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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a long, LONG silence, our family's 38-55 is slingin' lead again.
Some of my troubles are documented in this thread:

http://www.marlinowners.com/forum/3...ibers/150542-winchester-38-55-up-running.html

I finally got more Rimrock bullets and did some more careful testing of load levels at 50 yards, 10 shots at each level:



I'm very pleased with my purchase from Rimrock; I think I'll be buying more of their bullets for other guns.

In my initial testing, in 1/2 grain increments, 9.5 was easily the best group, as opposed to patterns from the other levels. Thats where I started again, with better visual targets and really paying attention to bench technique. I still have a few shots that were out for some reason but I'm not the perfect shooter.
When I moved up from 9.5 to 9.7, I was pleased to see the grouping become rounder and more consistent. But I also went down by 2 tenths and that was a real big smile when I walked up and saw that. And yes, I fired them on 2 separate days since I ran out of good daylight yesterday after work.

What REALLY made me happy was after 150 shots fired, I have no significant leading. I can live with so-so accuracy from a 1st year production 1894 rifle. Serial # is 12,xxx and according to my little book, made in 1894. The sights, which I think are original, leave a lot to be desired for tight accuracy work. In fact, I think the whole gun is original or at least looks like it to my eye. I should probably get it lettered to be sure.

I'm going to repeat the 9.3 load and test it again and if its close to what I've got from today, I'll be a very happy camper. I'm a little tempted to try 9.8 or 9.9 just to see but I think I'll be cautious and not stress the old girl since I don't know how much pressure these Unique loads actually generate. This rifle will only see occasional use but it sure is fun. Having decent accuracy and remaining unleaded is enough success.
 

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9FIngers,
Great job getting that vintage Winchester talking one again! What diameter are the rim rock bullets?
I understand that some of the early Winchester .38-55's have larger than normal bores.

If yours is one of those, perhaps the .380" diameter bullets offered by Desperado Bullets might shrink the groups a bit.
Also they are softer a 8BHN which is better than the harder bullets that many suppliers offer.
.38-55 cal, 260 grain

w30wcf
 

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Hey 9Fingers

Way to go. Glad you got her back in service.

Enjoy the Journey
444GS2
 

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:congrats:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
30wcf, I'm using Rimrocks 240 grain sized at .382 . I started at .379, tried .380, still got leading. Frank at Rimrock was kind enough to sell me a small sample package of the .382 and things began to click.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I didn't think I could shoot that nice a group again and I was right! I was able to get out this afternoon and while the windage is pretty good, I'm having trouble with consistent elevation. I really believe that the sights have a lot to do with the spread up and down. Bright mid-day sun was surprisingly hard to shoot in today. I had to blacken the front sight; it's brass and had quite a bit of glare in today's light. That combined with the little "V" shape in the rear gave me problems.

As you can see, the 9.3 load has quite a bit of vertical but the left/right is quite nice. The 9.5 load is about a 3 1/2" group. Honestly, I'm actually pretty happy overall with all the results, 9.3 right up through 9.7. Compared to when I started, with heavy leading and lots of keyholing, these are some pretty satisfying results.

I hesitate to replace the sights with something like a peep sight from Skinner. Somehow the originals just seem like they belong there and I should simply make do.

Decisions, decisions.........
 

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I recently rebarreled one of my model 94 Winchesters. I looked everywhere for a 38-55 barrel but found not a single one. I finally gave up after months of searching and put a 30-30 barrel back on it.
 

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I would say a good peep sight, would reduce those groups by half. Open sights are great for bambi, at 30 30 ranges, but they are not that great for groups, especially if the shooter has any gray in their hair, like many of us do, and eyes that have trouble reading the fine print on our iron pour blood pill bottles.:biggrin:

A gun that early, likely has some wear at the crown too, from guys see sawing the cleaning rod over the decades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've been mulling over a set of peeps for it, to be honest. However, the more I look at it, I worry about somehow losing the original sights and the originality of the gun for later on. Seems a minor issue but it weighs heavily on my mind. And besides, it will never be a group shooter, but a cherished plinker and a reminder of my Dad's face the day I took it up to him a few years ago with the first good target I had with .379 bullets.

To him, guns were tools of subsistence, not so much a sport to enjoy. To be able to show him that if the need arose, the old girl would still put food on the table, was pretty cool that day. He passed last fall so never saw these results but thats OK; my luck with the .379's count just fine!

He enjoyed seeing the M92 back in action as well. They stood inthe back of the closet quietly waiting to speak again ever since I can remember.
 

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When I was a kid in the 1960's, my best friend hunted with antique hand-me-down guns. He clobbered his first buck with a 38-55 within a brushy hollow during an organized drive. One shot through the shoulder and his buck was down for good. I'll never forget that frosty morning or my friend's antique rifle. All the bluing was gone and the stock showed some heavy use but the flip up tang sight was still zero'd properly. It had an octagon barrel. My rifle for this hunt was a borrowed Winchester 94 in 30-30 in similar shape but without a tang sight.


Good hunting to you.

TR
 
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