38-55

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mtngun
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38-55

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:26 pm

The SAAMI dimensions for this cartridge are dysfunctional.

Posted on another forum:
Yesterday I bought a .38-55 H&R "target" rifle. They have changed the primitive weapons rules here in Mississippi. Now you don't need a muzzle loader anymore, you can use a metallic cartridge rifle as long as it is breech loaded, has an exposed hammer, is .38 caliber or over and is an original or reproduction of a pre-1900's firearm. The H&R fit all the above criteria and was least expensive option out there.

Need a little help picking a bullet for my new .38-55 . I bought a box of Winchester .38-55's with the rifle and stuck one of the bullets in at the muzzle and there was so much space it rattled. Next I got out a box of .375 bullets I use to reload for my .375 H&H and dropped one down the barrel, it slid out the other end without any resistance!

I slugged the barrel this morning (just the muzzle end) and it mics out at .380 Given that, what bullet would you choose?

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Gotta love those 38-55 dimensions.

His problem is common. Most of the old black powder cartridges were originally loaded with soft, undersize bullets. The undersized bullets chambered reliably in a fouled barrel, and black powder obturated the soft bullet to fit the barrel.

You would think that manufacturers would revise the outdated dimensions to be compatible with modern 375 bullets and smokeless powder, but no, that would be way too logical.

Here's the rub -- the chamber dimensions were also designed for undersize bullets. If you try loading a 0.381" bullet, you may find that the diameter of the cartridge neck is too big to fit in the chamber. Maybe, maybe not, it varies from rifle to rifle.

To answer you question, shoot 0.381" if they will chamber. Otherwise, do like grandpa did and shoot pure lead or 30:1 alloy and hope it will obturate.

I would not buy a 38-55 for that reason. Nothing inherently wrong with the cartridge, but why fight the goofy dimensional problems?

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Re: 38-55

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:30 pm

How true Dan....I bought a new MarlinCB in 38-55 spring before last and its groove dia. is just slightly over .381...it will only chamber a .379 sized bullet.. :evil: I would dearly love to shove this rifle up Marlins fart hole as in all honesty I can't sell the rifle to some unsuspecting soul and living here in canada can't ship it back to Marlin.....I have neck turned some cases and can now chamber .381 bullets (largest mold I have) but haven't had a chance to shoot them yet and won't have time till next spring....There are MarlinCB's out there with tighter bores and starbow and others have been getting 2000fps with 250-280gr. castbullets AT 30-30 PRESSURES.........now that is one awesome meat getting round IF you can chamber a proper sized bullet for it.....I may have a smith order a reamer to open up the case mouth area only as I only have to neck turn about .230 down from the case mouth......Just got a a Uberti Low Wall same deal but it's groove is .380 so it may have better chance to shoot....have plenty to keep me busy next break-up.... :) ...cheers mic
....................................................................
I wonder if 100 years from now our great grandchildren will still be buying 38-55's with dysfuntional dimensions? Lordy, what does it take to get a SAAMI spec changed? -- mtngun

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Re: 38-55

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:33 pm

I have a Ruger #1 and fortunately the grove is .377 I size to .379 and have good results however if you wanted to shoot jacketed which I tried once you would have had better results with a 12ga. The major problem with this is not the barrel dim. but the quality of the Ruger barrels and the quirks associated with the Ruger design. I have cured this with a little silicone and a piece of a sabot wad (go figure) and it has worked well.
DP :D

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Re: 38-55

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:52 pm

Chamber impression sent in by Mr. Fudd. Mr. Fudd's rifle would chamber bullets no larger than 0.379".

Image

the arrow is suppose to be pointing at the begining of the throat for the throat starts out at .395... the fired case (unsized and filled with lead)mouth measurement is .3965 ....so since a case must contract to be with drawn from the chamber after firing I'm guessing the chamber mouth is slightly larger than .3965....the main reason I sent this photo was to show the huge throat dia. :shock: on these Marlins just like Dan discovered on his like 1894C in .357....I think this problem can be corrected somewhat with a wider than normal front / top driving band that will engage the rifling, which is what Dan did with his .357 mold design....It maybe that all Marlins have large throats require a wider front/top band....so if you are ordering a mold for one it might be wise to do a throat impression...I'm going to order up some cerrosafe and give it try as I have never used it before and it maybe easier to get a correct meas. with and tell me more about the chamber it's self......mic

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Re: 38-55

Postby mtngun » Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:52 pm

You could trim a piece of brass back 1/2" and do another chamber impression to find out what the chamber is back in the neck area.

Ian

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Re: 38-55

Postby Ray » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:15 am

All of this is interesting. I have a Marlin 38-55 CB as does a friend. My bore is .3773, but I haven't had a chance to check his rifle. I have used bullets from various sources with diameters ranging from .377 to .379 without a problem so long as I loaded them properly.

Both of these rifles however, appear to be "short throated," and will not chamber bullets that have a long front driving band (unless cases are trimmed back a bit). The mould I bought from mtgn casts a .358 bullet (and sizes perfetly) and will chamber in both rifles neatly so long as proper LOA is carefully observed. With this bullet, my rifle will shoot around 11/4 inches at 100 yards with several loads ranging in velocity from 1400 f/s to 2000 f/s. My friends rifle will shoot the same loads with close to the same results.

I have to think that if one works with these rifles to get the proper bullet fit and LOA, they will shoot very well. But having said that, its also true that I have not had a chance to examine other rifles to determine if they are similar to the two I have access too.

One thing is true: a 250 gr. cast FP at 2000 f/s is pretty heavy hitter, and should work quite nicely on everything up to elk out to 150 yards or so.


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