Powerful, Tough & Handy

5

The Great BFR Revolver Excels With Mods By Magnum Research’s Precision Center

Magnum Research BFR .44 Mag. with 7.5-inch barrel comes in a soft-brushed stainless steel. Mark’s BFR comes from MRI’s Precision Center Built and features the firm’s scope base installed. Mark added 3 Weigand Magnum Weaver-style rings to hold a Bushnell Trophy 2-6X scope securely.

To this day I am surprised by the number of gun enthusiasts who have not heard of BFR revolvers. Perhaps this is one of the best-kept secrets in revolver circles. Just for the record, BFR stands for Big Frame Revolver.

I’ve written about these fine wheelguns in the past and always returned them when finished with the assignment. I’m not really sure why as I have always been impressed with the firearm and accuracy experienced. So, I decided it was past time I have a BFR take up permanent residence in my arsenal of hunting handguns. After reviewing the list of options I finally decided on the time-proven .44 Mag. It’s just hard to go wrong with the double-four.

While the selection of production guns is great, I chose a Precision Center Built BFR from Magnum Research’s custom shop. There is absolutely nothing wrong with their production guns mind you—I just wanted a touch of embellishment.

These revolvers are built like a tank. If you want to shoot a .45-70 or .450 Marlin, knock yourself out. They even come in .30-30 Winchester, .480 Ruger, .454 Casull, .444 Marlin, .475 Linebaugh, .460 S&W Mag, .500 S&W Mag, and a few others. The BFR is a serious hunting gun 100 percent made in the USA.

The revolver offers many features most welcomed by shooters and hunters alike. The transfer bar allows the gun only to fire after first cocking the hammer and then pulling the trigger, so it can be carried with all chambers loaded. When the hammer and trigger are fully forward, the transfer bar is lowered out of firing position with the hammer resting directly on the frame—not the firing pin. The revolver has only two hammer positions, cocked and uncocked. Opening the loading gate immobilizes the trigger, hammer and transfer bar.

Each and every gun is proof fired at the factory to insure proper function and integrity. Interchangeable cylinders are available in calibers employing the same bullet diameter, and it is safe to fire .480 Ruger in a .475 Linebaugh or .45 Colt from a .454 Casull. The barrel cylinder alignment is held to under 0.002-inch concentricity. My gun had a barrel/cylinder gap of 0.002 inch. These tight tolerances do enhance accuracy.

The BFR showed it was very accurate at 50 yards. The best group from Black Hills ammo was under 1/2 inch.

The BFR is a hefty, 5-shot stainless steel revolver wearing an eye-pleasing, soft-brushed finish. The barrels are stainless steel, hand lapped, stress relieved and cut rifled, with a precision recessed crown. All grip-frame screws are hardened and plated hex heads. And I sure appreciate the hex heads! Magnum Research manufactures their own base pin and they claim it is bombproof. I can’t argue.

After adding rings and scope, my BFR weighs approximately 6 pounds. And I like the weight especially shooting heavy, high-octane rounds capable of dispatching a large critter. One feature I really appreciate is the free-wheeling cylinder allowing you to turn the cylinder either direction when loading or unloading. There are times when this is most welcome.

I ordered MRI’s new Bisley grip frame with ivory polymer grips. In my hands, the super strong magnum frame handles nicely with the Bisley grip. Precision Center guns come with a smooth action and crisp trigger pull between 2.5 and 3 pounds. My gun broke cleanly at 2.5 pounds without grit or creep. The large, square triggerguard will allow shooting with gloves if necessary.

These custom shop guns come with a 1-piece base mount machined from a solid block of aluminum matching the gun perfectly. The scope base has a recoil lug in the back holding the base securely even under brutal recoil. I mounted a Bushnell Trophy 2-6X handgun scope in Weigand’s Magnum Weaver-style 3-ring set in silver. These rings are tops! I’ve never experienced a problem with Weigand rings or bases with the hardest kicking rounds. The Bushnell handgun scope is also well-known for withstanding punishing recoil. The clarity is superb and this scope is user friendly throughout the power range.

Precision Center options include octagon barrels, micarta grips, slimmed and rounded grips, fluted barrels, fluted cylinders, barrels longer than 10 inches, initials on frame, and other notable features. All BFR revolvers come in short or long cylinder configuration. Many other calibers are available from the Precision Center including .375 Winchester, .475 Linebaugh, .450 Bushmaster, and .300 Blackout to name a few. BFR revolvers are definitely magnum strength.

A variety of .44 Mag. ammo was tested.

With an ammo crate full of quality factory ammo I set up the Oehler 35P and went to work. Due to the fact deer season was approaching, I chose ammo I might use on a big Missouri whitetail. Rounds tested include Barnes Vor-TX 225-grain XPB, Hornady 240 XTP, Federal 240 JHP, Winchester hollow softpoint, Fusion 240 JHP, Black Hills 240 JHP, HPR 240 JHP, and Buffalo Bore’s Deer Grenade 240-grain softcast-gas check. Any of these loads would be more than enough for a big Midwestern whitetail buck.

I started out at 25 yards for initial sight-in and quickly advanced to 50 yards for accuracy testing. One thing I noticed right from the start is the revolver handles recoil nicely. The grip is smooth and very comfortable when shooting factory ammo. The first round tested at 50 yards was Black Hills 240-grain JHP. Three shots were touching in less than a 1/2 inch. I was impressed to say the least. After shooting eight different factory loads I was convinced the BFR was a shooter. And I’m not the best revolver shot from a bench. Most loads tested were averaging under 1-1/2 inches. Even with factory loads, recoil was not abusive. The BFR was easy to shoot and I like the Bisley grip. With a little extra work on my part, this gun will be a serious hunting revolver.

Most of my handloads are in the form of Starline brass, CCI or Winchester primers, and bullets from Sierra, Hornady, Speer, and Nosler. For magnum or hunting loads I lean toward H110. Redding’s T-7 turret system and dies make loading this straight-wall pistol cartridge a breeze. For practice rounds, depending on the type of bullet, Unique or 2400 usually gets the nod. There are many recipes with a wide assortment of bullets and powder available for the popular .44 Mag, and finding a good load will not take long.

The 7x Leather chest rig rides comfortable across the chest with easy access, and spare ammo handy.

Mark practiced field shooting with the BFR from the Primos Gen 3 short tripod trigger stick.

If I had anything negative to mention it would probably be the hammer. BFR recently redesigned their hammer style. I was told this was done to accommodate shooting in cold weather when gloves are worn. I much prefer the Bisley style hammer and will probably have one installed somewhere down the road. This is a personal preference and really doesn’t take anything away from this fine, accurate revolver.

When deer season arrives I’ll be carrying the BFR in a 7x Leather chest holster system. This well-made leather rig rides across your chest. The holster secures the gun and comes with a strap to hold everything in place. A cartridge slide holds 6 extra rounds and there is even a pouch to house your ear plugs. I have grown fond of chest rigs and this 7x Leather offering is a dandy. In the past I have worn this holster for extended periods. It has carried large, scoped revolvers very comfortably. 7x Leather makes packing this BFR hunting revolver relatively painless—and more importantly—safe.

If you are searching for a serious hunting revolver, the BFR is definitely a worthy candidate. This is one of those guns you can shoot as much as you want and hand down to your grandchildren to enjoy for years of shooting pleasure. I am real pleased with the accuracy shown and the gun is built to withstand a steady diet of magnum rounds if you desire. In my opinion, this is one of the best values for a well-built, single-action handgun today. My BFR will be heading to the woods soon and I have no doubt it will help me fill the freezer with venison.

Precision Center Built BFR
Maker: Magnum Research
12602 33rd Ave. SW
Pillager, MN 56473
(218) 746-4597
http://www.magnumresearch.com/

Action type: Single-action
Caliber: .44 Mag, (tested), .454 Casull
Capacity: 5, Barrel length: 7.5 inches
Overall length: 13.75 inches
Weight: 4.86 pounds,
Finish: Brushed stainless steel
Sights: Adjustable rear iron, scope base mount included
Stock: Ivory polymer (optional)
Price: $1,500 (plus options)

Trophy 2-6x32mm
Maker: Bushnell Outdoor
9200 Cody
Overland Park, KS 66214
(913) 752-3400
http://www.bushnell.com/

Magnification: 2X-6X
Objective Diameter: 32mm, Internal Adj.
Range: 60 MOA elevation & windage at 100 yards
Click Value: 1/4 inch, Tube Diameter: 1 inch
Weight: 11 ounces
Overall Length: 9.6 inches
Reticles: Multi-X
Price: $255.95

7x Leather
P.O. Box 812
Ennis, MT 59729
(406) 682-3620
http://www.7xleather.com/

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