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I just picked up an almost new (20 rounds fired), very clean 336CB in 38/55 for $400.00 last week. I thought it was a pretty good deal and after taking it to the range this afternoon I have to say I'm smitten; my new rifle is just too much fun to shoot!

Before I made the purchase I read a bunch of posts on this site and the enthusiasim of the 38/55 fans helped make my decision. Thanks for that. Now I need some advice on getting into reloading and was hoping some of you might have some advice on what reloading rigs have worked well for you and what might be wise to avoid. To clarify things when it comes to reloading I'm a newbie but I'd like to get a good quality set up that is relatively easy to get the hang of and that I can use with my 45/70.

Any advice is appreciated and what do ya'll think - did I get a good deal?
Thanks for your time!
 

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No doubt a good deal.
The initial cost of reloading gear may look steep at first, but figure all that you will save over a life time and it pays for its self. I have been reloading with a single stage RCBS Rockchucker press for over 20 years and have no need to change it still works great. I did get the Lyman 38/55 dies and have found them to work well for the 38/55.

Are you going to shoot lead or Jacketed bullets?
If shooting lead you can do a search and find several places to get them. I just got an order from Chy Cast Bullets, the look like good bullets I got them in .378 dia. I got those to just shoot for fun. As far as jacketed bullets I would get ahold of Stone Fence and get his 250 gr JFP bullet. It is .378 dia bullet and it shoots very well, kills deer nicely too. With any luck in a couple weeks I will have another deer shot with it. I found that H335 powder shot the best out of my rifle. I tried quite a few powders but none shot as well as the H335. Hope this helps. Enjoy that 38/55
 

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Horse, I have a 38-55CB and one of my favorites. Now to the reloader question I have lee dies which are a combination .375 win and 38-55 dies if you don't want to have more to do I would advise you to get the 38-55 cowboy dies from RCBS they are more correct for the caliber. Do get the lee factory crimp die. If you wind up with the lee dies, do this get an extra expander decapper for a .375 H&H which is a long tapered one with it you can expand 30-30 to the proper neck for 38-55 albeit will be short but inexpensive. There are a few quirks when reloading #1 is the bullet bump that you get when seating if you use lee dies. #1 Cure, back off the sizer .100 (after fire forming) If you use cast bullets slug your bbl, most are .379 mine reads .3785 which is okay. They will digest any bullet that is at least .377 - .379 without difficulties when going to .380 or larger in cast it may not chamber. Some have sent their rifles back for rechambering to handle the .380 bullets, I will not need to. My expierience with the cast are as follows, shot 500 in .377 dia and accuracy was good, 1,200 in .379 since and accuracy does not seem any different, it is capable of 2 inches with 8-9 gns of unique. The jacketed, I tried barnes originals .377 dia they shot into a one hole cluster at 100 yds, using 29.5 gns of RX7. I now use .378 dia jacketed that Stone Fence makes and the same load, getting the same results, differences Stone Fence bullets have a larger frontal area and open up better I have shot deer with both, to compare them I would say the stone fence bullets are made for a 38-55 the the barnes are just bumped up for use in a .375 win. The latter does kill but does not leave the wound that the Stone Fence Devastators do.
 

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Swany,

you're too kind, thank you sir for the compliments on the bullets. Enjoy those .38-55's gents!

-Stone
 

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.38-55

I use the Lee dies but also have the RCBS Cowboy dies. Both sets size the case for jacketed bullets, but the RCBS set comes with 2 expander plugs, one for jacketed and one for cast bullets. However, the Lee and the RCBS when expanding for cast bullets will leave a bulge on the case due to slightly off center expanding. The Lee expander die inside diameter is very close to the case diameter while the RCBS is very much larger. I solved the expanding by makin an expander plug for my Lee die with 4 steps. 1st set just enters the sized case; 2nd step expands for jacketed bullets; 3rd step expands for cast bullets and 4th step flares the case mouth to clear cast bullet. The extra steps act like a pilot and I get perfect expansion all the time. However, you have to have a lathe or a friend with one to make the expander plug. My 2 cents.
Jonah
 

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Swany is NOT too kind Stone Fence. Those are good accurate bullets. Although I've not put one through a deer, I think they will do nicely.

I use the RCBS dies and got mine so long ago that I had to buy another newer seating die to work with the new shorter .38-55 brass.

BTW, I've tried Sam Fadala's load of 31 gr. of H4198 and the widely reported load of 32 gr. RL-7 under the Stone Fence bullet and gotten 1999 and 2010 fps respectively. Again, the Stone Fence bullet is accurate at these velocities, more accurate indeed than the Barnes.

I use 28 gr. of IMR 3031 under the Cast Performance 265 gr. GC for 1650 or so fps. I also use 18 gr. H4227 under the Leadheads 249 gr. PB for about 1200 fps. All these are good accurate loads in my rifle.

Your Cowboy was a good buy and I'm sure you'll enjoy it!
 

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I'm pushing the bullet that Stone Fence makes at 2012 FPS with 37.5 grains of H335. Deer dont even know what hit them!!
 

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Just so everyone knows--
my bullet is more blunt-nosed than the Barnes or Winchester factory bullet. So, it is shorter and takes up less case capacity. Big Med's H335 load is fairly warm, and should only be used in the modern Marlin in my estimation. I would also back off a bit and work up if using the longer Barnes or a pulled Winchester bullet.

Safety first.
Hope that helps-
-Stone
 
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