The Buffalo gun came about after a phone conversation with my youngest grandson to date, 8 years old and 100 MPH. He was telling me about a school field trip they took to see some Buffalo, he stated “You can’t shoot a Buffalo can you Grandpa” so I explained there are places you can hunt a buffalo. Next he asks “Can you build me a gun to shoot buffalo?” Done deal, had to happen, has to happen!
The Wilson Combat 14.7 inch 338 Federal fluted barrel is the heart and start of the build, pin and welded a modified SLR two chamber brake to get 16.1 inch overall length. It has Wilson’s intermediate gas system, 13 3/16 inch gas tube, .073ish in. gas port in a .750 journal with an SLR non adjustable titanium gas block, I doubt the little weight savings is really noticeable but it was on sale for about the same price as a Geissele so I felt justified spending on fancy metal. Used Aero M5 receivers and a Wilson Combat 12 inch TRIM rail, not the best fitting Aero receivers I have gotten but perfectly capable of the job. Aero upper and lower parts kits, my go to Sig 716 bolt catch would have needed thinned a bit to work smoothly so I just went with the Aero part. The carrier is Toolcraft but due to headspace issues ended up using a Brownell’s bolt, replaced the extractor springs with the Armalite kit to solve some extraction issues. Used a rifle length extension with a used factory Armalite spring and buffer to start. The stock is marked Sig but I am pretty sure these were made by Lancer, it is A1 length. Of course it has the obligatory LaRue MBT for a trigger.
It’s taking some patience to get it running 100%, first ten rounds no lock back, most didn’t even move the bolt back. I noticed some ring marks on the brass from some rough areas in the chamber so did a little polishing with some green jewelers rouge on a chamber mop. Next trip out I had lock back on 8 of 10 rounds, except the case was left in the chamber every time, lift the rifle up a bit and it fell right out. Swapped the two spring Brownell’s extractor springs for the Armalite plug, spring, and a ring extractor spring kit. Next twenty rounds were better, no cases left in the chamber, still only getting lock back about half the time when loading a single round, picked up the next round every time I asked it to. Polished just a little bit more on the chamber and swapped the buffer and spring to an Aero rifle buffer and a Tubbs flatwire spring, odd the Aero buffer is about 1/8 inch longer than the Armalite buffer is, 5 3/16" vs. 5 and a real strong 1/4 inch. Ran five rounds and got lock back 4 times. Swapped back to the Armalite set and only got one lockback in 5 rounds, the Armalite spring has nearly 4,000 rounds on it so maybe it’s shot. Swapped back to the flat wire spring and got ten lockbacks in a row. I am going to leave it alone for a bit, used 185’s up to this point but plan on getting some 200 grain stuff next so the little extra oomph may help a bit as well. I will let the grandson continue with shooting the rifle so he can get in on any further tweaks if needed. It shoots so soft I may see if he wants to shoot it next time he is here. About the same time I start collecting a pension my Grandson will turn 16 so I hope I can introduce him to reloading then. Hopefully he still wants to whack a buffalo, always wanted to try a Bison ribeye.
Here is the last twenty rounds on a 12 inch steel plate at 100 yds. Anxious to see what kind of groups it will do when the Vortex 1-8 gets put on it and accuracy becomes the focus.