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I have a good shootable condition model 1892 38 WCF made in 1894. I have safely shot it with BP and BP-equivalent cowboy loads. Are such early year production rifles safe with hotter, “rifle only” loads?

I am sure this has been covered so I apologize in advance if this is repetitive
 

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I have a good shootable condition model 1892 38 WCF made in 1894. I have safely shot it with BP and BP-equivalent cowboy loads. Are such early year production rifles safe with hotter, “rifle only” loads?

I am sure this has been covered so I apologize in advance if this is repetitive
I would think that if you used Unique powder with cast bullets, you will be fine. I have a Rossi Puma a clone of Winchester's model 1892, in .44-40, and the cast bullets, along with Unique powder, work fine for Cowboy loads, and is a lot cleaner than using Black Powder.
 

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Welcome to Shooters Forum, eLK. :)

If I had a model 1892, manufactured in 1894, I would be very selective about not only the loads used in it, but how often I fired it; no matter the conditions, that is a highly collectible firearm and should be shot sparingly.

If you must shoot it, which I completely understand, then stick to the cowboy loads.

Do you handload?
 

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I must 🙂

Luckily it’s not that fine a specimen so I don’t mind putting a few rounds through it. I do have a press... not that I get around to loading much.

Why warmer loads? Deer hunting. My dad already took two bucks this year on the property we hunt, so no need for more antlers... Just a little more population control and some meat. I was hoping to stalk around the woods where it’s close range and 95 lb. does. I’d want a load just warm enough to feel responsible hunting. 38-40 cowboy loads in a rifle are seemingly lighter than 40 S&W: adequate to take a deer if you had to, but not as a choice, IMHO. Closer to 700 ft-lbs would be ideal. Winchester Super-X loads were 538 ft-lbs. I’d read the weakest loads were meant to be safe in old revolvers, and the rifles can manage more, but also that 1894 might be weaker, BP-era steel.
 

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I'm guessing this isn't the only woods rifle you have for hunting, although I do understand the interest in hunting with it.

My family inherited a Model '92 in 44-40 and we use stout loads to hunt deer with it. I'll likely have it out in the woods yet again this season. However, it was manufactured in the 60's and is made of steel I know I can trust.

Regardless of condition, you have a collectible rifle and I'd be cautious in hot-rodding it to hunt big game. It's not really well-suited to that purpose, anyway, since the 40-caliber bullets it shoots aren't meant for what you propose. Go bark a squirrel or put a rabbit in the pot, if you want to hunt with it?
 
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Welcome to the Forum

Glad to see you here and hope that you post often.


These folks have given good advice. When i shoot vintage rifles my preference is to stick to more moderate loads. All the best...
Gil
 

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I must 🙂

Luckily it’s not that fine a specimen so I don’t mind putting a few rounds through it. I do have a press... not that I get around to loading much.

Why warmer loads? Deer hunting. My dad already took two bucks this year on the property we hunt, so no need for more antlers... Just a little more population control and some meat. I was hoping to stalk around the woods where it’s close range and 95 lb. does. I’d want a load just warm enough to feel responsible hunting. 38-40 cowboy loads in a rifle are seemingly lighter than 40 S&W: adequate to take a deer if you had to, but not as a choice, IMHO. Closer to 700 ft-lbs would be ideal. Winchester Super-X loads were 538 ft-lbs. I’d read the weakest loads were meant to be safe in old revolvers, and the rifles can manage more, but also that 1894 might be weaker, BP-era steel.
If 'older' steel was as weak as some have posted, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building would have collapsed years ago.

How much velocity to you need to kill a deer ? Something to think about. :rolleyes:
 

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Poor analogy. Structural steel is mostly 1018 or the like; not something that you'd want to build a rifle receiver out of, at least not without substantial case-hardening.
 

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...

How much velocity to (sp) you need to kill a deer ? Something to think about. :rolleyes:
You don't need "velocity" to kill a deer; you need good shot placement and adequate bullet performance.

There are very few 40 caliber bullets intended for killing a big game animal. With loads safe in that rifle, you're basically deer hunting with a 10mm pistol cartridge. With a good hard-cast bullet, it could be done, especially if that was a newer rifle, with less suspect metallurgy, and could be pushed a bit harder.
 

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I have a good shootable condition model 1892 38 WCF made in 1894. I have safely shot it with BP and BP-equivalent cowboy loads. Are such early year production rifles safe with hotter, “rifle only” loads?

I am sure this has been covered so I apologize in advance if this is repetitive
Guns are made to shoot, so go ahead and have some fun with it.;)
 

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You don't need "velocity" to kill a deer; you need good shot placement and adequate bullet performance.

There are very few 40 caliber bullets intended for killing a big game animal. With loads safe in that rifle, you're basically deer hunting with a 10mm pistol cartridge. With a good hard-cast bullet, it could be done, especially if that was a newer rifle, with less suspect metallurgy, and could be pushed a bit harder.
Two out of three is not bad. A bullet with no velocity is still in the case.:confused:
 

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Sounds as if you guys are giving me permission to buy a new 1892 for hunting
 

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You'll find your answer in Broom-jm's signature line. It's always worked for me.
 

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Sounds as if you guys are giving me permission to buy a new 1892 for hunting
If you're looking for someone, anyone, to talk you out of buying a new rifle, you've definitely come to the wrong place! :)
 

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LOL

Have a good Thanksgiving. Maybe instead I’ll try to shoot a turkey with a mild 38/40
 

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It's not so much that they made "bad" steel in 1894, they just didn't know how to make the high tensile alloys we consider common. By 1894, they'd learned to make pretty good nickel steel alloy, but knew nothing about manganese steel or chromolly alloys and barely understood controlling the carbon content.

One of the things that killed the Titanic was that no one knew having a high sulphur content made the steel brittle at low temperatures. Some years ago a guy got a sample of the hull material from the Titanic. At room temperature, it it tested just fine. After cooling it to the freezing point of water, it shattered like glass.

When you're buying a repro, you're getting the appearance from 120 years ago, but you're also getting modern metallurgy.

The guns of the era were designed to work with the relatively low pressure loads of the day. Twelve years later, the 30-06 with peak pressures around 60,000psi was considered seriously exotic AND they ran into trouble with the heat treatment of the manganese steel receivers.

Take everyone's advice and keep your loads very moderate. You're not giving up that much, hunters with black powder cartridges harvested a lot of game.
 

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It's not so much that they made "bad" steel in 1894, they just didn't know how to make the high tensile alloys we consider common. By 1894, they'd learned to make pretty good nickel steel alloy, but knew nothing about manganese steel or chromolly alloys and barely understood controlling the carbon content.

One of the things that killed the Titanic was that no one knew having a high sulphur content made the steel brittle at low temperatures. Some years ago a guy got a sample of the hull material from the Titanic. At room temperature, it it tested just fine. After cooling it to the freezing point of water, it shattered like glass.

When you're buying a repro, you're getting the appearance from 120 years ago, but you're also getting modern metallurgy.


The guns of the era were designed to work with the relatively low pressure loads of the day. Twelve years later, the 30-06 with peak pressures around 60,000psi was considered seriously exotic AND they ran into trouble with the heat treatment of the manganese steel receivers.

Take everyone's advice and keep your loads very moderate. You're not giving up that much, hunters with black powder cartridges harvested a lot of game.
Something in the neighborhood of 4 - 5 million Buffalo.

Jim O
 

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I have a good shootable condition model 1892 38 WCF made in 1894. I have safely shot it with BP and BP-equivalent cowboy loads. Are such early year production rifles safe with hotter, “rifle only” loads?

I am sure this has been covered so I apologize in advance if this is repetitive
Do some research on the original black powder loads in that caliber. You should be OK duplicating those loads with black powder. What I would NOT DO is use smokeless powder equivalent loads, nor any of the so-called Express loads that appeared in the late 1890s. Smokeless has a completely different burn profile compared to black, and may be too much for the older steel in those rifles even if the end velocity is the same. Stick with black powder or one of the substitutes.

If the rifle was made in 1894, chances are it was not made using the stronger "smokeless" steel that was starting to be used as smokeless powder made inroads into the arms manufacturing business. In fact, many of the catalogues of the day specifically warn against using the Express versions in the less strong rifles made for black powder ammo.
 
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