Magnum Research BFR Revolver in 30-30 Win

Obsolete Arms and Ammo

By Bob Shell

Magnum Research BFR Revolver .30/30 Win Revolver
Magnum Research BFR Revolver .30/30 Win Revolver

AmmoLand Gun News

Apache Junction, AZ –-( In today’s market many buyers like new and unique products.

They don’t have to be practical just cool and different. The Magnum Research BFR Revolver certainly fits in the unique category with its size and chamberings.

For those who are looking for something to show off you found it. For someone who wants the biggest this revolver is the one for you. It comes in the 444 Marlin, 450 Marlin, and the 45-70. The 30-30 is another option for someone who likes to carry around a very large handgun. Listed weight is 5 LBS. which is nearly as much as a rifle. If you are shooting a 450 Marlin that weight would indeed be welcome. Some 450 Marlin revolvers will take a 45-70 cylinder which I consider a major plus.

Ballistically the 450 Marlin and the 45-70 can be loaded to the same levels in the same gun but 450 Marlin brass is more difficult to get.

If I purchased that gun I would definitely get both cylinders. With all of the new hot calibers why would Magnum Research choose a round that has been round for some 120 years. In a word! It works. The 30-30 has been around and is still one of the top sellers in ammo and die sales. If you use a larger case with a short barrel velocity increase is minimal. You generally get more muzzle blast and recoil with a larger case. However if the demand is there they may chamber it for a more modern round.

When handling the Magnum Research BFR Revolver it is very apparent that quality is there in abundance. Tolerances are tight and it has cut rifling which may id in accuracy.

Magnum Research BFR Revolver Cylinder
Magnum Research BFR Revolver Cylinder

One unique feature is you can spin the cylinder in Magnum Research BFR Revolver in either direction and it is silent either way. That feature can be helpful with certain jams. Instead of removing the cylinder it can be turned backwards to remove the offending round. The gun comes with a package of front sights, which are suitable for various uses and shooters. In addition it is drilled and tapped for scope mounts.

It is totally made in the US which is a refreshing change. If you can figure out a way to carry it then the scope can be a viable option.

Magnum Research produces some awesome and different guns. I have done some reviews on their products including the Desert Eagle and a couple of 45 autos. Without exception they all show good workmanship.  For the Desert Eagle I tested is capable of shooting 44 magnum or 50 A & E rounds merely by switching the barrel and magazine.

Sierra 30-30 bullets produce good accuracy in the Magnum Research BFR Revolver
Sierra 30-30 bullets produce good accuracy in the Magnum Research BFR Revolver

Due to the short barrel of the Magnum Research BFR Revolver, there will be some velocity loss as compared to a rifle, so we will bring along a rifle for comparison. Sierra makes a nice 125 grain HP meant for the 30-30, which should work out well. As always, some cast bullets will be tried. There is a major difference between the two guns in velocities as the Magnum Research BFR Revolver is giving up 12 & ½” compared to the rifle. In addition the flash gap will cost some velocity. Recoil isn’t bad as the weight tames it.

Magnum Research BFR Revolver vs the Freedom Arms 454 Casull with scope
Magnum Research BFR Revolver vs the Freedom Arms 454 Casull with scope

The other shooters who tried the Magnum Research BFR Revolver liked it. Offhand shooting is difficult due to the weight. A strong person can probably shoot it offhand ok. Having a long gun and handgun in the same caliber is an attractive option in most cases. I would view this combo as an exception.

I don’t know how you could conveniently carry both of them at the same time. The revolver weighs 5 LBS. and would be hard to carry though a holster may work out. A person would have to be large to carry it in a shoulder holster. Five pounds. doesn’t sound like much but after carrying it along with a rifle and other gear it will wear you down. If you carried it alone then it may be more practical.

Keep in mind that most of us would need some sort of shooting sticks that would have to be carried. There is no guarantee that a rest would be available unless you are shooting from a blind. Personally that is the only way I would use the Magnum Research BFR Revolver for hunting.

With a scope, it would be nice from a blind from any anticipated angle. Keep in mind that you are going to lose a considerable amount of velocity compared to a long gun so your range may be more limited. With the quality of the gun and a good load, accuracy would not be an issue.

Magnum Research BFR Revolver with cylinder removed, note how massive it is
Magnum Research BFR Revolver with cylinder removed, note how massive it is

Shooting the Magnum Research BFR Revolver is generally a pleasure as the action is smooth and the trigger is nice. The only problem is when you hold it out away from your body the weight becomes a factor. Recoil even with the heavy loads is very manageable. The fact that the cylinder can go either way has come in handy a couple of times. Due to the tightness of the gun occasionally, a round would tie it up. So instead of removing the cylinder just rotate it backwards and extract he offending round.

That is a unique feature and I like it a lot as I am always trying new loads and occasionally one will jam so it’s more convenient.

I am running a test comparing velocities of this revolver against a rifle. In many instances there is a very significant difference. With the way it is built any reasonable load should be ok. While they don’t recommend handloads that would be the most practical way to go. If you compare a 300 AC Blackout rifle against the 30-30 Magnum Research BFR Revolver the Blackout shoots a 150 grain about 150 FPS faster then the BFR. The flash gap is very tight which aids in increasing velocity.

Some 30-30 loaded ammo with a Sierra bullets with the Magnum Research BFR Revolver
Some 30-30 loaded ammo with a Sierra bullets with the Magnum Research BFR Revolver

When loading ammo for the Magnum Research BFR Revolver keep this in mind. Some folks think that using handgun powders will increase velocities because it burns faster. That is far from the truth. You have a rifle round so rifle powder is required for the best performance. The short velocity barrel will lose velocity, that is the price for a smaller weapon. That is where a Hornady Flex tip or a Barnes copper bullet may come in handy.


  • 26 grains H-322 125 gain Sierra HP 1617 mild
  • Barnes 150 grain 2344 rifle
  • Barnes 150 grain 1794 handgun
  • Hornady 150 grain 2308 rifle
  • Hornady 150 grain 1673 handgun
  • 8 grains Trail Boss 165 grain cast 996 decent
    35 grains LEVERevolution 170 grain Speer 1602 consistent

Several people have shot the Magnum Research BFR Revolver and other then the weight it is liked. Everyone thought that the recoil would be excessive but were pleasantly surprised. Of course anything that weighs 5 lbs. will soak up a lot of the recoil.

The MSRP of the Magnum Research BFR Revolver in 30-30 with the 7 & ½” barrel is $1184 but some shopping will probably find one at a lower price.

About Bob Shell
A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit:

Take another look at the Magnum Research BFR Revolver in this video from NRAPubs:

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Bertus Barnard
Bertus Barnard

This review on the BFR 30-30 convinced me to buy one. The gun shop I often buy from had to special order the revolver for me. It arrived four days later. I was all exited and went to pick it after work. First time I saw the beast in person or handled one. Looked great, no…. awesome. It felt great, and powerful. Eager to shoot it, I had to wait two days for a good weather day. I took a box of Winchester 30-30, 150 grain, power point. Brand new. Manual says to shoot only new ammo. Additionally I grabbed… Read more »


I love shooting my freedom arms .454 casul. being a reloader, I had to try. the first round would shake the next bullet out of it’s case and jam the cylinder. this was in the late 80’s/ early 90’s. I found out about a ringed seating die. I bought one and never had another problem, other than needing my c-press for the fourth station. darn fun weapon. best trigger I own. having owned mine a while now, I have watched other entries into the powerful handgun category come and go. I hated my ’94 30-30. to have that in a… Read more »