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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Is there any reason .375 Win cartridges cannot be used in strong modern 38-55 rifles? Particularly the H&R taget rifle, but also Winchester and Marlins of modern production? You may wonder why not just load the 38-55 hotter, but the 375 brass is a lot stronger, I am told.
While I am on the H&R kick, can a handi-rifle in 44 mag be rechambered to 444? (I realise the recoil may be a little heavy)
thanks
Andy
 

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There is only one area where you might get into serious trouble: the case neck (OK..it's a straight case and doesn't really have a "neck", but we'll call the area where the bullet seats the neck). That 375 brass is thicker at the neck area and the bullets usually used in the 38/55 are a bit larger in diameter than the bullets used in the .375, so there may not be enough room for a clean release in that thick brass. I mesured some 38/55's just over the seated bullet, and came up with .394"(there is a .379" bullet seated in these rounds)...on some .375's, I came up with .400"(these have a .375" bullet seated in them). Seating .359" bullets in the .375cases would bring the outside diameter to .404".

Even modern made .38/55's seem to be using the .378-.379" bore diameters of the old guns (although some old ones will run as big as .381"). Jacketed bullets may work when .003" too small, but lead kind of resents it.

IN short...you could probably do it, but you'll have to measure a bit to find out. If there is enough room for the bullet to be released with that thick brass, it would be safe enough. The combination of a tight chember and a fat case may allow it to chamber, but have no room for the case to expand a bit and let the bullet release.

Have read about converting H&R toppers to .444 (and to 30-40 when starting with a 30-30 barrel). Pressure is about the same as top 44mag. loads (but the peak of pressure lasts a bit longer and falls off slower), case head is a little larger so the thrust back to the action a little greater. The old topper's are not abundantly strong...believe the conversion could be done, but would be cautious in doing it...just a quick sketch of the numbers looks like a 10-12% increase in thrust to the action.

In case you wonder, I've seen a couple of crack-barrel shot guns that have let go (the owner's fault). What seems to happen is that (1) the action cracks at the angle formed at the side of the flate breech/reviever (2) the locking lug pin shears (hard to tell...not all parts get found) (3) the gun unlocks violently...this may be a good thing, the debris gets sent out at an upward angle and missed one guy's face...did pepper his forehead).
 

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Andy,

I've both seen several of the newer .44 Mag H&R Handi Rifles converted to .444 Marlin and done a couple myself. Have had no problems with them at all and they make absolutely delightful walk-around-the-woods hunting rifles with LOTS of snort. Cut them down to about 18" barrels and recrown for an addicting little gun to carry around all day.

I wouldn't however convert any of the older H&R Toppers, as they basically used the shotgun frame, and weren't heat treated the way today's new Handi-Rifles are.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ribbonstone, you have exposed my ignorance on the 38-55s, I had just assumed (I know, I know) that they were just misnamed like all the other 38s of the period. The Handi rifles are made in 450 Marlin, so should be strong enough for the 444, as Mr Stanton has pointed out. Thank you both for your comments.
Andy
 

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OH...the new ones...was thinking about the old "toppers". With the heat treated reciever, is a "go" to .444. Are pretty much the same design as the old "toppers' but with better materials (and a bit tighter fitting).

With any 38/55 would slug the barrel (and probably slug it twice...once at the muzzle and once at the breech). If they used tradtional 38/55 specs, will find the bore .377-.379". The .375's bores are pretty standard at .375-.376". That's not a lot, but is enough to give fits when loading lead.

I THINK you could use the .375cases in a 38-55...but for sure you'd better do a bit of measuring. Have an old 38-55 '94 that would accept the brass as it's chamber is pretty loose...have a modern made '94 that won't allow that substition. Same BORE diameters (.379") but the modern made one has the unfortunate combination of a large bore and a tight chember. To get the modern rifle to shoot right, ihave to blow out 30-30 cases to get a thin enough neck to accept .380" cast bullets.
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Not really miss-named in the 38-55's case...usually closer to .380" than .375".
 

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you can use 375 win cases, but they MUST be resized. In my Marlin, the 38-55 projectiles I fire are at .379
 
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