38-50 vs. 38-56

Discussion of BPCR loading techniques, SAFETY, Case Cleaning and Prep, Indexing, BP Choice, Primers, Wads, Compression, Drop Tubes, Vibration, Load Testing, etc.
lkydvl
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38-50 vs. 38-56

Post by lkydvl » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:56 pm

Why is the 38-50 getting more press, recommendations than the 38-56?

77sharps
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Post by 77sharps » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:31 pm

38-56 is a bottle neck, 38-50 is a tapered cartridge. Have not loaded a bottle neck (yet) but understand they are very difficult to load.
cb
Hate the smell of that new smokeless powder.

martinibelgian
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Post by martinibelgian » Fri May 01, 2009 12:49 am

The above reply explains everything - there's a widely held belief that BN cartridges are hard to load, and not as accurate as straight or tapered ones, so most shooters stay away from them - even if they haven't tried it.
I load BN's - and most aren't hard to load and get to shoot - you just need to approach them in another way. I don't believe I'm giving up anything as to accuracy either. Then again, I also like being different....

Brent
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Post by Brent » Fri May 01, 2009 5:46 am

martinibelgian wroteCOLONThen again, I also like being different....
That's what I like that about you Gert!

Do you suppose how you might "approach them in another way"? I have wrestled with severe bottleneck cartridges (.577-450) w/o success - though that was probably due to improper bullets.

And also with very mild bottlenecks (.38-72 and .25-20 SS) and find they are not too bad to work with, though accuracy has never been stellar with either.

I think the .38-56 has a bit less capacity than the .38-50 though the numbers would suggest otherwise. Is that right?

.38-50 is moving up on my "rifles to be built next" list. I think it might be the perfect .38 - though I have never even seen one. :)

Brent

Kelley O. Roos
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Post by Kelley O. Roos » Fri May 01, 2009 8:12 am

So far martinibelgian get everything to shoot that I've read of his posting, what's his level of accuracy expectations :?: Maybe it's different then other guys :shock: who knows.

There have been several guys that have played with the 38-56 and can't get the level of accuracy that is needed to be competitive in Silhouette or ranges longer then 300 yards.

The 38-55 or 38-50 would be better choices an both have proven them selves to be accurate.

Kelley O.

martinibelgian
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Post by martinibelgian » Fri May 01, 2009 8:17 am

Brent,

One of the best ways to get a BN to shoot - and the mild BN's are easiest - is to :
1. Start out with a powder that is slow enough (I use Swiss 1 1/2Fg and Fg)
2. Avoid using lots of compression
3. Use bullets heavy enough (to keep pressures high)
4. Use a chambering reamer that has a correct chamber/throat configuraton (i.e. this usually requires you to order a custom one, made to your specs)

Also, standard for me are fireformed cases and seating the bullet into the rifling (I also do this with straight cases).

When looking at my #2 Musket (a BN based on a .500 case, necked down to .458), I got excellent results right from the start - even with my very 1st fireforming loads: dump in powder, seat card wad, bullet on top of wad, and shoot...
I am fully convinced that a round like this is competitive, and will yield stellar accuracy, at least as good as any other BP cartridge - and probably better than some.
I do have to say that my 1st try with the round was pretty unimpressive, but this was because of a wrong chamber configuration which pretty much made accurate shooting impossible, as I found out to my chagrin.
Getting a custom reamer that was correctly dimensioned changed all that dramatically. I wouldn't trust any 'standard' rental reamer, most do seem to have some problems.

Of course, it took me MUCH longer to get 577-450 to work reliably in original rifles, with the odd chamber configuration - but I also got there eventually. This one took lots of headscratching and thinking out of the box. But I finally got to the point that I was able to make it competitive for military BP rifle matches.
In the case of the vintage military 577-450 rifle, reloading techniques are needed that do run counter to commonly accepted knowledge, but if you're willing to spend the time and effort, the reward will be all the greater (I know I was pretty happy after about 2 years of experimenting...) :lol:

Kurt
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Post by Kurt » Fri May 01, 2009 9:45 am

I have had several Remington bottle neck cartridge rifles in .40 and 43-.44's and only had one that I had a problem with and that was a .40-70 Rem.
I'm shooting a .44-90BN Sharps now and it is a fine shooter, enough so that I'm building up one more in the same caliber with a original chamber design.
If the bottle neck case did not shoot I wouldn't mess with it.
True you don't load a BN case the same as a straight case and bullet design is a big factor with a BN case, so is the compression.
This BS I read that the BN case neck fouls out or heavy fouling is just that --BS.

Also I would not recommend a .44-90BN for every shooter that is not willing to do a lot of work with the brass to make this caliber work.


Kurt

martinibelgian
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Post by martinibelgian » Fri May 01, 2009 11:24 am

Kelley,

My accuracy expectations are that the rifle can do better than the nut behind - suffice to say that I do believe my #2 Musket match rifle is more accurate than my 45-70.

Of course, that's all relative, so I'll post a 100m target, shot unsupported with sling - not sure if it was 10 or 13 shots:
Image

However, I do have to admit to not having any experience with 38-56, so who knows?

But I also don't like those 'blanket-type' statements like "BN's won't shoot" - just an added incentive for me to try and prove otherwise. Besides, they look good too...
Image

Brent
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Post by Brent » Fri May 01, 2009 11:36 am

martinibelgian wroteCOLONBut I also don't like those 'blanket-type' statements like "BN's won't shoot" - just an added incentive for me to try and prove otherwise.
I can identify with that. :)


Besides, they look good too...
Image
Well, on that count, I ain't so sure. Sorta chubby in my estimation. :)

Brent

Kelley O. Roos
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Post by Kelley O. Roos » Fri May 01, 2009 7:42 pm

martinibelgian,

That's it, your accuaracy expectations are different, then say mine. I can shoot better then my rifle, so I am always exploring for that one hole group at the yardage I'm competing at. BPCR Silhouette, 2,3,385 & 500 meters, Mid-range, 2,3 & 600 yards. Creedmoor, 8,9 & 1000 yards an what ever Buffalo or gong match I can attend.

I see targets like yours posted for 100 yard or meters groups all the time, what you shot for the yardage shot is very good, it proves nothing in my opinion. It's those other yardages that prove accuracy. I can take any rifle from my safe an shoot a one hole group at 100 yards any time I take them out. 200 yards that's were accuracy gets interesting. Targets like yours an the internet boasting at what group sizes are being shot is why the,"Size matters" match at 200 is put on at Raton each year.

As far as Bottle necks not shooting, I don't know, I don't own one nor have I tried to develop a load for a B.N.. The ones I so know about haven't shoot well enough to compete with the straight walled cases that do win matches, that I know about anyway. Nor have I seen match results with a B.N. placing high. Now I'm not saying it can't be done, so don't get me wrong.

Kelley O.

martinibelgian
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Post by martinibelgian » Sat May 02, 2009 1:25 am

Wish I could shoot more and farther out, but opportunities to shoot even midrange are few and far in between. Most competitions in continental Europe are short-range (for lack of range space), I have to go to the UK for mid- and longrange shooting.
Also, I don't bench my rifles - most of our competitive shooting here is sling only, so that's the way I shoot - even when testing loads. I'll know when I made the mistake, and when it's the rifle/ammo combo.
Bottom line is - you make do with whatever you have available - and some have more than others.
Competition shooting, I've placed well in some, not so good in others. 300 and 500yds in Bisley, if I'm doing well, I'll be holding about 3 MOA in competition, judging from my score sheets. That's with wrist rest, though. I'm sure the rifle will do better, but...
Still, you should be able to see for yourself at the WLRHSA match next year - if everything goes as planned, I'll be there with a Martini chambered for #2 Musket. What will you be bringing?

Kelley O. Roos
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Post by Kelley O. Roos » Sat May 02, 2009 7:27 am

martinibelgian,

What will I bring to the WLRHSA :?: Hummmmm. OK lets ask you this, what will you bring to Raton or The SouthEastern Regional Mid-Range? How about the Cody shindig in June?


Kelley O.

martinibelgian
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Post by martinibelgian » Sat May 02, 2009 8:22 am

If there's any other match I can shoot while at your side of the pond, with pleasure, provided it's not too much trouble and additional travel. There's limits to my budget and my holidays too - not to mention the amount of lead I can bring over...
Do this mean that you aren't planning to shoot the match? Pity - I would have liked to meet the infamous Kelley Roos in person...

Kelley O. Roos
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Post by Kelley O. Roos » Sat May 02, 2009 9:46 am

Yep, I will not be attendance.

Kelley O.

SSShooter
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Re: 38-50 vs. 38-56

Post by SSShooter » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:58 am

An oldie but a goodie............ the thread, that is.

Wondering if anyone has done any good with the 38-56 since this thread was started. I spent 3yr wondering in the 38-56 wilderness and was never able to post better than AA scores. One of the biggest problems is that the BN requires that the wad be in the neck. So always plenty of powder in the case. Another is that mine was very sensitive to bullet diameter. It would shoot 0.376" bullets the best but the groups started going bad at 0.377" and were widely scattered at 0.378". Obviously, YMMV. I've had more than one person tell their 38-56 shoots great. But, the same person is never shooting it at any of the matches. Let us know how your 38-56 is treating you.

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