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My first attempt at loading 38-55

3476 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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I like the steps DJH laid out. It's the only way I feel comfortable loading those light loads. Flip it over pour in the powder and seat the bullet one at a time. If a shadow of doubt crosses my mind I pour it out, check it and do it again. I did get lucky with my 38-55 high wall. As mentioned above My projectiles push into the fired cases after a slight bell with just a little firm thumb pressure. After a slight crimp to eliminate the bell they shoot great. Sure saves on brass prep. Nice rifle you've got there and a shooter too. Good thread too.
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