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Discussion Starter #1
I have recently acquired a Marlin 1893 in 38-55. Serial number dates it as a 1904 production rifle and it is stamped "For Black Powder". Can any of you 38-55 shooters give me some advice on loading smokeless powders for this cartridge? I shoot BPCR silhouette and may eventually load BP for this cartridge, but I wanted to start out with a couple of smokeless loads first.

Thanks
 

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Welcome to both the Marlin site and the wonderful world of 38-55 ownership.
May I suggest your first step is determining the diameter of your rifle's bore. Accuracy will depend heavily on shooting the correct diameter bullet in your particular rifle.
Brass is available in three lengths. Try and stay with one length as it makes reloading and crimping your lead bullets much easier. A consistent crimp will result in better accuracy.
You will find a 38-55 can be the most aggravating, frustrating caliber you have ever owned. However, once you work your way through the problems you will do several things. One, you will be far more familiar with your particular rifle, and two, you will get a sense of enjoyment like no other when your groups start reflecting your time and work.
I also submit a 38-55 crys out for reloading. Too many variables.
Research, and read, prior posting for 38-55 and they will contain enough information to keep you from going down some dead end paths.
Good luck, and remember, if possable, we love gun porn. Post a couple of pictures of your new rifle. Shenandoah
 

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For a mild black powder type load, I would try 14.5-15.5 grains of sr4759 under a proper lead bullet. The sweet spot for mine is 14.7. 8)
 

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As stated earlier you need to slug the barrel to find out what bullet size to use. My load shoots at black powder speeds it is, 16 grains IMR 4198, CCI large rifle primer,Winchester case, 255 grain 25 to 1 bullet. One of the guys I shoot against shoots a near twin to my load with good results.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies. I fortunately have a shooting buddy who has already tried out several bullet moulds for his 38-55, any of which I can borrow. I am sure that I will find a winner among them. His Winchester seems to do much better with a gas check bullet due to some slight pitting.

Thanks again,
Greg
 

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Greetings GTS That throat area is the key to all firearms. You can find 38-55´s at least as fat as .384 but get that throat filled and you will be headed on the road to accuracy with smokeless.
The nice part with BP is a heavy 40-1 bullet will bump up to fit a fat throat if it starts out close. With smokeless your bullet needs to be throat filling +.001.
So you might wonder why the older rifles were so fat throated... Well after firing 1 round with BP that residue builds builds up in the throat and there has to be some space for the next cartrige to chamber into. Some rifles will not chamber a fat bullet after 1 round is fired. But a .380 generally will and you may get to fire up to 10 before a wet patch needs be run into the chamber throat to clean out room for the next round.
Many hunters fired one round and were headed home.. maybe two... so BP was never a real issue.
You are in for a wonderful shooting experience with a 38-55.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Slugging the bore is on my list this weekend. Once I get that done I may wander over to my buddy's place and pick through his stock of bullets. I am in no hurry since I am waiting on brass and dies to arrive. Besides that, I have a bunch of 40-65's to load as well. Loading BP sure takes longer than smokeless, but it's a real hoot to shoot!
 
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