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Old 01-04-2004, 03:05 PM   #1
 
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Default 38/55 caliber?

Hey I was looking for a rifle chambered in a not so usual caliber and was looking through my marlin catalog and seen the 38/55 and couldnt rember if i ever heard of it before or not so i asked my father and he said it was a bear gun his grandfather had many years ago. I went looking around for ammo for it and have not found any, can anyone tell me if there is still factory ammo made enough to be somewhat easy to find and what could i expect out of it for preformance and accuracy?
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Old 01-04-2004, 03:15 PM   #2
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

Heres some info on the 38-55 winchester

http://www.chuckhawks.com/38-55win.htm
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Old 01-04-2004, 05:03 PM   #3
 
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

I have two of them and am trying to master reloading for the critter. It entered the gun scene about 1884 as a black powder cartridge and shortly made the transition to smokeless. A number of firearms makers such as Winchester, Marlin, Remington Lee, Colt, Savage and Stevens chambered assorted lever, bolt and single shot actions for that caliber. Its ballitstics in smokeless powder outdo the 30-30 by quite a margin with bullet weights from 180 gr up to 250 Gr. Its a pleasant caliber to shoot. If you are a tradionalist, you'll fall in love with the straight case. I've always wanted one in Brownings '85 but never quite got my act and the cash together.
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Old 01-04-2004, 05:11 PM   #4
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

.38 caliber bullet...55gr powder. I'd compare it to the 35 rem...On steroids.

Not a long range caliber by any means, but adequate for most whitetail hunting.
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Old 01-05-2004, 06:09 AM   #5
 
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

Quote:
ORIGINAL: Pro-Line

.38 caliber bullet...55gr powder. I'd compare it to the 35 rem...On steroids.

Not a long range caliber by any means, but adequate for most whitetail hunting.

Oh sorry, the 38-55 uses a .375 cal. bullet. you can find ammo for these as it is a good round for the cowboy action shooters. I have never shot any factory ammo as brass is readily available and the cartridge is easy to handload. I have been shooting this caliber in a 14" Contender bbl for several years and it is a hoot to shoot. Probably one of my most favorite calibers, the 38-55 was the 30-30s grandpa. But the 375 Win. pretty much put it to rest until cowboy action shooting became popular.
Thru the 14" tube it is an accurate round out to 100 yds and recoil is acceptable in the contender handgun with moderate loads. It is just a great old cartridge, if you like great old cartridges, and I love to hear the thwack of that big ol bullet hitting the target.
Ah, now I want to go to the range!
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Old 01-05-2004, 10:16 AM   #6
 
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

It's becoming pretty popular again as cowboy action shooting is reviving it...as it has several other older cartridges. The .38-55 is a GREAT deer rifle, debatably over powered for typical whitetails, but there's no such thing as too dead...it makes a great elk/moose rifle, and a pretty sweet bear rifle as well, the only problem with it is that it's not chambered in many guns, to my knowledge Marlin (owner of H&R and NEF) is the only firm that chambers ANYTHING for it, one a lever gun based on the 336 (336cowboy) and one a single shot (H&R target rifle)...If I didn't have the .45-70 counterparts to each of these (H&R buffalo classic and Marlin 1895cowboy), I'd buy one or the other, probably the Marlin 336Cowboy, put a glass on it and it'd make as good a hunting rifle as most bolt guns ever thought about being, let alone the value of being one of a kind!
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:12 PM   #7
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

ktscontender we have a 38-55 in a NEF rifle and they are all bored at .375 and NEF recommends you use a .381 bullet . The only 38-55 ammo on the market is loaded with a .375 bullet , shootable but not exactly anything great for accuracy . I don't know what your contender is bored at but I am very sure what NEF and Marlin bores at
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:32 PM   #8
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

ktscontender...any older caliber named like the 38-55 started out as the first number being the caliber and the second being the reccommended grains of powder. There was a slight tolerance involved.

I've always seen the 38-55 as using a 38 caliber bullet, or as Halcon said a .381. Different custom guns may be bored slightly differently.
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Old 01-05-2004, 09:11 PM   #9
 
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

I may get some of my facts a bit twisted but one thing I discovered quickly. Factory ammo shot so much better than my handloads. Factory ammo was miked at .381 while most dies for cast bullets sized at .379. The difference of 3 thousands was enough to destroy accuracy in the older and much used Winchesters of the time. However, the one box of factory ammo that I had was a real paper puncher and my subsequent smaller diameter cast bullets in handloads gave a dismal performance. Also, the 55 represented grains of black powder, not smokeless.
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Old 01-06-2004, 06:42 AM   #10
 
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Default RE: 38/55 caliber?

Yep, I never slugged this bbl, I use a 230gr bullet from LeadHeads, it mics right around .380 and is vey accurate. I have some others that mic around .377 and there accurate enough but not as accurate as the slightly larger Leadheads.
I'm familiar with the nomenclature of cartridges and when I saw 38 cal and referance to the 35 Rem I thought 38 cal=.357/.358 dia. which is not correct reguarding the 38-55. The 35 rem is actually .358 but alot of people I've talked with swear by the old Rem. 180gr .357 bullet in thier .35 rem. I want to get a 38/40 bbl for my contender, 6-7" I think this will be a nice addition to my old cartridge collection of bbls. Now you want confusing, the 38/40 uses a .40 cal bullet. HAHA gotta love it.
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