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Are there any good 38-40 deer rounds?

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Are there any good 38-40 deer rounds?

Old 09-25-2011, 03:07 PM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Are there any good 38-40 deer rounds?

My father left me an old octagon barrel 38-40 that I would love to take a whitetail with. Are there any good rounds out there that would do the job at close range?

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Old 09-25-2011, 05:20 PM
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Having used a '73 in 38-40 one year for whitetail I found it to be very underpowered. As you know, if you've shot this cartridge, at 50 yds, you can hear the bullet impact the target. I did shoot a doe with it but based on the results, I would never use it again. I would much prefer even a .357 lever gun.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:53 PM
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Most factory ammo for the .38-40 is loaded pretty mildly. I know winchester used to make a jacketed soft point for .38-40, not sure if it's current production, but Midway still lists it as of today. It should push around 1150fps (published), meaning on the order of 550ft.lbs., plenty to kill a deer.

Looking at the other loads available at midway (all low recoiling "cowboy loads"), the Winchester Super X looks to have the highest velocity/energy. The others are in the 800-900fps range with 180grn lead bullets, to the winchester's 180grn jacketed soft point at 1150.

Yes, a .357mag DOES have more power, but the .38-40 worked well for deer for a LONG time before the .357mag ever came around. You might consider contacting a local reloader to press you some custom ammo, or see if Hornady offers the .38-40 for custom loads. My Speer manual says it can get 1514fps from a 180grn lead FP from a 24" barrel. That'd push you up to the 900ft.lbs. range, and give you a lot more range with the historic old rifle.
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Old 09-28-2011, 03:35 PM
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thanks for the info
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:11 PM
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Will the Winchester Super-X ammo be ok in a Win '73?

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Old 08-05-2012, 06:55 AM
  #6  
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Knowing that there are old black powder rifles out there capable of shooting the round, you can bet that Winchester shells will work in Winchester rifles. If your rifle is the newer model '92, it's cabable of handling higher pressure loads than the '73 and you could look for someone to reload for you. That beng said, before deer got so tough to kill, and people didn't know any better, I'd say thousands of them were killed by black powder 38-40 rounds at reasonable ranges. My own grandfather had one.
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Old 12-17-2019, 02:00 PM
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I shot a doe sun at 75 yards with Winchester 1892 38-40 using Winchester jacketed soft tips and blew thru both lungs and exited. She ran 30-40 yards and left a 5in wide blood trail. I recommend those. Im not sure what your maximum range would be but I'd try to keep it under 100 yards
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Old 12-17-2019, 04:16 PM
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I don't see what make/ model the rifle is...?
Needless to say, it would be...vintage. Probably the first wise step would be to let a qualified gunsmith check it out. Keep in mind, those old blackpowder rounds will require as prompt thorough cleaning of the rifle as any black powder muzzleloader.
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