|Shooting Buffalo Rifles of the Old West
by Mike Venturino
2002 MLV Enterprises
Soft cover, 8½ x11, 279 pages
Features: table of contents, text, black and white photos, modern and
period, data tables, scaled drawings, bibliography and appendix of resources.
The author, in the introduction, carefully defines exactly what he’s
going to consider a buffalo rifle. Terminology of the buffalo hunter
period and modern terminology is compared to eliminate confusion.
Part l (pages 1-69)
The following buffalo rifles are clearly photographed and described
Winchester single shots
Part II (pages 70-167)
Descriptions provided of the basic reloading, testing, and results,
for all the above mentioned rifles’ different cartridges using cast lead
grease groove bullets. Fourteen pages are devoted to paper patch
bullets in .45-70 only. The author shared his own personal evolution,
starting out making smokeless rounds to reproducing the performance of
black powder rounds to eventually shooting black powder only in his rifles
Part III (pages 168-201)
Modern competitions are described: NRA BPCR Silhouette, NRA Mid-Range,
and Long–Range Black Powder Target. The closest range to some of
these targets is 200 meters and can go out to 1000 meters! Of interest
to me is that the author had 5 top champions describe in their own words
all the details involved in crafting 1000 meter rounds. The impression
I got was that this kind of reloading required very, very, meticulous,
regular and immanently repeatable methods and materials.
Part IV (pages 202-276)
A variety of topics are included in this part. One chapter is on sights,
covering the more standard rear sight, the tang sight, and the telescopic
sight, with a page of photographs showing how to read a vernier sight.
Other chapters describe how the buffalo rifles were used, the lives and
times of the buffalo hunters, modern hunting and buffalo hunts. The
book concludes with how the author cleans his rifles and a review of his
As you can probably tell I particularly enjoyed this book. The author
has a pleasant conversational style, sharing insights and anecdotes. Material
is presented in a logical and orderly fashion, and represents a wealth
of information. This book can be read from a general interest
or highly technical standpoint. If you are interested in buffalo
rifles, I recommend this book highly.
On Bill’s scale of books, 1 to 5, 5 highest, this is a 5!