BFR Proves Handy In Africa


The load Tank used in Africa. Simple formula with a long history.

Deciding what guns to bring for an African hunt was a tough decision. Tim Sundles, and his wife Kim, graciously invited me to the Buffalo Bore Game Preserve in South Africa for a cull hunt. Species would range from massive Cape Buffalo to impala, and everything in between. I had some decisions to make. Here’s the trio I picked making for a most interesting and enjoyable hunt.

Lever Loony

I’ve dreamed of taking a Cape Buffalo with a Marlin lever gun in .45-70 for over two decades and wasn’t having much luck seeing any here in the states, no matter how hard I looked. Ruger’s newly released SBL Marlin fitted with a Skinner Sights extended Peep Rail and “bear Buster front sight would be perfect for the tas

All-Around Bolt

A Ruger African rifle chambered in .375 Ruger purchased 16 years ago got the nod for my utilitarian piece, performing wonderfully on the 15,000 acres preserve. Lastly, I wanted/needed a handgun … because hunting/shooting with one keeps things interesting. Besides, they’re handy too, as you will see.

Tank’s Custom Shop BFR from Magnum Research at its first range outing.

Magnum Research Custom BFR

A year before the hunt, I was kicking around the idea of having a custom handgun built with Brett Pikula, the head honcho of the Magnum Research Custom Shop. The .45 Colt is my favorite handgun caliber, but we turbo charged it a bit, going with the .454 Casull.

I love stainless steels rust resistant properties, but much prefer the warm looks of blued steel. Thanks to Brett, I got both. He informed me he could nitride the gun after a robust hand polishing. Afterwards, he went over the gun to give it a “used” look. Brett knocked the ball out of the stadium! The gun looks beautiful!

Using classy, high-grade Turkish walnut stocks, he expertly fit them to the Bisley grip frame. The grip frame provides plenty of room from the trigger guard for large, fisted shooters. A low setting, wide spur hammer makes cocking comfortable, while adding elegance to the gun’s profile. The fit and finish is as one would expect from Magnum Research’s Custom Shop — pure perfection. The final stamp of approval is the script BP Maker’s Mark on the end of the frame, custom shop manager Brett Pikula’s initials.

Tank used his handloads while shooting steel in Raton,
New Mexico at the NRA Whittington Center.

Buffalo Bore uses cast bullets from Rim Rock Bullets in Montana.

The last group shot by Tank before his hunt at 50 yards.
That’s a 2” target with 6 o’clock hold


Buffalo Bore’s catalog item 7C, was my choice of ammunition for the wheelgun. It features a 360- grain flat-nosed, gas checked bullet from Rim Rock bullets of Montana. Velocity is advertised at 1,425 FPS but was nearing 1,500 FPS from my 9” barreled BFR.

For sight-in I had to file the front sight down to correspond with point of impact/point of aim. Once dialed in, sub-2” groups are the norm at 50 yards. This says a lot about both the ammunition and gun.

Here’s the rig riding in style on top of the Land Cruiser.

Three aces for a perfect hunting combo!


Mi amigo, Doc Barranti of Barranti Leather surprised me with a custom shoulder holster featuring a hand carved Cape Buffalo skull and hammered background. The rig also came with an ammo pouch capable of holding five rounds of ammo. It’s a beautiful rig and one I’m extremely proud to wear.

Tank’s wildebeest knocked down with the .45-70 and finished with the .454 Casull.

First Blood

It was towards the end of the first day and it was pouring rain. From a distance, Tim and I saw what we believed to be blue wildebeest. Checking with our binoculars, we still weren’t sure. “Nah, they’re bushes …wait a minute, did one move?” We got about 140 yards away and sure enough, they were wildebeest.

Using the peep sighted Marlin 45-70, I took aim at the largest one and shot. The telltale “SMACK” of the 380-grain monolithic solid hitting his shoulder sounded like a baseball bat hitting concrete and the wildebeest dropped. Approaching him, he was still alive. A coup de grace shot from the BFR ended things instantly, as it should.

A heavy horned impala taken with the BFR.


A few days later we spotted a heavy horned impala. He was unaware of us and about 75 yards away. Aiming tightly behind his shoulder, the gun fired. He mule kicked into a death run and was recovered a short distance away. Later the same day, a cull water buck was taken the same way. Nothing dramatic, the gun and load just worked.

A blesbok shot stern to stem with the BFR.


Hunting blesbok and black wildebeest on top of the mountain was spectacular. I really got to stretch the legs of my .375 Ruger. There were blesbok and black wildebeest everywhere. But they were anywhere from 300-400 yards away. One of the first blesboks I shot dropped straight down in high grass, disappearing. Believing he’s done, we continued our hunt for black wildebeest.

After getting a few black wildebeest, we went to retrieve the blesbok. Pulling up in the Land Cruiser, we got out to throw him in the back of the truck. Exiting the vehicle, he jumped up and started hobbling away. Wearing my shoulder rig, I drew my BFR, shot him at the root of the tail and he collapsed.

My rifle shot was too low, hitting both front legs below his brisket. The .454 Casull 360-grain slug entered his rump and exited his nose for complete penetration. I told you it’s always good having a handgun handy.

A tickled Tank posing with his impala.


Bonding with the BFR .454 Casull and Barranti rig was a pleasure. It proved a handy, convenient combination. The Buffalo Bore ammo also performed flawlessly. The humble cast bullet is still a worthy and viable projectile when placed in the vitals of any game. Many thanks to Tim & Kim Sundles, Doc Barranti and Brett Pikula for making this hunt a special one indeed.

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