Why Magnum Research’s BFR excels on Safari ::

Why We Chose BFR for Dangerous Play

A Cape buffalo is not an easy animal to hunt. When hunting dangerous game, you need to choose the right firearm. The BFR was that gun for me. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

This isn’t our first rodeo with a BFR. In fact, over the past few years we have owned and fired the gun in .30-30 Winchester as well as a nice custom shop .375 Winchester / .38-55 Victory combination. So when a last minute opportunity arose to hunt Cape buffalo with a handgun, packing a BFR was a no-brainer. They are all American, built like tanks, stainless steel, smooth and optics ready.

But which room would be the best? While the aforementioned .375 Win would surely get the job done, we were hoping for greater availability of factory and load ammunition given the short time to prepare. The venerable, old-school, beating .45-70 Gov’t would be perfect.

Magnum Research Revolver .45-70 Gov't BFR

Yes, there were also no problems with this big and beautiful nyala. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Magnum Research Revolver .45-70 Gov't BFR

And also with this pretty springbok. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

We considered other options such as S&W Performance Center in .460 S&W—which another camp hunter was packing—but preferred the BFR construction and the .45-70 option. The wide range of chamberings on a Competitor T/C was also attractive, especially in some of the hard hitting and unique rounds like a .375 JDJ, but the BFR and its five round capacity won out again. There are Weapons of Freedom, Bulland others that also pack capable cartridges, but when you’re comfortable with a gun and the hunt of your life hangs in the balance, don’t switch.

Real-world field impressions

Magnum Research Revolver .45-70 Gov't BFR

Despite harsh conditions and rough baggage handling for various flights, the BFR performed flawlessly. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Spoiler alert. There was not a single problem with the BFR in his African adventure. It was fluid, precise and practical. He proved to be more than capable on everything from plains play like nyala and springbok to main goal cape buffalo. We prepared and packed a mix of ammunition including Federal premium hammer down – which would be shared with our Henry All Weather Rifle – as well as heavier lead.

The BFR comes with a scope base which is mounted by removing the rear iron sight, so it was a breeze to add our chosen straight Leupold M8 2x scope. The chosen weapon and ammunition was checked after each bush flight or camp move and nothing changed despite what appeared to be the airline’s best efforts. Whether you order a factory production standard BFR or one of the super soft customs from their specialty store, the action is smooth, the tolerances tight and the precision on point.

Federal Hammer Down Ammunition

There’s a reason we went with the hard-hitting Federal Hammer Down .45-70. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

We didn’t pull and measure multiple groups to split the hair over a quarter inch. It didn’t take long to get comfortable with our chosen loads at the distances we were comfortable with – 70 yards max from a solid rest, 40 yards or less from a quick rest on the poles. To be clear, guns and ammo are capable of a lot more, but that’s our personal limit.

We knew the vast majority – if not all – of the shots would come from shooting sticks, so we practiced a lot that way. The gun could be fired lightly, but that longer barrel is hard to stabilize for a while, especially when the adrenaline is rushing. Storing such a bulky handgun can be tricky, but when we set out on foot after the buffalo, we found the Triple K Big Thunder Torso Rig worked well, dissipating the weight and allowing for hands-free hiking and glass. All other questions we have been asked on the platform come down to hindsight.

The issue of hindsight

Hunter Shooting the Henry All-Weather Lever Action Rifle

Of course, the .45-70 is a beefy barrel even in a Henry All-Weather lever action rifle – like this one that also joined us on the hunt. But with reasonable expectations and practices, plus the fact that our BFR weighed nearly 7 pounds, it’s a great hunting companion. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Yes, the .45-70 Gov’t has “kick” even in a rifle, and it’s a legitimate grip in a revolver. However, partner expectations with some serious range time, and that can be surprisingly manageable for most. Remember, this is not a light gun. With our bezel mounted and a full five-shot cylinder, the scale needle hits almost 7 pounds. This weight certainly helps mitigate the recoil.

Buyers have a choice of white polymer or black rubber grips, and we definitely recommend the latter for controlling more powerful calibers. Again, we will always advocate only firing the amount of guns you are comfortable with and being able to place shots repeatedly. No matter how big or powerful the ball is, there is no substitute for correct shot placement. At the end of the day, however, the BFR turns heads and gets the job done in any chosen chambering. We could – and we will – for white-tailed deer as easily as we have for Cape buffalo.

The key to handgun hunting