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Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

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Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

Old 04-21-2008, 08:00 PM
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Default Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

I am in the process of casting bullets for my Grandpa's 1894 /38-55.I have a Lee .379-250gr-RF mold with no provision for gas check.I was wondering about leading with this bullet as I should be able to drive it at 1600-1800fps as I have the long barrel version with nickle steel .Was thinking around 30gr/IMR 3031 for starters.I have several cast books.I would like to find a 375296 Lyman mold 280gr but this is the best I can do for now.I have a 375248 but it is .375 bore perhaps too small? Anyone load this cartridge with cast bullets?Thanx Harold
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:56 PM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

First of all you should be ashamed of yourself for not posting a picture of such a fine firearm.

If you cast from straght WW you should be able to push the bullet at 1600 and up to 1800 fps without any leading problem. Try Carnuba Red lube. I can get 1800 fps with mine without any leading issues. You might need the harder lube with the longer barrel, and it should help with leading. Try it first before you worry about GC's. Just make sure you have the barrel good and clean before you fire the first shot.

The 38-55 is a fantastic round. I have fooled around with one of the H&R Buffalo Hunter's, and it is a great shooter.

Do you have the short brass or the long brass?? Tom.
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Old 04-22-2008, 08:03 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

I was under the impression you had to mix 9lbs of WW's to 1lb af 50/50 solder to get #2 alloy? Didn't know you can use straight WW's?Was not aware there was two different brass lengths? I have 100 Win new and about 150rds of factory Win with a box or two of the old CIL/Dominion[Canada] Anything that gets shot with this round is sick and leaking under 150 yards or so.Seen deer taken at 200 though.As for the H+R SS's they shoot great as I have a 30-30 that cloverleafs 170gr handloads with boring regularity when I do my part.Used as a trainer for my 3 boys to drive home the importance of making the first shot count! Many deer and a moose later...................any suggestions for a bore cleaner to remove copper/and other foulings?Was going to check my bear baits this weekend but we got 2ft of snow and it dropped to -20C after it was +20 only a week ago.If you don't like the weather in Alberta just wait 5min it will change!Thanx Harold
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Old 04-23-2008, 12:30 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

There are several schools of though on alloy. Lyman #2 is a fine alloy. I have just never found the need to spend the extra money. I have always gotten good performance, and good fill out with straight WW. I just make sure I flux it very well.

You need to check your brass. This cartridge does have some different length brass. Do a search on the 38-55. I am sure there are other people who can explain it better than I can. I just know that the different length brass exists, and must be accounted for.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:40 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

If you really want to experience the ultimate in fun try black powder loads. I started out shooting my 1871 H&R with smokeless and it was okay. I then switched over to the holy black and am having the fun of my life. With BP,the right bullet and lube, I have experienced no leading. As far as bullets, I am using ones that I buy from a friend. I will be looking for a mold here in the near future to do my own. I am loading265 gr bullets and am not sure what mold he is using right now.



Sorry, I forgot to mention that with the BP loads you don't need a gas check!!!
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:32 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

Probably a Lyman 375296.I have my .54 Renegade for BP as I'd rather spend more time shooting than washing brass and cleaning the barrel.It's all fun...................................Harold
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:54 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

ORIGINAL: Pioneer2

I am in the process of casting bullets for my Grandpa's 1894 /38-55.I have a Lee .379-250gr-RF mold with no provision for gas check.I was wondering about leading with this bullet as I should be able to drive it at 1600-1800fps as I have the long barrel version with nickle steel .Was thinking around 30gr/IMR 3031 for starters.I have several cast books.I would like to find a 375296 Lyman mold 280gr but this is the best I can do for now.I have a 375248 but it is .375 bore perhaps too small? Anyone load this cartridge with cast bullets?Thanx Harold
Well, I'll tell you what I do with the plain-base cast bullets in .45/70's and other straight-taper rifle cartridge cases. I just put an INVERTED gascheck on top of the powder charge. IF there's a lot of airspace due to a reduced powder charge, I put one or more lubricated muzzleloader-type Wonderwads on top of the gaschech, under the bullet to hold everything in place. I believe you could do the same in the .38/55, and use a .36 cal. revolver Wonderwad in between, if yourpowder charge isn't big enough that there's no space between the gascheck and the bullet base...... (I shoot a pure lead Lyman 457122HP plain-base bullet this way from my Ruger No. 1 .45/70 with 65 grains of Swiss FFG or 42 grains of IMR 4064. MV of these two loads is 1350 FPS, and the Wonder Wads totally prevent leading, even with PURE lead bullets!

I use the Lyman 375449GC bullet in my 375 H&H and also load it for a friend's .38/55. I have to leave it unsized for the .38/55, because his has a .379" groove. But since it is a gascheck bullet, I don't have to go thru a drill to shoot it. I have found that with LBT Blue lube, I can shoot plain-base wheelweigh bullets up to 1500 FPS with no leading, using a SLOW powder (IMR 3031 OR SLOWER) that accelerates the bullet more gradually than the fast-burning stuff LYman often recommends for cast bullet shooting. IMO, Lyman uses powders that are too fast. Thesenot only accelerate the bullet too harshly, they also occupy alot less space in the case, making shot-to-shot ignition too random. These two effects adversely influence accuracy. I don't like to have to point my muzzle skyward just before each shot to get the powder back against the flash-hole!
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:10 PM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

ELD, you and I normally agree on most things. I normally read your posts with interest, and I have picked up a few good tips from you. But to recommend an "INVERTED" metal GC over the powder(obviously inside the case)charge is going a bit too far. Especially without posting a stearn warning about what you are doing. And exactly how to do it. There are a lot of beginner reloader's here who read your posts, and probably do a lot of what you say. A reloader could get in a lot of trouble by doing this. Especially when there should be no leading problem with a properly sized bullet at 1350 fps??

I am not trying to flame your post, and I apologize if it seems that way. I just think that you are suggesting an awfully advanced idea, to what could be real beginner's?? I must admit that I have never even heard of putting a GC in the case. And I definitely do not think I would ever try it.

IMO the easiest way to correct case(powder) positioning problems is to use a powder that closely fills the case. Spend the little extra money for the extra powder, and quite trying to save a couple of bucks by using the faster powders. Tom.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:44 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

I guess I should have said that I always try to use large charges of slow burning powders with cast bullet loads, and that when such a load does not completely fill the case, I put a Wonder Wad over the inverted gascheck to prevent having any airspace between the gascheck and the bullet base. Although I am not convinced that it is really necessary to eliminate all the airspace in cartridges using smokeless powder, I like to do so. (Note that I did not exactly RECOMMEND that anyone do this-just that "this is what I do"!)

I would like to know what you consider to be so radical about the idea of using an inverted gascheck? What sort of dire results do you expect from the use of an inverted gascheck?? (I am not saying you are wrong-perhaps there's something I have not properly considered here?? I am always open to new ideas!!)

I agree that upon firing, the flange of such a gascheck probablyexpands outward against the cartridge wall, then the barrel wall, upon entering the bore, But, IMO, all this does is seal the gases behind the bullet, helping prevent gas cutting of the bullet basefrom gas blow-by. As a matter of fact, the reason I invert them is to achieve this sealing effect. I'm sure that you know that the Lyman-type, non-crimped-on gaschecks often fall off the bullet after it clears the muzzle?? As a matter of fact, when using a Lyman-type gascheck on a gascheck bullet, it quite often happens that the gascheck will come off of the bullet base inside the case, evenbefore firing. Only if you use the Hornady crimp-on design can you really count on the gascheck staying on the bulletbefore you fire!

I am not aware of any incidents when such a loose gascheck inside the case has caused any problems. However, IMO, it is better to have something between the bullet base and the inverted gascheck. The Wonder Wad works well for such an application, as it fills the space with something relatively solid, yet light enough in weight that pressures are not significantly increased. I have been loading cast bullets in straight-sided rifle cartridges with both black and smokeless powders this way for about thirty years now, with no illeffects on any guns they have been shot in.

Especially when there should be no leading problem with a properly sized bullet at 1350 fps??
1350 FPS is pretty fast for a PURE LEAD bullet-they run around 5 on the Brinell scale. And I am using them NAKED-the ONLY lubrication in my .45/70 loads is provided by the Wonder Wad!

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Old 04-27-2008, 09:10 AM
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Default RE: Cast 38-55 gas -checks?

I've used TWO gas checks over and below a charge of shot to create a shotshell load in pistol. There really isn't anything special about what Eld suggests. I think he's got a good idea and for dang sure the gas check WILL come out the barrel with everything else when the fires starts. It couldincrease pressure a tiny amount but such a combination wouldn't be used in anything like a maximum charge to begin with...so this is really a non-issue.

I'd like to add that the HARDNESS of a cast bullet is not a guarantee of it's "leading properties." I've seen rather soft bullets driven like a bat out of hell and cause zero leading and conversely some really hard cast bullets that just paint the inside of a barrel with lead from the same or even milder loads.

If I remember correctly TIN melts at a lower temp than even lead. What bullet leads and what won't is, I'm convinced, about half witchcraft.
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