Cast bullet load problems with 38-55

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Cast bullet load problems with 38-55

Postby oneokie » Sun Jul 08, 2007 4:41 pm

New here, not sure this is the right discussion board.

Have an original 1894 Win. in 38-55. It will shoot jacketed bullet loads with decent accuracy. Grove dia. is .3795", bore is .373" and not in good condition.

The largest cast bullet that will chamber is .379". Am not really wanting to open up the chamber to where a larger dia. bullet will chamber.

At this time, I am trying different smokeless powders in search of a decent accuracy load. The cast bullets that I am using are of 16 BNH, and are bevel base.
Do not have a chronograph, so have no idea of what velocity I am pushing the bullets.

Would a softer bullet be a better choice? Would lower velocities help?
I have lowered the charge wt. some and it seems to be closing up the group size.
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Postby Boz330 » Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:09 pm

Try a 20-1 alloy with BP. That should slug up to the bore better. If the lighter charge of smokeless is helping keep going that way if you don't want to use BP.

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Re: Cast bullet load problems with 38-55

Postby Dphariss » Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:49 pm

[quote="oneokie"]New here, not sure this is the right discussion board.

Have an original 1894 Win. in 38-55. It will shoot jacketed bullet loads with decent accuracy. Grove dia. is .3795", bore is .373" and not in good condition.

The largest cast bullet that will chamber is .379". Am not really wanting to open up the chamber to where a larger dia. bullet will chamber.

At this time, I am trying different smokeless powders in search of a decent accuracy load. The cast bullets that I am using are of 16 BNH, and are bevel base.
Do not have a chronograph, so have no idea of what velocity I am pushing the bullets.

Would a softer bullet be a better choice? Would lower velocities help?
I have lowered the charge wt. some and it seems to be closing up the group size.[/quote]

Forget the bevel base bullets. They are not likely to produce good accuracy. Find some flat base or GC design.
.379s should shoot. If its .3795 in the groove engraving the lands will expand the bullet that much unless really hard. Bullets around 1:16 are needed to keep their shape through the magazine.
You should try for 1400/1500 fps with cast. Faster *rifle* powders if you want to shoot grey powder. Fast powders like unique can be poison. Be careful, loads of smokeless that are too light can be more dangerous than those a little too heavy at cast bullet pressures.
One of the cast bullet forums on the WWW would be the place for question if you are shooting smokeless.
Neck reaming the cases might help. Shooting black in a tight chamber will not necessarily make the bullet fit unless breech seated. The chamber will limit the bullets upset and once in motion further upset is unlikely. Upset as obtained with BP, is essentially impossible with smokeless.
Also note that all modern factory 38-55 cases I have seen are too short for good cast bullet accuracy. They are actually the length of 375 Win Big Bore cartridge.

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Postby oneokie » Wed Aug 08, 2007 6:52 pm

dpharis wrote: bullets around 1:16 are needed [quote/]

Is this 1 part tin and 16 parts lead?

dpharis wrote: Fast powders like 'Unique' can be poison


Is this an excellent powder or something to stay away from?

Any suggestions on a web site where information on the breech seating process can be found? Have the book "The Breech Loading Single Shot Rifle" by Ned Roberts and Ken Waters, but it does not give a lot of detail on case prepration for breech loading the bullet.
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Postby Cimarron Red » Thu Aug 09, 2007 11:37 am

I like 4227 powder in the .38-55 (Hodgdon or IMR.) Also, Starline now has original length brass. I just bought some about a month ago.
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Postby Digital Dan » Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:48 am

DPharris...

Upset as obtained with BP, is essentially impossible with smokeless.


I'm laboring under a distinctly different impression on that. Is not obturation a function of hardness versus pressure?[/b]
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Postby Ray Newman » Sat Sep 01, 2007 3:08 pm

What brass are you using?

Some of the modern .38-55 WCF stamped brass is made from the same brass as the shorter .375 Winchester.

Speaking from experience, brass that is too short will cause problems & esp. w/ lead bullets.

Buffalo Arms sells brass to fit the orginal .38-55 WCF chamber.
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Postby oneokie » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:06 pm

Ray,
I have 3 different lengths of brass. Some old 2.129", some new 2.080" and some 2.020" 375 Win..
Checked my notes and the length of brass did not seem to make much difference. Powder and primer selection did have a noticeable influence on group size.
After doing much reading, seems like the next thing to try is seating the bullet to where it engages the rifling.
Another thing that I have wondered about, does the granulation size of BP have a significant impact on pressure? I have quite a stash of FFFg, and would like to use it, if at all possible.
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Postby Ray Newman » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:54 pm

Well if it ain't the brass, it could very well be the rifle. You said the bore is "not in good condition".

That could be the cause of the problems w/ lead bullets. Less than perfect bores often times have difficulties w/ rough, pitted, etc., bores.

Some Shooters claim that after lapping a rough bore, it shot better & cleaned easier.

What is the condition of the crown? Often times the crowns on lever guns are worn from mismanagement of the cleaning rod. If the crown is damaged, a good gunsmith can re-cut the crown.

You could try seating the bullet out to engage the rifling, but too long an overall length will not cycle through the action & you'll wind up w/ a single loader.

FFFg might work, but too much velocity can cause leading --trail & error to find what works.

Myself, I would spend some time scrupulously cleaning the bore. Maybe even use some JB Bore Paste to help smooth out any rough the spots??

If any case, it is advisable to throughly clean the bore when switching between cast & jacketed bullets.

I would also stay away from the shorter brass. Short brass causes the bullet to upset to fit the chamber, then it is swaged down as it enters the lead/bore & all of the lead has to go some place. Beside a pitted, rough bore, it also could be leaded up.
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Postby Dphariss » Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:03 pm

[quote="Digital Dan"]DPharris...

[quote]Upset as obtained with BP, is essentially impossible with smokeless. [/quote]

I'm laboring under a distinctly different impression on that. Is not obturation a function of hardness versus pressure?[/b][/quote]


Yes, you must have pressure to make a bullet upset, HOWEVER, it is related to acceleration as well. Shooting undersized bullets with smokeless almost invariably results in gas cutting (bullet and perhaps even the barrel) and leading.
Mann found that the 30-40 would upset bullets and that bore sized bullets shot as well or better. But I think you will find his experiments hard to reproduce with modern rifle powders, I believe modern powders are more progressive than the early powders.
It is possible that powders like Unique might produce some upset in cartridges like the 45-70. But Unique also rings chambers in 45-70s.
In fact many fast powders ring chambers including 5744. So trying to upset bullets with fast smokeless is problematical.

I have upset bullets with smokeless powder but NOT as BP does it.
The easiest test would be to shoot some bore sized PP bullets with various smokeless powders and see what the results are compared to BP. If some powder like 4227, 4198 or 3031 will shoot well loaded in this manner I would be surprised.
BP will work though bore sized bullets do pose their own challenges.
But I recommend you not use Unique or similar in rifle cartridges.


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Postby oneokie » Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:21 am

dpharris wrote:

But Unique also rings chambers in 45-70s.
In fact many fast powders ring chambers including 5744.


Where can one find more information on this? Only references to the ringing of chambers that I have seen was in relation to the use of fillers, Kapok particularly.
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Postby Bear Claw » Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:13 am

Hello

I am not trying to start a pi$$in match or anything but I have been following this post because I am building a 38-55 on an m94 win.

dpharris wrote: " I recommend you not use Unique or similar in rifle cartridges."

So I am wondering do you advise that in this instance only or is that a general opinion/observation?
I have used 2400 powder for years in 30-06, 8mm,7.5x55,7.62x54 under cast boolits as well as unique & red dot w/o any problems.
Now in my 45-70 I use BP only & it will be the same for the 38-55.

On the whole I agree with your post ( I know, so what ) and any use of fillers should be done with caution & you should always watch for signs of pressure on your brass when using the likes of 2400, unique etc.

Again I am not trying to offend anyone, and if I miss understood your post.... sorry my bad............
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Postby oneokie » Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:56 am

Follow-up to my post @11-09-07 @ 11:21pm.

Did a search on "chamber ringing", found 3 articles, 2 of which are by the same author, none of which is very informative.
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