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  #1  
Old 11-05-2003, 12:35 PM
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Question 38-55 loads


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Hi, Worked up two loads for my 26 in. barrel 1894 in 38-55 with excellant bore and rifling. 1st load 18 grns of 2400 under 245 fp lead with blkpowder lube(meister hard cast)(smg lube?) shot okay but a little bit more kick than factory stuff. 2nd load consist of same bullet,lube but with h322 powder that load was also harder kicking,but the bullets keyholed what would case that to happen? also some factory stuff with lead 255 fp lead would not even chamber, guessing the bullet was bigger. the stuff i'm reloading is .377 dia. any info would be great Thanks COLT45ACP
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2003, 01:00 PM
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Have slugged 38/55's that ran as large as .381"...find .379" pretty common. May be that the .377" bullet likes the fast powders (2400) and not the slow ones (H322 isn't really slow...but in a straight walled case of this size, can consider it as slow). Fast hard "rap" on the bullet base may be getting that bullet to take rifling better than a slow "push".

BTW: almost anything will be faster than the castrated factory load...current production is getting speeds of about 1150fps...you can beat that with black powder, but there are lot of old single shot actions out there that are weak and a lot of shooters who believe that if it goes in the hole, you can fire it.
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  #3  
Old 11-05-2003, 08:27 PM
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If the factory ammo won't chamber, I'd guess that the chamber was pretty cruddy from shooting the reloads that leaded.

Tumbling bullet is likely caused by being too small and/or being pushed too fast, and not engaging the rifling (or barely engages it then strips). If you have horrible leading that doesn't help either.

OK - first clean the gun within an inch of it's life.

You might try the factory loads again at that point. Then clean again.

I'd personally load a few jacketed rounds to check that my reloading process was sound and get a baseline for the gun's accuracy. Clean again.

Then slug the bore. You may not be able to use large enough bullets if the neck clearance on a loaded round isn't enough. In that case you would need to either turn case necks, form cases from thinner brass, stick with jacketed, or get the largest gas-check bullets that will fit.
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2003, 04:47 AM
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The factory jacketed stuff works great but i don't want to wear the bore out.The factory lead loads from ultra remax are the ones that won't chamber and i tried them be shooting my own reloads. The bore and chamber are shinier and cleaner than new rifles i have thats why i purchased it. I'll try slowing the loads down and see what happens. By the way the factory jacketed shot a good 3" group at 100 yds and my reloads were 5-6" at only 25 yds, so i know i need to rework my reloads. Thanks colt45acp
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2003, 05:53 PM
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Colt45acp, I have a 38-55 marlin CB, it digests 8gns of unique over a .379 plain base hard cast, this groups in at 2inch at 100 and will do this day in and day out with out leading up. The bullet is .379 245gn. Now I can take that same slug put 35gns of BLC#2 and shoot a 2inch group. 5rds max. Then it will start grouping in the neighborhood of 3feet. Though no keyholes. But at this point I have a lead mine in my bore. You should slug your bbl. Mine slugs .3785 I am lucky as this is on the small side for the rifle. Some I talk to have to have their chambers opened and shoot up to .381 Take care and have fun. Swany
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2003, 12:49 PM
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Moderate load for .38/55

I have a thick binder full of targets documenting loads that did not work in my .38/55. The rifle is a restored Model 94 Winchester with a 26 inch barrel, 0.375 inch groove diameter, and a relatively tight chamber.

Here is one load that worked for me. The load is as follows: Winchester cases, Winchester large rifle primers, 22.3 grains of IMR-3031, a 245 grain cast lead bullet with no gas check made by Mid-Kansas (my appolagies to Beartooth) sized to 0.377 inches. The last three 5-shot groups at 50 yards from a bench rest and sand bags were a 1 inch group with 4 shots in a half inch, 1 3/8 inch with 4 shots in 5/8 inch, and 1 3/4 inch with 4 shots in 15/16 of an inch. Muzzle velocities were 1225 fps, 1224 fps, and 1211 fps prespectively (average of five shots per group). Overall cartridge length was 2.52 inches. This is a very pleasant load to shoot and it is very consistent. It has been my experience that if you try to push cast lead bullets without gas checks must faster than 1200 to 1300 fps, accuracy suffers.

I have had good results with the following cast lead, gas- checked load: Same cases and primers as above, 23.3 grains of RL-7, and a 265 grain SAECO #373, sized to 0.376 inches, OAL=2.43 inches. My best group with this load measured 1 3/8 inches (3 shots in 11/16 inch) at 50 yards. Muzzle velocity was 1540 fps. I have noticed that accuracy starts to decrease if velocities exceed 1600 fps with gas-check, cast lead bullets. Also, recoil becomes noticeable; especially with a rifle with a crescent steel butt plate.

I hope this is of use to you. Just remember that what works in my gun may or may not work in yours.

Happy Thanksgiving!
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2003, 11:07 PM
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Marlin 336CB 38-55 and .381."-.382" barrels

Ever since the recent introduction of the Marlin 336CB in 38-55 we have been hearing about bores that slug as high as .381" and even .382". Do these new Marlins actually have barrels that are as high as .381"-.382" or is it that the much older Marlins and Winchesters are the guilty ones.

Has any member of this forum slugged the barrel of their Cowboy at .381" or .382"? My Cowboy (with checkering) measures .379". I mean no disrespect to anyone and this is not meant as a challenge. I only seek enlightenment.
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2003, 05:11 AM
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To Carlino, Thanks For The Info, I Too Have Noticed That By Cutting Back On The Charge Or Velocity That Accruzacy Is Inproving. Thanks Colt45acp
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2003, 10:00 AM
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Cool

Quote:
....I have a 38-55 marlin CB, it digests 8gns of unique over a .379 plain base hard cast...with out leading up. Now I can take that same slug put 35gns of BLC#2 and...at this point I have a lead mine in my bore.
The likely cause of the difference in leading in the two loads is the powder choice. While the widely-believed urban legend is that high velocity and/or soft bullets cause leading, the reality ( as published in the Cast Bullet Assn newsletter and elsewhere ) is that the main cause is gas blow-by around the bullet. This melts lead from the bullet surface and as a mist it is deposited on the bore.

Many shooters who do not understand lead bullet technology will suggest going to a harder alloy to reduce leading, but this is exactly the opposite of what must be done to solve the problem. The only way to prevent the blow-by is to insure that the bullet fits the bore tightly, and this is best done by using a softer alloy and higher initial chamber pressure. Dave Scoville, editor of Handloader magazine, wrote extensively of this back in the early 1990s. The alloy hardness must be matched to the load's pressure to let the bullet "slug up" to fit the bore and grooves fully. Sizing diameter may not be enough since it does nothing to improve the bullet fit after engraving by the rifling.

The poster above used the same bullet with two powders, one leaded badly the other did not lead at all. Why? Not because of the bore or bullet diameter, but because the Unique load built pressure rapidly until the pressure overcame the lead's strength; the bullet reacted by shortening and expanding to fill the bore. Tight bullet fit - no leading. The BL-C2 load built pressure much more slowly, the bullet accelerated slowly and didn't slug up to fill the bore. Result - terrible leading. Velocity is not the chief cause of leading - I ( and many others ) have driven lead w/o gas checks to over 2200 fps without leading; accuracy was another story however.
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  #10  
Old 12-02-2003, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 321-Ignition
The likely cause of the difference in leading in the two loads is the powder choice. While the widely-believed urban legend is that high velocity and/or soft bullets cause leading, the reality ( as published in the Cast Bullet Assn newsletter and elsewhere ) is that the main cause is gas blow-by around the bullet. This melts lead from the bullet surface and as a mist it is deposited on the bore.

Many shooters who do not understand lead bullet technology will suggest going to a harder alloy to reduce leading, but this is exactly the opposite of what must be done to solve the problem. The only way to prevent the blow-by is to insure that the bullet fits the bore tightly, and this is best done by using a softer alloy and higher initial chamber pressure. Dave Scoville, editor of Handloader magazine, wrote extensively of this back in the early 1990s. The alloy hardness must be matched to the load's pressure to let the bullet "slug up" to fit the bore and grooves fully. Sizing diameter may not be enough since it does nothing to improve the bullet fit after engraving by the rifling.

The poster above used the same bullet with two powders, one leaded badly the other did not lead at all. Why? Not because of the bore or bullet diameter, but because the Unique load built pressure rapidly until the pressure overcame the lead's strength; the bullet reacted by shortening and expanding to fill the bore. Tight bullet fit - no leading. The BL-C2 load built pressure much more slowly, the bullet accelerated slowly and didn't slug up to fill the bore. Result - terrible leading. Velocity is not the chief cause of leading - I ( and many others ) have driven lead w/o gas checks to over 2200 fps without leading; accuracy was another story however.
Thanks for the enlightenment, I do try to learn something new each day, and it never ceases to amaze me, that reloaders and shooters are the most helpful people I've know. Again thank you, that has puzzled me.
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2003, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NITRO
Has any member of this forum slugged the barrel of their Cowboy at .381" or .382"? My Cowboy (with checkering) measures .379". I mean no disrespect to anyone and this is not meant as a challenge. I only seek enlightenment.
Nitro-

FYI - My new Marlin .38-55 barrel slugged .3809" in the grooves yet would not chamber a .379" bullet in new Winchester brass. It's back at the factory now to be corrected.

Best regards-

Sky C.
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2003, 12:38 PM
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New or old, expect the bore to be .378" or larger, with .379-380" being pretty common. Factory WW loads use a .377" bullet (at least the ones I've taken apart do).

If Marlin is going to fix your rifle, the only way to do it would be to ream the chamber's neck a bit larger or replace teh barrel.

My old '94 needs cases fire formed from 30-30's or turned/reamed to a thinner case neck. Expanding 30-30's leaves the neck thin enough to chamber with .380" bullets, so it's my prefered way of dealing with the small chamber/big bore problem.
-----
Actually, a friend gave me 150 once fired 32Specials and those are the ones I converted to 38-55's.
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2004, 09:28 AM
joe joe is offline
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My New Marlin is .380

Read on the internet where someone called marlin and they told him .377 ?..... They told me the new guns were .380 so after I read this on the internet I sluged the bore. No Question about mine now, it's .380
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  #14  
Old 01-04-2004, 01:56 PM
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Look at it this way...kind of nice to have the name "38" match the actual bore.
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  #15  
Old 01-29-2004, 06:10 AM
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How well do these .380" groove diameter bores shoot jacketed bullets? I'm most interested in the Barnes Originals as heavy hunting loads. (1700-1800fps w/ 3031 powder) I have a new Winchester carbine barrel that is .380"groove diameter I'm hesitant to install. Thinking it would be smarter to use a new blank or re-bore my .30 barrel so I have a .375" groove diameter.
Would prefer to be able to use over the counter bullets (like the Barnes) and not have to go to heroic lengths to get this gun to shoot as well as possible. The info I've seen so far indicates the smaller groove dia. barrels tend to shoot extremely well (like 2 1/2" or better @100)without much fuss.

Last edited by malamute; 01-29-2004 at 06:17 AM.
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  #16  
Old 01-29-2004, 07:41 AM
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Haven't used many jacketed bullets...and when I did, I "cheated" and just pulled the WW factory load and reloaded those bullets (.377") back into those cases with a differnet (1700fps) powder charge.

You are right, accuracy isn't as good as with full sized lead bullets...kind of hard to get a bullet that starts out .003" undersize to shoot all that well. Didn't work on it all that much, was accurate enough for the use at hand; am sure more load work would have improved things at least a bit. If you get pressure up to where the bullet will "bump up" there is no promise that it will do so uniformly (and with the 38/55, the pressure needed to slug up a jacketed bullet is pretty close to the "stupid" level).

If you want to shoot jacketed bullets, then you might want to go with the smaller bore size...or even to the .375w.
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  #17  
Old 01-29-2004, 06:53 PM
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I'm too old fashioned to go to a 375 Win. I feel the 38/55 can do about 90% or more of what the 375 can. Close enough. Besides, while I'm sitting up at 10,000 ft on top of the Beartooth Mts admiring my rifle, I like to feel it has some class and soul. The new stuff just doesn't inspire that kind of feeling.
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  #18  
Old 03-13-2004, 07:59 AM
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35-55 Winchester Ballard.....

I have a Marlin 336CB, and find it to be a very accurate rifle with cast bullets, I am casting the Lyman 264 gr. GC and sizing it to .378 with GC and I am using Lyman Moly Lub, and I am using just plain WW air cool, I am using Winchester 38-55 brass also I have made 38-55 brass from 30-30 brass but find then about -.100 short from the Winchester 38-55 Brass, I am using a WLR primer, I am using Reloader 7, I have use the following loads 31, 32, 33, and 34 gr. of Rx-7, I also use the Lee Factory crimp...I am getting the following at 25 yards I am putting the bullet thru the same hole, at 50 yards I am getting 1/2" groups, the only problem that I have found is on using 33 & 34 gr. of Rx-7 you will get a little pressure on the primer, but none of the shells have stuck or hard to get out of the chamber, I have also made Lee 38-55 250 gr. bullets and had very good rusults with them....Frank
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  #19  
Old 03-14-2004, 01:10 PM
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Smile 38-55

32gr imr4895 gives 1500fps in my original 1893, w/ barnes 255gr bullet, just shot a 100yd 2-7/8" group. it likes the .377" dia, because the bore sluggs at .380"~ so she IS a 38-55!
good deer round as they ever made!
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  #20  
Old 03-14-2004, 05:08 PM
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Colt 45acp,
Here is a copy of my 38-55 data, which I sent last July to a member of MarlinTalk. I still use the same loads as listed below. I did manage to kill a deer this last season using the Win factory load. One shot . . left front shoulder to right rear of rib cage, taking the top of the heart off and giving a very good 20 yard blood trail to the dead deer. Excellent performance.

"I've been developing loads for my 38-55 Cowboy since last winter and have finally succeeded with two. One is a light load, which I suppose Cowboy Action shooters may like and the other is a heavier load for silhouette shooting.
Before you get into load development you should slug your bore to determine bore diameter. From what I've read, most of these Marlins slug .379 or .380. Mine is a .379 so that's the diameter I size my bullets to, since .380 dia. makes for a really snug fit in the tight Marlin chamber. “Mid-Kansas Cast Bullets” furnishes a really informative sheet dealing with the 38-55 cartridge and gives some reloading tips for it.
My two best loads to date are:
• 7 gr. 700X and either a Lee 250 gr or a 245 Mid-Kansas bullet, sized .279, giving 1077 fps
• 32 gr. IMR 3031 and a 260 gr. Gas Check bullet from Rapine Moulds. This will be my silhouette load and clocks 1695 fps.
I got both these loads from loading manuals, but with access to so many, I can't remember which ones. Remember to start low & work up all loads. Also watch for multiple charges with the 700X loads, since it barely fills the bottom of the case and could mistakenly lead to being double charged.
I use RCBS Cowboy Dies and their .379 expander, barely neck-sizing the brass before expanding to accept the cast bullet.
You may have seen my name listed as the leader in the cast bullet division of Ranch Dog's Postal Match, but if you look closer, you'll see that I was the only cast bullet entry at that particular time! These loads however, do work for me.
Good luck with your 38-55."

Next deer season, I may try my Rapine bullet, cast of pure lead. It probably won't lead too badly for a few shots, since it is a gas check design.
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