test barrel. It was coming out of my 4" .45 Colt Redhawk @ a little over 1200fps.

    HSM doesn't have velocity information on their load, but across the chronograph it was showing 1150ish. There is also a noticeable difference in felt recoil between the two.

    Both the BB and HSM are loaded with 325gr cast bullets. I really don't know if there is anything to be gained from the extra roar and buck of the BB load over the HSM or even the extra cost considering what they are intended for.
    Now what ?

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    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    With fast, heavy, hardcast the crimp may well be the most important difference between makers (depending on cartridge). Buffalo Bore claims a much improved crimp over say Beartooth bullets (though I cannot re-locate the claim at the moment). Buffalo Bore used to have crimp problems in 454 360 grain hardcast, but they have resolved their methods and bullet manufacture to prevent that. Double Tap is now having that same problem with their increased velocity 360 grain offering. I would take crimp reliability over 100fps any day, every day. Haven't tried HSM though so I don't know about the crimp nor the hardness of the bullet they are using. Same for Corbon and Grizzly and others.
    Science has a rich history of proving itself wrong.

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    Member Ryan J's Avatar
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    What caliber are we discussing?

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    I bought the HSM for my 44mag and it was a box of 50 they shot well but I have no idea what there performance is on an animal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan J View Post
    What caliber are we discussing?
    We're not. I purposely left off the caliber because I wanted to learn about the difference between the product lines of the two companies and their pricing/packaging strategy. I didn't want an ad hoc discussion of which caliber was better.

    But, if you must know, at least in my own case, I'm looking at buying one or the other in 357 magnum to load in my lever action rifle to keep around the cabin for black bear, not to actively go out and hunt with. I haven't the funds to purchase a dedicated "bear gun." This is a rifle I brought up from the Lower 48, so it's pretty much all I have. I won't be buying any more guns this year, nor probably next year either, so I thought I'd look for the hottest round I could for what I have, knowing that personal defense rounds won't cut it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    We're not. I purposely left off the caliber because I wanted to learn about the difference between the product lines of the two companies and their pricing/packaging strategy. I didn't want an ad hoc discussion of which caliber was better.

    But, if you must know, at least in my own case, I'm looking at buying one or the other in 357 magnum to load in my lever action rifle to keep around the cabin for black bear, not to actively go out and hunt with. I haven't the funds to purchase a dedicated "bear gun." This is a rifle I brought up from the Lower 48, so it's pretty much all I have. I won't be buying any more guns this year, nor probably next year either, so I thought I'd look for the hottest round I could for what I have, knowing that personal defense rounds won't cut it.
    A 357 Magnum in a Marlin or Winchester lever will be limited somewhat by overall cartridge length and bullet shape. The thing to do is try a 20 round box of the so called bear stopper heavy, hard cast loads with 180 or 200 grain bullets and see how they feed. I would suggest a 200 grain WFN style bullet from any number of makers. I believe Federal has a less expensive load in 180 grain and certainly the HSM are worth a try to see if the cartridge will feed..

    After you've been here a year, the state pays you a bear gun allowance...I think some call it a PFD check. It comes in October.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    We're not. I purposely left off the caliber because I wanted to learn about the difference between the product lines of the two companies and their pricing/packaging strategy. I didn't want an ad hoc discussion of which caliber was better.

    But, if you must know, at least in my own case, I'm looking at buying one or the other in 357 magnum to load in my lever action rifle to keep around the cabin for black bear, not to actively go out and hunt with. I haven't the funds to purchase a dedicated "bear gun." This is a rifle I brought up from the Lower 48, so it's pretty much all I have. I won't be buying any more guns this year, nor probably next year either, so I thought I'd look for the hottest round I could for what I have, knowing that personal defense rounds won't cut it.
    Cool, I wasn't sure. I've used the HSM in both .44 mag and .45-70 with no complaints. But that doesn't help with your query. The price is definitely better than most though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    .After you've been here a year, the state pays you a bear gun allowance...I think some call it a PFD check. It comes in October.
    Now that's funny.

    I came here in 2005, but I've always used my PFD to pay bills and debts. (The big "Sarah Palin vote buying PFD" year, I paid off my car.) I left in 2009 for college and returned in 2012. I probably could have claimed the PFD those years and this year (other out of state students have) but I felt I didn't meet the spirit of the law, so I didn't apply this year. If the economy continues to stagnate as it has, and I fully believe that it will, my PFD's will continue to go into paying debt accrued throughout the year. (Which is why I'm even considering a grossly underpowered gun as a "bear gun.")

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    Member Ryan J's Avatar
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    I found the following on another (Smith-wessonforum.com) forum for what it's worth:

    The absolute best Factory 357 Magnum "Bear Load" ammunition is the HSM® 180gr RNFL Gas Check. Ballistics are 1489fps and 886fpe (#HSM-357-18-N). Second best is Buffalo Bore® 180gr LFN-GC @ 1400fps and 783fpe (#19A/20). I carry and shoot these loads in my 4" 686- No Dash. They are both superb in all respects.
    Last edited by Ryan J; 06-05-2012 at 14:01. Reason: spelling

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    FL2AK, I handload and shoot my Marlin 1894s a lot in both .44 and .357. With that I have learned that what will chamber in a revolver will not always feed through my Marlins. The longer cast bullets in the heavier weights tend to get down right sticky or won't feed. Another issue with many of them is the rifling. My Marlins are microgroove barrels and don't like to shoot lead accurately unless the bullet diameter is greater that what you will find in factory cast ammo. Both the HSM and BB are large, wide meplate slugs, most likely sized at .357 or .358. Having said all of that to say this, shoot both and see which feed properly and go where they are supposed to. Hopefully it will be the HSM because they cost less. With the heavier bullets, you may have feed issues you need to consider. Niether may be an option or one may disqualify the other because it will feed. Try the HSM first, it is a better deal and there isn't enough difference in ballistics to justify the expense.

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    Thanks, Mark, that's kind of the cruxt of what I am trying to get at. I'll just buy a box and see how it feeds.

    Ryan, thanks for the link, that's kind of good news when combined with Mark's comments.

    And by the way, I"m shooting an older (Interarms) Rossi Model 92 (Pre Puma, pre lawyer safety.)

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    HSM has superb quality control and is extremely customer responsive

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    I bought a box of 180 grn HSM Bear rounds at Sportsman's last week and just got back from the range. I'm mostly satisfied. Everything shoots high a couple of inches all the way out to 100 yrds. Five shot group sizes at 25 yrds (the range I would most likely use them) is 1-2" and 2" high. At 50 yrds, groups are 2" and 2-3" high. At 75 and 100 yrds, the groups get larger. Even at 100 yrds, the hits are all around the top of the black using a 6 o clock sight picture. I can live with that; I would never, ever shoot at a bear with that gun at that range anyway. They feed really good through the gun, working the lever as fast as I can. No hang-ups going in and no sticky casings coming out. Felt recoil seemed to be same as the cheap-o 125 grn Remington stuff I warmed up with. At half the price of the Buffalo Bore, (literally half, or 2/10 of 1 cent per round more than half the price of Buffalo Bore-I did the math) I think I found my ammo to keep at our cabin.

    The results stated above are all free hand shooting, leaning against the bench; I forgot my sand bags and rifle rest. Some of those group sizes at distance are me. I noticed my eyes don't focus so well anymore, and, at 100 yrds, the edges of the black are blurry. I set the open sights on the rifle as low as they would go, and it still shot high almost across the board. I think it might be time for me to try to put an aperature sight on that gun.

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    FL2AK, what you have just done is what is referred to as "Common Sense". Not really that common. With the marketing strategies of many businesses out there, many folks are down right dupped into believing anything, and of course the cost certainly validates quality, right? Of course I'm speaking in general terms but heck, with the HSM price, you could actually practice and enjoy shooting with your defense round!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Armymark View Post
    ...with the HSM price, you could actually practice and enjoy shooting with your defense round!
    Yeah! I'm headed back down there today to buy another box! LOL

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    I tried and compared some HSM, Double Tap and Buffalo Bore recently in my S&W .460 3 /12" (4 1/2" including compensator) in the field, so no rest, just my shaky and weak left shoulder/crippled hand trying to steady my right side, offhand. Everything shot HIGH at 10, 25 and 50 yards- 12" high at 10 to 4" at 50 with the rear sight bottomed out. Not something I am concered with too much at the moment since it was a "raw" test, my main focus was the felt recoil from the different laods and manufacturers.

    The DT ammo was ..45 Colt +P and .454 Casull in 360grn WFNGC hardcast.

    The HSM was .460 S&W "Bear Load" 325 grn WFNGC hardcast.

    The BB was .460 S&W 360 grn LFN hardcast.

    I was surprised at the recoil from the .45 Colt rounds, I expected much less and look forward to putting them through a chrono.

    The .454 was less recoil than I anticipated and found them to be -pleasant- to shoot along with the .45 Colt when compared to the .460 rounds.

    The HSM rounds were noticably .460 fodder, enough so that thoughts/considerations of recovery time after recoil entered my mind. Recoil was still quite managable though, enough so that my wife even fired a couple of rounds without complaint ( she does not like to fire hot .44 mag rounds through my Ruger SBH 7 1/2" at all).

    The BB rounds I fired (5) were leaps and bounds over the HSM in recoil, fun as heck to light off, but recoil recovery was considerable for my compromised grip. The expression from my wife after watching me fire them was " Nope! Not me ! "

    I had never fired this revolver before because it is a somewhat "new" acquisition and I have had 2 surgeries in the past year, I also developed a neurological condition with my left hand/shoulder, so ignore the poor or lack of accuracy report.

    All of the ammo fired as expected and the cases ejected cleanly, this also was the first time I have ever fired heavy .45 Colt, .454 Casull or .460 S&W (except for 1 round of Hornady factory).

    My initial impression is that I will carry up to the HSM rounds, but most likely I will be carrying .454 Casull rounds in this revolver, the BB rounds just seemed ridiculous, but fun

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