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Old 11-12-2010, 01:14 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 206
38-40...Effective Deer Round?

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I would like to know your opinion as to whether you believe
the 38-40 is an effective deer-sized game round. If so, what
is the effective range?

"If guns are responsible for crime, then matches are responsible for arson."
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:03 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Southeast Michigan
Posts: 605
Put the bullet in the right place and yessir, it'll take a deer. I started my hunting career with an old .38-40 and a '73 Winchester. OK, it's not an ideal deer round but a lot of deer have fallen to it. But you have to know the round's limitations. Fifty yards is about maximum for it. Back in the late '50's when I started hunting, the old guy I hunted with and studied under instilled upon me the necessity of getting close. If the deer was at 50 yards and there was any possibility of getting closer then the old man would insist I get that extra yard or two or five. He also taught me to track. With the .38-40 it was a virtual necessity.
"It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen". Oliver Wendell Holmes
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Old 11-13-2010, 02:01 AM
Davers's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Central Kentucky
Posts: 3,453
If you reload the old .38-40 WCF you can improve on factory ballistics. But make sure your rifle can handle the loads.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Jefferson Parish (via N.O.)
Posts: 9,035
A tale of times past.

Have been hutning with a buddy (now passed away) who would take out a Winchester 92 (rifle, not carbine) in 38-40 for deer hunting. I'd often carry a 4" S&W mod. 57 (.41mag) along with whatever deer rifle I was using.

BAsically, he was getting (checked on a chronograph) 1252fps/180gr.(a reload, easily safe for his rifle,using a cast lead bullet) and i was getting 1275fps/215gr.

Deer didn't seem to be able to tell the difference, and we couldn't tell the difference even when cleaning/butchering them. Basically a 4/10th inch hole through the deer. With his full length rifle, he certainly found it easier to hit them.

I'd not hesitate to use a 38-40 on one of the small Louisiana deer at close range (75yards or under...and 50yards would be better)
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:38 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Upstate,NY
Posts: 54
I have an old Marlin 1894 in 38-40.I wouldnt hesitate to use it on whitetail and would also adhere to a 50 yard max shot.Amazingly some people will say its too weak for deer,but say the 357 mag,44 spl or 45 acp is okay.
The most important thing of all is a correctly placed shot.
Jus Huntin with old guns.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:34 AM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: NorCal
Posts: 512
I killed a few CA blacktails with my old 1873 .38WCF carbine back in the '60s. Both factory Winchester ammo and my 8 grains Unique reloads did the job as long as the range stayed within 100 yds.
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