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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi fellas great site here ..
if was to reload for a 1900 vintage 38-40 26" oct.barrel.. i'm curious on what the bullet actually mikes ,.. its not a 357 is it? an what smokeless powder would be suggested .. i realize that it should be a reduced load as the barrel doesn't say for smokeless ... thinking possible... a lead bullet ? gas check? or should i use jacketed..?
thanks Rich G,......
 

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Can't suggest a load, but the 38-40 is actually a 40 caliber, around .401 bullets I believe.
 

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Mr Gee, My old Lyman manual shows a 180gr jacketed bullet and a 172gr cast bullet. The factory duplication load is with Unique at 8gr for 1190 fps on the jacketed bullet from a 92 Win 20'' barrel. They used large pistol primers. There are other loads listed. Accurate Arms lists a 6 1/2'' Ruger with a 180gr bullet at 14,000 c.u.p. from either 25gr of 1680 for 1200 fps, or 27gr 2015 at a modest 980 fps. The 38-40 and 44-40 are popular for Cowboy action shooting and should have adequate data from many sources. Always cross check any data. Proper dia is .401 Ben
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks thats a start Ben... i'll have to check out some stuff , the barrel doesn't say smokeless powder i'm sure a reduced load will be Ok, also RingoS.. isn't .401 a 10mm bullet or at least very close wonder if i can use that for lead..?
 

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If your barrel is not labled "FOR BLACK POWDER ONLY" you should do fine with light loads. Been awhile since I had one but it had a very good kick to it with the steel butt plate. May want to wear a coat. It was a lot of fun to hear the bang when it went off and the phfft when it hit the target. My favorite load was 8grns of unique. Will try and locate my notes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
sur-shot 8 grs seems a bit lite an kick at that lol's love to see some of the notes you have .... thanks for the come back.. i loaded back aways for 44-40 pistol uberti , if i remember .. think it was 10 grs lost all paper notes when i moved, so i'm starting all over in all my reloads guess i'll need to buy some new books, i thing Lyman has a new 48th out...
talking 38-40
as i was to the range this past fri. i was talking to the fellas in the pro shop ... they said that all the charts listed in the loading books are set at reduced load already because there are so many older firearms in these calibers still around also 'some' newer made guns aren't much stronger [ if they are at all ] then the older made pieces, not saying anything bad either way... unless... take caution of course when it states "blk pwdr only"
i also asked about useing the 10 mm lead they said that it wood be fine
 

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Won't tell you the max I tried but Speer #13 in 24" barrel lists 40-180fn, with C300 primers, 180grn, 1.560 oal, using Unique 6.4 @ 1162 and 7.4 @1275. Like I said mine liked 8.0 but you should work yours up. The old Lyman 46 (this is an old manual) using rem cases and a R2.5 primer, 172 grn from Lyman mould 40143, show 7.0 unique 1115 and 10.5 unique @1515, 1.550 OAL. This will say hello in a meaningful manner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thank S S i ain't blown a gun up yet....! but a friend of mine did back in the 80's he managed to blow the side of one cylenders out of his Ruger .45LC an the bent the crane, its kinda hard to hurt a Ruger but he did, luckily no one got hurt , it was after hours at the club an he was standing in front the line down range a couple feet shoot'n at bowling pins with some hot load he made up
 

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I would avoid jacketed bullets in your gun. Marlins had pretty soft barrels on their '94s and 89's, but really strong hammer forged actions, so smokeless cowboy loads won't hurt it, but jacketed bullets will tend to erode the throat rather quickly. I love 6.5gr of unique with a 180gr Saeco or RCBS bullet sized to .401. Trailboss works ok too and is very mild in all listed loadings. If you want to really go fast with black powder type pressures, instead of using hot loads of unique (which are higher pressure and tend to wear out brass pretty darn quick) try reloader 7. I believe alliant has a load listed for 38-40 using a 180gr bullet and it goes like 1700fps or so. I have used it and chronographed it and it really does go nearly that fast with low pressure. Not sure, but I think reloader 7 milks the most power out of this caliber that can be safely done in old guns. Its amazing stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
when i was loading for the Marlin i had asked about using pistol bullets.. it worked well 10MM lead about 2months ago i sold the ole gun.. i'm just left with a .35 Marlin from 1961...its a micro grove barrel type .. i may get around to trying lead in that .. but i've heard pro's an con's it.. will see .. i had an opportunity to buy a varmit rifle which i'm playing with now.. that has taken a bit time working up a load .. i have some more test still to go
 
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In my 1894 38-40 (circa 1905) I cast bullets to load . But I have also shot factory loads in it as well. When I was in PA there was an 1889 38-40 at one of the shops that some old guy had in for sale with a couple boxes of ammo. If those were what he had been shooting , he was using factory as well .
 

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I use 8.0 grains of Unique under a commercial 180 gr RNFP in my 1904 vintage 1894. It's a great load, very accurate, and a lot of fun. I have never chrono'ed it, but it works great for me in CAS matches.

Take care, and RKBA!

BB45C
 
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