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Best rifle for a bison hunt.

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Best rifle for a bison hunt.

Old 04-06-2014, 02:48 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Question Best rifle for a bison hunt.

I am looking for a good level action rifle for a woman for a bison hunt. It sounds like a .45-70 is the most popular choice. But I don't know anything about rifle with this caliber. How big a kick is it and are there any light weight options. Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-06-2014, 03:43 PM
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I mean an 06 will work! Some people like the traditional 45-70. Hunt sounds exciting and fun and hope she does well!! Lots of good meat!!
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Old 04-06-2014, 04:38 PM
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Just about any centerfire rifle from 270 on up will be ok for bison. But if you're hankering to use a .45-70 for bison (which would be my choice for nostalgia reasons, actually .45-90) Marlin makes a nice reliable lever gun. And they also make a 'light weight' version in the Guide Gun. If your wallet can stand it, you can also get an old Winchester 1886 in that same chambering or a Sharps 1874.
But remember as far as weight and recoil - the lighter the rifle the more felt recoil your wife will feel.
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Old 04-06-2014, 04:45 PM
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Look at the h&r buffalo classic in 45/70 with 32" barrel not much kick just a steady push back not bad at all.
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Old 04-07-2014, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Bbj270 View Post
Look at the h&r buffalo classic in 45/70 with 32" barrel not much kick just a steady push back not bad at all.
Yeah - this is another inexpensive option. My experience with bison hunting is that there is not much walking involved. But you should practice off shooting sticks once you get the rifle you decide to use.
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Old 04-07-2014, 07:53 AM
  #6  
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If you're looking at a .45-70, then the Marlin Guide Gun 1895 would get my nod. Factory loadings are quite tame out of the short barrel, but still pack a ton of punch. My wife is 5'3" and 125lbs and she says her Marlin 1895 Guide Gun "recoils like butter" with factory loads. It's short and compact, so it's handy for a smaller shooter to manage in the field also. The Marlin 1895 Cowboy is a fantastic option for hunting as well, with a lot more barrel and a lot more sex appeal.

The H&R Buffalo Classic is a fun one, but having owned one for CAS competition, I'd probably pass on it. It really exists because cowboy action shooters wanted a low cost alternative to the other "period correct" competition rifles for Cowboy Action long range shoots. KEEP IN MIND --> The H&R Buffalo Classic has a 14" pull, and with the crescent butt plate, it's not a straight forward hacksaw job to shorten the pull. It may be far too long for a shorter shooter (i.e. female huntress). I paid a good amount to get the stock shortened on mine for CAS to maintain the factory styling and buttplate because it was too long for me, and I'm 5'10".

But as others have mentioned, there are a lot of other cartridges out there that are appropriate for buffalo. The .45-70 is the "classic buffalo cartridge", but I don't think it really has much of a following among bison hunters these days other than out of nostalgia (which is as good of reason as any). Standard deer hunting cartridges, with the right bullet, will do just fine on bison, I've killed a few over 2,000lbs with a .30-30win. Given the choice, I'd opt for something 8mm and larger, 338wm, or .375H&H would likely get my nod, but they may recoil pretty severely for a lighter built shooter. That IS a distinct advantage for the heavy bullets of the .45-70 for lighter shooters; very manageable recoil, but tons of momentum at the business end to penetrate and kill.

Last edited by Nomercy448; 04-07-2014 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:24 AM
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I've got a Marlin Model 1895M Guide Gun in 450 Marlin. It has been used on 7 bison to date and only one took a second shot and that was only because the shooter tried a brain shot and was an inch high and just creased the skull. The second shot to the shoulder dumped the animal.

The 450 Marlin is basically identical to the hottest 45-70 loads so what can be said of it will hold true for the 45-70 as well. There hasn't been a bison born that will survive being hit with either in the vitals. That being said, bison can be a little tricky because the heavy thick hair can make things like a brain shot a little tricky. The shoulder shot kills them quickly and efficiently and is my shot of choice. As to recoil, the guide gun will kick since it is pretty light for a heavy caliber. It won't hurt you but it will let you know when you touch it off.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:39 PM
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WY requires a .270+ 150gr+ bullet.

Head vs. Heart shot may determine what you want...

although anything from .270 to .458 Lott should do the job.

My dad used a .340wby w/ 275gr a-frames
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:09 AM
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45 70 gets my vote. Fast handling, and hits like a freight train. Adequate for anything that walks this planet with the right loads.
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