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Thread: New Winchester 1885 38-55, good cast 38-55 load.



  1. #1
    Wrangler
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    New Winchester 1885 38-55, good cast 38-55 load.

    Hello folks, thought I'd write this new rifle up for those of us afflicted with the 38-55 bug. Winchester (Browning) is now marketing their 1885 in our favorite hyphenated caliber the 38-55. I recently bought one thru Davidsons Distributing. It's a very nice rifleof the same pattern as the Browning 1885 except it has a Cast Hardened receiver and butt plate. Actually it is very similar to the BPCR 1885 that was sold by Browning for a few years. Included are Marbels open sights on a 28" medium heavy barrel that looks just like those Badger barrels that were on the BPCR's.
    I sluged the boer and it measures .368 across the lands and grooves are .377. Guess I got lucky on teh trigger as it measures 3lb. even and crisp. The chamber is fairly snug and brass doesn't have ti size very much to fit well run thru my RCBS Cowboy die set. I recommend these for cast bullet use especially. They include an expander of .376 and one .379 and that about covers the range of bullet sizes for use with cast bullets in this caliber. Also for this rifle I bought 200 Starline 2.125" cases these are holding up well after several fireings. I did however have to trim some back to length after fireing with higher preasure jacketed bullet loads. So my guess is the brass is fairly soft. Winchester brass may be a better choice for loads that give more preasure than cast bullet loads do.
    The write up on the Winchester site says they have grade I walnut and it does look nice, though my particular specimin is of straight grain, but a nice dark walnut color. The 1885 shows all signs of wanting to shoot well and I've gotten several groups under 2" with cast and about 1" with jacketed so far. Not too bad with the tang peep and my 60 yr. old eyes. This will make good company for my 336 CB 38-55 and the 336 rebore from Jess. BTW Winchester used the same twist that Jess did on mine, 1 in 15".
    The cast load that I mentioned is 20.2 of H4198 with a cst bullet of correct size weighing 250-285 gr. I was able to put five Lyman 375448 FNGC bullets sized to .377 into 1 1/2" at 100yds. This same load has shot well in several 38-55 rifles. The charge seems to strike the cast bullets with just the right preasure to perform well in the 38-55.
    Hope you all like the rifle and the load. Also beware the 38-55 can be habit forming, they tend to multiply and take up space in your collection.
    Guzziac,
    Richard P.002.JPG003.JPG004.JPG
    JBledsoe, 44LVR, msharley and 2 others like this.
    He who expects little--is not disappointed---much.

    35 Rem. Member # 155, 444 Member # 213, 38-55 # 35

  2. #2
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    Thanks, thats a beautiful rifle and I enjoyed your post. They do seem to multiply alright, I have 6 of them now. My favorite load is the 240 grain LaserCast bullet over 10 grains of Unique. About 1375 to 1400 fps in my guns and very accurate.

    Thanks again.

  3. #3
    Marlin Marksman
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    Nice rifle, one like it is on my wish list. Your right about them multiplying I have 3 now.

  4. #4
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    Good post and a mighty nice bang stick. One of those is on my long list.
    "You can't miss fast enough to win a gunfight", Bill Jordan

  5. #5
    Deadeye
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    That's a really nice looking rifle. I've been contemplating having one of my Browning 1885s rebarreled/chambered in .38-55 but maybe I ought to look at a new one.

    Chris.

  6. #6
    Gun Wizard
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    Nice purchase. I had one in the Browning Traditional Hunter. It had the tang sight also. While it was nice to shoot, my true love are my Sharps and 45-70 lever guns. In fact I traded it toward another Sharps. Kind of wish I still had it.
    You may have found a characteristic which seems to be common in those 38-55's and that is a tight chamber. Normally, that would make an accuracy buff proud, but mine was too tight to accept the cast bullets required to fill the rather large rifling at .380. Figure out how they did that!
    You may also notice that current brass from Winchester I think, is shorter than the Starline. But stick with the Starline if you can. it will outlast the Winnie brass. Remember when loading, to lube the inside of the cases. They will stretch quite a bit on these nearly straight cases.
    larry
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  7. #7
    Wrangler
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    Hello to all and thanks for your replys. Bestboss the tang sight came from one just like yours, my friend had gone to scope and passed it aling to me.The rifle came with a set of Marbles open sights. My chamber will accept up to .378 bullets, .379 are too tight to fully seat. OK as it seems to shoot it's best with.377 so far. Will keep posted as shooting progresses. When I got this one Davidsons only had 4 and now I think they are down to 1.
    Guzziac,
    Richard P.
    He who expects little--is not disappointed---much.

    35 Rem. Member # 155, 444 Member # 213, 38-55 # 35

  8. #8
    Cowpoke
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    85's are always good.

    If you want to try another smokeless load, 17.5 gr if IMR4227 and the Lyman 250 grn flatnose cast 25:1 is shooting 5 @100 dependably less than 1.5". I suspect it is a very low velocity. The recoil is minimal if you have some youngsters or new shooters.

    Brent

  9. #9
    Tenderfoot
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    Winchester and Browning 1885 / 38-55

    I have the Winchester 1885 38-55 rifle too. I have had luck with .376 dia bullets. I am working on paper patching. I have an elk hunt this fall. I will be using the Barnes bullet.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by willy1947 View Post
    I have the Winchester 1885 38-55 rifle too. I have had luck with .376 dia bullets. I am working on paper patching. I have an elk hunt this fall. I will be using the Barnes bullet.
    You are not paper patching the Barnes bullet?


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