.38-55? Never Heard of Her

Discussion in 'Caliber Talk: Ammunition, Reloading, and Shooting ' started by zChambers, Apr 29, 2019.

  1. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    770
    Jan 21, 2015
    Henry announced the release of their new side gate lever action in .38-55

    I've never heard of it and was wondering if anybody have experience or knowledge of this round? History, uses, shooting characteristics, advantages/ disadvantages over other similar cartridges?

    I'm guessing .38-55 has been around for a while. I'm just not very plugged into this aspect of the shooting world.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. bvbarry50

    bvbarry50 Sarg.

    219
    Oct 11, 2018
    I think BBA is clocking their Heavy 38-55's at around 1900 - 1950 fps if I am not mistaken.  Seems that Paco had some slightly more aggressive loads, maybe a 270 gr load at around 1900 - 2000 fps, and clobbered an Elk with it.   I'll look around and see if I can find the articles, I printed them off and layed them around here somewhere....
    I think loads are probably only safe in modern Marlin actions, not so sure about the Win 94.
     
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  3. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    Probably because you're young(er).
    .38/55 was/is a BP Cartridge with a mild "Bottleneck" design- and is notorious for problematic reloading- as in crushing the thin shoulders.
    From memory is is actually a .40 caliber bullet and ballistically a sort of .40 S&W.

    The last is incorrect; I'm thinking .38/44, not .38/55.
    The .38/55 is considerably hotter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  4. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    770
    Jan 21, 2015
    yeah, I'm 35.

    Interesting to hear about the cartridge design and reloading problems.

    Wikipedia provides the specs that the .38-55 pushes a 255 gr bullet at 1,593 fps.

    The Henry is also offered in .30-30 and .35 Remington. Seems like the .30-30 and .35 Rem both push a lighter bullet faster, which would make for a flatter shooting round with more distance. Curious to know what kind of rainbow trajectory the .38-55 would have.

    If there are .38-55 factory loads that have 270 gr bullet moving at 1900 - 2000 fps, it seems like it would be a good brush gun.
     
  5. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    Absolutely.

    The lighter, faster .30/30 is still a 150 yd. gun (optimistically).

    Here you enter into that "lighter faster vs. big, slow, heavy" debate.
    Back in those days one could count on permanent wound cavity and penetration.
    Reliable expansion "wasn't a thing" yet.
    Think- Elmer Kieth.
     
  6. gps man

    gps man Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2015
    Head over to Sagebrush Longshots on the you tube and see them shooting.38-55 from 300-1000 yards.

    It’s a great cartridge.
     
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  7. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    770
    Jan 21, 2015
    watched the longer range videos. Impressive shooting to say the least but man, their rounds are moving slow. Seemed like 2-3 seconds from shot to target impact. Makes me wonder how much genetic energy the projectile carries at that point.
     
  8. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    Fallacy!!!!! The best brush gun is one that shoots at high speed and flat as hell. NO bullet on the planet bucks brush at least one a hunter would use. The flatter it shoots the less likely it will hit brush.
     
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  9. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    770
    Jan 21, 2015
    I understand the advantage of flat/curved trajectory but I always thought that it was more important for a good brush bullet to be heavy to smash though vegitation and round so there is less deflection?
     
  10. gaijin

    gaijin Well-Known Member

    May 18, 2015
    Any/all rds will deflect.
    Advantage of heavy for caliber bullet is Sectional Density/penetration.
     
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  11. BCD 45

    BCD 45 Well-Known Member

    Feb 13, 2019
    It's actually a .3775 caliber bullet introduced in 1876 by Ballard. Around 1978-79 Winchester introduced the .375 Win. which is basically the same cartridge, only .01mm difference, except it was developed for much higher pressures making it un-safe for the 38-55.

    Jim D
     
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  12. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    All bullets WILL deflect when it hits brush.
     
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  13. zChambers

    zChambers ........... Supporting Addict

    770
    Jan 21, 2015
    Understood, but bullets should deflect more if they are lighter and more narrow, correct?
     
  14. Jim w.

    Jim w. Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2016
    MY .38-55 is a rebored Winchester Single Shot that has a faster twist than the Ballards, etc. I can shoot a 335 gr Lyman "mini-Snover" at 1150 fps. All I know it that it does not always have enough "genetic energy" to knock down a 46 pound ram at 500 meters. If I try to soup it up with more powder compression or a finer grade, accuracy falls off. So I went to .40-65 and a 405 gr bullet for BPCR Metallic Silhouette.

    Can't help on smokeless powder overloads.
     
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  15. gunn

    gunn Active Member

    51
    Jul 13, 2019
    I load mine with Black Powder. I load 32/40, 38/55, 45/110 and 45/90 all in BP. I really like BP.
     
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  16. Dub

    Dub born in the wrong century

    Mar 19, 2017
    .38 bullet.........55grns black powder.


    What's not to love.
     
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  17. Mike Meints

    Mike Meints Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    Got any pitchers of them guns ? Tell us more .
     
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  18. gunn

    gunn Active Member

    51
    Jul 13, 2019
    I have a picture of the 45/110.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. Mike Meints

    Mike Meints Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2017
    Is that a Shiloh or Pedersoli ? Or an original Sharps ? Cool gun !
     
  20. gunn

    gunn Active Member

    51
    Jul 13, 2019
    Pedersoli
     
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