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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time poster here but have gotten a lot of good info reading the forum posts. Inherited a couple nice rifles from my uncle and have a burning desire to shoot them. Winchester .32-40 at the top and .38-55 marlin below (hopefully the pic came through). I know he never shot them in the 35 yrs. or so he had them. Have been doing a lot of reading, checking data, watching reloading videos and assembling reloading equipment (which I currently have no experience at) as I've discovered ammo is pretty dang hard to find. Will have a few questions for the "old-heads"around here in the near future. Thanks in advance. Neal
 

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Neal,
Those are 2 nice guns, my friend. The only thing I want to ask. is you said he never shot them, but did he ever clean them? Not that they need a heavy cleaning but have the barrels, seen any oil in 35 years? That is something you should take a look at.

As far as ammo is concerned, you mention reloading equipment. What kind of stuff do you have? The .38-55 is readily available and it's reloading components too. You can still buy .38-55 ammo. The .32-40 is something else, even the brass for it ain't cheap.

John
 

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Hey Neal,

Welcome to MO.

Way to go, pics of two fine "Hyphenated" rifles, on your first post!

Later, Mark
 

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cphoghead...

Welcome! Your dad did well in leaving you two very fine rifles. Enjoy!
 

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Well done!! Congrats and looking forward to hearing of your exploits!! Great rifles by the way...very jealous...(especially of the 38-55!!!!!)
 

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Welcome from Texas

you have inherited some very nice rifles

congrats
 

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A fine pair of rifles. As John said, clean the barrels inside down to bare metal, then slug the barrel to determine groove diameter. Next, buy cast lead bullets one to two thousandths (.001 to .002) larger than the groove diameter. Don't bother with jacketed bullets in these calibers, jacketed bullets cost over two times as much and have no practical advantage in these cartridges.

32-40 brass will be hard to find. the good news is that it can be made from 32 Special brass by simply running it thru the 32-40 sizing die and then fire forming.

Let the journey begin.

JB
 

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Congrats on owning 2 great old rifles. They are 2 of my favorite cartridges to reload and shoot. eh
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the replies. Have had these for a few months now so have got some of the leg work done by reading a lot of the great info on this site. Both bores are in great cond. with nice rifling. The 32-40 and 38-55 slug out at .320 and .3805 respectively. Have decided to tackle the Marlin first. Found some gas check .381 w/out the checks at hunters supply and some 2.125 starline brass(should have got more) on line. Got the last bottle of IMR 4198 on the shelf at cabelas yesterday. Actually the last bottle of any powder on their shelves! No primers but found some Win. WLR and CCI 200 primers at a Fleet Farm store on the way home. My brother gave me some loading equip. some yrs. ago and I ordered some RCBS cowboy dies on line. Have got my dies set up and loaded one dummy round and it slips right in the chamber with no resistance. The loading data from Lyman cast bullet handbook shows a 249gr cast bullet w/oal 2.550 with a starting load of 24gr of 4198 but also a 264gr cast bullet w/oal of 2.525 with a starting load of 20gr-seems like a pretty good diff. Also they are showing trim-to length of 2.075". Using the 260gr bullet and "as is" 2.125 brass I have what would be a good starting load? Do I need to trim the brass? Any tips on reloading for this would be appreciated. Ready to start a new adventure! Thanks, Neal
 

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CPhoghead - Welcome to the MO forum fron west Texas. Sorry to read how you got your two rifles, however, your uncle seems to have faith in you taking care of them and getting some use from them. You will enjoy both calibers a great deal more once it is determined the bore diameters so the correct size lead bullets can be bought. JBledsoe has given excellent guidance on what some of your first actions should be. He speaks from actual hands-on experience and knows what the game is all about. Start with a clean bore, keep loads around 1350-1400 FPS and you will go far. My 32-40 is a 1968 Marlin 336, 20 inch round barrel that has been reworked into a caliber I thoroughly enjoy, and I admire your octagon barrelled beauty. The working up of loads your rifles enjoy is part of the joy of both reloading and shooting these old long, slim beauties. Your are a luck guy. Good luck. Shenandoah
 
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Hey there CP -- A couple of very nice rifles. You sound like you are off to a great start. No need to trim if not required by chamber issues. The Classic Shenandoah load is 21 grains of IMR4198. That too may be a good place to start (and maybe finish). I'm not sure how the check-less bullets will play. I would be interested in hearing about them after the fact. Maybe a milk jug shot just to catch one to inspect may be in order. They're kinda fun to do anyway. Take plenty of jugs.

Down the page aways is the latest jug test Wet Dog and I did on my 25-36Marlin. Chronographs aren't necessary really, as the loading manuals generally are pretty close with their speed/load table figures

Best regards. Wind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the info on using the .32 special brass for the .32-40. Also the barrel on the marlin is 28" is this a special length and does that influence loading data in any way? Thanks- Neal
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I thinking maybe 20 gr. was the way to start out. Not sure about the bullets either. I guess if I start to get some leading I can get some gas checks and try that but I don't have a bullet sizer to seat them at this time. Neal
 

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Hey again Neal -- The 28" barrel was a special order barrel. Standard was 26". Just means with a tall rear sight you can reach out and touch something a little farther away!! Nifty!

The Lee Custom Shop will build you a push through sizer that will seat gas checks in any diameter you want. My last one was $38 shipped. Might take two or three weeks to get it but man-o-man they work great.

Best regards. Wind
 

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Great rifles you have there and good luck on your adventure.

Tons of collective knowledge here on MO to guide you along the path, much of which is already showing up here on your thread.

Enjoy the ride.

B
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I watched a you tube vid. of one of the Lee on the press bullet sizers and really liked it, unfortunately their site says they are not doing custom dies at this time. Guess I picked a bad time to decide to start reloading but such is life. Also not sure yet if I want to try going up to a .382 bullet before getting a sizer. But that may require another new adventure in bullet casting and I'm afraid at this point in my life I don't have enough spare time for that. Any good sources for pre-cast .382 bullets? Thanks- Neal
 

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Thanks for all the replies. Have had these for a few months now so have got some of the leg work done by reading a lot of the great info on this site. Both bores are in great cond. with nice rifling. The 32-40 and 38-55 slug out at .320 and .3805 respectively. Have decided to tackle the Marlin first. Found some gas check .381 w/out the checks at hunters supply and some 2.125 starline brass(should have got more) on line. Got the last bottle of IMR 4198 on the shelf at cabelas yesterday. Actually the last bottle of any powder on their shelves! No primers but found some Win. WLR and CCI 200 primers at a Fleet Farm store on the way home. My brother gave me some loading equip. some yrs. ago and I ordered some RCBS cowboy dies on line. Have got my dies set up and loaded one dummy round and it slips right in the chamber with no resistance. The loading data from Lyman cast bullet handbook shows a 249gr cast bullet w/oal 2.550 with a starting load of 24gr of 4198 but also a 264gr cast bullet w/oal of 2.525 with a starting load of 20gr-seems like a pretty good diff. Also they are showing trim-to length of 2.075". Using the 260gr bullet and "as is" 2.125 brass I have what would be a good starting load? Do I need to trim the brass? Any tips on reloading for this would be appreciated. Ready to start a new adventure! Thanks, Neal
CP, I just shot some new loads in mine and got the following:
20.5gr IMR 4198 for 1418fps
21gr IMR 4198 for 1453fps
18.5gr IMR 4227 for 1324fps
16.5gr SR 4759 for 1345fps
10.5gr Unique for 1305fps

My bullet is 264gr with gas checked and lubed. I would start lower than 24 grains of 4198 in your rifle. But that's just me. I usually look for the best accuracy between 1250 and 1400fps and I think I'm gonna be back off the 20.5 and 21gr of 4198 in my case. Here is what I got in this initial benchmark effort.

By the way... Green Lizzard said he recommended I change my screen name to One-Flyer-Dog.

Might try Buckshot over on Cast bullets as he makes customer sizers if Lee does not provide that size. He will not provide any that Lee produces as standard.
 

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Hey CP,

If your grooves slug at .380 I would try the .380 or .381 dia. bullets first. Let the rifle tell you what it wants, too little (small) will cause accuracy and leading issues, too large (in diameter) will cause leading issues. That's the way it works in my rifles.
 

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Hey again Neal -- The sizers are not dies. Just checked and there was no mention of suspending production of sizer dies. In fact they just started up again in January after about a years suspension. Here is a link: Lube and Sizing Kit - Lee Precision I use them for both my 38-55's and 32-40's - and a bunch of others!

Hope this helps. Best regards. Wind
 
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