The Bison Bull: A Huge .45-70 Revolver
In the 1970s I wrote a letter to Thompson/Center Arms asking if they would consider chambering their Contender single-shot pistol for the .45-70. They replied that the barrel length required to burn sufficient powder to make that a realistic load was too long for them to consider (At the time their longest barrel was 10-inches.).
In later years, they changed the potential use of the Contender from a plinking to a hunting pistol, outfitted it with longer barrels and offered a 16-inch .45-70 barrel. This popular military cartridge was also added to the Encore’s chamberings when that pistol was introduced.
The Bison Bull is a huge 6-shot revolver with a 10-inch barrel, a nearly 2.5-inch-long cylinder, maganese bronze frame, plow-handled grip, dragoon-style trigger guard and is fitted with a Millet adjustable rear sight. Its over-all length is 17 1/2-inches and it weighs 6.0 pounds.
Since I was about 12, I have never been without a .45-70. These have included 1886 Allen-action Springfield and 1886 Winchester lever actions and their replica editions. I like the way this 2.1-inch cartridge shoots in rifles, but it needs more than 12.5-inches of effective barrel length to work for me. The shorter .45-60 case with a 300-grain cast bullet would have been a better selection so far as ballistic efficiency and functionality goes.
Revolver or not, I would like to see this gun with a 14-inch barrel and chambered for the shorter .45-60 case. These cases can be easily made by trimming .45-70 brass and reloading them with the longer .45-70 dies.
I did not have the opportunity to shoot the Bison Bull at the 2010 Shot Show, but will at the soonest opportunity. Functionally, the massive mechanism worked well. Its things like muzzle blasts and recoil with 405-grain factory loads that concern me. Is the gun really shootable? I am assured by the maker that it is