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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are your opinions of the cowboy in 38-55? I think this is a great old cartridge and it looks like it would be a ball to reload. Any thoughts? Hows the recoil with cast bullets?
 

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You are correct in that the 38-55 is a great old cartridge. It dates from 1884 in its present form and earlier than that as the 38-50 Everlasting cartridge. Very easy to reload for. In the Marlin I shoot the Barnes .377" bullet at 255 grains which is a jacketed bullet. You will need to slug the bore of your rifle to determine which lead bullet to use. Usually bore size or .001 inch larger works. Sometimes you have to go to .002" to get good accuracy but that depends on the rifle. Your rifle will tell you what it likes best. Recoil will depend on the velocity of the bullets. Keep the speed down and its not bad at all. I have a leather slip on recoil pad on mine. As I get older I finding out that I get more sensitive to recoil. :lol: Parley
 

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38/55 Cowboy

Mykal I have a 38/55 Cowboy and love it. It is one of my best,no it is the best lever rifle I have ever had. My 38/55 is also the best shooting cast bullet lever gun I ever had. It's EZ to load for. Just slug your barrel if you are going to shoot cast. Mine is .3785" so I size at .379". I had marlin make mine out of a 336AS I had. I have only shot smokless powder in my gun. I have had good luck with a lyman 375248 mold cast 20 to 1. Unique, XMP-5744 and IMR-4198 have all worked very well. I have gotten five shots in one inch. Most groups are under two inches for five shots at 100yds.. And I think that pritty good. I have never shot a jacked bullet in this gun so I can't tell you how they work. If your thinking of buying one I think you should, befour they stop making them. I let the 30-30 Cowboy end without buying one and then it took two years to find one. Good Luck >>Tombstone
 

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Mykal,

I have a 336CB in .38-55 that I've just started reloading. I also use
Barnes .377 JSP's and have been using Reloader 7 and Hodgdon Triple 7 FFg.

Have had good results with accuracy and am still working up loads that I can
use out to 200 yards.

I mounted a Williams peep sight with a Merit adjustable aperture for my old tired eyes.

Can unscrew the Merit and have a semi ghost ring setup for close up shooting.

Really enjoy the .38-55, even though I also shoot an 1895SS in .45-70 and a new 1894FG in .41 Magnum.

Best of luck to you.

Carl
 

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Gents,
Just been breaking in the barrel on my new Marlin CB with 300gr Hornady RN's (it's what they had in stock at the local in .375) over 20gr of Rx7, got a mould on order. It's shooting the jacketed great! Put an old Bushnell on it and at 35 yds I can start shooting the same hole. Living up to it's rep as one of the all time great target cartrides, and I'm sure that this 300gr would be devasting on game. No idea of velocity yet, and recoil is just fine, the accuracy from a 'out of the air' load is MOST gratifying.
Cheers,
R*2
 

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Gents,
Just been breaking in the barrel on my new Marlin CB with 300gr Hornady RN's (it's what they had in stock at the local in .375) over 20gr of Rx7, got a mould on order. It's shooting the jacketed great! Put an old Bushnell on it and at 35 yds I can start shooting the same hole. Living up to it's rep as one of the all time great target cartrides, and I'm sure that this 300gr would be devasting on game. No idea of velocity yet, and recoil is just fine, the accuracy from a 'out of the air' load is MOST gratifying.
Cheers,
R*2
 

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Mykal I though I would give you an up date on my 38/55. I shot it this past Sunday. I got my best shooting yet. Five shots in .815" at 100yds and four were in a little less than .450". If I can get my son to take pictures of the target I will post it. The only bullet I have shot is that lyman mould #375248. Working with just one bullet at a time has been better than getting all mixed up with to many. That load was 20gr. of Alliant 2400 , Win brass, Win L.R. pri. the above lyman bullet at 2.500". Nothing special but it sure did shoot. Hope yours works as good as mine. Cast bulleys are a lot of fun. >>Tombstone
 

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I've had 3 different 336CB 38-55, in each I tried every load I could find for them in JRN or casts. All shot well enough at 50 & 100 yds at CB velocities. But when beefed up for hunting loads to use on hogs and blk bears they sprayed holes all over the paper. Gas Checked or not.
I've completely given up on Marlin's 38-55 CB because of the bore sizeS. They are not the hunting rifle I expected, but they do shoot properly cast lead well and are a beautiful looking gun.
I would love to Marlin produce it in .375 where a multitude of quality JRN bullets can be found for reloading. But rather Marlin in their "wisdom' decided to bore for the limited CB world ( which in honesty is what the gun was made for in the first place)
And yes, I did shoot .377 Barnes X bullets over a good load of Reloader and 3031. They were accurate enough but too "pricey" for shooting a couple hundred rounds on a Saturday morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gentlemen: Thanks for all the responses. Glad to read all the positive responses for this beautiful, old cartridge. I have a cowboy in .357 that I love the heck out of, and thought I would compliment it with an authentic old west cartridge. Thanks everyone for the specific shooting experiences. I will be shooting strictly cast bullets and will not be loading too heavy, as I have no plans as yet to hunt with this rifle (but you never know!). I have been shooting Oregon Trail Laser Cast bullets in my 30-30 with good results (it's a Win .94, guys, I am truly sorry to say). Oregon trail has a 240 gr bullet for the 38-55 with a diameter of .380. After reading your suggestions, I bet that would work very well. This grand old man of a cartridge has quite the rep as a long range paper puncher, and I can see by your shooting results that it is deserved. As one of you guys has mentioned, I better make my move soon before they drop out of production. Thanks again, and good shooting. --Mykal
 

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Keep them OT's to below 1400fps and they will shoot good as for a good bullet in the 38-55 Marlin try Bullshops 280grain LFNwith a Gas Check sized to .380 I load mine with 32grs of RL# 7 and a WLR primer avg fps is around 2000 and it is one accurate shooting load with a lyman peep most groups at 100yards are less then 2" waiting at least 10min between shots
( to keep that tapered barrel cool) the 38-55 in the Marlin Cowboy is one of the best mid bore rifles around and will shoot with any of my other Marlins with the right bullet. I only use fireformed 30-30 brass until someone out there starts making the right size cases.
......................................................................................Marko
 

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Mykal it's been awhile and I was wondering, have you gotten a 38/55 Cowboy? It sounded like you were headed that way. I still haven't gotten my son to take pictures of that groupe yet, but I'll keep trying. Hope you have a new rifle. Thats allways a good thing. >>Tombstone
 
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