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My first attempt at loading 38-55

3475 Views 35 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  GaCop
My first attempt at loading 38-55 (Updated with Range Report)

Hello again!!

Today was an exciting day for me, I finally got my dream rifle and I am as happy as can be!! I posted it up in the Marlin Collectors area.

Knowing that this rifle would be arriving soon, I finally got off my rear and ordered the RCBS Cowboy dies and bought some lead bullets, both items from Midway. I had purchased 2 boxes of Winchester 38-55 in the grey/silver box and fired around 25 of those in my last 1893 that I sold earlier this year. So today is the day I start on the path to perfection with the 38-55.

I slugged my bore today and it came out to .3785" (my calipers aren't that precise, but it seemed just under .379"). The bullets I purchased are made by Meister and they are 245gr RNFP and already lubed. The bullets are pre-sized to .380 so I was happy to see things all looking like they were going to fit each other.

The next thing to research was the powder choice. I looked through the manuals I have and there are a lot of powders mentioned that I have not used and have no way of purchasing (IMR 4227, A5744, RE-7. H4198, 3031, etc etc) but I did see in the Lee book there is mention of H335 and H4895, both of which I have here. Then I saw in the Lyman 49th book that there is a listing for TrailBoss!! I have a pound of TB and I have never used it, so I figured what the heck, might as well start with something so simple it can't go wrong (I know) so that was what I am starting with.

Here is a pic of my powder weighing station:

Here is a pic of the bullet seating process:

Here is a bullet being seated:

OK, so I will try them out tomorrow. The starting load is 7 grains, max is 9 grains. I made [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] I seated them to 2.515 which is also right where the crimp groove ends on the bullet (book called for 2.510 OAL).

I will report back tomorrow!!

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Trail Boss is my go to powder in the .38-55 and a lot of other cartridges.

I can't imagine how you would double charge it. It was designed specifically to avoid that. It is true, it doesn't like to be compressed. Otherwise, you can fill the case to the base of the bullet without issue. I get best result in any cartridge about 1/10th of an inch below the seated bullet. The exact charge will vary depending on what length brass you are using in your .38-55.

Here is a pdf. from IMR outlining how to use it with any cartridge.
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